Watch this pet raccoon rub his adorable little paws together in order to get a treat. Cuteness overload!
Watch this pet raccoon rub his adorable little paws together in order to get a treat. Cuteness overload!
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince, an Israeli official said on Monday, in what would be the first publicly confirmed visit there by an Israeli leader as the countries close ranks against Iran. Earlier, Israeli media said Netanyahu had secretly flown on Sunday to Neom, on the Red Sea, for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Reports of the meeting between the crown prince and Netanyahu were denied by Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
MILAN — In a signal of rebirth, the Donizetti theatre in the northern Italian city of Bergamo, devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, reopened this weekend after three years of renovations.But the planned gala celebration had to be postponed, and new productions for an annual festival dedicated to the city's native composer Gaetano Donizetti had to be streamed online from an empty theatre.Festival musical director Riccardo Frizza said the autumn festival was envisioned as a life-affirming moment for the city and province, where 6,000 people died in a single month last spring. In the summer he conducted Donizett's Requiem, performed outside the city’s cemetery in tribute to the dead.“You have to know that in my festival orchestra and in the chorus there are people who lost two or three family members,’’ Frizza said. “We couldn’t do the festival without having done this tribute to those who aren’t with us anymore.”Plans for an audience had to be scrapped after the virus started to resurge in October, even if Bergamo itself is experiencing lighter contagion than the spring, when images of army trucks transporting the dead to other regions for cremation laid bare the pandemic's toll. The calendar was cut to three productions.All three weekend performances of Donizetti’s “Marino Faliero,” “Le Nozze in Villa” and “Belisario” are available online indefinitely for a subscription price of 59 euros ($70.) Frizza said the money is needed to help freelance singers and musicians recoup some income during a year in which classical music has been all but shutdown by the coronavirus.Italy shut all theatres in February, and there was a tentative reopening over the summer.While some other theatres are offering free online streaming of their archives, Frizza said few are offering new opera productions. The Donizetti theatre package includes extras like commentary, interviews and a virtual tour of the renovated theatre, its frescoed ceilings given a fresh vibrancy. Another Donizetti opera filmed last year, “L'Ange De Nisida," will be released on Wednesday.By comparison, Milan’s famed La Scala theatre will broadcast a Dec. 7 concert on state television, substituting its traditional gala season-opener.To ensure the health of the Donizetti Festival orchestra, singers and chorus, strict protocols were put into place, including weekly testing and separate rehearsals. During the weekend performances, the chorus, most of the orchestra and Frizza wore masks.At La Scala, more than 40 members of the chorus have tested positive for the virus, plus another 18 in the orchestra.Frizza, who suffered a mild bout with the virus during the March peak when Italy was in total lockdown, said no one in the festival contracted the virus during the rehearsals. That's critical to allowing the live performances to go ahead despite the partial lockdown in Lombardy.“No one can imagine the March lockdown without music, without books, without televised performances,” Frizza said. “The pandemic has taught those who hadn’t understood before, the importance of culture, arts and beauty in the world.”Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
The Kamistiatusset (Kami) project in Labrador west has entered another phase of its long saga. The iron ore project was put back into limbo earlier this year when the owners, Alderon Iron Ore, defaulted on a $14-million loan and went into receivership. Now, Australia-based Champion Iron Ltd., the operators of the nearby Bloom Lake project just across the border in Quebec, has picked up the gauntlet on the sizable iron deposit in the Labrador Trough. Champion was the successful bidder on the project to the tune of $34 million, which also covers the cost of Alderon’s secured debt. The deal was approved by the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador this week. Labrador West MHA Jordan Brown said he wants to sit down and have some talks about where the project is going and assurances from government the resources will benefit Labradorians. Alderon had always touted a potential $1-billion project in Kami, with 300-400 local jobs projected. Brown said he wants to make sure that work stays on the Labrador side of the border and that the benefits of the resource goes to this province. “A lot of people hope and want the project to go ahead, and be a mine that uses a local workforce, minimizes fly-in fly-out operation, things like that. I just want to make sure this resource benefits Labradorians as the resource is in Labrador.” Brown said he wants to have that conversation with Champion, and make sure those concerns are front of mind as they proceed. Michael Marcotte, vice-president of investor relations with Champion, told SaltWire they’re very excited about the possibility of the project but don’t know where it will go until they complete a feasibility study. “We’ll have to look into a standalone project to some extent, see how we can benefit the infrastructure we currently have, but the way it will be structured and the scale, it’s too early to say,” he said. Marcotte said the company has hired people to start a study, work on that for several months, and then come back to the local communities and see what the potential plan would look like. But at this point it’s to early say how or if the project will proceed. He said Bloom Lake is a great anchor for Champion, with an expansion announced to that project last week, and they think Kami is positioning the company for another phase of growth. As part of the purchase, Champion will get an additional eight million tonnes annually of port capacity in Sept-Isles, Que., where they currently send the iron ore concentrate from Bloom Lake. Marcotte said they won’t have the extra capacity at Bloom Lake to integrate the iron ore from the Kami project so that will be something they will be studying. The Kami project has had a couple of near starts over the years, one as recently as 2019. Alderon had announced it hoped to start construction in 2020 but was unable to secure funding, citing the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, and lost the project and assets to Sprott Lending Corp. The project then went up for sale. Champion also picked up Bloom Lake at a time when the project seemed unlikely to be profitable, buying it from Cliffs Québec Iron Mining ULC for $10.5 million in 2016. Marcotte said it shows that they have a track record of exceeding expectations. “We think we have a secret sauce and the recipe is working at Bloom,” he said. “We’re excited to bring our know how to the region and hopefully have a benefit to the region.” Altius Minerals has had its hand in the Kami project pretty much since it began. The Newfoundland based company did the initial drilling program that identified the Kami site in 2008 and later sold it to Alderon, holding a 37.3 per cent equity holding in the company at the time of its demise. Altius is receiving 600,000 shares in Champion as part of the current deal and expects to receive a portion of the cash Champion paid for the project once the details are worked out. “In some ways it’s bittersweet,” Altius CEO Brian Dalton said when asked about the deal. “It’s tough to attract that kind of capital with a junior mining company so I was disappointed Alderon wasn’t able to get across the line.” He said timing was against Alderon, but he has a lot of faith in Champion and people shouldn’t underestimate their ambition or their ability to execute. Dalton said he wouldn’t expect to see any major changes to the scope of the project, since Alderon already had a lot of the permitting and approvals in place and a major change of the scope would mean starting a lot of processes over.Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
