Harvey the Newfoundland-Australian Shepherd mix plays in snow for the first time in Toronto, ON.
Harvey the Newfoundland-Australian Shepherd mix plays in snow for the first time in Toronto, ON.
Hello, royal watchers. This is a special edition of The Royal Fascinator, your dose of royal news and analysis. Reading this online? Sign up here to get this delivered to your inbox. The revelations just kept coming Sunday night as Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, gave Oprah Winfrey — and a worldwide television audience — their view on why they had to leave the upper echelons of the Royal Family. The reasons were many, but amid all they had to say, there was one statement that stood out and seems particularly serious for the House of Windsor: Meghan's declaration that a senior member of the Royal Family had worries about the colour of the skin of their first child before he was born. In an interview Monday on CBS This Morning, Winfrey said Harry told her neither Queen Elizabeth nor Prince Philip were part of conversations about Archie's skin colour. "I think it's very damaging — the idea that a senior member of the Royal Family had expressed concern about what Archie might look like," Carolyn Harris, a Toronto-based royal author and historian, said in an interview late Sunday night. Meghan told Winfrey the concern had been relayed to her by Harry, and when questioned further on it, Harry refused to offer more specifics, saying it's a "conversation I'm never going to share." And that, Harris suggests, speaks to the seriousness of the matter. "It's very clear that Harry didn't want to go into details feeling that it would be too damaging for the monarchy." WATCH | Royal Family expressed concerns about son's skin colour, Meghan tells Oprah: It will take time to digest the impact of all that Harry and Meghan had to say to Winfrey. But some early comments in the British media this morning suggest Harry and Meghan's account will have a profound impact. "They have revealed the terrible strains inside the palace. They have drawn a picture of unfeeling individuals lost in an uncaring institution. They have spoken of racism within the Royal Family. This was a devastating interview," the BBC's royal correspondent, Jonny Dymond, wrote in an online analysis. "But Harry describing his brother and father as 'trapped,' and Meghan revealing that she repeatedly sought help within the palace only to be rebuffed is a body blow to the institution." 'A damning allegation' The Guardian reported that Harry and Meghan telling Winfrey of conversations in the Royal Family about Archie's skin colour is "a damning allegation that will send shockwaves through the institution and send relations with the palace to a new low." Many themes and issues developed over the two-hour broadcast, which sprinkled lighter moments — they're expecting a girl, they have rescue chickens and Archie, age almost two, has taken to telling people to "drive safe" — with much more serious concerns, including the lack of support they say they received, particularly as Meghan had suicidal thoughts. WATCH | Meghan had suicidal thoughts during royal life: "A theme that emerges again and again, and it's something that Harry explicitly states in the interview, is the Royal Family being concerned with the opinion of the tabloid press," said Harris. "This may very well have influenced decisions not to speak out about the way Meghan was being treated and that may have influenced some other decisions as well." One of those might be the question of security, something that was of considerable concern to the couple when they learned royal support for it would be withdrawn. "The Royal Family has frequently in the past received bad press regarding minor members ... receiving security,"said Harris. 'Negative headlines' "There were a lot of negative headlines regarding Beatrice and Eugenie continuing to receive security and their father's [Prince Andrew's] insistence they receive security despite being comparatively minor members of the Royal Family who do not undertake public engagements representing the Queen." There was also a sense out of Sunday's interview that issues that troubled the Royal Family in the past may still be a worry now. "Even in the 21st century after all of the problems that the Royal Family encountered in the 1990s with the breakdowns in the marriages of Prince Charles and Prince Andrew … there still doesn't seem to be a consistent means of mentoring new members of the Royal Family," said Harris. Meghan said she had to Google the lyrics for God Save the Queen, and was filled in at the last minute about having to curtsy to Elizabeth just before meeting her for the first time. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, pose for a picture at a Buckingham Palace reception following the final Queen's Young Leaders Awards ceremony in London on June 26, 2018. Both Meghan and Harry spoke warmly of the Queen during the interview Sunday night.(John Stillwell/Reuters) Throughout the interview, Harry and Meghan repeatedly expressed respect and admiration for the Queen, if not for how the Royal Family as an institution operates. But there is considerable murkiness around just who may be responsible for some of the more serious issues they raised. "We know they respect the Queen and have a good personal relationship with the Queen. We know that Meghan had a conflict with Kate but says Kate apologized and Meghan forgave her and she doesn't think Kate's a bad person," said Harris. Lacking 'specific details' "But when it comes to who made racist comments about Archie's appearance or who was dismissive directly of Meghan's mental health, [on] that we don't have specific details." High-profile royal interviews such as this — particularly one by Harry's mother Diana, in 1995 — have a track record of not turning out as the royal interviewees may have intended, and it remains to be seen the lasting impact of this one. Harris sees parallels with Diana's interview, as she "spoke frankly" about a lack of support from the family, and felt that she had been let down by Prince Charles. Meghan spoke with Winfrey before they were joined by Harry.(Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese/Reuters) Harry talked of hoping to repair his relationship with his father — "I will always love him but there's a lot of hurt that happened" — but said he felt really let down, and noted a time when his father wasn't taking his calls. Harris expects the interview will prompt further critical scrutiny of Charles, and Harry's older brother Prince William. The relationship with William has already been under intense scrutiny, and is clearly still a delicate matter for Harry, who hesitated noticeably before responding as Winfrey pressed him on it. "Time heals all things, hopefully," Harry said. How Buckingham Palace responds to all this remains to be seen. Generally, the public approach in matters such as this is silence, and a determination to be seen as carrying on with regular duties. Whether a member of the family might make a more informal comment — say in response to a question from someone at a public event — also remains to be seen. WATCH | Meghan says Royal Family failed to protect her and Prince Harry: But from what did emerge Sunday evening, there is a sense that whatever efforts the House of Windsor has made to put a more modern face on the monarchy, they appear not to have yielded the fruit that might have been hoped. "There's been some elements of modernization, but it's very clear that the institution has difficulty adapting to the needs of individuals who marry into the Royal Family," said Harris. "It's clear that Meghan came away from her experiences feeling that she was not supported or mentored in her new role." Sign up here to have The Royal Fascinator newsletter land in your inbox every other Friday. I'm always happy to hear from you. Send your ideas, comments, feedback and notes to email@example.com. Problems with the newsletter? 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NEW DELHI — Thousands of female farmers held sit-ins and a hunger strike in India's capital on Monday in protests on International Women's Day against new agricultural laws. The demonstrations were held at multiple sites on the fringes of New Delhi where tens of thousands of farmers have camped for more than three months to protest against the laws they say will leave them poorer and at the mercy of big corporations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government says the laws are necessary to modernize agriculture. About 100 women wearing yellow and green scarfs sat cross-legged in front of a makeshift stage in Ghazipur, one of the many protest sites. Holding the flags of farm unions, they listened to female farm leaders speak from the stage and chanted slogans against the laws. At least 17 took part in a day-long hunger strike. “Women are sitting here, out in the open, in protest, but Modi doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about mothers, sisters, and daughters. He doesn’t care about women. That’s clear,” said Mandeep Kaur, a female farmer who travelled 1,100 kilometres (680 miles) from Chhattisgarh state to participate in the protests. Multiple rounds of talks between the government and farmers have failed to end the stalemate. The farmers have rejected an offer from the government to put the laws on hold for 18 months, saying they won’t settle for anything less than a complete repeal. They fear the laws will make family-owned farms unviable, eventually leaving them landless. Women have been at the forefront of the protests, which have posed one of the biggest challenges to Modi since he took office in 2014. Many accompanied thousands of male farmers who arrived at the protest sites in late November and have since organized and led protest marches, run medical camps and massive soup kitchens that feed thousands, and raised demands for gender equality. “Today Modi is sending wishes to women across the country on International Women’s Day. Who are these women he is sending wishes to? We are also like his daughters, but he clearly doesn’t care about us,” said Babli Singh, a farm leader. International Women’s Day, sponsored by the United Nations since 1975, celebrates women’s achievements and aims to further their rights. Women often embody what agricultural experts call an “invisible workforce” on India’s vast farmlands that often goes unnoticed. Nearly 75% of rural women in India who work full-time are farmers, according to the anti-poverty group Oxfam India, and the numbers are expected to rise as more men migrate to cities for jobs. Yet, less than 13% of women own the land they till. Demonstrations were also held at Jantar Mantar, an area of New Delhi near Parliament where about 100 women held placards denouncing the new laws and calling for their withdrawal. “Today we are finding ourselves under attack at all fronts. As women, as peasants, as workers, as youth and students," said women rights activist Sucharita, who uses one name. “We are opposed to the laws that have been passed in favour of corporations." ___ Associated Press video journalist Shonal Ganguly contributed to this report. Neha Mehrotra And Rishi Lekhi, The Associated Press
Bishop Richard Howell Jr. thundered from his North Minneapolis pulpit Sunday that the city "is under great stress right now" as the George Floyd murder trial tests how much, if anything, will change in the U.S. almost 10 months after the killing sparked global outrage. Jury selection for the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, whose knee pressing on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes was captured on graphic video last May, is expected to get underway this week. "This officer coldly refused to respond to his plea and kept his knee on Mr. Floyd's neck, snuffing the very life out of him," preached Howell as his congregants shouted out their acknowledgement. "A senseless, cold, hideous act of hate, bigotry and brutality," said Howell, who is opening his church to those who may struggle watching the live-streamed trial. WATCH | Security high in advance of trial in George Floyd's killing: Benjamin Crump, the Floyd family's lawyer, told CBC News that the upcoming case is "one of the most important civil rights cases in the last 100 years. It is the Emmett Till of today." Till, a 14-year-old Black teenager, was brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955 after allegedly flirting with a white woman in a grocery store. His killers were swiftly acquitted. "Mississippi or Minnesota, I don't see much difference," Deborah Watts, one of Till's cousins, said at a Minneapolis news conference on Friday surrounded by dozens of families whose relatives have been shot or killed by police. "Emmett Till was murdered in August 1955, and we are still fighting for justice. "Something is wrong with that ... we have not made much progress." Last summer, millions of people protested across the U.S. against Floyd's killing in scenes not witnessed since the civil rights movement in the 1960s. Protests against racial injustice and police brutality spread to Canada and many cities internationally. WATCH | Lawyer for George Floyd's family discusses upcoming trial: Crump said the video of Floyd — handcuffed, face down on the pavement, gasping for breath — is "ocular proof" of a man being "tortured to death by the very people who are supposed to protect and defend." "The world had gotten used to seeing reality TV, but we were still shocked," he told CBC News from his office in Tallahassee, Fla. The criminal trial against Chauvin will be prosecuted by the state of Minnesota. While Crump is not directly involved in this case, its outcome will inevitably impact the family's civil case against the city of Minneapolis and the four police officers involved in Floyd's death. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, with the potential addition of a third-degree murder charge. The Minnesota Court of Appeals last week ordered the judge in the case to reconsider a request by prosecutors to reinstate a third-degree murder charge, which means jury selection will not begin until at least Tuesday. Three other officers involved in Floyd's death go on trial in August. Increased security around courthouse Cameras in the courtroom will capture the trial and live stream it for broadcast on some TV channels — a first for Minnesota. The trial is being compared to that of the Los Angeles police officers who were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King 30 years ago, as well as the O.J. Simpson murder trial, which commanded large TV audiences. "The killing of George Floyd by Officer Chauvin is akin for many Americans to some type of public lynching, the likes of which we haven't seen for decades," said Kami Chavis, a law professor at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. "I don't want people to underestimate the power and the importance of this case and what might happen," she said. "It's a huge signal, I think, to law enforcement about what they can and can't do." The Hennepin County courthouse and many federal buildings in Minneapolis are barricaded and surrounded by concertina wire ahead of the trial.(Sylvia Thomson/CBC) The Hennepin County courthouse in Minneapolis is now surrounded by three rings of cement barriers, three-metre high fencing and concertina wire. The state has allocated $36 million US to security and has activated the Minnesota National Guard. Staff in the building, which includes the county government office, have been told to stay home. The courtroom has been modified to accommodate physical distancing due to COVID-19, restricting the number of people allowed inside. One person per family, four each for the defence and prosecution teams and two media members are allowed in at a time. Masks are mandatory, but cannot have anything written on them. Challenges in selecting a jury Three weeks have been allotted to jury selection as lawyers try to screen potential jurors for bias, a complicated task in such a highly publicized case. Activists in Minneapolis say Chauvin is the fourth police officer to be prosecuted in the death of a citizen in Minnesota. Two were acquitted, while one other was convicted in the death of a white woman. "For the most part, officers are pretty sympathetic figures in a lot of these cases. And juries give a great deal of deference to what police officers do. So that will be a challenge as well," Chavis said. The courtroom for Chauvin's trial has been modified to allow for physical distancing due to COVID-19.(Hennepin County) One of those acquittals involved the death of Philando Castile, who was shot and killed by police in July 2016 in a St. Paul suburb while stopped at a traffic light with his girlfriend and a four-year-old in the car. The officer, who was charged with second-degree manslaughter, was acquitted — but fired from the force. Castile's mother, Valerie Castile, sent a message to legislators during Friday's emotional news conference. "We're gonna have to be brutally honest about what's going on in this country", she said. "To the State of Minnesota: we are not going to shut up, we are not going to sit down, we are going to stand in unity and we're going to bring it to you". 'Many other people were murdered before George Floyd' The death of Floyd, who was originally from Texas, has propelled the fight against anti-Black racism and police brutality back into the forefront.. Artwork of the 46-year-old's face has popped up on billboards, buildings and in museums, and his death has become a lightning rod for thousands of Black families whose relatives have been stopped, shot or killed by police in their communities. "What happened after George Floyd's death — the riots, the uproar — did not happen as a result of one man's life. It happened because many other people were murdered before George Floyd. And nothing happened. Nothing changed", Toshira Garraway, founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, told CBC News. Garraway's fiancé, Justin Teigen, died following a run-in with police 12 years ago. According to St. Paul police, Teigen was fleeing police and did not die in their custody. A mural showing his face along with dozens of others, including Floyd's, covers the side of a building in North Minneapolis. It serves as a visual reminder of the more than 400 people who've been killed in altercations with police in Minnesota in the last 20 years, according to the Communities United Against Police Brutality advocacy group. "If George Floyd did something wrong, if all the rest of our loved ones did something wrong, [police] were to arrest them. Not take their lives, not destroy our lives," Garraway said. Toshira Garraway, who founded Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, stands in front of a mural of Minnesotans who have died after police encounters.(Sylvia Thomson/CBC) Crump said the Floyd family is "very, very anxious" and wants "a conviction to the fullest extent of the law." He said anything less has the potential to unleash more unrest. Violence and riots last summer in the days after Floyd's killing burned blocks of the city, with damage estimated at $350 million US. Minneapolis is bracing against heightened tensions when the case goes to the jury, which is expected to happen late April or May. "Historically in America, the police have not been held accountable for killing African Americans," said Crump, who has taken on dozens of cases where Black men and women have been shot or injured by police. "The George Floyd case will be a referendum on how far America has come in this quest for equal justice under the law."
German technology group Bosch said on Monday it would open an automotive chip factory in Dresden in June to build on its leadership in sensor chips that will boost the electric car industry. The 1 billion euro ($1.2 billion) plant will produce sensor chips to be installed in electric and hybrid electric vehicles. Bosch began testing the fully automated production of prototype chips, a step towards starting full-scale production at the end of the year, it said.
