As Catherine McDonald reports, home video obtained by Global News shows how porch pirates will strike during the day and casually stroll through neighbourhoods.
As Catherine McDonald reports, home video obtained by Global News shows how porch pirates will strike during the day and casually stroll through neighbourhoods.
Any members of the U.S. Congress who helped a crowd of President Donald Trump's supporters storm the Capitol should face criminal prosecution, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday. The unprecedented Jan. 6 attack on the seat of Congress left five dead and led the House to impeach Trump a second time, for a fiery speech that day in which he urged thousands of his followers to fight Democratic President-elect Joe Biden's victory. Democratic Representative Mikie Sherrill, a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot, has accused some Republican lawmakers of helping Trump supporters, saying she saw colleagues leading groups on "reconnaissance" tours on Jan. 5.
The lawsuit alleges that Amazon and the five largest U.S. publishers, collectively called the 'Big Five', agreed to price restraints that cause consumers to overpay for eBooks purchased from them through a retail platform other than Amazon.com. The lawsuit comes a day after Connecticut said it was investigating Amazon for potential anti-competitive behavior in its business selling digital books. Amazon declined to comment.
TAMPA, Fla. — Chris Boucher had 25 points and 10 rebounds off the bench and the Toronto Raptors held on to beat the Charlotte Hornets 111-108. Fred VanVleet had 17 points, while Kyle Lowry added 16 for the Raptors (3-8), who nearly gave away another game over the dying minutes. Pascal Siakam chipped in with 15 points, while OG Anunoby had 13, and Norman Powell finished with 11. Terry Rozier had 22 points to top the Hornets (6-7), who were on a second night of a back-to-back, having lost 104-93 to Dallas on Wednesday. Toronto had an 18-point lead late in the third quarter, and was up 99-86 to start the fourth, but the Raptors, whose strength used to be strong finishes, have been fizzling down the stretch this season. The Raptors went scoreless for nearly five minutes to start the fourth, allowing the Hornets to pull within five points. The Raptors' hustle on the offensive glass made up for their poor shooting, and Boucher's rebound and tip-in with 4:03 gave Toronto an eight-point cushion. Rozier's basket had Charlotte within three, but Lowry found Boucher under the hoop for an easy dunk and a five-point lead heading into the final minute. After LaMelo Ball's big dunk sliced the difference to just three, the Hornets regained possession with 9.8 seconds to play, but Rozier's wide open three-pointer missed the mark, sealing the victory for Toronto. The Raptors were back at their temporary home base in Tampa after going 1-3 on a western road trip, losing their two previous games to Golden State and Portland by just one point in each. If there was a theme to the losses, coach Nick Nurse said his team needed to be better protecting leads. "I don't know if there's a point in the game where we could rev it up a gear when we've got a nice lead. When we've got a 10- or 12-point lead, can our shot selection improve? Can we get a little stingier and string up even more consecutive stops that got us that lead in the first place?" The Raptors offence was solid off the start. They shot 60 per cent from the field and 57 per cent from distance in the first quarter, and Boucher's sidestep three-pointer with 0.3 left in the frame gave Toronto a 35-34 edge to end the quarter. Toronto buckled down on the defensive end in the second, and when rookie Malachi Flynn pitched a long pass to Boucher for an easy basket midway through the quarter the Raptors went up by 15. VanVleet's three-pointer with 2.3 seconds left sent the Raptors into the halftime break with a 71-62 advantage. Stanley Johnson's three late in the third had the Raptors up 97-79, their biggest lead of the game. Centre Aron Baynes played for the first time since sitting three straight games, as Nurse continues to tinker with that position, but the big man had just two points in seven minutes, and Boucher started the second half in his place. The Raptors' other centre Alex Len missed the game due to personal reasons. The game was played in front of no fans at Amalie Arena. The Raptors had been one of the few teams in the league permitting a limited number of fans, but amid rising COVID-19 case numbers in western Florida, Vinik Sports Group which owns the Tampa Bay Lightning, announced that no fans would be allowed at NHL or NBA games at Amalie for at least the next few weeks. The Raptors play the Hornets again on Saturday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2021. The Canadian Press
How the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division educates students with intensive needs was a focus during the board’s meeting on Monday night. Superintendent Tom Michaud gave an accountability report on the division's recent performance. According to the report, Saskatchewan Rivers has significantly higher than average students per capita with intensive needs. According to Michaud's report, those students are succeeding with support from staff in the classrooms, at the division level and in specialized learning centers that do not exist elsewhere in the region. “It was really well received--really good information and good questions.... The inclusions around the health and wellness and our support for inclusive education and student services was a piece that was new to the report this year that hadn’t been in previous reports,” Sask. Rivers Director of Education Robert Bratvold said. Highlights of the report include the increase in educational support teachers, the support for English Language Learners and the capacity-building work done in the division to support students. In the division there are currently 48 emotional support teachers, six speech language pathologists, 10 school social workers, six English as additional language teachers, two educational psychologists and three Intensive Support consultants. Contracted service providers or partnerships include YWCA workers, audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists through referral with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and SHA outreach workers. Staff changes in 2020-2021 show two full time occupational therapists under contract until the end of 2022-2023 school year, an additional full time social worker to respond to multiple schools, and a suspension of the school based physical therapists partnership with the SHA. Numbers that were not available in the report included enrolment numbers for alternative education in the Grade 9 to 12 category at Carlton. “There was a challenge and it was sort of an obvious thing.... There was data that we just couldn’t collect because of COVID,” Bratvold said. “It wasn’t unexpected. We knew that and the trustees knew that and so it actually in some ways was able to focus on some of the more qualitative aspects of our programming that isn’t always captured in the numerical data,” he explained The report also outlined mental health supports that exist in the division. Superintendent Tom Michaud gave an accountability report on the division's recent performance. According to the report, Saskatchewan Rivers has significantly higher than average students per capita with intensive needs. According to Michaud's report, those students are succeeding with support from staff in the classrooms, at the division level and in specialized learning centers that do not exist elsewhere in the region. “It was really well received--really good information and good questions.... The inclusions around the health and wellness and our support for inclusive education and student services was a piece that was new to the report this year that hadn’t been in previous reports,” Sask. Rivers Director of Education Robert Bratvold said. Highlights of the report include the increase in educational support teachers, the support for English Language Learners and the capacity-building work done in the division to support students. In the division there are currently 48 emotional support teachers, six speech language pathologists, 10 school social workers, six English as additional language teachers, two educational psychologists and three Intensive Support consultants. Contracted service providers or partnerships include YWCA workers, audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists through referral with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and SHA outreach workers. Staff changes in 2020-2021 show two full time occupational therapists under contract until the end of 2022-2023 school year, an additional full time social worker to respond to multiple schools, and a suspension of the school based physical therapists partnership with the SHA. Numbers that were not available in the report included enrolment numbers for alternative education in the Grade 9 to 12 category at Carlton. “There was a challenge and it was sort of an obvious thing.... There was data that we just couldn’t collect because of COVID,” Bratvold said. “It wasn’t unexpected. We knew that and the trustees knew that and so it actually in some ways was able to focus on some of the more qualitative aspects of our programming that isn’t always captured in the numerical data,” he explained The report also outlined mental health supports that exist in the division. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Toutes les régions administratives du Québec ont connu des changements démographiques importants entre le 1er juillet 2019 et le 1er juillet 2020. Selon l’Institut de la statistique du Québec, la Covid-19 a évidemment un lien, avec entres-autres, tous les décès, la fermeture des frontières, le ralentissement de l’immigration, ainsi que la diminution des échanges migratoires entre les régions.Alors que plusieurs régions éloignées, tel que le Bas-Saint-Laurent et la Gaspésie ont connu une croissance de leur population, la Côte-Nord est la seule où le nombre d’habitants a diminué, mais la décroissance aurait tout de même ralenti relativement aux années antérieures, avec une baisse de 1,9 pour 1000 habitants.C’est donc dire que la population actuelle de la Côte-Nord serait de 90 529 habitants, versus 92 713 en 2016, la classant au 16ème rang des 17 régions administratives du Québec.Karine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped nine of her most trusted allies in the House to argue the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Democrats, all of whom are lawyers and many of whom have deep experience investigating the president, face the arduous task of convincing skeptical Senate Republicans to convict Trump. A single article of impeachment — for “incitement of insurrection” — was approved by the House on Wednesday, one week after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. At the time, lawmakers were counting the votes that cemented Trump’s election defeat. As members of the House who were in the Capitol when it was attacked — several hiding under seats as rioters beat on the doors of the chamber — the Democrats are also witnesses to what they charge is a crime. So are the Senate jurors. “This is a case where the jurors were also victims, and so whether it was those who voted in the House last night or those in the Senate who will have to weigh in on this, you don’t have to tell anyone who was in the building twice what it was like to be terrorized,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the managers. It is unclear when the trial will start. Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate. It could be as soon as next week, on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office. The managers plan to argue at trial that Trump incited the riot, delaying the congressional certification of the electoral vote count by inciting an angry mob to harm members of Congress. Some of the rioters were recorded saying they wanted to find Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the count. Others had zip ties that could be used as handcuffs hanging on their clothes. “The American people witnessed that,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., one of the managers. “That amounts to high crimes and misdemeanours.” None of the impeachment managers argued the case in Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when the Senate acquitted the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House impeached Trump in 2019 after he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden’s family while withholding military aid to the country. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, another manager, says the nine prosecutors plan to present a serious case and “finish the job” that the House started. A look at Pelosi’s prosecution team in Trump’s historic second impeachment: REP. JAMIE RASKIN, MARYLAND Pelosi appointed Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee, as lead manager. In a week of dramatic events and stories, Raskin’s stands out: The day before the Capitol riots, Raskin buried his 25-year-old son, Tommy, after he killed himself on New Year’s Eve. “You would be hard pressed to find a more beloved figure in the Congress” than Raskin, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was the lead manager during Trump’s first trial. He worked closely with Raskin on that impeachment investigation. “I know that part of what gives him strength to take on this burden that he now carries is knowing that this is something that would be enormously meaningful to his son.” REP. DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO DeGette, who is serving her 13th term representing Denver, is a former civil rights attorney and one of Pelosi’s go-to allies. The speaker picked her to preside over the House during the first impeachment vote in 2019. DeGette said Pelosi trusted her to do it because she is “able to to control the passions on the floor.” She says she was surprised when Pelosi called to offer her the prosecutorial position but quickly accepted. “The monstrosity of this offence is not lost on anybody,” she says. REP. DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence and public defender, is in his sixth term in Congress and is a senior member of the Judiciary panel. He was heavily involved in Trump’s first impeachment and was one of three original authors of the article that the House approved on Wednesday. He and California Rep. Ted Lieu began writing the article together, in hiding, as the rioters were still ransacking the Capitol. He tweeted out a draft the next morning, writing that “I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.” REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels, where he has been an outspoken critic of Trump's handling of Russia. He was a litigator in private practice before he was elected to the Texas legislature and came to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. Julian Castro ran in the Democratic primary for president last year. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA Swalwell also serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels and was deeply involved in congressional probes of Trump’s Russian ties. A former prosecutor, he briefly ran for president in 2019. “The case that I think resonates the most with the American people and hopefully the Senate is that our American president incited our fellow citizens to attack our Capitol on a day where we were counting electoral votes, and that this was not a spontaneous call to action by the president at the rally,” Swalwell said. REP. TED LIEU, CALIFORNIA Lieu, who authored the article of impeachment with Cicilline and Raskin, is on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs panels. The Los Angeles-area lawmaker is a former active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force and military prosecutor. “We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic,” he said. DEL. STACEY PLASKETT, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Because she represents a U.S. territory, not a state, Plaskett does not have voting rights and was not able to cast a vote for impeachment. But she will bring her legal experience as a former district attorney in New York and senior counsel at the Justice Department — and as one of Raskin's former law students. “As an African American, as a woman, seeing individuals storming our most sacred place of democracy, wearing anti-Semitic, racist, neo-Nazi, white supremacy logos on their bodies and wreaking the most vile and hateful things left not just those people of colour who were in the room traumatized, but so many people of colour around this country," she said Friday. REP. JOE NEGUSE, COLORADO Neguse, in his second term, is a rising star in the Democratic caucus who was elected to Pelosi’s leadership team his freshman year in Congress. A former litigator, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee and consulted with Raskin, Cicilline and Lieu as they drafted the article the day of the attack. At 36, he will be the youngest impeachment manager in history, according to his office. “This armed mob did not storm the Capitol on any given day, they did so during the most solemn of proceedings that the United States Congress is engaged in,” Neguse said Thursday. “Clearly the attack was done to stop us from finishing our work.” REP. MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA Like Neguse, Dean was first elected when Democrats recaptured the House in 2018. She is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is a former lawyer and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She says she hopes the prosecutors can convince the Senate and the American people “to mark this moment" with a conviction. “I think I bring to it just the simple fact that I’m a citizen, that I’m a mom and I’m a grandma," Dean said. "And I want my children, my grandchildren, to remember what we did here.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
