Check it out as this extremely tolerant cat allows its owner to wrap it up for Christmas. What a good sport!
Check it out as this extremely tolerant cat allows its owner to wrap it up for Christmas. What a good sport!
WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew, have prompted the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with plans for Trump's trial, the official said. The shocking insurrection at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob prompted federal officials to rethink security in and around its landmarks, resulting in an unprecedented lockdown for Biden's inauguration. Though the event went off without any problems and armed protests around the country did not materialize, the threats to lawmakers ahead of Trump's trial exemplified the continued potential for danger. Similar to those intercepted by investigators ahead of Biden’s inauguration, the threats that law enforcement agents are tracking vary in specificity and credibility, said the official, who had been briefed on the matter. Mainly posted online and in chat groups, the messages have included plots to attack members of Congress during travel to and from the Capitol complex during the trial, according to the official. The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke Sunday to the AP on condition of anonymity. Law enforcement officials are already starting to plan for the possibility of armed protesters returning to the nation's capital when Trump’s Senate trial on a charge of inciting a violent insurrection begins the week of Feb. 8. It would be the first impeachment trial of a former U.S. president. Though much of the security apparatus around Washington set up after the Jan. 6 riot and ahead of Biden’s inauguration — it included scores of military checkpoints and hundreds of additional law enforcement personnel — is no longer in place, about 7,000 members of the National Guard will remain to assist federal law enforcement, officials said. Gen. Dan Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said Monday that about 13,000 Guard members are still deployed in D.C., and that their numbers would shrink to 7,000 by the end of this week. John Whitley, the acting secretary of the Army, told a Pentagon news conference that this number is based on requests for assistance from the Capitol Police, the Park Police, the Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department. Whitley said the number is to drop to 5,000 by mid-March. Thousands of Trump’s supporters descended on the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress met to certify Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential race. More than 800 are believed to have made their way into the Capitol during the violent siege, pushing past overwhelmed police officers. The Capitol police said they planned for a free speech protest, not a riot, and were caught off guard despite intelligence suggesting the rally would descend into a riot. Five people died in the melee, including a Capitol police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. At least five people facing federal charges have suggested they believed they were taking orders from Trump when they marched on Capitol Hill to challenge the certification of Biden’s election victory. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. More than 130 people have been charged by federal prosecutors for their roles in the riot. In recent weeks, others have been arrested after posting threats against members of Congress. They include a Proud Boys supporter who authorities said threatened to deploy “three cars full of armed patriots” to Washington, threatened harm against Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and who is accused of stockpiling military-style combat knives and more than 1,000 rifle rounds in his New York home. A Texas man was arrested this week for taking part in the riot at the Capitol and for posting violent threats, including a call to assassinate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y ___ Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
It’s that time of the year again for the Huntsville and Lake of Bays Fire Department: they’re set to host their annual recruitment campaign this February to hire part-time firefighters. The department’s recruitment officer says they’re doing everything they can to bring in and train new members in spite of unique challenges the COVID-19 pandemic poses. Starting Feb. 1 going until Feb. 26, the department plans to go through all applications for the job online, host interviews and begin each member’s required 160 hours of training. “We are taking every measure possible to make sure that everybody that shows up on a regular basis is safe,” said Paul Calleja, the department’s training and suppression officer. “We have, I think, an optical responsibility to the public that we are doing things responsibly.” A communiqué from the Office of the Fire Marshal exempts fire departments from standard social gathering protocols during training, effective Oct. 19. Calleja said their department is trying to adhere as close as possible to the normal guidelines throughout recruitment. This year, instead of an in-person meeting, complete with a tour of the firehall, people will participate in a virtual information session on Jan. 28 and submit applications online. “It is what it is,” he said. In lieu of traditional meeting and networking, Calleja said he’s glad to chat with recruits personally over the phone throughout the campaign. He said he doesn’t have a specific goal for recruitment this year, as the numbers of new recruits fluctuates from 75 to 110 across the years. “We’ll run a recruit class with one person, if that’s all that shows up,” he said. The department is hiring part-time members who work an average of 200 hours a year. “A part-time firefighter is no different than a career firefighter,” he said. Part-timers aren’t stationed at a fire hall: they wear a pager and are called to scenes when there’s an emergency. “We do the same job: suppression, rescue, hazardous materials, public education.” Gary Monaham, the department’s deputy fire chief, said they haven’t seen a consistent increase in calls for service from the fire department since the pandemic began which would require them to recruit more members. “Back in March, when they first announced it, our medical calls dropped dramatically. Nobody wanted to call EMS. By the summer time, medical calls started going high again,” he said. “It’s up and down.” Monaham said calls have dropped “dramatically” in the last three weeks since the lockdown began. Calleja said it can be difficult to recruit people from lower-population communities in Lake of Bays: part-timers are “stationed” in their own communities. “It’s easier to find bodies in Huntsville than it is to find them in Dwight,” he said. With this challenge in mind, Calleja said they look to emphasize the benefits to joining the crew: an hourly wage, a compensation and insurance package, the opportunity to learn new life skills and a foot in the door to a new career in firefighting. Zahraa Hmood is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering the municipalities of Muskoka Lakes, Lake of Bays and Georgian Bay. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Zahraa Hmood, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
“Let Me Tell You What I Mean,” by Joan Didion (Alfred A. Knopf) Back in 1968, Joan Didion identified a problem with the mainstream media. “The only American newspapers that do not leave me in the grip of a profound physical conviction that the oxygen has been cut off from my brain, very probably by an Associated Press wire …,” she begins in an essay that goes on to criticize traditional news outlets, including the wire service carrying this review, for pretending that there is such a thing as neutral, unbiased, objective reporting. That article, “Alicia and the Underground Press,” was a snarky ode to alternative newspapers in the 1960s like the East Village Other and Berkeley Barb that might have been “amateurish and badly written” but at least had the virtue of speaking directly to their readers, and speaking to them as friends. Some 50 years later, in a media landscape dominated by players who present “alternative facts” with a straight face, and consumers who get their news through platforms tailored to their specific interests, Didion’s critique seems more prescient than ever. The essay is one of 12 she wrote between 1968 and 2000 that have been collected in a new volume, “Let Me Tell You What I Mean,” sure to be of interest to Didion completists and fans of such cultural touchstones as “Slouching Toward Bethlehem” and “The Year of Magical Thinking.” Others haven’t aged as well. Another piece from 1968, about Gamblers Anonymous, quotes the people at a meeting in ungrammatical English, speaking “as if from some subverbal swamp.” In “A Trip to Xanadu,” she sneers at tourists at the Hearst Castle in their “slacks and straw hats and hair rollers.” But when she punches up instead of down, the results can be devastating, as in her portrait from the same year of Nancy Reagan, then the wife of the California governor, portrayed as a media-savvy control freak and distant mother to her then 10-year-old son. Similarly, her 2000 profile of Martha Stewart captures what most observers missed at the time — that Martha wasn’t selling homemaking, she was selling success. The best of the bunch have to do with the subject Didion, 86, knows and cares about most — being a writer. In essays like “Why I Write,” whose title she borrowed from George Orwell, “Telling Stories” and “Last Words,” she makes it clear why she has been an essential voice in American arts and letters for more than half a century. Ann Levin, The Associated Press
