Check out this pet raccoon as he gazes out the window at a snowstorm happening outside. So cool!
Check out this pet raccoon as he gazes out the window at a snowstorm happening outside. So cool!
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
DENPASAR, Indonesia — An American graphic designer is being deported from the Indonesian resort island of Bali over her viral tweets that celebrated it as a low-cost, queer-friendly place for foreigners to live. Kristen Antoinette Gray arrived in Bali in January 2020 and wound up staying through the coronavirus pandemic. Her posts on Twitter, including comparisons between Bali and Los Angeles and links to buy her e-book, began going viral in Indonesia on Sunday. “This island has been amazing because of our elevated lifestyle at much lower cost of living. I was paying $1,300 for my LA studio. Now I have a treehouse for $400,” one of Gray’s posts on Twitter said. Gray’s posts were considered to have “disseminated information disturbing to the public,” which was the basis for her deportation, said Jamaruli Manihuruk, chief of the Bali regional office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights. A statement from the office cited her descriptions of Bali providing comfort for LGBT and being easily accessible during the pandemic. It also referenced tweets with links to her e-book, which had direct links to agents who could help foreigners move to the island. “She stated that she could provide easy access to Bali through the recommended agency and offered the low living costs in Bali, that it is comfortable and LGBTQ-friendly,” Manihuruk said at a news conference Tuesday. Her tweets also referenced her e-book costing $30 and a follow-up consultation about becoming an expatriate in Bali for $50. “She is suspected of carrying out business activities by selling e-books and put a rate for consulting (about) Bali tourism,” Manihuruk said. Many Indonesian social media users were furious that she was showing off living and working in Bali without a proper business visa. “I am not guilty. I have not overstayed my (tourist) visa. I am not making money in Indonesian rupiah. I put out a statement about LGBT and I am deported because of LGBT,” Gray told reporters after Immigration officials announced the deportation. Indonesia has temporarily restricted foreigners from coming to the country since Jan. 1 to control the spread of COVID-19, and public activities have been restricted on Java and Bali islands. “The Bali Regional Office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights urges foreign nationals to comply with the current COVID-19 pandemic to comply with health protocols and to follow right procedures regarding visa processing and while in Indonesia,” Manihuruk said. Gray and her partner, Saundra Michelle Alexander, are currently in immigration detention while waiting for a flight to the United States. Firdia Lisnawati, The Associated Press
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California sheriff’s deputy was killed and another deputy was wounded in a shootout with a suspect who gunned down a K-9 dog before he was fatally shot, authorities said. The gunbattle erupted in Sacramento near a racetrack at the Cal Expo event venue after a vehicle pursuit late Monday, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said. The deputy who died was identified as Adam Gibson, a six-year veteran of the department, Jones said. “He leaves behind a wife and an infant child,” the sheriff said. The injured deputy was in stable condition, Jones said. Jones said the suspect was a man in his 40s but didn't release his name He was identified Tuesday as Robert Stephen Calderon by his mother, Jenny Calderon, who talked to the Sacramento Bee. He had a history of criminal activity, drug use and mental illness, according to his family and court records. Calderon said that her son had been on drugs in the past, and “I think he was bi-polar.” “He saw people coming out of the walls,” she said. “They would come, and they would abuse him. And he was mad at me because he thought I was letting them into his room." Calderon said that led him to get a gun and that she had no idea how he was able to obtain it. “I told him to get rid of it, I told him you have to go get some help, and you have to get rid of that gun,” she said. The pursuit and shooting followed an attempted traffic stop, Jones said, and the driver ended up crashing on the Cal Expo grounds. “One of the K-9 officers deployed a K-9 dog up to the vehicle to try and assist getting the suspect out of the vehicle. The suspect immediately shot and killed the K-9 unit, then immediately started firing at the officers,” Jones said. It wasn’t immediately known what prompted the attempted traffic stop. The Sacramento Police Department plans to handle the investigation, Jones said. Gov. Gavin Newsom offered condolences to the slain deputy's family. “Deputy Gibson will forever be remembered for his selfless sacrifice and his commitment to providing safety and security for the Sacramento community,” Newsom said in a statement. Calderon's family described him as a former truck driver and in-home health services worker who loved animals and had a small pug named Max. They said he was frequently homeless and living in a Chevrolet Suburban, often parking it outside the used clothing store where deputies contacted him Monday night. Calderon cycled in and out of custody for decades, according to court records. He had a combined nine felony and misdemeanour cases out of Sacramento County dating to 1993, Superior Court records show. The cases generally involve drugs and stolen vehicles. His most recent local case, a felony, came in 2012. He was sentenced to 16 months in state prison for vehicle theft. Jenny Calderon broke down several times speaking about her son and what he had done. Speaking in her apartment, Calderon said she was mourning not only her son, but especially the fallen deputy and his family. “I’m glad he’s dead because if he knew what he had done to that deputy’s family, he wouldn’t be able to live with himself,” she said. The Associated Press
