LONDON — Prince Philip has had a successful heart procedure at a London hospital and is expected to remain for several days of “rest and recuperation,” Buckingham Palace said Thursday. The palace said the 99-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II “underwent a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.” “His royal highness will remain in hospital for treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days,'' the palace said in a statement. Philip, 99, has been hospitalized since being admitted to King Edward VII’s Hospital in London on Feb. 16, where he was treated for an infection. On Monday he was transferred to a specialized cardiac care hospital, St. Bartholomew’s. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, said Wednesday that Philip's condition was “slightly improving.” “We’ll keep our fingers crossed," said Camilla, who is married to Prince Charles, eldest son of Philip and the queen. Philip's illness is not believed to be related to the coronavirus. Both Philip and the monarch received COVID-19 vaccinations in January and chose to publicize the matter to encourage others to also take the vaccine. Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, retired in 2017 and rarely appears in public. Before his hospitalization, Philip had been isolating at Windsor Castle, west of London, with the queen. Although he enjoyed good health well into old age, Philip has had heart issues in the past. In 2011, he was rushed to a hospital by helicopter after suffering chest pains and was treated for a blocked coronary artery. The longest-serving royal consort in British history, Philip married the then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947. He and the queen have four children, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. His illness comes as the royal family braces for the broadcast of an interview conducted by Oprah Winfrey with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Meghan and husband Prince Harry quit royal duties last year and moved to California, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. Relations between the couple and the palace appear to have become increasingly strained. On Wednesday, the palace said it was launching a human resources investigation after a newspaper reported that a former aide had accused Meghan of bullying staff in 2018. In a clip from the pre-recorded Winfrey interview, released by CBS, Winfrey asks Meghan how she feels about the palace “hearing you speak your truth today?” “I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there was an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” the duchess says. “The Firm” is a nickname for the royal family, sometimes used with affection and sometimes with a note of criticism. Jill Lawless And Danica Kirka, The Associated Press
The Brandon Urban Aboriginal Peoples Council (BUAPC), while in the process of finding a new community co-ordinator, welcomed two new citizen-at-large appointments earlier in the year. Deborah Huntinghawk and Darlene Paquette joined the council — though Huntinghawk rejoins after serving as the representative for the Brandon Friendship Centre. "I know both ladies and have worked with them on other committees, and they are a real asset to BUAPC," said Leah LaPlante, the council’s chair and representative for the Manitoba Metis Federation. The council is arm’s-length from city council and is primarily dedicated to issues of concern to Indigenous people in Brandon. The city can seek its advice and, conversely, the council can "advise city council of its own accord." Its mandate is broad, with a goal of ensuring Indigenous people have a place in Brandon, supported by policy and programming. The council is made up of two members from city council, four citizen-at-large members and one representative each from the Brandon Friendship Centre, the Manitoba Metis Federation, the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council, Prairie Mountain Health, Brandon University, Assiniboine Community College, the Brandon School Division Board and the Brandon School Division Administration. Coun. Kris Desjarlais (Rosser) currently serves a dual role on the council — representing both the city and Assiniboine Community College. "Deb did and does such a wonderful job and really brings a motherly lens to those conversations and to our considerations. She’s very thoughtful. It’s great to have her back," he said. "And Darlene, I’ve known Darlene for years. She’s such a strong community advocate. Really not afraid to challenge people, and invite questions and good dialogue. She’ll definitely hold the council’s feet to the fire. I’m really looking forward to Darlene being on the council, actually." Desjarlais said there are normally quite a few applications for the citizen-at-large positions, more than other committees. "We really had to make tough decisions last time. It’s never fun for me to tell somebody who wants to volunteer their time, ‘I’m sorry,’" he said. For Huntinghawk, the council is a group of like-minded, community-minded people. "We all have respect for each other, and we all have respect for what happens to our Indigenous people that live in this community. We all want good things, like good health care, good education, just a positive experience to be here in Brandon," said Huntinghawk, adding affordable housing and reconciliation to the list. She also appreciates that each representative brings issues forward from their own organizations to be discussed in a solution-oriented way. The Métis and Sioux Valley Dakota Nation flags flying at city hall is one visible way to let urban Indigenous people know they belong in the city alongside other Brandonites. That was a council effort. Huntinghawk listed more projects the council has accomplished. For Paquette, a lifelong volunteer, her appointment to the council is humbling, she said. After a year’s break from boards and committees, she decided it was time to re-engage. She was elected to the Brandon Friendship Centre board in June last year. "Then I thought, I always wanted to serve on a city committee, and I thought that BUAPC would be a good fit. I know that they were doing great things pre-COVID. And, yes, I wanted to be a part of that," she said. "They have built a solid bridge between the Indigenous community and the City of Brandon and this community at large. There was a lot of work put into that, and I commend all of the board members past and current, that are appointed, and the city councillors that sit on there. They’ve done so much work in building good relationships with the city and the community." Paquette also noted the teepee project, which has seen teepee frames erected all over the city, and the Good Road Gala, which honours Indigenous people who live the seven sacred teachings — love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility and truth. The council would normally meet once a month, and invite guests to speak from time to time, to discuss such things as justice, economic development, Indigenous relations and urban reserves. "You name it — we put a lot of things on the agenda, and then do our best to collaborate and promote the advancement in economics, education and wellness for our urban Indigenous population," said Desjarlais. The council’s work has mostly come to a standstill due to the pandemic. They are also on the search to fill the community co-ordinator position left vacant by Jason Gobeil, who moved on to pursue other interests last fall. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
Emergency services are preparing for the impending closure of the Petitcodiac River causeway that's expected to last until October. The causeway will close April 5 to allow the completion of a new bridge that will replace it, part of a decades-long plan to restore the river's tidal flow. Around 25,000 vehicles use the causeway daily, according to previous estimates. That traffic is expected to mainly shift to the Gunningsville Bridge. The next crossing is about 20 kilometres upstream in Salisbury. Fire chiefs from Moncton, Riverview, Dieppe as well as representatives from Ambulance New Brunswick and the Codiac Regional RCMP have been part of a committee formed in 2019 to plan for the closure. Codiac Regional RCMP Staff Sgt. Mario Fortin said the force has made plans to adjust its approach to policing in Riverview, but it's not clear how significant the traffic impact will be until the closure begins. "For us, like anybody else, the fire chief or the ambulance, it's going to be to get ready and then wait and see how the traffic and population reacts to that and how big the impact is going to be," Fortin said. The causeway gates will be removed during the closure of the crossing. (Shane Fowler/CBC) Codiac, headquartered in Moncton, polices both communities as well as Dieppe. "We have vehicles already assigned to Riverview. At first, we're probably going to have a few more just in case we have a hard time crossing the bridge," Fortin said. Should there be delays in additional officers getting to Riverview in the event of an emergency, Fortin said Codiac can call upon their RCMP colleagues from the Southeast District RCMP, which is based in Riverview but polices the rural areas. According to a report presented to Riverview council last month, Ambulance New Brunswick last year had considered several options to maintain paramedic services. One would be to station a second ambulance in the west end of the town during peak traffic periods. The report says another option would be to station an advanced care paramedic unit in the town during those peak traffic times. The causeway road, shown toward the bottom, will be removed during the closure and the river channel realigned to flow under the new bridge. (Shane Fowler/CBC) Ambulance New Brunswick did not provide an interview. Jean-Pierre Savoie, a vice president with Ambulance New Brunswick, said in a statement details are still being worked out. Both major regional hospitals are in Moncton. Robin True, Riverview's fire chief, said the fire department has sufficient resources to respond within the town. The closure could, though, affect response times if Moncton's fire crews are asked to assist with a call in Riverview, or if Riverview crews are asked to help Moncton. True said there could be a one to two minute impact on response times for mutual aid. "We have sufficient resources, I think, on both sides of the river that there would not be a serious impact on public safety, even with that one or two minute delay in mutual aid," True said.
SHEET HARBOUR – Since 1911, people have gathered internationally to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 marks the call to accelerate gender parity. This year, the event will be marked virtually by LEA Place Women’s Resource Centre in Sheet Harbour on March 7. The 2021 theme of the worldwide event is “Choose to Challenge.” LEA Place Executive Director Myrene Keating-Owen told The Journal via email: “A challenged world is an alert world … and from challenge comes change. So, let's all #ChooseToChallenge.” The local IWD event will be shared on Zoom on March 7, at 1 p.m. Guest speaker, Sandra (Boutilier) Fyfe, Anglican Bishop of Nova Scotia and P.E.I., will speak on the power of women. Those wishing to join the IWD Zoom event are invited to call LEA Place to register at (902) 885-2668. LEA Place will be partnering with businesses in the area to offer free coffee to women in honour of IWD. There was a lot for the centre’s staff to take into consideration when organizing this year’s event. Keating-Owen questioned whether they could even host an event with so many unknowns. “As the event is planned months ahead of time – and with the uncertainty of COVID-19 restrictions – we had to be realistic in our planning to organize an event. It had to be in-line with Public Health’s gathering limits – and could easily be changed if other restrictions came down by province,” she said. “We knew the event would not be a face-to-face event – but via Zoom – so we had to ensure we had the technology in place at the Centre to accommodate people joining in. Will people have their own technology and know how to use Zoom?” IWD is one of the most important days of the year to celebrate women's achievements and to raise awareness about women's equality. “This day is used to lobby for accelerated gender parity, influencing behavior and smashing stereotypes,” said Keating-Owen. “The day is marked by encouraging challenging bias, reinforcing commitment and launching initiatives.” Purple, green and white are the designated colours representing IWD. “Purple signifies justice and dignity and green symbolizes hope,” said Keating-Owen. “White represents purity – although a controversial concept. The colours originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the U.K. in 1908.” LEA Place Women’s Resource Centre has been celebrating IWD since its founding in 1983. Keating-Owen described the early days when the organization hosted potlucks where women would bring dishes representing many parts of the world. Women who had travelled abroad were invited to speak on their work and experiences. “A few years we had a panel of women – ages spanning from teens to women in their 80s. We would ask the same questions to each of the women and teens which created a ‘Then and Now’ on issues which continue to be a struggle for women throughout the centuries,” shared Keating-Owen. Keating-Owen reminded the community: “LEA Place Women’s Resource Centre is here and open to support women. We are pleased to continue welcoming individual women to our Centre by drop-in services within public health restrictions and by appointment.” Due to public health gathering limits LEA Place is now connecting in different and new ways – including video appointments, if requested or required – and video events. “We want women to know we are here for them and can connect with us via phone (902) 885-2668, text (902) 885-5286 or email at email@example.com,” explained Keating-Owen. “Our Centre is open regular hours Monday to Friday, from 9 to 4:30 p.m. If you require a different time to meet – please call the Centre to prearrange a time that works.” The Centre is limited to face-to-face attendance but for the IWD event they are able to accommodate up to five, in-person, who register. LEA Place does not charge for the event but for those who choose to give a free will offering – it goes towards LEA Place’s bursary and/or programming. Janice Christie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Yet preparations for NEOM, the $500 billion signature project in Prince Mohammed bin Salman's drive to diversify Saudi Arabia's economy, are well underway. The organisation behind the development, expected to be close to the size of Belgium when it is completed, will hire 700 people this year, according to Simon Ainslie, the venture's chief operating officer. While NEOM is being sold as a vision of a brighter future, international investors have yet to bite.
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MURPHY’S COVE – Seasonal tourism operators are entering their second season during a global pandemic. Many are wondering – did summer 2020 prepare them for this upcoming summer? Murphy’s Camping on the Ocean hosts guests from all over the world. More than 50 per cent of guests typically come from outside Nova Scotia, with 33 per cent percent being international. Owner/operator Ryan Murphy told The Journal via email how very different the 2020 season was for the business. “With COVID, our interprovincial and international [guests] went to zero. The Atlantic bubble had very little effect for us. We adjusted our marketing budget to focus locally and – fortunately – we were able to mostly make up the shortfall with Nova Scotia guests.” Murphy suggested the 2021 season will undoubtedly be different from a typical year, but he remains hopeful it will be closer to normal than 2020. “Our greatest success with COVID was transitioning quickly to capitalize on more local guests from around Nova Scotia,” Murphy said. “Our greatest challenge with COVID has been navigating the constantly changing public health requirements and the government assistance programs.” One of the largest challenges for Murphy’s in 2020 was the additional work required for reservations. Murphy’s Camping processed 40 per cent more bookings in 2020 than in 2019 – due to the extensive number of cancelled bookings from interprovincial and international guests – and subsequent bookings from provincial guests. “Another challenge COVID posed for us was our nightly mussel boils – which generally encourage interaction amongst guests and is something for which we are well known,” Murphy said. “Our decision to cancel the mussel boils for the 2020 season was not made lightly, but we felt was necessary to help limit interaction amongst guests.” Murphy’s Camping on the Ocean celebrated its 60th year in operation in 2020 – making it one of the most well-established tourism operations in Nova Scotia. “As a small campground, with just 51 campsites, we offer a very hospitable atmosphere promoting interaction between guests,” said Murphy. He spoke of the history of the business and shared that during the past 10 years Murphy’s Camping has received guests from more than 60 countries. “Murphy's Camping is committed to providing an unforgettable camping experience for its guests by creating a friendly and hospitable atmosphere in a picturesque environment. Our main activities include overnight accommodations and wild island adventures, including scenic boat tours, boat charters and an island drop-off service.” Murphy explained Murphy’s Camping on the Ocean has historically invested a significant portion of its marketing budget outside Nova Scotia and Canada. “As a result [the campground] has seen double digit growth in recent years – outpacing average tourism growth in the province.” Bookings for 2021, Murphy said, are not on pace with typical years – but that is expected. “With the timeline for international travel still largely unknown, our bookings consist of provincial guests and some hopeful interprovincial guests,” he said. “Generally speaking, provincial reservations do not reserve as far in advance as international guests; hence, fewer bookings at this time.” As a well-established Nova Scotia seasonal business operator, Murphy noted the company understands its position of privilege as a longstanding tourism operation will help it weather the COVID pandemic. “As a business that was founded closer in date to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic than the present-day pandemic – we’re confident in our ability to bounce back from the impacts that COVID-19 is having locally and around the world. “We’re hopeful tourism in Nova Scotia will recover swiftly following the pandemic and – as a province – we can get back on track toward reaching the goal set forth by the Ivany Report … that is to double tourism revenue from 2014 to 2024.” Murphy believes this goal is almost certainly unachievable following the pandemic, given the long-term effects it will have on global travel. “That said,” he notes “… we must keep our sights set high.” Murphy took over in 2019 from his parents – Brian and Marilyn Murphy, who are still working in the business. They are currently in a three-year transition period. Janice Christie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Three days before Lionel Desmond left an in-patient psychiatric facility, his wife called the hospital to say she worried about him coming home amid his rising paranoia and anger toward her, a fatality inquiry heard Thursday. Shanna Desmond never said outright that didn't want her husband to come home to her and their daughter in Guysborough County, N.S., Lionel's social worker at the Montreal facility testified. But, according to Kama Hamilton, Shanna did say she wanted her husband to improve his anger management skills. In the phone call, she recalled about a nightmare her husband had told her about in which he found her in bed with someone and then "he chopped her in a million pieces," Hamilton testified. The fatality inquiry in Guysborough has been called to consider recommendations to try to prevent future deaths, after Lionel killed Shanna, his 10-year-old daughter Aaliyah, and his mother Brenda, before turning the gun on himself. CBC's Laura Fraser was liveblogging the inquiry Thursday: The shootings happened on Jan. 3, 2017, less than five months after he was released from Ste. Anne's Hospital in Quebec, where he'd been getting treatment for severe and chronic post-traumatic stress disorder. The illness emerged after what's been described as a particularly brutal seven-month tour of Afghanistan in 2007. Shanna told Hamilton in an earlier phone conversation, in June 2016, that her husband came back from combat a changed man. That description echoes the evidence from Shanna's parents, her brother, Lionel's four sisters and his best friend. But the evidence submitted by the various clinicians who saw him in the years after he was first diagnosed with PTSD at CFB Gagetown in 2011 suggests that not all of his actions may have been connected to that diagnosis. Lionel struggled to trust others, something that may be explained by a latent diagnosis of borderline personality traits that happened during his stay at Ste. Anne's from May 30 to Aug. 15, 2016. Those trust issues featured prominently in Shanna's first conversation with Hamilton, something that happened after Lionel gave the social worker permission to speak with his spouse. Desmond is seen in this family photo with his mother Brenda, and daughter Aaliyah. (Submitted by Cassandra Desmond) In that conversation, Shanna first disclosed the violent nightmare that her husband had described. But at that point, Hamilton said that Shanna had no concern that he would act on it — or ever be violent with her or Aaliyah. "The context of him sharing this with her was not in a threatening way," Hamilton testified. "He was very upset by the fact that he was having this dream. It was not, 'This is what I'm going to do if ever you leave me,' it was a case of, 'I'm having these horrible, really violent nightmares and you're involved.'" Hamilton testified she had some concerns about Lionel returning to live with his wife and daughter — and had suggested he rent an apartment in Antigonish, N.S., to give everyone time to adjust. Due to Shanna's going to school in Nova Scotia and Lionel's deployment in New Brunswick, the family had not lived together for about four years. And Hamilton said it might make sense to live separately as Lionel continued his therapy and other stress-management techniques. Interviewing a spouse The fact that Hamilton was able to speak to Shanna was an improvement in the relationship from April 2016, when Lionel had told his doctors in New Brunswick that they couldn't share any information with his wife. That corroborating information is extremely helpful, Hamilton testified. And she agreed with a potential recommendation suggested by Tara Miller, the lawyer representing Brenda Desmond's estate, that Ste. Anne's should strongly encourage that spouses are part of an intake interview at the hospital. In fact, Miller had suggested that the interview be made mandatory, but Hamilton hesitated to agree with that, saying there might be exceptions as it could be a barrier to veterans wanting to take part. Desmond was deployed to Afghanistan for seven months in 2007. (Facebook/The Canadian Press)
Payments firm Square Inc agreed on Thursday to buy a majority stake in rapper Jay-Z's Tidal music streaming service for $297 million in a deal that could popularize blockchain or other new approaches to storing and buying online media. Square Chief Executive Jack Dorsey, who also runs Twitter Inc, said in a statement that the tie-up "comes down to one simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work." Square and Tidal would work on new listening experiences "to bring fans closer together," simple integrations for merchandise sales and financial tools for artists, he added in a Twitter post.
The English Catholic school board in Windsor-Essex says 31 elementary school students have been dismissed after a COVID-19 case was diagnosed in the school. The students are from two cohorts at St. Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Elementary School — one cohort is a classroom and the other is a group of students who ride the bus, the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board (WECDSB) said in a statement Wednesday. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will contact any students and staff who may be affected and provide them with directions, the board said. "We want to assure parents that we are cooperating with the health unit and doing everything we can to make sure that we continue to provide safe and healthy learning environments for their children," the board said. There are five active COVID-19 cases within the WECDSB, and 10 active cases within the public board. One outbreak has been declared at a school, École Élémentaire Catholique Monseigneur-Jean-Noël, where health unit officials say at least two cases have been found. More from CBC Windsor
LISBON, Portugal — Portugal’s government is reporting major progress against wildfires that traditionally scorch the country each summer, saying Thursday the average annual number of blazes and charred area has fallen by more than half over the past three years compared with the previous decade. Authorities enacted a broad range of measures after wildfires killed more than 100 people in 2017. Though officials said climate change, including higher temperatures and lower rainfall, was partly to blame for the destruction, experts also identified poor forest management and preparedness as a cause of repeated outbreaks. Authorities say they have opened more than 4,500 kilometres (2,800 miles) of firebreaks in recent years. Nobody has died in forest blazes in Portugal since 2017. The government concedes, however, that much remains to be done to address the underlying causes of wildfires. They include a migration of people from the countryside to urban areas, leaving large areas untended, and the large swathes of unbroken conifer forests and eucalyptus plantations, which are economically profitable but burn fiercely. The Associated Press
A man in his 50s was killed in a house fire overnight in North York, Toronto police say. Emergency services were called to a home on Mayberry Road, near the corner of Jane Street and Sheppard Avenue West, shortly after 4 a.m. Thursday. Two elderly residents were helped out of the house by a responding officer, police said. Soon after, firefighters found the man unconscious in the basement of the home. Firefighters and paramedics attempted to save the man's life. He was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Sabino Polidoro told reporters at the scene that he lived in the house with his parents and a man he only identified as Frank, who had been living with them off and on for the last few years. The fire had started in the man's bedroom in the basement, Polidoro said, adding that Frank didn't get out because he was trying to douse the flames. "He's a stubborn guy, but he's a great guy … you know, he tried to put the fire out. And I guess he saved us all," Polidoro said. The fire broke out at around 3:30 a.m., Polidoro said. "I heard a noise and I smelled the smoke, and by the time I went downstairs, Frank was trying to put out the fire," he said. But soon the fire alarm was going off, and black smoke was billowing out of Frank's room. Polidoro was worried about his parents. "I go, 'Frank forget it, lets just go,'" he said. "So I ran upstairs to get my mom and my dad out." By the time Polidoro got upstairs, he couldn't see anything at all. "It was like, pitch black. And you couldn't breathe," he said. Polidoro worked on getting his parents out of the house, and thought Frank was doing the same. He said Frank's parents had passed away some years ago, and he was working on "getting his life back together. "He had nowhere to go, so my mom took him in," he said, adding that Frank would often take his mother to church. "He was like a son to her, he was like a brother to me too," he said.
A violent storm that hit the Acadian Peninsula has left two people dead this week, RCMP say. A 90-year-old woman was found dead on the deck of her home in Paquetville. The woman was found by a man plowing her driveway at around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. "The storm was pretty bad in the Acadian Peninsula, plus it was really cold," said Sgt. André Pepin of the RCMP's J-Division. Pepin said police aren't sure why the woman was outside. Just going out for fun, it could be risky during a snowstorm. - Sgt. André Pepin, RCMP J-Division Meanwhile, the body of a 53-year-old man wearing snowshoes was found in Bas-Caraquet just before 11:30 a.m. Wednesday near his home. "He was found yesterday [Wednesday] morning in the snowbank." The man left his nearby residence during the storm Monday night but never returned home. He was reported missing Tuesday night. Pepin said the two deaths are not considered suspicious, and foul play is not suspected. Stay inside The storm that swept through the Acadian Peninsula left about 40 centimetres of snow in the area. According to Environment Canada, winds with gusts of up to 90 km/h blew over the region. Pepin is reminding the public that when a major storm moves in, don't go out. "When the weather is bad, it's a lot safer to stay inside the house and not go out if you don't have to," he said. "Just going out for fun, it could be risky during a snowstorm."
Wall Street ended sharply lower on Thursday, leaving the Nasdaq down nearly 10% from its February record high, after remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell disappointed investors worried about rising longer-term U.S. bond yields. A decline of 10% from its February record high would confirm the Nasdaq is in a correction. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield spiked to 1.533% after Powell's comments, which did not point to changes in the Fed's asset purchases to tackle the recent jump in yields.
Angela Carter, professor of political science at the University of Waterloo, says People's Recovery is an alternative to Andrew Furey's economic recovery team. (Bruce Tilley/CBC) People's Recovery, a volunteer group of 60 individuals and organizations, unveiled its own economic recovery plan for the province Wednesday, calling it an alternative to the premier's economic recovery team (PERT), and the pending Greene report. The progressive group, which is against privatization and cuts to public spending and services, is endorsed by the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, $15 and Fairness, the St. John's Status of Women Council and Memorial University's Faculty Association, among others. Federation of Labour president Mary Shortall, who quit PERT in January over concerns about its process, is also a member of People's Recovery. While Liberal Leader Andrew Furey has said there will be no mass layoffs and that the recommendations in the as-yet-unwritten Greene report will be fully debated, there is widespread concern that chair Moya Greene and her group will recommend service cuts and other tough decisions. "This, in many ways, is a counterpoint to the premier's economic recovery team," said Angela Carter, a political science professor with the University of Waterloo, and co-facilitator of People's Recovery. The group started in November, with small meetings of mostly academics and people in the non-profit sector, but has since grown. "We have environmental groups, women's groups, anti-racist groups, people who represent the small business sector, labour organizations and labour advocates. So a very wide and diverse range of people are at the table with us," Carter said via FaceTime Wednesday. Moya Greene is leading the economic recovery team that is scrutinizing government spending and services. The team is expected to deliver a final report to the provincial government in April. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador) She says they were inspired by PERT to find another path to fixing the province's financial crisis. "There's a knee-jerk reaction in the province to cut spending, and the sort of slash-and-burn mentality," Carter said. "But what that means for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians is that our services then become impoverished." "So there is another option. There's another way here." Increase taxes for the wealthy Instead of cutting, the groups wants the government to look at the other side of the ledger and capture money left on the table. According to their revenue fact sheet, they propose a two per cent tax increase for those in the top two tax brackets, a new tax bracket for people earning over $1 million, a one per cent wealth tax on net assets over $20 million, a 20 per cent luxury tax on luxury vehicles, boats and aircraft over $100,000, and taxing capital gains the same as wages. "Some of it is directed toward making sure that the very richest people in our society, that are currently still doing really well even during COVID, that they pay a fair share of taxes going forward," Carter said. "Middle income people in Newfoundland and Labrador pay about the same amount as middle income people in other Atlantic provinces. But if you are very wealthy in Newfoundland and Labrador, you actually get a sweet deal on taxes," she said. People's Recovery also believes in a $15 minimum wage, and says reducing unemployment by three per cent will create just under $50 million in revenue for the government. They're also pushing back on the idea that provincial government spending is out of control, calling it a "myth." "If you look at comparisons with other Atlantic Canadian provinces, for example, we see that Newfoundland and Labrador's program spending is actually lower per GDP than all of those provinces," she said. Liberals welcome discussion Furey, who created PERT and appointed Greene as its chair last fall, was not available for an interview Wednesday, but St. John's West candidate Siobhan Coady was. "I am very, very pleased to have more people engaged in this discussion. This is exactly what I think we need in Newfoundland and Labrador. We need all, all of us to be engaged in this discussion," Coady said. When it comes to increasing taxes on the wealthy, Coady says the province completed a review of its tax system in 2018. St. John's West candidate Siobhan Coady says she's pleased to have people enter the discussion on the province's financial crisis. (Zach Goudie/CBC) "We were middle of the road and I think that's where we want to be. But there's certainly always value in continuing to look at our taxation system to make sure that we're competitive." She said she will take People's Recovery's recommendations seriously, and there will also be public consultations on the PERT report. People's Recovery says it will release more policy in the coming weeks. Greene's interim report for PERT was due to government on Feb. 28, but she said it will be delayed for five or six weeks, blaming the COVID-19 pandemic and the current lockdown for the delay. Read More from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The provincial government appears to be on the verge of replacing the flimsy, easily torn paper health-care cards that are both a curiosity and irritant for many Albertans. A "registry system modernization" to "add personal health number(s) to driver's licence and identification card(s)" is listed as a capital project to be undertaken by Service Alberta according to a document released in last week's provincial budget. The expenditure is estimated to cost $600,000 in 2021-22. There are no amounts listed for the two subsequent fiscal years, which suggests the work could be completed by next year. Tricia Velthuizen, press secretary for Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish, acknowledged in an emailed response to CBC News that work was underway, but declined to offer additional information. "Service Alberta has been working closely with our colleagues in Health to explore options to modernize the paper cards using some of the same security, technology, and innovation that led to Alberta having some of the most secure driver's licences and ID cards in North America," she wrote. "Modernizing these cards was a promise in the United Conservative election platform and one the minister is especially looking forward to keeping." Alberta health cards have been issued in paper since they were first introduced in 1969. They show the bearer's name, birth date and health insurance number. But they lack photos, addresses, and most crucially, do not expire, which could open them up to misuse. Former auditor general Merwan Saher in 2015 criticized the lack of expiry dates, arguing the cards could be used by people who no longer live in Alberta. The UCP promised in its 2019 campaign platform to combine health cards with drivers' licences or provincial photo ID cards as a "multi-use personal identification card." Sarah Hoffman, the NDP MLA for Edmonton-Glenora, said she wanted to update the cards when she was minister of health between 2015 and 2019. Hoffman can't remember the exact cost of the upgrade, but she remembers it was too much, especially when the government needed to spend money on frontline services. "If I thought it could be done for as little as the government appears to be pretending that it can be done for, I would have done it," Hoffman said in an interview on Wednesday. "But the truth is that I remember thinking it was a lot of money." Hoffman is skeptical of the amount earmarked for the changeover. She suggested the government may try to recoup costs by charging higher fees for licences and ID cards, which could hurt low-income Albertans If the government intends to raise fees, Hoffman said they should be clear about what they are planning to do.
SYDNEY — The chief of Nova Scotia's largest First Nations community says the federal announcement regarding the upcoming fishing season took him by surprise. On Wednesday, Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Minister Bernadette Jordan announced that effective immediately, any fishing by moderate livelihood fisheries will need to take place during the existing commercial season. Jordan also stated that these fisheries will be regulated through licences issued by her department. Jordan says these licences will provide an opportunity for First Nations harvesters to sell their catch legally and earn a moderate livelihood and will also prioritize conservation to ensure that lobster stocks remain healthy. Eskasoni First Nation Chief Leroy Denny says the government failed to conduct the necessary consultation with his community and that the government's plan is a unilateral decision. "The federal government is fully aware that such a requirement will be a direct infringement on our constitutional treaty rights, and as such, will require the federal government to legally justify such an infringement," Denny said. Denny says the community is making plans for its own fishery and will hire two coordinators to develop the plan for the spring. Jibby Paul is from Eskasoni and has been fishing for over 20 years. He says this decision is an infringement of his treaty rights. "It negates my right to go fishing and make a moderate livelihood, to exercise my right 365 days of the year," said Paul. Paul owns four fishing boats that he purchased to share with his children. He's worried that there won't be enough licences to go around. "It's a compromise but it's a limited compromise because not everybody is going to benefit from it. There are 4,000 people in my community and poverty is an issue and they're going to give us five or six licences? It's a slap in the face." Paul says he and other fishers from Eskasoni joined Potlotek First Nation when they launched their moderate livelihood fishery this past October, the first of its kind in Cape Breton. Since then, Membertou and Eskasoni have announced their intention to put boats in the water in the coming months. Chief Denny says he will be following up with the federal government and exploring legal options with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs. Ardelle Reynolds, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cape Breton Post
Icelandic town of Husavik is seeking to harness the publicity gained from Netlix' Eurovision movie with a new museum that will showcase costumes and a replica of an Elf house featured in the 2020 Will Ferrell comedy. The town of 2,300 gained attention last year with the release of "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga" with Ferrell and Rachel McAdams cast as a fictional duo from bumbling through the contest. The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the world's biggest annual television events, featuring colourful and often over-the-top performances and outfits.
BRUSSELS — An inquiry into claims that the European Union’s border and coast guard agency was involved in illegally pushing back migrants has found no link to Frontex in any of the incidents but has been unable to establish what happened in five cases, according to the official report into the allegations. The report is by a special working group set up to investigate media allegations that staff, ships or aircraft working with Frontex took part in or were near more than a dozen pushback incidents at the border between Greece and Turkey last year, mostly in the Aegean Sea. The agency’s management board will discuss it at an extraordinary meeting on Friday. Frontex, which is responsible for patrolling the external borders of the 27-nation EU, has rejected the pushback allegations and said that its own internal inquiry could find no evidence to substantiate the claims. Greece, which is in charge of operations involving Frontex on its territory, has also denied reports of pushbacks by its border officers. Pushbacks are forcibly preventing people from entering a country when they might want to apply for asylum. They are contrary to refugee protection agreements, which say people shouldn’t be returned to a country where their life and safety might be in danger due to their race, religion, nationality or political views. They also contravene EU law and policy. The working group cleared Frontex of any wrongdoing in 8 cases, but said in five cases “it has not been possible to completely resolve the incidents beyond any reasonable doubt,” according to part of the restricted report, dated March 1 and seen by The Associated Press. Investigators could not determine whether the people involved in the five incidents were picked up by Turkish authorities or made it safely onto Greek soil. “There is no indication of anybody injured, reported missing or having died in connection with the respective incidents,” the report said. Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri told EU lawmakers Thursday that “I don’t see any substantiated violation of fundamental rights that would be in this report." He didn't elaborate on what else was in the document. The probe, by experts from seven European countries and the European Commission, was set up weeks after reports of collective migrant expulsions were revealed in an October joint investigation by media outlets Bellingcat, Lighthouse Reports, Der Spiegel, ARD and TV Asahi. The reports raised troubling questions about the actions of Frontex, whose mandate and budget has been massively boosted since the entry of well over a million people in 2015, most fleeing conflict in Syria, sparked one of the EU’s biggest ever political disputes over how to manage the influx. Some of the alleged incidents happened in chaotic times in the Aegean around March and April 2020, when Turkey, angered by the EU’s reluctance to support its invasion of northern Syria, allowed thousands of migrants to set out for the Greek border and islands unchecked. The coronavirus was also surging at the time. In one of the alleged “maritime pushback” cases on April 28-29, a group of refugees and migrants was said to have been returned to an unseaworthy life raft without a motor or paddles and towed toward Turkey from near the island of Samos, as a surveillance plane watched from the sky. But the working group could find no evidence that Frontex was involved or had been notified about it. None of the routings of the agency’s aircraft match the report, nor were any of its ships or vehicles in the area referred to in media reports. More broadly, the investigators insist that "serious incident reports” must be quickly drafted after any suspicious incident and fundamental rights officers immediately informed. Frontex was due to have hired 40 fundamental rights officers by this year, but none are in place. Leggeri said Thursday that the first contracts could be offered next month. The investigators recommend that the actions of Frontex planes or ships be recorded on video, and that they remain after any incidents to observe the actions of national police and border agents. EU Migration Commissioner Ylva Johansson welcomed the report, and noted that a “new culture” of sensitivity toward possible misconduct is needed at Frontex, and she criticized the agency for being too slow to respond to the allegations. “This has taken too long,” Johansson told the lawmakers, who are separately investigating the pushback claims. “This time has not been good for the reputation and the trust for the agency.” She rejected accusations that the European Commission itself has been too slow to provide Frontex with legal advice on how to handle boats carrying migrants in the Aegean. ___ Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration Lorne Cook, The Associated Press
TOKYO — The demons are everywhere, sometimes spreading like purple slime, lurking, killing. The terrifying plight depicted in the swashbuckling animated film, “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train,” has struck a chord with pandemic-era Japan, and possibly with the world. “Demon Slayer” has become the biggest grossing film for Japan, surpassing live-action films and even Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away.” The 2020 film, directed by Haruo Sotozaki, got a limited run in Miami, starting last month. A U.S. run is required to be eligible for the 2021 Academy Awards. Nominations are announced March 15, for the April 25 awards ceremony. Akina Nasu, a Tokyo hairstylist, says the story of a spiritually pure hero trying to save lives despite adversity struck home, especially amid a pandemic. “There are many characters, but each one, even the demons, have their own unique stories. People can really empathize with their experience,” she said. Nasu got so enwrapped in a scene she cried in the theatre. She said she identifies closely with the main character’s sense of justice. The theme is perennial: Family love and the universal yearning for that simple normal lifestyle, perhaps taken for granted until the sudden appearance of the demons, or COVID-19, as some fans, like Nasu, are seeing metaphorically. Like the rest of the world, Japan has been hurt by the pandemic, not only economically but also psychologically. People are worried. Some are in mourning. The nation has seen about 8,000 related deaths, much fewer than some nations, but they are rising. The vaccine rollout has barely started. Japan has never had a lockdown, and movie theatres are open with social-distancing measures. The hero of “Demon Slayer” is Tanjiro Kamado, who sets out to become a warrior to save his sister, and ultimately the world, from the demons, or “oni.” Like a cute doe-eyed Musashi, the legendary swordsman, he displays his samurai techniques in a flurry of colorful animation. The movie, which takes place on a nightmarish train ride, follows a hit TV animation series, now streaming on Netflix. Its second season airs in Japan later this year but has already stirred controversy over its appropriateness for children. The setting is a brothel, although there is no graphic sex depicted. The original comic series ran in weekly magazine Shukan Shonen Jump, from 2016, written and drawn by Koyoharu Gotouge, a pen name. The author has never appeared in public, though the “Time 100 Next” list named them among the “emerging leaders who are shaping the future.” Andy Nakatani, Shonen Jump editor-in-chief at VIZ Media, the American manga publisher and distributor, says “Demon Slayer,” is one of its top-sellers with more than 3 million copies in print in the U.S. “It’s essentially a coming-of-age story,” he said. “Through it all, he manages to thrive, grow, and somehow he never gives up hope and is able to maintain the core of who he is. Maybe with all the things going on in the world today, this story of perseverance just particularly resonates with people,” said Nakatani. In Japan, “Demon Slayer” has spun off video games, toy figures, copycat products of the hero’s earrings and Happy Meal stickers at McDonald’s. The theme songs by LiSA are pop hits. Stu Levy, founder and chief executive of TOKYOPOP, an American distributor and publisher of anime and manga, loves the way “Demon Slayer” brought together Japanese folklore “with a modern hipness.” “It has the same appeal that the best zombie shows like ‘The Walking Dead’ have to Americans,” he said, adding he tried to acquire the rights to “Demon Slayer,” but they went to a competitor. “The main characters have a great balance — likeability and intense fighting ability — the best Japanese manga features, these types of earnest, fun-loving, passionate, loyal and hard-working characters.” ___ Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press