Dogs chilling in the backyard in the wind and snow.
Dogs chilling in the backyard in the wind and snow.
ÉMILIE PELLETIER Initiative de journalisme local — Le Droit La province de l’Ontario déplore 87 décès causés par la COVID-19 survenus au cours de la dernière journée. En tout, 5701 Ontariens ont perdu leur combat contre le coronavirus. Par ailleurs, la santé publique a répertorié 2662 infections à la COVID-19, jeudi, portant le total à 250 226 cas depuis le début de la pandémie. La même journée, 1512 personnes atteintes du virus étaient hospitalisées, dont 383 aux soins intensifs. Parmi ces derniers, 291 avaient besoin d’un respirateur pour rester en vie. Foyers de soins de longue durée En foyers de soins de longue durée, 99 résidents et 64 membres du personnel ont reçu un diagnostic positif à la COVID-19 au cours des 24 dernières heures. Jusqu’à présent, 13 746 infections ont été répertoriées chez les résidents en FSLD, ainsi que 5494 cas chez les employés. On compte aussi 42 résidents de ces établissements qui ont perdu la vie au cours de la dernière journée à cause de la COVID-19. En tout, près de 3300 personnes habitant en FSLD sont décédées en raison du virus. Depuis le début de la pandémie, la COVID-19 a causé la mort de dix membres du personnel, dont deux ayant perdu la vie en 2021. Jeudi, 11 168 Ontariens ont roulé leur manche pour se faire vacciner contre la COVID-19. En tout, ce sont 49 292 personnes en province qui ont reçu les deux doses nécessaires pour être complètement vaccinées contre le virus. Cela représente 264 985 doses totales administrées depuis que le vaccin est disponible en Ontario. Le nombre de doses quotidiennes devrait diminuer au cours des prochains jours, en raison des problèmes d’approvisionnement des vaccins de la compagnie pharmaceutique Pfizer. Les données liées au coronavirus présentées dans ce texte ont été tirées du plus récent bilan de la COVID-19, présenté par le Système intégré d’information sur la santé publique (SIISP), vendredi à 10h30. À LIRE AUSSI: L’Ontario juge pouvoir réaliser son objectif de vaccinationÉmilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
Families in Windsor-Essex have been given more time to decide whether they want to change from remote learning to in-person classes — or vice versa — for the remainder of the school year. The Greater Essex County District School Board says that for elementary students it has reopened the form to request a change to coincide with the planned reopening of schools, currently set for Feb. 10. The forms are due on Jan. 26. No action is required for families that want to stick with the current model of learning or those who have previously requested a change, the school board said in a media release. After this window, no changes can be made to whether a child learns from home or at school for the rest of the school year. Originally, parents with children in the public board were supposed to have made a decision in early January but the deadline was extended. At that time, some parents expressed concern over the difficulty of making a decision given the current status of the pandemic. Local schools have been closed since the week before the holiday break, with students currently learning from home at all grade levels. Some special education classes are still in-person. It remains unclear whether the province will extend the closure past early February. Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, said Friday he has not had any direct discussions with the province regarding the reopening or closure of schools. The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board says it has suspended its deadlines to change instruction delivery indefinitely. "Before setting new deadlines, we are waiting further direction from the Ministry of Education regarding school openings," board spokesperson Stephen Fields said in an email. Once new dates are established, parents will be informed a new declaration form will be made available, he said.
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
CORNWALL – COVID-19 infection numbers are continuing to slowly decline in the region as provincial lock-down and Stay-at-Home measures remain in place. Since Monday, the active case count has decreased by nearly 100 people. The province announced Wednesday that students in seven health units, including neighbouring Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark District Health Unit will return to in-person learning on January 25th. Students in this region will continue to learn remotely for now. Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, said Thursday that keeping students in the region learning remotely for now was the right call. "I think it was the right call, looking at the numbers," he said adding that he thought schools could reopen soon. "Despite the fact that [the numbers] are going downwards, we're still pretty high in the Red Zone." According to the province's COVID-19 colour-coded restriction framework, the Red-Control zone is defined as a rolling seven-day average of 40 or more new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. Roumeliotis said he was encouraged the region is going in the right direction. The seven-day average for new cases peaked on January 9th with 152.2 per 100,000 people. As of January 21st, the average was 84.1 per 100,000 people. Roumeliotis said the determining factor in schools returning to in-person learning was that the region had to be clearly in the Orange-Restrict zone, or below 40 cases per 100,000 people. "If the trends continue, we can be there by the time [the province] re-evaluates," he said. The provincial Stay-at-Home order is in place until February 11th. As of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit's January 21st update, there are 544 active COVID-19 infections in the region. Locally, South Dundas has four active cases, and 24 cases overall. North Dundas has 12 active cases, 51 cases overall. The City of Cornwall continues to have a highest number of active cases with 226 people infected. The city's tally of overall cases stands at 597. In all, there have been 2,297 COVID-19 cases in the EOHU region since the pandemic began. Currently there are 15 facilities listed by the EOHU as having a COVID-19 related outbreak. None of those facilities are in Dundas County. Roumeliotis said that of those 15 facilities, most have been declared as being in an outbreak due to staff contracting the virus. Only three facilities have residents who tested positive. GlenStorDun Lodge in Cornwall and a Long-Term Care Home in Lancaster are two that have residents who tested positive. At the Lancaster LTC home, at least nine people have died from COVID-19 related illness. The region's death toll has increased to 48. More people have died in the second wave of the pandemic in the EOHU region than in the first. There are 23 people hospitalized, six are in intensive care. Nearly 1,600 people have been vaccinated so far in the EOHU, but due to production cuts by Pfizer, deliveries of the vaccine will stop for a week. The health unit plans on pausing its vaccination plans once its own supply has run out, and will restart once new shipments are received. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
WASHINGTON — Capitol Police are investigating an incident in which a Republican lawmaker was blocked from entering the House chamber after setting off a metal detector while apparently carrying a concealed gun. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., set off the metal detector while trying to enter the chamber Thursday afternoon. The metal detectors were installed after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, which left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer. The incident was witnessed by a reporter from the Huffington Post After setting off the machine, Harris was asked to step aside for further screening. At that time, an officer discovered Harris was carrying a concealed gun on his side, according to the reporter. The officer sent Harris away, at which point Harris tried to get Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., to take the gun from him. Katko refused, telling Harris he didn’t have a license to carry a gun. Harris eventually left and returned less than 10 minutes later. He once again went through security and did not set off the magnetometer. He was then allowed to enter the House floor. Harris, in his sixth term representing Maryland's Eastern Shore, issued a statement through his chief of staff, Bryan Shuy. “Because his and his family’s lives have been threatened by someone who has been released awaiting trial, for security reasons, the congressman never confirms whether he nor anyone else he’s with are carrying a firearm for self-defence,'' the statement said. "As a matter of public record, he has a Maryland Handgun Permit. And the congressman always complies with the House metal detectors and wanding. The Congressman has never carried a firearm on the House floor.'' Eva Malecki, a spokeswoman for Capitol Police, said the incident is being investigated. The public is not allowed to carry guns on Capitol grounds, but members of Congress may keep firearms in their offices or transport them on the Capitol grounds if they are unloaded and securely wrapped. Lawmakers are not allowed to bring guns into either the House or Senate chambers. Matthew Daly, The Associated Press
After nearly a year in, it seems at this point the pandemic may have gotten to a lot of us. In a series of videos that have struck a chord with the internet, social media marketer and Cambridge local Mikael Melo certainly found some agreement when it comes to the lack of clarity around lockdown and state of emergency messaging in Ontario. One of Melo’s TikTok videos poking fun at the government’s state of emergency order has been watched more than one million times and has 37,000 shares as of Jan. 20. “The response to it has been wonderful,” he said. “I've just had so many people message me saying, ‘I really needed this laugh today,’ or ‘Thank you so much,’ or like, ‘It's really just lifted my spirits during these tough times.’” The sketch in question has him playing a fictional government spokesperson who still has to go to work, despite the government mandate. “We just felt ‘lockdown’ wasn’t really hitting our target audience, so ‘state of emergency’ is just our makeover,” he explains to a bewildered caller. “We’re essentially the exact same experience though,” he explains. If the official message seems a little vague, it’s “because we want customers to choose their own pandemic experience,” the operator adds. When creating the video, Melo thought a few friends would see it and “didn’t think much of it.” But the response hit home (literally) when a few friends turned into a million views in the matter of a few days. Melo “really realized” the video had gone viral when friends reached out to him about the video organically. “They would say, ‘Hey, man, like my mom's friend posted this on her Facebook’ or ‘Hey, dude, like, I'm in North Bay right now, and the local flower shop just posted your video on their Instagram.’ It was like, wow, like this is really making it throughout Ontario.” Melo thinks the reason for the video’s popularity is that the rules of the stay-at-home order still feel “loose” to a lot of people. As someone with marketing experience, the change from lockdown in March to state of emergency today “just feels like a rebrand,” he noted. Melo added that he has more videos that he’d like to keep posting, once TikTok removes his temporary ban. “They thought I was spamming, but I was just trying to respond to everyone's comments and like, thanking them for supporting the video.” Melo, who has been making short TikTok videos since March, said he’s always been someone to “crack a joke or two during tough times.” “I really enjoy making people smile,” he added. Viewers have taken delight to his followup video as the ‘operator,’ which has racked up tens of thousands of views. “In dark times, we just need to find lightness and humour,” Melo said. “And so that's kind of why I started doing those videos.” Swikar Oli, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times
A road rage incident stemming from tailgating in Lower Sackville, N.S., ended with a man being stabbed on Wednesday. Police say they were called to Old Sackville Road at 4:30 p.m. after receiving a report of an altercation between people in two different vehicles. One of the drivers was tailgating the other, according to police, and the occupants got into an argument. A man from one vehicle stabbed a 25-year-old man from Dartmouth, N.S., who was driving the other vehicle. The victim was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. A female passenger in the vehicle with the stabbing victim was not injured. One of the men in the other vehicle turned himself in to police and has been released while the investigation continues. RCMP are looking for the other man, described as age 18-20, white, heavy-set and five foot nine. He was wearing black basketball shorts at the time of the incident and was not wearing a shirt. RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Lisa Croteau didn't know who was allegedly tailgating whom, or whether the two men in the suspect's vehicle knew each other. MORE TOP STORIES
MANCHESTER, England — Kevin De Bruyne is facing up to six weeks on the sidelines, meaning the Manchester City playmaker will miss key Premier League games against Liverpool and Tottenham next month. The Belgium international limped off in the win over Aston Villa on Wednesday with a muscular complaint. “The doctor said we’ll review the scan today, which we’ve done, and it will be between four and six weeks out," City manager Pep Guardiola said Friday. “We have to move forward. I’m not saying anything nobody knows about how important it is, but unfortunately for him and all of us, he is out for an important part of the season. “We have to find a solution as everyone is struggling and we have to adapt.” City travels to Anfield on Feb. 7 to take on Liverpool before welcoming Tottenham to the Etihad Stadium a week later. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
NAIROBI, Kenya — The U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict says “serious allegations of sexual violence” have emerged in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region, while women and girls face shortages of rape kits and HIV drugs amid restrictions on humanitarian access. “There are also disturbing reports of individuals allegedly forced to rape members of their own family, under threats of imminent violence,” Pramila Patten said in a statement released late Thursday. “Some women have also reportedly been forced by military elements to have sex in exchange for basic commodities, while medical centres have indicated an increase in the demand for emergency contraception and testing for sexually transmitted infections.” Patten joined growing calls for immediate and unconditional access to the Tigray region, where fighting broke out in early November between Ethiopian forces and those of the now-fugitive Tigray leaders who once dominated the country’s government. A spokeswoman for Patten’s office wouldn't say which “military elements” were involved. The fighters in Tigray include those from the neighbouring Amhara region and other parts of Ethiopia as well as soldiers from neighbouring Eritrea. New arrivals in camps for refugees and internally displaced people are reporting sexual violence, and “there are increasing reports of sexual violence against women and girls” inside the camps, Patten’s statement said. Ethiopia’s government says aid has begun flowing into the Tigray region, and Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen on Friday said 85% of all humanitarian aid corridors in Tigray are now open. He was speaking with visiting British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. But humanitarian workers have told The Associated Press that access remains limited. In addition, aid is sometimes accompanied by Ethiopian forces. “We are horrified by the reports and allegations we have received of sexual violence during the conflict in Tigray,” the U.N. humanitarian chief for East and southern Africa, Gemma Connell, said in a separate statement Friday. “The survivors of these alleged attacks must not be seen as statistics but as individual women and girls whose lives have been profoundly altered by the violations committed against them.” The Associated Press
CBC News gains access to a unique inoculation site in the U.K., where vulnerable groups are being prioritized.
There’s hope at the end of a long water pipe for Verner residents who have endured ‘brown water’ issues for decades. The culprit is high levels of manganese, a naturally occurring mineral in the Veuve River. And it’s been a problem ever since the water plant was built in the 1970s. On Tuesday, West Nipissing council received a report that recommends connecting the community of 1,100 people to municipal water services as the best solution. See: Verner's 'brown water' cleared up for now See: Verner's 'brown water' problem makes rare winter appearance It will take a couple years and about $10 million, but public works consulting advisor Alan Korell told council that connecting Verner to the water line that already serves Cache Bay is the most “feasible” solution. Korell, former municipal engineer, said the latest technical memorandum by Aecon, which was received January 13, looked at several alternatives. Among the options investigated was an upgrade of the existing Verner water plant, using Cache Lake as a new water source and utilizing ground water supply. Doing nothing and relying on chemical treatment, as well as limiting town growth were also studied but rejected. The Cache Lake option would cost $15 million or so, he said, and like the upgrade for the exiting water plant, would require considerable regulatory approvals. And he said studies show there’s no indication a ground water supply is available at the volume needed. As for extending the Sturgeon Falls water plant pipe from Cache Bay, Korell said the least expensive route is running along the CPR rail way corridor. “It cuts out three to four kilometres of pipe,” he said, adding it’s also easier construction compared to running along Highway 17 for almost 14 kilometres. While CPR has indicated it would approve such a proposal, Korell said annual fees would be charged. “There’s a lot less engineering and red tape,” Korell said, noting it would take about two years for such a project with the first step requiring about $400,000 to get a consulting engineer to get the designs, agreements and permits in order. Councillors asked about potential funding available and Jay Barbeau, chief administrative officer, said they can get the project “shovel ready” for funding windows open up. Peter Ming, manager of water and waste water management, said more frequent flushing of the lines and chemical treatment should address the ‘brown water’ issues in the meantime. Ming said there’s been a learning curve when it comes to the Verner water issue, noting that a new chemical to deal with the manganese mineral in the water works well. Recent issues, he said, that left residents with brown water events at the end of December and first week of 2021 were caused by manganese settling in the pipes after leaving the plant. And when they first attempted to flush it out, they drained the system and left residents without any water. Barbeau said they are now flushing the pipes twice a year to address the settlement issues. Mayor Joanne Savage asked that staff prepare a “step-by-step” outline of the plan so councillors can see when each step is taken. Barbeau said council will be seeing the project outlined during budget deliberations and they’ll be able to consider approvals at each stage, including the design work. He said council will be able to decide on its priorities for capital projects then. Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
The South Klondike Highway south of Carcross, Yukon, is still deemed impassable Friday morning after a series of avalanches earlier this week. A map on the 511 Yukon road report shows the closure extends from Carcross and south beyond the Yukon border. While crews have been working away to clear the road, Greg Eikland, western area supervisor with the Department of Highways and Public Works, says there's still a lot more snow to be dealt with as of Thursday before it can reopen. He says the avalanches are rated about a three on a one-to-five scale and can be around 15 feet high and between 40 to 100 feet wide. "A size three is [like] a very small car," he said adding it could take out a smaller building and bring down trees with it. So far, he says since there isn't any reported damage, though sometimes avalanches can cause problems for the guard rails on the road. Right now, crews are still working on digging through the snow. "We just target areas that are frequent avalanche zones," Eikland said. He explained that if the avalanches don't come down, when they should or if there is a lot of snow storage, such as large overhangs, then they'll do controlled snowbombing. "We'll actually close the road, bomb them and deal with snow that way," he said. "One particular [avalanche] that is a pretty active one, it didn't come down, so [we] threw some charges on that and brought it down." "So that just adds to the amount of work that we have to get everything cleaned up so we can open this road back up." More avalanches than usual Eikland says there can be up to about eight people working on the snow clearing. While the avalanches are only a little bigger that usual, he says it's an exceptional year in terms of how often they're tumbling. "It's just the frequency of them — they're coming down quite a bit," he said. "It's a good winter for snow for sure." He says, despite the border to Alaska being closed to all non-essential travel, it's still important that the highway is passable for fuel trucks and other traffic needing to get through. "We try and get a hole punched through so at least if we have to move some traffic for emergencies or what not we can all get them out," Eikland said. "Hopefully we can get that out as soon as we can … just keep keep plugging away at these avalanches and then we should be ready to open." It's hard to predict when the highway might open, but Eikland said on Thursday that the highway could open Friday afternoon or sometime on Saturday. 'Avalanches still possible out there' James Minifie, lead avalanche field technician for Avalanche Canada in Yukon, said Friday morning that people should stay aware of the fact that big storms have been creating sizeable avalanches. "People should continue to look for that pattern of storms coming, you know avalanche danger goes up during and shortly after the storm, and then kind of slowly comes down over the next few days." He said if people are heading out into inland areas they should build time into their day to account for varying conditions. "You might get surprised by avalanches in places that you wouldn't expect them, so, you know, really taking time to think hard about your route and using terrain wisely to ... reach your objective." "Avalanches are still possible out there, even though we've come into the moderate danger rating. You know just really thinking about the steepness of the slope," he said. He said people should also be aware of the quality of the snow, listen for "whompf" sounds, and watch for cracks. He said people in Yukon can get information on the Yukon avalanche website or the Avalanche Canada website. People should also post to the Mountain Information Network so they can track inland snow conditions.
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.
Sherbrooke — Malgré quelques démantèlements, la production agricole en Estrie continue de remonter la pente, avec un gain positif de 46 nouvelles fermes à son bilan pour 2020. Un récent calcul du ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation fait monter le portrait actuel à 2669 fermes, un nombre que la région ne semble pas avoir connu depuis les années 1990. En tout, pas moins de 132 nouvelles fermes ont été déclarées auprès du Ministère entre le 1er janvier 2020 et le 1er décembre 2020 dans la région. À l’inverse, 86 fermes ont cessé leurs activités. Ce gain de 46 fermes est donc le plus important de toutes les régions de la province, qui a pour sa part vu 1163 exploitations apparaître, tandis que 1076 se sont éteintes pour une différence positive de 87 fermes. Le Centre-du-Québec (– 72) et les Laurentides (– 21) sont les régions qui enregistrent les bilans les plus négatifs. « De voir une augmentation nette de fermes en Estrie et au Québec, c’est super positif, commente Lyne Desnoyers, agente régionale pour l’ARTERRE Estrie, un service de maillage entre aspirants agriculteurs et propriétaires. Même si ce n’est pas un si gros chiffre que ça, c’est super rafraîchissant et stimulant. Ça démontre vraiment ce qui se passe sur le terrain, c’est-à-dire une révolution du maraîchage et une volonté de vouloir produire ses propres légumes, mais aussi de produire pour les autres. » Une vague qu’elle se plaît à surnommer « l’appel Jean-Martin Fortier », à l’image du producteur et auteur qui a popularisé l’agriculture sur petite surface dans les dernières années. « Cet appel, on le voyait déjà depuis quelques années chez Statistiques Canada. Dans le recensement, entre 2011 et 2016, on a vu une augmentation de 9 % des fermes de moins de 5 hectares », ajoute Mme Desnoyers. Celle-ci aura rencontré de nombreux membres de la relève agricole en 2020. Les légumes et les cultures émergentes ont animé beaucoup de rêves chez les aspirants, mais sans laisser pour compte les autres types de production. « Souvent, ce sont des productions en dehors de la gestion de l’offre, parce que ça prend beaucoup de sous pour atteindre ces marchés-là, analyse-t-elle. Plutôt que d’aller vers la vache laitière parce que la mise de fonds serait trop grande, on va par exemple vers la brebis laitière pour accéder plus facilement au monde agricole et pouvoir transformer à la ferme. On a un beau marché ici en Estrie, on a plein de fromageries qui vont bien. C’est une tendance qui s’est accentuée, je dirais presque grâce à la pandémie. Il y a eu un réveil collectif disant que l’agriculture, c’est la base de notre système économique. Nos travailleurs agricoles, ce sont nos travailleurs essentiels. » Autre tendance : Mme Desnoyers voit toujours une très grande demande pour l’achat ou le démarrage d’une érablière. Ce type de production était d’ailleurs déjà en vogue de puis très longtemps. Par exemple, entre 1993 et 2016, le nombre de productions acéricoles n’a cessé de croître en Estrie, passant ainsi de 291 à 811. Au Québec À l’échelle du Québec, le MAPAQ remarque que le nombre de fermes a suivi une tendance à la baisse au cours des dernières années dans la plupart des régions. Cependant, entre 2015 et 2019, l’Estrie s’est démarquée avec une hausse spectaculaire de 88 fermes. Globablement, les productions animales se font beaucoup moins nombreuses depuis plusieurs années, sauf pour la volaille et les œufs. De l’autre côté, les productions végétales prolifèrent. Le MAPAQ compile les exploitations agricoles qui génèrent au moins 5000 $ de revenus par an. Jasmine Rondeau, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
SAN DIEGO — In the days before Joe Biden became president, construction crews worked quickly to finish Donald Trump’s wall at an iconic cross-border park overlooking the Pacific Ocean, which then-first lady Pat Nixon inaugurated in 1971 as a symbol of international friendship. Biden on Wednesday ordered a “pause” on all wall construction within a week, one of 17 executive orders issued on his first day in office, including six dealing with immigration. The order leaves billions of dollars of work unfinished — but still under contract — after Trump worked feverishly last year to build more than 450 miles (720 kilometres), a goal he said he achieved eight days before leaving office. As of Jan. 15, the government spent $6.1 billion of the $10.8 billion in work it signed contracts to have done, according to a Senate Democratic aide with knowledge of the contracts who spoke on condition of anonymity because details have not been made public. The full amount under contract would have extended Trump’s wall to 664 miles (1,069 kilometres). Biden, seeking to fulfil a pledge not to build “another foot,” gave his administration two months to determine how much it would cost to cancel contracts and whether money could be spent elsewhere. The Senate aide said fees would be negotiated with contractors and the administration would seek to spend whatever's left on related uses on the border, such as roads, lights, sensors and other technology. Publicly, the Trump administration said it secured $15 billion for the wall. The Senate aide said it was actually $16.45 billion as of Wednesday, $5.8 billion of which was appropriated by Congress and the rest diverted from the Defence and Treasury departments. The Trump administration notified the Senate aide on Jan. 14 that it was moving ahead with a contract for $863 million, but it was not awarded. The Army Corps of Engineers, which has awarded wall contracts with Defence Department money, said Thursday that it told crews not to install any additional barriers and to limit activity over the next few days to what is “necessary to safely prepare each site for a suspension of work.” John Kurc, an activist who posts videos of dynamite blasts by wall construction crews, said he saw one dynamite charge being set Wednesday afternoon in Guadalupe Canyon in easternmost Arizona, even as the inauguration was playing out in Washington. Heavy machines have been crawling over roadways gouged into rocky mountainsides, tapping open holes for posts on U.S. Bureau of Land Management property. Advocates in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest area for illegal crossings, and near Nogales, Arizona, saw idle construction equipment Thursday. But in San Diego, crews were out replacing a steel fence with imposing, tightly spaced poles topped with flat steel plates rising 30 feet (9 metres), said Dan Watman of Friends of Friendship Park, a group that promotes public access to the cross-border park overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Contractors began last week, said Watman, who was informed of the project in a December conference call with Border Patrol agents but got no explanation for it. The agency referred questions to the White House, which had no immediate comment. Trump said the border wall would be “virtually impenetrable” and paid for by Mexico, which never happened. While the wall is much more formidable than the barriers it replaced, it isn't uncommon for smugglers to guide people over or through it. Portions can be sawed with power tools sold at home improvement stores. Despite Trump's bravado, Border Patrol officials have said the wall was never meant to stop everyone but rather to slow their advance. Jose Edgar Zuleta, whose business selling religious jewelry in the Mexican city of Puebla dried up during the coronavirus pandemic, cleared two walls in Friendship Park in October with a special ladder. He moved through brush in a heavily patrolled area for about half an hour before getting caught. His 21-year-old son, who went ahead of him, got picked up hours later. The cross-border park has hosted yoga classes, concerts and countless news conferences, including one in 2018 with then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to announce a “zero tolerance” policy that caused thousands of children to be separated from their parents at the border. An old bullfighting ring and ocean-view restaurants surround the Mexican side; wetland scrub stretches into the United States. Years ago, people passed baked goods, kissed and shook hands through a chain-link fence. Watman remembers passing tools back and forth in 2007 to plant a cross-border garden that still stands. Since 2012, after construction of a double wall at the park, the Border Patrol has opened a gate many weekends for up to 10 people at a time to exchange words with those in Mexico. SLSCO Ltd. of Galveston, Texas, won contracts to build double walls blanketing 14 miles (22 kilometres) in San Diego. Company spokeswoman Liz Rogers said work at Friendship Park is separate and done by another company. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments next month on whether the government' illegally diverted billions of dollars from the Defence Department to build the wall after Congress denied money that Trump sought, triggering a 35-day government shutdown in 2017. It is unclear if Biden will adopt Trump's position before the Supreme Court. The government's brief is due Feb. 11. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador welcomed Biden’s decision to stop wall construction but, in defence of Trump, noted that U.S. presidents going back to 1990s built border barriers. He displayed a chart to prove his point. ___ Associated Press writers Nomaan Merchant in Houston, Anita Snow in Phoenix and Christopher Sherman in Mexico City contributed. ___ This story has been corrected to show that border wall contractor SLSCO Ltd. says another company is doing the work at Friendship Park in San Diego. Elliot Spagat, The Associated Press
Medicine Hat College education students have released their masterpiece. The students took to the virtual stage recently to present their showing of ‘The Show Must Go Online.’ The musical documents a drama teacher and her students, who put on a play virtually after the live, in-person showing is cancelled. Every year education students at the college put on a musical to teach them how to organize, practice, promote and put on a production. Many arts teachers end up directing plays and musicals once they start their career, and this is a way for college students to see how it works. “This is a good opportunity to show the community that there are still ways we can do the things we love, we just learn how to adapt to new situations. We’ve learned about time management, it’s given us confidence and strengthened our communication skills,” said student Kendra Lynn-Tripp. The show can be viewed online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dl0EhnYa20&feature=youtu.be&ab_channel=WilliamLambsdown Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
TORONTO — Global trials examining the potential of blood thinners to treat moderately ill COVID-19 patients have proven so successful its Canadian investigators say clinicians should immediately start using them in standard care.Investigators at Toronto's University Health Network say interim results of clinical trials spanning five continents in more than 300 hospitals suggest full-dose blood thinners could significantly avoid severe cases that are now straining hospital ICUs.The study involved more than 1,300 moderately ill patients admitted to hospital, including some at UHN. Investigators say full doses of Heparin improved outcomes and decreased the need for life support.The full dose was also more effective than the lower dose typically administered to prevent blood clots in hospitalized patients.Critical care physician Ewan Goligher, co-chair of the therapeutic anticoagulation domain of the trial, says the findings could significantly transform care.“Having cared for so many severely ill COVID-19 patients and witnessed the suffering involved for patients and their loved ones, it is profoundly gratifying that together we have discovered a treatment that can prevent patients from becoming severely ill and improve their recovery,” Goligher, also a scientist with the University Health Network, said Friday in a release.Ryan Zarychanski, associate professor, hematologist and critical care physician at the University of Manitoba, said the findings were promising. "In a disease with a limited number of effective therapies, our results have the potential to define a new standard of care for moderately ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients around the world," Zarychanski said.Doctors noticed early in the pandemic that COVID-19 patients suffered an increased rate of blood clots and inflammation. This led to complications including lung failure, heart attack and stroke.Back in December, investigators found that giving full-dose blood thinners to critically ill ICU patients did not help, and was actually harmful.The trials are supported by international funding organizations including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the NIH National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute in the United States, the National Institute for Health Research in the United Kingdom, and the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
LONDON — Four people-smugglers convicted of killing 39 people from Vietnam who died in the back of a container truck as it was shipped to England were sentenced Friday to between 13 and 27 years in prison. The victims, between the ages of 15 and 44, were found in October 2019 inside a refrigerated container that had travelled by ferry from Belgium to the eastern England port of Purfleet. The migrants had paid people-smugglers thousands of dollars to take them on risky journeys to what they hoped would be better lives abroad. Instead, judge Nigel Sweeney said, “all died in what must have been an excruciatingly painful death” by suffocation in the airtight container. The judge sentenced Romanian mechanic Gheorghe Nica, 43, described by prosecutors as the smuggling ringleader, to 27 years. Northern Irish truck driver Eamonn Harrison, 24, who drove the container to the Belgian port of Zeebrugge, received an 18-year sentence. Trucker Maurice Robinson, 26, who picked the container up in England, was sentenced to 13 years and 4 months in prison, while haulage company boss Ronan Hughes, 41, was jailed for 20 years. Nica and Harrison were convicted last month after a 10-week trial. Hughes and Robinson had pleaded guilty to people-smuggling and manslaughter. Three other members of the gang received shorter sentences. Prosecutors said all the suspects were part of a gang that charged about 13,000 pounds ($17,000) per person to transport migrants in trailers through the Channel Tunnel or by boat. Sweeney said it was “a sophisticated, long running, and profitable” criminal conspiracy. Jurors heard harrowing evidence about the final hours of the victims, who tried to call Vietnam’s emergency number to summon help as air in the container ran out. When they couldn't get a mobile phone signal, some recorded goodbye messages to their families. The trapped migrants — who included a bricklayer, a restaurant worker, a nail bar technician, a budding beautician and a university graduate — used a metal pole to try to punch through the roof of the refrigerated container, but only managed to dent it. Detective Chief Inspector Daniel Stoten, the senior investigating officer on the case, said the victims “left behind families, memories, and homes, in the pursuit of a false promise of something better.” “Instead they died, in an unimaginable way, because of the utter greed of these criminals,” he said. The Associated Press
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
JACKSON, Miss. — A leader of the Brexit movement and newly appointed government trade adviser in the United Kingdom is now the head of a conservative think-tank in the American South. Douglas Carswell, 49, started working this month as the new CEO and president of Mississippi Center for Public Policy. Carswell, a libertarian and former member of Britain’s governing Conservative Party, was a member of Parliament for 12 years and a co-founder of Vote Leave, the campaign that pushed the Brexit referendum in 2016. Carswell said his home country was his primary focus as the U.K. negotiated terms of its recently finalized split from the European Union. However, he said he has had a growing interest in working in the U.S. “I think the fight for freedom in America is the most important battle for freedom in the world, because America is the exceptional country in the world,” Carswell told The Associated Press. Former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican who left office a year ago, has developed a work relationship with Brexit leader Nigel Farage, and Bryant attended a 2019 event for the lobbying group World4Brexit. Carswell said he has never met Bryant. Carswell clashed with more populist Farage after being the first of only two U.K. Independence Party candidates ever elected to Parliament. Farage ran unsuccessfully more than half a dozen times. Carswell's 2014 election victory gave political momentum to the party and the Brexit cause. He left the U.K. Independence Party in 2017, later stepping down from Parliament. After Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the European Union, many of the figures who led the campaign have moved on to new ventures. Farage became a radio talk-show host and Donald Trump’s main British supporter, once even attending and speaking at a 2016 Trump campaign event in Mississippi. Others have been appointed to the House of Lords by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government. It’s common for former British lawmakers of all political stripes to seek think-tank or academic posts in the U.S. — a career move that can often bring prestige back home. In an email introducing his new position in Mississippi, Carswell said he believes freedom in the U.S. is “under attack” from a “radical New Left.” “If liberty is extinguished, the United States will become just another over-regulated, over-taxed, debt-ridden country, presided over by remote officials,” he said. “That would be a catastrophe for the whole world.” Carswell said he thinks school choice can give low-income Mississippi families more opportunities. He said he will push policies to make the state more competitive in attracting new businesses and allowing existing ones to grow. “Businesses that are traditionally located in hubs like New York, or Chicago or California, quite a few of those businesses are moving away from high tax and regulation regimes to Texas, Florida or Tennessee,” he said. “Why not Mississippi?” The Mississippi Center for Public Policy lobbies for lower taxes, fewer government regulations and free-market approaches to health care. Carswell said he admires that people’s freedoms in the U.S. are defined in federal and state constitutions. “In America, if your local mayor wakes up one morning and decides to take away your fundamental freedoms, you can take the politicians to court under the Constitution, you can enforce your rights as an individual,” he said. It allows “ordinary folk to live their lives free from the arbitrary whim of government,” Carswell said. “It’s only when you don’t have that that you realize quite how precious it is,” he said. “It really is the secret of American success.” Carswell plans to live in Jackson with his family but is not leaving U.K. politics. In November, he was appointed to a three-year term as a nonexecutive director of Britain’s Department for International Trade. Liz Truss, the U.K.’s secretary of state for international trade, said Carswell will work at “striking free trade agreements in markets around the world, operating our own trading system after the transition period, boosting exports and investment across the UK, and championing free trade and shaping global trading rules.” ___ Associated Press reporter Jill Lawless contributed from London. ___ Leah Willingham is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Leah Willingham, The Associated Press