Check out the priceless reaction from this adorable French Bulldog!
Check out the priceless reaction from this adorable French Bulldog!
The A-list is back. How A-list? Try Lady Gaga and J. Lo. Inauguration officials announced on Thursday that the glittery duo would appear in person on Jan. 20, with Gaga singing the national anthem as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, and Jennifer Lopez giving a musical performance. Foo Fighters, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen will offer remote performances, and Eva Longoria and and Kerry Washington will introduce segments of the event. Later that day, Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute primetime TV special celebrating Biden’s inauguration. Other performers include Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Ant Clemons. Despite a raging pandemic that is forcing most inaugural events online, it was a sign that Hollywood was back and eager to embrace the new president-elect four years after many big names stayed away from the inauguration of President Donald Trump, hugely unpopular in Hollywood. The question: How would the star wattage play across the country as Biden seeks to unite a bruised nation? Eric Dezenhall, a Washington crisis management consultant and former Reagan administration official, predicted reaction would fall “along tribal lines.” “I think it all comes down to the reinforcement of pre-existing beliefs,” Dezenhall said. “If you’re a Biden supporter, it’s nice to see Lady Gaga perform.” But, he added, “what rallied Trump supporters was the notion of an uber-elite that had nothing to do at all with them and that they couldn’t relate to.” Presidential historian Tevi Troy quipped that the starry Gaga-J. Lo lineup was not A-list, but D-list — "for Democratic.” "When Democrats win you get the more standard celebrities,” said Troy, author of “What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House.” “With Republicans you tend to get country music stars and race-car drivers." Referring to Lady Gaga’s outspoken support for the Biden-Harris ticket, he said he was nostalgic for the days when celebrities were not so political. “Call me a hopeless romantic, but I liked the old days when Bob Hope or Frank Sinatra would come to these events and they were not overtly political,” he said. Still, he said, Biden’s unity message won’t be derailed. “In the end, I don’t think having Lady Gaga or J. Lo is all that divisive,” he said. Attendance at the inauguration will be severely limited, due to both the pandemic and fears of continued violence, following last week’s storming of the Capitol. Outside the official events, one of the more prominent galas each inauguration is The Creative Coalition's quadrennial ball, a benefit for arts education. This year, the ball is entirely virtual. But it is star-studded nonetheless: The event, which will involve food being delivered simultaneously to attendees in multiple cities, will boast celebrity hosts including Jason Alexander, David Arquette, Matt Bomer, Christopher Jackson, Ted Danson, Lea DeLaria, Keegan Michael-Key, Chrissy Metz, Mandy Patinkin and many others. Robin Bronk, CEO of the non-partisan arts advocacy group, said she's been deluged with celebrities eager to participate in some way. The event typically brings in anywhere from $500,000 to $2.5 million, and this year the arts community is struggling like never before. Bronk noted that planning has been a challenge, given not only the recent political upheaval in the country but also the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic. Given all that, did a celebration make sense? “I was thinking about this when we were trying to phrase the invitation,” Bronk said. “Do we celebrate? This is the most serious time of our lives.” But, she said, especially at a time when the arts community is suffering, it’s crucial to shine a spotlight and recognize that “the right to bear arts is not a red or blue issue. One of the reasons we have this ball is that we have to ensure the arts are not forgotten." The Presidential Inaugural Committee also announced Thursday that the invocation will be given by the Rev. Leo O’Donovan, a former Georgetown University president, and the Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Andrea Hall, a firefighter from Georgia. There will be a poetry reading from Amanda Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate, and the benediction will be given by Rev. Silvester Beaman of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware. On the same platform, Biden sat in 2013 behind pop star Beyoncé as she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at President Barack Obama's second inauguration. James Taylor sang “America the Beautiful,” and Kelly Clarkson sang “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.” At Trump’s inauguration in 2017, the anthem was performed by 16-year-old singer Jackie Evancho. A number of top artists declined the opportunity to perform at the festivities, and one Broadway star, Jennifer Holliday, even said she’d received death threats before she pulled out of her planned appearance. There was indeed star power in 2017, but most of it was centred at the Women’s March on Washington, where attendees included Madonna, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson, Cher, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Emma Watson and many others. This year, signs are that Obama-era celebrities are returning. Dezenhall said that in the end, it's logical for organizers to go with the biggest talent. “Lady Gaga is as big as you can get, and she is very talented,” he said. “If I were being inaugurated and I could have Lady Gaga, I would take it.” Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistani authorities sacked a local police chief and 11 other policemen for failing to protect a Hindu temple that was set on fire and demolished last month by a mob led by hundreds of supporters of a radical Islamist party, police said Friday. The 12 policemen were fired over “acts of cowardice" and “negligence" for not trying to stop the mob when it attacked the temple, with some having fled the scene. Another 48 policemen were given various punishments following a probe into the attack, the police statement said. The punishments come amid government assurances to the Hindu community that the temple in Karak, a town in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, would be rebuilt. Hours after the Dec. 30 attack, authorities arrested about 100 people on charges of participating or provoking the mob to demolish the temple. The detainees included supporters of the radical Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, who are currently facing trials on various charges. The attack took place after members of the Hindu community received permission from local authorities to renovate the temple. Although Muslims and Hindus generally live peacefully together in Pakistan, there have been other attacks on Hindu temples in recent years. Most of Pakistan’s minority Hindus migrated to India in 1947 when India was divided by Britain’s government. The Associated Press
A special facility to treat those in psychiatric emergencies in that opened in Charlottetown during the pandemic won't be reopening, despite earlier assurances from the health minister that the closure was temporary. The pandemic is having a big impact on fundraising efforts for the 2023 Canada Games in P.E.I. The new head of the P.E.I. Nurses Union, Barbara Brookins, says there is a continuing and ongoing concern over a shortage of nurses on the Island. Student well-being teams in Prince Edward Island's schools are seeing an increase in referrals for help, perhaps in part because of the pandemic. The final audited statements for P.E.I. Premier Dennis King's first year in government are in, and they contain a rare bit of budgetary good news. The government believed its planned surplus would be erased by the few weeks of pandemic that fell into the fiscal year, but statements released Friday show P.E.I. ended up with a $22-million surplus. The pandemic has cut into volunteer numbers, and the Canadian Red Cross on P.E.I. is looking for volunteers to help out both on the Island and across the country. P.E.I. did not see a spike in cases as a result of holiday gatherings, said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison in an interview with CBC News: Compass, but Morrison said she is concerned about rising case numbers in neighbouring New Brunswick. P.E.I. will not look at an Atlantic bubble again for at least two weeks. There was one new case of COVID-19 in the province Thursday, a man in his 50s who returned from travel outside Atlantic Canada. Allowing Islanders access to government-sanctioned high-limit online betting, especially during a pandemic, is a bad idea, says Liberal Finance critic Heath MacDonald. He's referring to a new online casino planned for P.E.I. by Atlantic Lotto. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases reported on P.E.I. is 104, with eight still active. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. 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.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has launched an investigation into 15 stranded pilot whales whose carcasses were found on the Port au Port peninsula in December. Federal authorities were informed of the stranded whales on Dec. 9 and sent a team of fisheries officers to Three Rock Cove to investigate how the group of black, bulbous-headed cetaceans could have died. "In the photographs that I have of these whales, they looked like they're in in good shape," said DFO marine mammal expert Jack Lawson in a recent interview. "They weren't starving, they weren't thin. There's no evidence of net marks on them and there's no evidence of sort of a wounding process [from striking a ship]." "It looks like these animals may have been pursuing food or perhaps got confused," he said, adding that DFO's probe into the incident continues. "They're known worldwide for being a species that strands. Often it's thought to be that they're chasing prey and end up in shallower waters and get stranded that way.... It may be that perhaps the leader of the group got confused or an animal was ill or something, and they all followed that lead animal on shore." Lawson said pilot whales are extremely social animals that travel in pods that can reach hundreds of members. He said the whales, which can reach 2,300 kilograms and seven metres in length, are becoming less common off the coast of Newfoundland, and a group stranding like the one seen in Three Rock Cove is relatively rare. But he said a similar incident, with about 60 stranded pilot whales, did occur on the island's south coast in the 1970s. 3 carcasses remain near community Only three pilot whale carcasses are still on the beach in Three Rock Cove. During a recent storm, most of the whales were washed out to sea or covered with beach rocks, Lawson said. But some residents of the community said that while many of the bodies were pulled back in the ocean, three were pushed away from the water and are now just a few metres from the main road. "We had a lot of wind, a lot of very strong waves," resident Dwight Cornect told Radio-Canada in an interview last week. "The Mainland, Three Rock Cove area can often have 100, 120, 140 km/h winds coming off the ocean." "I'd say these whales could be pushed closer to [the road]. Who knows what could happen?" Cornect said he wants the federal or provincial government to step in and remove the whales, which he fears will be left to rot on the beach. "It's embarrassing for people in the area. You can see the carcasses," he said. "If it were a moose, they'd be here after even two hours to remove the carcass. For a whale, what's the difference?" Who's responsible for cleanup? In a statement, DFO said it "does not have a role in the disposal of stranded, dead whales" in Three Rock Cove. "If a dead whale is beached within a municipality, the municipality is responsible; on Crown land, the government of N.L. is responsible; and, within the boundaries of a national park, Parks Canada is responsible." Cornect said he's contacted Tony Wakeham, the MHA for Stephenville-Port au Port, to inform him of the situation. In an email, Wakeham said he's been in contact with DFO to discuss the situation. For now, Lawson said, there's no need to remove the carcasses. "Generally, you know, within a short period of time, these animals, because they're relatively small, say, compared to the blue whales that washed up on the west coast, they'll tend to rot fairly quickly and get scavenged by gulls and so on and won't last too long," he said. "The degradation process happens relatively quickly for these small whales and soon they'll just be bones on the beach or washed away. So that's why we won't necessarily rush to try and move an animal like this," he said, adding he doesn't believe the whales present a risk to safety. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Jan. 15 ... What we are watching in Canada ... In an approach that differs from elsewhere in the country, Alberta announced it would be easing some restrictions next week. Health Minister Tyler Shandro said starting Monday, personal and wellness services, including hair salons and tattoo parlours, can open by appointment only. Outdoor social gatherings will be allowed in groups of up to 10 people and the limit for funerals will increase to 20 people. New daily cases have fallen slightly in the province. Alberta reported 967 new cases of COVID-19 and 21 additional deaths. Shandro said the small adjustments to the restrictions implemented in December will allow people to take part in some activities. But, he said, the virus is still a real risk. For Ontario, today is the second day under a stay-at-home order imposed by the provincial government. It came into effect Thursday as Ontario reported 62 more deaths and 3,326 new novel coronavirus infections. COVID-19 cases, including a new United Kingdom variant, are increasing rapidly in the province. Federal officials have also warned that access to vaccines in Canada will remain a challenge until at least April. --- Also this ... Laurent Duvernay-Tardif misses football. The Super Bowl-winning offensive lineman has no regrets about opting out of the 2020 NFL campaign to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. But the six-foot-five 321-pound Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que., native is finding it increasingly difficult to be a fan and definitely plans on resuming his pro career with Kansas City after this season. After finishing atop the AFC West with an NFL-best 14-2 record this season, Kansas City begins its Super Bowl defence Sunday when they host the Cleveland Browns in their first playoff contest. Duvernay-Tardif helped Kansas City cap last season with a 31-20 Super Bowl win over the San Francisco 49ers. It was the storied franchise's second NFL championship but first in 50 years. But in July, Duvenay-Tardif — who received his medical degree from McGill in 2018 — became the first NFL player to opt out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While others did so for safety reasons, Duvernay-Tardif temporarily hung up his cleats to work as an orderly at a Montreal long-term care facility. Kansas City head coach Andy Reid — whose mother also graduated from McGill's medical school — and star quarterback Patrick Mahomes were among those to praise Duvernay-Tardif for his decision. Sports Illustrated named Duvernay-Tardif as one of its Sportspeople of the Year and he was later a co-winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy, given annually to Canada's top athlete. Duvernay-Tardif, who turns 30 next month, has taken some time away from the long-term care facility to do work for his foundation as well as towards his master's degree at Harvard. But he's scheduled to receive his COVID-19 vaccination Friday before returning to the facility next week. --- What we are watching in the U.S. ... WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment could go to trial as soon as Inauguration Day, with senators serving not only as jurors but as shaken personal witnesses and victims of the deadly siege of the Capitol by a mob of his supporters. Trump is the only president to be twice impeached, and the first to be prosecuted as he leaves the White House, an ever-more-extraordinary end to the defeated president’s tenure. In pursuing conviction, House impeachment managers said Thursday they will be making the case that Trump’s incendiary rhetoric hours before the bloody attack on the Capitol was not isolated, but rather part of an escalating campaign to overturn the November election results. It culminated, they will argue, in the Republican president's rally cry to “fight like hell” as Congress was tallying the Electoral College votes to confirm he'd lost to Democrat Joe Biden. The trial could begin shortly after Biden takes the oath of office next Wednesday, but some Democrats are pushing for a later trial to give him time to set up his administration and work on other priorities. No date has been set. Already National Guard troops flood the city and protect the Capitol amid warnings of more violence ahead of the inaugural. It's a far different picture, due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the threats of violence, from the traditional pomp and peaceful transfer of power. --- What we are watching in the rest of the world ... MADRID — Most of Europe kicked off 2021 with earlier curfews or stay-at-home orders amid sharp spikes in coronavirus infections increasingly blamed on the more contagious variant first detected in the U.K. But authorities in Spain say the variant causing havoc elsewhere is not to blame for its sharp resurgence of cases and that the country can avoid a full lockdown even as its hospitals fill up. The government has been tirelessly fending off drastic home confinement like the one that paralyzed the economy for nearly three months in the spring of 2020, the last time that Spain could claim victory over the stubborn rising curve of cases. --- On this day in 1962 ... The RCMP Musical Ride became a permanent, full-time unit of the force. --- In entertainment ... With sultry mannerisms and sharp comedic chops, Kim Cattrall fully embodied confident sexpot Samantha Jones on "Sex and the City." But the Canadian-raised star won't be in the upcoming "Sex and the City" revival, and speculation abounds about what will happen with the role of the pleasure-seeking publicist, who was part of the group of four best friends living in New York. Media scholar Robert Thompson says he thinks replacing Cattrall, who was nominated for five Emmys and won a Golden Globe for the role, with another actor "would be a laboratory experiment gone bad." "Every now and again you get perfect casting, the perfect melding of an actor and a role, and I think Kim Cattrall and Samantha was that," Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, said in an interview. "Which is why I think recasting would be a grave error," added the professor of television and popular culture. "It's one thing to recast the sister on 'Roseanne'; it's another thing to recast Samantha." Parker confirmed on Instagram that Samantha "isn't part of this story" for the HBO Max original series, "And Just Like That...," which will include herself as the lead character, sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw. Also returning are original co-stars Cynthia Nixon as lawyer Miranda Hobbes, and Kristin Davis as art expert Charlotte York. The news has sparked a flood of articles and social media posts about Samantha's fate. Online betting site Bovada has even released gambling odds for the character’s whereabouts in Episode 1 — options include that she moved away, is dead, or "confined to a prison or institution." Some Twitter users say Samantha was the heart of the show, which ran for six seasons, starting in 1998. There were also two films, which Cattrall was in before she declared she was done with the franchise. --- ICYMI ... Another country music star from Alberta has voiced protest against proposed coal mines on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Paul Brandt, who leads a committee on human trafficking set up by the Alberta government, has posted his concerns on Instagram in support of fellow musician Corb Lund. Lund released a Facebook video earlier this week in which he calls the government's move to open vast swaths of the area to industry short-sighted and a threat. Brandt says in his post that Lund is right and the plan is a big — and bad — deal. He is asking the provincial government to reconsider putting economic benefit ahead of long-term consequences that would devastate the land for generations to come. Alberta's United Conservative government has revoked a 1976 policy that kept coal mines out of the mountains and eastern slopes of the Rockies. One mine is under review and vast areas of the mountains have been leased for exploration. Lund says coal mines would endanger the ranching lifestyles of his neighbours as well as drinking water for millions downstream. He's urging people to speak out and oppose open-pit coal mines in the Rockies. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021 The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped nine of her most trusted allies in the House to argue the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Democrats, all of whom are lawyers and many of whom have deep experience investigating the president, face the arduous task of convincing skeptical Senate Republicans to convict Trump. A single article of impeachment — for “incitement of insurrection” — was approved by the House on Wednesday, one week after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. At the time, lawmakers were counting the votes that cemented Trump’s election defeat. As members of the House who were in the Capitol when it was attacked — several hiding under seats as rioters beat on the doors of the chamber — the Democrats are also witnesses to what they charge is a crime. So are the Senate jurors. “This is a case where the jurors were also victims, and so whether it was those who voted in the House last night or those in the Senate who will have to weigh in on this, you don’t have to tell anyone who was in the building twice what it was like to be terrorized,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the managers. It is unclear when the trial will start. Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate. It could be as soon as next week, on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office. The managers plan to argue at trial that Trump incited the riot, delaying the congressional certification of the electoral vote count by inciting an angry mob to harm members of Congress. Some of the rioters were recorded saying they wanted to find Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the count. Others had zip ties that could be used as handcuffs hanging on their clothes. “The American people witnessed that,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., one of the managers. “That amounts to high crimes and misdemeanours.” None of the impeachment managers argued the case in Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when the Senate acquitted the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House impeached Trump in 2019 after he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden’s family while withholding military aid to the country. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, another manager, says the nine prosecutors plan to present a serious case and “finish the job” that the House started. A look at Pelosi’s prosecution team in Trump’s historic second impeachment: REP. JAMIE RASKIN, MARYLAND Pelosi appointed Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee, as lead manager. In a week of dramatic events and stories, Raskin’s stands out: The day before the Capitol riots, Raskin buried his 25-year-old son, Tommy, after he killed himself on New Year’s Eve. “You would be hard pressed to find a more beloved figure in the Congress” than Raskin, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was the lead manager during Trump’s first trial. He worked closely with Raskin on that impeachment investigation. “I know that part of what gives him strength to take on this burden that he now carries is knowing that this is something that would be enormously meaningful to his son.” REP. DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO DeGette, who is serving her 13th term representing Denver, is a former civil rights attorney and one of Pelosi’s go-to allies. The speaker picked her to preside over the House during the first impeachment vote in 2019. DeGette said Pelosi trusted her to do it because she is “able to to control the passions on the floor.” She says she was surprised when Pelosi called to offer her the prosecutorial position but quickly accepted. “The monstrosity of this offence is not lost on anybody,” she says. REP. DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence and public defender, is in his sixth term in Congress and is a senior member of the Judiciary panel. He was heavily involved in Trump’s first impeachment and was one of three original authors of the article that the House approved on Wednesday. He and California Rep. Ted Lieu began writing the article together, in hiding, as the rioters were still ransacking the Capitol. He tweeted out a draft the next morning, writing that “I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.” REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels, where he has been an outspoken critic of Trump's handling of Russia. He was a litigator in private practice before he was elected to the Texas legislature and came to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. Julian Castro ran in the Democratic primary for president last year. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA Swalwell also serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels and was deeply involved in congressional probes of Trump’s Russian ties. A former prosecutor, he briefly ran for president in 2019. “The case that I think resonates the most with the American people and hopefully the Senate is that our American president incited our fellow citizens to attack our Capitol on a day where we were counting electoral votes, and that this was not a spontaneous call to action by the president at the rally,” Swalwell said. REP. TED LIEU, CALIFORNIA Lieu, who authored the article of impeachment with Cicilline and Raskin, is on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs panels. The Los Angeles-area lawmaker is a former active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force and military prosecutor. “We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic,” he said. DEL. STACEY PLASKETT, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Because she represents a U.S. territory, not a state, Plaskett does not have voting rights and was not able to cast a vote for impeachment. But she will bring her legal experience as a former district attorney in New York and senior counsel at the Justice Department — and as one of Raskin's former law students. “As an African American, as a woman, seeing individuals storming our most sacred place of democracy, wearing anti-Semitic, racist, neo-Nazi, white supremacy logos on their bodies and wreaking the most vile and hateful things left not just those people of colour who were in the room traumatized, but so many people of colour around this country," she said Friday. REP. JOE NEGUSE, COLORADO Neguse, in his second term, is a rising star in the Democratic caucus who was elected to Pelosi’s leadership team his freshman year in Congress. A former litigator, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee and consulted with Raskin, Cicilline and Lieu as they drafted the article the day of the attack. At 36, he will be the youngest impeachment manager in history, according to his office. “This armed mob did not storm the Capitol on any given day, they did so during the most solemn of proceedings that the United States Congress is engaged in,” Neguse said Thursday. “Clearly the attack was done to stop us from finishing our work.” REP. MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA Like Neguse, Dean was first elected when Democrats recaptured the House in 2018. She is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is a former lawyer and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She says she hopes the prosecutors can convince the Senate and the American people “to mark this moment" with a conviction. “I think I bring to it just the simple fact that I’m a citizen, that I’m a mom and I’m a grandma," Dean said. "And I want my children, my grandchildren, to remember what we did here.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
West Vancouver billionaire Frank Giustra has been given the go-ahead to sue Twitter in a B.C. courtroom over the social media giant's publication of a series of tweets tying him to baseless conspiracy theories involving pedophile rings and Bill and Hillary Clinton. In a ruling released Thursday, Justice Elliott Myers found that Giustra's history and presence in British Columbia, combined with the possibility the tweets may have been seen by as many as 500,000 B.C. Twitter users, meant a B.C. court should have jurisdiction over the case. It's a victory not only for Giustra — whose philanthropic activities have earned him membership in both the Orders of Canada and B.C. — but for Canadian plaintiffs trying to hold U.S.-based internet platforms responsible for content border-crossing content. 'I believe that words do matter' In a statement, Giustra said he was looking forward to pursuing the case in the province where he built his reputation as the founder of Lionsgate Enterntainment. "I hope this lawsuit will help raise public awareness of the real harm to society if social media platforms are not held responsible for the content posted and publiished on their sites," Giustra said. "I believe that words do matter, and recent events have demonstrated that hate speech can incite violence with deadly consequences." Giustra filed the defamation lawsuit in April 2019, seeking an order to force Twitter to remove tweets he claimed painted him as "corrupt" and "criminal." He claimed he was targeted by a group who vilified him "for political purposes" in relation to the 2016 U.S. election and his work in support of the Clinton Foundation. The online attacks allegedly included death threats and links to "pizzagate" — a "false, discredited and malicious conspiracy theory in which [Giustra] was labelled as a 'pedophile,'" the claim stated. Thorny questions Twitter has not filed a response to Giustra's claim itself — applying instead to have the case tossed because of jurisdiction. The California-based company said it does not do business in B.C. and that Giustra was only relying on his B.C. roots to file the case in Canada because it would be a non-starter in the U.S., where the First Amendment protects free speech. The company claimed he would have been mostly affected in the U.S. where he spends much of his time, owns extensive property and has substantial interests in the entertainment industry — meaning B.C. is only tangentially connected to the matter. In essence, Myers said, Twitter claimed it was only a platform for others to post comment, and couldn't be expected to face defamation cases every place people felt aggrieved. The judge said the case presented some difficult — if timely — questions. "This case illustrates the jurisdictional difficulties with internet defamation where the publication of the defamatory comments takes place in multiple countries where the plaintiff has a reputation to protect," Myers wrote. "The presumption is that a defendant should be sued in only one jurisdiction for an alleged wrong, but that is not a simple goal to achieve fairly for internet defamation." 'Strong ties to the province' Myers found Giustra's connection to B.C. undeniable. "There can be no dispute that Mr. Giustra has a significant reputation in British Columbia. He also has strong ties to the province," he wrote. "The fact that he has a reputation in or connections to other jurisdictions does not detract from that." The judge said Giustra had also done what he needed to do to show his reputation in B.C. might have been affected. "I do not agree with Twitter who argues that of all places in the world, the Plaintiff's reputation has not been harmed in B.C.," Myers wrote. In its application, Twitter drew on a 2018 Supreme Court of Canada judgment in which a Canadian billionaire with substantial interests in Israel was denied his bid to sue an Israeli newspaper in Ontario over an article that appeared online. In that case, the court ruled that Israel would be the more appropriate place to hold a trial because the billionaire was better known there, he hadn't limited his suit to damages suffered in Canada and most of the witnesses would also be in Israel. But Myers found that many of the tweets referred to B.C. and went beyond the kind of business articles that were at the heart of the Supreme Court of Canada case. "Here the tweets refer to Mr. Giustra's personal characteristics alleging, for example, pedophilia," Myers wrote. Despite the lawsuit, Giustra maintains a Twitter account. The court filings include a letter he wrote to Twitter chief executive officer Jack Dorsey in April 2018, asking him to make his case a priority. "As Twitter's CEO, I ask that you now investigate the source of these past and ongoing attacks against me — whether they are the result of individuals, a group, bots, or a combination of all three," Giustra wrote. "I do not want to cancel my Twitter account — that would be a victory of those who are turning this incredible communication tool into a conduit for slander and hate."
It all started with a class trip for the grade 7/8 class at Immanuel Christian School to learn more about dune ecology and the sensitive habitat along the shore with staff from Island Nature Trust. It was an eye-opening experience for the young students who learned to see the beach area in a whole new light. "I learned that the sand dunes are really delicate and if you step on them, then that clump of grass where you step on will die and that affects the whole entire beach," said Grade 7 student Emika Jorritsma. The lessons — modified to follow local public health guidelines at the time — fit in with what the students were learning in the classroom. "Our first unit in science focuses a lot on how we can make a positive or negative influence on ecosystems around us," said teacher Becky Rogers. "I think anytime that you can get the kids outside of the classroom and just see first-hand how they can make an impact on their environment, it just enriches the learning experience so much more." Nature as the classroom The Island Nature Trust curriculum for Grade 7 P.E.I. students was developed in 2016. The idea began with four watershed groups — Roseville/Miminegash Watersheds Inc., West Point and Area Watersheds Inc., Cascumpec Bay Watershed Association Inc. and Tignish Watershed Management Group — which partnered with Island Nature Trust to help develop the lessons. They wanted to raise awareness on how human activities were damaging the dune ecosystems. Some weathering and erosion is normal for the beach shoreline, said Lyndsay MacWilliams, a land stewardship technician with Island Nature Trust. "With climate change, the erosion and weathering rates have definitely increased and we have seen that around the Island," said MacWilliams. "But we're also getting the damage coming from humans, so it's kind of like cutting down this system from both ways." She was one of the instructors during the field trip — teaching lessons around the different ecosystems of the dune's life cycle, exploring the shore's high-tide line and invertebrate sampling. The lesson made an impression on the students, who began work on art posters to share some of what they learned. They were split into seven groups, creating posters with messages about not disturbing the wildlife, staying off the dunes and not littering. "My poster was about sensitive habitat, like, make sure that you're being careful whenever you are on the beach — watch where you're stepping," said Grade 8 student Graham Armstrong. "Because there are some birds, they lay eggs in the sand and they're small so you can't really see them that well." Rogers reached back out to Island Nature Trust and wondered if it would be possible to get the posters put up somehow, to share what the students had learned. MacWilliams said they brainstormed for a bit, and decided the students work could be displayed on Barachois Beach near Rustico, P.E.I. The designs were then put on proper sign material to be able to handle the beach weather. A plan was put together to go back out with the students in the spring to put the signs up. This thrilled the students, eager to share the message they learned with others out enjoying the beach. "I hope that they learn that there's sensitive habitat on the beach and that there are shorebirds that they need to look out for," said Grade 7 student Brayden Bootsma. "Because they deserve a habitat too so that is why we should stay off the dunes." Rogers said it was a wonderful partnership with Island Nature Trust to help make it happen and get the kids so engaged in the project. "I know that they've worked so hard on these posters and they're just really excited to be able to help other people go to the beach," Rogers said. "I know they're really excited to be able to see what they made when they go to the beaches with their families." MacWilliams said they were able to get out to deliver the presentation with five different Island schools in the fall and hope to reach more during the new year — while following all current public health guidance. For MacWilliams, she hopes the excitement and engagement around dune ecology with the students continues. "If they feel a certain way, like that they want to conserve the dunes, then if they voiced that, then maybe it will influence other youth that are the same age," MacWilliams said. "It's also kind of good because you can kind of instill an interest in conservation at that age too if there is an interest in a future career or something like that." More from CBC P.E.I.
A former head of the United States' nuclear regulator is raising questions about the molten-salt technology that would be used in one model of proposed New Brunswick-made nuclear reactors. The technology pitched by Saint John's Moltex Energy is key to its business case because, the company argues, it would reuse some of the nuclear waste from Point Lepreau and lower the long-term cost and radioactivity of storing the remainder. But Allison Macfarlane, the former chairperson of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a specialist in the storage of nuclear waste, said no one has yet proven that it's possible or viable to reprocess nuclear waste and lower the cost and risks of storage. "Nobody knows what the numbers are, and anybody who gives you numbers is selling you a bridge to nowhere because they don't know," said Macfarlane, now the director of the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia. "Nobody's really doing this right now. … Nobody has ever set up a molten salt reactor and used it to produce electricity." Macfarlane said she couldn't comment specifically on Moltex, calling information about the company's technology "very vague." But she said the general selling point for molten-salt technology is dubious. "Nobody's been able to answer my questions yet on what all these wastes are and how much of them there are, and how heat-producing they are and what their compositions are," she said. "My sense is that all of these reactor folks have not really paid a lot of attention to the back end of these fuel cycles," she said, referring to the long-term risks and costs of securely storing nuclear waste. Moltex is one of two Saint John-based companies pitching small nuclear reactors as the next step for nuclear power in the province and as a non-carbon-dioxide emitting alternative to fossil fuel electricity generation. Moltex North America CEO Rory O'Sullivan said the company's technology will allow it to affordably extract the most radioactive parts of the existing nuclear waste from the Point Lepreau Generating Station. The waste is now stored in pellet form in silos near the plant and is inspected regularly. The process would remove less than one per cent of the material to fuel the Moltex reactor and O'Sullivan said that would make the remainder less radioactive for a much shorter amount of time. Existing plans for nuclear waste in Canada are to store it in an eventual permanent repository deep underground, where it would be secure for the hundreds of thousands of years it remained radioactive. Reduced storage time and expense O'Sullivan said extracting and removing the most radioactive parts would reduce the needed storage time to only hundreds of years, and therefore lower the long-term expense. "The vast majority will have decayed within a couple of hundred years back down to regular natural levels," he said in an interview. Estimates for storing what's called intermediate radioactive material are from a hundred to a thousandfold cheaper, he said. "It's very different in cost, complexity, depth underground. … That's obviously a very big, very appealing factor." There is no permanent repository for storing spent nuclear fuel deep underground. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization, a national agency, is looking at two sites in Ontario but there's been no decision on a location. Shorter-term radioactivity complicates storage Macfarlane said a shorter-term radioactivity life for waste would actually complicate its storage underground because it might lead to a facility that has to be funded and secured rather than sealed up and abandoned. "That means that you believe that the institutions that exist to keep monitoring that ... will exist for hundreds of years, and I think that is a ridiculous assumption," she said. "I'm looking at the United States, I'm seeing institutions crumbling in a matter of a few years. I have no faith that institutions can last that long and that there will be streams of money to maintain the safety and security of these facilities. That's why you will need a deep geologic repository for this material." My response is: prove it. - Allison Macfarlane, nuclear waste expert And she said that's assuming the technology will successfully extract all of the most radioactive material. "They are assuming that they remove one hundred per cent of the difficult, radionuclides, the difficult isotopes, that complicate the waste," she said. "My response is: prove it. Because if you leave five per cent, you have high-level waste that you're going to be dealing with. If you leave one per cent, you're going to have high-level waste that you're going to be dealing with. So sorry, that one doesn't fly with me." Macfarlane, a geologist by training, raised doubts about molten-salt technology and waste issues in a 2018 paper she co-authored for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In the U.S., she questioned plans for a long-term nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev. 'Baffled' by environmental backlash A New Brunswick group opposed to small modular reactors, or SMRs, the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development, has been pointing to her research as another reason to doubt their viability. O'Sullivan said he is "personally very baffled and frustrated" by opposition to SMRs by anti-nuclear activists. He said such activists have long complained about nuclear waste as a key concern "and we think we've finally got a solution that's cost effective to deal with it, and we're still getting this backlash. … We're environmentalists and we have this backlash." ARC Nuclear, the other Saint John-based company working on SMRs, also plans to use some existing nuclear waste in its reactor design. The company said in a statement Thursday that its technology "has successfully been demonstrated, therefore proven, at the engineering scale," but no one was available for an interview. Nuclear power essential to reduced emissions NB Power has predicted the creation of thousands of job and a $1 billion boost to the provincial economy if SMRs are built here. The utility did not respond to a request for comment on Moltex's plan for Point Lepreau's nuclear waste. The previous Liberal government handed Moltex and ARC a total of $10 million to support their research and development. The federal government said nuclear power is essential to Canada reducing its emissions but has not provided funding to the two Saint John companies.
The companies behind the White Rose offshore oil project are taking the Newfoundland and Labrador government to court, saying they have overpaid royalties. Husky Oil Operations and Suncor Energy are seeking a ruling from a judge that their interpretation of the regulations is correct, and would apply to "all past, current and future royalties payable" for White Rose. The application does not specify an exact amount being sought by the oil companies. However, affidavits from Husky and Suncor officials contend that they overpaid more than $32 million, in total, from 2014 through 2017. Those amounts apply to both the original White Rose field, and the White Rose expansion. In a nutshell, the oil companies say the intent of the royalty regulations is for them to pay the greater of two royalty levels in a certain period, but not both. They say that is sometimes happening, even though it's not the way the system is supposed to work. Husky spokeswoman Colleen McConnell said that is the unintended result of an "an anomaly" in the royalty regulations. "We have been working to address this with the province over the past three years; however, it remains unresolved," McConnell said in an email to CBC News. "As a result, we have referred it to court for a decision, which is a mechanism is available to the parties to resolve matters in dispute." The province had not yet filed any documents in reply as of midweek, and the Energy Department declined comment, saying it would be inappropriate to do so while the case is before the courts. Similar issues with Terra Nova settled in the past In court documents, Husky and Suncor pointed to past disputes involving similar issues with the Terra Nova oilfield. The owners of Terra Nova filed court actions in 2010 and again in 2015 over comparable concerns about royalty calculations. Both cases were settled before a judge could issue a final ruling. The second dispute was resolved by both sides essentially deciding to split the difference. The White Rose case is due to be called at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in early February. Husky is the operator of White Rose, owning a 72.5-per-cent share, with Suncor holding the remaining 27.5 per cent. Husky owns 68.875 per cent of the White Rose expansion. Suncor has 26.125 per cent, with Newfoundland and Labrador taxpayers holding the remaining five per cent through a Crown-owned corporation. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Iran's Revolutionary Guards fired "abundant" surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and tested locally manufactured new drones in a military exercise on Friday, state television reported. The drill, which it said was overseen by Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami in the central desert region, came in the waning days of high tensions with U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration. "Also, an abundant number of a new generation of ballistic missiles were fired at selected targets, inflicting deadly blows to the hypothetical enemy bases."
GAZA, Palestinian Territory — With a chainsaw in his car, Ahmed Abdelal tours the Gaza Strip, asking around for people wanting to cut down trees, regrow orchards or make way for construction. One of the few remaining woodcutters in the Palestinian territory, Abdelal, who learned woodcutting from his father, is struggling to scratch out a living in a traditional job that is less and less in demand. Job opportunities are rare in this Palestinian enclave wedged between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea, and so are green spaces. Rapid population growth — more than 2 million people are crammed in a 360-square-kilometre (140 square mile) strip — comes at the expense of arable land. Israel maintains a 300-meter (330-yard) wide buffer zone along its frontier with Gaza. At the the height of the second Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s, its military bulldozers levelled large swaths of citrus groves in the border areas. In more recent years, Gaza has suffered under a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Islamic militant Hamas group seized control of the territory from the Palestinian Authority in 2007. Israel says the restrictions are needed to prevent Hamas from upgrading its weapons. The Palestinian Authority, or PA, holds sway in the West Bank. The blockade and the rift between Hamas and the PA have weakened Gaza's energy sector. As a result, residents are put on a rotating electricity schedule of eight-hours on, followed by an eight-hour blackout. Here, woodcutters like Abdelal find an opportunity. The unreliability of the power supply drives up the demand for wood in winter. So Abdelal and other Gaza woodcutters look to expand their clientele from the traditional buyers of logs, residents of rural areas who bake bread on woodfire ovens and tribal councils who keep the Arabic coffee pots warm near a woodfire. Among Abdelal’s favourite clients are small kitchens that cook food in ovens dug under the ground. In these pits, the wood is burnt to coal before chicken, lamb shoulders and shanks are tossed in and left to cook for hours. The cooking technique is getting popular. The olive and citrus wood logs also go to a burning site in east Gaza City where they are turned into charcoal. Abu Ashraf al-Hattab, who has been a charcoal burner for decades, says the business has declined in recent years because the local supplies of wood have shrunk and people have turned to cheaper, imported charcoal. In his gift shop, Muhanad Ahmed wanted to offer environmentally friendly items and drop the excessive amount of plastic that's seen on the shelves of other shops, he says. So, he buys the logs and shapes them into wood sculptures. Abdelal says that as long as he can find customers, he will continue. “Cutting the wood is an old profession for us, and despite development and modernity, it still exists,” he said. Wafa Shurafa And Fares Akram, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Harvest Meats is recalling a brand of Polish sausages due to undercooking that may make them unsafe to eat. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the recall affects customers in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Ontario and Saskatchewan. It covers Harvest brand Polish sausages in 675-gram packages with a March 15 best before date. Customers are advised to throw away or return the product. The agency says no illnesses have been reported. A food safety investigation is ongoing. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
Ontario residents received an emergency alert on their phone shortly after 10 a.m. on Thursday reminding them that the province’s stay-at-home order has officially come into effect. The directive to stay at home and leave only when absolutely necessary is clear – but the fine details about rules, enforcement and penalties are still being ironed out. Public Health Sudbury and Districts will be working in collaboration with the Greater Sudbury Police and City of Greater Sudbury bylaw officers in a joint initiative to enforce COVID-19 legislation. Under the new rules, indoor gatherings with people from different households and outdoor gatherings of over five people are prohibited. Non-essential businesses will operate under limited store hours, and all employees who can work from home must do so. “The new COVID-19 modelling released by the province this week is alarming, and it shows we could be in for a very difficult few months before mass vaccinations are available,” said Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger. “This virus is on track to overwhelm our health-care system if we don’t get it in check. It’s imperative that we take this seriously. Please follow the orders. Stay home as much as you can. Be smart about the decisions you make. Let’s continue to set a positive example for the rest of Ontario.” On Thursday, three new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Sudbury. Overall, Ontario reported 3,326 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 62 more deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 968 new cases in Toronto, 572 in Peel Region and 357 in York Region. Both law enforcement and public health agencies will operate under the assumption that most people want to follow the rules, and discretion will be used by all parties to determine if an individual or business is violating the law. The health unit said that an emphasis will be placed on education, and complaints will be judged on a case-by-case basis. “For the most part, Public Health will be working with police and bylaw on complaints. When a complaint comes in, we will continue to work with our partners to enforce the legislation as needed,” said Burgess Hawkins, Manager in the Health Protection Division at Public Health. “The normal system, which we’ve been using quite successfully up to this point, is that we go in, talk to people, and educate them. We typically find that if you explain what needs to be done, most people and businesses are willing to comply.” Burgess offered a simple explanation as to why some of the rules seem so vague – it’s just impossible for the province to determine what is essential for every individual and business in Ontario. For example, it’s not easy to determine whether employees need to go into an office or whether they can work from home. “Maybe an employee can technically work from home, but if you talk to them, you find out that their spouse and their child are both on the computer all day for work or school. Their internet access is not great, and a third person on there crashes their internet,” he said. “We really have to find out what the situation is. If we got a complaint like that, we would go in and ask questions and look at the relevant legislation on what needs to happen.” Complaints can be registered with the City of Greater Sudbury by calling 311. They can be about the unauthorized use of closed city facilities, people not self-isolating after international travel, continued operation of non-essential businesses, indoor organized events or social gatherings, or outdoor gatherings of over five people. Once a complaint is filed, it will be logged and directed to the appropriate party depending on the time of day, the severity, and the type of issue, according to the City. “We continue to work with Public Health and Greater Sudbury Police to focus on educating and engaging with residents and businesses to ensure compliance,” said spokesperson Kelly Brooks. “Just like we've been doing up to this point, we do ask people to contact (us) if they have concerns about individuals or businesses not following the provincial orders. Fines could be laid for those who blatantly or repeatedly break the rules.” As part of the state of emergency, Brooks added, the province announced that it has enhanced the authority of law enforcement officers. “We’re working with our partners to evaluate what this means locally and finalize the details of any changes to enforcement efforts. We’ll provide any updates in the coming days,” she said. A spokesperson for Greater Sudbury issued a similar statement, saying police will “continue to engage with, encourage and educate community members and business owners in order to ensure compliance.” “Officers will conduct the enforcement required for all municipal, provincial and federal legislation using the legal framework provided by the Provincial and Federal governments,” said Kaitlyn Dunn. “Those who choose to blatantly disregard the new orders including individuals, businesses or corporations will be fined under Ontario Regulation 11/21.” Set fines vary from $750 for failure to comply with an order to $1,000 for preventing others from following an order. Maximum fines are up to $100,000 for individuals and $10 million for a corporation. Police officers will be able to use their discretion in terms of whether an individual or a business needs to be ticketed. They also have the authority to temporarily close premises or disperse crowds. However, Dunn said that police were not directed to stop vehicles or question people in the streets to check for compliance with the stay-at-home order. Work, school, and childcare are all considered essential purposes under the new order, as well as leaving the house to obtain food, healthcare services or medications, or other necessary items. All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, must open no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m. The restricted hours of operation do not apply to stores that primarily sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery. People are also allowed to access government services, social services, and mental health and addictions support services. “Doing anything that is necessary to respond to or avoid an imminent risk to the health or safety of an individual, including protecting oneself or others from domestic violence, leaving or assisting someone in unsafe living conditions and seeking emergency assistance” is considered an exception. Exercise is permitted “using an outdoor recreational amenity that is permitted to be open under the Stage 1 Order.” “The Province mentioned exercise as one of its examples of essential outings. So, outdoor rinks are open for those looking to stay active and get some fresh air, but users should stay two metres away from those who are not part of their household,” said Brooks. “Hockey, shinny, ringette and any other sports or games where people are within two metres of each other are not permitted. Everyone just needs to try and do their part.” Burgess also suggested using discretion when it comes to outdoor activities. If a skating rink, a trail, or a toboggan hill is too crowded to allow for appropriate social distancing, then families are asked to opt out. It’s important to note that if an individual lives alone, they can gather with one other household, and the order “does not apply to individuals who are homeless.” The order also states that “taking a child to the child’s parent or guardian or to the parent or guardian’s residence” and “travelling between the homes of parents, guardians, caregivers, if the individual is under their care” is allowed. A full list of exceptions to the stay-at-home rule is available online at files.ontario.ca/solgen-stay-at-home-order-2021-01-13.pdf. “We realize that the restrictions that have been put in are hard. Staying at home is hard, but the disease is spreading. If we can slow it down, get it to a point where we’re not looking at overcrowding of the ICUs, that’s a benefit for everybody,” said Burgess. “Please stay home. If you are out, you must wear a face covering, wash your hands, and keep that physical distance.” For information about local COVID-19 data, visit www.phsd.ca/covid-19. For information on the provincial public health measures during the State of Emergency, visit www.ontario.ca/page/enhancing-public-health-and-workplace-safety-measures-provincewide-shutdown. Residents with questions about provincial rules and regulations or effects on City programs and services are encouraged to call 311 or live webchat with the City at 311.greatersudbury.ca. The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
While most children in the province continue at-home learning for at least another few weeks, some students with special needs, including those in Windsor-Essex, have already returned to in-person classes. Nearly two weeks ago on Jan. 4, Windsor-Essex students in special education went back to school. Parents of these students say their children are happier and more productive compared to when they were in online learning. But some special education teachers are concerned and want enhanced safety measures, according to local president of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario Mario Spagnuolo. For parent Valérie Hodgins, in-person classes give her children, who have autism, the structure they need. "It's working very well for our family structure and routine," she said. "When they were off for the three weeks at Christmas break, their whole schedule was off. They weren't sleeping right. They just weren't completely themselves. "They've been back to school for almost two weeks now. They've had successful days. They're back to sleeping normally. They are back to eating properly. Like everything is back to normal for them." Both her children attend a local Catholic French immersion school. Hodgins said she communicates with her children's teacher on a daily basis and feels safe knowing her children wear masks and protective eye shields at school. "They're just happy, and that wasn't the case when they're at home," she said. Stephanie Seguin is another parent who's grateful to have the option of in-person classes for her daughter, Hazel, who has Down syndrome and attends a Catholic school. "It's been really awesome for her. She's so happy. We chose to send her half-day. So she goes half-day to school in-person and then she does the rest of the day virtual learning where I sit next to her in the afternoon. So that schedule right now is really working well for her," she said. Seguin said she feels fortunate she didn't need to fight to have the option of in-person classes — something Joanna Conrad has been trying to get for her five-year-old daughter, who also has Down syndrome. Conrad said her daughter, who is in senior kindergarten in a public school, is currently doing virtual learning and it's not going well for her. "She doesn't want to log on most days. If she does log on in the morning, it's four or five to 10 minutes max. It's very difficult for her to participate unless I'm sitting right beside her. And even then, she tunes out. She says, 'OK, bye-bye. And she turns it off and out," she said. 'A lot of distraction at home,' says one parent "For me to work on activities with her in the home is also very challenging. There's a lot of distraction. You know, most parents don't understand unless they have a child with special needs, what it means to try to support your child," she said. Conrad said her daughter requires special supports that are not available at home. She said she's contacted the board to try and get her daughter back in-class, but was told that isn't an option for students in kindergarten. She's waiting to hear from Mike Wilcox, the superintendent of special education with the Greater Essex County District School Board, for an answer. Wilcox told CBC News that he cannot speak to any specific situation as it would breach confidentiality, but said there are some students "who may be senior kindergarten age" attending classes in-person. "Right now, we are supporting our students with our most complex needs and we have lots of supports in place for those students who are not in in-person learning," he said. "We have speech and language [supports] and psychologists who are completing assessments in-person and online. So we have lots of supports there for our students with special education needs ranging from, you know, JK to to Grade 12." He said he recommends that parents who have concerns contact the principal of their school to find a way that the special education department can further support their child. Wilcox also said in-person classes for students with special needs are going well, adding that 73 per cent of those who were attending in-person classes before the holidays have returned. In an email statement to CBC News, Stephen Fields, the communications coordinator with Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, said if students with special needs cannot be accommodated through remote learning, they are allowed to attend school. The statement in part reads, "there is no congregation of students with special needs in one location, and in many cases there might be only one or two students in the classroom." "At the secondary level, those students with special needs who elected to attend school would go to their Life Skills rooms the way they always would. These are usually smaller groups of students (around seven or eight)." He said the board continues to follow public health guidelines by "mandating the use of PPE for staff, masking for students, appropriate distancing and regular hand hygiene." Teachers concerned Spagnuolo said special education teachers who he spoke with on Wednesday raised concerns about in-person learning. He said they're afraid to speak out in fear of reprisal from their employer, but have flagged that they want some changes made to how in-person learning is conducted. "Some of the things that we're looking for is more enhanced PPE, better cleaning and enhanced cleaning products in these classrooms," he said, adding they also want better screening protocols, air ventilation and assessments. "Also to see if we can get any higher priority for these teachers that are continuing to work in these buildings in terms of vaccinations for those that choose to ask to be vaccinated," he said. "They're on the front lines currently and they need to have access to that vaccination as soon as possible." While special education teachers understand the need to teach students with special needs in-person, Spagnuolo said they would like to be included and heard in the decision-making process. "I think that's the least that the government in the school board could do, is include these teachers in the decision making," he said.
NUR-SULTAN (Reuters) - Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev nominated Askar Mamin as prime minister on Friday, and the newly elected lower house of parliament swiftly approved his appointment after ruling party leader Nursultan Nazarbayev asked his lawmakers to back Mamin. Mamin had stepped down after a Jan. 10 parliamentary election, as required by the constitution, after almost two years in office. Nazarbayev's Nur Otan party swept this month's vote to retain control over the lower house.
Pension fund managers and religious investors on Friday asked top social media companies to step up their content control efforts to reduce the threat of violence ahead of the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden next week. The effort is the latest pressure on Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc over extreme rhetoric after the storming of the U.S. Capitol last week by supporters of President Donald Trump.
The Dutch government is resigning over its response to a child welfare benefits scandal, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday. View on euronews
In the week since a mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol, the House has impeached President Donald Trump. Dozens of people have been arrested nationwide over participation in the riots. Politicians and business leaders are loudly condemning the violence. Twitter and other social media sites have banned Trump and thousands of other accounts. Yet amid all the noise, a Capitol Police officer hailed as a hero for confronting the insurrectionists and leading them away from Senate chambers has remained silent. Officer Eugene Goodman isn't saying whether he thinks he saved the Senate, as many of the millions who've viewed the video believe. In fact, Goodman isn't saying anything at all publicly — not to reporters, not on social media. And he's asked the force's union, bosses, family and friends to help him maintain his privacy and not publicly discuss the events of Jan. 6. But the video speaks volumes. Goodman, a Black man facing an overwhelmingly white mob, is the only officer seen for a full minute of the footage, shot by reporter Igor Bobic of HuffPost. Goodman stands in front of the rioters, walks backward until he reaches a collapsible baton lying on the floor, and picks it up. “Back up ... back it up!” he yells, keeping his eyes on the mob. He turns and runs upstairs, waving the baton, as the group follows. Goodman calls “second floor” into his radio, then takes a brief glance and half a step to his left at the top of the stairs. Two chairs sit on either side of an entrance to the U.S. Senate chamber, just a few steps away. Dozens of rioters are right in front of him, no other officers to be seen. Goodman shoves one of the rioters and walks to the right, away from the chamber. The mob follows, and Goodman leads them to a room where other officers wait. The time on the video is 2:14 p.m. The Senate stopped its proceedings to begin clearing the chamber at 2:15 p.m. Five died in the riots, including one of Goodman's fellow officers. Legislative offices were trashed, gallows were built outside, and a video showed a woman shot dead while journalists, Congress members and staff hid. The images of Goodman spread via social media and news sites, a foil to the bloody and messy scenes elsewhere at the Capitol. People called him brave, impressive, effective. They dissected the video, guessing about his strategy and decision-making. But not all the commentary has been kind. Backing up and running away is weak, some said. It was a staged photo op, others alleged. Goodman has been silent. He didn't respond to text messages and phone calls The Associated Press left at potential numbers for him. The head of the Capitol Police union said only that Goodman didn't want to talk to reporters. Spokeswoman Eva Malecki said the Capitol Police isn't giving interviews or discussing Goodman’s actions. Public records shed a little light on Goodman. He served in the Army as an infantryman for more than four years, leaving with the rank of sergeant in December 2006 after a year in Iraq. He has worked for the Capitol Police since at least mid-2009. But that's about it. Goodman's friends, family, buddies he would have known from the military, members of Congress and force colleagues all begged off interviews about him. They say he wants to maintain his privacy. Online and in much of the public eye, Goodman is a hero. Plenty of people, famous and not, suggested he has earned the Medal of Honor. A Republican and two Democrats in the U.S. House introduced a bill Thursday to give him the Congressional Gold Medal. “If not for the quick, decisive, and heroic actions from Officer Goodman, the tragedy of last week’s insurrection could have multiplied in magnitude to levels never before seen in American history," said Democratic U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri. But the representatives didn't respond to messages asking if they met with Goodman. In a tweet promoting the bill, they show not a formal photo of Goodman in uniform, but an image of him facing the mob — his eyes wide open, mask down below his nose, baton behind him. ___ AP news researcher Randy Herschaft contributed. ___ Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP. Jeffrey Collins, The Associated Press
The way our brains operate may be one of the reasons why misinformation about COVID-19 spreads and comes to be believed, say Sudbury researchers. “Understanding how we think and how our brains process new information is actually part of our tool kit to protect ourselves against misinformation," said Chantal Barriault, the director of the Science Communication Graduate Program at Laurentian University. "Our brains actually like to take mental shortcuts, and we are all like this. “Our human brain wants to make things easy. It’s easier to click, to read just the headline, it’s easier to latch onto something that conforms or fits in to what you already believe or think you believe.” Barriault made the comments as Science North and Laurentian University wrapped up their COVID-19 seminar series this week with a live-stream event that addressed the prevalence of misinformation during the global pandemic. If something is easy, she added, it becomes familiar, then accepted. “If we keep seeing (certain information), even if we’re not consciously consuming it, it becomes familiar, and unfortunately, for our brains, familiar feels true,” she said. Becoming more aware of how our brains take shortcuts is one of the ways we can “inoculate” ourselves against misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking the extra step to verify the information we find online is another way to protect ourselves and make sense of what is happening around us. Barriault and other panel members joined Amy Henson, staff scientist at Science North, to discuss how our social circles influence the ways in which we receive, believe, and understand misinformation, how it spreads, and how it can be identified. “Let me ask you a quick question: what colour is COVID-19? I bet what you’re thinking is that COVID-19 is red,” said Dean Millar, interim dean of Science, Engineering, and Architecture at Laurentian University. “We’ve all seen the pictures on TV news, arriving in our social media inboxes, even in brochures at walk-in clinics or in GP surgery – the spiky, red ball. But is COVID-19 really red or is it just someone’s interpretation of the virus’s colour?” Turning to a few of Laurentian’s scientists and researchers, Millar discovered that there is no conclusive answer to that question. The best guess is that the virus is so small that it would not even interact with the wavelengths of light that correspond to colours. “In other words, it would be transparent – not red,” he said. Millar’s question introduced a host of panelists that included Barriault and Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Alberta. The panelists weighed in on conspiracy theories about the pandemic, how to talk to friends and family members about misinformation, the need to empower users of social media to “tease out” what’s real and not real, and learning to pause before sharing information online. “Let’s Talk About COVID-19” is a seminar series that engages local researchers for live discussions about the work they are doing to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Science North and Laurentian University have collaborated on the project since May 2020. For more information or to view the most recent episode, visit www.sciencenorth.ca/covidtalks. The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. email@example.com Twitter: @SudburyStarColleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star