The COVID-19 vaccines are not recommended for pregnant women, because initial clinical trials did not include pregnant women. However, for some front-line workers, the vaccine benefits may outweigh the unknown risks.
The COVID-19 vaccines are not recommended for pregnant women, because initial clinical trials did not include pregnant women. However, for some front-line workers, the vaccine benefits may outweigh the unknown risks.
From a global perspective, there was nothing unique about the recent raid on the U.S. Capitol. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have backed military coups around the world for decades.
BERLIN — Germany is seeing a promising decline in new coronavirus infections, but must take "very seriously” the risk posed by a more contagious variant and will have to be cautious whenever it starts easing its lockdown, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday. Merkel and Germany’s 16 state governors on Tuesday decided to extend the country’s lockdown by two weeks until Feb. 14 and tighten some measures, for example requiring surgical masks — rather than just fabric face coverings — in shops and on public transportation. On Thursday, Germany’s disease control centre said that 20,398 new cases were reported over the past 24 hours, nearly 5,000 fewer than a week ago. The number of new cases per 100,000 residents over seven days stood at 119, the lowest since the beginning of November — though still well above the level of 50 the government is targeting. There were 1,013 more deaths, bringing Germany’s total so far to 49,783. The new variant, which has been detected in Germany and many other European countries, isn't yet dominant there, but “we must take the danger from this mutation very seriously,” Merkel told reporters. “We must slow the spread of this mutation as far as possible, and that means ... we must not wait until the danger is more tangible here,” she said. “Then it would be too late to prevent a third wave of the pandemic, and possibly an even heavier one than before. We can still prevent this.” Merkel said that Germany won't be able to open up everything at once whenever the lockdown ends, declaring that schools must open first. “We must be very careful that we do not see what happens in many countries: they do a hard lockdown, they open, they open too much, and then they have the result that they are back in exponential growth very quickly,” she said. She pointed to Britain's experience in December, when the new variant took hold. The Associated Press
With more than a third of Oujé-Bougoumou's entire population of 980 people currently in mandatory self-isolation, Chief Curtis Bosum has had a very busy start to 2021. Since Jan. 7, there have been 27 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in this tight-knit Cree community, located more than 730 kilometres north of Montreal. Many of the people self-isolating are close enough contacts of the 27 positive cases to be put in precautionary self-isolation by Cree public health. "That's why the contact tracing is so huge. We're such a small community ... we're very close to one another, not only in the family, but [also as] friends," said Bosum. Bosum said the vast majority of residents are doing a great job of controlling the outbreak, respecting the self-isolation and following the protocols. He stressed how important it is to continue to do so. I think this really scared the community. - Curtis Bosum, Chief Oujé-Bougoumou "I'm very grateful that they are responding in a positive way. Theyunderstand the importance. I think this really scared the community," said Bosum. The outbreak in Oujé-Bougoumou is linked to gatherings and parties over the new year that has also led to 33 cases so far in the nearby Cree community of Mistissini. It has also led to a vast and ongoing contract tracing exercise by Cree public health, which at last count, included 727 contacts and more than 597 COVID-19 tests. All of the Cree communities, including Oujé-Bougoumou, are currently in the most restrictive phase of the Cree Nation's deconfinement plan, in wihch indoor and outdoor gatherings are forbidden, and community access and businesses are restricted to essential services only. Oujé-Bougoumou, along with some other communities, have also put in place a curfew. "When we increase restrictions and measures, this helps the contact tracing team to do its work to track further transmission," said Bertie Wapachee, Chairperson of the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay, in one of his regular addresses to the Cree communities. For Bosum, the outbreak has also been a confirmation of the warnings Cree leadership have been giving since March, that if the virus got into the communities, it would spread like wildfire. "It's kind of sad that the outbreak was so devastating ... so big right now," said Bosum. No grocery store a challenge It's also complicated by the fact that Oujé-Bougoumou is one of the only Cree communities without a grocery store. That means at the beginning of the outbreak, many residents were regularly traveling to nearby non-Cree towns to buy food. Early on in the pandemic, community leadership fast-tracked renovations to an old fire hall to give the residents access to basics like bread, butter, flour and frozen goods such as vegetables without needing to leave Oujé-Bougoumou, according to Bosum. They are also working with a grocery store of a major chain about an hour away for food deliveries. Building a local grocery store was already in the works before the pandemic, but is now even more of a priority according to Bosum. "Oujé has faced so many challenges during this pandemic," he said. Signs of hope Now two weeks into the outbreak, Bosum said he's starting to see some signs of hope. On Wednesday, there were no new names added to the list of positive cases in Oujé-Bougoumou, and six of the 27 positive cases who are now considered recovered, according to Bosum. "So 14 days of people being isolated ... if we continue with the trend right now, this will slow down," he said, adding there are no signs of community transmission in Oujé-Bougoumou. "So, some hope," said Bosum, adding the community knows and appreciates that other Cree communities are keeping Oujé-Bougoumou in their prayers.
LONDON — Crystal Palace signed French striker Jean-Philippe Mateta on an 18-month loan from relegation-threatened German club Mainz on Thursday. Mateta has scored 10 goals in 17 appearances for Mainz in the Bundesliga and German Cup this season. Mainz said the loan deal runs through the end of the 2021-22 season and includes an option to buy. Mateta's arrival adds depth to a Palace attack which has relied heavily on winger Wilfried Zaha's eight Premier League goals this season. Palace's centre forwards have struggled for goals, with three for Christian Benteke, one for Jordan Ayew and none for Michy Batshuayi. Mainz, which is in 17th place in the 18-team standings and faces relegation after 12 years in the first division, will be without its top scorer for the second half of the Bundesliga season. No other player in the squad has scored more than three goals this season. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
A Montreal-based organization that offers government-sanctioned French lessons to immigrants has moved online because of the pandemic, but the group's executive director says that's forcing some people to drop out of class. Up to 20 per cent of students are quitting Bienvenue à NDG's online classes because they don't have a proper computer or internet access, according to Luis Miguel Cristancho. "They need support," Cristancho said. Learning French is essential for new immigrants, as it is the main way to communicate in Quebec, said Cristancho. French lessons are just one of many services the organization offers new immigrants as it strives to help people adjust to life in the province, be it building social connections, finding work or learning how to navigate the health-care system. But learning the local language is essential, said Cristancho. "If they quit French, they're always going to have trouble to integrate," he said. "They are always going to struggle to understand Quebec society." Quitting French affects adults and kids, director says Ensuring people integrate into the community is his organization's mission, he said. He said it is not just adults who are struggling with language, because kids need classes too. He said parents also help their children learn French and complete their work at school. Parents also need to be able to communicate with teachers, he explained, and those language barriers can be devastating. "French is crucial," Cristancho said. Paulina Escutia is one of many who turned to Bienvenue à NDG for help after immigrating to the area. She came to Canada with her two children and has since enrolled them in French classes, but she said it is difficult for them to keep up. "If one of my kids lost an explanation from the teacher, I need to try to explain," Escutia said. Cristancho says the courses are also a way to make new connections and socialize as people adjust to their life in a new country, but much of that socialization is lost when classes are held online. Immigration ministry says there are solutions In a statement, the Immigration Ministry says immigrants studying French can receive an allowance of $188 per week if they take full-time classes. Those taking classes part-time, can get $15 per day, the statement says. As for those who need help obtaining computers, the ministry says they can contact partnering organizations for assistance getting the proper equipment and workstations are available in libraries when they are open. "Many partner organizations loaned equipment to the students. Some partner organizations have referred students to resources that recycle and sell computers at very low prices," the ministry says.
On Tuesday night, on the eve of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, Mania Darbani’s mother called her from Iran. She was ecstatic that Biden would soon repeal the Trump administration’s so-called "Muslim ban" that barred people from a number of mostly Muslim-majority nations, including Iran, from coming to the United States. "It means I can get to you very soon," Maryam Taghdissi Jani, who is applying for an immigrant visa, told Darbani, a 36-year-old receptionist who lives with her husband in Los Angeles.
Gathering restrictions in Alberta have prompted funeral homes to offer friends and families more options to remember loved ones. Live streams and video recording of funeral services weren't popular options for grieving families before and some funeral directors say the service may be here to stay. On Jan. 8, the family of Donna Burkoholder held her funeral service near Tofield, Alta. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, only 10 people could attend in person. It made for a tough decision for the family. "How do you pick which family can come to a family member's funeral? So we didn't have my children or my little brother's children," said Lorne Burkholder, Donna's son. "That's going to be the loneliest moment ever you're going through." Working with family members, community members, and the funeral home, the family held a service with 10 people beside the casket outside Salem Mennonite Church. A minister led the services, while nearly 100 vehicles lined the parking lot and neighbouring road. Those in the vehicles listened to the service as it was streamed over an FM transmitter. Their presence meant a lot to the family; Lorne Burkholder described it as a touching moment that made him feel like he was surrounded by people who loved his mother. "You just feel the love and the support," he said. "You're going through a hard moment and when you're mourning and they're showing their support and their love to you, they're caring and they and they want to honour my mom." Video of the service was posted on Weber Funeral Home's website along with Burkholder's obituary. It's an example of one of the many ways funeral homes have helped families to reach more people during the pandemic. Some have offered options for live video streaming, video production services, and even encouraged family members to record funeral services themselves. Through most of December and January, only 10 people were allowed to attend a funeral in person, though on Monday the province raised that number to 20. Funeral receptions are still not allowed. Tyler Weber, president of the Alberta Funeral Service Association, said some funeral homes in the province could help with video requests prior to the pandemic, but with strict gathering restrictions it was necessary to offer the option to families had to decide who could attend the service in person. "That was extremely heartbreaking to see as a funeral director and for families to have to endure throughout this time," he said. While Weber doesn't expect to drive-by funeral services to become a permanent fixture after the pandemic ends, he does see interest for video recordings or live streams to continue to be a part of funeral services, though he still expects attendees to prioritize being there in person. "There's no substitute for being present. For actually physically being there and to have the ability to actually look someone in the eye and give them your condolences," he said. There's no camera good enough to replace that." More comfortable At Parkland Memorial Funeral Home in Edmonton, video streaming or recording requests were only made once or twice per month. Now it's happening for every second or third funeral. Parkland president Kirstie Smolyk said he idea of live streaming a funeral service wasn't something grieving families were interested in and it may have not seemed appropriate for some. "I think people have been reacting to the changes of using live streams," she said. "I would say people were uneasy about live streaming funerals before, but now, because we haven't had a choice, people are certainly becoming more comfortable with it and I think that's a very good thing." She, like Weber, also expects that service to continue to be offered in the long term.
Toronto police are warning the public as they investigate a report of a man trying to enter a woman’s apartment while threatening her. Toronto Police Service issued an alert Thursday morning about the incident reported Wednesday in the city’s west end. The male suspect allegedly entered an apartment building and tried to open an apartment door. When a woman started to open her door, police say the man tried to force his way inside and threatened to sexually assault her. The woman shut the door and phoned 911, while the man ran away. Police describe suspect as in his 30s with a medium build and black moustache, wearing a navy blue toque, a black and white checkered scarf and a brown leather jacket. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
THE LATEST: Health officials have called off their regular Thursday briefing to hold a Friday-morning news conference instead. 564 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 more deaths were reported Thursday afternoon. There are currently 4,450 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C. 309 people are in hospital, with 68 in the ICU. 104,901 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., including 1,680 second doses. There is new community cluster in and around Williams Lake. There are no new outbreaks in the health-care system, but six have been declared over. On Thursday, B.C. health officials announced 564 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 more deaths. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix put the number of hospitalized patients at 309 people, 68 of whom are in intensive care. Hospitalizations are now at their lowest level since Nov. 28 A total of 1,119 people in B.C. have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Henry and Dix said a new community cluster has been detected in and around Williams Lake. There are no new outbreaks in the health-care system, and six outbreaks have been declared over. So far, 104,901 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., including 1,680 second doses. Health officials cancelled their regular COVID-19 briefing Thursday as they prepared to update the province's strategy for immunization against the virus, and the daily update was provided in a written statement instead. Henry and Dix will join a news conference Friday with Premier John Horgan and Dr. Penny Ballem, who is leading B.C.'s COVID-19 immunization rollout. The four are expected to comment on the next steps in the immunization program that has been complicated by a hiccup in vaccine supply from Pfizer-BioNTech. Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 7 p.m. PT on Wednesday, Canada had reported 724,670 cases of COVID-19, and 18,462 total deaths. A total of 68,413 cases are considered active. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Common symptoms include: Fever. Cough. Tiredness. Shortness of breath. Loss of taste or smell. Headache. But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. What should I do if I feel sick? Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911. What can I do to protect myself? Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. Keep your distance from people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces. More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
Timmins' Indigenous Advisory Committee is moving ahead with taking Indigenous relations training. At the virtual committee meeting Wednesday, members voted in favour of taking training offered by Bob Joseph, the author of 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act and the founder of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. The committee’s interim chair Kristin Murray said it’s more of a self-guided training that can be entered in groups of up to 30 people and that can be completed at an individual pace. The previously suggested training, The San’yas: Indigenous Cultural Safety (ICS) Training Program, was off the table because some elements of the training weren’t always offered, Murray said. “Not all of our staff could jump on board and get that training at once, which was the downside,” said Murray. During the committee’s last meeting in December, members agreed to take a training program before deciding whether they want to recommend the training for city employees. “There’s racism in the city. Even before we do all this training ourselves, we have to try get out there and try to educate the public,” committee member Irene Camillo said during Wednesday’s meeting. Stacey Vincent Cress of Waubetek Business Development Corporation, who attended the meeting as a guest, said taking online training shouldn’t be “a tick box exercise”. “Something is better than nothing," he said. "However, if we’re going to have some Indigenous awareness and competency training … if you’re going to train 500 members of the community plus the committee, plus the general population, you need to be able to sit and speak with some people on some of the issues that you can’t get from a computer program.” Murray noted the discussions about taking the training have been going on for two years, and there has also been a discussion about taking localized training. “But that’s going to take time. By the time we put these things together, it will be years, it will be after our term as a committee,” she said. “Some of these training opportunities are not click-through, you have to be able to engage.” If approved by council, this will be the first cultural awareness training for city employees since the Ontario Human Rights Commission's visit to Timmins in 2018. Murray said the hope would be to have the members complete the training by the next committee meeting in March. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
A 42-year-old woman has been fined under the Saskatchewan Public Health Act for breaching COVID-19 public health orders last week. Just after 6 a.m. on Jan. 14, Regina police said they received a complaint of a woman, who had tested positive for the virus, not obeying her isolation order and inviting guests into her home. When officers arrived at the woman's house in the 800 block of Elphinstone Street, police said they found another person there, who was asked to leave. After confirming the 42-year-old was COVID-positive and her isolation order was valid, police, in consultation with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, fined her on Wednesday. Regina police said this is the 11th such ticket they have issued in the city.
A mother from Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., is urging people to take COVID-19 — and the health measures in place — seriously, as her son fights for his life. Myrine Kakfwi, 30, has been in an intensive care unit in an Edmonton hospital for the last three weeks. Every day his mother Dolly Pierrot rubs lotion on her son's feet and hands, and massages his legs as he lies on his back in his hospital bed. "We have been talking to him, telling him not to give up and telling him how many people are praying for him. His dad plays music for him and we pray with him," she said in a Facebook post. Not just a bad flu It was over a month ago, on Dec. 5, when Kakfwi told his mom from his home in Edmonton that he thought he had COVID-19 — he was coughing and felt he had a bad flu, Pierrot told CBC News. "I was immediately worried and I was really concerned for him," she said. Just a few days later, on Dec. 7 she heard from her eldest son that Kakfwi was taken by ambulance to the University of Alberta Hospital. Pierrot says that was the same day Kakfwi was diagnosed with COVID-19. "I just wanted to know how serious it was, if he was OK," she said. "My oldest son said that Myrine was coughing up blood." Pierrot says she was also concerned for her eldest, since he was in contact with Kakfwi and was taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton to be put in isolation. Luckily, his COVID-19 test came back negative, she said. Pierrot says the hospital then told her that Kakfwi was admitted and being treated in isolation. "He came in with a collapsed right lung and they said that he had ... double pneumonia," Pierrot said. It wasn't until about a week before Christmas that Kakfwi seemed to be recovering. "He was FaceTiming us, he was talking to us," Pierrot said. "He was really regretful that he didn't take COVID-19 seriously. He said he was just not being careful." Suddenly offline But as the days and hours passed, Pierrot said her son's health seemed to deteriorate again. "He was just not making sense," she said of Kakfwi when he was speaking to the family. "And then all of a sudden, he just went offline and we couldn't get ahold of him." They tried calling on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day but still no answer from her son. "I kept calling U of A and nobody seemed to know where he went," Pierrot said. By Dec. 27 she was in contact with the intensive care unit and found her answer. A doctor called Pierrot and told her Kakfwi was "seriously" ill. "He said that he was admitted into ICU … and he had double pneumonia and he had a couple of bacteria in both lungs and he was placed on a ventilator." 'You need to come down' She asked the doctor if she and Kakfwi's dad should travel from Fort Good Hope down to Edmonton. The doctor said they should come immediately. Pierrot said her local MLA, Paulie Chinna, and the Yamoga Land Corporation helped her make travel arrangements. They landed in Edmonton the next morning. When they arrived at the hospital, they were allowed to see Kakfwi right away, she said, and were given 24-hour access to him. The doctors told them Kakfwi no longer had COVID-19, but the after effects were keeping him unwell. Kakfwi had a CT scan on Monday, where doctors found another infection in one of his lungs. One of his lungs has also been leaking air, so a specialist is going to see if a valve can be inserted to close up the leak, she said. "So he's been … fighting back for the last three weeks," Pierrot said, adding they're taking it day by day. Right by his side Pierrot said she and Kakfwi's dad have been staying at a hotel, and splitting their time between there and the hospital. She says everyone has been rooting for a quick recovery for her son. "The doctors told us that he's young and so they're really pushing his body hard … they're not giving up on him" Pierrot said. And neither are his parents. "As long as he's fighting, his dad and I are fighting right along with him, and we're not going anywhere, we're going to stay here and be with him [for] the whole thing." Message to others Pierrot says she is sharing her son's story in hopes that people will take COVID-19 seriously. "It's real, it's dangerous," Pierrot said. "It spreads so quick and so easy, we just have to be so vigilant with sanitizing and wearing your mask and staying home." She said the family has received an abundance of support through messages, phone calls and donations from the community of Fort Good Hope. "Which is really comforting to know that people do care about each other and we feel so supported here," Pierrot said. "Just amazing how people pull together and rallied behind us... it just really helps us stay strong throughout this."
A Manitoba family is heartbroken after being asked to exhume their loved one's body because he was mistakenly buried in a previously sold cemetery plot earlier this month. "It's just reopening the wounds that were just starting close," said Angela Griffith, whose 62-year-old father, Dan Griffith, died in his home in Deloraine — about 250 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg — on Christmas Day. The family held a small graveside burial on Jan. 4, Griffith said. They couldn't have a full funeral because of pandemic restrictions. Ten days later, the Griffiths were notified by the Municipality of Deloraine-Winchester that the plot their dad was buried in was sold to them by mistake, and that it, along with two adjacent plots, had previously been sold. Griffith said she was told the family that had originally bought the plots was asked to pick another area, but they refused and wanted Dan's body dug up and relocated instead. The municipality asked the Griffith family to exhume Dan's body. Murray Combs's mother bought four plots, including the one where Dan Griffith is now buried, in 2006. Combs's parents are buried in one, and the three remaining plots are for him and his two brothers. "The burial that took place recently is in the very first plot beside my mom and dad, and there's really no more room to put the other three," said Combs. "It was my mother's wishes, so either we go against my mother's wishes or we don't, I guess." Combs described the mix-up as unfortunate and something that never should have happened. He said his family's arrangements were made 14 years ago. "I certainly don't blame the other family a bit. It's not their fault either. Apparently they have a legal document to the same piece of ground," he said. There are no easy solutions for either family, he acknowledges. "What do we do? Do we dig up my mom and dad's plot, too? Is that what they expect?" he said. "It's a terrible mistake, but mistakes get made and somebody has to be responsible." He said he hasn't heard anything more from the municipality on possible solutions. While Griffith's arrangements were made through a local funeral home, the Municipality of Deloraine-Winchester is responsible for running the cemetery and selling the plots. CBC reached out to various municipal officials for comment but did not receive a response. Told mapping error to blame Griffith said she was only told that a mapping error led to the mistake. "I'm still trying to wrap my head around how such a big mistake happens," said Griffith. Cemetery staff offered to pay for a new plot and cover the costs of moving Dan's body, but the family is uncomfortable with the idea of disturbing his grave, she said. "We just laid him to rest, and now we have to deal with the stress of trying to figure out do we have to exhume our father?" Griffith said while her father was not Indigenous, she and her siblings are Métis, and she has cultural concerns about moving him. "Even from a cultural standpoint, [we're] wondering what's going to happen to his spirit, you know, when we dig him up, if we have to," said Griffith. Seeking legal advice Griffith said her dad was a carpenter who worked hard his whole life and was well-known in the area. While his grave does not yet have a tombstone, she said her son has marked it with a carpenter's measuring tape — something Dan Griffith always had hanging from his belt. "My dad never took a day off his whole life. He worked every single day and literally, I know it's cliché, but my dad would do anything for anybody, and if anyone deserves to be resting in peace it's him," said Griffith. The family is seeking legal advice on how to proceed. "We're not going to willingly exhume him," she said. She said she understands the Combs family is also upset, but hopes they can find a solution. "Just try to understand the pain and how much it just stresses us out, and rips our hearts open to have to think about even exhuming our father."
Portugal will head to the polls on Sunday to choose a new President, despite pandemic lockdown measures still in place. We take a look at Chega!, a right-wing party pushing to get through to the second round.
Drugmaker Eli Lilly said Thursday its COVID-19 antibody drug can prevent illness in residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care locations. It's the first major study to show such a treatment may prevent disease. Residents and staff who got the drug had up to a 57% lower risk of getting COVID-19 compared to others at the same facility who got a placebo, the drugmaker said. Among nursing home residents only, the risk was reduced by up to 80%. The study involved more than 1,000 residents and staff at nursing homes and other long-term care locations. The research was conducted with the National Institutes of Health. Results were released in a press release and the company said it would publish results in a journal soon. The Food and Drug Administration in November allowed emergency use of Lilly antibody drug as a treatment for mild or moderate cases of COVID-19 that do not require hospitalization. It’s a one-time treatment given through an IV. Lilly said it will seek expansion of that authorization to include using the drug to prevent and treat COVID-19 in long-term care facilities. Nursing homes and other long-term care locations have been hard hit by the pandemic. In the United States, they account for less than 1% of the population, but nearly 40% of deaths from COVID-19. These long-term care locations have been given priority to vaccinate residents and staff with recently authorized COVID-19 vaccines. The Associated Press
PARIS — Just like the leaves of its gilded fans, France’s storied fan-making museum could fold and vanish. The splendid Musee de l’Eventail in Paris, classed as a historical monument, is the cultural world’s latest coronavirus victim. It has until Jan. 23 to pay up over 117,000 euros ($142,000) in rent arrears — stemming mainly from losses during lockdowns, otherwise it will close. And with it will go the savoir-faire of its workshop. The studio that teaches design and restoration to a new generation of fan-makers was placed on France’s intangible heritage list last year. “It is a tragedy. I can’t believe Parisians will let a part of their heritage die. I have a problem, because I always believed there would be a miracle,” the museum's 74-year-old director, Anne Hoguet, told the AP. There may be some surprise that France, a country that famously prizes its culture, has not done more to save the museum, especially given that the French public was so eager to help other cultural sites in danger, such as its burned-out Notre Dame cathedral. It might be a question of size. Hoguet said she was “exhausted” by the fight for survival that has hit smaller institutions but spared larger ones, such as Florence’s Uffizi which re-opens this week. “Like all small museums, we had troubles before, but the health crisis has been a catastrophe," she said. Bailiffs are even threatening to seize the museum's artefacts from next Monday, numbering 2,500 original pieces — including historic fans made from turtle shell, lace and silk and adorned with diamonds and rubies. Like many of Paris' 130 museums, Hoguet said her institution — which charges just 7 euros entry and is located in the French capital’s popular 10th district — was forced to close for most of 2020 because of government virus restrictions. On top of that, money coming from the workshop’s fan restorations also evaporated because of the tightening of spending during the pandemic. “The aristocratic families who send me their fans to restore all fled to their country homes in lockdown, so I had no more commissions. They wanted to save their money.” She said she would previously have charged between 500 and 600 euros per fan to restore them to their original state using traditional materials, and she used the income from that to pay the rent. Even when the museum briefly re-opened last September, Hoguet had trouble getting the same levels of footfall as before. “Because people were preoccupied with the virus, culture and heritage got forgotten — and dangerously,” she said. Hoguet is the fourth generation in charge of what is Paris’ last original fan-making workshop. She has trained directly or indirectly five young fan-makers, whom she hopes will carry the torch of the storied craft. The making of fans, traditionally with wooden sticks and painted paper leaves, has been considered sacred in many ancient cultures. But in France, its golden age was in the French court of 18th-century Versailles, where women used fan as forms of communication to flirt expertly or to hide modestly behind. The images painted on them would often chronicle the current affairs of the world around them. To this day, they remain part of France's fashion heritage DNA, featuring elaborately in couture collections by Chanel, Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier. Hoguet's father bought the museum’s impressive collection of fans in 1960. It spans the period from the Renaissance to the 20th century, including “advertising” or “illustrated” pieces, as well as vellum, kidskin and feathered fans. She is very much an eccentric of the old school. A staff of one, she has no cohesive fundraising tool set up other than email, but her efforts to rally support since 2019 have been valiant. She says that she has been so failed by French authorities that she now has trouble sleeping. She had rallied the French Culture Ministry and been in talks with Paris City Hall, but it has, she said, made no difference. “What is the point of marking us out as intangible heritage if they will not protect us?” she asked. Paris City Hall did not immediately respond when contacted by AP. “The problem with savoir-faire, is that it can very quickly die," Hoguet said. ___ Adamson reported from Leeds, England Thomas Adamson And Michel Euler, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — U.S. home construction jumped 5.8% in December to 1.67 million units, ending a strong year for home building. The better-than-expected gain followed an increase of 9.8% in November, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Housing has been one of the star performers this year even as the overall economy has been wracked by the coronavirus. Record-low mortgage rates and the desire of many people to move to larger homes during the extended stay-at-home period has fueled demand. For December, construction of single-family homes increased 12%. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
The Town of Gander wants to hear from you. More precisely, the central Newfoundland town wants to hear from people around the region about their connection to the Gander International Airport and its importance to how they live or conduct business. Last week, Air Canada announced it will drop its remaining flights out of the Gander International Airport, along with flights out of Labrador and some out of St. John’s. The announcement followed the announcement of two previously cancelled routes last summer. The most recent cancelled flights are scheduled to end on Jan. 23. “This is a critical issue,” said Gander Mayor Percy Farwell. “The inability to get in and out of the area … has a great impact on your success.” With that in mind, the town is asking people in the region to submit their stories about how important the airport is to their lives and their families. The town hopes that putting human faces on the issue will put further pressure on the federal and provincial governments to quickly come up with a solution to the problem. “These impacts are personal,” said Farwell, noting the closure will affect several sectors. “People should be telling their stories, and governments need to be aware of it.” In a news release Tuesday, the town said Canada is the only G7 country that has failed to recognize the importance of air links and connectivity. The federal government has yet to offer federal aid to the airline sector. Businesses and health care will also be affected by the decision. ‘’As you can see, all sectors of business are affected by this suspension of services, causing major concerns for our chamber and the business communities we represent,” Sheldon Handcock, chair of the Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce, said in a prepared statement. “We urge the federal government to provide support and a fair deal to the struggling national airlines.” While it may be a while before the effects are felt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the areas that will get squeezed by the lack of air travel to central Newfoundland is the tourism industry. The Gander airport represents a critical link between those businesses and their customers. People can’t make plans to visit the province if there is no access to a great deal of it. “We need flights in and out of this province,” said Deborah Bourden, the co-owner of the Anchor Inn Hotel & Suites in Twillingate. “What is the good to have people who want to come here if they can’t get here. “That is absolutely critical to our industry.” Farwell said the effort to collect testimonials is just the first step of a larger communication effort being undertaken in the central region of the province. That will involve a small number of stakeholders in the region and allow them to co-ordinate a collective message. Farwell also said it will be an issue raised when political hopefuls make their way to Gander on the campaign trail in the coming days and weeks. “There are a lot of factors to be considered,” he said. “It's all about co-ordinated advocacy.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
Après le nom de la ville de Val-des-Sources, voilà le tour de la rue de l’Amiante de changer de nom. La rue, située dans le secteur industriel de Val-des-Sources, portera dorénavant le nom de la rue des Bâtisseurs. Ce changement allait de soi selon le maire Hugues Grimard. « On a changé Asbestos parce que ça voulait dire amiante et là c’est directement l’amiante, souligne-t-il. C’est la suite logique du repositionnement de notre appellation. » La ville a envoyé une lettre à tous les propriétaires fonciers de la rue pour obtenir des suggestions de nom, mais n’en a reçu aucun. Le conseil municipal a donc décidé d’aller de l’avant avec le nom des bâtisseurs. « On ne voulait pas faire un long et lourd processus », résume le maire. M. Grimard confirme aussi que le ministère des Transports devrait mettre à jour au printemps ses panneaux de signalisation pour enlever la mention d’Asbestos.Simon Roberge, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
In preparing for her first election run, Kristina Ennis never expected what would be called into question during her first days of door knocking. At least a couple of times a day, her age has been brought up at the door, Ennis, the Progressive Conservative candidate for St. John's West, told CBC News. "Comments around, even straight up asking, 'How old are you? Are you old enough to be running in this election?'" said Ennis. Ennis — who, for the record, is 30 — said she tries her best to brush off such remarks and focus on her skills, like a near-decade of experience in the oil and gas sector. But the comments on her appearance nag at her at night, especially so after talking to male counterparts to find none of them had similar experiences. "I don't think my age has anything to do with my credibility. And when I get questions like that, I feel as if my credibility and my skills and my qualifications are being called into question simply because I am a female in politics," she said. Ennis's experience hasn't been an aberration since Newfoundland and Labrador's general election was called Friday evening. Female candidates have been sharing encounters of sexism and misogyny, from casual comments to online trolling, that aren't limited to political newcomers. "I've had some harassing behaviour against me. I'm seeing that on the campaign trail. In the third day. So it's a bit of an interesting experience," said Sarah Stoodley, the Liberal incumbent candidate in the midst of her second campaign for Mt. Scio's seat. Most of the comments come via email, Stoodley said, continuing a trolling trend she saw when she was an MHA. One tactic? Don't engage much with the senders, she said. "They're not really interested in having a conversation, like around policy." Still, the emails have prompted her team to ensure Stoodley never enters or leaves her campaign office unaccompanied, she said, with even some women on her team — unelected employees or volunteers — having been targets. Alison Coffin, running for the NDP in St. John's East-Quidi Vidi in her third election, credits her campaign team for insulating her from the nastiest online snipes. But despite trying to abide by what should be the internet's golden rule — don't read the comments — sexism seeps through. "I certainly have had lots and lots of comments about how I look, what my hair is like. And people don't talk to you about your message — they say, 'Well, oh, that outfit didn't quite fit right,'" said Coffin, who is also the party's leader. Even for a seasoned politician, Coffin said, such jabs can be setbacks, and she knows it keeps others with political aspirations on the sidelines. "That's a real unfortunate barrier for a lot of women. A lot of people don't appreciate that type of criticism, and it really is a deterrent to bring good, strong women candidates who are smart and have good ideas," she said. A non-partisan push Despite their political differences Ennis, Coffin and Stoodley share an uncommon unity in this campaign in the face of discrimination. And they're not the only ones. "Females from all parties are coming together to support one another, and I really love that spirit of teamwork. I'm really big on teamwork as it is, and I think a collaborative approach to problem-solving is what's best in most situations," Ennis said. There's weight to that energy. The nomination deadline for candidates is Saturday, but so far, percentage-wise, there are more women running in the 2021 election than ever before at 33 per cent, or 37 out of the 112 candidates declared as of Wednesday. Female candidates are contributing uplifting songs to a non-partisan playlist to help power them through any campaign trail problems — Ennis's pick is Grown Woman by Beyoncé — and giving advice; Stoodley recommends brushing off negative comments, while Coffin said it helps to shut off social media. To effect larger change, Ennis said education is key. She credits Equal Voice NL — the provincial chapter of the Canada-wide non-profit that promotes women in office — as raising the issue's profile. On a personal level, a tool she's used in the past has been to make people aware of unconscious bias, and she hopes this campaign incorporates that tactic. "A lot of people don't necessarily realize how their words hurt and impact another person. And I think the campaign happening right now, and the number of comments women are getting, I think it's important that … that the awareness can get out there, that this is inappropriate, and this is why it's inappropriate, so that people hopefully understand and this attitude stops," she said. The 'old boys' club' — in 2021 It's a big ask, and bigger than a month-long campaign, where addressing sexist comments takes time away from the issues and policies the politicians are trying to discuss. Gender parity among all parties remains elusive, and prior to the election, only 22.5 per cent of MHAs were women. Coffin said sexism continues to dog and deter female candidates in part because it isn't getting fully addressed within the larger political sphere. "I certainly see that in the House of Assembly, that semblance of that old boys' club is still there. It's a lot of token words about women's issues, but it doesn't seem to be a real fulsome understanding," she said. Case in point: in October, Lisa Dempster, a Liberal cabinet minister at the time, was called "a schoolgirl" by Opposition MHA Barry Petten, who later apologized for those remarks. For progress to be made, Coffin said, sexism needs to be called out wherever it's seen. "We need to address it directly and it needs to be embodied by all politicians," she said. For her part, Stoodley is working to embody change. Being visible, she said, is key, and her past months in politics show that commitment. She was sworn in as a cabinet minister in her third trimester in August, with her pregnancy bringing about Confederation Building changes from adding change tables in washrooms to permitting babies on the legislature's floor. In less high-profile work, Stoodley said she has tried to give political tours and, in pandemic times, Zoomed with schoolchildren to talk about what being an MHA is like. "If they see themselves as that, hopefully they can aspire to be that," Stoodley said. Stoodley notes female candidates often are able to fundraise less than male counterparts — a CBC/Radio Canada investigation found an average gap between genders of about $5,000 in the last federal election — and she hopes there's room for further, systemic electoral change. "In terms of the system we're working in, where we run and we're candidates and we have parties, can we tweak the system to help encourage more women to run, so that we move closer to the 50/50 split that reflects the general population?" she said. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador