Vice President Mike Pence touched on military spending, the economy, support for law enforcement before lauding the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic in a speech in northern Minnesota. (Oct. 26)
Vice President Mike Pence touched on military spending, the economy, support for law enforcement before lauding the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic in a speech in northern Minnesota. (Oct. 26)
American scholar and author Camilla Townsend has won a US$75,000 history book prize from McGill University.The professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey received the Cundill History Prize on Thursday for "Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs."The book draws from long-overlooked primary accounts of Indigenous people written in the language Nahuatl to challenge Eurocentric narratives about the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in the 16th century.The jury hailed Townsend for recasting history "through the eyes of the Indigenous people themselves rather than those of their conquerors."The international Cundill prize, which is run by McGill University, recognizes non-fiction history writing in English.The runners-up, who each receive US$10,000, are Harvard University professor Vincent Brown and British historian William Dalrymple.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020.The Canadian Press
Editor's note: This story was first published on Oct. 11, 2020 Megan O’Donnell of Barrie, a freshman classical voice major at the University of Toronto, joins the online concert première of the new musical Sticks & Stones on Oct. 16, as part of National Bullying Prevention Month. The stream, which starts at 8 p.m., can be seen at broadwayworld.com and broadwaycares.org. It will be available through 8 p.m. Oct 20. Sticks & Stones adapts the Biblical story of David and his triumph over Goliath to address the issue of teen bullying. During the free stream, donations will be accepted for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Born This Way Foundation, founded by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta. Rick Vanderlinde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
Editor's note: This story was first published on Nov. 8, 2020 Barrie has been downgraded from green to yellow under Ontario’s new colour-coded system for pandemic protection measures after seven new COVID-19 cases were reported in the city Nov. 6. Under the new system, areas with the lowest case counts, positivity rates and community transmission are in a green category, with the most permissive rules. Red is the “control” level and means returning to modified Stage 2 restrictions, as are seen in Toronto. Barrie was moved to yellow based on an increase in weekly cases, the speed at which the virus is spreading and how much capacity there is at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre’s intensive-care unit. Five of the seven new cases are due to workplace transmissions, one is still under investigation and the other is due to close contact. The cases involve people aged 18 to 64. There are currently about 157 active cases in the Simcoe-Muskoka district, with 50 deaths since the pandemic began. Six people are in hospital with COVID-19. This is what Barrie’s yellow rating means: • Gatherings are still limited to 10 indoors and 25 outdoors, but the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit strongly advises that people only have close contact with their direct household. • Workplace screening questions must take place. • Face coverings are required in all indoor public spaces, at workplaces and where physical distancing is not possible. • City restaurants and bars have additional restrictions, including closing at midnight, only selling liquor between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m., requiring contact information for all seated patrons, limiting seating to six people per table and limiting the volume of music so people don’t have to shout to hear each other. • Non-essential travel should be restricted and outings limited as much as possible. • Monitor for symptoms and stay home if you are sick. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, get tested. The yellow code is known as the “protect level” and means a local health unit will enforce upgraded restrictions for businesses and organizations that remain open. Health units at this level are required to have a weekly rate of 10 to 39.9 cases per 100,000 people and a positivity rate of one to 2.5 per cent.Rick Vanderlinde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
VICTORIA — A report from British Columbia's chief inspector of mines says the cause of a slow-moving landslide that has threatened a tiny B.C. community may never be determined. The steep slope above Old Fort slumped over several days in 2018, tearing out the only road and prompting evacuations in the community of about 150 just outside Fort St. John. The report, posted to the B.C. government website in October, says despite geotechnical assessments, the root cause of the slide remains "inconclusive." The first cracks in the earth were noticed in September 2018 at an active gravel pit at the top of the slope where work remains suspended after parts of it slipped 10 metres within hours. The study says it's not clear if a cause "will ever be determined with certainty," but that the pit's stockpile of gravel combined with natural slope instability and rain that was 44 per cent above average may all have been factors. The report makes four findings, including one calling on the Ministry of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources to issue an alert aimed at improving industry awareness of geohazard risks at other B.C. gravel pits, reminding them to consider and plan for those risks. Owners of all but a handful of properties were allowed to return to Old Fort by late 2018, but slow-speed slumping resumed again this year, buckling the enclave's only road for a second time and prompting evacuation alerts. The ministry report does not address the latest slide. Whatever changes occurred before the 2018 Old Fort slide, the report says it was enough to change the condition of a marginally stable Peace River Valley slope, resulting in the slide. "Given the large volume of the slide, the small changes in topography that preceded it, and the lack of a clear and definitive event trigger, it is possible that if the slide had not occurred on September 29, 2018, it could have occurred at some future date — whether triggered by natural events or human activity," the report says. The Peace River Regional District said in June that information from technical specialists had determined "the risk to the community posed by the (2020) Old Fort slide movements is low.'' The district's website shows six properties, or parts of properties, remain evacuated due to the original slide, more than two years after it happened. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020. The Canadian Press
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A female volunteer who regularly feeds big cats was bitten and seriously injured by a tiger Thursday morning at Carole Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue sanctuary in Florida, which was made famous by the Netflix series “Tiger King,” officials said.Hillsborough County Fire Rescue received a trauma alert call about 8:30 a.m. Thursday from the sanctuary, agency spokesman Eric Seidel told The Associated Press.Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, said in an email to the AP that the volunteer, Candy Couser, was feeding a tiger named Kimba when she noticed the animal was not in his usual location. Baskin said Couser opened a gate that had been clipped shut but she reached in to unclip it.“This is our universal signal NOT to open a gate” without assistance, Baskin said. “It is against our protocols for anyone to stick any part of their body into a cage with a cat in it.”“Kimba grabbed her arm and nearly tore it off at the shoulder,” Baskin added.Couser was taken to a hospital for treatment of serious injuries after staff and other volunteers at Big Cat Rescue sought to stop the bleeding, Baskin said.Kimba will be placed in quarantine for the next 30 days, but Baskin said the tiger was “just acting normal due to the presence of food and the opportunity.” Baskin said Couser did not want Kimba to suffer any consequences for the incident.The sanctuary was founded by Baskin and Don Lewis in the 1990s and is a prominent animal sanctuary. Lewis disappeared in 1997.The incident came the same day the U.S. House is to vote on a bill, the Big Cat Public Safety Act, championed by Baskin that would ban handling of big cat cubs and personal possession of them in places such as backyards.“This sort of tragedy can happen in the blink of an eye and we cannot relax our guard for a second around these dangerous cats,” Baskin said.“Tiger King", which debuted in March, was a documentary series about Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as “Joe Exotic,” an eccentric former Oklahoma zookeeper who loves big cats.Maldonado-Passage was sentenced to 22 years in prison earlier this year for his role in a murder-for-hire plot. He was convicted of trying to hire someone to kill Baskin, who had tried to shut him down, accusing the Oklahoma zoo of abusing animals and selling big cat cubs.In retaliation, Maldonado-Passage raised questions about Baskin’s former husband, Lewis. The documentary extensively covered Maldonado-Passage’s repeated accusations that Baskin killed her husband and possibly fed him to her tigers. Baskin has not been charged with any crime and has repeatedly released statements refuting the accusations made in the series.___Frisaro reported from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.Curt Anderson And Freida Frisaro, The Associated Press
TransLink says customers can return to using credit cards and debit cards at ticket vending machines and fare gates after three days of being unable to do so because of a ransomware attack on the Metro Vancouver transit authority.CEO of Translink Kevin Desmond issued a statement Thursday afternoon to apologize for the inconvenience and provide more information about the mysterious cyberattack."We are now in a position to confirm that TransLink was the target of a ransomware attack on some of our IT infrastructure. This attack included communications to TransLink through a printed message," said Desmond.TransLink disabled several of its systems "out of an abundance of caution" on Tuesday after strange network activity affected some systems that morning. The transit authority would not release further information about the nature of the network activity, citing an ongoing police investigation.At the time, a spokesperson did not answer a question about whether the activity involved customers' personal information.Ransomware is a type of malicious software that disables part of a computer system or access to data until a ransom is paid.However, TransLink said Thursday that upon detection, the transit authority took immediate steps to shut down key IT systems to reduce the impact to its infrastructure and operations. TransLink said a forensic investigation is underway to determine how the incident occurred and what information was affected.The transit authority is trying to reassure customers and said it does not store fare payment data and uses a secure third party to process payments for fare transactions.Metro Vancouver Transit Police confirmed in an email Wednesday it is investigating "in partnership with local and national cyber crime experts."For days, TransLink passengers were able to use cash at vending machines and staff were on site to help customers having problems buying fares. The authority had warned stored value could take longer than usual to load onto a Compass Card but those systems are now back to normal.TransLink's Trip Planner tool had also been disabled. As of Thursday afternoon at 5 p.m., TransLink said it was working to resume normal operations as quickly as possible.
Former Atlanta City Council member Kwanza Hall was sworn in to the House of Representatives on Thursday. Hall won a runoff election to briefly fill the seat in Congress of the late civil rights legend John Lewis. (Dec. 3)
Bernadette McGregor is worried about her future after an unexpected 50 per cent rent increase.The Fredericton-area senior says she can't afford the steep jump in cost for the apartment she's lived in almost eight years.The Lincoln resident said a note on her door on Nov. 23 informed then rent will be going up $400 dollars from the $800 a month she currently pays. Utilities are not included."I just couldn't get over it, I was in shock," she said. "All these things started going through my head. Where am I going to live, what am I going to do?"The note said it was necessary to keep up with rising operating costs, McGregor said.Renovations at some New Brunswick apartment buildings have resulted in steep rent increases, leaving some tenants unable to stay. The province's Residential Tenancies Act does not restrict rent increases.Tenants are required to receive three months notice before an increase.No pandemic protectionsThere are also no protections against evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the government has permitted new ownership to force out tenants in entire buildings.Premier Blaine Higgs has been asked if measures to prevent evictions in orange-level regions were in place."No, not at all," he said. "Not at this time."McGregor's 10-unit apartment building was sold about a month ago to Canada Homes for Rent, a Saint John property management company. She wrote to the new company to express her concerns — but said they didn't respond.."As I figured, they don't really care, and they don't want to hear from us," McGregor told Information Morning Fredericton.Jason Fillmore, regional director of Canada Homes for Rent, declined an interview with CBC News.FIllmore said in a statement that he's sympathetic, but the increase to $1,200 a month is typical of the market in that area of Lincoln.'There has to be something in place'Rents are continuing to climb high in Saint John as developers renovate properties, driving some tenants searching for a new place to live.Greg Mazerolle said rent in this current building, owned by Historica Developments, increased by 25 to 30 per cent."The housing for low- to moderate-income is starting to dissipate in this city," he told Information Morning Saint John.Rent has increased from $1,700 to $2,000 per month and utilities are no longer included.Historica, one of the city's largest real estate companies, purchased 20 more buildings from Hazen Property Management last month.The company now owns about 400 units spread across 40 buildings.Mazerolle is planning to leave his apartment as a personal decision to save on housing costs."It's exciting to see the city grow," he said. "However, there has to be something in place at a provincial level to kind of control what's already here for the people that live her. It's great that people want to come, but there's already people here."Historica President Keith Brideau sent a statement to CBC News in response to a request for an interview.Brideau said in most cases rents are only increased after a tenant moves out and if the company invests in extensive renovations."With respect to rising rents, most people don't realize the costs involved in owning a property," he said."For example, the majority of properties we've bought over the years were purchased from people who owned them for a long time — sometimes over 100 years — meaning they had no mortgage to pay."Brideau said increasing operating costs for insurance, heating, electricity, property taxes and other expenses have also contributed. He said increased housing supply in the city will improve affordability.Struggling to find housingTenants unable to pay rent were protected against evictions at the start of the pandemic in March. But the Higgs government lifted those measures on June 1.Now McGregor is left scrambling to find a new apartment within her budget in Fredericton's tight housing market."It's very stressful, very upsetting," she said."I hope they get rent control going very soon."Despite an increase in residential development in 2019, the capital city's vacancy rate remains below two per cent. New Brunswick's Residential Tenancies Tribunal, formerly known as the Rentalsman's office, said no one was available for an interview.The office told CBC News to ask McGregor to contact them.Green Party Leader David Coon said he is hearing similar stories in Fredericton and the issue of affordable housing needs to be addressed."There's a real gold rush going on when it comes to snapping up rental properties, and the victims of this are the current residents who are being forced out," he said.
HAMILTON — Police say an 11-year-old boy who was hit by a pickup truck while crossing a Hamilton street this week has died. The boy died Thursday morning at a local hospital after being struck on Tuesday afternoon. Hamilton police say the charge against the driver of the truck, Brandon Aubert, has been upgraded to dangerous operation causing death. Aubert is accused of hitting the boy after failing to stop for a traffic light and a crossing guard. Police have said the incident happened as the child was crossing at a marked crosswalk. The force said Wednesday that investigators had ruled out driver impairment and other contributing factors in the collision. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020. The Canadian Press
Calgary police and bylaw officers are cracking down on people who are "blatantly ignoring" public health rules designed to keep people safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic, city and enforcement officials reaffirmed Thursday.Police announced on Wednesday that they had charged three people under the Public Health Act after a rally last weekend, and were looking for three others who are also facing charges.During the protest, hundreds of people marched through downtown Calgary to protest against mandated masks and other public health measures intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.On Thursday, police confirmed to CBC News that they have mailed tickets to the three who were being sought.The individuals face charges of contravening an order of the chief medical officer of health and failing to wear a face covering, with fines of $1,200 and $50, respectively."The biggest challenge that we seem to be facing right now are those that are blatantly ignoring the laws," Mark Neudeld said. "The issue is not that they're unaware and require education. The issue is more that they disagree, and these people will be charged accordingly."'This is about keeping all Calgarians safe'The protests have been a weekly occurrence in the city and across the country for months, but Saturday was the first since the province introduced new restrictions, including that outdoor gatherings must be limited to 10 people while still following physical distancing and other public health guidelines.When Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced the tightened restrictions on Nov. 24, he also warned that peace officers or police can fine people who break restrictions, with $1,000 per ticketed offence and up to $100,000 through the courts. That announcement boosted calls for police and bylaw officers to start charging scofflaws.The news comes as Alberta continues to lead the country in total active COVID cases, with 17,144 active caseson Wednesday afternoon,compared with 14,526 in Ontario, a province with more than three times as many people, and 12,740 in Quebec, which has twice the population. It has also led the country in terms of new infections per capita over the past week.There are currently 6,331 active cases of COVID-19 in Calgary, 162 people are in hospital and 30 are in intensive care. Since the pandemic started, 202 in Calgary have died of the disease."We are absolutely not looking to punish people who are simply trying to get through this pandemic," Neufeld said when he announced the new charges on Thursday."This is about keeping all Calgarians safe by addressing disappointing and intentional acts of defiance that threaten our health-care system and our well-being."Calgarians are welcome to exercise their right to protest but have to follow the same restrictions as the rest of the city, Neufeld said.Police officers will continue to use their discretion when enforcing restrictions, and will work to be reasonable, focusing their attention on people who blatantly disregard the public health rules, Neufeld said."We've acknowledged people's constitutional right to gather and have their voices heard … but limits have been temporarily placed on those rights and freedoms in the interests of public safety and the health of our citizens," he said.City in process of serving two ticketsChief bylaw officer Ryan Pleckaitis also provided an update on the city's enforcement for community standards at the conference.The city is in the process of serving two tickets under the Public Health Act stemming from incidents that occurred around City Hall on Sunday and Wednesday, Pleckaitis said.There are additional fines that the city will serve in relation to these incidents, and under a number of other bylaws, Pleckaitis said.He wanted to remind citizens that a first offence is $1,200 while further offences are up to $100,000.In regards to a request the city has made, asking that the province expand more authority to enforce restrictions to Level 2 peace officers, Pleckaitis said there have been no developments."Unfortunately, I don't have much news on this front. However, we've had good dialogue with the province this week … and we hope to hear back soon," Pleckaitis said.Like Neufeld, Pleckaitis said bylaw officers would focus on those who blatantly disregard the rules.Park fire pit program 'huge success'Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Sue Henry, chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, were also at the conference and provided brief updates.Henry said the city's community fire pit initiative, which has set up fire pits at select parks across the city, has been such a success that additional staff will be added to manage it.They are also looking at adding additional fire pits to meet demand, she said."This program has so far been a huge success. As of this morning, we have had over 900 requests to book," Henry said.In order to support local businesses during the holidays and expand curbside pickup, the city will remove rush hour parking restrictions in three districts, Dec. 7-27."This means on a weekday at 3:30 or 4 p.m., you can remain parked if you are in one of the three participating zones where ParkPlus zones transition into a no stopping zone," Henry said.The three neighbourhoods include: * Kensington Business Revitalization Zone. * 4th Street S.W. * 17th Avenue S.W.
Rapportant en moyenne sept nouveaux cas par jour et étant en zone orange, les Gaspésiens et les Madelinots pourront fêter Noël en groupes de six si la situation reste la même, annonce le premier ministre Legault. La région annonce cinq nouvelles infections jeudi. Alors qu’il annonçait à la grande majorité des Québécois que les rassemblements des fêtes étaient bel et bien interdits, le premier ministre a noté une exception pour les régions ne se situant pas en zone rouge, soit la Côte-Nord, la Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine et le Bas-Saint-Laurent. «Quand on regarde les règles pour les rassemblements actuellement, les gens en zone jaune ont le droit à 10 personnes, et les zones orange à six. Ça, ce n'est pas changé, mais pour ce qui est des zones rouges, c'est interdit», a noté le premier ministre, tout en ajoutant qu’il «fait confiance au sens des responsabilités des Québécois». La Gaspésie et les Îles semblent en bonne position pour conserver leur niveau d’alerte orangé, alors que la péninsule rapporte en moyenne «sept ou huit cas par jour» au cours des deux dernières semaines, selon la santé publique. Les autorités sanitaires invitent tout de même à la prudence, notant que «la recommandation de ne pas voyager entre les régions de couleurs différentes est renforcée», et que «si les gens des zones rouges se déplacent en Gaspésie malgré tout, ils ne peuvent pas se rassembler puisque la zone suit la personne». Jeudi, cinq nouvelles infections ont été recensées, dont une aux Îles-de-la-Madeleine. Deux cas s’ajoutent dans la Côte-de-Gaspé, un en Haute-Gaspésie et un dans la MRC du Rocher-Percé. Éclosion à la prison de Percé : Pas aussi inquiétante qu’à New Carlisle Alors qu’une éclosion de COVID-19 s’est déclenchée mercredi au centre de détention de Percé, la situation semble moins inquiétante que lors de l’éclosion à la prison de New Carlisle, il y a quelques semaines. L’établissement étant plus récent et mieux entretenu, le syndicat national des agents de la paix en milieu correctionnel et la santé publique reste prudent, mais mentionne que la réalité est bien différente entre les deux milieux. «Ce n’est pas des dortoirs comme à New Carlisle et il y a eu certaines rénovations. C’est sûr qu’on ne sait jamais comment ça évolue, mais pour le moment c’est moins inquiétant», note son président, Mathieu Lavoie. Pour l’instant, quatre détenus et deux agents correctionnels ont attrapé la maladie. Un agent est en isolement préventif comme il a été en contact étroit avec une personne infectée. Tous les détenus ont été testés jeudi, et les membres du personnel ont aussi été invités à le faire. Simon Carmichael, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Soleil
The Town of Paradise is looking for input from residents who might avail of an accessible transit system. Councillor Sterling Willis noted it is something that residents have been requesting. “We are now developing an accessible transit policy project… as a part of developing this pilot project, the Town will be hosting a focus group to seek input from potential users,” said Willis during Tuesday’s public council meeting. Participants in an upcoming focus group will be limited to Paradise residents who have disabilities or who have family members living in Paradise who have disabilities. The focus group, held over Zoom, will be held on December 10, with a real time ASL translator present. Those interested are asked to contact the Town by December 2. Though Metrobus offers some wheelchair accessible routes, the one Metrobus route which passes through Paradise is not accessible.Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
The second-degree murder trial against Justin David Breau is now in the hands of the jury. After getting legal instructions from Mr. Justice Thomas Christie in the morning, the 11-member jury took control of the case just before 12:30 p.m. Thursday. Breau, 37, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Mark Shatford, 42. While Breau admits to shooting Shatford on Nov. 17, 2019, he said he did so in self-defence after a drug deal went awry. During eight days of testimony, the jury heard from 22 witnesses, including the accused, who was the only witness called by the defence. Jurors heard there were five people inside the apartment when the incident occurred — Shatford, his fiancée Melissa Daley, three of Daley's four children, and the boyfriend of Daley's then-17-year-old daughter. Daley and the three teenagers testified that they were all in bed when three masked men entered the apartment. Daley, 38, told the jury that as Shatford wrestled with one of the men, she pulled down his mask and recognized him as Breau, someone she's known since childhood.She told the court that Shatford grabbed a large wrench on the way out. The two men continued to wrestle as they went down the stairs.Daley testified that as she and Shatford stopped short of the vehicle, Breau went to the driver's side and grabbed a shotgun from the vehicle and fired it at Shatford, who stumbled back and fell to the ground. Under cross-examination, the jury heard about a drug deal that was being set up between Breau and someone using Daley's Facebook account. Daley said the messages must have been sent by Shatford. She insisted they weren't from her. When Breau took the stand, he said he and Daley had been corresponding through Messenger for more than a year and he never believed any of the messages had been from Shatford. The exchange began at 3:07 a.m. on Nov. 21, 2019, when a hand-wave emoji was sent to Breau from Daley's account. Breau testified that he was at a "crack shack" on Peters Street when the message arrived. Breau said the drug house had run out of product, and he and several others had been waiting for replenishments to arrive. Breau said he texted back asking if they had any "raw" — slang for pure cocaine. According to a printout of the exchange that was entered as evidence, Daley responded by saying she only had "cut," which Breau described as a weaker form of cocaine.The two texted back and forth and eventually settled on two grams of "cut" in exchange for 15 zopiclone pills and $70 cash. Breau said he was on his way and Daley said the door was open. He told the jury he was a regular customer at 321 Duke St. West and had been there 30 or 40 times since the summer of 2018.Breau said he arrived at 4:20 a.m., made his way through the apartment as usual and knocked on the door of the master bedroom. Breau said he heard the chain lock being slid across and when the door opened, Shatford was standing there with Daley a few feet behind him. He said Shatford grabbed his $100 bill, reminded him of the money owed and said Breau wasn't going to get anything that night. Breau testified that when he tried to grab the money back, Shatford hit him in the head with a long, shiny metal object. He said he fled the apartment with Shatford in pursuit. When he got to the vehicle he had borrowed from a friend, he reached into the backseat and grabbed a shotgun that he said he hadn't known was there until he opened the door. Emergency personnel responded to a 911 call made at 4:25 a.m., and found Shatford lying in the street, bleeding from numerous pellet holes in his abdomen. Despite several surgeries, Shatford died on Dec. 18. Under cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Joanne Park portrayed the incident as a "drug rip-off." She suggested that Breau and his two buddies made a fake deal, then tried to rob Shatford, and he was just trying to get him out of his house. Breau denied knowing what a "drug rip-off" is and said Park was trying to put words in his mouth.Originally, 14 jurors were selected, but one was dismissed on the first day of the trial. Two more were dismissed on Wednesday in the middle of final instructions from the judge. The law says a minimum of 10 and maximum of 12 jurors can deliberate a case.
With COVID-19 caseloads spiraling and the daily death toll equaling records, a bipartisan group of lawmakers says momentum is building for finally passing a second major relief bill. (Dec. 3)