Structure and rhythm are important for Ayden Rana. The six-year-old is on the autism spectrum and requires a little extra help to complete his studies. When the winter break turned into an extended period away from the classroom, keeping most children and teachers at home, it presented a unique challenge for Ayden and his mother, Karen, who found herself playing the role of teacher, therapist, support worker and parent. “He was very receptive the first two days, I would say, to virtual learning because he got to see the teacher and the educational assistants,” Karen said. But the novelty quickly wore off. Studying became much harder. Learning became even more challenging than usual. Touch and sense are key to Ayden’s educational development, meaning the curiously flat, two-dimensional world of pixels on a screen, fell far short of meeting his needs. “The educational assistant realized his needs for tactile material — he’s not grasping the Chromebook — so she put together a binder with all the activities,” Karen explained. “All the math, English, all the subjects he would do at school, along with his puzzles, his timer [and] his favorite pens [are included].” The binder is carefully prepared by his educational assistant every week and left for Ayden to pick up, offering new material to make the best of a difficult situation. For some other students with special needs, learning at home — even with the extra work and resources — isn’t a possibility. As a result, despite the province-wide shutdown and stay-at-home-order, some are still physically in school. A few teachers are on hand, along with a small army of special education assistants. At the Peel District School Board, they are referred to as educational assistants (EAs) and a large number of the board’s 3,800 EAs are reporting for duty. At Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, where they are known as educational resource workers (ERWs) 40 school sites are open and staffed. A major issue for EAs working at PDSB is a lack of coordination and tracking by the board, Natacha Verdiel, president of OPSEU Local 2100, the union representing EAs at PDSB, explained to The Pointer. Unlike students and teachers who cohort together, EAs do not have to sign into classrooms and are not included in contact tracing efforts when an outbreak is declared. “An EA might cross cohorts 14 times on any given day,” she explained. “They might report to 12 different classrooms to provide support to high needs students. They’re now cross contaminating between students, that’s alarming, and no one knows they’ve been in that classroom.” As a result of their specific profiles, many children with special needs are unable to wear a mask. Some even find staff wearing them to be upsetting and can attempt to physically remove them. Depending on a child’s age, size and unique needs, such behaviour can be challenging. In some instances the desire to create normalcy can even lead to aggressive actions by some students. That’s why some personal protective measures to mitigate the risk of viral spread can’t be used. “Here’s what I don’t think the public understands: the students that are reporting to the physical building right now are students who cannot wear masks,” Verdiel said. “They are all unmasked, all of the students are unmasked. Most of them are extremely behavioral, they are our highest needs students in the system.” Verdiel described one situation where a particular student coughs, spits and sneezes as part of their behavioural profile. “The staff in there are covered in bodily fluids, all day long,” she said, lamenting the lack of effective personal protective equipment and how masks can act “as a target” for some students who attempt to remove them or strike the workers wearing them. For the parents of children with special needs, the role EAs, ERWs and the education system play can be nothing short of a miracle. Staff are able to look after children during the day, calm them and tend to their various behavioural and physical needs. “Some of our workers have phenomenal skills… some of them are outrageously amazing at what they can do,” Pam Bonferro, president of the Dufferin Peel Educational Resource Workers’ Association, told The Pointer. “They’re like pied pipers, they walk into a room and the students calm down.” Karen Rana agrees, describing Ayden’s EA as a rock. “He changed three classes [due to COVID-19 attendence variations], so you can imagine,” she said. “Three classes, three teachers, three sets of students, but with the same assistant. She has been the constant and it’s been very positive for Ayden.” The work of classroom assistants is often born of passion. As a vocation, many pursue the work out of a desire to help care for children and assist with their challenging development. “It’s not that they don't want to support the students that are there,” Verdiel added. “They want the Province to acknowledge that those who are reporting in person are unable to maintain any kind of physical distancing at all. Their job is very, very, very high risk in terms of exposure to bodily fluids.” Highlighting the fact the government is working hard during a crisis, but still missing key supports, Bonferro said ERWs and EAs are being inadvertently positioned in opposition to the very families they support. “What they have technically done is they have pitted the EAs against the parents,” she said. “They are taking the EAs voice away, if an EA speaks up, they’re going to be kind of vilified as the bad guy [in the] situation. So they are way beyond stressed and what’s really tearing them apart is: they have a conscience, they care about the kids they work with.” The Ministry of Education did not provide a response in time for publication. Despite working in the same space as teachers, classroom assistants have unique demands, detailed by the unions who represent them. Where teachers can safely distance from pupils, even in the same classroom, EAs and ERWs are unable to make the space. Their duties include helping students use the bathroom, feeding and, when needed, physically helping them to calm down. “The exposure level that a teacher has when they’re standing in front of a classroom teaching versus the exposure that an EA has when they’re being spat in the face or restraining a student [is significantly different],” Verdiel said. The unions have several specific asks of the Doug Ford government to improve the situation. They include pandemic pay, more robust PPE and rapid access to the vaccine. Under the Province’s current vaccination rollout, teachers and classroom assistants find themselves on the list at the same time. The second phase, which also includes older adults living in the community and several other key worker categories, could run as late as July, which risks some EAs and ERWs not being vaccinated until during the summer break. “The government has taken on the position that EAs are now essential workers; however, they are not being provided with the same level of pay or protection,” Verdiel said. “The NDP has long called for pandemic pay for all frontline workers, and believes educators should be included among the groups prioritized to get their vaccine,” NDP Education Critic Maritt Stiles told The Pointer. “Special education assistants, who are now working in classrooms with vulnerable people, should be vaccinated as soon as possible, when the vaccine becomes available.” PDSB provided a statement offering extensive instructions to EAs around wearing PPE. It did not address questions around contact tracing and EAs working in multiple classrooms. “Since returning from the winter break, all students and staff, including EAs, who have returned to in-person learning and working are required to follow the Active Daily Screening process,” a spokesperson told The Pointer. At DPCDSB, contact tracing does not appear to be an issue and ERWs are carefully monitored. “School principals maintain a record of any ERWs that are working in the school and should a positive COVID case be reported, any staff and students that worked with, or could be considered to be a close contact, would be identified for contact tracing,” Bruce Campbell, general manager of communications and community relations for the board, told The Pointer. As most schools remain closed and the majority of children learn at home, EAs and ERWs continue to show up for work feeling increasingly isolated and vulnerable. “Everybody is sympathetic, everybody understands,” Verdiel said. “Nobody is willing to do anything.” Email: email@example.com Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska held the enviable position of having the highest rate of coronavirus vaccinations per capita in the nation as of last week, the state's top health official said. Alaska Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink said last Thursday that the progress was the result of community efforts to quickly distribute vaccinations and additional allotments for federal agencies within the state, KTOO-FM reported. Zink told the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce that Alaska receives more doses of vaccine because of allowances above the state’s share for the Department of Defence, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Indian Health Service. “We have the highest veterans per capita population. We have a large military presence. And we have a large Indigenous population with over 229 sovereign tribes,” Zink said. “And so, because of those reasons, we did get some additional vaccine in the state via those federal partnerships.” The allotment for the Indian Health Service, which works with tribal entities to deliver health care to Alaska Native residents, could have been subtracted from the state’s share of the federal supply, but ultimately was allowed to be added, Zink said. “That’s been transformational for Alaska, that decision for Operation Warp Speed,” Zink said of the Trump administration's name for the national vaccine distribution initiative. More than 14,000 people had received both required doses of a vaccine cycle as of last Thursday, while more than 67,000 people had received at least one of the shots in the series. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The Associated Press
The U.S. House of Representatives delivered to the Senate on Monday a charge that former President Donald Trump incited insurrection in a speech to supporters before the deadly attack on the Capitol, setting in motion his second impeachment trial. Nine House Democrats who will serve as prosecutors in Trump's trial, accompanied by the clerk of the House and the acting sergeant at arms, carried the charge against Trump to the Senate in a solemn procession across the Capitol. Wearing masks to protect against COVID-19, they filed through the ornate Capitol Rotunda and into the Senate chamber, following the path that a mob of Trump supporters took on Jan. 6 as they clashed with police.