CAMEROON, Cameroon — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he intends to invite the rival leaders on Cyprus to an informal meeting “as soon as practicable,” but he warns that this meeting must be different and help clarify “the true extent" of their common vision “and outline steps necessary to chart a way forward.” The U.N. chief also warned in a report to the U.N. Security Council circulated Tuesday that “time is working against a mutually acceptable political settlement in Cyprus.” After decades of status quo, he said, “changes are happening on the ground that may become irreversible, should the two communities not recommit themselves to resolving their differences peacefully, proactively and with determination.” Guterres gave no date for the meeting of Cyprus’ rival Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders along with the three “guarantors” of the Mediterranean island nation's independence -- Greece, Turkey and Britain. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters Tuesday that “there’s no date I’m able to share with you.” The Security Council was briefed virtually behind closed doors Tuesday on the latest developments by U.N. special representative Elizabeth Spehar, who heads the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Cyprus. Council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the briefing and discussions were private, said there was broad support among the 15 members for Guterres’ intention to convene a U.N. meeting at the earliest opportunity. Members also welcomed the positive response of the rival leaders who signalled their agreement to take part with no preconditions, the diplomats said.. Cyprus was divided into a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north and an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south in 1974 following a Turkish invasion that was triggered by a coup aimed at union with Greece. Numerous rounds of U.N. mediated talks have ended in failure, with the last push for a peace deal in July 2017 ending in acrimony. That meeting also led to an apparent shift by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots toward seeking a two-state deal rather than pursuing their stated aim of reunifying the country as a federation made up of Greek and Turkish speaking zones. Guterres stressed that “the primary responsibility for the future of the process remains with the parties.” Following consultations over the past months by U.N. envoy Jane Holl Lute, he said both sides and the guarantors have expressed a willingness to attend an informal meeting under his auspices. “The purpose of the meeting will be to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a sustainable, lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable horizon,” the secretary-general said. Guterres said the COVID-19 pandemic has widened longstanding fractures within and between the island's two communities. He also pointed to rising tensions in the eastern Mediterranean region over exploration for oil and gas, and delineating maritime boundaries. Guterres called for serious efforts to defuse tensions and urged dialogue to resolve disputes. “I continue to stress that natural resources located in and around Cyprus should benefit both communities and constitute a strong incentive to reach a mutually acceptable settlement in Cyprus without any further delay,” he said. Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press
Deng Pravatoudom played the Lotto Max numbers her husband dreamt of 20 years ago and won a $60M jackpot. Video by Shibani Gokhale
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Alabama announced plans Tuesday to restore the world’s only full-sized mockup of a space shuttle coupled with an external fuel tank and twin rocket boosters. The shuttle test model, called Pathfinder, has been weathering outside the museum in Huntsville for more than three decades. The restoration work will be funded with a $500,000 federal grant and additional corporate donations, officials said. The shuttle mockup was mated with a huge fuel tank and two prototype solid-rocket boosters for display at the state-owned museum in 1988. The multimillion refurbishment will take several years and involve removing the display, repairing it and returning it to its giant concrete stand. Consisting of a shuttle-shaped metal frame covered with sheeting, Pathfinder was originally used to test ground handling, transportation and other procedures for the space shuttle. Once testing was completed and it wasn't further needed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Pathfinder was outfitted with fiberglass, plywood panels and engines to more closely resemble an actual shuttle. The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Troops in riot gear lined the sidewalks, but there were no crowds. Armored vehicles and concrete barriers blocked empty streets. Miles of fencing cordoned off many of the nation's most familiar landmarks. Joe Biden was safely sworn in as president in a Washington on edge, two weeks after rioters loyal to former President Donald Trump besieged the Capitol. Law enforcement officials contended not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack. Officials monitored members of far-right extremist and militia groups, increasingly concerned about the risk they could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said. There were a few scattered arrests but no major protests or serious disruptions in the city during Biden's inauguration ceremony. As Biden put it in his address: “Here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever.” After the deadly attack that killed five on Jan. 6, the Secret Service stepped up security for the inauguration early, essentially locking down the nation's capital. More than 25,000 troops and police were called to duty. The National Mall was closed. Checkpoints were set up at intersections. In the hours before the event, federal agents monitored “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said. In right-wing online chat groups, believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory expressed disappointment that top Democrats were not arrested for sex trafficking and that Trump did not seize a second term. Twelve National Guard members were removed from the security operation a day earlier after vetting by the FBI, including two who had made extremist statements in posts or texts about Wednesday's event. Pentagon officials would not give details on the statements. The FBI vetted all 25,000 