Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti checks in with The Morning Show to answer the latest COVID-19 questions.
Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti checks in with The Morning Show to answer the latest COVID-19 questions.
Law enforcement officers far outnumbered protesters at state capitol grounds on Sunday, as few Trump supporters who believe the president's false claim that he won the 2020 election turned out for what authorities feared could be violent demonstrations. More than a dozen states activated National Guard troops to help secure their capitol buildings following an FBI warning of armed demonstrations, with right-wing extremists emboldened by the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6.
BERLIN — The Austrian government is extending the country's lockdown until Feb. 7 in a drive to push down still-high infection figures as officials worry about the possible impact of new coronavirus variants. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Sunday that some measures will also be tightened as a result of the more infectious variants that were first detected in Britain and South Africa. He said people will now be asked to stay 2 metres (61/2 feet) apart instead of 1 metre. Beginning on Jan. 25, they will also be required to wear full protective masks on public transport and in shops, rather than just fabric face coverings. People on low incomes will get such masks free, Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said. Austria’s current lockdown, its third, started on Dec. 26 and was to end on Jan. 24. Kurz said Austria is keen to avoid a situation such as that in Britain and Ireland, where infections have risen sharply and rapidly as new variants take hold. So far, Austria has over 150 suspected infections with the British variant, Anschober said. Kurz said Austria needs to get as close as it can to, and preferably below, an infection level of 50 new cases per 100,000 residents over 7 days. The figure now stands at 131. “Our aim is to approach this figure ... by Feb. 8 and start the first steps toward opening on Feb. 8,” with schools, nonessential shops, museums and services such as hairdressers reopening, Kurz told a news conference in Vienna. But Kurz made clear that restaurants and hotels will have to wait longer. “We have to assume at present that, at least in February, it will not be possible to open tourism and catering," he said, adding that a decision will be made in mid-February. Austria, a nation of 8.9 million, has confirmed nearly 390,000 cases and seen 6,964 deaths related to COVID-19. ——- Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
First Nations, ranchers, municipal officials and environmentalists hope to persuade a judge this week to force Alberta to revisit its decision to open one of the province's most important and best-loved landscapes to open-pit coal mining. At least nine interveners will seek to join a southern Alberta rancher's request for a judicial review of the province's decision to rescind a coal-mining policy that had protected the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains — and the headwaters that flow from them — for almost 45 years. "You talk about the Alberta identity," said Ian Urquhart of the Alberta Wilderness Association, one of the parties looking for standing. "The eastern slopes, the Rocky Mountains and the foothills, are at the heart of what the Alberta identity is. This policy change threatens that." The eastern slopes are the source of three major rivers — the Red Deer, the Oldman and the South Saskatchewan. Everyone in southern Alberta and many in Saskatchewan depend on those rivers for drinking water, irrigation and industry. The water is heavily allocated. Endangered species, including cutthroat trout and grizzly bears, live there. The region's beauty is universally acknowledged. A 1976 policy brought in by Peter Lougheed's government laid out how and where coal development could go ahead, forbade open-pit mines over a large area and banned any mining at all in the most sensitive spots. It came after years of work and dozens of public consultations, said David Luff, a retired civil servant and consultant who worked on the policy. "Albertans overwhelmingly said the eastern slopes should be devoted to watershed protection, recreation and tourism. Lougheed had a very compelling vision based on input he received from extensive public consultation." Over the years, the policy informed the Alberta Land Stewardship Act and was written into legally binding land-use plans. Last spring, the policy was quietly revoked by Energy Minister Sonya Savage with no consultation. It was done on the Friday of the May long weekend, during the height of COVID-19's first wave, through an information letter on the department's website. "It's morally and ethically wrong," said Luff. But legally wrong? The province doesn't think so. The hearing in Calgary Court of Queen's Bench is to begin Tuesday with Alberta arguing that there was no duty to consult because the coal policy was just that — a policy. "The 1976 coal policy was not enacted using a legislative tool, so it can be rescinded unilaterally by Alberta Energy at any time," says a provincial briefing note entered in the court record. The province plans to ask the court to rule that the change is a political decision, not a legal matter, and the review request should be dismissed. Nigel Bankes, chair of natural resources law at the University of Calgary, notes land-use plans and the land stewardship act both promise consultation before major change. "This is effectively an amendment to the plan and therefore triggers the consultation obligations," he said. "There's certainly case law to suggest that high-level policy changes may trigger the duty to consult." As well, Bankes said, First Nations are owed a duty to consult. Three of them — the Bearspaw, Ermineskin and Whitefish — are asking to intervene. He suggests there's a good chance the