An old storage shed with no heat or electricity is where the bodies are kept in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut. "It is not a very nice place to put someone you love," said the community's MLA, Tony Akoak to CBC. Tony Akoak, MLA for Gjoa Haven has been raising the issue for years. Still nothing has been done. (Courtesy Tony Akoak) The shed is used as the local morgue with none of the convenience of a real facility. "It's not a pretty sight to see if you go into that building," said Akoak, in the legislature Thursday. The interior is covered in dust and there is cut up wood on the floor. The lack of electricity makes it cold and dark, said Akoak. This shed has been the local morgue ever since he can remember. He brought the issue to the legislature in 2019 and again this October. Still, nothing has been done. Resident said he was shocked at the condition Akoak received a letter from a Gjoa Haven resident, James Dulac, in January, outlining a horrific experience with the building. A friend of his died by suicide and with the family's permission he was going there to dress the body for the burial. "I was shocked for what I saw," said Dulac, in the letter. His friend lay on the floor in an plastic RCMP bag, and a different body lay on his friend's feet. Dulac opened his friend's body bag to find him covered in blood with his shoes still on, his arms and legs twisted and frozen in place. It was a "clear indication that he did not get cleaned properly prior to be taken to the [morgue]," Dulac wrote. His friend's body would not fit into the coffin, because of how his friend was placed. They had to use a large plywood box, he said. The inside of the shed used as a morgue. Empty boxes are piled to the roof. (Submitted by James Dulac ) "Our loved ones, our people when saying goodbye to this world, deserve respect, deserve to be treated with dignity, deserve better treatment," said Dulac in the letter. "Having a morgue at least with all the necessary needs, it is not a [luxury], it is a right, it is a need," he wrote. Dulac said he brought the issue to the municipality but has not seen any solution yet. In an email to Akoak, Dulac offers two weeks of his salary to be put toward getting a proper morgue. Akoak says this space has been used as a morgue ever since he can remember. (Submitted by James Dulac ) Government has unused portable morgues The Department of Community and Government Services bought two portable morgues in May 2020. The morgues cost $77,520 and the department said they are part of an inventory the government is building to respond to community emergencies. The containers arrived in June and have been sitting in Iqaluit ever since. Community and Government Services Minister Jeannie Ehaloak committed to contact the municipality of Gjoa Haven about the issue.
Ontario pharmacists start a COVID-19 vaccine program this week at 330 locations to provide the AstraZeneca vaccine to customers aged 60 to 64 as lockdown restrictions ease in two major regions.
Seabird biologists are concerned about medical masks ending up in the province's waterways and entangling birds and other wildlife after images were posted online of a gull at Quidi Vidi Lake trapped in the ear loop of a mask. "It's incredibly disheartening and discouraging. It would be anyway, but this lake has an international designation as an important bird area," said Holly Hogan, who has been studying marine birds for 30 years. Hogan told CBC Radio's The Broadcast another image from the same set shows another gull with the plastic rings from beer cans around its beak. Hogan said an awareness around plastic pollution in the environment, specifically the ocean, already exists, but when single-use personal protective equipment became a staple during the COVID-19 pandemic, she said pollution was the first thought that occurred to her. "Everybody disposing of these single-use masks, I thought 'where are they going to go?' and well, we know where some of them are ending up, unfortunately," she said. Hogan said about 129 billion face masks and 69 billion disposable gloves were used every month in 2020. "Not surprisingly, a large number of these ended up in the ocean, and there are very conservative estimates between 1.5 and two billion face masks ended up in the ocean in 2020," she said. Single-use mentality Hogan said there's a feeling of stepping backwards in the public's attempt to limit plastic use. Using bulk food retailer Bulk Barn as an example, she said people used to be able to bring reusable containers to the store, but during the pandemic, the store handed out single-use plastic gloves to be worn while shopping and didn't allow reusable containers. "Some of it is certainly justified, people need to protect their health and that is the number one priority," Hogan said. "Not to pick on the Bulk Barn, I mean they're doing it for our safety, but it seems like in the face of the pandemic, people are almost in a state of panic." A second gull was entangled in plastic rings used for soda or beer cans. (Lancy Cheng/Facebook) Not many people are aware that the single-use non-medical masks they're buying and discarding are made from plastics, meaning they won't break down in a landfill, Hogan noted. She said masks break down into micro-plastics, creating other health problems for the environment. "As an intact mask, with its loops, it entangles creatures, potentially. But it is, and it remains, plastic waste in the environment doing the damage that all plastics do," she said. So, what's the solution? Hogan says awareness and education should be the main focus. "These things don't disappear when they leave your hands or when they leave your face," said Hogan. "Cut off the ear loops so that if they do unintentionally end up in the environment then they're not suddenly a nuisance for some animal." Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Monday said the city's government “fully welcomes” changes to the city’s electoral system that will substantially increase central government control over Hong Kong politics and exclude critics of Beijing. Chinese authorities have said the draft decision before China's National People’s Congress would mean the largely pro-Beijing committee that elects Hong Kong’s leader would also choose a large part of the legislature to ensure the city is run by “patriots.” The Election Committee would also have the right to vet candidates for the Legislative Council, weeding out any people suspected of being insufficiently loyal to China and the ruling Communist Party. Currently, half of Hong Kong’s legislature is directly elected by voters, although the mass resignation of opposition legislators to protest the expulsion of four of their colleagues for being “unpatriotic" means the body is now entirely controlled by Beijing loyalists. “There are loopholes in the electoral systems, there are also flaws in the systems in Hong Kong,” Lam said at a news conference after she returned from the National People's Congress in Beijing. “I fully understand that this is not a matter that can be addressed entirely by the government.” “I’m glad that the central authorities have, again, exercised its constitutional powers to help address this problem for Hong Kong,” she said. She declined to elaborate on the views she had shared with the central authorities regarding electoral reforms, and said many pieces of legislation in Hong Kong would have to be amended. The NPC, China’s ceremonial legislature, will all but certainly endorse the draft decision, though it may not take immediate legal effect. The planned electoral changes have drawn criticism in Hong Kong and abroad, including from the United States. On Friday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price denounced them, saying, “These are a direct attack on Hong Kong’s autonomy, Hong Kong’s freedoms, and the democratic processes, limiting participation, reducing democratic representation, and stifling political debate in order to defy the clear will of the people of Hong Kong and to deny their voice in their own government and governance." On the same day, China rallied its allies at the U.N., with Belarus — a country whose security forces have cracked down brutally on opponents of longtime authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko — speaking in support of the changes. “That a large number of developing countries have once again joined hands to raise their voices for justice at the U.N. Human Rights Council fully reflects that facts speak louder than words and will always prevail," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a briefing on Monday. “China’s determination to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests is unwavering." Unconfirmed reports say the legislation will also expand the size of the Legislative Council from 70 to 90 and the Election Committee from 1,200 to 1,500. Seats on the Election Committee now reserved for directly elected district counsellors will also be eliminated, further cementing Beijing's control over the body. Lam also said she could not confirm whether legislative elections — already postponed last September for one year, ostensibly because of the coronavirus pandemic — would be further deferred due to the electoral reforms. She said central government authorities are “very sincere and very committed in trying to move towards the objective of universal suffrage,” which was promised to Hong Kong under the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution that was drawn up when the British handed Hong Kong to China in 1997. Universal suffrage would give Hong Kong voters the right to vote for the city’s leader, although only candidates approved by Beijing would be allowed to run. Hong Kong has in recent months cracked down on dissent, and most of the city's prominent opposition figures — including pro-democracy activists and former lawmakers — are in jail or in exile. About 100 people, most of whom are pro-democracy activists and supporters, have been charged under the city's sweeping national security law since it was implemented in June. The NPC imposed the law on Hong Kong, bypassing the Legislative Council, saying it was necessary to restore order after increasingly violent anti-government protests in 2019. The legislation criminalizes secession, subversion, collusion with foreign forces to intervene in the city's affairs and terrorism. Zen Soo, The Associated Press
Dozens of Canadian Muslims joined a virtual conference this weekend, organized by Green Ummah, a new grassroots community group in Windsor that launched last year, aimed to encourage the Muslim community to become more environmentally conscious. The two-day weekend event offered participants the opportunity "to start the conversation about what we as Muslims can do to engage with the environment and help build a healthier planet," said Mariam Rajabali, a board member for the group. She said the conference was success and up to 50 people showed up and engaged in the sessions. "There's so many people that we heard from in our networking sessions that said 'we do these things at home and we feel alone. We don't get an opportunity to really voice this with our family and friends.' And this is a space where they can share ideas ... whether it's taking reusable grocery bags to the grocery store, leaving them in your car before you get there, or ... using cleaner cleaning supplies so that they're not polluting the earth," she said. One of the agenda items up for discussion was how the Muslim community can build an allyship with the Indigenous community. Rajabali says the conference was success and up to 50 people showed up and engaged in the sessions. This is a screengrab of the panel discussion on Sunday.(Tahmina Aziz/CBC) "It's our responsibility to look to them and ask the questions that we need to ask and support them in their initiatives," Rajabali explained. "They've been looking after this earth for far longer than we, as youth, have just started doing and really relying on that guidance and supporting them in their initiatives," she said. She said the pandemic set the group back in some of the initiatives it had planned, but the organizers are working on events all aimed to educate, provide resources and make knowledge accessible to the wider Muslim community. One of the events they hope to launch in September is a "curriculum project" targeting youth. "In order for us to make it sustainable change, we need to start looking at people at a young age, and we need to start building some of these behaviours and patterns within our everyday life. So we're hoping that by influencing the younger generation, we can get more people on board with the environmental movement," Rajabali said. She said the conference also allowed an opportunity for people to connect and brainstorm ways to be more environmentally friendly. She hopes they take what they've learned and apply it in their local communities. "We're hoping that by bringing all these people together that we can have a successful Ramadan campaign, that we can encourage our mosques to take the next step to be greener, that we can encourage our local community spaces to be greener as well," she said. Small changes make a big difference, says Rajabali Rajabali said one big takeaway she had from the conference that she wants to share with others is the large impact small changes can make. "It's the small things that we're finding that are making the bigger difference. People talk about planning a year from now, two years from now. What we want to get across to people is changing the little things that you're doing today," she said. "Instead of, you know, putting your leftovers in a Styrofoam container, consider putting it in a reusable Tupperware. Doing things that you can do within the next hour is much more sustainable as a practice if you do it over time rather than trying to plan for the next 10 years."
A New Brunswick tree planter is branching his volunteer-based planting efforts to more provinces this year, COVID-19 permitting. Jonathan Clark's tree planting company Replant has an environmental division that plants trees in New Brunswick's forests and develops community parks with the help of volunteers and private donations. "This year there has been so much interest that we're expanding to at least five provinces and possibly seven," said Clark. Clark said the operations will expand to British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. He said Replant had the means to expand in 2020, but couldn't due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Clark is relying on an Atlantic Bubble for it to happen this year. It's nice to think that the trees we're planting are good for just being trees - Jonathan Clark Clark said Replant's environmental division, based in Sackville, planted 10,000 trees in New Brunswick in 2020. This year, it's goal is to plant 250,000 across the country. "There's certainly demand for it, there's a lot of people who want to see more trees in Canada, partly because of the environment and partly because it's good for public recreation," he said. He said donations are growing every year and, because of this will likely have the ability to plant 1 million trees within the next two years, but declined to give figures. Clark said there are a handful of volunteers in New Brunswick who consider themselves professional tree planters. He expects to have a dozen volunteers in the province this year. Group is working on 2 community forest projects Replant's environmental division is currently working on two community forest projects in New Brunswick, that will take three years to complete. These parks will have picnic areas and trails for public use. Clark said another part of Replant's volunteer work involves buying privately-owned woodlots that have been harvested for firewood and other purposes. Once they're fully cleared, the owners no longer has a use for the land and typically look to sell the lots cheap. A Replant volunteer poses with 12,000 seedlings. (Submitted by Jonathan Clark) He said he uses this opportunity to buy and refill these harvested plots. "Our expectation is we don't want to let those trees be harvested in the future. We want to have a lot more forest that just becomes an old-grown forest eventually," he said. "It's nice to think that the trees we're planting are good for just being trees." He said Replant is looking to expand its operations through New Brunswick, by partnering with Fundy National Park and provincial parks throughout. Replant contacts these parks offering to provide its volunteers and cover the cost to replenish the forests and add diversity in tree populations. Current tree populations not sustainable Balsam fir are New Brunswick's most common tree species, which are best-suited for extremely cold climates. As temperatures rise, this species becomes more vulnerable. Clark said Replant is putting a focus on planting hardwood trees, including Birch and Mountain Ash species, as they're more adaptable to the climate, better at collecting and storing carbon, and are preferable for Canada's wildlife. "This is good for climate change adaptation, certainly a lot of wildlife prefer to see hardwood trees," said Clark. He said the challenge is these seedlings aren't popular or easy to find. A longtime tree planter Clark began his 30-year-long tree planting career travelling between British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Replant began as an educational website for prospering tree planters, to learn about job opportunities and planting techniques. Clark said the company grew to offer larger scale commercial reforestation contracts and forestry consulting engagements. Just a few years ago, he opened the environmental branch of Replant in Sackville.
A non-profit group based in Ottawa is hoping to fund projects from P.E.I. to improve local internet access, particularly in rural areas. The Canadian Internet Registration Authority has $1 million in grants to community groups and researchers across the country available, with a focus this year on rural, remote and Indigenous projects. Maureen James, community investment program manager at CIRA, said the group has never awarded a grant to a project from P.E.I., and hopes it could happen this year. "In P.E.I., for example, one of the areas that you might be concerned about there is connectivity because P.E.I. doesn't have the fastest connectivity in the country, particularly outside of urban areas," said James. "We fund projects that help communities put in the infrastructure so that they can get to higher speed Internet for their homes and schools." The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the digital divide in Canada, she said, and her group is expecting to see a lot more applications for funding this year. Any community group interested in applying can go to CIRA's website for more information. More from CBC P.E.I.
Janet Perry isn't dependent on supermarkets or industrial operations for her maple fix; she's been tapping trees in her own backyard and boiling down that experience into memories for years. "We can even enjoy [the maple syrup] all year round," Perry told CBC Radio's In Town And Out. "It brings back the memories and the joys of what we did." She said her fondness for the sugary treat dates back to a childhood spent on her family's farm. Now, after a few trips to the local hardware store, and with jars on hand, she taps trees at her home in Manotick. For those thinking of attempting their own do-it-yourself sugar bush, Perry suggests drilling the spigot approximately two to three centimetres into the tree. The angle of the spigot is also important, she said. Keep it pointed slightly upwards. Boil it down or drink it straight After collecting the sap – with one of her trees bringing in more than a litre of the sticky substance – she and her husband use a propane cooker to begin the outside boiling process. They then finish boiling it inside, using the "spoon test" to know when the sap hits the magical temperature and is ready to be turned into syrup. "Take up your sap with a spoon, you pour it off, and it should start to become viscous and drip slowly off," she said. Perry said she doesn't limit herself to finished maple products. "My grandkids love to drink just the sap straight," she said. "You just need a cup." As a science teacher at Frederick Banting Alternative High School in Stittsville, Perry incorporates tree tapping in the classroom and enjoys teaching her own grandchildren about the delights of tapping trees. It's a way to get outdoors, she said, adding she finds even the smell of boiling sap enough to improve her mood — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. "My spirits would jump like 10 notches. Just incredible."
OTTAWA — Newly released documents show Statistics Canada considered delaying this year's census until 2022 over pandemic-related health concerns that could erode the quality of data relied on by policymakers across the country. An agency document noted the plan for the 2021 census was developed in a "normal operating context" where tens of thousands of staff and temporary hires would interact with each other and Canadians. In a pandemic, the document noted, that plan had "a high probability of failure." The behind-the-scenes look at how Statistics Canada rethought this year's census operation is contained in 50 pages of internal reports and presentations obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act. The agency ultimately decided to forge ahead with the census for this year using a plan that relies more heavily on Canadians filling out census forms online than on face-to-face interactions. Jan Kestle, president and CEO of Environics Analytics, said the census needed to go ahead as planned this year to get a baseline reading on how families, communities and businesses are faring to guide decision-making for a post-pandemic recovery. "It's not like we're in a period where there's something weird for a month. We have lived for a year (with the pandemic) and we're going to live with the implications of this for a long time," she said. "Having a census that's as good as it can be, is extremely important to the economic recovery, and the health of Canadians." Census results can help reshape electoral ridings and determine federal funding to provinces for health care, and to cities for infrastructure. Local officials use the census to decide where to plan new transit services, roads, schools and hospitals. A census takes seven years between the start of planning to the release of data. "This is a large piece of machinery that does not turn on a dime," said Michael Haan, an associate professor of sociology from Western University, and director of the school's Statistcs Canada Research Data Centre. "If they were going to shift courses by perhaps extending the census for a year, or whatever they may have chosen to do, they needed to have those deliberations well in advance of the census moment." Waiting until 2022, after the widespread distribution of vaccines, could lead to a more "normal" operation , officials wrote in one document, adding that results would better reflect typical trends rather than "an atypical year of widespread societal disruption." But it would also miss some impacts of COVID-19, including connecting detailed income data from the Canada Revenue Agency to different neighbourhoods to see the full effects of pandemic aid programs. "We have a bit of a sense of this already, but nothing as accurate and as complete as the census for giving a true picture of how much hardship the (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) may have saved us," Haan said. In July, officials said no to adding any pandemic-specific questions to the census form because it was "not the right vehicle" for collecting the information. As well, adding a question on short notice could be problematic since every question has to be thoroughly tested. "When you introduce new subject matter into a questionnaire, you run the risk of changing the way people respond to other questions," Haan said. It also takes the agency months before it can release the data for public consumption, meaning the information could be far out of date by 2022 given the fluidity of the pandemic. Statistics Canada's plan for this year's census relies more on online responses and telephone follow-ups than going door-to-door, opening up the internet option to everyone in the country for the first time. Geoff Bowlby, director general at Statistics Canada responsible for the census, said the agency expects about eight in every 10 people to respond to the census online. Enumerators going door-to-door will be masked and get responses from outside the home rather than inside as in previous census cycles, Bowlby said. Hundreds of workers hired as administrators for enumerators are going to work from home rather than temporary office space, he added. Some work can't be done remotely, such as in the scanning centres that turn paper returns into digital data. Bowlby said the agency has adjusted the number of workers in the facility, split them into cohorts, and put in a health and safety plan that includes the provision of N95 masks. "At the end of the day, we do expect to have high response to the census and that data will be of high quality, the same quality that Canadians expect from the census, and it will be a safe operation," he said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2021. Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker Xpeng Inc said on Monday its net loss in the fourth quarter of last year narrowed 42% from the same period in 2019, as EV sales increased in the world's biggest car market. New York-listed Xpeng, which sells mainly in China and competes with Tesla Inc and Nio Inc, said its net loss attributable to ordinary shareholders was 787.4 million yuan ($120.7 million) for the quarter, compared with 1,354.6 million yuan a year earlier. In the final three months last year, revenue jumped 346% year-on-year to 2.85 billion yuan.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — In his first public address since the end of the Trump administration, former Vice-President Mike Pence is travelling to South Carolina, set to speak to a conservative Christian non-profit in the state that plays a crucial role in the presidential nominating process. Next month, Pence will keynote a dinner hosted by the Palmetto Family Council, a Pence aide told The Associated Press on Sunday. The aide spoke on the condition of anonymity due to a lack of permission to discuss the plans publicly. The Palmetto Family lobbies for what it considers to be “biblical values,” such as heterosexual marriage, and most recently helped push through a ban on most abortions in South Carolina. That law is now being challenged in court. Pence, who since leaving the administration has been doing work with the Heritage Foundation and Young America's Foundation, has not indicated if he plans a future run for office, but his choice of making his post-administration debut in South Carolina helps set down a marker for a potential 2024 presidential bid. The state holds the first presidential primaries in the South, and candidates of both major parties typically spend more than a year in the state ahead of those votes, introducing themselves and trying to secure support. As vice-president, Pence made numerous trips to South Carolina, meeting several times with Gov. Henry McMaster for coronavirus-related forums. He also recently campaigned in the state for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace. Throughout his political career, beginning as an Indiana congressman-turned-governor, Pence has long advocated for restrictions on abortion and has voiced support for the overturn of Roe v. Wade. The speech to Palmetto Family is advantageous for Pence in a state that Republican candidates use as a proving ground to test their “pro-life” mettle. The Pence aide described the former vice-president's speech as one that will focus on traditional conservative talking points but will also tout what Pence sees as the accomplishments of the Trump administration. According to Dave Wilson, president of Palmetto Family, Pence will speak to between 450 and 600 guests at a ticketed, sponsored dinner at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on April 29. Wilson told AP that he considered Pence a “prime person” to address the organization due to the “level of faith” the former vice-president embodied while in office. “Vice-President Mike Pence ... is very reflective of the ideas, policies and direction that we at Palmetto Family want to see in South Carolina: bringing faith to the forefront and growing the next generation of conservative leaders for our state,” Wilson said. ___ Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com.MegKinnardAP. Meg Kinnard, The Associated Press
MILAN — Italian police on Monday arrested a 36-year-old Algerian in the southern city of Bari on suspicion of supporting co-ordinated attacks in Paris that killed 130 people in November 2015. The suspect was arrested on suspicion of participating in a terror organization, and is believed to have belonged to the Islamic State group, national police said in a statement. The suspect was not identified by name. He is believed to have supplied falsified documents to the terrorists who launched co-ordinated attacks against the Bataclan nightclub, five cafes in central Paris and the Stade de France in the Paris suburb of St. Denis. The Associated Press
Prince Edward Island has another two cases of COVID-19, both contracted by men in their 20s. There are now 28 active cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I., which is currently more than Nova Scotia. For the first time since Feb. 12, Nova Scotia on Monday reported no new cases of COVID-19. It has 24 active cases. A rotational worker from eastern P.E.I. is calling on the province to ease restrictions put in place in December. Charlottetown police say they have responded to six separate complaints of large gatherings at city residences since Thursday. Premier Dennis King says he's "open to any conversation" about the province sending some of its COVID-19 vaccine supply to harder-hit provinces. King also said he expects the Atlantic bubble to be put back in place this spring. The province released more details of how Prince Edward Island's vaccine campaign will roll out in the coming months. P.E.I. has had 143 diagnosed cases since the outbreak began. New Brunswick reported five new cases on Monday, bringing its number of active cases to 36. Newfoundland and Labrador's three new cases Monday bring its active total to 84. Also in the news Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
Child soldiers and other victims of convicted Congolese militia leader Bosco Ntaganda should get a total of $30 million compensation, International Criminal Court judges ruled on Monday, in their highest ever reparation order. The judges said Ntaganda did not have the resources to pay the compensation himself. Instead they asked the tribunal's own Trust Fund to help set up and finance vocational and other programmes to support victims of his crimes.
GENEVA — European soccer clubs were urged Monday to support a Champions League expansion plan and help please a new type of global fans who have different supporting habits. A UEFA-led proposal to change its clubs competitions in 2024 — abolishing traditional four-team groups and adding 100 Champions League games in a 36-team format — was being presented to more than 200 European Club Association members. The deal could be finalized within two weeks, said Andrea Agnelli, the ECA chairman and Juventus president, in opening the online meeting. “I really ask you that today we endorse this system going forward and mandate the (ECA) board to execute the last details that we will be missing,” Agnelli said, singling out the unresolved issue of access for clubs to the revamped Champions League. ECA leaders want two of the four extra Champions League places given to clubs who do not qualify on merit but are ranked highly by UEFA based on past results in Europe. Critics see that as a safety net for clubs with global brands rather than rewarding champions from mid-ranking leagues such as Austria, the Czech Republic and Scotland. If the historic ranking system applied this season, it would likely reward storied teams such as Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund having a relatively poor domestic campaign. Agnelli stated his vision of European soccer appealing to fans worldwide because “traditional assumptions” about fans’ loyalties had to change. One third of fans globally follow at least two clubs and 10% of fans follow players instead of clubs, said the Italian executive whose club signed Cristiano Ronaldo three years ago. Agnelli cautioned that the so-called “Gen Z” demographic of 16-to-24-year-olds “have no interest in football whatsoever.” “The current system most likely is not delivering for the modern fan,” he said, claiming too many domestic and international games “are simply uncompetitive.” The Champions League proposal would ensure 10 games for each of the 36 teams. Currently, only six group-stage games are guaranteed for 32 teams that share about 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) in UEFA prize money. A single league table in the new format would send the top eight into the last-16 round. Teams ranked Nos. 9 to 24 would enter playoffs to complete the knockout bracket. “The beauty of the system has now been recognized by all,” Agnelli said. The European Leagues group has warned the plan would take broadcast revenue and fixture calendar space from its members. Agnelli chided ECA board members who brought their domestic concerns into its talks on international matters. He also urged them to embrace “strong progressive views, not the conservatism that has always distinguished our industry,” which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The UEFA-led talks took place amid leaks that financiers are ready to back a European Super League project outside of UEFA’s control. Agnelli said he had “arguments and almost fights” with UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin last year, and suggested interest from global banks meant European soccer was “highly palatable for richer investments.” “That means if we change ourselves we can look forward to those richer investments ourselves,” he said, rather than financial institutions getting a return on their money. Before Agnelli spoke, UEFA deputy general secretary Giorgio Marchetti said the competitions plan offered “renewed strength and unprecedented excitement going forward.” “We think this is an opportunity to grab without hesitation and delays,” Marchetti said. The UEFA executive committee, which includes Agnelli representing clubs, could approve the changes ahead of an April 20 congress of European soccer’s 55 national federations. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Graham Dunbar, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there's still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. The poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with women far more likely than men to say equality remains elusive in a host of fields. Overall, 63 per cent of respondents to the poll, conducted by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies, said equality between men and women has not been achieved. But female respondents were far more pessimistic: 73 per cent said equality has not been achieved, compared to 53 per cent of men. Overall, a majority said equality has definitely or "to some extent" been achieved at home, in social settings, in the media, at work, in sciences and in politics. Just 44 per cent said the same of sports. But again male respondents were far more likely than women, by as much as 20 percentage points, to say equality has been achieved in those areas. For instance, 80 per cent of men, but just 68 per cent of women, said equality has been achieved, at least to some extent, at home. The same gender gap was evident on the questions of whether equality has been achieved in other settings: social settings (71 per cent of male respondents said it has versus 58 per cent of women), in the media (73 per cent versus 57 per cent), at work (68 per cent versus 50 per cent), in sciences (64 per cent versus 48 per cent), in politics (64 per cent versus 44 per cent) and in sports (48 per cent versus 41 per cent). Similarly, 73 per cent of female respondents said men are paid more than women for doing the same work. Just 49 per cent of male respondents agreed. A majority of women (57 per cent) said public organizations should implement quotas to ensure minimum numbers of women on their boards of directors. Just 34 per cent of men agreed. The online poll of 1,532 adult Canadians was conducted Feb. 26 to 28. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based surveys are not considered random samples. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2021. The Canadian Press