Welcome to this review of the new Canon 70-200mm f vs. the 4L IS II USM vs the Canon 70-200mm f vs. the 2.8L IS II USM lens, tested on the 5D Mark IV and 80D. Enjoy! +++ PROS +++ 1. Great build quality 2. Great sharpness 3. Inbuild image stabilizer 4. Can be used on all Canon DSLR`s since 1985 5. Dust and moisture protection +++ CONTRAS +++ 1. No tripod mount on the f4 version included 2. Weight of the f/2.8 version 3. f/4 version clacks
NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — A 38-year-old man has been charged in connection with the sexual abuse of a girl under the age of 16 in Niagara Region.Police say they launched the investigation last July and made the arrest on Friday.The suspect, a man from Niagara Falls, Ont., is charged with one count each of sexual assault and sexual interference.He's being held in custody and expected to appear in court at a later date.Police are asking anyone with information to come forward. The Canadian Press
Sylvia Sassie liked to listen to CBC Radio One in her kitchen, her bedroom or her car. She tuned in to the N.W.T. morning show, The Trailbreaker, and to Dehcho Dene, CBC's daily South Slavey language program. That all came to a halt about a year ago. "I didn't know what had happened," she said. "I thought maybe it just went digital?" Sassie, who lives in Fort Liard, N.W.T., called the CBC in Yellowknife and began exchanging emails with technical staff about how to diagnose the problem. "I guess it's the wiring or something that's disconnected here," she said. "I was supposed to take pictures [of the radio equipment] but I can't because there's too much snow." Fort Liard is now in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak. Six people in the hamlet of 500 have tested positive and the community was put under a 14-day containment order (that is, people were advised not to travel) starting Jan. 16. The community has two other radio stations: CKLB 101.9, run by Native Communications Society of the NWT; and 95.1, which was recently established as a Christian radio service. "I prefer personally to listen to CBC North because they talk about all kinds of things," Sassie said. "What I would really like about this channel is listening to the information on the COVID." Not 'CBC-owned' "Unfortunately," said Philippe Aubé, "since this is not CBC-owned infrastructure we are ... limited in the way we can support these issues." Aubé is the CBC's senior director of transmission operations in Montreal. His department looks after about 750 transmitters across the country. He also looks after CBC-owned satellite receivers in about 70 small, mostly northern locations known as "community-owned rebroadcasters" or CORBs — including Fort Liard. As Aubé explains it, decades ago, a program was launched to help small communities take control of transmitters, antennas and radio towers installed for radio. CBC maintained control of the satellite receivers bringing in the signal, but the community — which could be a communications society or the hamlet — took ownership of the transmitter that relays that signal into the community and any other hardware. 'Community-owned rebroadcasters' Several people interviewed for this article said that at one point, the N.W.T. government played a role in funding the CORBs. In an email, a spokesperson for the department of Municipal and Community Affairs said the department does not specifically fund community-based radio, though local budgets could be used for the purpose. The same spokesperson said "most community-based radio societies are established as societies separate from the community government." The Fort Liard Communication Society, established in 1979, dissolved in 2002, according to the N.W.T. Legal Registry. It's slightly different in the Yukon. "The Department of Highways and Public Works maintains community radio sites in some Yukon communities where there would otherwise be no radio broadcast service," spokesperson Brittany Cross said in an email. That includes five sites where they "maintain the equipment and radio licensing for the CBC FM transmitters ... as well as covering the costs of building maintenance and electricity." They also make room for other Yukon radio broadcasters' equipment. "These sites are generally low maintenance, but ongoing support ... is provided through a combination of in-house staff, contractors and contributions from the other radio tenants," Cross said. 'For them, it's a CBC service' But few people know how exactly their radio gets into their houses, workplaces or vehicles. "That's where it gets a bit sketchy sometimes," said the CBC's Aubé, "when one of those communities loses their signal and people start sending emails or chat on Facebook, saying, 'Hey our transmitter's off.' Because for them, it's a CBC service." "We try to help them over the phone as much as we can, but that's pretty much where it stops." Aubé said Friday that he still hasn't confirmed what's going on in Fort Liard, though he's asked staff to follow up. "It appears it is not related to our satellite receiver," he said. 'You can always Google stuff' Chief Wilbert Kochon of Colville Lake, N.W.T., has experienced some of that technical assistance over the phone. When the community's transmitter gave out a few weeks ago, Kochon volunteered to sort it out. "I talked to your technician who helped me on the phone," Kochon said. They discovered the heat had gone out in the old band office where the transmitter is. Kochon put a portable heater on in the building and in the morning, it started working again. Kochon says repairs like these are something he does for the elders. "CKLB, they always call me too," Kochon said. "You can always Google stuff and then figure it out really fast." Even better, he laughed, would be if the community could hire its own technician and get some training from the CBC. A costly 'conundrum' That's exactly what Bert Cervo would like to see. Cervo retired from the CBC in 2015 and lives in Whitehorse. He started as a remote area transmitter technician (RATT for short) in the 1980s and has visited nearly every small community in the North. He sees the situation in Fort Liard as part of a bigger problem. He's been contacted by people in several communities where CBC radio is down, "in some locations for two years," asking whether he can help get the signal back. The cost to fly in and do so, however, is simply too high, as is the cost of moving equipment or worse, buying new gear. All of which is made worse by the pandemic, which has severely restricted northern travel. "This is a conundrum that we've all been looking at for quite a while," Cervo said. He'd like to see the CBC take over the care and maintenance of the sites, or at least reimburse whoever goes there. He'd also like to see local people trained and paid to handle technical problems. "It's just not a cheap enterprise," Cervo said. Especially if older equipment needs to be replaced. "There is nothing that costs less than $1,000 or $2,000. Nothing. Then comes travel and everything else."