court will turn down the provincial request for dismissal. Other hopeful interveners include the Municipal District of Ranchland, which is concerned about the impact that coal development could have on municipal services and infrastructure. Environmental groups seeking to intervene want to ensure water quality and ecological degradation are taken into account. One coal company — Cabin Ridge Coal — has asked for standing as well. It says it's already invested substantial money in exploration leases. "Restoration of the coal policy will create uncertainty in circumstances where the (Alberta Energy Regulator) presently has clear standards and processes for considering proposed exploration and development activities in Alberta," it says in a court filing. Alberta officials have said mining will create hundreds of jobs and generate millions of tax dollars at a time when the province really needs them. They say any proposed mines would still be reviewed by the provincial regulator. Prominent and popular Alberta country musicians Corb Lund and Paul Brandt have publicly opposed the mines. A petition to the federal government opposing one development already in the review stage had more than 25,000 signatures as of Friday morning. The government has sold leases on about 1.4 million hectares of land for coal exploration since the policy was revoked. At least one provincial recreation area is partly covered by a coal lease and four others are surrounded by them. The province has also reopened water allocation agreements. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2021. — Follow @row1960 on Twitter Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
Navalny has blamed his nerve agent poisoning in August on the Kremlin, but Moscow has repeatedly denied playing a role.View on euronews
The founder of Fredericton's River Stone Recovery Centre would like to see the city set up a designated tent city for homeless people. Until there are more permanent housing options for the city's homeless population, Dr. Sara Davidson said it's the best "quick-fix" scenario. But it needs to happen fast, she said. "At this moment, right now — this year, this week — this is what I feel is the best solution." Davidson said it's important to view this as a temporary, emergency approach to Fredericton's homeless problem. "I would never want there to be a permanent tent city because that would mean that we have completely failed our population of the most vulnerable people." "With a nimble environment and big hearts on board, I'm hoping that this could get some legs and start to take off soon." - Dr. Sara Davidson She said it's certainly better than what currently exists. A designated tent city would allow officials to keep better track of homeless people. For example, if there was an outbreak of COVID-19 in the city's homeless population, contact tracing would be a lot easier if officials knew where to find people. "If we can't find people because they're scattered — they're interacting with each other [and] they don't have the luxury of being able to self isolate anywhere," Davidson told Information Morning Fredericton on Friday. Last year, with the use of Fredericton High School as a shelter, Davidson said officials at least knew where to look for people. The disadvantages of not having a more permanent location goes beyond contact tracing and living in constant fear of being forcibly moved along, she said. "People are missing medical appointments. They're missing CT scans I try to organize to track down how their cancer is doing. They're missing their mental health appointments. They're losing their wallets. They're losing access to their medications." Davidson said the idea for a designated tent city came to her out of "desperation." She said she would lie awake at night and wonder how to best help the city's homeless. While there are all kinds of ideas being discussed, she said "we're not going to get there fast enough." People are already sleeping outside in the cold. Her conversation on CBC radio was the "first robust" public conversation she's had and she was encouraged by the comments of fellow panelist and Fredericton city councillor, Kate Rogers. Rogers, who is part of a national working group, said other cities are contemplating setting up designated tent cities. "That is a very legitimate option," said Rogers, who also chairs the city's affordable housing committee. But she's not sure whether the idea will fly in Fredericton, where tents continue to be removed and people continue to lose their belongings. "I'm not certain of that. But the discussions have been happening," said Rogers. And she's encouraged to see other community leaders, "who maybe would not have thought that was the best option three years ago," consider tent cities as a potential solution. Davidson hopes the public discussion will spark some interest in the idea among community groups and leaders. "I imagine I'll be sending some emails this weekend and trying to continue the conversation to see what steps would need to be taken … With a nimble environment and big hearts on board, I'm hoping that this could get some legs and start to take off soon." She believes a designated tent city would ultimately save the city "a lot of time and energy" by avoiding the constant dismantling of the sites and moving people along. Joan Kingston, the chair of Fredericton's Community Action Group on Homelessness, has seen one of Canada's largest tent cities — one located in Vancouver's Strathcona Park, "and it's not ideal," she told Information Morning. Last month, the city of Vancouver released a strategy to move homeless people out of the park. Officials want to use local hotels as accommodation for the 300 people who were tenting in the city park. No timeline has been presented, but once the campers have been moved out, the camp space will be fenced off for remediation. The Strathcona location sprang up last June after the city of Vancouver dismantled two other locations.