members in an extraordinary security effort in part over the presence of some ex-military in the riot. Two other U.S. officials told The Associated Press that all 12 were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or to have posted extremist views online. The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe groups the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.” The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, confirmed that Guard members had been removed and sent home, but said only two cases were related to inappropriate comments or texts related to the inauguration. He said the other 10 cases were for issues that may involve previous criminal behaviour or activities but were not directly related to the inaugural event. The FBI also warned law enforcement officials about the possibility that members of right-wing fringe groups could pose as National Guard troops, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter. Investigators in Washington were particularly worried that members of right-wing extremist groups and militias, like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, would descend on Washington to spark violence, the law enforcement officials said. Some of the groups are known to recruit former military personnel, to train extensively and to have frequented anti-government and political protests. In addition to the thousands of National Guard troops, hundreds of law enforcement officers from agencies around the country were also brought into Washington. The increased security is likely to remain in the nation's capital for at least a few more days. ___ Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor in Washington and James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida, contributed to this report. Ben Fox, Colleen Long And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Edmontonians are cleaning up after a snow squall brought powerful winds to the city Tuesday night, knocking out power to thousands of homes and creating whiteout conditions on local highways. An Epcor spokesperson told CBC News that about 5,000 customers had lost power due to high winds Tuesday and repair crews were expected to work through the night. As of Wednesday morning, about 200 customers remained in the dark in neighbourhoods across the city. A wind warning remained in effect for the city and several surrounding communities. Strong winds, with gusts near 90 km/h, are expected to continue through Wednesday afternoon. Environment Canada is warning of possible damage to buildings and flying debris before the winds begin to weaken this evening. After weeks of mild weather, the squall hit Tuesday night. The winds picked up around 8:30 p.m., ripping off shingles and downing trees. The sudden, violent gusts of wind reached up to 90 km/h. Drivers were urged to avoid local highways as blasts of blowing snow created near zero visibility. While some hunkered down, many Edmontonians put their face to the storm and took to social media. Some surveyed damage to their properties. Others watched the howling winds from behind rattling windows or from shaking balconies. Tree branches broke. Trampolines were toppled. One young hockey player used the wind to send him gently careening across the ice. Another took to a nearby parking lot to capture a ballet of shopping carts dancing across the icy pavement. 'Everything went black' Mike Henkemans was at his mother's house in the Westmount neighbourhood when there was sickening crash outside that sent the house rattling. "The wind was so crazy and loud and the snow was blowing sideways," Henkemans said. "Then everything went black." A 14-metre tall spruce tree in the backyard had toppled, hitting the roof and a second storey balcony before crashing into a pergola and a barbecue before coming to rest on the ground floor deck. The tree snapped the power lines and the live wires remained dangling. "It just smashed everything," he said. "It was terrifying. It was really scary. I didn't know what was happening." "The power lines are snapped and all over the garage. You can see them dangling." Henkemans said he called Epcor, his insurance company and an arborist for help with the clean-up. A neighbour allowed them to run an extension cord over the property line so they could run a space heater as they waited for the power to be reconnected. "It was a long night," Henkemans said. Edmonton was not alone in experiencing the intense wind. Wind warnings were in effect for much of the province, including the Edmonton region, Jasper, Whitecourt, Okotoks, Olds, Rocky Mountain House and Banff National Park. Snow squall warnings were also issued for Edmonton, as well as other parts of central and northern Alberta including Ponoka County, Leduc County, Drayton Valley and Lloydminster. A snow squall is a brief but powerful storm characterized by strong winds and blowing snow. 'Like a bomb hit my house' Giselle Denis was playing board games with her children when the lights went dark in her home south of Sherwood Park. Moments later, with the wind howling, there was a loud crash. "It sounded like a bomb hit my house," she said. "I have never heard something like that. It was so loud. " The force of the wind had sent a tree toppling. A large branch had smashed through the window of a basement bedroom. "The floor was just covered in glass. It broke the metal and wood frame of the window and the tree was like in the house," Denis said. "It's a full tree." Denis expects insurance will cover the damage but it was a long sleepless night. She spent several hours cleaning up in the dark. "It's hard to go to sleep after that and I think the adrenaline is still pumping through my body." The damaged room used to serve as her son's bedroom but now stores her paintings. Her son's bedroom is next door. She feels thankful no one was hurt. "One more inch to the left and it could have been disastrous," she said. The Edmonton Police Service issued a traffic advisory around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday advising motorists to avoid a section Calgary Trail where three tractor-trailers rolled over as a result of strong winds. No injuries were reported in the rollovers, EPS said. There are also numerous traffic advisories for other parts of the province affected by the wind and snow.