If you’re a diabetic, you probably know what it’s like to prick your finger to get a blood sugar reading. If you’re not, Canada may be calling you to let a little blood as a civic duty. The COVID-19 Immunity Task Force recently rolled out its latest wave of antibody home test kits in its effort to map the prevalence of COVID-19 in the country. This past week, 22,000 of the test kits were mailed to randomly selected Canadians. That’s in addition to 4,000 that were sent before Christmas. In total, 48,000 test kits will be distributed, and Newfoundland and Labrador’s share of that will be almost 3,600. Dr. Catherine Hankins, chair of the task force, says she hopes people realize the service they’re providing by participating. “There are two big reasons to participate,” she said this week. “One is you’re being called to serve, in a sense — to serve your province and your country by helping gather information that’s going to be useful to decision-makers … but also, you get to learn your own result, and I can tell you a lot of people are curious.” However, you can't volunteer to do the test unless you've received a kit. The daily count of COVID-19 cases that appears in the news only tallies those who have tested positive for the disease through PCR testing. That’s a genetic test that can detect even the smallest amount of virus in a person's airways. An antibody test is different. It detects the cells a person's body creates to combat the virus. They can linger for months, or even a year or more, long after a person has recovered. They will also be there even if a person didn’t know they had the disease. One advantage of the Canadian-made test the task force is using is that it can detect the difference between the antibodies that occur naturally to fight viral infection, and those that are induced by a vaccine. Commercially produced tests have not been able to do that until now. Michael Grant, an immunologist at Memorial University in St. John’s, says tests they conducted last year did not have that capability. In his study, Grant said, they recruited people who had COVID-19 or thought they might have it or been exposed to it. Out of 160 volunteers, they found only two cases of people who tested negative for the coronavirus but actually had the antibodies. One of them was someone who had quarantined during a cruise, and tested negative when they got back. However, Grant says he was encouraged by the fact some people still had antibodies in their system several months after being exposed. “It would suggest to me that the (infection) immunity is going to last at least as long as the vaccine-based immunity," he said. “That’s all we can say so far, because it hasn’t been that long a time.” Grant said the task force study will offer some important insights, and may even help inform who is best to vaccinate after the high-priority groups are covered. “Right now, the public health approach is that everyone should get the vaccine,” he said. But he adds that 48,000 tests will only tell so much. “They would have to get out a lot in order to cover the entire country and be able to get an accurate idea of prevalence in different regions,” he said. Hankins agrees the sample size won’t give a clear picture of specific regions of a given province, and tests aren’t being distributed to Indigenous reservations, military facilities or prisons. But the algorithm used by Statistics Canada ensures a representative cross-section of age and gender. That’s why she is hoping for a high participation rate. “You’re representing not just yourself,” she tells test recipients, “but everybody else your age, your sex and your province, so you’re really important.”Peter Jackson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras — Hundreds of migrants hoping to reach the U.S. border gathered outside a bus station in this Honduran city Thursday despite continued signs from Mexico and other Central American governments that they would not be allowed through. Santos Demetrio Pineda was one of hundreds who showed up with little more than the clothes on their backs for the long, unlikely journey, made that much harder by the coronavirus pandemic. “We lost everything in the hurricane,” said Pineda, referring to two Category 4 hurricanes that hit Honduras in November. “We can't just sit around after what happened to us.” “We are going to leave the country, to ask for help wherever they receive us,” he said. Asked how they would make it past lines of police and immigration agents already preparing for them, Pineda said, “We are going to ask God to open the doors.” Earlier, 200 Honduran migrants walked and caught rides up a highway toward the border with Guatemala on Thursday, a day before a migrant caravan was scheduled to depart San Pedro Sula. That first group set out Wednesday but paused at night before reaching some 75 police officers, dressed in riot gear, who waited along the highway on the outskirts of San Pedro Sula. One officer said the intention was to stop the migrants from violating a pandemic-related curfew, check their documents and make sure they weren't travelling with children that were not their own. By Thursday, more migrants arrived at San Pedro Sula's bus terminal. The station has been the main departure point for caravans in the past and several hundred migrants could be seen around the terminal. Dolores Efrain Ortega, a bricklayer from the town of Cofradía, said he had travelled the route six times before. “Here there are no jobs. Even if you are a bricklayer, there is no work,” Ortega said, adding he was leaving “to get ahead, to have my own house.” But the migrants faced the additional challenge of governments that agreed earlier this week to enforce immigration laws at their borders. On Thursday, Mexico's National Immigration Institute posted videos showing hundreds of agents and National Guard members drilling on the southern border. It said the agents are “keeping vigilant in the states of southern Mexico ... to enforce the immigration law. " For weeks, a call for a new caravan departing Jan. 15 has circulated on social networks. But previous caravans have been turned back. Ariel Villega, from the town of Ocotepeque, was walking with his wife and 10-year-old son. Aware of the hurdles that awaited them, Villega said, “We’ve got everything, the passport and the COVID test.” Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei on Wednesday night decreed a “state of prevention” along the country's border with Honduras. The decree noted the threat of migrants entering without required documentation and without following pandemic-related screening at the border. Guatemala is requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The decree said more than 2,000 national police and soldiers would be stationed at the border. The Mexican government said Wednesday that it and 10 other countries in North and Central America are worried about the health risks of COVID-19 among migrants without proper documents. The statement by the 11-member Regional Conference on Migration suggests that Mexico and Central America could continue to turn back migrants due to the perceived risks of the pandemic. The group “expressed concern over the exposure of irregular migrants to situations of high risk to their health and their lives, primarily during the health emergency.” On Thursday, Mexican officials said they discussed migration with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, and raised “the possibility of implementing a co-operation program for the development of northern Central America and southern Mexico, in response to the the economic crisis caused by the pandemic and the recent hurricanes in the region.” When hundreds of Hondurans tried to form a caravan last month, authorities stopped them before they even reached the Guatemala border. Other attempted caravans last year were broken up by Guatemalan authorities before they reached Mexico. Pressure to migrate has only been building. Central America was hit with two Category 4 hurricanes in November, devastating a region already struggling with the pandemic. The storms destroyed crops, shuttered businesses and displaced thousands. Migrants have also expressed hope that they could receive a warmer welcome at the U.S. border under the administration of President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office next week. ___ Associated Press writers Sonny Figueroa in Guatemala City and Mark Stevenson in Mexico City contributed to this report. MaríA Verza, The Associated Press
CBC "acted improperly" by firing a reporter who leaked to a news site that the network forced him to take down a tweet criticizing broadcaster Don Cherry, an arbitrator has ruled. Ahmar Khan, who worked in CBC's Manitoba newsroom as a temporary reporter/editor for a year before his termination in December 2019, is now entitled to be reinstated for a minimum of four months or receive four months of compensation, arbitrator Lorne Slotnick wrote in his ruling. "His chosen method of publicizing an internal CBC decision ordering him to take down a tweet was, in my view, like other public comment from CBC employees, not intended to harm the CBC or its reputation, nor is there any evidence that it did so," Slotnick wrote. CBC had said Khan was fired — not because of the tweet — but for both the leak and for homophobic and other disparaging remarks he was found to have posted on a private message group. But Slotnick ruled those reasons "amounted to, at most, a minor indiscretion" and were "far overshadowed" by a breach of privacy that uncovered Khan's activities. "Consequently, my conclusion is that the CBC acted improperly by dismissing him for cause," Slotnick wrote. Khan declined to comment about the decision when contacted by email. He tweeted one word — "Vindicated" — early Wednesday. Meanwhile, in a statement, CBC restated that its actions against Khan "were not related to his tweet regarding Don Cherry." The network added: "As was noted in the ruling, our actions were not considered discriminatory and there was no breach of Human Rights law." Cherry was fired in November 2019 after an outburst on Hockey Night in Canada in which the controversial commentator spoke about Remembrance Day and his outrage over "people that come here" — referring to immigrants — and don't wear poppies. Khan was offended by Cherry's remarks and tweeted that his Coach's Corner segment should be cancelled. He said Cherry's "xenophobic comments being aired weekly are deplorable." When CBC management learned of Khan's tweet, he was told it violated the policy on reporters expressing opinions, according to Slotnick's ruling. Khan, who was 24 at the time, was asked to delete the tweet, which he did, reluctantly, and he wasn't disciplined for his actions, the decision says. But Khan also told management that he believed CBC's policies were being applied selectively, and in a way that was harmful to journalists of colour, according to his testimony, which ran for seven days over several months last year. He testified he wasn't satisfied with the answers he got from management and decided to leak what had transpired to the news site Canadaland, which published the story on Nov. 14. Khan testified he was conflicted about telling Canadaland, but felt a discussion was necessary about race and the CBC and about how its journalism policies were, in his view, silencing employees of colour. Later that November, another CBC reporter, Austin Grabish, using a shared company laptop that Khan had used, discovered Khan's personal Twitter and WhatsApp accounts were still logged in, and found messages that included an admission that Khan had contacted Canadaland. "I noticed a WhatsApp screen that I was unfamiliar with and opened it," Grabish said in a statement to CBC on Thursday. "I was shocked and disappointed to see both a thread of misinformation about the CBC and several homophobic messages. "As a gay man, I know what it's like to be marginalized and grew up repeatedly being the subject of regular homophobic slurs and bullying because of my sexual orientation." However, Slotnick found that Grabish had conducted a search of Khan's WhatsApp account to find some of these messages. In another message, Khan referred to management as "assholes" for accusing him of violating CBC journalist policies. Khan had also sent a message to Andray Domise, a columnist with Maclean's magazine, who subsequently posted a tweet saying that CBC had made Khan take down the original tweet. Grabish relayed what he found to management, who took screenshots of some of the messages. Khan was fired on Dec. 3, 2019, in part, according to the decision, for "contacting external outlets about the order to delete the Cherry tweet, and for making disparaging comments about CBC management and its policies." He was also cited for making a homophobic slur on WhatsApp where his profile identified him as a CBC employee, says the ruling. Khan testified the alleged slurs were a joke among friends, according to the ruling, and reiterated that position Thursday in an email to CBC. "A friend and I were mocking a friend who uses that word in an effort to tell him to not use that language as it's derogatory and hurtful," he wrote in reference to the homophobic slur cited by Grabish. Grievance filed The union representing Khan, the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), filed a grievance on his behalf, alleging the CBC violated the collective agreement, the Canada Labour Code, the Privacy Act, the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It argued Khan had a reasonable expectation that his messages, even though they were on a company laptop, were private and that they should not have been used by management in the decision to fire him. The union also claimed that Khan was not seeking vengeance or to embarrass someone, but was calling for a public discussion about CBC's journalism policies and how they were silencing employees of colour. In his ruling, Slotnick said Khan had a reasonable expectation of privacy for his messages and that his right to privacy was violated, which "tainted the entire process that led to the termination of his employment." He said it was clear that Grabish could not have found what he did without conducting a search and that any suggestion that all the messages were on the screen when Grabish opened the laptop defies logic, given that some of them were months old. Slotnick also said he agreed with the union that "if employees could lose their jobs for privately criticizing their bosses — even if in crude terms — this country would be facing a severe labour shortage." WATCH | Cherry says he regets choice of words: He also rejected the notion that the CBC's reputation had suffered. "In an institution and an atmosphere where controversy is inherent in the nature of the product, my view is that it is an unfounded leap of logic to suggest that Mr. Khan's actions regarding a tweet somehow affected the CBC's reputation," he wrote. Kim Trynacity, CBC branch president of the CMG, said the union is extremely pleased with the ruling, which "upheld the reasonable expectation of personal privacy" for employees. "In trying to settle this grievance, it must be noted CMG has always focused on how management treated Khan, and how it dealt with a situation of a racialized temporary employee," she said in a statement. "Management failed to respect Khan's reasonable expectation of privacy which is a clear violation under our collective agreement."
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas man was accused Thursday of beating a police officer with a pole flying a U.S. flag during last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to court documents. In an arrest affidavit filed Thursday in federal court in Washington, an FBI agent said Peter Francis Stager is shown in video and photographs striking a prone police officer repeatedly with the flagpole after rioters dragged the officer down the Capitol's west stairs. Confidential informants had recognized Stager in riot video and photographs and alerted authorities, who have charged Stager with interfering with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder, according to the affidavit. Stager was in custody Thursday, said Allison Bragg, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Little Rock, Arkansas. She referred all questions about the arrest to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, where a spokesman did not immediately return a message Thursday. No attorney was listed for Stager in court records. Stager is the second Arkansas resident to be arrested and charged with participating in the Jan. 6 attack of the Capitol by pro-Trump loyalists that left five people dead, including a police officer. A detention hearing is scheduled for Friday in federal court in Little Rock for Richard Barnett, 60, of Gravette, Arkansas, who remains in federal custody after his arrest on charges that included unlawful entry to a restricted area with a lethal weapon — in this case, a stun gun. The FBI identified Barnett as a rioter photographed sitting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office chair during the Capitol insurrection. He surrendered to federal agents on Jan. 8. The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Chuck Schumer is used to drinking from a firehose. But the incoming Senate majority leader has never taken on such a torrent of challenges, with the opening days of both the Biden administration and Democratic control of the Senate coming at the very moment an impeachment trial gets underway. A 38-year veteran of Congress who first came to the Senate during President Bill Clinton's impeachment, Schumer is a 70-year-old bundle of energy with one overriding mandate: Help Joe Biden become a successful president. To do so, he’ll have to leverage the narrowest possible majority — a 50-50 Senate with the incoming vice-president, Kamala Harris, delivering the tiebreaking vote. It's a tough assignment. It's far easier, though often unsatisfying, to be a minority leader equipped with the tools of obstruction than it is to be a majority leader armed mostly with persuasion. But the goodwill Schumer enjoys with key members, and his careful management of the party's constituencies, could help ease the way. “Chuck Schumer has done a remarkable job as our caucus leader the last four years holding our caucus together," said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., as he entered the Senate chamber during last Wednesday's Electoral College count, speaking just before a mob of violent supporters of President Donald Trump assaulted the Capitol and the situation turned dire. Then Schumer appeared. “What did I just give a quote about? Our capable majority leader!" Coons said. “Again!" a jubilant Schumer exclaimed. “More adjectives! More adjectives!" Less than an hour later, Schumer was in peril, under the protection of a Capitol Police officer with a submachine gun standing between him and GOP leader Mitch McConnell as the mob breached the building. The ransacking of the Capitol has brought impeachment to the Senate's door again and set Republicans on their heels. And it's put a spotlight on whether the polarized, diminished chamber can process Biden's agenda. Take the installation of Biden's Cabinet. The Senate has traditionally tried to confirm a batch of the most important nominees on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, and the days thereafter. But to do so requires the co-operation of the entire Senate. Democrats slow-walked many of Trump's Cabinet picks four years ago after a crushing election loss, but there's a palpable sense that Republicans may be more co-operative now, at least when confirming national security nominees and picks like Janet Yellen to run the Treasury Department. Schumer seeks — and is used to operating in — the spotlight, whether he’s helping run the unwieldy, increasingly divided Senate, micromanaging his beloved Democratic caucus or crisscrossing New York. Any of these is a full-time job. And they don’t always point him in the same direction. For instance, Biden is preaching bipartisanship, and Schumer wants to help, but tensions are inevitable with ardent progressives such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an ambitious Bronx Democrat whom Schumer allies are watching closely as he runs for a fifth term in 2022. Schumer was a force in Biden's decision to “go big” on Thursday with a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief and economic stimulus bill that was bigger than earlier Biden drafts. Progressives hailed the measure. Meanwhile, the prospect of an impeachment trial in the opening days of Biden's term adds a huge degree of uncertainty. Senate rules are unforgiving, but Schumer and McConnell are hoping to establish a dual-track process to confirm nominations even as the trial unfolds. McConnell and Schumer have a tortured, tense relationship after years of bruising political battles and fights over Supreme Court nominees. They rarely talk spontaneously and have no hesitation in slinging barbs that earlier generations of leaders managed to avoid. But Biden and McConnell are long-standing friends, and the Kentucky Republican — pondering a “guilty" vote in Trump's second impeachment trial and still absorbing the disastrous Senate losses in Georgia — appears inclined to help Biden as best he can. The events of the past week, as damaging and unsettling as they were for the country, seem likely to assist Biden and Schumer. What is more, Democratic control of the chamber comes with filibuster-proof treatment of Biden's nominees, with only a simple majority needed, though Republicans could easily force delays. McConnell and his Republican caucus want to “reasonably co-operate on the national security nominations,” said Hazen Marshall, a former McConnell policy aide. “His view has traditionally been that presidents deserve their staff, unless their staff are crazy or criminals." But GOP senators are sure to drag their feet on less urgent Cabinet posts given the experience under Trump, when even former Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., had to endure delays. But with the economy slipping and the public appalled by the melee in Washington, GOP resistance to Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package or his slate of Cabinet picks may not be as resolute. “There's a lot to do, but Democrats are on the right side of all of it," said former Schumer strategist and confidant Matt House. “These are good problems to have." Amid the dizzying pace, Schumer also tends to New York. A Brooklyn native, Schumer makes a visit to each of the state's 62 counties every year. And his spur-of-the-moment visits to local events like high school graduations and, more recently, unannounced drop-ins on community Zoom calls are the stuff of legend. Last Thursday, little more than 24 hours after the Capitol riot, Schumer hopped on a call with a community board in Sunnyside, Queens. He spent the opening minutes thanking board members. “You guys and gals do a great job — I know what it’s like," Schumer said, according to the Sunnyside Post. “When things go bad you hear about it; when things are great you hear nothing.” And after Trump's impeachment Wednesday, Schumer heaped praise on local New York media members in a call with publishers and broadcasters thanking him for steering stimulus dollars to struggling news outlets, according to an account by the Syracuse Post Standard. But he had to jump. “Pelosi has called me and Biden, so I won’t be able to be on for too long," Schumer said. Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
The rapid expansion of COVID-19 vaccinations to senior citizens across the U.S. has led to bottlenecks, system crashes and hard feelings in many states because of overwhelming demand for the shots. Mississippi's Health Department stopped taking new appointments the same day it began accepting them because of a “monumental surge” in requests. People had to wait hours to book vaccinations through a state website or a toll-free number Tuesday and Wednesday, and many were booted off the site because of technical problems and had to start over. In California, counties begged for more coronavirus vaccine to reach millions of their senior citizens. Hospitals in South Carolina ran out of appointment slots within hours. Phone lines were jammed in Georgia. “It’s chaos,” said New York City resident Joan Jeffri, 76, who had to deal with broken hospital web links and unanswered phone calls before her daughter helped her secure an appointment. “If they want to vaccinate 80% of the population, good luck, if this is the system. We’ll be here in five years.” Up until the past few days, health care workers and nursing home patients had been given priority in most places around the U.S. But amid frustration over the slow rollout, states have thrown open the line to many of the nation's 54 million senior citizens with the blessing of President Donald Trump's administration, though the minimum age varies from place to place, at 65, 70 or higher. On Thursday, New Jersey expanded vaccinations to people between 16 and 65 with certain medical conditions — including up to 2 million smokers, who are more prone to health complications. The U.S., meanwhile, recorded 3,848 deaths on Wednesday, down from an all-time high of 4,327 the day before, according to Johns Hopkins University. The nation’s overall death toll from COVID-19 has topped 385,000. President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan Thursday that includes speeding up vaccinations. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration. More than 11.1 million Americans, or over 3% of the U.S. population, have gotten their first shot of the vaccine, a gain of about 800,000 from the day before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. The goal of inoculating anywhere between 70% and 85% of the population to achieve herd immunity and conquer the outbreak is still many months away. Hard-hit Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous county with 10 million residents, said it couldn’t immediately provide shots to the elderly because it had inoculated only about a quarter of its 800,000 health care workers. “We’re not done with our health care workers, and we actually don’t have enough vaccine right now to be able to get done more quickly,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “We haven’t heard back from the state about vaccine availability and how it would be distributed.” Santa Clara County health officials said the county of 2 million people had only enough vaccine to inoculate people 75 and older, not the 65-and-older crowd. “It’s almost like a beauty contest. And this should not be a beauty contest,” County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said. “This is about life and death.” In Mississippi, officials said new appointments will probably have to wait until a hoped-for shipment of vaccine in mid-February. In South Carolina, Kershaw Health in Camden implored people not to call its hospitals or doctors to schedule vaccination appointments after receiving more than 1,000 requests in two days. State health authorities said their hot line got 5,000 calls on Wednesday. Francis Clark said she tried repeatedly to schedule an appointment for her 81-year-old mother, who lives alone outside Florence, South Carolina, and doesn’t have internet access. But the local hospital had no openings on Wednesday, Clark said, and the other vaccination sites are too far away. “My mom can’t drive to Charleston,” Clark said. “She’s too old.” Allison Salerno, an audio producer from Athens, Georgia, said she spent the better part of a day calling her state’s health department to get a vaccine appointment for her 89-year-old mother. “I started calling at 8:30 a.m. and on the 67th call I was finally put on hold,” Salerno said. “I had already pre-registered her two weeks before online, but I never received a confirmation." After Salerno had spent 65 minutes on hold, someone finally came on the line and gave her mother a Saturday appointment. “My mother has not been out since the beginning of the pandemic,” Salerno said. “She’s a very healthy woman and she wants to go to the grocery store, she wants to get her hair done.” Meanwhile, some states, like Minnesota, are waiting before throwing open the doors. “As we learn more, we will work to make sure everyone who is eligible for a vaccine knows how, where, and when they can get their shots,” the state Health Department said in an email. “Everyone’s opportunity to get vaccinated will come; it will just take some time.” Arizona, which had the nation’s highest COVID-19 diagnosis rate over the past week, will start signing up people 65 and older next week. It also plans to open a vaccination site at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in addition to the one dispensing thousands of shots daily at the home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. To step up the pace of vaccinations, South Carolina made a rule change allowing medical students, retired nurses and other certain professionals to administer the shots. California lawmakers are increasing the pressure on Gov. Gavin Newsom to likewise expand authorization for who can give injections to include nursing students, retired medical workers, firefighters and National Guard members with medical training. Newsom said the state’s priority is to deliver vaccines “as quickly as possible to those who face the gravest consequences.” He urged patience for those not yet eligible, saying: “Your turn is coming.” Jeffri, the New Yorker, spent several days trying to book a vaccination and once actually received a slot, only to get a follow-up text saying they didn't have the doses. Finally, with some online sleuthing from her daughter, the retired arts-administration professor got an appointment for her first shot — two weeks from now. “It’s a relief," said Jeffri, who wrote to Gov. Andrew Cuomo about her ordeal. "But I’m not sure I trust it until it’s done.” Janie Har, Jennifer Peltz And Allen G. Breed, The Associated Press
GUELPH/WELLINGTON– Guelph/Wellington Paramedic Service is using remote patient monitoring to take the strain off the healthcare system at a critical time. Chief Stephen Dewar said remote patient monitoring involves community paramedics examining patients who have either been discharged from hospital or flagged by a family physician. Patients use various tools – such as weigh scales, blood pressure and oxygen saturation monitors – that are linked to a modem and results are reviewed by a community paramedic at least once a day. Any issues based on these results can lead to necessary intervention whether that be contacting their doctor or the patient. “Our goal is to try to prevent them from having emergencies in the first place,” Dewar said. This program has been ongoing for a few years, but Dewar said the program has been expanded during the pandemic. “The Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) offered us the opportunity to expand our program and to try to help people who are either mild or moderate symptoms of COVID but staying home,” Dewar said. “Just to make sure that they’re staying safe.” GW paramedics have been assisting at Caressant Care Arthur retirement home which has been in a major COVID outbreak since mid-December. Again, this is to keep people safe and to notify any nursing staff or others if someone begins to show worsening symptoms. Dewar said this is a collaborative effort with staff at Caressant Care and they’re not looking to duplicate any services. This reduces strain on hospitals and assures physicians their patients are resting at home but also allows people to know when they should seek medical help. “That has been our findings a couple of times where people have deteriorated but they weren’t really sure at what point they should be reaching out for more help and we’re able to help them define that,” Dewar said. This has made a large impact in Wellington County as Dewar said that’s where a majority of where remotely monitored patients are based. “Given the rural nature, it’s a lot harder for some of the other organizations to reach those people,” Dewar said. “So remote patient monitoring works really well in Wellington County.” A recent related pilot project has been completely based in the county. Dewar explained the Ministry of Long-Term Care asked GW Paramedic Service to get involved in monitoring people who are on waiting lists for long-term care. “That’s having one paramedic a day going out and visiting these people to make sure that they’re still okay and seeing what other resources they might need,” Dewar said, adding they can then follow-up with phone calls and other technology involved in remote monitoring. He explained this takes pressure off health care providers and family as well who can take some of the burden of care off themselves. “If you’re in there every day, if you’re a family member, you may not know if this deterioration is worthy of reporting or is this person just having a bad day,” Dewar said. “Our paramedics are able to be a little bit more objective about that.” This pilot has been funded through to March 31 but they have applied to fund this in the future and are looking for a more permanent place to operate as it is temporarily at the Harriston Fire Hall. Dewar is ultimately proud of how the team has stepped up during the pandemic beyond just responding to 911 calls. “We feel like the paramedics have said ‘There’s a major emergency and we need to do everything we can,’” Dewar said. “They could just say ‘No we have enough to do’ but they’re stepping up, so I’m very proud of the team that I’m leading and the work that they’re doing.”Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
A Russian entrepreneur has caused a stir by branding his fast food outlet around the murderous tyrant Joseph Stalin. Stalin Doner was visited by authorities and faced a staff walkout, but its very existence reflects the ambiguous view some Russians have of the late dictator.
Efforts to provide Lake Babine Nation's elderly residents with COVID-19 immunizations were suspended Thursday, after a member of the vaccination team tested positive for the virus. Violet Findlay, who was assisting with the vaccine rollout at the First Nation in the Burns Lake area in northern B.C. announced her positive test in a social media post on Wednesday. "Well my test came back positive, I am so heartbroken," Findlay wrote. "Please people stay home. Need someone to encourage mom [and] dad to take the vaccine today." According to Bernard Patrick, emergency operations centre director with Lake Babine Nation, Findlay — who is a home support worker in the community — was helping the team coordinate the vaccinations and manage scheduling. Patrick said vaccinations had begun this week, with 50 residents who are 65 and older identified as candidates. He said many of them were reluctant to get immunizations, but 26 received shots on Wednesday before the clinic was put on pause. 'People are kind of nervous' Lake Babine Nation health director Emma Palmantier said the team was notified about Findlay's test result just before Wednesday's clinic opened. She said other health care workers would be tested as a result, and the community's administrative office was closed and sanitized on Thursday. "People are kind of nervous and wondering, you know," said Palmantier. "There was an outbreak because people didn't stay within their bubbles. That's what happened." According to Patrick, the community counted 56 COVID-19 cases in December — 40 confirmed with tests, with the rest linked to other cases. He said since the new year, there have been four confirmed cases, but "it's starting to pick up again." He said two elders had tested positive for the virus, but the community hasn't had any fatalities. Patrick said the First Nation, which is mostly spread across three communities — Fort Babine, Tachet and Woyenne — is closed to outsiders. He said during the holidays, even off-reserve members were prohibited from visiting, in line with a public health order banning gatherings. But he said despite checkpoints and security, movement couldn't be carefully controlled, as restaurants and businesses remained open. Vaccinations to resume Friday The vaccination program is set to resume on Friday. There had been 15 people scheduled to receive shots on Thursday before the clinic was suspended. Patrick said he expects all the elderly members of the Tachet community who want to be vaccinated will receive their shots on Friday. He said the entire community of Fort Babine will receive vaccinations at one time on Jan. 30, because it's so remote. Patrick estimates 70 to 80 people live there. Findlay's husband, William Findlay, told CBC News that his wife started noticing symptoms on Sunday and that the virus "hit her like a ton of bricks" on Monday. "She's still in bed today. I haven't seen her yet," he said on Thursday. "I tried NeoCitran and stuff like that, but I don't think it's helping." Do you have more to add to this story? Email email@example.com Follow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker
NEW WESTMINSTER — A Crown prosecutor says there's no reliable evidence to support an argument that a man who stabbed two high school girls in Abbotsford, B.C., was having a psychotic break and didn't realize they were human. Gabriel Klein was convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated assault in March for the 2016 attack that killed 13-year-old Letisha Reimer and injured her friend. Closing arguments wrapped up Thursday in a hearing in which Klein's lawyer argued his client should not be held criminally responsible because he suffered a mental disorder that led him to believe he was stabbing monsters. However, Crown prosecutor Rob Macgowan said the judge hearing the case would have to accept Klein's version of events in order to rule in his favour. "If you don't accept Klein's word for it, we submit that all you would be left with is the same body of evidence upon which he was found guilty of murder and aggravated assault," Macgowan told the judge Thursday. Macgowan argued that instead of a psychotic break, evidence suggests Klein's anti-social personality disorder led him to commit the crimes for "no good reason." The B.C. Supreme Court has heard that Klein was waiting in a rotunda that connects Abbotsford Senior Secondary with a public library when he encountered the girls. He testified in court that he was suicidal and was waiting to use a computer to email his mother. As he waited, he said he saw a witch and zombie with maggots coming out of its back and heard a voice telling him to "kill" before he stabbed them. He did not realize what he had done until after the fact, he told the court. He was later diagnosed with schizophrenia and other mental disorders while in custody awaiting trial. In order to be found not criminally responsible by reason of a mental disorder under the Criminal Code, the judge must conclude that Klein was suffering a disorder that made him incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of his crime, or of understanding that it was wrong. Macgowan said Klein has not suggested he couldn't understand that stabbing people could result in their death, nor that stabbing people is wrong. Instead, Macgowan said Klein's case rests on the judge finding he did not understand that he was stabbing people. "That is the nature of Mr. Klein's defence," Macgowan said. The problem is that any evidence confirming Klein's perceptions at the time leads back to his own words, including reports or testimony from expert witnesses who say they believe Klein's claims, Macgowan argued. Case law indicates it's the court's jurisdiction to make a finding of fact, not the expert witnesses. Klein has offered varying accounts of what he saw, what the voices in his head told him and the events leading up to the attack. He has also described what he saw at different times as a witch, a zombie, a grey owl and a person with a beak, Macgowan said. Martin Peters, Klein's lawyer, said Wednesday that there is general consensus among experts that schizophrenia and memories arising from psychotic events cause deficits in working memory. Inconsistencies, contradictions and imprecisions in memories of psychotic episodes are not unusual and are to be expected, Peters said. But Macgowan argued that doesn't make Klein a reliable witness. "The presence of internal inconsistencies are not rendered irrelevant the moment someone claims to be in a psychotic state," Macgowan said. The diagnosis of a mental disorder is also not enough to prove a person was experiencing a break with reality at the time of an offence, he said. Beyond the incident, Klein has admitted in court to lying on several occasions, including regarding an account of being robbed by someone dressed as a clown, and during a conversation with one of the doctors examining him, Macgowan said. Klein demonstrated a willingness to hurt others even though he understood it was wrong when he said he considered attacking a police officer with a knife while considering suicide, Macgowan argued. Macgowan urged Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes to stick with her assessment of Klein during his conviction as someone who knew what he was doing. Two experts found it likely that Klein suffers from an anti-social personality disorder, which wouldn't lead to a psychotic break but could help explain his actions. "It's the Crown's submission that what emerges on the evidence of this case both at trial and now at this hearing is a picture of an angry, frustrated, depressed and desperate individual — one who has anti-social personality traits, one who has voiced an intention to commit a violent crime," said Macgowan. Holmes said she would set a date to deliver her decision during a meeting on Feb. 10. — By Amy Smart in Vancouver. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2021. The Canadian Press
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan Thursday to end “a crisis of deep human suffering” by speeding up vaccines and pumping out financial help to those struggling with the pandemic’s prolonged economic fallout. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden's goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, and advance his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. On a parallel track, it delivers another round of aid to stabilize the economy while the public health effort seeks the upper hand on the pandemic. “We not only have an economic imperative to act now — I believe we have a moral obligation,” Biden said in a nationwide address. At the same time, he acknowledged that his plan “does not come cheaply.” Biden proposed $1,400 checks for most Americans, which on top of $600 provided in the most recent COVID-19 bill would bring the total to the $2,000 that Biden has called for. It would also extend a temporary boost in unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through September. And it shoehorns in long-term Democratic policy aims such as increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, expanding paid leave for workers, and increasing tax credits for families with children. The last item would make it easier for women to go back to work, which in turn would help the economy recover. The political outlook for the legislation remained unclear. In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer praised Biden for including liberal priorities, saying they would move quickly to pass it after Biden takes office next Wednesday. But Democrats have narrow margins in both chambers of Congress, and Republicans will push back on issues that range from increasing the minimum wage to providing more money for states, while demanding inclusion of their priorities, such as liability protection for businesses. “Remember that a bipartisan $900 billion #COVID19 relief bill became law just 18 days ago,” tweeted Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. But Biden said that was only a down payment, and he promised more major legislation next month, focused on rebuilding the economy. “The crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight, and there’s not time to waste," Biden said. “We have to act and we have to act now.” Still, he sought to manage expectations. “We’re better equipped to do this than any nation in the world," he said. “But even with all these small steps, it’s going to take time.” His relief bill would be paid for with borrowed money, adding to trillions in debt the government has already incurred to confront the pandemic. Aides said Biden will make the case that the additional spending and borrowing is necessary to prevent the economy from sliding into an even deeper hole. Interest rates are low, making debt more manageable. Biden has long held that economic recovery is inextricably linked with controlling the coronavirus. “Our work begins with getting COVID under control,” he declared in his victory speech. “We cannot repair the economy, restore our vitality or relish life’s most precious moments until we get it under control.” The plan comes as a divided nation is in the grip of the pandemic’s most dangerous wave yet. So far, more than 385,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. And government numbers out Thursday reported a jump in weekly unemployment claims, to 965,000, a sign that rising infections are forcing businesses to cut back and lay off workers. Under Biden's multipronged strategy, about $400 billion would go directly to combating the pandemic, while the rest is focused on economic relief and aid to states and localities. About $20 billion would be allocated for a more disciplined focus on vaccination, on top of some $8 billion already approved by Congress. Biden has called for setting up mass vaccination centres and sending mobile units to hard-to-reach areas. With the backing of Congress and the expertise of private and government scientists, the Trump administration delivered two highly effective vaccines and more are on the way. Yet a month after the first shots were given, the nation’s vaccination campaign is off to a slow start with about 11 million people getting the first of two shots, although more than 30 million doses have been delivered. Biden called the vaccine rollout “a dismal failure so far" and said he would provide more details about his vaccination campaign on Friday. The plan also provides $50 billion to expand testing, which is seen as key to reopening most schools by the end of the new administration's first 100 days. About $130 billion would be allocated to help schools reopen without risking further contagion. The plan would fund the hiring of 100,000 public health workers, to focus on encouraging people to get vaccinated and on tracing the contacts of those infected with the coronavirus. There's also a proposal to boost investment in genetic sequencing, to help track new virus strains including the more contagious variants identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa. Throughout the plan, there's a focus on ensuring that minority communities that have borne the brunt of the pandemic are not shortchanged on vaccines and treatments, aides said. With the new proposals comes a call to redouble efforts on the basics. Biden is asking Americans to override their sense of pandemic fatigue and recommit to wearing masks, practicing social distancing and avoiding indoor gatherings, particularly larger ones. It's still the surest way to slow the COVID-19 wave, with more than 4,400 deaths reported just on Tuesday. Biden's biggest challenge will be to “win the hearts and minds of the American people to follow his lead,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a public health expert and emergency physician. The pace of vaccination in the U.S. is approaching 1 million shots a day, but 1.8 million a day would be needed to reach widespread or “herd” immunity by the summer, according to a recent estimate by the American Hospital Association. Wen says the pace should be even higher — closer to 3 million a day. Biden believes the key to speeding that up lies not only in delivering more vaccine but also in working closely with states and local communities to get shots into the arms of more people. The Trump administration provided the vaccine to states and set guidelines for who should get priority for shots, but largely left it up to state and local officials to organize their vaccination campaigns. It's still unclear how the new administration will address the issue of vaccine hesitancy, the doubts and suspicions that keep many people from getting a shot. Polls show it's particularly a problem among Black Americans. “We will have to move heaven and earth to get more people vaccinated,” Biden said. Next Wednesday, when Biden is sworn in as president, marks the anniversary of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States. ___ Associated Press writer Josh Boak contributed to this report. Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
The Town of Gananoque will seek funding to develop an environmental action plan. In July 2019, Gananoque council declared a climate emergency, and in early 2020 created an environmental working group. Now, Coun. David Osmond, who sits on the working group, has proposed a motion to apply for funding to pay for an environmental action plan to be developed by a consultant. "I see this as a motion that's a follow-up to a promise we made when we declared a climate emergency, so we hand over the municipality in better shape than we received it," said Osmond, adding: "This climate crisis isn't going away, and it affects every resident and business in this community." Although there was some hesitation, the motion passed, and it authorizes staff to apply for funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities under the Green Municipal Fund for up to $40,000 to cover 50 per cent of the cost to develop an environmental action plan for the town. Osmond told council he had done some preliminary research and learned that a formal action plan by a qualified consultant could cost up to $80,000. "I feel this is an important issue, but to spend $80,000 on a consultant seems steep. We can put a plan in place in-house and it doesn't have to cost us anything," said Coun. Adrian Haird. His sentiments were echoed by Mayor Ted Lojko, but as the town's chief administrative officer Shellee Fournier explained, that would be a challenge. "We don't have anyone in-house with environmental expertise," said Fournier, adding that for staff to apply for the funding it would need to have a commitment from council for the other half of the money. "FCM won't consider the application unless council has committed the other piece of the funding," said Fournier. If the town's application is successful, council has committed to kicking in the balance of funds ($40,000) out of reserves, according to town treasurer Melanie Kirkby. It's not clear whether the town will forge ahead if the application fails to secure the funds, but the issue will come back to council. The idea of putting an action plan in place is to set clear objectives and provide the town with a starting point so staff can apply for green grants and start implementing environmental initiatives in town, said Osmond. "Just like the FCM grant we are going after to help cover 50 per cent of this plan, funding bodies require documentation to support applications' most if not all government grants want to know and see a municipality has a plan before they are considered for funding," said Osmond. The current environmental action group is made up of volunteers with a keen interest in the environment. "People and organizations can't sit back and wait, but we urge people to get involved, start something and reach out. It doesn't need to come from this working group to happen or even get support," said Osmond, adding that there is no formal membership for the group and people come and go as they please. At this time the group shares tips and stories through social media. Among its successes was the sharing of an easy way to build compost boxes which, according to Osmond, reached over 1,200 people. "Our site and members promote the green grant to help take-out restaurants switch to biodegradable containers. This got off to a slow start but as people become informed applications have increased significantly, which will have a real impact on waste reduction and keeping our town and rivers clean," said Osmond. The group was also behind setting up a Styro-bin so residents could drop packing grade Styrofoam to be sent to a Belleville company that recycles Styrofoam into solid blocks which eventually become picture frames and trim. "We have already filled one shipping container, which would have all gone to a landfill," said Osmond. There have been other initiatives brought forward by the group that the town has investigated but deferred for now.Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times
L’espoir olympique Étienne Briand compétitionnait dans la catégorie -81 kg. Il a d’abord affronté Adrian Gandia de Porto Rico, qu’il a battu grâce à un Ippon. Il s’est malheureusement incliné lors de son deuxième combat, devant le Bulgare Ivalyo Avanov. Avant la compétition, Étienne Briand se trouvait au 23ème rang mondial des moins de 81 kg. Il n’avait pris part à aucune compétition depuis le 21 février 2020. S’il souhaite se rendre aux Jeux de Tokyo, il devra améliorer sa position Canadienne, étant quatrième actuellement.Karine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
The COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Tsiigehtchic, N.W.T., Friday was so popular, it ran out of doses. About 36 people preregistered to get the vaccine and, just in case a few more people showed up, officials brought 50 doses to the community. It wasn't enough. By 2:30 p.m., the clinic ran out. Those who didn't get vaccinated today will have a second chance to get their vaccine tomorrow at 1 p.m. at the health centre when health officials return with 30 to 40 more doses. Lawrence Norbert, 66, a resident of the small community who calls himself an elder-in-training, said he got the vaccination because he wants his daughters and granddaughters to feel safe. "It's for the family, it's for the elders who visit here and it's for the community, just for the community-at-large that hey, we're on the way to herd immunity." He said he thinks the reason so many people got vaccinated today was because the two nurses who administered the vaccines come to the small community on a regular basis. He said their presence made him feel more comfortable in getting the vaccine and he thinks it made others feel comfortable about it too. Wayne Greenland, 59, travelled from Fort McPherson with his wife Bella to get the vaccine. He said he was scared to get it but given his health, his doctor recommended he get it. "I was a little nervous and scared," he said, adding that he did his homework and thought getting the vaccine was the best thing for him to do. Charlene Blake, a community health representative with the Beaufort-Delta Region Health and Social Services Authority who lives in the small community of about 180, wasn't planning on getting the vaccine but she did. She also convinced her brother and sister-in-law to get it. "We all have children and I work with the public. So because of that, that kind of came to my mind," she said. She said she's encouraging people in her community to get the vaccine, especially those who live with children or elders or with someone who is chronically ill who can't get it. "Do your part by helping protect them, by getting this vaccine," she said. She added that she hopes getting the vaccine eventually opens the door to travel. "We're all just hanging out waiting for that. And we're taking one step forward with the vaccine so it can only go up from here, I'm hoping," she said.