Le principe de « ninjater » a commencé en Alberta et au Manitoba, au printemps dernier, durant la première vague de la pandémie de COVID-19. Petit à petit, le mouvement a commencé à gagner plusieurs régions du Québec, dont le Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. Sans le savoir, deux groupes Facebook ont été créés au mois d’août, à quelques jours d’intervalle, pour regrouper les adeptes de ce mouvement. Au moment d’écrire ces lignes, Ninjateuse Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean compte près de 3000 membres, tandis que le groupe Les ninjateuses du Sag-Lac en regroupe plus de 1500. Certaines personnes sont membres des deux groupes. Le Progrès s’est entretenu avec Sabrina Tremblay, administratrice du groupe Ninjateuse Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, pour mieux comprendre le fonctionnement de cette initiative. Mme Tremblay a rejoint la page à ses débuts et a rapidement proposé son aide pour la gestion et l’encadrement du groupe. « Le but du groupe est simple : c’est de répandre du bonheur. Aussi, nous voulons toujours que la roue continue. Si tu te fais “ninjater”, c’est-à-dire que tu reçois un cadeau, tu dois redonner au moins une fois », explique l’administratrice, dans un entretien téléphonique. Depuis la création du groupe, elle estime le nombre de cadeaux donnés entre 2500 et 3000. Quand une participante veut offrir du bonheur, elle doit écrire sur le groupe un message pour en aviser les membres et indiquer le secteur dans lequel elle se rendra. Toutes les membres de ce secteur sont invitées à y indiquer leur adresse. La personne qui donne un cadeau en choisit une autre, ou plusieurs. Elle se rend chez les élues en cachette et y laisse le cadeau de son choix. Au début, les personnes devaient se déguiser en ninjas pour aller porter les cadeaux, mais les règles sont maintenant plus simples. D’ailleurs, depuis que la région est en zone rouge, l’envoi de cadeaux par la poste est de plus en plus populaire, mais pas obligatoire. Les membres sont invitées à prendre une pause, à continuer normalement leur livraison de colis ou à utiliser la poste, selon ce qu’elles sont à l’aise de faire. Le groupe est réservé aux femmes. Chaque membre choisit ce qu’elle donne en cadeau. « Chacune y va avec son budget. Il n’y a pas de montant minimum. Le but est simplement d’offrir un sourire. Le contenu des cadeaux est extrêmement varié », continue Mme Tremblay. Un coup d’oeil sur les plus récentes publications du groupe permet de voir que la diversité des cadeaux est étonnante. On retrouve des chandelles, des bas de laine, des messages personnalisés, des produits pour le corps, des bons d’achat et bien plus. Des femmes de tous les âges et des quatre coins du Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean participent activement au groupe. Pour Mme Tremblay, cette initiative apporte de nombreux bienfaits, ce qui explique pourquoi le nombre de membres a explosé en si peu de temps. « La pandémie y est pour quelque chose. Ça nous fait tellement du bien de recevoir de quelqu’un qu’on ne connaît pas, de savoir que cette personne a pris le temps de confectionner un petit quelque chose, de le préparer et de nous le livrer », se réjouit-elle. Il n’y a pas seulement du plaisir à recevoir ; il y en a à donner. « De l’autre côté, quand tu donnes, c’est l’fun aussi. Tu tasses tes problèmes de côté pour cette journée et tu fais plaisir à quelqu’un. On a besoin de se changer les idées et de se rappeler que le monde peut être beau », continue l’administratrice. Le groupe permet également aux femmes de tisser des liens entre elles et de connaître de nouvelles personnes qui ont des réalités similaires, dans un contexte où il est présentement très difficile de le faire. Par exemple, Mme Tremblay est devenue amie avec des membres particulièrement actives et est très proche de toute l’équipe d’administratrices. Elle note d’ailleurs l’importance du travail d’équipe entre les administratrices, qui maintiennent et font connaître les règles du groupe, sans quoi il ne serait pas possible de tenir l’activité. Pour recevoir un cadeau, la personne s’engage à redonner. Les administratrices ont donc comme rôle de faire les suivis pour s’assurer que la roue continue toujours de tourner. Également, une photo du cadeau reçu doit être envoyée sur le groupe pour prouver qu’il se soit bien rendu à destination.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
TORONTO — The murder trial for the man who killed 10 people after driving a van down a crowded Toronto sidewalk has been delayed until Thursday. The judge has given the Crown and its experts a few days to review a defence-hired psychiatrist's interviews with Alek Minassian. The 28-year-old Minassian faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. He argues he should be found not criminally responsible due to autism spectrum disorder for his actions on April 23, 2018. Minassian has admitted to planning and carrying out the attack and his state of mind at the time is the sole issue at trial. Another psychiatrist has testified that Minassian's autism spectrum disorder left him fixated on mass killings and vulnerable to the ramblings of an American mass murderer. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020. The Canadian Press
Premier Dennis King has announced that P.E.I. is "suspending our participation in the Atlantic bubble," meaning those arriving on the Island from the other Atlantic provinces will now have to self-isolate for 14 days.The announcement was made during an unscheduled COVID-19 briefing Monday morning, after a weekend rise in cases in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.King said that starting 12:01 a.m. Tuesday — just after midnight Monday — P.E.I. is suspending all non-essential travel to and from Prince Edward Island for two weeks."This is an extra layer of caution," said King, who spoke on Sunday with his fellow Atlantic premiers. "It is our hope that we can break the transmission chain."He said there could be some flexibility for Islanders who are outside the province now trying to return, given the short notice.King said his government will re-evaluate the situation after the two-week period ends on Dec. 7.King's announcement came on the heels of word from Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey that he too "has made the tough decision to make a circuit break. People arriving from within the Atlantic bubble will have to self-isolate for 14 days." The new rules go into effect on Wednesday in Newfoundland and Labrador. Since July 3, residents of the four Atlantic provinces have been able to travel relatively freely across each other's borders without quarantining. That freedom ends with Monday's pair of announcements — at least for now. King said he hopes P.E.I.'s departure from the bubble is temporary, adding that when it was announced back in June, the goal was to eventually expand it to include people from other parts of Canada where community spread was low or non-existent. One new case confirmedAfter King spoke about P.E.I.'s new rules, Dr. Heather Morrison confirmed one new case of COVID-19 on the Island, a woman in her 40s who travelled from outside the Atlantic bubble.That person is self-isolating and contact tracing is underway. > It's actually likely that P.E.I. will have cases. — Dr. Heather Morrison"Over the last number of days, it has become apparent that our neighbours in Atlantic Canada, especially Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, are experiencing a second wave," said Morrison. "It's actually likely that P.E.I. will have cases."I'm concerned it may already be here with some people."Return to applying for entryMorrison said those coming to the province from the other three Atlantic provinces will now once again need to apply for entry and students who return to P.E.I. will need to self-isolate for two weeks.Any staff working in long-term care who leave the Island will not be eligible to work-isolate upon returning. In a news release issued late Monday, Morrison added: "Out of an abundance of caution, partners in care who have returned from out-of-province travel in the last week must not visit their loved one in long-term care or community care until they have been in PEI for 14 days."People may continue to travel off-Island for medical appointments, and compassionate and custody-related travel can continue. But there will no longer be any interprovincial sports tournaments. "I urge all Islanders to keep their social circles small," said Morrison. "We know that COVID-19 moves as we move."For anyone who has returned from Nova Scotia or New Brunswick in the past week, Morrison said contacts should be limited, testing should be arranged if symptoms appear, and a mask should be worn at all times — including when in the presence of other people outdoors.Students can attend schoolAs for children who are returning from those provinces, Morrison said while they can continue to go to school, they should not attend functions like sports events or birthday parties. "The changes announced today are not forever, just for the time being.… Together, we can do it," she said. On the Island, Morrison is reminding Islanders to stay home if they are sick and to continue following public health guidelines. Putting these new travel restrictions in place should allow people to continue to being able to go out fairly freely and shop locally leading up to Christmas, she added."This is our hope: that we can maintain things as best we can within this province. But certainly it's going to be a challenge," said Morrison.In a subsequent interview with CBC: News Compass host Louise Martin, King wouldn't rule out further restrictions if necessary to keep Islanders safe."I think we always have to look at the what-ifs, and we're prepared to make the decisions we need to make," he said."I hope today's decision indicates to Islanders how serious we are."More from CBC P.E.I.