From a distance, the shelves at 174 Water St., lined with rows of brightly coloured packaging, look similar to any other boutique candy store. Look a little closer, however, and the subtle differences become clear. Prawn-flavoured chips, Japanese iterations of familiar snack-brand logos, unfamiliar flavour combinations and perhaps a cherished childhood treat long since forgotten about: these are the specialties of UnderGround Snax. With humble beginnings in Nova Scotia, the company recently moved into a Water Street storefront. Despite a growing number of shuttered business lining the downtown strip — not to mention the pressures of the ongoing pandemic — UnderGround Snax's first brick-and-mortar location in St. John's seems to be catching on with the city's sweet-toothed residents. Founder Evan Humber was on his couch one night in 2019 when the idea of a boutique snack store first came to mind. He quickly set up a social media presence and began taking and placing orders. "It literally just started with an idea," said Humber. "I was literally at home one night once I came up with the Instagram name, and I started posting some photos of the products that I'm getting in." That night, says Humber, people began to engage right away, and soon he had an emerging business on his hands. "I just placed a little order, and once it arrived, it sold [out] instantly," said Humber. "So I got more, and it kind of snowballed to what it is today." Eventually, Humber decided that it was time to make the jump from a social-media based enterprise to UnderGround Snax's first physical location. With long-term dreams for broad expansion, Humber says that there was something both obvious and alluring about launching in Canada's most easterly city. Onward to St. John's Vince Kennedy, from Newfoundland's west coast, was just the island connection that Humber needed to set up their new location, and took the lead on hiring and managing the new store. "I'm kind of a garbage human, man, I like it all really," said Kennedy, trying to pick out a favourite snack from the shelves of the Water Street location. WATCH | Take a look inside UnderGround Snax's new location in downtown St. John's: Kennedy manages the St. John's storefront, which opened last year. Seeing the nostalgia of customers who stumble across a forgotten favourite treat, he said, is a definite perk of the job. "It's cool to see everybody's nostalgia go off on a certain product that might not even mean anything to you," Kennedy said. "But, they might have been five years old and had this candy back home growing up, and like, geez— it's cool to see, man, it's pretty cool to see." Kennedy said that despite everyone's different tastes for snack food, coming together over candy seems to be easy for peckish residents, and with a wide selection of treats there's bound to be something for everyone. With no plans to slow down, and a second location on Quinpool Road in Halifax that opened late last year, the UnderGround Snax team say they'll continue to source an array of new and interesting products. As for which snack is Kennedy's favourite, he said it's a chocolaty twist on an old classic. "It's probably going to have to be the Reese's cupcakes, to be honest. They're like a crazy chocolate snack-cupcake," he said. "Like, you used to get those Hostess cupcakes back in the day that were filled with icing; very similar, but they've got the peanut butter Reese's filling in there — they're pretty stupid." Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
WASHINGTON — The Latest on President Donald Trump's impeachment, President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration and the fallout from the Jan. 6 attack of the Capitol by pro-Trump loyalists (all times local): 9:05 a.m. Actor-playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda and rockers Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen are among the stars who will highlight a prime-time virtual celebration televised Wednesday night after Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th president. Biden’s inaugural committee announced the lineup Sunday for “Celebrating America,” a multinetwork broadcast that the committee bills as a mix of stars and everyday citizens. Miranda, who wrote and starred in Broadway’s “Hamilton,” will appear for a classical recitation. Musicians John Legend, Demi Lovato and Justin Timberlake, among others, will join Springsteen and Bon Jovi. Actresses Kerry Washington and Eva Longoria will act as hostesses, with former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also scheduled to appear. The segments will include tributes to a UPS driver, a kindergarten teacher and Sandra Lindsey, the first American to receive the COVID-19 vaccine outside a clinical trial. The broadcast is in lieu of traditional inaugural balls. Biden plans still to be sworn in on the Capitol's West Front, but with a scaled-down ceremony because of the coronavirus and tight security after the Jan. 6 violent insurrection on the Capitol as Congress convened to certify his victory. ___ HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IMPEACHMENT, THE INAUGURATION AND THE FALLOUT FROM THE JAN. 6 RIOTING AT THE CAPITOL: Across the country, some statehouses are closed, fences are up and extra police are in place as authorities brace for potentially violent demonstrations over the coming days. The safeguards will remain in place leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. Biden plans to roll back some of President Donald Trump’s most controversial policies and take steps to address the coronavirus pandemic hours after taking office. Read more: — Deceptions in the time of the ‘alternative facts’ president — Biden outlines ‘Day One’ agenda of executive actions — Gen. Milley key to military continuity as Biden takes office — Guard troops pour into Washington as states answer the call — Harris to be sworn in by Justice Sotomayor at inauguration — Biden to prioritize legal status for millions of immigrants — Will Trump’s mishandling of records leave a hole in history? — Biden says his advisers will lead with ‘science and truth’ — More backlash for GOP’s Hawley as Loews Hotel cancels event ___ HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON: 8 a.m. Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris will resign her Senate seat on Monday, two days before she and President-elect Joe Biden are inaugurated. Aides to the California Democrat confirm the timing and say Gov. Gavin Newsom is aware of her decision. That clears the way for Newsom to appoint fellow Democrat Alex Padilla, now California’s secretary of state, to serve the final two years of Harris’ term. Padilla will be the first Latino senator from California, where about 40% of residents are Hispanic. Harris will give no farewell Senate floor speech. The Senate isn’t scheduled to reconvene until Tuesday, the eve of Inauguration Day. ___ 3 a.m. The threat of extremist groups descending on state capitals in a series of demonstrations Sunday prompted governors to roll out a massive show of force and implement tight security measures at statehouses across the country. Fencing, boarded-up windows and lines of police and National Guard troops have transformed statehouse grounds ahead of expected demonstrations leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. The stepped-up security measures were intended to safeguard seats of government from the type of violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when a mob supporting President Donald Trump overran the building while Congress was certifying the Electoral College vote. The FBI has warned of the potential for armed protests in the nation’s capital and all 50 state capitals. Some social media messages had targeted Sunday for demonstrations, though it remained unclear how many people might show up. The Associated Press
Edmonton tech company Jobber has raised $60 million US in growth financing to help fund research and future growth, but won't take much of a break to savour the success. Sam Pillar, CEO and co-founder of Jobber, told CBC's Edmonton AM this week the company is taking a moment to be happy at the news, but will be getting right back to work. "This financing is going to allow us to really continue doing more of what we have been doing for the last number of years but at a larger scale and with a bigger ambition to build a global technology company," Pillar said Thursday. Jobber provides management software for small home-service businesses like lawn care, HVAC, painting, roofers and residential cleaning. Earlier this week the company announced it had raised $60 million US from existing and new investors. The money will be used for research and development, marketing and reaching more customers. Started in Edmonton in 2011, Jobber has grown to have more than 250 employees and a second office in Toronto. With the new funding, the firm plans to hire another 200 people, both from Edmonton and outside, in the next 12 months. Fast-growing sector Edmonton's tech sector is growing, fuelled in recent years by Jobber and other companies. The sector is leveraging local talent and the strength of its own community, which is small compared to other major Canadian cities. Edmonton Global, an economic development corporation for the Edmonton metropolitan region, says other local tech companies have also had recent success raising funds. They include Drivewyze, which raised $60 million US in minority financing last July; SAM, which raised $3.6 million last May; and Showbie, which raised $5 million last August. Much like what e-commerce company Shopify has done for Ottawa, in terms of being a major employer and transforming the tech landscape of the region, Jobber hopes to achieve in Edmonton, Pillar said. He said building a global tech company is possible anywhere in the world now, but being in a city like Edmonton comes with some challenges. "The ecosystem is less developed and less mature than some of the larger ecosystems," he said. "It's a smaller population mass as well." However, he added that the flip side of that challenge is that a smaller tech ecosystem also means less competition. He also said Edmonton offered a lot of talent coming from the University of Alberta, MacEwan University and NAIT, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Local talent Talent is the local tech sector's biggest driver, said Lynette Tremblay, vice-president of strategy and innovation with Edmonton Global. "That is the primary driver for a tech company because their most important capital is human capital," Tremblay said. "Wherever the talent is, that's generally where the company is going to want to locate." Tremblay noted that in 2019, RBC ranked Edmonton the best city for Canadian youth to live and work in. In the same year, real estate giant CBRE's research centre ranked Edmonton as one of top 10 Canadian cities — not only for affordability but also for tech jobs, noting that jobs in the sector had increased by 26 per cent in the previous five years. Tremblay said one of the challenges the city faces is that although there is enough talent, there aren't enough companies to hire all the qualified workers. Edmonton Global estimates about 5,000 graduates are leaving the region per year. "So we need to try to retain that talent because that is going to attract the companies," she said. However, talent is also the biggest cost for tech companies, Tremblay said, adding that while petrochemical companies can get tax breaks for machinery, equipment and construction, tech companies have been asking for help to offset the cost of labour. "Jurisdictions we are competing against — Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal — they all have similar incentives in place," she said. "So anything we can do to level the playing field, helps us." 'Tight-knit' community Besides talent from post secondary schools, Edmonton's start-up community thrives because of support from within, said Lauren Briske, interim director at Startup Edmonton. "It is a tight-knit community," Briske said. "There're lots of people kind of willing to, kind of open doors for people that are taking a chance on entrepreneurship, taking a chance on taking their ideas to market." Companies like Jobber are dedicated to growing and supporting Edmonton's start-up community as well, she said. "Tons of their team members actively mentor early-stage companies."
NL Alliance Leader Graydon Pelley has suspended his campaign after suffering a medical emergency, the party's executive says. In a release on its Twitter account Sunday morning, the party said Pelley was taken to hospital Saturday, where it was confirmed that he would need emergency surgery. In a media release the party said Pelley will be suspending his campaign pending the outcome of the procedure and required recovery time. "The work of [the] NL Alliance is so important to Graydon and I know missing out on that while facing this challenge is adding to his discomfort. However, his health is what's most important now and no one disagrees with that," the party's president, Rudy Norman, said in the release. Pelley is running in the district of Humber-Gros Morne. The NL Alliance said all other candidates will continue their campaigns and nominations in districts without candidates are still open until the deadline. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated and more than a dozen have been killed in recent days in flooding on Indonesia's Borneo island, officials said Sunday. National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Raditya Jati said floods brought by intense rains caused floodwaters as high as 3 metres (10 feet). As of Sunday, 39,549 people had been evacuated and at least 15 had been killed due to floods that affected 10 districts and cities in South Kalimantan province on Borneo island. Separately, five people were killed and 500 others were evacuated after floods and landslides in Manado city in North Sulawesi province on Saturday. One other person was missing. Seasonal rains and high tides in recent days have caused dozens of landslides and widespread flooding across much of Indonesia, a chain of 17,000 islands where millions of people live in mountainous areas or near fertile flood plains close to rivers. The Associated Press
Ahuntsic-Cartierville - Aux prises avec trois éclosions à l’hôpital Fleury, le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) du Nord-de-l’Île-de-Montréal demande à la population d’éviter cet établissement « pour quelques jours ». Emboitant le pas à certains hôpitaux de l’Est de l’île, le CIUSSS restreint par ailleurs les visites. Les seuls motifs qui permettent à une personne non hospitalisée d’accéder à l’établissement sont pour accompagner une personne en fin de vie, à raison d’une personne à la fois, des visites pour motifs humanitaires ou l’accompagnement du père, de la mère ou du tuteur légal d’une personne mineure. Le CIUSSS du Nord invite les personnes qui ont des problèmes de santé mineurs « à choisir une alternative pour obtenir une consultation médicale » et à privilégier une visite dans une clinique médicale ou à consulter son médecin de famille. Plus tôt cette semaine, le CIUSSS avait confirmé au Journaldesvoisins.com qu’une éclosion était en cours à l’unité de chirurgie de l’hôpital Fleury, mais avait assuré qu’aucune éclosion ne touchait l’urgence de cet hôpital. Le JDV suivra de près la situation.Simon Van Vliet, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal des voisins
The debate about the U.S. Electoral College pits those who think the president should be chosen via popular vote versus those who believe the interests of small and large states must be balanced.
Prince George RCMP saw a small dip in crime in 2020, as measured by files opened, thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, Insp. Shawn Wright told city council. Files opened in 2020 added up to 46,668, down by 1,036 from 2019. With many businesses shut down and more people working from home, Wright said shoplifting dropped to "virtually nil" for a time while break and enters also declined noticeably. If the pandemic sparked an spike in domestic violence, Wright said it was not reflected in the count as the number of such files grew by only nine from 2019, to 487. Looking at the downtown, calls for service stood at 6,816, up by 118 from 2019. Wright said the "vast, vast majority" were non-criminal in nature. At nearly 1,200, calls related to mischief led the way and Wright said they typically related to someone sleeping in a doorway and causing a disturbance. Next highest were calls for causing a disturbance, which Wright said usually involves someone with a mental health issue. "I know there is a lot of apprehensions from a lot of the citizens that they don't feel safe downtown, that they think they're going to get robbed, that they're going to get assaulted but statistically speaking, we don't see those numbers being a large part of what we deal with down there," he said. Wright noted businesses in the vicinity of Canada Games Plaza, where public washrooms have been in place, reported a lot of nuisance activity during the summer. But he later also agreed with Coun. Murry Krause that the washrooms meet a need. "I don't dispute that at all," Wright said. Wright also suggested the storage facilities for street people in the downtown has enabled a "downtown camping lifestyle" but later added they also serve a need. "Sometimes there are unintended consequences and sometimes the intended consequences outweigh those, for sure," Wright said. He commended Carrier Sekani Family Services for opening the Sk'ai Zeh Yah Youth Centre at 1575 Second Ave. in late 2020. He said it has given people as old as 29 years a place to "hang out" and access services while also lessening the distress on area businesses. "I have been very pleasantly surprised," Wright said. Open use of illicit drugs downtown emerged as a theme when Wright fielded questions from city council members. He called the activity a "thorn in our side" but added pursuing prosecutions against individuals who insist on shooting up "not realistic" in today's legal climate. He said police have relied on patrols to move users along to areas where they can use while out of sight, such as a rooming house or, preferably, the safe injection site at the needle exchange. He said the 100 units of social housing planned for the corner of First Avenue and Ontario Street and the recently-announced conversion of the National Hotel at First and Dominion to social housing makes him optimistic. "Nothing is a magic bullet, nothing is going to change overnight, but I think they are very large steps in the right direction," Wright said. He said people who get their own place also get a sense of responsibility, accomplishment and dignity. "A lot of these people don't have a place to go, so it'll provide them that opportunity and I think the biggest key to those proposed developments is the fact that it's not just housing, it's supportive housing," Wright said. Looking ahead, Wright said RCMP are working to get a sobering centre established in Prince George. Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
Deemed consent organ donation means that everyone is assumed to be an organ donor unless they opt out, but assuming consent raises some ethical issues.
The discovery of a prohibited firearm on his property has led to a 26-month jail sentence for a McBride-area man. Steven Richard Stewart was issued the term at the Prince George courthouse. On June 8, 2018, a man and a woman walked into the McBride RCMP detachment to report that Stewart had threatened to beat the man up and burn down his house. They also told RCMP that Stewart had a shotgun, prompting North District RCMP's emergency response team to be called to the property. Stewart was arrested and a sawed-off shotgun with a pistol grip and a flashlight taped to it was found, as was a sling holding 20 rounds of ammunition in the back of an SUV parked on the property. RCMP also found a number of bladed weapons and several marijuana plants. Stewart pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited weapon and uttering threats. He maintained he kept the shotgun for protection and claimed $3,000 worth of pit bull puppies he had been raising had been stolen from him. Defence counsel had argued for a two-year conditional sentence order, in which the sentence is served at home with conditions such as a curfew, followed by three years probation, noting in part that he is employed, has lived up to his bail conditions since he was released from custody and has been working to deal with his substance abuse issues. However, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ron Tindale agreed with Crown prosecution's position that the offence warranted 30 months in jail. Less credit of four months for time served in custody, that left Stewart with 26 months left to serve. While sentences for the offence can range from 18 months for regulatory infractions to 10 years for serious criminal offences, Tindale found that Stewart's actions amounted to an offence at the "low end of the true crime spectrum." Tindale also dismissed defence counsel's argument that Stewart's behaviour since his release was enough to warrant the "exceptional circumstances" needed to reduce the sentence to two years and thus allow a conditional sentence order. A record of previous criminal offences and limited expressions of remorse, insight and responsibility for the crime worked against Stewart. "Mr. Stewart has worked hard but at this point, I cannot conclude that he has truly turned his life around," Tindale said. Stewart was also issued a 10-year firearms prohibition and ordered to provide a DNA sample. Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
Members of Yukon's two mobile COVID-19 vaccination teams held one last dry-run at a Whitehorse high school Friday before hitting the road. Vanier Catholic Secondary School's gym was transformed into a pop-up mock vaccination clinic, similar to the ones that the teams — Balto and Togo, named after sled dogs — will set up in rural communities in the weeks to come as they deliver and administer the first doses of the Moderna vaccine. Team Balto deployed to Watson Lake on Sunday. A mobile clinic was also set up in Dawson City on Jan. 6, but only to administer vaccines to long-term care residents and staff as well as high-risk health professionals. 'Advance team' will precede Balto, Togo John Coyne, who's in charge of the Yukon government's vaccine roll-out logistics team, told reporters at the mock clinic that officials needed a system that would allow for a high number of vaccines to be administered in the communities as early as possible, but without disrupting operations at local health centres. "The best way to do that … was to bring the clinic to the community," he said. "It's a multi-tiered, multifaceted approach to make sure it's efficient." The arrival of mobile clinic teams in communities will be preceded by an advance team made up of three to five members whose jobs will be to "engage" community members, share information about Yukon's vaccine plan and help get people to the clinic when it arrives, Coyne said. They'll also be encouraging community members to book an appointment either online or over the phone to be vaccinated as opposed to dropping in, something that Coyne said would be key for planning and ensuring resources are allocated properly. Teams underwent week of 'extensive' training Teams Balto and Togo, meanwhile, are made up of Yukon EMS members who will be offering post-vaccine monitoring and care in case any adverse side effects occur, as well as greeters, cleaning personnel, security and "traffic-flow navigators." They went through a week of training the week prior, which Yukon EMS paramedic supervisor and Team Balto member Robert Morris described as "extensive." "We all come from different divisions and departments of the Yukon government — some of us are from Wildland Fire, we have some in Health and Social Services, accounting departments, Finance, and of course Emergency Medical Services as well, so taking that time to get to know our teams … figure out our feel, our dance, our rhythm, we've had the last three days to really solidify that," he said. The teams will be responsible for setting up, tearing down and moving the mobile clinics on their own. As part of that, they'll also be bringing all the equipment and furniture they need with them including shelves, tables, metal fold-up chairs (they're easier to sanitize than chairs with cloth surfaces) and even a sink for hand-washing. Department of Health and Social Services spokesperson Odessa Beatty told CBC in an email that there will be members on both teams who will be able to serve people in French, and Yukoners who aren't able to make it to the clinic in their communities can find out about other opportunities to get vaccinated by contacting their local health centres. Morris said that while some logistical details are still being ironed out and that he expects some things to change as the teams get to work, he felt "very rewarded" to be part of Yukon's vaccination initiative. "I really do hope that when we look back on this that we can say that this historic moment was not only a success to everybody who was a part of it but also to the communities we're reaching out to as well," he said. "It's been a long time since COVID started and I really do feel like this is an integral part to an end of a long chapter with this pandemic."
WASHINGTON — The lead prosecutor for President Donald Trump's historic second impeachment began building his case for conviction at trial, asserting on Sunday that Trump's incitement of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol was “the most dangerous crime" ever committed by a president against the United States. A Senate trial could begin as soon as this week, just as Democrat Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., did not say when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will send the single article of impeachment against Trump — for “incitement of insurrection” — to the Senate, which will trigger the beginning of the trial. But Raskin said “it should be coming up soon” as Pelosi organizes the formal transfer. The House voted to impeach Trump last Wednesday, one week after the violent insurrection that interrupted the official count of electoral votes, ransacked the Capitol and left Congress deeply shaken. Before the mob overpowered police and entered the building, Trump told them to “fight like hell” against the certification of Biden's election win. “We're going to be able to tell the story of this attack on America and all of the events that led up to it,” Raskin said. “This president set out to dismantle and overturn the election results from the 2020 presidential election. He was perfectly clear about that.” Democrats and the incoming administration are facing the challenge of reckoning with the Capitol attack at the same time that Biden takes office and tries to move the country forward. They say the Congress can do both, balancing a trial with confirmations of the new president's Cabinet and consideration of his legislative priorities. Raskin said Congress cannot establish a precedent where “we just want to let bygones be bygones” just because Trump has left office. Yet it's clear that Democrats do not want the Senate trial to dominate Biden's opening days. Pelosi on Friday said that Democrats intend to move quickly on Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID aid and economic recovery package to speed up vaccinations and send Americans relief, calling it “matter of complete urgency.” Ron Klain, Biden's incoming White House chief of staff, said he hopes Senate leaders, on a bipartisan basis, “find a way to move forward on all of their responsibilities. This impeachment trial is one of them, but getting people into the government and getting action on coronavirus is another one of those responsibilities.” It is unclear how many Senate Republicans — if any — would vote to convict Trump. Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is telling his caucus that their decision on whether to convict the outgoing president will be a “vote of conscience.” His stance, first reported by Business Insider, means the GOP leadership team will not work to hold senators in line one way or the other. McConnell is open to considering impeachment, but said he is undecided on how he would vote. He continues to hold great sway in his party, even though convening the trial this week could be among his last acts as majority leader as Democrats prepare to take control of the Senate with the seating of two new Democratic senators from Georgia. For Republican senators, the trial will be perhaps a final test of their loyalty to the defeated president and his legions of supporters in their states back home. It will force a further reevaluation of their relationship with Trump, who lost not only the White House but majority control of the Senate, and a broader discussion about the future of the Republican Party as he leaves office. Some GOP senators are already standing by Trump, despite their criticism of his behaviour. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the president's most loyal allies, said impeachment was a "bad, rushed, emotional move” that puts the presidency at risk and will cause further division. He said he hopes every Senate Republican rejects impeachment. “Please do not justify and legitimize what the House did,” Graham said. A handful of Republican senators have suggested they will consider conviction. Two of them, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, have said he should resign. Murkowski said the House responded “appropriately” with impeachment and she will consider the trial arguments. No president has ever been convicted in the Senate, and it would take a two-thirds vote against Trump, a high hurdle. But conviction is not out of the realm of possibility, especially as corporations and wealthy political donors distance themselves from Trump's brand of politics and the Republicans who stood by his attempts to overturn the election. Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney, was spotted at the White House Saturday and told ABC he was likely going to join Trump’s impeachment defence team. He suggested he would continue to spread baseless claims of election fraud on the Senate floor. Trump campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley moved to distance Trump from Giuliani’s comments, tweeting: “President Trump has not yet made a determination as to which lawyer or law firm will represent him for the disgraceful attack on our Constitution and democracy, known as the 'impeachment hoax.' We will keep you informed.” There was not widespread fraud in the election, as has been confirmed by a range of election officials and by William Barr, who stepped down as attorney general last month. Nearly all of the legal challenges put forth by Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges. Trump is the only president to be twice impeached, and the first to be prosecuted as he leaves the White House, an ever-more-extraordinary end to his tenure. A precedent set by the Senate in the 1800s established that a trial can proceed even after a federal official leaves office. Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate voted last year to acquit. Ten Republicans joined all Democrats in the 232-197 impeachment vote on Wednesday, the most bipartisan modern presidential impeachment. When his second trial does begin, House impeachment managers say they will be making the case that Trump’s incendiary rhetoric hours before the attack on the Capitol was not isolated, but directly intended to interrupt the electoral count as part of his escalating campaign to overturn the November election. A Capitol Police officer died from injuries suffered in the attack, and police shot and killed a woman. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies. Raskin and Klain were on CNN's “State of the Union,” and Graham appeared on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures.” ___ Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
Two doctors who study COVID-19 say that when it comes to reducing the spread of the virus, Canadian health officials should focus more on tactics to help high-risk populations instead of imposing blanket restrictions on everyone. Dr. Sharmistha Mishra, the Canada Research Chair in mathematical modelling and program science, will be sharing her findings at an upcoming talk on equity and epidemics at B.C.'s Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity. "We talk about equity in a social science sort of framework, but it's actually fundamental to epidemic theory," Dr. Mishra said. Mishra says all diseases spread more among some groups than others, so the job of epidemiologists like her is to find out which groups are the most affected and work from there. The data that Mishra has been working with shows that people at the highest risk of contracting COVID-19 include essential and low-wage workers, people living in multi-generational or crowded homes, and those experiencing homelessness. The virus can spill over to other demographics, Mishra adds, so reducing the numbers for those most at-risk will reduce transmission overall. Mishra's talk will be a continuation of the talk her colleague Dr. Stefan Baral gave as part of the same series in December. Both doctors are based in Toronto. Baral, an associate professor at the John Hopkins School of Public Health's Department of Epidemiology, says there are strategies that will specifically help at-risk populations. These include providing more testing sites in neighbourhoods where those who are the most at risk are likely to live, as well as keeping those sites open longer so they can accommodate shift workers. Baral also recommends offering more financial support for low-income workers so they will be more likely to take time off work if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or are awaiting test results. "We need to alleviate the pressures that people face when making the decision about whether they're going to stay home from work," Baral said. Another strategy he suggests is to provide self-isolation sites for those who live in crowded homes. Systemic inequities vs. individual choices Baral says it can be easy, and satisfying, to blame the spread of COVID-19 on people's individual choices rather than systemic inequities that put certain people at risk more than others. Some physicians in Canada have advocated for COVID Zero, or COVID Near Zero — to lock down and restrict movement as much as possible in order to reduce transmission to more manageable levels. But Baral and Mishra say they believe it would instead be more effective to address the needs of those at most risk of getting infected and passing it on to others. Any type of lockdown will involve some form of essential workers, they argue. "Restrictions have a tendency to increase disparities because they don't address people's underlying needs," Baral said. "We still have Amazon, we still have Uber. We still have all of these folks that are serving the needs of society." Community-based approach Mishra and Baral say an important element in developing these strategies is to work with at-risk communities to figure out what works best for them. Dr. Birinder Narang, a physician and member of the newly-formed South Asian COVID Task Force in Metro Vancouver, says a community-based and culturally-appropriate approach is what has helped to greatly reduce COVID-19 transmission in the Fraser Health region. "There's been a lot of work happening behind the scenes with the community and with health care leaders," Narang said. In November, the region was the epicentre of COVID-19 in British Columbia — in particular, the City of Surrey, which is home to many essential workers who live in multi-generational households. But in the past few weeks the level of transmission there has dropped sharply. Dr. Narang says the task force came together to address the increase in cases in their community. Members have created culturally relevant information in multiple languages and gathered information about what barriers people in the region are facing. "We knew that the majority of people were trying the hardest, but that there were systemic and societal factors that were making it more difficult," he said. "One of the challenges of the public health orders is as they change, we don't know how accessible they are to every community."
New Brunswick officials announced 36 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, a single-day high since the start of the pandemic. The cases include 24 in the Edmundston and Grand Falls region, or Zone 4, which will roll back to the more restrictive red phase effective at midnight. There are now 292 active cases in the province and one person is in the hospital. Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer, said the Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton regions could move to red within days if the situation doesn't improve. "We're at the maximum of what we can deal with in the short term," she said at a media briefing on Sunday. Russell said 11 cases in the Edmundston region are linked to an outbreak at Nadeau Poultry in Saint-François de Madawaska, where mass testing was conducted. The community is near the Maine border, about 42 kilometres west of Edmundston. Some businesses must close under red restrictions, including movie theatres, barbershops and hair salons. Restaurants can only operate with takeout and delivery. The new cases include: Moncton region, five cases: two individuals 19 and under. an individual 20-29. an individual 40-49. an individual 70-79. Saint John region, four cases: an individual 19 and under. an individual 20-29. two people 40-49. Fredericton region, two cases: two people 20-29. Edmundston region, 24 cases: three people 19 and under. three people 30-39. four people 40-49. 10 people 50-59. four people 60-69. Bathurst region, one case: an individual 20-29. Russell said 2,101 people are self-isolating across the province. Schools to remain open Education Minister Dominic Cardy said evidence has shown the safest place for students to be is school. "We're working to keep students in school as much as possible to help support our public health goals," he said. "When students are at school, they are in a supervised environment with strict health and safety protocols in place." Changes are being made to the red-phase rules to allow for schools to remain open. Students and staff will be actively screened each day and those with one symptom will be asked to stay home. Extracurricular activities will also be reduced. If a case is confirmed at a red-level school, it will close for three days. This will allow time for contact tracing and turning the building into a testing site. It has been almost two weeks since all regions of the province were moved back to the orange recovery phase. Premier Blaine Higgs said the Moncton, Saint John, and Fredericton regions are "on the cusp" of a return to red. "We need to take this seriously because the next step, after the red phase, is a total lockdown," he said. Russell urged New Brunswickers to stay home as much as possible. "If you have to go out to obtain food and other essentials, keep your outings brief and return home as soon as you can," she said. 4 schools report cases of COVID-19 Four more New Brunswick schools have confirmed cases of COVID-19. Belleisle Elementary School in Springfield and Millidgeville North School in Saint John each have one case, according to Anglophone South superintendent Zoë Watson. The schools will be open and operational Monday except for students and staff reached by contact tracers. Both communities were notified in an email on Saturday. In the Moncton region, Riverview East School also confirmed one case. Families will be contacted about any impacts to learning this week. Caledonia Regional High School in Hillsborough has notified the community about one case. All students and staff have been asked to staff home on Sunday while contact tracing is underway. New Brunswick has confirmed 947 total cases and 642 recoveries. The province has recorded 12 deaths. The death of a 13th person with COVID-19 was not related to the disease. Public Health has conducted a total of 172,708 tests since the start of the pandemic, including 1,723 since Saturday's update. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
ISTANBUL — A cargo ship sank off Turkey's Black Sea coast on Sunday, leaving at least three people dead, Turkish authorities said. Six others were rescued. The transport ministry said the Palau-flagged ship named Arvin had anchored off the port of Bartin in northern Turkey due to bad weather, before breaking into two pieces and sinking. Emergency workers saved at least six crew members and reached the bodies of two others, the ministry's naval branch said on Twitter. Bartin's Gov. Sinan Guner said a third person had died, according to the official Anadolu news agency. The navy sent a frigate to assist rescue efforts. The transport ministry said the ship had 12 crew members, including two Russians and 10 Ukrainians. The cargo ship was en route to Bulgaria from Georgia but the Black Sea region has been buffeted by heavy rains, snow and strong winds. The Associated Press