La Corporation du Moulin des pionniers a obtenu un financement de 450 000 dollars de Développement économique Canada. Ce montant permettra à l’organisation de construire de multiples infrastructures familiales, dont des jeux d’eau, une glissade et un parcours d’hébertisme, et ce, dès cet été. « C’est toute qu’une bonne nouvelle », s’est réjoui le maire de La Doré, Yanick Baillargeon, qui est également le président-directeur général de la Corporation du Moulin des pionniers. Ce dernier avait bien hâte d’annoncer la nouvelle à toute la population, car DEC Canada avait informé la municipalité le 24 décembre, offrant un des plus beaux cadeaux de Noël pour le maire de la municipalité qui compte un peu plus de 1300 âmes. « Ce n’est que la première phase de notre plan de développement », ajoute fièrement le maire. Avec l’aide de 450 000 dollars de DEC Canada, le Moulin des pionniers investira également 150 000 $ dans le projet initial de 600 000 $. La construction du parc familial commencera dès que le sol sera dégelé. On y retrouvera notamment des jeux d’eau, une glissade et un parcours d’hébertisme, lesquels viennent s’ajouter à l’offre actuelle. Le choix des fournisseurs et des modèles de structures n’est pas encore fait, poursuit le premier magistrat, mais le concept sera relié au thème du site historique, soit la forêt et le bois. Vers un camping en 2022 Ce projet permettra d’enclencher la phase 2 du projet, dès 2022, espère Yanick Baillargeon. « Selon le concept initial, on prévoit développer un camping de 139 emplacements », dit-il, avant d’ajouter que les plans sont toujours à l’étude. Cette phase de développement devrait nécessiter un investissement supplémentaire de 900 000 dollars, qui est toutefois plus facile à financer étant donné que des revenus se rattachent au projet. Les astres semblent désormais alignés pour un développement majeur, estime le maire. La piste cyclable entre Saint-Félicien et La Doré sera terminée cette année. Un sentier de quad entre La Doré et le Relais 22, sur le territoire de La Tuque, devrait se concrétiser sous peu. Un sentier de vélo de montagne a été développé jusqu’à la montagne à Ouellet et elle se rendra bientôt jusqu’au Tobo-ski. Ajoutez à cela les sentiers de ski de fond, de raquettes, les nombreux sentiers de motoneige, ainsi que le charme de la rivière. « C’est un site merveilleux qui gagne à être connu », remarque Yanick Baillargeon. Plusieurs maisons anciennes sur le site, qui sont en train d’être rénovées, seront disponibles pour la location dès l’été prochain. « C’est un premier pas pour développer l’hébergement sur le site, avant d’implanter le camping », conclut ce dernier.Guillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Canada's unemployment rate in December was revised to 8.8% from 8.6% on Monday, while the net decline in jobs for the month was amended to 52,700 from 62,600, as Statistics Canada completed a historic review of its labor force data. The revision, undertaken to ensure the data was aligned with recent population and geographical boundary estimates, had "virtually no effect" on employment estimates for the pandemic period of March to December 2020, the agency said.
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday brought an end to lawsuits over whether Donald Trump illegally profited off his presidency. The justices threw out Trump’s challenge to lower court rulings that had allowed lawsuits to go forward alleging that he violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause by accepting payments from foreign and domestic officials who stay at the Trump International Hotel. The high court also ordered the lower court rulings thrown out as well and directed appeals courts in New York and Richmond, Virginia, to dismiss the suits as moot now that Trump is no longer in office. The Associated Press
Returning to work after layoffs in the first wave of the pandemic was daunting for Brampton resident Nathan Aitken. Between managing his asthma and fibromyalgia, and having just welcomed a newborn at home, COVID-19 was a significant risk due to his serious underlying conditions. As a welder, Aitken said there was some peace of mind in knowing his mechanic-grade respirator and uniform provided an added layer of protection at the Milton auto-industry plant where he works. “I'm just very diligent about…how I do my job, cleaning and everything else, but it’s definitely something I worry about all day,” Aitken said. In the building, floor markings indicate the pathways for workers to follow to promote safe distancing, and staff are also asked to sanitize their stations every four hours. Despite the protocols, Aitken said he’s concerned about the diligence of individual workers, especially those like him with no paid sick days. “I've never gotten that. If I call in sick, I don’t get paid,” he said. Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, has joined the Opposition NDP, labour unions and other increasingly frustrated voices across the province calling for paid sick days. She characterized them as “essential” protection during the pandemic in a report two weeks ago and called for the ruling PCs under Premier Doug Ford to legislate five permanent paid sick days, and 10 during a pandemic like the one causing the current public health crisis. Ford continues to ignore the pleas, claiming there’s “no reason” for sick days. He has said the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit program, and its $500 weekly payout (with a maximum of two weeks) to sick workers is enough for Ontario’s frontline employees. He has repeatedly said he would do anything to support these heroic residents who have kept the province running throughout the pandemic. From the early second-wave public health restrictions to the current stay-at-home order, little has changed for essential workers who continue to show up on the frontline, said Tim Deelstra, a spokesperson for the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Locals 175 and 633, which represent about 70,000 members in the province. Data included in the 2016 Census provide a picture of Peel’s labour force that shows why the region has been particularly hard-hit by viral spread among the essential work force. The sector that employs more Peel residents than any other is manufacturing, including jobs that are deemed essential to keep supply chains running and the flow of needed products uninterrupted. Some 90,000 Peel residents worked in the sector, according to the Census figures. Other job categories that also include large numbers of essential workers are also heavily represented in the region’s labour force: There were 69,920 resident working in transportation and warehousing; 59,270 in healthcare and social assistance; 44,755 in construction; and 42,205 in accommodation and food services. Labour unions like UFCW have been calling on the government to implement more robust protections to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus at essential workplaces, including paid sick days as part of the Employment Standards Act and priority vaccine access for those workers most at risk. For many who may be experiencing minor symptoms, the risk of losing pay or even their job, is enough to keep them going to work, potentially putting their colleagues at risk. “Even before the pandemic, we were very critical of the Ford government, that one of the first things they did upon getting elected was removing the two paid sick days” from the Act, Deelstra said. He points to former Progressive Conservative party leaders, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, as being vocal supporters for sick leave. “They’re now seeing the need for their constituents,” he said. Mayor Brown is spearheading a campaign and motion – endorsed by Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie – at the Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario and GTHA Mayors group to advocate for higher levels of government to support better sick-day policies. He told Brampton city council on Wednesday the provincial and federal governments would be discussing the issue in a conference call this week. “I hope that there's going to be a mechanism that can be found to bring this to the table,” he said. Some of Peel’s largest employers include Maple Lodge Farms, Fiat Chrysler, and PepsiCo Foods Canada, as well as airport-related warehouses and businesses, including airline food catering company Gate Gourmet Group Inc., in Mississauga. In April, Maple Lodge Farms suspended operations at its Brampton poultry plant after three cases of the novel coronavirus were identified in the facility. At that time, there were about 2,864 confirmed and probable cases of infected residents throughout the Region, with about one-fifth of them in long-term care homes. Now, there have been almost 53,000 confirmed and probable cases in Peel since the start of the pandemic, along with 204 outbreaks, according to the Region’s January 22 epidemiological summary and its most recent data. In the 14 days up to January 21, 232 cases were reported as being linked to a workplace outbreak. The region’s test positivity rate fell to 11.9 percent for the week that ended January 16, down from 13.8 percent the previous week. Anything above 2.5 percent in a jurisdiction suggests viral spread is not under control. Peel’s weekly incidence rate, which has consistently been the highest of all Ontario regions since early in the pandemic, decreased slightly to 247 positive cases per 100,000 residents for the week that ended January 16, compared to 262 the previous week. Once the current emergency order is lifted, to be moved down through the grey-lockdown and red-control categories and into the Province’s orange-restrict category, under Ontario’s COVID-19 reopening framework, a region’s incidence rate has to be below 40 cases per 100,000 residents. Of the federal government’s $19-billion Safe Restart Agreement, about $1.1 billion is dedicated for helping workers through the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit. It has been criticized by some advocates who say that narrow eligibility criteria, including the requirement of an at least 50 percent reduction in income in the prescribed period, while only $500 per week is offered for a maximum of two weeks, leaves many without proper support. “Paid sick days are necessary. Continuing to lob things off to the federal government is not acceptable. We need people to know that they can immediately take time off, make the right decision, and not have to worry that their next pay packet is going to be short,” Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said at a media conference Tuesday. She urged the premier to call Ontario MPPs back to the legislature to advance a private member’s bill introduced last month by Peggy Sattler, opposition critic for employment standards. Following the current winter break, Queen’s Park is set to resume business in mid-February. Among proposed amendments to the Employment Standards Act in Bill 239 (the Stay Home If You Are Sick Act) the NDP are tabling the requirement of 14 paid sick days instead of “unpaid leave in situations related to declared emergencies and infectious disease emergencies.” In Brampton, in addition to the risks facing essential workers in the City’s prominent manufacturing, transportation and food processing sectors, non-unionized workers face even more precarious conditions. “They should be confident enough that if I'm feeling any symptoms, right away, I go [get] tested, and I sit at home…I don't have to worry about three or four days that I lose or how I eat, or how I will pay my bills. That should not be the thing to worry right now,” said Gurbaaz Sra, a community advocate and team member of Humans in Brampton, a social media campaign calling attention to the plight of essential workers. Sra, a mechanical engineer, has heard dozens of stories from members of the South Asian-Canadian community in Brampton who also fear professional reprisal for speaking out, and share their experiences anonymously with Humans in Brampton via their Instagram and Twitter. Despite the reach of social media, Sra said digital literacy among new immigrants remains a barrier for accessing updates about the local COVID-19 picture and public health guidance. “The information is changing rapidly…so that needs to be understood,” he said. “To capture that, they need to make sure that the messaging reaches everyone.” Language barriers can also affect workers who are trying to advocate with their employer for further protections. “In certain cases…they are not really able to express their demands fully because a lot of workers in the warehousing industry are new immigrants to this country,” said Gagandeep Kaur, a postal worker and an organizer at the Brampton-based Warehouse Workers Centre for Peel. Social distancing concerns within warehouses is another common concern, said Kaur, who has worked in warehouses for the last 12 years and with the Centre when it launched last January. “Employers are not doing enough to protect the workers, we know with this new variant of COVID-19 that spreads like crazy…people are scared,” she said. In Mississauga, a recent outbreak at the International Mail Processing Centre, also known as the Gateway Postal Facility located at Eglinton Avenue and Dixie Road, resulted in a total 182 postal employees testing positive for the novel coronavirus as of January 1, Canada Post confirmed in a statement to The Pointer. Rapid tests were used on-site to identify new cases. Responding to The Pointer at a Mississauga press conference on Wednesday, Peel’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, explained how rapid tests have been deployed in the community but did not detail where, specifically, this has been done. “The idea would be to try to deploy things in a bit of a concentric circle, around the cases and clusters that have been initially identified,” he said. For Nathan Aitken, the option of on-site rapid testing at his auto-sector plant, complemented by an app-based pre-screening protocol to pass through the security checkpoint, and frequent temperature checks, are “good standards and practises to keep things safe, and keep people safe,” he said. While the advocacy around paid sick days continues in Peel, Aitken is facing work precarity on another front, in his role as a hip-hop and R&B emcee and producer under the moniker TempoMental. He previously toured Ontario and did a small project in Japan right before the pandemic, relying on show and merchandise revenue to fund his art. He is holding back his latest music to release it when touring will be possible, but did one show when some venues could reopen, between the first and second waves. Aitken appeared behind a large plastic screen, with a barricade between the stage and audience, with masks mandatory inside the venue, likening the show to a jazz club experience. “I’m a hip-hop dude so everybody usually crowds the stage and jumps around, and we really can’t do that now,” he said. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @LaVjosa COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Vjosa Isai, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
Le professeur en Techniques de comptabilité et de gestion du Cégep de Chicoutimi Benoît Rochefort compte sur un nouvel outil pour intéresser ses étudiants au contenu de ses cours et à l’actualité: le balado appelé Benlala. Il compte en quelques mois environ 5000 écoutes pour l’ensemble de ses émissions produites. Benoît Rochefort est depuis près de 10 ans professeur en comptabilité et gestion au Cégep de Chicoutimi. Il a longtemps travaillé dans le domaine du marketing, ce qui l’a mené vers l’enseignement. Au cours de l’été, il a longuement réfléchi à l’enseignement à distance et cherchait un moyen de rejoindre différemment les étudiants. C’est à ce moment qu’il a imaginé la création d’un balado. Son podcast a été lancé le 20 août dernier, sur une foule de plateformes. Puisqu’il avait déjà du matériel à la maison et que le Cégep lui donnait accès à certains logiciels, celui qui est également chroniqueur pour certaines radios a pu rapidement monter un produit de qualité. Dans son balado, il aborde plusieurs sujets qui touchent son contenu enseigné et l’actualité régionale. « Je prends l’actualité comme trame de fond pour parler de la théorie. Je fais référence à ce qu’on apprend, pour amener les étudiants à bien réfléchir. Je veux fournir aux étudiants des outils pour être capable d’interpréter de façon intéressante ce qui se passe, en lien avec ce qui est enseigné », raconte M. Rochefort, dans un entretien par visioconférence avec Le Quotidien. Pour lui, son balado ne doit pas être une charge de travail lourde pour les étudiants, mais une façon différente d’apprendre tout en s’intéressant à l’actualité régionale. Il souhaite avec son initiative encourager la persévérance scolaire. Les épisodes sont de courte durée, d’une dizaine à trentaine de minutes. Les jeunes peuvent facilement l’écouter, n’importe où et n’importe quand. « J’espère qu’avec cet outil-là, en complément avec ce que j’enseigne, que ça puisse contribuer à ce que les jeunes aient du plaisir et à diversifier les plateformes de communication qu’on utilise pour enseigner. Je pense que ça peut les aider à rester motivés », souligne-t-il. Hors série Des épisodes hors série ont également été enregistrés en collaboration avec l’ancien animateur radio Sylvain Carbonneau. Le duo a reçu une foule d’invités spéciaux pour ces épisodes, dont la ministre Andrée Laforest, l’avocat Charles Cantin, le directeur général de la fromagerie Boivin Luc Boivin, l’homme d’affaires Robert Hakim, et bien d’autres. Certains de ses épisodes seront obligatoires pour les élèves de certains cours lors de la session d’hiver, tant leur contenu touche directement la matière qui sera enseignée en classe. Le hors série a amené de la crédibilité à l’émission et a fait exploser le nombre d’écoutes. « Le hors série a vraiment été un succès, qui a permis de propulser la saison 1 à un public plus large », continue M. Rochefort. L’homme compte aujourd’hui près de 5000 écoutes pour tout son contenu produit, ce qui le rend particulièrement fier. C’est au-delà de ses objectifs, pour lui qui n’a jamais vraiment fait de publicité. L’homme est comblée de voir que ce ne sont pas seulement ses étudiants qui sont intéressés par ce qu’il produit. La saison deux La deuxième saison commencera très bientôt. Toutes les semaines, un nouvel épisode sera publié. Déjà, le professeur a plusieurs idées par rapport au contenu. Il touchera les concepts de gestion de projets, commerce international, mais aussi la publicité, entre autres avec un épisode en lien le Super Bowl. Il pense aussi consacrer un épisode sur la fiscalité étudiante avec sa collègue du Cégep de Chicoutimi, Marie-Ève Tremblay, et sur les finances personnelles avec son collaborateur Sylvain Carbonneau, qui est courtier hypothécaire. M. Rochefort espère également trouver des invités jeunesse, qui pourront se servir du balado pour parler directement aux jeunes. Les intéressés sont invités à suivre la page Facebook du projet Benlala balado, ainsi que visiter le site Internet benlala.ca, pour tout savoir sur le projet.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
BERLIN — Austrian authorities stopped a man at Vienna airport as he tried to smuggle 74 protected chameleons from Africa into the country. They said in a statement Friday that a 56-year-old man, who was not further identified, had hidden the animals in socks and empty ice-cream boxes when he was caught at customs control in Vienna. He had travelled to Austria from Tanzania via Ethiopia. The chameleons were taken to the Austrian capital's Schoenbrunn Zoo, which said that three of the animals did not survive. All the animals were from the Usambara Mountains in Tanzania and ranged in age from 1 week old to adult animals. On the black market they would sell for for about 37,000 euros ($44,9700), officials said. The man who smuggled the animals into Austria has to pay a fine of up to 6,000 euros, the Austrian finance ministry said in a statement. The Associated Press
Environment Canada has lifted the last of its remaining weather warnings for B.C.'s South Coast, as the weather system that was expected to dump heavy snow faded away. A final snowfall warning for Metro Vancouver was lifted just before 8:30 a.m. on Monday. Weather alerts were in effect for much of the South Coast over the weekend, but many residents expecting a dump of snow woke up to rain on Sunday instead. The snow that did fall was not as heavy as expected in areas like the Fraser Valley, though the central and northern areas of Vancouver Island saw a healthy amount of snow. Shelter available Despite the lack of snow, temperatures are still cold. The City of Vancouver has opened additional indoor shelter spaces until Jan. 27 for people experiencing homelessness. The Powell Street Getaway, at 528 Powell St., from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. The Vancouver Aquatic Centre, at 1050 Beach Ave., from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. The Creekside Community Centre, at 1 Athletes Way., from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. The Odd Fellows Hall, at 1443 West 8th Ave., from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. First Avenue Shelter at 1648 East 1st Ave., from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. The Gathering Place, 609 Helmcken St., from 8:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. The city said these centres will allow people who have pets and carts, and hot drinks and snacks will be provided. All sites have reduced their capacity to meet the province's COVID-19 physical distancing requirements. In Abbotsford, B.C., people can warm up at the Gateway Christian Reformed Church on Gladys Avenue, which is open from 7:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. whenever the weather dips below freezing or there is snow on the ground. Jesse Weygand, an extreme weather shelter coordinator in Abbotsford, said all shelter guests are screened for COVID-19. "We've been resourced to isolate people who are exhibiting symptoms, who are then brought often to hotel rooms as they await their test results," said Weygand, speaking Monday on CBC's The Early Edition. In Surrey, B.C., seasonal shelters are open at Pacific Community Church at 5377 180th Street and Peace Portal Church at 15128 27B Ave. Tap here, or dial 211, to find a shelter location in Metro Vancouver.