NEW YORK — Taylor Swift won her third consecutive artist of the year prize at the American Music Awards, but she missed the show for a good reason: She said she's busy re-recording her early music after her catalogue was sold.In a video that aired during Sunday's awards show, the pop star said “the reason I’m not there tonight is I’m actually re-recording all of my old music in the studio where we originally recorded it. So it’s been amazing. And I can’t wait for you to hear it."Last year music manager Scooter Braun — who manages Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande — announced that his Ithaca Holdings company had acquired Big Machine Label Group, the home to Swift’s first six albums. This month Braun said he has sold the master rights to Swift’s first six albums to an investment company; Swift acknowledged the sale on social media and said she would not work with the new buyers because Braun was still involved.Instead, she headed back to the studio.Swift beat out Bieber, Post Malone and Roddy Ricch to win the top award. She also won favourite music video and favourite pop/rock female artist, winning three honours and tying Bieber, Dan + Shay and the Weeknd for most wins Sunday.The Weeknd lost artist of the year, but he still kicked off his all-star week as a big winner: Days before he’s expected to land multiple Grammy nominations, he won favourite soul/R&B male artist, favourite soul/R&B album for “After Hours" and favourite soul/R&B song for “Heartless” two days before the 2021 Grammy nominations are announced.“The last time I received this award it was given to me by the late, great Prince," he said after winning favourite soul/R&B album. “And, you know, he’s the reason I get to constantly challenge the genre of R&B and yeah, I’d like to dedicate this to him."The Weeknd didn’t break character throughout the three-hour show with his gauze-wrapped face, which matched the vibe of his recent album and music videos where he appears blooded and bruised. He accepted his awards and performed with his face wrapped in gauze.Kenny G joined the Weeknd for his performance, playing the sax in downtown Los Angeles as the Weeknd walked across a bridge singing “In Your Eyes.” He finished the performance singing “Save Your Tears.”The Weeknd was one of several artists who appeared live at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles for the fan-voted awards show. Others recently taped their performances because of the coronavirus pandemic, though host Taraji P. Henson — who appeared live from the venue — said the few audience members sitting in the mezzanine practiced social distancing, wore masks and were tested for the virus.Henson joked that A-list celebrities were in the audience, including Beyoncé, though cardboard cut-out of the singer, Jay-Z and other stars appeared in seats.But a good number of chart-toppers were in the building. Breakthrough singer-rapper Doja Cat performed and won new artist of the year and favourite soul/R&B female artist. Grammy-winning country duo Dan + Shay beautifully performed “I Should Probably Go to Bed” and won favourite country duo or group, collaboration of the year and favourite country song for “10,000 Hours," the latter two shared with Bieber. And Megan Thee Stallion — won favourite rap/hip-hop songs for “WAP" with Cardi B — performed “Body" from her recently released debut album “Good News."Bieber and Shawn Mendes kicked off the AMAs with a pre-taped performance of their new duet “Monster," marking the first time they performed the song together. It began with a stripped-down Bieber singing his recent hit “Lonely," with songwriter-producer Benny Blanco on piano, and “Holy," where background dancers wearing masks joined him.Mendes, strumming his guitar, then appeared for “Monster," which featured the twentysomethings singing lyrics about about fame and growing up as celebrities who attracted massive public attention. Mendes later sang his song “Wonder" during the show, which aired on ABC.Katy Perry, in her first performance since giving birth to her first child, gave a strong performance of the emotional and hopeful song “Only Love,” which featured a surprise guest appearance from Darius Rucker, who sang and played guitar. With flaming red lights glaring behind her, Billie Eilish sang her new song “Therefore I Am,” as her brother-songwriter-producer Finneas backed her on guitar. Jennifer Lopez and Maluma teamed up to perform their new songs “Pa’ Ti” and “Lonely” from the film “Marry Me,” which both of them star in, while Dua Lipa — who won favourite pop/rock song — floated in the air during her performance of “Levitating.”24kGoldn and Iann Dior — who currently have the country's No. 1 song with the smash hit “Mood," also performed. The multi-genre track is the rare song that has reached No. 1 on both the rap and rock charts.Other performers included BTS, Lewis Capaldi, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Baby, Bell Biv DeVoe and Nelly, who performed hits from his diamond-certified debut album “Country Grammar," which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.This year the AMAs, which typically awards one Latin honour, launched more categories in the genre. Becky G — who burst on the music scene in 2014 with the pop hit “Shower" but has recently had success singing in Spanish and launching hits on the Latin charts — won favourite Latin female artist.She used her speech to honour immigrant families.“I proudly wave both flags, Mexican and American. And like many, many children and grandchildren of immigrants, no matter where they’re from, we have learned from the ones before us what sacrifice and hard work looks like," she said. “And I dedicate this award to all of our immigrant workers in this pandemic; the students and immigrant families. It’s because of my family, my abuelitos, that I stand here today."Nominees for the AMAs were based on streaming, album and digital sales, radio airplay and social activity, and reflect the time period of Sept. 27, 2019, through Sept. 24, 2020.Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
These weren’t the piano lessons of my youth. Quite the opposite. Gone was the septuagenarian teacher crowding me on a piano bench at my grandmother’s house, extolling the importance of Christian hymns. “Old Rugged Cross,” “Jesus Loves Me,” “How Great Thou Art." Grandma finally accepted my resignation after a few solid years of protest. Then last spring, as the pandemic droned on, I’d lost my job, and our schools in the Boston area remained closed, I decided to start taking piano lessons again. It had been 30 years. The grand staff was a foreign language and the only key I could recognize was middle C. The first day, I propped up my phone, clicked a Zoom link for our lesson and found an energetic college student staring back at me. I’d been thinking about returning to piano for a while, but never had the free time required for learning a skill until the shutdown in March. It was rainy and frigid in New England, and I needed an antidote for the monotony of pandemic life. Some were tending sourdough starters, others binge-watched Netflix. I started piano lessons. I wasn’t the only one who chose music. NEW WAYS TO PASS TIME “I knew nothing about the ukulele community before COVID,” said Pat Adamson-Waitley, 64, of Edina, Minnesota. Adamson-Waitley had played the ukulele a handful of times, but in March, she said, “I started playing it every day.” She joined Zoom jams with other players, and bought two ukuleles and two songbooks. Summer's warm weather took her away from the ukulele a little, but she still averages 30 minutes of playing time a day. Clubs like the Twin Cities ukulele club, an informal group of about 300 people, have welcomed many people discovering music for the first time, or finding it again. Tom Ehlinger, 69, of Bloomington, Minnesota, leads the club’s weekly Zoom jams. “One thing that’s different about the Zoom jam is that it’s much easier to get to than an in-person jam,” he said. “There’s no traffic.” Since March, Ehlinger has received inquiries from people as far away as New York City wanting to join. “It brings people together solely for the purpose of doing something enjoyable,” he said. NEVER A BETTER TIME As for formal lessons, Andrew Geant, co-founder of Chicago-based Wyzant, an online marketplace for private tutors, said music has become one of the company’s fastest growing areas. Cello tutors in April experienced a 450 per cent increase in students and a 400 per cent rise in lessons from last year, he said. By October, the number had grown to a 4,500 per cent increase in students and a 4,730 per cent increase in lessons. The cost of online lessons is lower than in-person instruction, Geant noted. And if the student and teacher don’t match well, it’s easy to find a new instructor. “Online, you can find the right instructor because you’re no longer bound by geography,” he said. Rashida Bryant, 44, is an Atlanta-based voice instructor through Wyzant who saw her client roster double from April to June, when she had 30 students. Her students range in age from early teenagers to people in their late 60s. “Everybody has different reasons for doing it, but if you’re going to be at home, then this is a better time than any,” she said. A SENSE OF CONTROL Turning to music during bleak times has a long history, said Joy Allen, chair of Music Therapy at Berklee College of Music in Boston. “It gives us choice and control, and we don’t have a lot of that right now,” she said. Music also provides social connection, Allen said, and a link to the familiar. During lockdown, private piano lessons for Andrea Cordero Fage’s two teenage sons in Harrison, New York, stopped, but something new happened. The brothers, whose interest in music has waxed and waned over the years, “came into their own musically,” she said. “I would have never imagined it.” They started playing piano for hours a day. They researched movie soundtracks, like the one to the 2014 science fiction epic “Interstellar,” by Hans Zimmer, and learned the score on their own with the assistance of sites like YouTube. “After dinner, one would play and the other would watch. Then they’d switch,” Cordero Fage said. “I think they fed off each other, saw it as a challenge.” Studying or listening to music can harness our focus, said Melita Belgrave, associate dean and professor of music therapy at Arizona State University. Throughout the pandemic, many people have been watching concerts at home but retaining a semblance of the shared experience. The millions of people who streamed the movie version of the Broadway musical “Hamilton” is an example. “People are finding themselves drawn to the arts and crafts,” Belgrave said. “We are learning new ways to connect with each other.” I haven’t figured out whether my Zoom piano lessons will continue past the pandemic. I've gone from knowing middle C to playing cusp chords, eight-key scales and Mozart. But even if returning to regular life interrupts my lessons, piano will always be one of my best pandemic memories. Tracee M. Herbaugh, The Associated Press
The vice president of an Island trucking company says it's doing everything it can to keep everyone safe while continuing to follow the changing rules for rotational workers. "As an industry, we're going to do what we kind of have to do to keep the community around us safe," Andy Keith with Seafood Express Transport told Island Morning's Laura Chapin. "It does pose some additional challenges for us, but if we have to do it, we have to do it."Currently, there are around 900 Islanders who are considered rotational workers — including truckers. For them, special guidelines and testing routines are expected to be followed. 'Unprecedented times for everybody'Recently, P.E.I.'s Chief Public Heath office put out a reminder of those rules after a rotational worker visited a number of stores before testing positive for COVID-19.It remains unclear if that rotational worker was a truck driver. But currently, commercial truck drivers who are residents of P.E.I. must be tested three times to be exempt from isolation. There is, however, an exception for those who are only in the province for a few days. The rules "come out quickly and they change quite often unfortunately so that's been a challenge," said Keith. For his drivers, Keith said questions about the guidelines have ranged from do they need to self-isolate from their families to can they go to a doctor's appointment when they're home."With the new rules changes now, its been a little more clear and there's a little more clarity in what they can and can't do," he said. "I think it's unprecedented times for everybody so we're all kind of rolling with the punches at this point."'They should be proud'According to Keith, some drivers have also taken this as an opportunity to increase their workload since the options to socialize during their days off are limited. "A lot of cases our drivers are here and their families are back in their home countries," he said. "They have that optimistic viewpoint to say, 'Well maybe I'll just keep working and work a little harder make a little extra money.'"And for others, Keith said he can understand how it might be tough being a rotational worker during a time where travel isn't recommended. "We're telling our drivers that they're providing an essential service," he said. "They're really the heroes of ... bringing food products to Islanders and to Atlantic Canadian and Canadians as a whole.""They should be proud of what they're doing."More from CBC P.E.I.
This has not a normal year for many local and provincial organizations. This includes the Municipalities of Saskatchewan, who are taking their yearly regional meetings online for this year. There are ups and downs to this format, said Gordon Barnhart, president of the Municipalities of Saskatchewan. In a normal year, each region would meet in one of their communities with Municipalities of Saskatchewan representatives also in attendance to share information and answer questions from the regional members. Having the meeting virtually and over a two span will save people travel time and expenses. With a province as large as Saskatchewan, it takes some people a lot of time to get to and from meetings, Barnhart said. There were benefits to face to face meetings, he said, and that is going to be lacking this year with members only meeting through cyberspace. “We're all humans and we form friendships. Those friendships are very important in terms of serving our municipalities, so we're missing out on that, but on the other hand, this option is better than nothing at all.” While he hopes the meetings can eventually go back to being done in person, Barnhart said he respects the work of Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, and does not want these regional meetings into times of COVID-19 spread. The realities of COVID, losses of revenue and extra cleaning costs to municipalities are topics of conversation that may come up during the meetings, Barnhart said, as well as infrastructure projects and provincial and federal funding during COVID. These additional funding opportunities have meant a boost for municipalities, he said, whether those are to help weather COVID or use funds to maintain services and facilities that would have taken a financial hit due to spending difficulties. That has been a silver lining for municipalities during the pandemic, Barnhart said. With the municipal elections wrapping up at the beginning of the month, these regional meetings will also mean new members at the individual council tables and, therefore, new representatives being elected to positions on the Municipalities of Saskatchewan board, Barnhart said. This year’s meetings will be split between two days of meetings with the north, northwest, northeast, and west central meeting on Dec. 1 and the central, east central, southwest, and southeast meeting on Dec. 2. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
LONDON — Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals.The results are based on interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. No hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were reported in those receiving the vaccine.AstraZeneca is the third major drug company to report late-stage results for a potential COVID-19 vaccine as the world anxiously waits for scientific breakthroughs that will bring an end to a pandemic that has wrought economic devastation and resulted in nearly 1.4 million confirmed deaths.Pfizer and Moderna last week reported preliminary results from late-stage trials showing their vaccines were almost 95% effective. But, unlike its rivals, the AstraZeneca vaccine doesn't have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it easier to distribute, especially in developing countries.“I think these are really exciting results,” Dr. Andrew Pollard, chief investigator for the trial, said during a news conference. “Because the vaccine can be stored at fridge temperatures, it can be distributed around the world using the normal immunization distribution system. And so our goal … to make sure that we have a vaccine that was accessible everywhere, I think we’ve actually managed to do that.”The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is also cheaper. AstraZeneca, which has pledged it won’t make a profit on the vaccine during the pandemic, has reached agreements with governments and international health organizations that put its cost at about $2.50 a dose. Pfizer’s vaccine costs about $20 a dose, while Moderna's is $15 to $25, based on agreements the companies have struck to supply their vaccines to the U.S. government.All three vaccines must be approved by regulators before they can be widely distributed.Oxford researchers and AstraZeneca stressed that they aren't competing with other projects, and that multiple vaccines will be needed to reach enough of the world's population and end the pandemic.