TORONTO — Online storytelling company Wattpad Corp. says it will be acquired by South Korean internet conglomerate Naver for US$600 million. The Toronto-based company says the acquisition is a cash and stock transaction that was unanimously approved by its board of directors earlier today. Under the terms of the deal, Wattpad will keep its Canadian headquarters and remain under the leadership of co-founders Allen Lau and Ivan Yuen. Wattpad has been running a self-publishing platform since it was founded in 2006, but in recent years managed to reach deals to get some users' books printed or made into movies. Wattpad says the acquisition will accelerate the company's international growth and expand its audience because Naver owns digital comics platform Webtoon. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of the company's fiscal year and is subject to regulatory approvals. This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 19, 2020. The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Dozens of peer support workers on the front lines of Vancouver's overdose crisis are about to be unionized in a move their union says formally recognizes the role they play in saving lives.The workers voted 100 per cent in favour of joining CUPE Local 1004 last March and the Labour Relations Board of British Columbia shared the ballot results this week, the union said. Certification was delayed by several factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic and a challenge to certification filed by the employer, PHS Community Services Society, the union said. “This is about respect and recognition,” Don Cumberland, who has worked at the Washington Needle Depot on East Hastings Street for almost 20 years, said in a statement. “I hope this means that the people doing the hard work on the ground saving lives every day will finally get the credit they deserve.”More than 6,500 people have died from overdoses since the province declared a public health emergency in 2016, chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said last month.Andrew Ledger, president of CUPE Local 1004, said that as the number of deaths has climbed due to a poisoned drug supply, peer workers have played a central role in improving access to treatment and it's important that their work be recognized."Oftentimes, the best people to be able to break down barriers to access are members of the community themselves," Ledger said."Peers have become a central figure in many, many health-care delivery settings like injection sites and other community care settings."The labour relations board is expected to issue its official certification this week, affecting about 40 workers, including those at Insite, the Washington Needle Depot and overdose prevention sites in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Micheal Vonn, CEO of PHS Community Services Society, said the organization is in collective bargaining, which limits what it can say. "We're excited about the evolution and we're determined to make this a good experience for the peers," she said. Peer workers at overdose prevention sites, needle depots and other harm reduction services are employees with experiences similar to those they serve.Some of their positions were developed as a "vocational therapeutic program" and the society initially challenged the certification on the basis that their work didn't satisfy traditional employment definitions.The workers may range from volunteers and occasional stipend workers to those working more stable and regular hours. The unionization drive initially sparked some concern that it might mean the end of informal work opportunities that can be an important bridge toward permanent employment for workers who may not yet be capable of holding down a regular job. Ledger said that concern was answered by only including the more permanent and stable work positions in the union drive. Some peer workers have worked for decades without benefits like paid vacation or the ability to collectively negotiate higher wages, he said.Before joining the union's leadership, Ledger worked alongside peer workers as a mental health worker for PHS on the Downtown Eastside in 2009. "I'm very grateful to see those workers are now being acknowledged and will receive the same benefits I did," he said.Unionizing means the workers will have access to benefits, their seniority will be established and other rights their co-workers already receive will be recognized, he said. "Those are really important for all workers and I think it's long overdue that these long-serving peer employees receive the same benefits."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Amy Smart, The Canadian Press
The United States swore in its 46th President on Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended their inauguration in Washington, D.C. with a slew of distinguished guests, but few onlookers as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a need for social distancing.Several past presidents were in attendance, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., however the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not attend. Trump flew to his golf club in Florida earlier in the day. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence did attend the ceremony with his wife.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
Calgary teen Max Ganakovsky performed a history-making stunt at the Airdrie Airpark in August when he did the longest manual — similar to a "wheelie" — ever recorded. Now, he's had the feat recognized by Guinness World Records. "It feels surreal. Being a Guinness World Record holder has always been one of my dreams," Ganakovsky told the Calgary Homestretch. "And it feels great to have this dream come true." A manual is the correct term for the trick. It's pretty similar to a wheelie, but with no extra pedalling allowed. In a wheelie, the rider can continue to pedal for that extra propulsion. Ganakovsky managed to pull this off for 648 metres — that's nearly double the previous record of 339 metres. He says it's all in the technique. WATCH | Ganakovsky nearly doubled the record in his attempt to get in the Guinness World Records book. Watch his epic 'manual' in the video above. "Before you take off, it's very crucial to get a lot of speed," Ganakovsky said. "During my attempt, I think I accelerated for about 100 metres prior to lifting my front wheel off the ground. So firstly, the acceleration phase was very crucial. And it's also very important to take off, like pick up your front wheel on the right note so you're not crooked. So everything is centred. And yes, from there it's kind of autopilot. Just make sure to keep balance and, yeah, just not much to it, really." Actually, based on the description, it sounds like there is a bit of skill and practice involved. "It's obviously hard work. It's not something you do on the first try, and it took many years to master, but when you master, it's actually very enjoyable." The BMX racer, who trains with Calgary BMX, says doing manuals is part of his sport. "This manual skill is kind of very important for my sport, and I always do it every day when it's nice weather," he said. "I go outside on my bike and do manuals every day. It has been a skill that I had for a long time and I just wanted to really showcase it to the world and prove that I'm actually good at it." The plan was derailed in June, when Ganakovsky had a training accident that took him out of commission for two months. "I originally was planning to do this in April, and that's when I applied for the record, and the plan was to train with as much knowledge as I had before I got the instructions from Guinness, to attempt it in June. But in June, I had an accident in training and I broke my collarbone in three pieces," Ganakovsky said. After surgery and recovery time, Ganakovsky started training again in August. He made his record attempt on Aug. 27, on the runway at the Airdrie Airpark. Global Raymac Surveys measured the distance, and both Calgary BMX and B-Line Indoor Bike Park were on hand to help out and witness the event. "Obviously, when you have a skill like this, it doesn't fully go away, but it was certainly a struggle to get back to it after taking so much time off," he said. "And I'm happy that I was able to bounce back from this injury and, yeah, and do my world record." After the successful attempt, slow motion video analysis showed the following details: Pedalling cadence prior to crossing the starting line: 158 r.p.m. Take-off speed prior to crossing starting line while performing manual: 55.4 km/h Time from start to finish: 1 min. 53.2 sec. Long term, Ganakovsky would like to compete at the Olympics as a BMX racer. "My whole reasoning behind this world record attempt was to firstly prove myself to the world, what I'm capable of, but also it's a mini milestone in a big journey that I want to have in BMX racing in the long term," he said. "I want to go to the Olympics and represent Canada at the highest stage. And, you know, this record was also very important to me because I really wanted to help my club out and give them the support they need in order to become a world class club. And yeah, I think this record did just that." With files from The Homestretch.
NEW YORK — Brayden Harrington, the teenager whom President-elect Joe Biden befriended as a fellow stutterer — and will be part of a primetime inaugural special — has a book coming out this summer. Brayden Harrington's picture story “Brayden Speaks Up” will be released Aug. 10, HarperCollins Children’s Books announced Tuesday. Harrington, 13, is a New Hampshire resident who met Biden in February while the Democratic candidate was at a town hall event in Concord. They later spoke backstage and Harrington, who has praised Biden for giving him confidence, addressed the Democratic National Convention last August in a video that was viewed millions of times. “When I learned I had the opportunity to speak at the Democratic National Convention, I was so nervous!" Harrington said in a statement. "What got me through and helped motivate me was knowing I could be a voice for other children who stutter as well as anyone else who has faced challenges. I only hope my story provides a little extra support and motivation for those that need it,” Harrington, whose first book will be illustrated by Betty C. Tang, has a middle-grade novel scheduled for 2022. He will be among the featured guests Wednesday night during a 90 minute “Celebrating America” program that will help mark Biden's inauguration as president. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
CALGARY — A lawyer for a rancher trying to get a judge to force the Alberta government to reconsider its decision to throw out a policy that protected the Rocky Mountains from coal mines says his client wants to be treated fairly."What my clients are seeking is not to be left out in the cold," Richard Harrison told a Court of Queen's Bench judge Tuesday at a hearing to decide whether a judicial review into the move should go ahead.The United Conservative government is trying to persuade Justice Richard Neufeld to throw out the application for the review. Melissa Burkett, a lawyer for the province, said it's a matter for elected officials, not judges. "This case is not about an unlawful exercise of government power," she argued earlier Tuesday. "This case is about the government's ability to create and dictate policy based on economic, social, political and other relevant factors."Southern Alberta ranchers and area First Nations are attacking the government's decision to revoke a coal policy from 1976 that blocked development on some parts of the eastern slopes of the Rockies and tightly restricted it elsewhere. The policy was quietly revoked without consultation by Energy Minister Sonya Savage last May.Burkett, saying there is nothing to review, argued the policy was not rooted in legislation or regulation. "The adaptation and any amendment of the coal policy is exclusively under the mandate of the minister of energy," she said.Allowing a review would wrongly tie governments to the decisions of their predecessors, she added.Burkett said the policy had become obsolete given the development of Alberta's energy review bodies and laws. Overturning the policy has "no practical impact" because agencies such as the Alberta Energy Regulator now exist, she said And because those oversights now exist, revoking the policy hasn't violated the rights of those seeking the review, Burkett said.Her colleague, Andrea Simmonds, disputed the ranchers' arguments that requirements for public consultation exist in land-use law and in regional plans.She said the Alberta Land Stewardship Act doesn't allow for judicial review of decisions made under its purview. Regional plans "have no legal status," she said.Harrison argued that the coal policy, far from obsolete, was being used to judge mine proposals right up until the minister revoked it. He emphasized that one coal mine proposal calls for infrastructure right through the middle of his client's grazing lease and would intrude nearly to the doorstep of a cabin that's been in his family for a century.Simple fairness should have required the government to at least talk to him before its decision."Whether consultation, a hearing, a phone call, they want any kind of procedural fairness that reflects the impact it is going to have. "I cannot think of a more detrimental impact than an open-pit coal mine."Harrison argued the land stewardship act does require consultation. He noted that it says property rights should not be infringed on without due process. "(The act) was amended for the express purpose of inserting consultation requirements."He disagreed that regional plans have no legal force and pointed out they have been incorporated into the legally enforceable South Saskatchewan Regional Plan. Earlier Tuesday, ranchers and First Nations who filed separate requests for the review agreed to have their arguments heard together. The Bearspaw, Kainai, Siksika, Blood, Ermineskin and Goodfish Lake First Nations kept the right to bring separate constitutional arguments, which are not part of the application filed by rancher Macleay Blades. The hearing is to last through Wednesday.Popular Alberta entertainment figures, including Corb Lund and Jann Arden, have strongly opposed the decision. Petitions against it have gathered more than 100,000 signatures.On Monday, Savage announced in a news release that the recent sale of 11 coal leases would be cancelled and that no more would be sold on land where open-pit mines were forbidden under the old policy.She did not provide any more details, promise any consultation or offer to reconsider the decision on the 1976 policy.Environmental groups point out the 11 leases represented a tiny fraction of the leases sold since the policy was quashed. At least eight provincial recreation areas are either completely or largely surrounded by coal exploration leases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021.— By Bob Weber in Edmonton. Follow @row1960 on Twitter The Canadian Press
Municipal leaders in Cap-Pelé are concerned about a misconception that COVID-19 cases have been occurring only in Moncton, and are working to dispel that notion. “We know that there have been cases in our community,” said Justin LeBlanc, director of events and communications for the village of Cap-Pelé. But because the term 'Moncton zone', 'Moncton region' or similar is used to describe Zone 1, there are people who genuinely do not believe that cases occurred in the surrounding communities, LeBlanc said. Village staff have heard residents calling into radio shows indicating these views and are concerned they may be more widely held, LeBlanc said, especially by those who are upset they have to abide restrictions they don't believe are warranted for the area in which they live. “Definitely with the airport being located in [Metro] Moncton and a lot of cases related to travel, people may think the cases stay in Moncton, but we are very connected to Moncton also,” LeBlanc said. While residents of Cap-Pelé and surrounding areas may use the same airport occasionally, hundreds of people who live in Cap-Pelé also work and shop every day in Metro Moncton, he said. Referring to the zone as the “Southeast zone” would be more inclusive for those in the communities outside Moncton, he said, and could help alleviate the problem. For now, the town is doing everything it can to make this information clear by word of mouth, social media and news releases, LeBlanc said. The town was made aware of community residents who tested positive by the residents themselves, LeBlanc said. Public Health does not release this information, citing confidentiality. While the town has seen compliance with pandemic measures, there are concerns the wording of the zones may be giving some a false sense of security, he said. Zone 1 encompasses a large area, LeBlanc said. In addition to Moncton, it also includes Dieppe, Riverview, Salisbury, Petitcodiac, the Harcourt area, Port Elgin area, Rockport, Sackville, Dorchester, Shediac, Beaubassin-Est, Cap-Pelé, Saint-Antoine, Grande-Digue, Cocagne, Bouchtouche, Richibucto, Saint-Louis-de-Kent area, Coverdale, Hillsborough, Riverside-Albert, Alma and every community in between. On Thursday, Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's Chief Medical Officer of Health, referred to the zone as “Moncton and southeast New Brunswick” during the COVID-19 briefing. When asked by Times & Transcript if the use of “Moncton and southeast New Brunswick” was going to be used from now on to dispel the misconception that cases are not occurring outside the largest city, Russell pointed to the department’s website which lists communities in each health zone. Russell also reiterated Public Health has no plans to name smaller communities where there are positive cases. The decision not to go further than the health region in naming where cases occur is largely to protect people’s confidentiality, she said. But she said it is also because they believe it may be too late to serve a purpose. “By the time we announce a case in a particular area, the virus has probably been circulating for seven days prior to that,” she said, repeating that she wants people to behave as if they and those they are with have COVID-19 all the time. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
VICTORIA — One mentally ill youth hospitalized in British Columbia recalls being restrained to a bed and injected with medication as she screamed for her mom while another says drugs turned him into a "zombie" when he needed therapy for his emotional issues. The harrowing memories are among those in a report released Tuesday by the province's representative for children and youth. Jennifer Charlesworth is calling on the B.C. government to amend the Mental Health Act so youth are informed about what type of care they will receive and have a right to a second opinion and legal advice. Too often, youth described feeling confused, caged and terrified while being involuntarily kept in hospital, the report says. "For the young people we heard from, detention was largely experienced as one more trauma on a trail of traumas," Charlesworth told an online news conference. "The bottom line is the Mental Health Act is not designed with the needs of children and youth in mind and is not meeting the needs of young people in this province." Many youth consulted for the report remembered being isolated and restrained, but legislation and regulation to guide the use of those measures does not exist, unlike for residential care facilities and youth custody centres, she said. The hospital experience for First Nations, Metis, Inuit and urban Indigenous children and youth can be tinged with racism, Charlesworth said, adding one youth felt particularly alienated. "She said she wasn't even referred to by name. She was referred to as 'that native girl,'" Charlesworth said. What's also troubling is that the number of children held under the Mental Health Act has increased over a decade by an alarming 162 per cent and is continuing to rise, Charlesworth said, adding hospital stays are longer because of a lack of community supports. While the Health Ministry has said Indigenous youth are disproportionately hospitalized for mental health concerns, there's a lack of data, including on the number of Indigenous children in psychiatric units and use of restraints and seclusion rooms without reviewing individual files, Charlesworth said. "We were unable to use data received from the Ministry of Health regarding the length of time that children and youth are detained under the Mental Health Act out of concerns raised by the health authorities about its accuracy," she said. "Further, the number of children who are hospitalized at the request of their parents and without their consent is unknown." Charlesworth has made 14 recommendations, including the need to identify why involuntary mental health detentions are rising. She also called for an independent agency to be notified every time a young person is held under the Mental Health Act and that the agency provide rights advice and advocacy. First Nations, Métis or Inuit children or youth should receive culturally appropriate care and have the right to notify their community or nation of their involuntary admission, Charlesworth said. Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson said her ministry is working across the government and with health authorities to resolve the issue of proper data collection. "It's something that needs to be done," Malcolmson said, adding the province is getting input from First Nations groups in providing care that is culturally appropriate, especially because racism has been identified as an issue in health-care facilities. Some policy and regulation changes could be made quickly to deliver better care for youth without amendments to the Mental Health Act, Malcolmson said. "I'm open to that, but we need to have some broader conversations about the fastest and best way forward." The province paused legislation last July to amend the act to keep youth who overdosed in care for up to a week after Charlesworth and some First Nations groups said youth worried about being detained would fear asking for help. Cheryl Casimer, an executive member of the First Nations Summit, said in a statement that the sharp rise in youth detained under the Mental Health Act is unacceptable. "We demand an immediate redirection of resources to see young people supported by a community-based and voluntary system of wellness and expect to see this reflected in the next budget," she said. — By Camille Bains in Vancouver This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
ATLANTA — Paul McDonough has returned to Atlanta United as vice-president of soccer operations. The MLS team announced the rehiring of McDonough on Tuesday after he spent two years as Inter Miami's sporting director. McDonough returns to the role he held in Atlanta from 2016-18, becoming a key player in the club's dynamic entry into MLS. United set numerous attendance records and captured the MLS Cup championship in just its second season in 2018. McDonough left after the championship to lead Inter Miami's entry into MLS as an expansion team this past year. The club went 7-13-3 and made the MLS playoffs in its pandemic-affected debut season. Atlanta United, meanwhile, fell on hard times in 2020. The club fired coach Frank de Boer and missed the playoffs for the first time. “Paul was a key part of our team as we built Atlanta United and we’re delighted to have him back in the organization,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said in a statement. “Paul brings a vast knowledge of the game, but more importantly he is a great cultural fit who complements our front office." McDonough will report to technical director Carlos Bocanegra and take a leading role in managing the salary cap. McDonough previously worked with Orlando City, helping the club transition to its inaugural season in MLS. He began his career in college coaching, serving as an assistant at Wake Forest, South Carolina and UConn. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
At the South Algonquin Township council meeting on Jan. 13, Councillor Bongo Bongo proposed a notice of motion to adopt an official social media engagement policy for the township, to improve their searchability online and their engagement with constituents overall. After hearing his proposal, and discussing it a little, Mayor Jane Dumas suggested having a more thorough discussion about it at the township’s next Economic Development Committee meeting on Jan. 20, which was agreed to by Bongo and the rest of council. Bongo says that he’s gained a new appreciation for social media since COVID-19 emerged, and has gone from thinking of it as a digital distraction to having a crucial role in government operations going forward. His proposal for a social media strategy is to involve the township with more online public engagement. “I am fully prepared for an uphill battle because I can see how this might be a tough sell. My impression is that most members of the township (council and staff) are skeptical of social media. Let’s be honest, it can be terrifying. To face criticism of yourself online is a very tough thing. But regardless of how social media makes me feel, as an elected official, I truly feel it is part of my duty to connect with the public, so I’m simply going to have to embrace the challenges of social media,” he says. While Bongo thinks that the township has used Facebook and other social media well to broadcast time sensitive messages, he would like to see a set posting schedule for information to be posted. “I’d love to see posting schedule of at least two to three posts a week. Right now, messages are broadcasted sporadically. The basis of my social media proposal is that the quarterly newsletter is not enough. Rather than publish important information four times a year, we should be using social media to publish messages every week,” he says. Bongo formally proposed the social media engagement policy to council during the council meeting on Jan. 13, acknowledging that a lot of people on council and the staff have differing opinions on social media and its usefulness and the role that it plays. “But in my motion, I’d like to recommend that we have comments on our livestream YouTube videos and that we somehow incorporate a step where we nominate bits of information that come up in meetings that would be scheduled to be posted on some kind of routine schedule in our social media routine,” he says. Bongo also suggested to council that the forthcoming economic development intern dedicate around 25 per cent of their time to social media engagement. He also put forward the idea of using software such as Hootsuite to help manage the township’s social media communications. “I totally understand that this would probably be discussed at a committee meeting but I just wanted to throw this out there,” he says. Dumas thanked Bongo for his proposal and agreed that what he had suggested would need to be taken to an Economic Development Committee meeting. “It would need fulsome conversation and perhaps some investigation as well. We should have that dialogue at the committee level and then decide on a plan as how you’d like to go forward with that,” she says. Holly Hayes, the clerk and treasurer, had a comment on Bongo’s proposal, specifically with the idea of allowing people to comment on the YouTube livestream of the council meetings. She thought that people could already do so, and mentioned that she had seen comments there in the past. Bongo replied that he hadn’t, and had thought that the ability to comment was unavailable, but that he would take another look. Hayes also wondered if Bongo’s proposed social media engagement was necessary, as residents can already get in touch with their councillors or the town office by phone or by email. Bongo was adamant that it was, and that it would improve the township’s searchability and their overall engagement. “I want our meetings to be as transparent as possible and as public as possible. I think it helps our analytics if that engagement appears on our YouTube videos. I agree there is a formal process for us to accept feedback from the public. To me, allowing comments on the YouTube council meeting video, that’s an open public forum and I don’t see how that would hurt,” he says. Dumas interjected, and reiterated that further discussion should be had at the next Economic Development meeting. “I would want to know what my responsibilities would be as mayor and as a member of council if we make this commitment. So, I think we have to have this discussion at the committee level,” she says. With that comment, she thanked Bongo for his proposal and Hayes for her input on the issue. After the meeting, Bongo reflected on his proposal and thought the limited discussion on it was very useful. “Our procedure is set up in a way that the committee meetings serve as the venue for discussion and the general meetings are where the actual decisions are confirmed. We didn’t talk about the social media at length when I pitched the notice of motion, although the seed for this discussion has been planted, which is key if I want to get the ball rolling with this discussion,” he says. That discussion will take place at the next Economic Development meeting on Jan. 20, right after the township’s 9 a.m. EMS meeting. “We will have a discussion about my proposed initiative and I’m looking forward to hearing what my colleagues think!” Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times
Northwest Territories officials are still investigating a Yellowknife COVID-19 case announced last week. The source of the infection remains unidentified. The case, confirmed on January 15, is something of a mystery. Officials say it is not related to travel but no contacts have been uncovered that would explain how the person contracted the virus. “To date, after identifying and testing multiple potential sources, we have not identified a source of infection,” chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola told reporters on Tuesday. Despite the enduring puzzle, Dr. Kandola said there was no clear evidence of community transmission in Yellowknife and no COVID-19 tests completed in the city since January 15 had come back positive. On Monday night, territorial officials said it was “highly likely that the source has passed their communicable period.” Yellowknife’s wastewater signal remains stable “at trace levels, which is anticipated,” Kandola said. In other words, there has been no spike of the virus in sewage samples. Earlier this week, public health officials following a lead tested staff and residents at the city's Aven Manor care home. No new cases were identified at the facility. Fort Liard remains at three confirmed and two probable cases of COVID-19. Confirmation of the two probable cases could come later on Tuesday, Kandola said. The hamlet is on day three of its containment order, which lasts until January 30 at 10 p.m. but may be extended if deemed necessary. Some residents had expressed concern that information was not accessible to everyone in the hamlet. On Tuesday, Premier Caroline Cochrane said an individual from Fort Liard has been hired who speaks the traditional language. Their job will be to go door-to-door to ensure information is conveyed to everyone. A new information sheet has been created about isolation expectations. A vaccination team is still scheduled to reach Fort Liard on Thursday and Friday. Territorial medical director Dr. AnneMarie Pegg said the team has added an extra day in Fort Liard to its schedule, though which day was not clear. Residents in isolation will be contacted individually by public health staff to arrange access to the vaccine. Meanwhile, it's increasingly likely that COVID-19 traces in Hay River's sewage were connected to the Fort Liard cluster. The first Fort Liard patient had been isolating in Hay River before returning to the hamlet. Since January 14, 189 COVID-19 tests in Hay River have all come back negative. The most recent sewage samples in Hay River, from January 14, were characterized by Kandola as a fainter, "bare detect" of the virus. Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
ALMA – An underground propane storage proposal is officially dead as the Local Planning and Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) case on the matter has been closed. In a letter from the LPAT sent to the Township of Mapleton, the municipality that would have hosted the site, states applicant Core Fuels Ltd. has withdrawn their appeal on a Mapleton council decision to deny their proposal. The proposal was to bury four propane tanks that would hold nearly one million litres in total at the Core Fuels location on Wellington Road 7 just outside of Alma. Mapleton council unanimously voted against this at a September meeting citing an overwhelmingly negative response from nearby residents. Alma residents formed the Concerned Citizens of Alma (CCA) as an opposition group to the development. The group presented a petition opposed to the development with 210 signatures, representing nearly every household in Alma, CCA were concerned over a possible explosion and the ability of the volunteer fire hall to respond to any issues and the proximity to a residential area as major reasons it would not be the right fit for the area. Core Fuels later appealed the decision to LPAT with the first hearing scheduled for March 17. This hearing has been cancelled because of the applicant withdrawal and the case is listed as closed on the LPAT website. “We’re glad that the township has turned it down unanimously and we’re pleased to see it withdrawn from the LPAT,” said Amanda Reid, Alma resident and CCA spokesperson. “Am I happy that it is not going to go in our residential area? Yes absolutely.” Reid noted that Core Fuels could still bring another proposal forward but underground bulk propane storage appeared to officially be squashed for Alma. “I’m sure that during COVID it wouldn’t have been very fun anyways to have dealt with LPAT,” Reid said. “I do wish Core Fuels well in their business but I know our group is happy to know they have withdrawn their appeal.” Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com