Finnegan doesn’t know why his ears keep flying! Cuteness overload!
Finnegan doesn’t know why his ears keep flying! Cuteness overload!
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has directed law enforcement and intelligence officials in his administration to study the threat of domestic violent extremism in the United States, an undertaking being launched weeks after a mob of insurgents loyal to Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol. The announcement Friday by White House press secretary Jen Psaki is a stark acknowledgment of the national security threat that officials see as posed by American extremists motivated to violence by radical ideology. The involvement of the national intelligence office, created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks with a goal of thwarting international terrorism, suggests U.S. authorities are examining how to pivot to a more concerted focus on violence from extremists at home. The threat assessment is being co-ordinated by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, and will be used as a foundation to develop policy, the White House said. The National Security Council will do its own policy review to see how information about the problem can be better shared across the government. “The Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol and the tragic deaths and destruction that occurred underscored what we all know: The rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing national security threat,” Psaki said, adding that the administration will confront the problem with resources and policies but also “respect for constitutionally protected free speech and political activities.” Asked whether new methods were needed, she said, “More needs to be done. That's why the president is tasking the national security team to do exactly this review on the second full day in office.” Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said it was “critical” that the Biden administration appeared to be prioritizing the threat of domestic extremism. “In particular, far-right, white supremacist extremism, nurtured on online platforms, has become one of the most dangerous threats to our nation,” Schiff said. The riot at the Capitol, which led last week to Trump's second impeachment, raised questions about whether a federal government national security apparatus that for decades has moved aggressively to combat threats from foreign terror groups and their followers in America is adequately equipped to address the threat of domestic extremism. It's an issue that has flared repeatedly over the years, with different attacks — including a shooting rampage at a Pittsburgh synagogue — periodically caused renewed debate over whether a law specific to domestic terrorism is needed. It is unclear when the threat assessment will conclude or whether it will precipitate law enforcement and intelligence getting new tools or authorities to address a problem that officials say has proved challenging to combat, partly because of First Amendment protections. FBI Director Chris Wray said last fall that, over the past year, the most lethal violence has come from anti-government activists, such as anarchists and militia types. Law enforcement agencies are under scrutiny for their preparations for Jan. 6, when a violent mob of Trump supporters overran the police and stormed into the Capitol. Scores of people are facing charges so far, including a man who was photographed wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt, as well as people identified in court papers as QAnon conspiracy theorists and members of militia groups. ___ Follow Eric Tucker at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Health Canada says vaccine clinics are doing an "extraordinary" job preventing many doses of precious COVID-19 vaccine from going to waste. Canada has received more than 1.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna since mid-December, and has now given at least one dose to more than 767,000 people. A spokeswoman says "wastage has been very minimal" and well below initial estimates. Before the vaccination campaign began, there were concerns that as many as one-fifth of the doses delivered to Canada could end up being wasted due to intense cold-chain requirements and the complexity of distribution. The federal department did not provide statistics but said provinces and territories are reporting their experiences and waste has not been an notable issue thus far. Both vaccines have to be kept frozen, but the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is particularly delicate and must be stored at temperatures below -60 C until just before it is used. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
In his office overlooking Gage Park in downtown Brampton, Mayor Patrick Brown turned away from the live video feed of Wednesday’s committee of council meeting. He peered through the window for a view of the tree-lined outdoor skating rink below, a place that transports visitors to an idyllic winter escape. The ice width is “significantly larger than a sidewalk, or typical creek trail,” Brown pointed out to council members. Given the City’s ability to control rink capacity through its online booking system, he argued that existing measures to promote social distancing are sufficient. Non-medical masks or face coverings were in place only as a recommendation at Brampton’s outdoor rinks, but are mandatory in line-ups, the washrooms, or staging areas. “In general, wearing a mask is always good practice. I would just say let’s be careful about what precedents we set here…and what this means for the city and other avenues,” he said. Brown’s worry was that other City-owned properties, including basketball courts and soccer fields when they re-open, and even sidewalks, could then be subject to mandatory masking orders. The mayor put forward concerns supported by those fatigued by some of the protective measures imposed on them, but his more liberal attitude toward mask use stood in contrast with a motion that had just been forwarded. The comments came in response to a move by Councillor Rowena Santos for Brampton to implement an immediate policy to make face-coverings mandatory while skating, a decision Toronto already made. According to the motion – which passed unanimously despite the mayor’s concerns – provincial public health factsheets point to evidence that people can develop COVID-19 after repeated and cumulative exposure to someone with the novel coronavirus, “in the same manner as prolonged close contact.” Santos told Council the motion was aimed to “provide a little bit more clarity and consistency” to rink etiquette in a shared space, even if outdoors. The City will mobilize its surplus of masks to various skating rinks and inform those who have registered online about the new mandatory policy. The move to make these spaces safer in Ontario’s hardest-hit city comes after a more drastic measure to close winter amenities in Vaughan. Last week, the municipality announced it was closing outdoor amenities, including dog parks, in line with its “disciplined, reasonable and measured approach to COVID-19,” according to a press release announcing the move three days after the province entered a state of emergency and the stay-at-home order came into effect on January 14. “You need to do all that you can to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, and when you get large gatherings of people, you’re actually increasing it,” said Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua, in response to criticism, during a taped interview with CityNews. “So our decision was based on what we know at the moment to be true...and use all measures at [our] disposal.” Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health, publicly opposed the move, saying the use of outdoor facilities should be encouraged and regulated by the City to help promote mental health and exercise. Most municipalities in the GTA, including Toronto and Mississauaga have kept these amenities open during the current emergency order, which allows the use of such facilities. Keeping outdoor recreational activities, such as Brampton’s Winter Wonderland program, open has been supported by many infectious disease specialists who recognize the need for healthy, active alternatives during a lockdown. Public health officials have pointed out that if residents do not have the opportunity to exercise and get outside, mental health can suffer, and people might be pushed to violate other rules if they feel restrictions are unreasonable. “From our perspective, here at the Region of Peel, we know that it is ultimately [about] trying to balance outdoor recreation and an opportunity for individuals to exercise, which remains an essential reason to be out of one's home,” said Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel’s Medical Officer of Health, at Mississauga’s weekly press conference on Wednesday. “Region-hopping has always been a challenge or problem, but I imagine there are ways to address that,” said Dr. Loh, pointing to online booking tools and capacity limits that would help mitigate that risk. “It’s always been [the] recommendation, if you are unable to maintain two metres of distance – even outside – that you should be wearing a mask.” In a test of Brampton’s booking system, The Pointer was able to reserve a time at Gage Park using a registration account that listed a non-Brampton postal code as a home address. Mobility patterns analyzed by Peel Public Health using Google’s anonymized, aggregate cellphone location data show that during the first emergency declaration in March, there was a 60 percent drop in trips to workplaces, retail and other recreational locations, and a 20 percent increase in time spent at home. Second wave trends show that the time at home had increased by 21 percent in the first week of January this year, compared to 14 percent in October, which is measured against a January 2020 baseline of pre-pandemic, at-home time. The analysis, which appears in Peel Region’s January 15 epidemiological report, shows Brampton had a 17.6 percent positivity rate for the week ending on January 9; anything above 2.5 percent indicates viral spread in a jurisdiction is not under control. Brampton’s incidence rate was at 351.8 cases per 100,000 residents, for the week ending January 9, compared to 284 in Caledon and 200 in Mississauga. Ontario’s incidence rate was a little more than half of Brampton’s during the same period. Despite Premier Doug Ford’s pleas for Ontarians to stay home, barring essential trips, attending a recreational setting is another choice Peel residents can consider. As previously reported in The Pointer, despite the stay-at-home order, a flight out of Toronto Pearson International Airport, to get a resident from Peel to Miami, or many other destinations, is still allowable, though not advised, another confusing reality of the Province’s state of emergency order. Email: email@example.com Twitter: LaVjosa COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Vjosa Isai, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
If we didn't know any better, it would have seemed that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders took a tour through Canada's North recently. The U.S. senator popped up in a series of spoof photos this week that showed him in front of Iqaluit's post office, at a handgames tournament, and all the way to Yukon, posing in front of the SS Klondike. The hilarious shots were part of a wave of Bernie Sanders memes that have cropped up after he drew fashion praise on social media for his cozy, comfortable attire at President Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday, including a fuzzy pair of mittens. And northerners couldn't resist turning the photo of Sanders, cozied up on a chair with his mittens, into memes. Thaidene Paulette in Fort Smith, N.W.T., was behind the meme of Sanders playing traditional Indigenous handgames. "We basically live in the age of memes right now ... like with the internet and stuff going viral," Paulette said. "Whatever the meme may be at the moment, Indigenous people always put the best spin on it." He said he opted to put the U.S. senator into the handgames photo because it was fitting, based on Sanders' posture, which is similar to how players sit. Opposing teams of men kneel in lines and challenge each other to guess which hand an object is in — the idea is to trick the opponent into guessing the wrong hand. Paulette says Sanders could make a good handgames player in real life, calling him "pretty sly." "Those old timers are pretty good, you know, you don't think they move around too much, but once they get playing, they're into it and they can pull some tricks," he said. "So I wouldn't be surprised if Bernie's an old champ, maybe." Handgames isn't the only adventure the senator had in the North. Northerners enjoyed putting Sanders on a scene of a Nunavut government COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Michael Patterson, the territory's chief public health officer. And they took him on a hunting trip. He watched Yukon's well-known Bhangra dancer Gurdeep Pandher Bhangra. And was outfitted with more traditional wear. He went to the recycle depot in Whitehorse, made a pit stop at Tags gas station downtown, and of course, dropped by the public library. Then Sanders took a load-off at the Iqaluit post office. And finally, he waited for the northern lights to dance through the sky.
Ottawa is reporting 87 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death. Today's Ottawa update Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recorded 87 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death Friday. The health authority also declared another 105 cases resolved. As of Friday, OPH has received 25,350 vaccine doses, of which it has administered 22,981. The infection rate in Ottawa rose to record levels after Christmas, but has started to decline. The current lockdown in eastern Ontario went into effect Dec. 26, and is scheduled to last until Feb. 11. A provincial stay-at-home order is also in effect. Numbers to watch 36: The number of Ottawa residents being treated in hospital for COVID-19, down slightly from Thursday. 69.7: The number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Ottawa residents, back down after a slight increase on Thursday. 0.88: The average number of people infected by a single COVID-19 case, or R(t). Anything below one suggests the spread is coming under control. Across the region Quebec's lockdown is in effect until Feb. 8, and includes an 8 p.m. curfew.
Pendant que la neige tombait à gros flocons samedi dernier, j’ai déniché quelques trésors cachés sur le site web de l’Office national du film, onf.ca. Pour vous, j’ai fait une sélection des meilleurs courts-métrages mettant en vedette la neige, l’hiver et nos paysages nordiques. Idéal pour une soirée de couvre-feu, faute d’aller jouer dehors. Découvrez l’homme derrière la légende qui a sillonné les Laurentides pendant des décennies et qui en a tracé les plus importants sentiers. Ce portrait, réalisé pour le centenaire d’Herman Smith-Johannsen, révèle un explorateur infatigable, sa résilience et son humour. Le documentaire trace des parallèles entre sa Norvège natale et ses Laurentides d’adoption, et nous fait voyager dans le temps. Dans une scène, on le voit racontant ses souvenirs dans une voiture, cigare en bouche, pendant que des paysages enneigés défilent par la fenêtre. En noir et blanc, ce court-métrage offre un regard d’ensemble du ski au Canada, de Banff aux Laurentides. On y retrouve l’enthousiasme des premières neiges, la leçon de ski, le remonte-pente pour les « moins vaillants » (dit le narrateur), et la vue magnifique une fois arrivé au sommet. Somme toute, le sport a bien peu changé, 73 ans plus tard. Une journée à la patinoire, présentée par Gilles Carle, le célèbre cinéaste québécois dans ses débuts. La musique de Claude Léveillée anime même ce court-métrage sans paroles. En bottes ou en patins, on y découvre le simple plaisir de patiner, de glisser et de jouer sur la glace. Pourquoi ne pas jouer une amicale partie de hockey, avant de se déhancher sur la glace au rythme de la musique de l’heure : le rock ‘n’ roll! Suivez ces deux Inuits (appelés Esquimaux dans le film) alors qu’ils bâtissent un iglou pour la nuit, pendant que le narrateur vous explique comment faire. Vous n’aurez besoin que d’un couteau à neige… et de neige. Les Inuits peuvent prendre aussi peu que 40 minutes ou aussi longtemps que 2 jours pour construire leur iglou, selon leurs besoins. Mon préféré. Suivez l’artiste Alexander Young Jackson dans la création de ses paysages uniques. Jackson est membre du Groupe des sept, un rassemblement de paysagistes canadiens qui ont révolutionné l’art durant les années 1920. Pour faire ses ébauches, Jackson part en expédition dans la nature automnale de l’Ontario, au Lac Grace, puis dans les collines enneigées de Saint-Tite-des-Caps, juste au nord de l’Île d’Orléans. On le voit en canot, faire du portage et même escalader les parois rocheuses du bouclier canadien, tout pour trouver le parfait paysage.Simon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
NEW YORK — Bob Avian, a Tony Award-winning choreographer who had a role in some of the most beloved and influential shows on Broadway, including “Dreamgirls,” “A Chorus Line,” “Follies” and “Miss Saigon,” has died. He was 83. Avian died Thursday of cardiac arrest at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said Matt Polk, head of the theatrical publicity firm Polk & Co. Tony-winner Tony Yazbeck on Twitter called Avian “a sweet and kind spirit who generously gave his creative talents to legendary works.” Marvin Hamlisch said: “His legacy will live on stage for years to come.” Avian rose from a dancer in “West Side Story” and “Funny Girl” to work alongside such theatre luminaries as Michael Bennett, Cameron Macintosh, Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was with Bennett that Avian enjoyed a long professional partnership, working as associate choreographer or assistant director on such Bennett-choreographed productions as “A Chorus Line,” “Promises, Promises,” “Coco,” “Company,” “Follies, “Seesaw” and “God's Favorite.” He was a producer on the original “Dreamgirls” and “Ballroom” and did musical staging for “Sunset Boulevard” starring Glenn Close in 1994, “Putting It Together” with Carol Burnett and the original “Miss Saigon” with Lea Salonga in 1991. Avian earned six Tony nominations and won twice, for choreographing “Ballroom” and co-choreographing “A Chorus Line.” He won an Oliver Award for choreographing Boublil and Schonberg's musical “Martin Guerre” in London. He also choreographed “The Witches of Eastwick” in the West End starring Ian McShane. Avian's association with “A Chorus Line” continued when he directed the 2006 revival on Broadway and the London revival at the Palladium in 2013. He also directed touring versions. He earned a bachelor's degree from Boston University and also studied at Boston Ballet School. In 2020, his memoir “Dancing Man: A Broadway Choreographer’s Journey” co-written with Tom Santopietro was published by University Press of Mississippi. He is survived by his husband, Peter Pileski, and a sister, Laura Nabedian. Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
COVID-19 case counts are declining in Windsor-Essex, but there's still a long way to go, according to the local health unit. Dr. Wajid Ahmed of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit presented the latest epidemiological statistics in a briefing on Friday morning. "As much as I'd like to be happy about [declining cases] ... you know how quickly things can change. We did very well in September-October and then it quickly changed," said Ahmed, the region's medical officer of health. Windsor-Essex saw decreases in the weekly case rate, the presence of the virus in wastewater and test positivity, according to the newest weekly data. For the week ending on Jan. 16, the positivity rate for COVID-19 tests was 8.7 per cent. That's a significant drop from the previous week's percentage of 11.7. But Windsor-Essex remains one of the regions most deeply impacted by the virus in Ontario. The most recent weekly case rate of just below 300 people per 100,000 residents is about twice the provincial average. And the overall case rate is the second worst in the province, behind only Peel region in the Greater Toronto Area. The number of people who have died from COVID-19 is continuing to grow locally. The health unit announced the deaths of eight more residents on Friday, bringing the total number of lives lost to virus to 288. The health unit also announced 99 newly diagnosed cases of the virus. There are currently 1,990 cases of COVID-19 currently active throughout the region, a key figure that has fallen sharply in recent days. Just a week ago, there were more than 2,700 active cases. 1 new hospital outbreak Of the 99 new COVID-19 cases announced Friday, 11 are connected to outbreaks, 11 are close contacts of confirmed cases, one was community acquired while the rest remain under investigation. There are 50 active outbreaks spread across all sectors. A new outbreak was declared on a unit of Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, the second area of the hospital to become an affected by outbreak in the last week. According to the hospital, the outbreak is on 2S in the Dr. Y. Emara Centre for Healthy Aging and Mobility and two patients have tested positive. It has been linked to the other outbreak on 3N, which was declared on Jan. 18. Four other outbreaks are active at Windsor Regional Hospital's two campuses. Two community settings, both locations of Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario, remain in outbreak. Outbreaks were active at 23 workplaces: Eight in Leamington's agricultural sector. Five in Kingsville's agricultural sector. Three in Windsor's health care and social assistance sector. One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector. One in Kingsville's health care and social assistance sector. One in Windsor's manufacturing sector. One in a retail setting in Windsor One in a retail setting in Essex. One in a retail setting in Lakeshore One in a transportation and warehousing setting in Windsor There are 19 active outbreaks at long-term care and retirement facilities: Chartwell Leamington in Leamington with two resident cases and one staff case. Regency Park in Windsor with seven resident cases and five staff cases. Chartwell Royal Marquis, with one resident case and one staff case. Harrow Woods Retirement Home, with six resident cases and two staff cases. Seasons Retirement Home in Amherstburg, with three staff cases. Devonshire Retirement Residence in Windsor, with 37 resident cases and six staff cases. Chartwell Royal Oak in Kingsville, with two staff cases. Rosewood Erie Glen in Leamington, with 36 resident cases and six staff cases. Leamington Mennonite Home with one resident case and seven staff cases. Augustine Villas in Kingsville, with 65 resident and 17 staff cases. Sunrise Assisted Living of Windsor, with 13 resident cases and eight staff cases. Huron Lodge in Windsor, with 46 resident cases and 26 staff cases. Sun Parlor Home in Leamington with two resident cases and 12 staff cases. Banwell Gardens Care Centre in Windsor, with 115 resident cases and 62 staff cases. The Shoreview at Riverside in Windsor, with 29 resident cases and 16 staff cases. Extendicare Tecumseh, with 90 resident cases and 57 staff cases. Berkshire Care Centre in Windsor, with 99 resident and 61 staff cases. The Village at St. Clair in Windsor, with 163 resident cases and 133 staff cases. Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh, with 60 resident cases and 30 staff cases. COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia Sarnia-Lambton is reporting two new deaths on Frioday, along with six new cases of the virus. Thirty-five people in the region have died from COVID-19 and there have been 1,736 cases overall. Chatham-Kent saw 15 new cases, bringing its total to 1,061.
KÖNIGSSEE, Germany — Canada's Jane Channell slid to a bronze medal Friday at a World Cup skeleton event. Channell, from North Vancouver, B.C., finished tied for third with World Cup leader Janine Flock of Austria with a two-run time of one minute 42.93 seconds. Germany’s Jacqueline Loelling won the gold medal with a time of 1:42.30. Anna Fernstaedt of the Czech Republic was second at 1:42.77. It was Channell’s fourth career World Cup medal and first in more than three years. Calgary's Elisabeth Maier was sixth. "It feels great to be back (on the circuit) with everyone and back on the podium," said Channell, who was competing in her first race of the season after electing to stay home in Whistler, B.C., for the first six World Cup stops due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "The time I spent in Whistler was key today," she said. "It got me back to the roots of why I started sliding in the first place — because it is fun." In the men’s race, Germany’s Alexander Gassner won in 1:39.88, followed by South Korea’s Sungbin Yun in 1:39.92 and Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov in 1:40.01. Kevin Boyer of Sherwood Park, Alta., was the top Canadian in 19th spot at 1:42.12. Calgary’s Mark Lynch did not qualify for the second run. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — British Columbia's oldest residents will be able to pre-register for COVID-19 vaccinations starting in March after the most vulnerable groups have been immunized under a provincial plan announced today. People who register for the age-based plan will get a reminder to book appointments when eligible, but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says timelines for vaccination will depend on available doses. Residents in long-term care homes and health-care workers who look after them are among those who are currently being vaccinated, followed in February by more residents of Indigenous communities as well as those who are over the age of 80. Those aged 75 to 79 will be vaccinated starting in April as part of the pre-registration strategy that will also include people with underlying health conditions before those in younger age groups are immunized. Everyone who is vaccinated will get a record of their immunization and a reminder of their second dose by text, email or phone call. The aim is to administer vaccines to 4.3 million eligible residents by September using larger facilities including school gyms, arenas and mobile clinics, as well as home visits for those who are unable to attend a clinic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
MADRID — Public outrage is growing in Spain as cases of politicians and well-connected opportunists jumping the queue in the national coronavirus vaccination campaign come to light, even as delivery delays have forced some regions to stop new inoculations. Spain’s Defence Ministry has been the latest governmental department to launch an internal inquiry to find out if the military top brass dodged coronavirus vaccine protocols by receiving a jab before their turn. El Confidencial Digital, an online news site, first reported that Chief of Staff Gen. Miguel Ángel Villarroya and several other high-ranking officers in Spain’s Armed Forces had recently received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In Spain, top government and other officials have not been granted preferential access to the vaccine — unlike other European countries where they were among the first to get the jab, to encourage members of the public to follow suit. Nursing home residents and staff, as well as first-line health workers, are currently receiving jabs as priority groups in the national vaccination plan. The rollout is suffering delays due to a shortage of deliveries by Pfizer-BioNTech, currently the main supplier of vaccines. Having administered over 86% of the 1.1 million vaccine doses received, several regions have halted new vaccinations until fresh supplies arrive. The Health Ministry announced this week that the next group will be those above 80 years old. Defence Minister Margarita Robles said Friday that the Armed Forces had their own vaccination plan but that she nevertheless had requested a report from Gen. Villarroya, who is 63, to clarify the issue. The questions follow several cases of queue-jumping by politicians or people with connections that have come to light in recent weeks, drawing widespread criticism and leading to high-profile dismissals. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's Socialist Party on Friday issued a statement urging any elected official who has skipped the line to resign immediately. Top members of the Popular Party, the conservative leader of the opposition, have made similar remarks. But whereas the regional health chief of the south-eastern Murcia region, a PP member, appeared on television, tearful, after he lost his job when media revealed that he had received the first vaccine jab, party colleague Javier Guerrero, who has the equivalent position in Ceuta, a Spanish outpost in northern Africa, refused to resign saying that fieldwork often exposed him to contagion. Guerrero, who is a physician himself and has diabetes, said at a press conference Thursday that he accepted getting the jab because his staff insisted. “I didn't want to get vaccinated, but my technical staff told me that unless I did it they wouldn't do it themselves,” he said. “I really didn't want to. I don't even get the flu vaccine. I don't like vaccines.” Pressure from the public has so far led to resignations or dismissals of several local mayors and councillors, as well as some hospital directors. At the San Carlos Clinic Hospital in Madrid, retired health workers and family members were asked to show up for a vaccine so as not to waste soon-to-expire doses. Experts have highlighted the need to ramp up vaccination to counter the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected 2.5 million and killed over 55,400 people in Spain. The health ministry reported 42,885 new infections and 400 additional confirmed deaths on Friday, as several regions launch new restrictions aimed at curbing the contagion. One in five hospital beds and over 37% of ICU beds are now devoted to treating coronavirus patients. In six of the country’s 19 regions, half or more of ICU beds are already filled with patients that need ventilation or other acute treatment. Authorities say that while the number of new cases continues to soar, the daily percentage increases are diminishing, indicating the surge could be levelling out. Some experts have argued that a strict stay-at-home order is needed urgently. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Associated Press, The Associated Press
Squamish Nation has launched a new program to help guide its community members through the COVID-19 pandemic. The nation has introduced a team of ‘COVID Guardians’ to offer extra support to community members in isolation, educate and raise awareness of the virus and provincial health officer restrictions, and to report on any issues that may arise. Syetáxtn, Chris Lewis, Squamish nation spokesperson, said the new program was already having a positive impact, sharing the news in a Facebook update to members. “It's a new program to assist our community through the pandemic and to also ensure that there is public awareness and the information gets out,” he said in the latest video update on Jan. 15. “The guardians are here to ensure safety and engage with members of the public to make sure that the residents and everybody in our community are aware of the physical distancing directives and to provide education around public etiquette and courtesies and shared outdoor spaces. “They'll also help maintain and prevent any COVID exposures within the community through continued education and prevention.” There are five guardians, three for North Vancouver and two for the Squamish Valley, who report to the nation’s emergency co-ordinator, David Harrison, and to the emergency operations director, Paul Wick. Syetáxtn said so far the guardians had been busy checking in with community members that are in isolation, or quarantining, delivering COVID lawn signs and care packages to households, and fixing and repairing damaged and vandalized signs throughout the community. “They patrol high exposure areas and help clean up the community, so I really want to thank them for the work that they're doing,” he said, Syetáxtn said the guardians would also be helping with the rollout of vaccinations in the community. Vaccinations have already started in 169 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities across Canada, according to Indigenous Services Canada. “In the coming months, you can see our guardians assisting in the setup operation of the upcoming Squamish nation COVID vaccination site,” said Syetáxtn. “We're continuing to work with Vancouver Coastal Health and health authorities to ensure that those sites are set up and we're in the queue.” While plans are in the works, Syetáxtn said there was “no update in terms of when the nation will receive the current vaccine.” “We are in conversations, though, in terms of our home care assistants, in terms of getting them vaccinated because we know that they’re supporting our most vulnerable,” he said. He added that the nation’s older adults and elders were a priority for vaccinations in B.C. “The age requirement for indigenous adults will be lower than the rest of the population due to the higher rate of health risks to our elders and other factors that have affected access to quality health care," said Syetáxtn. “So, our elders will be in that queue.” During the members update, Khelsilem, Dustin Rivers, Squamish Nation spokesperson, confirmed there are active COVID-19 cases in the nation’s community at this time, but they did not have exact case numbers to provide. “The nation does not receive names of any confirmed cases or members advised to self-isolate or quarantine unless the members voluntarily share that information with us and give us permission to share that information publicly,” he said. Earlier this month he told North Shore News the nation temporarily closed its main office at 320 Seymour Boulevard, from Jan. 6 to 11, due to a COVID-19 exposure, and those involved were taking the “necessary precautions.” He said there were a number of other active cases in the community which weren’t related to the office exposure. He added that there had been no cluster events in the community since the summer. Up until Sep. 23, 2020 there had been a total of 43 confirmed cases - 39 lab-confirmed, four epi-linked, for the nation. Since then, Khelsilem said “they have all been minor cases, contained through contact tracing and isolating.” In First Nations communities across B.C., as of Jan. 20, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of a total of 1,377 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. ISC said Across Canada, numbers had “reached an all-time new high this week” with a total of 14,200 positive cases – 5,409 active cases, 124 deaths, and 8,667 recoveries. “A number of communities are experiencing mounting cases, and ISC is taking measures to mitigate risks, including meeting regularly with local health services in Indigenous communities and engaging with provincial and other federal department representatives in an effort to assess on-going community needs,” a Government of Canada release stated. Khelsilem commended the community for its ongoing efforts to follow the PHO recommendations and restrictions. “You've done an amazing job of helping protect the community from the spread of the virus,” he said, adding he understood how difficult it had been to not be able follow usual traditions and spiritual practices in hard times. “As we get through this, I just want to continue to thank and encourage our community to work very hard to stay by these health orders that are set in stone to help protect our community. “We're all in this together, and of course, we will all get through this together.” The community can reach out to the Squamish Nation’s Guardians by calling 604-374-2687 or can contact the Member Services Department on 604-982-7610 during office hours or 604-505-3776 after hours for care packages and support. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
Russia had ordered TikTok and other social networks to restrict online calls for nationwide protests in support of detained Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.View on euronews
Émilie Pelletier firstname.lastname@example.org Initiative de journalisme local Queen’s Park TORONTO — Les cas quotidiens de COVID-19 sont à la baisse depuis deux semaines, en Ontario. Même si le confinement imposé en province il y a de cela près d’un mois commence à fonctionner, « il est encore trop tôt pour crier victoire », préviennent des experts en épidémiologie. Sans aucun doute, les effets du confinement imposé par le gouvernement Ford le 26 décembre commencent à se faire sentir. Depuis deux semaines, le nombre d’infections enregistrées quotidiennement se stabilise. Mais il faut faire preuve « d’un optimisme prudent », avertit le virologue et professeur agrégé à la faculté de médecine de l’Université d’Ottawa, le Dr Hugues Loemba. Consultant auprès de l’Organisation mondiale de la Santé ainsi qu’auprès de Santé Canada, où il participe à l’évaluation de médicaments dont des antiviraux, le Dr Loemba se dit particulièrement inquiet des nouveaux variants de la COVID-19. « C’est très critique. On commence à voir des cas du nouveau variant britannique, de même que celui de l’Afrique du Sud. Certains cas de ce variant au pays sont liés à des voyages, mais d’autres non, alors une transmission communautaire se fait déjà. » Le Dr Loemba note que dans les pays où ce variant du virus s’est transmis, il est devenu plus prévalent que les autres souches en six à huit semaines seulement. « Oui, le nombre de cas quotidiens diminue, mais le nouveau variant peut changer la donne. Si on pouvait augmenter la cadence avec les vaccins, et si d’ici mars on pouvait vacciner plus de 50 % de la population, on pourrait commencer à chanter. » Ce nouveau variant explique aussi pourquoi il ne faut pas mettre fin au confinement de façon précoce, juge le clinicien principal du Programme d’épidémiologie clinique à l’Institut de recherche de l’Hôpital d’Ottawa, le Dr Doug Manuel. Ce dernier note que les Ontariens devraient se préparer à un confinement qui pourrait durer jusqu’à deux mois. « À l’international, les périodes de confinement qui ont été nécessaires pour réduire la transmission du virus ont duré entre six semaines et deux mois. » Le Dr Manuel est aussi membre de la Table consultative scientifique de l’Ontario, celle qui conseille le gouvernement Ford sur ses décisions liées à la pandémie depuis le début de la crise. À ses dires, il a été prouvé que la pandémie n’est pas une question de « santé versus économie », mais bien de « santé et d’économie ». Les endroits avec un taux de positivité moins élevé ont une meilleure économie, note-t-il. Trop peu, trop tard Les deux épidémiologistes sont d’accord : les mesures sanitaires en réponse à la COVID-19 surviennent souvent trop tard, « lorsque le mal est fait ». Par exemple, lorsque le gouvernement Ford a décidé d’imposer un confinement le 26 décembre, « c’était déjà trop tard », aux dires du Dr Loemba. « Si on avait mis en place des restrictions avant décembre, on aurait limité le nombre de retrouvailles familiales et on n’aurait peut-être pas eu à payer le prix d’être confiné en janvier. La santé et l’économie vont de pair. La santé détermine l’économie. » Pour le Dr Manuel, il est toujours mieux d’agir un jour trop tôt qu’un jour trop tard. Son conseil au gouvernement, lorsque ce dernier hésite à imposer de nouvelles restrictions ? « Si vous songez à le faire, faites-le. »Émilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
The company that runs a limestone quarry on the Port au Port Peninsula is headed to trial, after pleading not guilty to numerous charges surrounding the 2018 death of one of its workers. A lawyer for Atlantic Minerals entered not guilty pleas in Stephenville provincial court Friday to all 10 charges the company faces under the province's Occupational Health and Safety Act, including failing to provide workplace procedures and failing to ensure safe workplace procedures were followed. The charges stem from the death of a 55-year-old worker at the quarry in Lower Cove on July 31, 2018. The man, a long-term employee of the company, was fatally injured after an incident during conveyor maintenance. Six days are being set aside for Atlantic Minerals' trial in Stephenville, starting June 14. A supervisor with Atlantic Minerals also faces two charges in relation to the death, of failing to ensure the health and safety of workers and failing to provide safety information and instruction. On Friday, the supervisor's lawyer, Andrew May, said his client was not ready to enter in a plea, but that a future not guilty plea was an "unlikely event." That matter has been set over until March. If the supervisor pleads not guilty, he will appear at the same trial as Atlantic Minerals. Atlantic Minerals is headquartered in Corner Brook. According to its website, the company has 130 employees at its Lower Cove operation. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
RICHMOND, B.C. — RCMP say a man who allegedly cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet and walked away in Richmond, B.C., has been located. A statement from police says Woon Chan was found Friday. Police issued a warning about 18 hours earlier saying they were contacted by corrections officials who reported Chan was wearing a monitoring bracelet but it had gone offline. RCMP responded to an area of north Richmond near Minoru Park and found the bracelet but no sign of the 57-year-old man. At the time, they described Chan as a risk to the public but did not say why. The police statement doesn't say where he was found or what led to his discovery. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
GREY-BRUCE – Although there are still 41 active cases of COVID-19 in Grey-Bruce, the number of new cases continues to drop from the post-holiday spike. As of Jan. 18, there had been five new cases in the previous 24 hours – one each in Owen Sound, Brockton, Grey Highlands, Hanover and West Grey. This brings the cumulative total to 653. There are 115 high risk contacts associated with active cases. Two people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. There are no outbreaks in Grey-Bruce. An outbreak with the Town of The Blue Mountains has been declared over. The first shipment of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, 200 doses, have been administered. People are being urged to follow the basic measures that brought down numbers during the first wave – wash hands frequently, watch your distance (ideally six feet) and wear a face covering correctly. Everyone should also avoid crowds and unnecessary travel as the provincial lockdown continues. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska had 24,100 fewer jobs in December than a year earlier amid ongoing economic repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic, the state labour department reported Friday. Karinne Wiebold, a department economist, said there aren't many bright spots to glean from the December jobs report. “One possible glimmer is that we think oil and gas employment has bottomed out, so while the year over year losses are still steep, it should not get much worse,” she said by email. That sector reported about 6,800 jobs in both November and December, but the department said there's no sign yet of a “bounce.” Oil and gas employment stood around 10,000 in December 2019, the department said. Leisure and hospitality recorded the largest losses, with much of the December drop attributed to bar and restaurant restrictions in Anchorage aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, the department said. The sector had 8,600 fewer jobs than in December 2019, according to the labour department report. State government gained 500 jobs in December, compared to a year earlier, primarily due to pandemic-related hires, such as contact tracers and additional staff to help process unemployment insurance claims, the department said. The Associated Press
OTTAWA — A group of large businesses in Banff National Park is proposing a rapid COVID-19 testing project meant to help reopen the economy safely. Yannis Karlos, the head of the group, said rapid testing can guarantee the safety of the community while allowing the return to a semblance of normality in a place heavily dependent on tourism. "We're just looking for options to take a different approach to ensure that our community remains safe," said Karlos, who owns a distillery and restaurant in Banff, Alta. "Back in March, our community basically fully shut down and we had an extremely high level of unemployment," he said. Karlos said the group of businesses that represent 5,300 employees would cover the costs of deploying COVID-19 rapid tests if the Alberta government will supply them. "The way we envision it is becoming a public-private partnership, so we're looking for some assistance from the municipality as well as from the province," he said. Town of Banff spokesman Jason Darrah said the municipality will support the project. "We want to support however possible, such as offering facilities for doing it," he said. Sandy White, the co-founder of a coalition of academics, medical professionals and business leaders called Rapid Test and Trace Canada, which is working with the businesses in Banff, said millions of rapid tests already bought and distributed by the federal government are sitting in warehouses across Canada because provincial governments are either unable or unwilling to deploy them. "The overall mismanagement of this file in particular, to say nothing of vaccines and everything else, has been depressingly indicative of Canada's response to this thing," he said. White, who himself owns two inns in Banff, said other countries have responded to the pandemic more efficiently than Canada using rapid tests and other measures to reopened their economies safely. "We are drowning in this situation and we've had a year to get all these wonderful things in place and we could be Taiwan or South Korea or Australia or New Zealand but we're not," he said. "That's very frustrating." White said the 90-day rapid-testing project proposed for Banff would aim to test as many of the town's roughly 8,800 residents as possible within the first two days. After that, the program would test between five and 10 per cent of residents every day. "We are quite confident that with a strategy like that, we can eradicate COVID within the community," he said. Banff had close to 200 active cases of COVID-19 at the end of November, when the economy had reopened and tourists were in town. "The goal really is to be able to safely reopen the economy and encourage tourists to come back to town," he said, noting local jobs depend on tourism. He said the program could also be used as a "test case" to prove that a rapid-testing strategy can work to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. White said his organization is speaking with several groups across the country, including universities and Indigenous communities, to prepare rapid-testing project proposals. "It would be us advising and assisting in setting up pilots and executing on them with the government really just provided testing services in the form of the tests and maybe some basic guidance," he said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press
Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said on Friday he wanted it known that he had no plans to commit suicide in prison, as he issued a message of support to his followers on the eve of protests the authorities say are illegal. Navalny was detained on Sunday after flying home for the first time since being poisoned with what the West says was a military-grade nerve agent that Navalny says was applied to his underpants by state security agents. The 44-year-old lawyer, in a Moscow prison pending the outcome of four legal matters he describes as trumped up, accuses President Vladimir Putin of ordering his attempted murder.