“We’re not thinking about vaccinations working in terms of one person at a time. We have to think about vaccinating communities, populations, reducing transmission within those populations, so that we really get on top of this pandemic,'' said Sarah Gilbert, a leader of the Oxford research team. “And that’s what it now looks like we’re going to have the ability to contribute to in a really big way.''The results come as a second wave of COVID-19 hits many countries, once again shutting businesses, restricting social interaction and pummeling the world economy.AstraZeneca said it will immediately apply for early approval of the vaccine where possible, and it will seek an emergency use listing from the World Health Organization, so it can make the vaccine available in low-income countries.The AstraZeneca trial looked at two different dosing regimens. A half-dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose at least one month later was 90% effective. Another approach, giving patients two full doses one month apart, was 62% effective. The combined results showed an average efficacy rate of 70%.The vaccine uses a weakened version of a common cold virus that is combined with genetic material for the characteristic spike protein of the virus that causes COVID-19. After vaccination, the spike protein primes the immune system to attack the virus if it later infects the body.The vaccine can be transported under “normal refrigerated conditions” of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit), AstraZeneca said. By comparison, Pfizer plans to distribute its vaccine using specially designed “thermal shippers” that use dry ice to maintain temperatures of minus-70 degrees Celsius (minus-94 degrees Fahrenheit).Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said the finding that a smaller initial dose is more effective than a larger one is good news because it may reduce costs and mean more people can be vaccinated.“The report that an initial half-dose is better than a full dose seems counterintuitive for those of us thinking of vaccines as normal drugs: With drugs, we expect that higher doses have bigger effects, and more side-effects,” he said. “But the immune system does not work like that.”The results reported Monday come from trials in the U.K. and Brazil that involved 23,000 people. Late-stage trials are also underway in the U.S., Japan, Russia, South Africa, Kenya and Latin America, with further trials planned for other European and Asian countries.AstraZeneca has been ramping up manufacturing capacity, so it can supply hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine starting in January, Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said earlier this month.Soriot said Monday that the Oxford vaccine’s simpler supply chain and AstraZeneca’s commitment to provide it on a non-profit basis during the pandemic mean it will be affordable and available to people around the world.“This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency,’’ Soriot said.British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he felt “a great sense of relief” at the news from AstraZeneca.Britain has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, and the government says several million doses can be produced before the end of the year if it is approved by regulators.Just months ago, “the idea that by November we would have three vaccines, all of which have got high effectiveness … I would have given my eye teeth for,” Hancock said.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakDanica Kirka And Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
Agriculture in Labrador has always been a bit of a hard go. While there is a huge amount of agricultural land in the region — far more than on the island portion of the province — the vast majority of it is uncleared and even getting access to some of it could take years. There is a bright side, though. In recent years, a few new farms have popped up and one is even planning to sell local beef. Food insecurity is a big issue in Labrador, with high prices and the area only producing one per cent of the food it consumes. The provincial government created a work sector plan for agriculture in the last few years and highlighted some concerns producers are having in Labrador, including the lack of an abattoir or the ability to sell large-scale commercial eggs in the region and the need for more Crown land to be made available for agriculture. On Nature’s Best Farm, Desmond Sellars has been growing produce such as carrots and potatoes in the region for about 20 years. He is a familiar face to many in Happy Valley-Goose Bay as the guy who sells vegetables in front of the courthouse, There is a huge amount of opportunity for farmers in Labrador, according to Sellars, but he feels the industry is still in its infancy stage and 'requires a lot of zeroes in your bank account.’ “Farmers here in Labrador can produce more but it always comes down to policy around agriculture. There’s no question about the soil, there’s no question about the land being able to produce, but we do not have the right policy and the right supports at the present time to support increased agriculture here in Labrador.” Things are moving in the right direction, he said, with the province recognizing the need for more locally produced food, but agriculture is a long game and that’s even more true in Labrador. It can take years to get leased land from the government, he said, and that’s just the first hurdle. Since all agricultural land in Labrador is leased, not granted, farmers don’t have access to any capital from it to go to banks, and so have to invest a lot of their own money up front. Even then, he said, the province still owns it and when a farmer retires, all the investments they made on the land can be lost. Freight costs are another barrier, he said. It costs just as much to ship things sometimes as the items themselves. That drives up his cost, which is a barrier to selling his produce to local stores. It’s cheaper for local stores in bring in food from outside the province than buy from him, he said, and that needs to be addressed. “Farmers don’t need a handout, they need a hand up,” he said. ‘If I could, for example, be able to expense freight on a subsidy basis I could compete with P.E.I., Ontario, New Brunswick, and I’d have that market, I know I would. That wouldn’t be a terrible cost to anyone, but it would be a big step for producers.” At the end of the day, he said, young people need to see that agriculture is something worthwhile to pursue and he doesn’t see a lot of that messaging out there. While farming is a long-term investment because of the large upfront capital costs, he said, it can be very profitable and there need to be more conversations around that. “The whole notion of farming as an important, viable business for this province and for people to engage in, there aren’t enough conversations around that. Farming is an underdeveloped part of this province, that’s self-evident. For that to change it requires ongoing conversations and I would argue some policy changes. “ Jim Purdy is one of the operators of Birch Lane Farm on Mud Lake Road in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, which produces a wide variety of products, from produce to live chickens and live ducks to berries and jams. Purdy highlighted some of the same issues as Sellars, especially around the impact of freight costs and getting Crown land. “Our biggest competition isn’t here, it’s in Quebec and Ontario. They can sell their product cheaper here than we can produce it for. We have to depend on the local market, loyalty, to sell our products.” Purdy said people do recognize that locally grown food tastes better, but producers need to move into larger commercial markets to be able to grow and that isn’t possible right now. Other provinces have programs to assist with that, he said, and something needs to be done in Newfoundland and Labrador. Things that aren’t issues in less remote places, he said, like getting a tractor fixed or hiring someone to clear land, can be a real barrier in Labrador. “I would say that there’s less than 200 acres of cleared agricultural land in Labrador and in some places that’s a small farm,” he said. “It’s not like you can call someone and get them to do it. We don’t have the infrastructure here for agriculture, it’s as simple as that.” He said in his opinion other provinces have done a lot more to help with agricultural production and it doesn’t seem to be a priority for the government in Newfoundland and Labrador. Much like Sellars, Purdy cites the rules around Crown land and the unwillingness of government to grant it to farmers. “They can but they won’t,” he said. “It took me a few years to get a lease and that was on land no one else wanted. Can you imagine how long it would take if someone else had wanted it? I don’t know why the process takes so long but it isn’t helping anything. If you want to farm here, you better be ready for a long investment,” he said. When asked what could be done to help the industry grow Purdy said he didn’t even know where to start, but government offering more support is a big part of it. When SaltWire Network contacted Fisheries, Forestry, and Agriculture Minister Elvis Loveless, who was given the portfolio three months ago, he said he hasn’t had a chance go to Labrador to meet with local producers yet and discuss the issues, but he’s committed to doing so. “Our goal, in terms of helping farmers, is opening up access to land,” Loveless said when asked about the concerns expressed over the inability to get granted agricultural land. “Farmers, in order to grow vegetables, or just around the culture of growing, need land, there’s no doubt. I won’t make a commitment on a timeframe, but I will commit to talking to farmers. I’m looking to get on the ground in Labrador and have those conversations with them; what are their priorities moving their industry forward in Labrador?” Loveless said in terms of issues, it’s “all on the table.” He referenced recent investments made by the provincial government in the central Labrador region for community gardens and a cold storage and packaging facility in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and said there are plans to make more agricultural land available in the region. “Having access to safe and healthy food is on everyone’s minds, and addressing those needs has never been more important than right now, especially in Labrador, where the residents rely heavily on food imported from other areas, and that’s something we’d like to change.” Tomorrow: a new beef farm is the only one of its kind in Labrador. Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
Janet Langdon and Roxanne Walsh-Seabright have always held a special place for their hometown of Gander. As first-generation Ganderites, the pair know the town has a unique place in provincial history and culture. “We love our town,” said Walsh-Seabright. When Langdon returned to the area in 2015 upon her retirement after living at various stops on the mainland, she and Walsh-Seabright started talking about ways they could showcase their beloved hometown. As many a Newfoundlander will tell you, you can live wherever you want, but nothing will ever replace the place you grew up. “It’s in your blood,” said Langdon. “It is a special place. It holds onto your identity.” Then, they got the idea to showcase Gander and its uniqueness through clothes. Langdon had studied textile design and has always had a love for fashion design, while Walsh-Seabright studied interior design. They both shared a love for design and being creative so it was only natural they settle on an outlet that would allow them to explore that side of themselves a bit more. They found that outlet with their Newfoundland Dog Company clothing line. “We’re both creative at heart,” said Walsh-Seabright. They also get some help from family members. Langdon’s partner has offered up designs for products while others model them. The Newfoundland Dog Company got its start in the wake of the popularity of the smash Broadway musical “Come From Away.” With its depiction of what Gander and the area did for the people stranded during the Sept. 9, 2001, terrorist attacks, the show captured the attention and imagination of the world. Its popularity undoubtedly meant that the region was going to see an influx of tourism as people sought to see the place and the people that helped so many during a trying time. That fact was not lost on either Langdon or Walsh-Seabright. They sought to offer unique tourism products that highlighted some of the unique parts of their hometown. After some back-and-forth, they decided on a clothing line that would showcase the history of Gander and eventually, the surrounding area. It was launched on June 04, 2017. “It is very exciting because Gander has such a unique history,” said Langdon. Even the name Newfoundland Dog is partly a referral to a piece of the town’s history. During the Second World War, there was a Newfoundland dog named Gander who was awarded the Dickin Medal, an animal’s Victoria Cross, for his heroics during the war. The other half of the Newfoundland Dog Company's name refers Humber, the Newfoundland dog that was a big part of Langdon's family growing up. A mixture of short-sleeve and long-sleeve shirts, they have a number of different designs, from the propeller of a plane to the ‘Welcome to Gander’ sign at the Gander International Airport. There is one item featuring the likeness of the town’s mascot, Commander Gander, as well as an outline of the town in the 1970s One of their latest creations is an ode to Sidetracks, a bar in town that welcomed some high-profile acts during its day. The last couple of years has seen the line expand to ball caps, toques, mitten, throw pillows and dog bandanas. “It is basically what surrounds us,” said Walsh-Seabright. “What is unique to us that is different from anyone else.” Like other companies, the Newfoundland Dog Company has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A mostly online venture, they’re starting to see things start to come around and have several pop-up sales scheduled for Nov. 28, Dec.5, Dec. 12 and Dec. 19 in Gander. “We’re excited for the popups and introducing some new things,” said Walsh-Seabright. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
PARIS — The trial of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy for corruption and influence peddling was suspended Monday less than two hours after it started, to allow a medical report on one of the defendants.Sarkozy is accused of having tried to illegally obtain information from a magistrate about an investigation involving him in 2014.This is the first trial for the 65-year-old politician, who has faced several other judicial investigations since leaving office in 2012.He stands trial in a Paris court along with his lawyer Thierry Herzog, 65, and the magistrate, Gilbert Azibert, 73. They face a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of 1 million euros ($1.2 million.) They deny any wrongdoing.Sarkozy and Herzog are suspected of promising Azibert a job in Monaco in exchange for leaking information about an investigation into suspected illegal financing of the 2007 presidential campaign by France’s richest woman, L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt.Sarkozy arrived at the court surrounded by his lawyers and bodyguards, in the presence of dozens of journalists. The Paris court has been placed under high security as hearings in the case, scheduled until Dec. 10, are taking place at the same time as another key trial — that of the 2015 attacks at the Charlie Hebdo offices and a kosher supermarket.The trial started Monday in the absence of Azibert, whose lawyer requested the hearings to be postponed. He argued his client's bad health makes it risky for him to travel and appear in court amid the coronavirus pandemic, leading the court to suspend proceedings pending an expert medical report. The trial will resume on Thursday.In 2014, Sarkozy and Herzog used secret mobile phones — registered to the alias name of “Paul Bismuth” — to be be able to have private talks as they feared their conversations were being tapped.Sarkozy and Herzog explained that they bought the phones to avoid being targeted by illegal phone tapping. Investigative judges, however, suspect they actually wanted to avoid being tapped by investigators.Judges have found that discussions between Sarkozy and his lawyer suggested they had knowledge that judicial investigators at the time tapped their conversations on their official phones — they mentioned “judges listening.”Sarkozy argued that he never intervened to help Azibert, who never got the job and retired in 2014.Investigative judges consider that as soon as a deal has been offered, it constitutes a criminal offence even if the promises haven't been fulfilled.Legal proceedings against Sarkozy have been dropped in the Bettencourt case.Sarkozy, a lawyer by training, pointed at judicial harassment, accusing judges of breaching lawyer-client privilege via wiretapping.“I don't want things that I didn't do to be held against me. The French need to know... that I'm not a rotten person,” he told BFM TV earlier this month.He said he was facing the trial in a “combative” mood.Sarkozy's predecessor, Jacques Chirac, was found guilty in 2011 of misuse of public money, breach of trust and conflict of interest and given a two-year suspended prison sentence for actions during his time as Paris mayor, before he was president from 1995 to 2007.Sarkozy’s name has appeared for years in several other judicial investigations.Allegations, which include illegal financing of his 2007 campaign by then-Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, cast a shadow over Sarkozy's comeback attempt for the 2017 presidential election.After failing to be chosen as candidate by his conservative party, he withdrew from active politics.Sarkozy remained the most popular figure amid French right-wing voters in recent years. His memoirs published this summer, “The Time of Storms,” was a bestseller for weeks.Sarkozy was handed preliminary charges including “illegal campaign financing” in the Libyan investigation, which has been underway since 2013 — and prompted the wiretapping of his phones.Earlier this month, French-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine retracted his previous statements that he delivered suitcases from Libya containing 5 million euros ($5.9 million) in cash to Sarkozy and his former chief of staff, Claude Gueant.Instead, he told news broadcaster BFM and magazine Paris-Match that there were “no Libyan financing.”Sarkozy said that the truth “finally comes out.”Financial prosecutors said in a statement that charges in the Libyan case are based “on strong or corroborated evidence that are not limited to one person’s statement only.”Meanwhile, the former president will stand another trial in spring 2021 along with 13 other people on charges of illegal financing of his 2012 presidential campaign.His conservative party and a company named Bygmalion are accused of using a special invoice system to conceal unauthorized overspending.They are suspected of having spent 42.8 million euros ($50.7 million), almost twice the maximum authorized, to finance the campaign, which ended up in victory for Socialist rival Francois Hollande.Nicolas Vaux-Montagny And Sylvie Corbet, The Associated Press
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Authorities in the South Korean capital on Monday announced a tightening of social distancing regulations, including shutting nightclubs, limiting service hours at restaurants and reducing public transportation.The measures going into effect on Tuesday also include a ban on public rallies or demonstrations of more than 10 people. Restaurants can provide only take out and delivery after 9 p.m., and public transportation will be limited after 10 p.m.Acting Seoul Mayor Seo Jung-hyup told reporters one-third of city employees will work from home. He recommend churches convert to online worship services only.Earlier on Monday, the country reported 271 new cases of the coronavirus.South Korea has saw the virus spread faster after authorities eased social distancing restrictions to the lowest level in October amid concerns about a weak economy.Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency Director Jeong Eun-kyeong said tightening guidelines was inevitable as a failure to slow transmissions now could “break the dam” in anti-virus efforts and result in a surge in infections nationwide that may overwhelm hospital systems.“We need to reduce people-to-people contact,” she said during a briefing Monday, pleading with people to cancel year-end meetings and other gatherings.In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:— Chinese authorities are testing millions of people, imposing lockdowns and shutting down schools after multiple locally transmitted coronavirus cases were discovered in three cities across the country last week. As temperatures drop, large-scale measures are being enacted in the cities of Tianjin, Shanghai and Manzhouli. Many experts and government officials have warned that the chance of the virus spreading will be greater during the cold weather. On Monday, the National Health Commission reported two new locally transmitted cases in Shanghai over the last 24 hours, bringing the total to seven since Friday.— Indonesia’s confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed half a million as the government of the world’s fourth most populous nation scrambles to procure vaccines to help it win the fight against the pandemic. The Health Ministry reported 4,442 new cases on Monday to bring the country’s total to 502,110, the highest toll in Southeast Asia and second in Asia only to India’s more than 9.1 million confirmed cases. The ministry said that the death toll from the virus is 16,002, and that it has been adding 3,000-5,000 daily cases since mid-September. President Joko Widodo said his administration is working on a mass vaccination program for the vast archipelago nation, home to more than 270 million people.— Sri Lanka has reopened some of the thousands of schools that have been closed for more than a month due to a surge of the coronavirus. Schools will remain closed in Colombo and it’s suburbs as the number of cases is still climbing in those parts. According to the government’s decision, schools were re-opened only for students in grades 6 to 13. The Education Ministry said there are 10,165 state-run schools in the country and arrangements were made to open 5,100 schools on Monday. Sri Lanka closed schools last month when two new clusters emerged in Colombo and it’s suburbs. The confirmed cases from the two clusters had grown to 16,639 by Monday.— India has registered 44,059 another new cases of the coronavirus and 511 deaths in the past 24 hours. New Delhi on Monday added 5,879 new cases 111 deaths and its rate of positive testing is more than three times the national average, authorities said. India has reported more than 9 million cases since the pandemic began, second behind the United States.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakThe Associated Press
NASHVILLE — For Grammy-winning international star Angelique Kidjo, her artistry and her activism inform each other because music has the power to connect beyond skin colour, language or countries. “Music has that absolutely powerful side to it that sometimes when I finish a concert, I’m like, ’Why can’t we just live like this?'” said the singer-songwriter from the West African country of Benin. That sentiment is something that Skip Marley, a third-generation musician and grandson of reggae icon Bob Marley, has grown up knowing as well. “We’re talking to the people, so it’s all colours, all religions,” said Marley. “Music is music. That’s the beauty of it. It cuts through all of those barriers or borders.” These musicians are part of an online fundraising concert on Dec. 1 called Peace Through Music: A Global Event For Social Justice, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. The Facebook Live event will also feature performances by Annie Lennox, Becky G, Brandi Carlile and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Carlos Santana, Gary Clark Jr., Mavis Staples, Ringo Starr, Run The Jewels, Sheila E, Yo-Yo Ma and more. The event will raise money for the Playing for Change Foundation, the United Nations Population Fund, Sankofa, Silkroad and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. Kidjo, who is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, is an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and education for young women in Africa through her Batonga Foundation. Kidjo has travelled the world to encourage young people to be leaders in their own communities because she says that is the leverage needed to address systematic issues of poverty and climate change. “We’ve created a world with billions of people suffering and a minority of people are living on top of them. And if we want to live in a world of peace, we have to take care of Mother Nature and at the same time take care to get people out of poverty,” said Kidjo, from her home in Paris. For the online concert, Kidjo teamed up remotely with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Peter Gabriel to sing Gabriel's anti-apartheid anthem “Biko,” about a South African activist who was killed in detention in the 1970s. Kidjo said the song’s message directly connected to this year’s Black Lives Matter protests over police killings of Black men and women. “Racism is so linked to capitalism and we have failed to address that issue for so many, many, many years and centuries, I think from slavery all the way to today, that it becomes a cancer that is eating our societies,” said Kidjo. “Get Up, Stand Up,” a simple message that has become part of Bob Marley’s legacy to the world, was the obvious song choice for his grandson to sing for this online concert. “Wherever there is a fight, wherever there is oppression, wherever there is wrongdoing, there will always be that anthem,” said Marley, who performed with song with his mother Cedella Marley. It’s a spiritual experience to sing his grandfather’s songs, Marley said. “Those are the songs I first hear and the songs I first sing,” said Marley. “So when I’m singing it, I’m feeling my grandfather.” Kristin M. Hall, The Associated Press
Cinq générations d’agriculture sur leur terre de Baie-des-Sables, et l’héritage agricole de la famille Chamberland tient toujours, 110 ans plus tard. En service depuis 2000, la Ferme D. & E. Chamberland est relancée après qu’Eric ait décidé de poursuivre la récolte de pommes de terre. Le premier Chamberland à lancer la ferme familiale fut Joseph, l’arrière-grand-père d’Eric, élevé à Saint-Joseph-de-Lepage près de Mont-Joli. Il était l’aîné d’une grande famille et il était assez vieux pour s’établir, mais comme il avait d’autres enfants après lui, son père ne voulait pas lui vendre sa propre terre. Sa sœur vivait à Baie-des-Sables, et par la poste elle lui fait savoir que la terre voisine était à vendre. Le père de Joseph, André, a donc fait acquisition de la terre pour Joseph qui avait 19 ans à l’époque, considéré mineur et devait attendre ses 21 ans avant. Joseph a été le premier à s’établir sur la terre en 1910 jusqu’en 1948, où il a élevé sa famille. Celui-ci vendait des pommes de terre, mais aussi des légumes de toutes sortes, même qu’il allait pêcher des palourdes à Métis pour les vendre par la suite. C’est en 1948 que le grand-père d’Eric, Antonio, a repris la terre et s’est mis à faire du commerce de légumes variés, dont des pommes de terre et des fraises estivales cueillies dans Bellechasse, des pommes et des porcs, se construisant une porcherie pour subvenir à ses besoins. Dans les années 1950, il couvrait de la vallée de La Matapédia jusqu’à Causapscal, et il a soudainement décidé de se tourner vers le nord de la Gaspésie, comme Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Mont-Louis ou Grande-Vallée. C’est donc officiellement depuis 1952 que des Chamberland vendent des pommes de terre de Baie-des-Sables jusqu’à Rivière-au-Renard, sans interruption. Ils n’ont jamais osé vendre au sud de Baie-des-Sables, comme il y avait déjà des commerçants avec leur propre marché. Antonio, le fameux grand-père d’Eric, a donc eu la terre jusqu’en 1974, où son père, Denis, a ensuite racheté la terre. Son père a bâti le tout premier entrepôt de pommes de terre. Il a alors commencé à mécaniser sa production et améliorer beaucoup les terres pendant les années 1980, afin que les patates soient de meilleure qualité, pour un meilleur rendement en y ajoutant du compost et des engrais verts. Denis n’avait pas de formation d’agriculture et n’était pas agronome, mais il s’intéressait aux nouvelles façons de faire et la nature du sol de ses champs. Pendant qu’Antonio complétait les livraisons, Denis était prêt au poste à la ferme. Antonio était d’ailleurs très peu à la maison, car il avait le camion et se promenait pour les ventes. Denis, lui, restait sur place, dirigeait les employés et gérait les activités. À 15 ans seulement, le père d’Eric était déjà à la tête du personnel, comptant environ 10 ou 12 personnes. En effet, tout se faisait à la main ou à genoux dans le champ – la production n’était pas automatisée. Antonio est décédé à 80 ans à cause d’un accident dans son camion, en 1995. Denis a donc dû revirer de bord et a décidé du destin de l’entreprise. Le père d’Eric a fait le choix de lâcher le reste de la production, comme le porc et tous les autres commerces en se concentrant sur la pomme de terre. Il voulait ainsi développer un marché plus ciblé. Son père, Denis, avait été plutôt innovateur, alors ils ont repris la production en agrandissant l’entreprise préexistante. En effet, Denis avait essayé de vendre à des grossistes, mais sans succès. Il a donc acheté un nouveau camion et a commencé à organiser ses propres livraisons. « Ce qui permet de garder la ferme fonctionnelle et rentable, c’est de livrer les patates directement. Oui, ça contient des frais additionnels, mais on passe toute notre production sans problème », a expliqué Eric. En effet, en 2000, Eric et sa femme, Diane, viennent s’installer sur la ferme à leur tour et reprennent les rênes de l’entreprise, baptisée depuis quelques années déjà « Ferme D. & E. Chamberland ». Eric était originellement infirmier à l’hôpital de Matane et travaillait aux soins intensifs. Ensuite, il y a eu les coupures financières du ministre Jean Rochon en 1997, ils n’avaient que deux enfants à ce moment-là. Ils ont ainsi changé la machinerie et grossi leurs installations en agrandissant l’entrepôt à quelques reprises, créant une salle d’emballage. Un bout original de l’entrepôt existe encore aujourd’hui, mais il disparaîtra l’année prochaine en agrandissant une fois de plus de manière significative leur bâtiment d’entreposage. Depuis 1974, cinq agrandissements ont eu lieu. « Dans les dernières années, le matériel s’est modernisé : les lifts électriques sont arrivés, les caisses de bois sont arrivées, et ça c’était l’innovation », a lancé Eric. Chaque génération a amené quelque chose de nouveau. Eric est enfant unique, et il savait que son père gérait la ferme seul, et Diane a été élevée sur une ferme laitière à Saint-Damase. Il a donc commencé un été, mais ça a été une adaptation parce qu’il n’avait jamais travaillé dans les champs, seulement la livraison. Après deux étés d’essai, ils se sont lancés dans l’entreprise pour un 23 ans, et depuis peu, avec l’aide de leur fils Mathieu. En 2019, le fils d’Eric, Mathieu, un de leurs quatre enfants, rachète la majorité des parts de la compagnie familiale, qui aidait à la ferme depuis cinq ans. Il a commencé très jeune la livraison avec son père, puis a suivi son grand-père Denis dans les champs. Plus tard, Mathieu a voulu aller à l’université en histoire pour finalement changer d’idée et retourner à l’agriculture. Il a complété un diplôme d’études professionnelles en mécanique agricole à Mont-Joli. Présentement, ils se séparent le travail : Eric s’occupe généralement des livraisons, et Mathieu est présent dans les champs et gère la production. Mathieu a donc pris la place de son grand-père Denis, en s’occupant des champs, l’entretien et les innovations. Diane et Eric se disent ravis de voir leur fils reprendre la ferme, même s’ils n’ont jamais demandé à leurs enfants de faire partie de la relève. Mathieu a fait quelques années comme mécanicien dans un garage à Matane pour prendre de l’expérience et connaître autre chose, avant d’arriver avec des nouvelles idées modernes. Depuis environ cinq ans, ils ont fait beaucoup de changements pour s’adapter. Mathieu est très à l’affût des nouveautés, en achetant par exemple une nouvelle machine d’emballage qui permet de sauver sur les coûts de main d’œuvre. Mathieu est d’ailleurs en contact avec une agroéconomiste de l’Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) concernant l’emprunt d’argent pour acheter de la machinerie. « Emprunter, ça peut être payant en calculant ce que ça va apporter dans quelques années après avoir remboursé la machine », a expliqué Diane. Mathieu se dédie à la recherche de nouvelles technologies afin d’améliorer la rentabilité des installations. L’agroenvironnement est beaucoup plus poussé pour une génération actuelle. Ce qu’on vise, à l’avenir, est la réduction des pesticides, même si le biologique ne serait pas rentable pour l’instant. L’année prochaine, ils auront une tour météorologique avec un capteur de store pour faire des analyses dans l’air pour savoir exactement quand on a besoin d’arroser pour ne pas arroser inutilement. La récolte d’oignons a pu réduire ses arrosages de 50 %. Il a d’ailleurs fait faire des tests avec des drones il y a deux ans, mais c’était encore trop expérimental et n’a pas donné les résultats escomptés. Ils sont au bout de chaîne d’alimentation, et apprécient vraiment de venir à l’encontre de leurs consommateurs, dans l’esprit d’achat local. Pendant la pandémie, ils ont vu une augmentation de leurs ventes et de l’appréciation de leurs clients. Et heureusement, cette année, ils ont eu une excellente récolte. « Ça a été sec partout au Bas-Saint-Laurent pour le foin et les céréales, mais il a plut pour les pommes de terre. Au bon moment, et juste dans la région ici, de Mont-Joli à Matane. Le Bic et Trois-Pistoles ont eu bien des difficultés », ont expliqué Eric et Mathieu. En début août, ils commencent à récolter toutes les semaines, et c’est fin septembre ou début octobre qu’ils arrachent tout ce qu’il reste dans leur vingtaine d’hectares en production, avant qu’il fasse froid. Et au printemps, ils recommencent leurs semences en mars, et plantent leurs champs en mai. Au total, la superficie de la ferme est d’environ 70 hectares, avec environ une trentaine en production, sans compter la portion de champs en rotation. En 2013, ils sont devenus accrédités par Super C et Métro. Un inspecteur passe quotidiennement pour vérifier si leur procédure est conforme aux normes. Ils vendent d’ailleurs au Super C de Matane et au Métro de Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, et le reste va aux cantines de la région, qui sont d’importants clients de la Ferme D. & E. Chamberland pour les patates frites. Présentement, Mathieu a 28 ans et reste dans sa propre maison au centre du village de Baie-des-Sables. Il se concentre sur les défis actuels que présente la ferme, et avec l’aide de son père Eric, met la main à la pâte quotidiennement pour récolter les meilleures pommes de terre possible, en espérant un jour pouvoir réduire son niveau de pesticides. Et qui sait, peut-être qu’un jour, l’expertise familiale de la Ferme D. & E. Chamberland perdurera avec une sixième génération.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
Toronto and Peel Region have officially moved into lockdown as Ontario tries to curb the province's steep rise in COVID-19 cases. The shutdown will last a minimum of 28 days.
Saint-Tite – La MRC de Mékinac réagit au cri du cœur lancé dans nos pages par les relais de motoneiges qui craignent de ne pas traverser l'hiver si on leur permet seulement d'accueillir des clients pour les réchauffer, sans pouvoir ouvrir leurs salles à manger. Tous ont décrié l'impact des coûts fixes élevés comme le chauffage, la main-d'oeuvre ou le nettoyage des lieux pour expliquer les difficultés financières qu'ils anticipent. La MRC de Mékinac se dit sensible de la situation vécue par les relais de son territoire. «C’est une situation vraiment préoccupante pour notre milieu. L’industrie de la motoneige est un moteur économique très important pour notre MRC, tant au niveau des relais que des autres commerces autour. Les motoneigistes sortent souvent dans les sentiers avec le but de se rendre dans un relais, de consommer et de faire d’autres arrêts dans différents commerces. La fermeture des relais peut entrainer un ralentissement économique sur un volet beaucoup plus large» s'inquiète Nadia Moreau, directrice du service de développement économique de la MRC de Mékinac. Elle craint que l'impact financier des décisions gouvernementales ne vienne hypothéquer sérieusement le secteur jusqu'au printemps. «Nous sommes évidemment grandement conscients des enjeux de la propagation de la COVID-19. Nous tentons par tous les moyens de soutenir notre milieu pour passer à travers cette crise. Par contre, nous aimerons grandement que ce que nous pouvons favoriser localement puisse se faire chez nous. La possibilité de voir les habitués de notre région se déplacer vers une région aux conditions plus souples demeure inquiétante tant au niveau sanitaire qu’économique» ajoute Nadia Moreau. La MRC soutient que selon les commerçants, les chiffres d'affaires sont en péril de 75 à 90%.Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
The grief and lessons, five years after I lost my brother.