The Township of Perry passed three beginning-of-the-year finance bylaws at the Jan. 20 council meeting. The province of Ontario requires that municipalities pass bylaws at the beginning of each year to allow for borrowing to cover expenditures, authorizing the interim tax levy and setting tax reduction rates for specific property tax classes. So, What Is an Interim Tax Levy? The interim tax levy allows the treasurer to issue temporary tax notices and set due dates, interest and penalty amounts for the new year. According to a report to council, this allows the municipality to maintain a positive cash flow and reduce the need for borrowing funds to cover operational expenses. How Does That Affect You? This year an interim tax payment in the amount of 50 per cent of the total amount of taxes for municipal and school purposes levied on the property shall be levied on all property classes. The tax levy is payable in two instalments on Feb. 25, 2021, and April 25, 2021. What Does the ‘Borrowing Bylaw’ Mean? The borrowing bylaw allows the municipality to temporarily borrow funds to cover operating expenses when necessary. The maximum amount of money allowed to be borrowed, according to the bylaw, is $500,000. The bylaw also includes a clause saying that, to access funds, a resolution must be passed by the council stating the facility and the amount to be borrowed. What Is a Tax Reduction Bylaw? The tax reduction bylaw sets out reductions on vacant and excess commercial and industrial property tax rates as well as rate reductions for first-class farmland in all property classes. These rate reductions are set out by the province of Ontario. What Do the Provincial Tax Reduction Rates Look Like This Year? The tax rate reductions for 2021 are: · The vacant land and excess land in the commercial property class is 30 per cent. · The vacant land and excess land in the industrial property class is 35 per cent. · First class of farmland awaiting development in residential/farm, multi-residential, commercial or industrial class is 75 per cent while the second class of farmland waiting development is zero per cent. Commercial property class includes all commercial offices, shopping centres and parking lot properties. Industrial property class includes all large industrial properties and first/second class of farmland awaiting development consist of land defined in accordance with provincial regulations. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Chinese state media have stoked concerns about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, despite rigorous trials indicating it is safe. A government spokesperson has raised the unsubstantiated theory that the coronavirus could have emerged from a U.S. military lab, giving it more credence in China. As the ruling Communist Party faces growing questioning about China's vaccines and renewed criticism of its early COVID-19 response, it is hitting back by encouraging conspiracy theories that some experts say could cause harm. State media and officials are sowing doubts about Western vaccines and the origin of the coronavirus in an apparent bid to deflect the attacks. Both issues are in the spotlight because of the rollout of vaccines globally and the recent arrival of a World Health Organization team in Wuhan, China, to investigate the origins of the virus. Some of these conspiracy theories find a receptive audience at home. The social media hashtag “American’s Ft. Detrick,” started by the Communist Youth League, was viewed at least 1.4 billion times last week after a Foreign Ministry spokesperson called for a WHO investigation of the biological weapons lab in Maryland. “It’s purpose is to shift the blame from mishandling by (the) Chinese government in the pandemic’s early days to conspiracy by the U.S.,” said Fang Shimin, a now-U.S.-based writer known for exposing faked degrees and other fraud in Chinese science. “The tactic is quite successful because of widespread anti-American sentiment in China.” Yuan Zeng, an expert on Chinese media at the University of Leeds in Great Britain, said the government’s stories spread so widely that even well-educated Chinese friends have asked her whether they might be true. Inflaming doubts and spreading conspiracy theories might add to public health risks as governments try to dispel unease about vaccines, she said, saying, “That is super, super dangerous.” In the latest volley, state media called for an investigation into the deaths of 23 elderly people in Norway after they received the Pfizer vaccine. An anchor at CGTN, the English-language station of state broadcaster CCTV, and the Global Times newspaper accused Western media of ignoring the news. Health experts say deaths unrelated to the vaccine are possible during mass vaccination campaigns, and a WHO panel has concluded that the vaccine did not play a “contributory role” in the Norway deaths. The state media coverage followed a report by researchers in Brazil who found the effectiveness of a Chinese vaccine lower than previously announced. Researchers initially said Sinovac’s vaccine is 78% effective, but the scientists revised that to 50.4% after including mildly symptomatic cases. After the Brazil news, researchers at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a government-supported think-tank , reported seeing an increase in Chinese media disinformation about vaccines. Dozens of online articles on popular health and science blogs and elsewhere have explored questions about the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine at length, drawing on an op-ed published this month in the British Medical Journal that raised questions about its clinical trial data. “It’s very embarrassing” for the government, Fang said in an email. As a result, China is trying to raise doubts about the Pfizer vaccine to save face and promote its vaccines, he said. Senior Chinese government officials have not been shy in voicing concerns about the mRNA vaccines developed by Western drug companies. They use a newer technology than the more traditional approach of the Chinese vaccines currently in use. In December, the director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, said he can’t rule out negative side effects from the mRNA vaccines. Noting this is the first time they are being given to healthy people, he said, “there are safety concerns.” The Pfizer mRNA vaccine and another one developed by Moderna have passed both animal and human trials in which they were tested on more than 70,000 people. The arrival of the WHO mission has brought back persistent criticism that China allowed the virus to spread globally by reacting too slowly in the beginning, even reprimanding doctors who tried to warn the public. The visiting researchers will begin field work this week after being released from a 14-day quarantine. The Communist Party sees the WHO investigation as a political risk because it focuses attention on China’s response, said Jacob Wallis, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The party wants to “distract domestic and international audiences by pre-emptively distorting the narrative on where responsibility lies for the emergence of COVID-19,” Wallis said. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying got the ball rolling last week by reviving earlier Chinese calls for a WHO investigation of the U.S. military lab. State media have referenced past scandals at the lab, but China has given no reliable evidence to support the coronavirus theory. “If America respects the truth, then please open up Ft. Detrick and make public more information about the 200 or more bio-labs outside of the U.S., and please allow the WHO expert group to go to the U.S. to investigate the origins,” Hua said. Her comments, publicized by state media, became one of the most popular topics on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. China isn’t the only government to point fingers. Former U.S. President Donald Trump, trying to deflect blame for his government’s handling of the pandemic, said last year he had seen evidence the virus came from a Wuhan laboratory. While that theory has not been definitively ruled out, many experts think it is unlikely. Huizhong Wu, The Associated Press
BERLIN — It’s back to the future for Hertha Berlin, a club tormented by its own ambition as it fails to deliver after huge investments and finds itself overshadowed by crosstown rival Union Berlin. The club re-hired former coach Pál Dárdai on Monday to shake up the team after yet another lacklustre start to the season. Dárdai replaces Bruno Labbadia, who was fired the day before. “Pál has Hertha Berlin in his blood and we are absolutely convinced that his clear manner will give the team the necessary new impetus,” Hertha chief executive Carsten Schmidt said. Hertha is 14th in the 18-team Bundesliga, two points above the relegation zone after winning only one of its last eight games, over last-place Schalke. Dárdai's return was made possible following the dismissal Sunday of general manager Michael Preetz, who opted not to keep him on as coach at the end of the 2018-19 season. Dárdai had been in charge since February 2015 and his team was solid but unspectacular. Hertha needs stability at this stage. “As a die-hard Herthaner, he knows everyone here and doesn’t need any time to settle in,” Schmidt said of Dárdai. It is just under a year since investor Lars Windhorst said Hertha should be mixing with the best in Germany and qualifying for European competition. “It’s not rocket science,” Windhorst said in February 2020. But Hertha has only disappointed since Windhorst first invested in the club in June 2019. The financier has pledged 374 million euros ($450 million) to Hertha altogether. He is yet to see any sign that his money is well spent. Underwhelming performances on the pitch have been accompanied by turmoil off it. There have been major boardroom changes and Hertha worked its way through four coaches last season – Ante Covic, Jürgen Klinsmann, Alexander Nouri and Labbadia. Labbadia came in while the Bundesliga was suspended due to the coronavirus, and was fired after nine months in charge on Sunday. Hertha lost four of its last five games last season, and four of its first five this time around. Hertha captain Niklas Stark, asked Saturday if the team was still behind the coach, would only say that it was not his decision to make. The firing of Preetz, who hired 11 coaches altogether, ended his 25-year association with the club that began when he was a player in 1996. Preetz is taking most of the blame for Hertha’s problems. Hertha fans called for his resignation in a socially distanced protest outside the Olympiastadion before Bremen’s visit on Saturday. They also protested against Hertha president Werner Gegenbauer, who remains at the club. Preetz oversaw a spending spree of well over 100 million euros ($121 million) since Windhorst arrived. Only Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have spent more. Preetz jettisoned experienced players like Vedad Ibisevic, Per Skjelbred, Salomon Kalou and Thomas Kraft in a shake up of the squad, but none of the new arrivals have been able to impress so far. Hertha’s struggles have been amplified by Union’s success with much less means. Union was expected to struggle in its second season in the Bundesliga, but it is currently eighth after earning points against Bayern, Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg, among others. Hertha has already adjusted its targets for the season. “Whenever you think you’re better than the others, you’re already a point behind,” Schmidt said. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press
La Banque de développement du Canada (BDC) s’attend à une meilleure performance économique au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean en 2021 que la moyenne québécoise, grâce à la reprise rapide de ses secteurs économiques clés et de l’emploi. Dans la région comme ailleurs dans la province, 2021 sera une année de relance et de croissance, après la contraction de 2020 imposée par la crise sanitaire de la COVID-19, estime Pierre Cléroux, économiste en chef de la BDC. Il aborde la prochaine année avec optimisme pour l’économie régionale, en soulignant la forte demande actuellement pour le bois d’oeuvre et l’aluminium, qui a des impacts sur la hausse des prix et des exportations. «Cela a un impact positif sur la production, et ces deux secteurs-là sont ceux qui vont avoir un impact positif sur la région», a souligné M. Cléroux, en entrevue avec Le Quotidien. Il cite également la relève du secteur manufacturier en général parmi les secteurs qui «performent bien» actuellement. L’économiste s’attend ainsi à une relance plus rapide que celle anticipée par Desjardins, qui estimait en septembre que le Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean connaîtrait l’une des reprises les plus lentes et difficiles de la province en 2021. Dans la région comme ailleurs, toutefois, il faut s’attendre à une reprise à deux vitesses, alors que certains secteurs demeurent durement touchés par la crise et les impacts du deuxième confinement. Les pertes d’emploi sont encore importantes dans la restauration, l’hôtellerie, le tourisme et dans les arts et spectacles. Des régions comme Montréal demeureront par exemple plus affectées sur ce plan, en raison de l’importance de ces secteurs pour leur économie, précise Pierre Cléroux. L’économiste demeure confiant de voir un rebond rapide des investissements et de la consommation dans ces secteurs lorsque la vaccination permettra de lever ou de réduire les mesures sanitaires. «Ce qu’on a appris en 2020, c’est que lorsqu’on enlève les restrictions sur un secteur, ce secteur-là revient rapidement», indique-t-il. Plusieurs consommateurs seront prêts à dépenser après avoir diminué leurs dépenses en voyages, activités et loisirs en 2020, croit-il, alors que l’épargne des Canadiens s’est élevée à 200 G$ en 2020. Rétablissement de l'emploi La reprise observée dans les secteurs manufacturier, de l’aluminium et de la forêt a contribué au rétablissement du marché du travail régional à l’automne, souligne en outre Pierre Cléroux. En octobre, l’emploi avait retrouvé son niveau d’avant la crise, le dépassant même légèrement, alors que 19 000 emplois avaient été perdus au printemps. «Ce n’est pas le cas dans l’ensemble du Québec, donc je pense que votre région va mieux performer que la moyenne québécoise», estime l’économiste. Dans la province, l’emploi s’était alors rétabli à 97,2% en octobre par rapport à février. L’emploi a cependant légèrement diminué en décembre dans la région, pour descendre sous le niveau de février, selon les données de l’Institut de la statistique du Québec. Son rétablissement demeure néanmoins au-devant de celui la province, où le niveau d’avant la crise n’a toujours pas été retrouvé. Après avoir été la région affichant le plus haut taux de chômage en mai et en juin, avec des sommets de 16,1% et 16,5%, le Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean se situait à 6,1% en décembre, sous le taux provincial de 7,2%. La région termine toutefois l’année 2020 avec un taux de chômage à 9,1%, dépassant légèrement la moyenne provinciale de 8,8,%. M. Cléroux sera d’ailleurs l’un des invités du prochain Rendez-vous économique de la Chambre de commerce et d’industrie Saguenay-Le Fjord. L’événement dédié aux perspectives économiques de 2021 qui aura lieu en ligne jeudi, de 11h à 13h. + LES ENTREPRISES EN MEILLEURE SITUATION Pierre Cléroux, économiste en chef de la BDC, demeure également optimiste pour les entreprises, alors que leur situation s’est améliorée récemment, selon la dernière enquête réalisée par l’institution financière en décembre. Les entreprises disposent de davantage de liquidités. «Dans la restauration, ce n’est pas le cas, mais en général, dans l’ensemble des autres secteurs, les entreprises semblent en meilleure position qu’elles ne l’étaient il y a six mois», constate M. Cléroux. L’endettement des entreprises demeure cependant élevé après cette année difficile qui a amené 7% des entreprises du Québec à mettre la clé sous la porte en 2020, pour un total de 60 000 au Canada. Le virage numérique demeure la clé pour les commerçants afin de leur permettre de tirer leur épingle du jeu, estime l’économiste, qui est également vice-président recherche de la société d’État qui se consacre aux entrepreneurs. L’institution possède d’ailleurs un centre d’affaires au centre-ville de Chicoutimi. Pénurie de main-d’oeuvre Les dirigeants et entrepreneurs ne seront toutefois pas au bout de leur peine, une fois que la relance sera sur les rails. Le défi de la pénurie de main-d’oeuvre, qui représentait l’enjeu économique d’avant la crise, refera surface et frappera plus durement, prévient l’économiste. «En plus, en 2020, on n’a presque pas eu d’immigration, donc ça va amplifier le problème», estime-t-il. En plus de l’immigration, les entreprises devront se tourner vers les investissements dans la technologie et la formation pour faire face à cette situation qui sera selon lui «l’enjeu d’une décennie».Myriam Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien