A pygmy hippo living at the San Diego Humane Society was given treats Thursday to celebrate her 47th birthday. Her caretakers made a cake out of Hannah Shirley's favorite fruits and vegetables. (Dec. 18)
A pygmy hippo living at the San Diego Humane Society was given treats Thursday to celebrate her 47th birthday. Her caretakers made a cake out of Hannah Shirley's favorite fruits and vegetables. (Dec. 18)
The U.S. House of Representatives delivered to the Senate on Monday a charge that former President Donald Trump incited insurrection in a speech to supporters before the deadly attack on the Capitol, setting in motion his second impeachment trial. Nine House Democrats who will serve as prosecutors in Trump's trial, accompanied by the clerk of the House and the acting sergeant at arms, carried the charge against Trump to the Senate in a solemn procession across the Capitol. Wearing masks to protect against COVID-19, they filed through the ornate Capitol Rotunda and into the Senate chamber, following the path that a mob of Trump supporters took on Jan. 6 as they clashed with police.
SYDNEY, Australia — Australia’s medical regulator has approved use of its first coronavirus vaccine, paving the way for inoculations to begin next month. The Therapeutic Goods Administration on Monday gave provisional approval for people aged 16 and over to use the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Residents and workers at aged-care facilities, frontline healthcare workers and quarantine workers are among the groups being prioritized for the first doses. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the development. He said Australia was among the first countries to complete a comprehensive process to formally approve a vaccine rather than just grant an emergency approval. Australia has an agreement for 10 million doses of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine and an option to buy more if supplies allow. Health Minister Greg Hunt said Monday the country overall had secured 140 million vaccines, one of the highest dosing rates per head of population in the world. The biggest of the pre-orders, conditional on regulatory approval, is 53.8 million doses of the vaccine made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, 50 million of which would be made in Australia in a partnership with Melbourne-based biopharmaceutical company CSL. Australia is aiming to complete inoculations by October. The nation of 26 million people has reported fewer than 30,000 virus cases and a little over 900 deaths. In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region: — Australia has suspended its partial travel bubble with New Zealand after New Zealand reported its first coronavirus case outside of a quarantine facility in two months. Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said Monday the suspension would last for three days and was being implemented out of an abundance of caution. Travelers affected need to cancel or face two weeks in quarantine upon arrival. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she’d told Morrison she had confidence in New Zealand’s systems and processes, but it was up to Australia to decide how they managed their borders. Health officials in New Zealand say genome tests indicate the woman contracted the virus from another returning traveller just before leaving quarantine. However, there was no evidence the virus has spread further. Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the 56-year-old woman had recently returned from Europe. During her mandatory two weeks in quarantine, she tested negative twice. She developed symptoms at home later and tested positive. Officials say the woman appears to have caught the more infectious South African variant of the virus from another traveller on her second-to-last day in quarantine, and they’re investigating how the health breach happened. — Bangladesh received 5 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine from an Indian producer on Monday. Under a three-way agreement, it plans to buy 30 million doses from the Serum Institute of India in phases. A Bangladeshi company, Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd., received the 5 million doses as distributor for the South Asian country. Nazmul Hasan Papon, managing director of Beximco Pharmaceuticals, said the vaccine will be provided to government authorities across the country. The government is training thousands of volunteers to administer the vaccine. The country received 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine last Thursday as a gift from India, while Monday’s doses were purchased. The vaccine, manufactured under license by Serum Institute of India, will be given first to front-line workers, including doctors and nurses. Bangladesh has recorded more than 8.000 deaths from the coronavirus. — Sri Lanka's government says it will start administering a coronavirus vaccine this week. Sri Lanka is to receive a donation of 500,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India on Wednesday and will begin inoculations the next day, the government said. It will first be given to health workers, the military and police. Sri Lanka has also ordered supplies of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, and separately is to receive enough vaccine for 20% of its population through COVAX, a program led by the World Health Organization and others. Last week, Sri Lanka’s National Medicines Regulatory Authority approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine amid warnings from doctors that front-line health workers should be quickly inoculated to prevent the medical system from collapsing. On Saturday, health minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi tested positive for COVID-19. The disease resurged in October with two new clusters, one at a garment factory and the other at a fish market. Sri Lanka has reported 58,429 case, with 283 fatalities. — A lockdown in part of Hong Kong's Kowloon neighbourhood was lifted Monday after thousands of residents were tested for the virus. The lockdown that began early Saturday covered 16 buildings in the working-class Yau Tsim Mong district. During the lockdown, residents were not allowed to leave their premises until they had tested negative for the coronavirus. The district has been at the centre of a worsening coronavirus outbreak, with over 160 cases reported over the first three weeks in January. Higher concentrations of the virus were also found in sewage samples, prompting fears the virus could be transmitted via poorly installed plumbing systems in subdivided units that lack ventilation. The government said in a statement early Monday that about 7,000 people were tested for the coronavirus during the lockdown, with 13 positive infections found. As of Sunday, Hong Kong has reported 10,086 cases of the coronavirus overall, with 169 deaths recorded. — South Korea has reported another new 437 infections of the coronavirus as officials raised alarm over an outbreak at a missionary training school. Around 130 students and teachers were found infected so far at the church-run academy in the central city of Daejeon. Prime Minster Chung Sye-kyun during a virus meeting called for health officials to deal swiftly with the outbreak at the Daejeon school and prevent transmissions from spreading further. South Korea throughout the pandemic has repeatedly seen huge infection clusters emerge from religious groups, including more than 5,000 infections tied to the secretive Shincheonji Church of Jesus that drove a major outbreak in the southeastern region in spring last year. “We cannot let that situation repeat,” Chung said. The numbers released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Monday brought the national caseload to 75,521, including 11 deaths. The Associated Press
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Samsung scion Lee Jae-yong and prosecutors have decided not to appeal a court ruling that convicted him for bribing South Korea’s former president for business favours, confirming a prison term of two and a half years for the country’s most influential corporate leader, according to lawyers and court officials on Monday. But Lee’s legal troubles aren’t over. He has been indicted separately on charges of stock price manipulation, breach of trust and auditing violations related to a 2015 merger between two Samsung affiliates. The deal helped strengthen Lee’s control over Samsung’s corporate empire. The bribery allegation involving Lee was a key crime in the 2016 corruption scandal that ousted Park Geun-hye from the presidency and sent her to prison. In a much-anticipated retrial of Lee last week, the Seoul High Court found him guilty of bribing Park and one of her close confidantes to win government support for the contentious merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries, which helped strengthen Lee’s control over Samsung’s business empire. The deal faced opposition from some shareholders who argued that it unfairly benefited the Lee family and only succeeded with the support of a state-controlled national pension fund, one of Samsung’s biggest investors. Lee had portrayed himself as a victim of presidential power abuse and his lawyers criticized the ruling. But after mulling his options, Lee decided to “humbly accept” the High Court’s decision, his head attorney Injae Lee said. Prosecutors had sought a prison term of 9 years for Lee Jae-yong. In a statement released to the domestic media, they said the court was too lenient with Lee considering the severity of his crimes but they will not appeal because their biggest goal was to prove that the payments between Lee and Park were bribes. Samsung did not release a statement over Lee’s legal issues. Lee, 52, helms the Samsung group in his capacity as vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s largest makers of computer chips and smartphones. Like other family-run conglomerates in South Korea, Samsung has been credited with helping propel the country’s economy to one of the world’s largest from the rubbles of the 1950-53 Korean War. But their opaque ownership structures and often-corrupt ties with bureaucrats and government officials have been viewed as a hotbed of corruption in South Korea. While never admitting to legal wrongdoing, Lee has expressed remorse over causing “public concern” over the corruption scandal and worked to improve Samsung’s public image. He declared that heredity transfers at Samsung would end, promising the management rights he inherited from his father wouldn’t pass to his children. He also said Samsung would stop suppressing employee attempts to organize unions, although labour activists have questioned his sincerity. It’s not immediately clear what his prison term would mean for Samsung's business. Samsung showed no specific signs of trouble when Lee was in jail in 2017 and 2018. Prison terms have never really stopped Korean corporate leaders from relaying their business decisions from behind bars. The Supreme Court earlier this month confirmed a 20-year prison sentence for Park for the Samsung case and other bribes and extortion while she was in office from 2013 to 2016. Kim Tong-Hyung, The Associated Press
Italian consumer association Altroconsumo said on Monday it had told Apple it has launched a class action against the U.S. tech giant for the practice of planned obsolescence. In a statement Altroconsumo said it was asking for damages of 60 million euros ($73 million) on behalf of Italian consumers tricked by the practice which had also been recognised by Italian authorities. Altroconsumo said the lawsuit covers owners of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, 6S and 6S Plus, sales of which in Italy totalled some 1 million phones between 2014 and 2020.
CALGARY — Obsidian Energy Ltd. is extending its hostile takeover offer for Bonterra Energy Corp. until March 29. The offer was set to expire today. Bonterra has repeatedly recommended shareholders reject the bid. Obsidian has offered two of its shares for each Bonterra share. In December, Obsidian reduced the minimum number of tendered shares needed to complete the transaction to 50 per cent from two-thirds. Obsidian has said a combined Obsidian-Bonterra could save $50 million in the first year and a total of $100 million in the first three years, however Bonterra has said those savings are "uncertain." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:BNE, TSX:OBE) The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew, have prompted the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with plans for Trump's trial, the official said. The shocking insurrection at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob prompted federal officials to rethink security in and around its landmarks, resulting in an unprecedented lockdown for Biden's inauguration. Though the event went off without any problems and armed protests around the country did not materialize, the threats to lawmakers ahead of Trump's trial exemplified the continued potential for danger. Similar to those intercepted by investigators ahead of Biden’s inauguration, the threats that law enforcement agents are tracking vary in specificity and credibility, said the official, who had been briefed on the matter. Mainly posted online and in chat groups, the messages have included plots to attack members of Congress during travel to and from the Capitol complex during the trial, according to the official. The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke Sunday to the AP on condition of anonymity. Law enforcement officials are already starting to plan for the possibility of armed protesters returning to the nation's capital when Trump’s Senate trial on a charge of inciting a violent insurrection begins the week of Feb. 8. It would be the first impeachment trial of a former U.S. president. Though much of the security apparatus around Washington set up after the Jan. 6 riot and ahead of Biden’s inauguration — it included scores of military checkpoints and hundreds of additional law enforcement personnel — is no longer in place, about 7,000 members of the National Guard will remain to assist federal law enforcement, officials said. Gen. Dan Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said Monday that about 13,000 Guard members are still deployed in D.C., and that their numbers would shrink to 7,000 by the end of this week. John Whitley, the acting secretary of the Army, told a Pentagon news conference that this number is based on requests for assistance from the Capitol Police, the Park Police, the Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department. Whitley said the number is to drop to 5,000 by mid-March. Thousands of Trump’s supporters descended on the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress met to certify Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential race. More than 800 are believed to have made their way into the Capitol during the violent siege, pushing past overwhelmed police officers. The Capitol police said they planned for a free speech protest, not a riot, and were caught off guard despite intelligence suggesting the rally would descend into a riot. Five people died in the melee, including a Capitol police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. At least five people facing federal charges have suggested they believed they were taking orders from Trump when they marched on Capitol Hill to challenge the certification of Biden’s election victory. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. More than 130 people have been charged by federal prosecutors for their roles in the riot. In recent weeks, others have been arrested after posting threats against members of Congress. They include a Proud Boys supporter who authorities said threatened to deploy “three cars full of armed patriots” to Washington, threatened harm against Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and who is accused of stockpiling military-style combat knives and more than 1,000 rifle rounds in his New York home. A Texas man was arrested this week for taking part in the riot at the Capitol and for posting violent threats, including a call to assassinate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y ___ Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Chinese state media have stoked concerns about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, despite rigorous trials that showed it was safe. A government spokesperson has raised the unfounded theory that the coronavirus could have emerged from a U.S. military lab, giving it more credence in China. As the ruling Communist Party faces growing questioning about China's vaccines and renewed criticism of its early COVID-19 response, it is hitting back by encouraging conspiracy theories that some experts say could cause harm. State media and officials are sowing doubts about Western vaccines and the origin of the coronavirus in an apparent bid to deflect the attacks. Both issues are in the spotlight because of the rollout of vaccines globally and the recent arrival of a World Health Organization team in Wuhan, China, to investigate the origins of the virus. Some of these conspiracy theories find a receptive audience at home. The social media hashtag “American’s Ft. Detrick,” started by the Communist Youth League, was viewed at least 1.4 billion times last week after a Foreign Ministry spokesperson called for a WHO investigation of the biological weapons lab in Maryland. “It’s purpose is to shift the blame from mishandling by (the) Chinese government in the pandemic’s early days to conspiracy by the U.S.,” said Fang Shimin, a now-U.S.-based writer known for exposing faked degrees and other fraud in Chinese science. “The tactic is quite successful because of widespread anti-American sentiment in China.” Yuan Zeng, an expert on Chinese media at the University of Leeds in Great Britain, said the government’s stories spread so widely that even well-educated Chinese friends have asked her whether they might be true. Inflaming doubts and spreading conspiracy theories might add to public health risks as governments try to dispel unease about vaccines, she said, saying, “That is super, super dangerous.” In the latest volley, state media called for an investigation into the deaths of 23 elderly people in Norway after they received the Pfizer vaccine. An anchor at CGTN, the English-language station of state broadcaster CCTV, and the Global Times newspaper accused Western media of ignoring the news. Health experts say deaths unrelated to the vaccine are possible during mass vaccination campaigns, and a WHO panel has concluded that the vaccine did not play a “contributory role” in the Norway deaths. The state media coverage followed a report by researchers in Brazil who found the effectiveness of a Chinese vaccine lower than previously announced. Researchers initially said Sinovac’s vaccine is 78% effective, but the scientists revised that to 50.4% after including mildly symptomatic cases. After the Brazil news, researchers at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a government-supported think-tank , reported seeing an increase in Chinese media disinformation about vaccines. Dozens of online articles on popular health and science blogs and elsewhere have explored questions about the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine at length, drawing on an op-ed published this month in the British Medical Journal that raised questions about its clinical trial data. “It’s very embarrassing” for the government, Fang said in an email. As a result, China is trying to raise doubts about the Pfizer vaccine to save face and promote its vaccines, he said. Senior Chinese government officials have not been shy in voicing concerns about the mRNA vaccines developed by Western drug companies. They use a newer technology than the more traditional approach of the Chinese vaccines currently in use. In December, the director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, said he can’t rule out negative side effects from the mRNA vaccines. Noting this is the first time they are being given to healthy people, he said, “there are safety concerns.” The arrival of the WHO mission has brought back persistent criticism that China allowed the virus to spread globally by reacting too slowly in the beginning, even reprimanding doctors who tried to warn the public. The visiting researchers will begin field work this week after being released from a 14-day quarantine. The Communist Party sees the WHO investigation as a political risk because it focuses attention on China’s response, said Jacob Wallis, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The party wants to “distract domestic and international audiences by pre-emptively distorting the narrative on where responsibility lies for the emergence of COVID-19,” Wallis said. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying got the ball rolling last week by calling for the WHO investigation of the U.S. military lab. The site had been mentioned previously by CGTN and other state-controlled outlets. “If America respects the truth, then please open up Ft. Detrick and make public more information about the 200 or more bio-labs outside of the U.S., and please allow the WHO expert group to go to the U.S. to investigate the origins,” Hua said. Her comments, publicized by state media, became one of the most popular topics on Sina Weibo. China isn’t the only government to point fingers. Former President Donald Trump, trying to deflect blame for his government’s handling of the pandemic, said last year he had seen evidence the virus came from a Wuhan laboratory. While that theory has not been definitively ruled out, many experts think it is unlikely. Huizhong Wu, The Associated Press
The Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S) and Saskatchewan Cancer Agency signed an agreement which will allow both parties to explore the Métis experience with cancer in Saskatchewan. The agreement signing, announced last Thursday, was the culmination of years of work, Marg Friesen, MN-S health and well-being minister, said. "This is more specific now, to talk about a specific cancer strategy for Métis citizens," Friesen said. She said the agreement allows both parties to use health data to determine what exactly the Métis experience with cancer is in Saskatchewan. The data, she said, exists through a variety of different health agencies and will be collected to determine if Métis people in specific areas in Saskatchewan are more prone to cancer, various kinds of cancer or more rare kinds of cancers. Developing culturally responsive strategies That information will then be used, Friesen said, to develop targeted, culturally responsive strategies for Métis people in Saskatchewan from diagnosis to treatments for cancer. She said as it stands there is no definition or defined approach to specific programs or service delivery for Métis people, a fact she hopes to change with the work the Memorandum of Understanding sets out. She used language as an example where a culturally-targeted treatment plan could be applied and said in northern Saskatchewan, where English may be a second language for Métis residents. "We're looking at possibly preparing for a cancer treatment plan that would include a translator, or a care provider who speaks the language, or a navigator who speaks the language and can communicate with the patient in their own language," she said. Freisen said the idea sounds simple but it's a quite complicated approach because there may be barriers Métis people face in early detection or screening, or in following a treatment plan all the way through to larger issues within the health-care system. She said now that the relationship exists with the Cancer Agency, the hope is to identify and address those barriers. The nation, she said, was open to exploring agreements with other interested health agencies or organizations to define their approach or service delivery in a "more distinct" way. Freisen said the MN-S already has a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, which she said allows the nation to provide input on health-care services in the province, particularly primary or acute health-care. In a press release published on Thursday, the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency's president and CEO Jon Tonita said the signing formalized a relationship years in the making through joint work on cancer surveillance, prevention activities and community consultations. "The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency is committed to moving forward with the Métis Nation to identify, understand and address the barriers that contribute to health inequities for Métis people in this province," Tonita said.
A former auditor who worked for the provincial auditor general said there needs to be changes to the selection process for the job to give the public more confidence that the next appointee is independent. Brent White said it creates a potential problem when officials who once oversaw spending in the Finance Department are appointed to the job--as has been the case in the last two appointments. "The appearance side is where we have the big issue, because having worked that long inside government, you just cannot disassociate yourself from that problem with appearance," said White, who worked for auditors general for two decades. "You're going to be reviewing some of your own work. So you have a self-review problem. You're going to be thoroughly familiar with the decision-makers inside government, so it can be very hard for you to extract yourself from the familiarity threat." Self-review and familiarity are two of five "threats" to independence that accountants guard against under their professional standards. Mike Ferguson, who was auditor general from 2005 to 2010, and Kim Adair-MacPherson, who has been in the job since 2010, both held the position of comptroller before their appointments. The comptroller is in effect the chief financial officer of the province responsible for financial accounting systems and internal audits, while the auditor general is independent and reports to the public through the legislature. "Such a transition raises questions about how the province responds to the way the profession has articulated auditor independence," White writes in his recent doctoral dissertation at the University of New Brunswick. The public could question how an auditor general can credibly audit programs and spending that they themselves reviewed as comptroller, said White, who left his position of audit director in 2011 and now teaches at Mount Allison University. Former Finance Minister Norm Betts agrees with White's conclusions and said the legislature should choose who gets the job with no input from the executive branch of government. "This is an archaic piece of legislation that should be fixed," said Betts, a professor of business administration at UNB. Betts recalls when Ferguson was chosen for the job from 2005, "I thought, 'boy, that's kind of weird,' the audited becoming the auditor." Ferguson's predecessor Daryl Wilson had been treasurer for the city of Saint John before taking the job. But White notes that four of the seven people to have held the auditor general position since it was created in 1967 had been in the comptroller role beforehand. "I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the quality of the work," White said of Adair-MacPherson's decade in the role and of Ferguson's work before that. During her term, Adair-MacPherson has issued critical audits on ambulance services, road maintenance contracts, school curriculum changes, youth group homes and the Atcon loan fiasco, among others. White's comments are timely because a new auditor general has to be chosen sometime before the end of 2021. Adair-MacPherson's 10-year term is up, but last year it was extended until December. Adair-MacPherson said in an email that a new appointment process put in place since she was chosen "should help address the concern raised when I was appointed." A four-member selection committee that includes a judge and someone from "the university community" now draws up a list of names that goes to the premier, who is required to consult other parties in the legislature on the final choice. "A selection process will be established in the coming months in accordance with legislation," said provincial spokesperson John McNeill. White said because the clerk of the executive council is also part of any selection committee, the group could still be persuaded to appoint the comptroller or someone from within the Finance Department. "I think it certainly makes it less likely, but there's nothing to forbid it," he said. "What we have now is a better process… but it's still flawed. For one thing, the clerk of the executive council should not be there. He recommends giving the legislature sole authority to fill the position. Concerns not new When Adair-MacPherson was appointed in 2010 by Premier David Alward, CBC News reported on the same concerns raised by Queen's University business professor Steven Salterio. White reveals there were also concerns within the auditor general's office. But opposition politicians, other media organizations and provincial associations representing professional accountants "consistently ignored" the issue, White writes. No one from the Chartered Professional Accountants of New Brunswick was available for an interview Friday. White notes in his dissertation that Adair-MacPherson disclosed in her first report that she had held the position of comptroller and had asked her deputy auditor general to sign off on the province's financial statements that year. White interviewed three former New Brunswick premiers, Bernard Lord, Shawn Graham and David Alward for his dissertation. He said Lord and Alward, who appointed Ferguson and Adair-MacPherson respectively, acknowledged they didn't have expertise in professional accounting standards at the time and weren't informed of the issue. They each said they relied on the quality of their appointees in making their decisions. "In effect, these politicians were claiming that the state of mind aspect of independence trumped the appearance side of the equation, although the professional guidelines do not allow for this distinction," White writes. Betts, who sat on White's dissertation review committee, has forwarded copies of White's dissertation to the four party leaders in the legislature.
Before Wilf Doyle scratched the Set For Life ticket he had received for Christmas from his partner, Rowena King, he had a rule to follow. It was Jan. 7 and Doyle made sure to remove the Christmas tablecloth that was still on the table in their Gander home. “I said, ‘don’t you dare scratch that ticket on the tablecloth’,” recalls King. Whether Doyle’s adherence to the order had anything to do with what happened next can never be known, but if you suggest that it brought him good luck, it would be tough to argue. Because when he was finished, staring back at him were all the required number of Set For Life symbols, meaning he had won the grand prize. “I really didn’t believe it,” said Doyle. “It was a weird feeling.” As people tend to do in these situations, Doyle checked everything twice. They even called their daughter so she could provide a fresh set of eyes for confirmation. All agreed the numbers made Doyle a big winner. ”It is life-changing,” he said. The ticket was a part of a bundle the couple had purchased at the lotto booth at the Gander Mall as Christmas stocking stuffers for loved ones. King saved the last ticket for the stocking she had for Doyle. “I can’t say how I felt,” said King of first discovering it was the winning ticket. But she knows how it feels now. “It feels good.” Winners of the Set For Life grand prize are presented with a pair of options. They can choose to receive $1,000 a week for the next 25 years or take a one-time payment of $675,000. In this instance, the Gander couple elected to take the lump sum. The decision will pay immediate dividends. Where once they didn’t own a home, they do now. They’ve already picked out their dream house in Bay Roberts — quickly becoming a destination for jackpot winners — and have made a successful offer. They are especially looking forward to making the move since both have family in the Conception Bay North area. As well, their winnings will allow them to eliminate car payments; they recently purchased a new vehicle. They also have plans to purchase an RV sometime in the future. That will allow them to do some travelling around the province. “It could not have come at a better time,” said Doyle. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Jan. 25 ... What we are watching in Canada ... OTTAWA - The federal government’s handling of the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign is set to dominate the agenda when Parliament resumes today. Members of Parliament are expected to work together to allow virtual attendance in the House of Commons once again as many provinces remain in lockdown during the second wave of the pandemic. Yet that show of unity will be the exception, as opposition parties say they plan to press the minority Liberal government on several fronts. That starts with grilling the government on delays in the delivery and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, including Pfizer’s decision to deliver only a fraction of the shots it promised over the next few weeks. The government has also pledged to close a loophole that currently allows people who leave the country on non-essential trips to collect a sick-leave benefit while they quarantine. Opposition parties, meanwhile, want to see more support for families and businesses. Looming in the background will be the ever-present threat of a snap spring election. --- Also this ... It's still too soon to know whether the recent downward trend in new COVID-19 cases will continue, Canada's chief public health officer said Sunday as several provinces grappled with outbreaks that threatened to derail their fragile progress. Dr. Theresa Tam said there's been an improvement in the COVID-19 numbers in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, but the disease is regaining steam elsewhere. "While community-based measures may be starting to take effect in some areas, it is too soon to be sure that current measures are strong enough and broad enough to maintain a steady downward trend across the country," she wrote in a statement. Some long-standing virus hot spots have made headway in lowering the number of new cases in recent weeks, but are still fighting outbreaks and flare-ups as they race to vaccinate vulnerable communities. The federal public safety minister announced Sunday that the Canadian Armed Forces will support vaccine efforts in a large swath of northern Ontario. Bill Blair said on Twitter that armed forces personnel will support vaccine efforts in 32 communities of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, a collection of 49 First Nations spanning about two thirds of the province. The military has previously been asked to help with the vaccine rollout in First Nations communities in Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba. Health officials in Ontario were also investigating whether a long-term care home could become the second in the province to be linked to a U.K. variant of COVID-19, after a first home in Barrie, Ont., made headlines when it became infected with the more contagious strain. --- And this ... It's been exactly a year now since COVID-19 arrived in Canada. Beyond the physical, mental and economic devastation that was to follow, the virus prompted a social upheaval that would fundamentally alter the lives of millions of Canadians. By March, with COVID cases spiking, mask wearing became the norm, schools and businesses started closing, lockdowns and travel restrictions were imposed, while major sporting and other events were cancelled. There was also a seismic shift of employees working from home as people were asked to physically distance -- even from loved ones. Jack Jedwab, the president of the Association for Canadian Studies, says the biggest change to Canadians' daily lives has been the isolation from friends, family and co-workers. An online survey done for Jedwab's group in September found over 90 per cent of the 15-hundred people polled said COVID-19 had changed their lives, with most citing the inability to see family and friends as the biggest factors. Jedwab notes that women, newcomers to Canada and people who were already economically and socially vulnerable appear to have been among the most deeply affected, particularly by job losses. --- What we are watching in the U.S. ... WASHINGTON — Top aides to U.S. President Joe Biden have begun talks with a group of moderate Senate Republicans and Democrats on Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The talks come as Biden faces increasing headwinds in his effort to win bipartisan backing for the initial legislative effort of his presidency. Lawmakers on the right question the wisdom of racking up bigger deficits while those on the left are urging Biden not to spend too much time on bipartisanship when the pandemic is killing thousands each day and costing more jobs. One key Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, said afterward she would reconvene a bipartisan group to focus on “a more targeted package.” --- Also this ... WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden is set to issue an executive order to reverse a Pentagon policy that largely bars transgender individuals from joining the military. Doing so would dump a ban ordered by his predecessor, Donald Trump, in a tweet during his first year in office. A person briefed on the decision tells The Associated Press that the White House could announce the move as early as today. Biden's newly confirmed defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, announced his support for overturning the ban during his confirmation hearing last week. Meanwhile, federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of Trump nears. That’s according to a U.S. official briefed on the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on Sunday. Part of the concern is ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol. Trump’s Senate trial on a charge of inciting a violent insurrection is set to begin the week of Feb. 8. --- What we are watching in the rest of the world ... MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he has tested positive for COVID-19, making the announcement as his country registers the highest levels of infections and deaths to date. López Obrador, who has been criticized for his handling of Mexico’s pandemic and for not setting an example of prevention in public, said Sunday on his official Twitter account that his symptoms are mild and he is under medical treatment. “I regret to inform you that I am infected with COVID-19,” he tweeted. José Luis Alomía Zegarra, Mexico’s director of epidemiology, said the 67-year-old had a “light” case of COVID-19 and was “isolating at home.” --- In Sports ... KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns as the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs rolled to a 38-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC championship game. The Chiefs advanced to face a familiar foe in Tom Brady and the NFC champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers knocked off the Green Bay Packers 31-26 to get to the big game on Feb.7. --- ICYMI ... TORONTO - George Armstrong, who captained the Toronto Maple Leafs to four Stanley Cups in the '60s and wore the blue and white his entire career, has died at the age of 90. The Maple Leafs confirmed the death Sunday on Twitter. Armstrong played a record 1,187 games with 296 goals and 417 assists over 21 seasons for the Leafs, including 13 seasons as team captain. The right-winger added another 26 goals and 34 assists in 110 playoff games. Known as the Chief, Armstrong was one of the first players of Indigenous descent to play professional hockey. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975 and some 41 years later, Armstrong was voted No. 12 on the franchise's list of 100 greatest Maple Leafs in its centennial season. "George is part of the very fabric of the Toronto Maple Leaf organization and will be deeply missed," Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in a statement. "A proud yet humble man, he loved being a Maple Leaf but never sought the spotlight even though no player played more games for Toronto or captained the team longer. Always one to celebrate his teammates rather than himself, George couldn't even bring himself to deliver his speech the day he was immortalized on Legends Row." --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021 The Canadian Press
Officials with the Founders' Food Hall & Market want to expand the outdoor seating area next to the waterfront building to give it more of a street presence and create some space that works in these pandemic times. Port Charlottetown, which owns the building, is drawing up plans for more green space and a small bandstand stage for entertainment. "The objective is to use the exterior as much as possible," said Mike Cochrane, CEO of Port Charlottetown. "Obviously, in a post-COVID-19 era, the focus is a lot on exterior operations and making people feel safe." Cochrane said the port wants to create seating in six pod-type areas for groups of eight to 10 people to congregate; he calls them "cluster zones." They may look at installing some fire pits as well. He said the new outdoor space will be good for any kind of artisan demonstrations or local entertainment, as well as just socializing outdoors. The cost is expected to be around $150,000 and the port hopes the new space can be ready for this summer. City planners dealing with request In order to let the outdoor project proceed, the City of Charlottetown's planning department is looking at a request from the port to consolidate two pieces of property. When Port Charlottetown took over the building, land right beside the building was treated as a separate lot. Now the port says it makes more sense to treat it as one area, so that there is only one boundary line for any development. "it would have the whole, entire operation on one piece of land," said Mike Duffy, chair of the city's planning committee. "It makes it easier to administer," he said. Duffy said he believes the proposal would add to the atmosphere outside Founders' Hall, adding: "On a nice summer's evening, there's not much sense of being stuck inside." Planning documents related to the request note that the property in question used to be part of a larger plot of land, but the former owner subdivided it. No concerns with plan expected Duffy said he didn't feel there were many concerns with the proposal, noting that the city's existing bylaws would be able to deal with any noise concerns. "It's just a matter of making sure we're all on the same wavelength," he said. I think it's going to be a very pleasant change. - Mike Cochrane The proposal will get another look at the next planning meeting on Feb. 1. Then a recommendation will be made to council, and council members will vote on it Feb. 8. The application does not require any notice to residents, and no public meeting is required to deal with the change. "It's a heavily utilized area, and to make it more attractive — especially on Water Street, on the main point of traffic coming into Charlottetown — I think it's going to be a very pleasant change," said Cochrane. More from CBC P.E.I.
When Nora Funk was growing up in Stephenville on the west coast of Newfoundland, she always felt her Mi'kmaw ties to the land. After moving to Manitoba at 16 and beginning to increasingly experience her Indigenous culture, she knew she wanted to learn more. Funk, who now lives in Nanaimo, B.C., told CBC Radio's Weekend AM earlier this month that she hadn't been taking part in Mi'kmaw culture before she moved, because it was "almost lost" in Newfoundland. "I find now my heart really longs to know more," she said. Her lighter skin colour means she'd hear troubling comments about Indigenous people, made by people who didn't know she's Mi'kmaw. Moving west showed her a different world, she said, and she experienced a troubling mindset toward Indigenous people she hadn't seen in her home province. "My mom is Scottish and English, I'm whiter skin than most," she said. "The problem is you tend to hear more when you're like that, because people make allowances because they don't think that you're Native so a lot more things are said. And it really, really stung." Funk started volunteering at friendship centres to learn more about her culture, and then decided to take it step further by learning the Mi'kmaw language, which she sees as a way to help preserve her culture. "It's so crucially important not to let not only our language die, but our culture. It's so rich," she said. LISTEN | Nora Funk speaks with the CBC's Paula Gale about learning to speak Mi'kmaw: "I'm absolutely loving it. I am starting to learn how to put sentences together, proper pronunciation, participles, past participles. It's been challenging, but it's been so rewarding.… I'm starting to put out little stickers on my cupboard doors and my salt and my pepper, so I'm forcing myself to say it before I grab it. I really want to incorporate more of the language into my life." Funk's teacher, Marcella Williams, has been sharing her language skills with the Flat Bay Mi'kmaw band on Newfoundland's southwest coast. She said the band has been hosting language classes since 2014, teaching people a language seldom spoken for decades out of fear. "When we joined Confederation, it was said there are no Natives in Newfoundland," she said. "[If] they found out, you would lose your job. In order to not have that happen and to be able to make their livelihood, they hid it. Because they hid it so well … we ended up losing that piece of ourselves." Williams teaches close to 60 people over a 10-week online program. She said the core language is mostly the same among different regions like New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Conne River, with different regional dialects developing over time — similar to calling a couch a "chesterfield" or "sofa" in English. "You will find some who are taking to it like a duck to water. They love it, I can't give them enough information," Williams laughed. "There are some on the opposite ends that struggle, but even though they're struggling they're giving it their all. And that's the most important thing." The amount of stuff that I have learned in just a few years that we have done as … people of the Mi'kmaw culture would astound most people. - Nora Funk While most of Funk's family are members of the Qalipu First Nation, she said she has not been able to become a member because she doesn't live in Newfoundland and Labrador. However, she hopes her work to preserve Mi'kmaw culture can bring a different kind of recognition. "I don't really care about the health care and all the things that come with it. What I care about, and why I want status, is because I want the government to acknowledge that we exist," she said. "When Joey Smallwood basically told the government that there was no Aboriginal people, I think he thought he was doing a service so that we could join Confederation. But it was such a disservice because we've never been acknowledged. And that's not fair." She also hopes speaking with others about the nearly lost language will encourage others to learn and preserve the culture. "Knowing that my own language and my own people were almost bred out and learning and knowing that the language was dying … it was something that my soul was longing to get in touch with who I am. I didn't want to see that die out," she said. "The amount of stuff that I have learned in just a few years that we have done as … people of the Mi'kmaw culture would astound most people." Williams hopes more can be done to revive the language, like sending language students to New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, where Mi'kmaw is more commonly used. Work is also being done within the Qalipu First Nation, which will launch virtual language workshops beginning in February. "If you don't use it, you lose it … just like when you do French immersion in school. Without being able to hear it, you won't end up with fluent speakers," she said. "Language ties to culture. Just by learning about the language, not even learning the words but about why things are the way they are in the language, you can learn a lot about the culture that may otherwise be lost. It's part of our identity, and it's who we are." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Founders Hall in Charlottetown wants to develop its outdoor space to create a place where people can gather more safely during the pandemic. More people were allowed in churches and other places of worship Sunday after the province eased some COVID-19 measures this weekend. There have been no reported cases of influenza on P.E.I. this season, as well as fewer cases of coughs and colds, which the Chief Public Health Office credits to "unintended impacts" of pandemic restrictions. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases reported on P.E.I. remains 110, with seven still active. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. New Brunswick reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, mostly in the Moncton and Edmundston regions. The province now has 334 active cases. Nova Scotia had a single new case of COVID-19 to report along with two recoveries, bringing the total of known active cases to 19. Also in the news Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
Iran has asked Indonesia to provide details about the seizure of an Iranian-flagged vessel, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday, a day after Jakarta said it had seized Iran and Panama-flagged tankers in its waters. Indonesia said on Sunday its coast guard had seized the Iranian-flagged MT Horse and the Panamanian-flagged MT Freya vessels over suspected illegal oil transfer in the country's waters. Coast guard spokesman Wisnu Pramandita said the tankers, seized in waters off Kalimantan province, will be escorted to Batam island in Riau Island Province for further investigation.
BALTIMORE — President Joe Biden plans to sign on Monday an executive order that aims to boost government purchases from U.S. manufacturers, according to administration officials. The United States has shed roughly 540,000 factory jobs since last February as the coronavirus pandemic hurled the world's largest economy into recession. The goal of the order would be to use the $600 billion the federal government spends on procurement to boost domestic factories and hiring, said officials who insisted on anonymity to discuss the forthcoming announcement. Biden's order would modify the rules for the Buy American program, making it harder for contractors to qualify for a waiver and sell foreign-made goods to federal agencies. It also changes rules so that more of a manufactured good's components must originate from U.S. factories. American-made goods would also be protected by an increase in the government's threshold and price preferences, the difference in price over which the government can buy a foreign product. The order also has elements that apply to the separate Buy America program, which applies separately to highways and bridges. It seeks to open up government procurement contracts to new companies by scouting potential contractors. The order would create a public website for companies that received waivers to sell foreign goods to the government, so that U.S. manufacturers can have more information and be in a more competitive position. To help enforce these goals, the order establishes a job at the White House Office of Management and Budget to monitor the initiative and focus on ensuring the government buys more domestically made goods. It also requires federal agencies to report on their progress in purchasing American goods, as well as emphasizing Biden's support for the Jones Act, which mandates that only U.S.-flag vessels carry cargo between U.S. ports. Past presidents have promised to revitalize manufacturing as a source of job growth and achieved mixed results. The government helped save the automotive sector after the 2008 financial crisis, but the number of factory jobs has been steadily shrinking over the course of four decades. The number of U.S. manufacturing jobs peaked in 1979 at 19.5 million and now totals 12.3 million, according to the Labor Department. Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, famously promised a factory renaissance, yet manufacturing employment never returned to its pre-Great Recession levels before the coronavirus struck. Josh Boak, The Associated Press
When Ken Oguzie arrived in Nova Scotia in 2014, he was faced with the challenge of convincing prospective employers that his previous work experience counted for something. Like many new Canadians in Nova Scotia, Oguzie had a wealth of work and life experience. Born in Nigeria, he lived in Malaysia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States before deciding to move to Nova Scotia with his family. He was very well qualified academically, with a bachelor's degree in business management from a U.K. university and a masters degree in social policy and development from the London School of Economics. But even with this background, Oguzie said his early job-hunting experience was like a "roller-coaster." 'It didn't mean a lot' "It was kind of challenging because ... you have all of these things, education and experience," he said, "and then you come in here and it didn't mean a lot. "I have all this stuff on my resumé and then I came here and every day I kept having to drop the standards." He was eventually hired by Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia in a role that allowed him to coach other new immigrants on the ins and outs of job hunting in the province. Oguzie described the opportunity to help others at ISANS as one of the "most fulfilling jobs" he's had. He said having gone through the experience himself helped him to relate to clients and have a "direct impact." Today, he is a diversity consultant and CEO of Africa Canada Trade and Investment Venture, which promotes trade between Canada and West Africa. Oguzie's experience will have a familiar ring for many. Ann Divine was born in Guyana, raised in England, and moved to Canada in 2004. She runs Ashanti Leadership — a company that works with organizations on professional development and increasing diversity. Divine said there was no consideration given for her qualifications or work history when she arrived in Canada. She said she had to start at the bottom and ended up teaching English to other immigrant women. "Their experiences were no different from mine because they were highly educated women and they couldn't find jobs," she said. Overcoming bias She said one of the problems she encountered was that employers didn't trust foreign qualifications. She said another issue in Nova Scotia was that "many individuals were not used to seeing Black and brown people in a high-profile position." The situation is improving, Divine said, but there is always a challenge of overcoming unconscious, and sometimes overt, bias in organizations. She believes the key is in approaching job applicants with an open-minded approach and having a conversation with them to see what is below the surface and "what they can bring to the table." "Change is happening gradually," she said, "but we need to move a little faster if we're going to grow our economy in the way that we want it to grow and to be more inclusive, particularly of those individuals who are not from Nova Scotia." The problem of obtaining employment even affects new immigrants who are allowed express entry into Canada under the Federal Skilled Workers program, according to Halifax-based immigration lawyer Lee Cohen. He said he has clients who successfully immigrated to Canada because they qualified under the "occupations-in-demand category" and were shocked to discover they had difficulty finding employment. "The truth of the matter is it doesn't make sense. And you have to come up with an answer. Well, one of the possible answers is — wrong last name, wrong accent." Cohen said many professionals such as doctors, nurses, engineers and pharmacists get frustrated that their qualifications are not recognized in Canada. 'Closed-shop syndrome' Calling it a "closed-shop syndrome," Cohen said many immigrants can't get past the regulatory bodies that govern their profession in Canada. He said immigrants are reluctant to spend five to 10 years going back to school to learn a profession that they already know. "I think it is very paternalistic," Cohen said. "It's also condescending. I also think there's bigotry and discrimination associated with this as well." Nabiha Atallah is an adviser for strategic initiatives at ISANS and has been working with the organization for 25 years. Atallah said the organization offers programs to help immigrants adjust to workplace culture in Canada and also works with employers to make them aware of cultural differences. One of the programs offered gives job seekers a six-week unpaid job placement in an area where they want to work, and allows them a chance to get Canadian work experience and a job reference. "Often the employer is very happily surprised by the ability of the immigrant," she said, "And in many cases they have actually offered jobs, although that's not part of the program." Atallah said she has seen a change over the years and an increasing "openness" on the part of employers to embrace the diversity that hiring an immigrant can bring to the workplace. "I think that we are realizing and we are seeing more and more the wonderful contributions that immigrants make to our community," she said. "And it's not totally new. "The numbers are new, but we've had immigrants contributing to Nova Scotia for many years." Strategic job hunting Oguzie offered some practical advice for new immigrants when it comes to job hunting. He said the immigrant journey is often "a step backwards to get to move three steps forward" and he urges job seekers to be strategic in their approach to finding employment. If someone can't get a job at the level they were used to in their previous country, he said, they should think carefully about what job they take in order to pay the bills. Drawing an example of someone with 10 years of experience in investment banking, Oguzie said it is better to take a temporary job in retail banking rather than in a completely different area like a call centre or Walmart — even if it pays a little less. "That way is easier for you to find ways, when the right investment manager job, which is what you used to do, comes along," he said, "it's easier for you to align your resumé." MORE TOP STORIES
One student poll in France found 72% had suffered recent psychological distress and more than a third had had depressive symptoms. View on euronews
MOSCOW — The Russian anti-doping agency confirmed Monday that it will not file an appeal to further loosen restrictions on its teams at the Olympics and other major sports events. The Court of Arbitration for Sport last month ruled that Russia's name, flag and anthem would be barred from the next two Olympics after backing the World Anti-Doping Agency's finding that doping data was manipulated. However, CAS halved the duration of the sanctions from four years to two, removed vetting requirements for Russian athletes and allowed them to keep wearing national colours. The Russian agency, known as RUSADA, had the option to file an appeal with the Swiss supreme court on procedural grounds. It said Monday that it still regards as “flawed and one-sided” the ruling that doping data in Moscow was modified but it was satisfied that CAS rejected tougher sanctions proposed by WADA. “RUSADA considers that this chapter has now been closed and is looking forward and committed to working with WADA with a view to fully restoring RUSADA’s membership status,” RUSADA said in a statement. The Russian agency added that it “remains fully committed to the fight against doping but will continue to defend the rights of clean Russian athletes and to oppose any form of discrimination against Russian sport.” ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Millbrook First Nation is nearly a step closer to developing a section of Shannon Park, but will first need an endorsement from the Halifax Regional Municipality. "We've been working on this for quite, quite some time now," said Millbrook Chief Bob Gloade. "We've acquired the part of Shannon Park a number of years ago and we've been working toward an expansion of our community." The band owns about four hectares of land at Shannon Park in Dartmouth, which is being redeveloped by Canada Lands — the real estate arm of the federal government. The land, which is also known as Turtle Grove or Turtle Cove, was acquired by Indigenous Services Canada and declared reserve land after an outstanding Mi'kmaw claim dating back before the Halifax Explosion. Gloade said Millbrook has been working with Canada Lands and Indigenous Services Canada on the redevelopment of this land for at least 10 years. On Nov. 24, Gloade sent a letter to the Halifax Regional Municipality stating that it was nearly finished establishing a reserve on the Shannon Park land, according to a city council document. The office of Mayor Mike Savage then received an email from Indigenous Services Canada stating it would require "an indication of support" for the reserve. It also required a commitment to enter into a municipal services agreement with Millbrook before the land could be developed. By Dec. 18, the municipality's chief administrative officer, Jacques Dubé, sent a letter to Chief Gloade confirming support for the creation of the reserve and his intention to create a municipal services agreement. However, this first needs to be be endorsed by city council. If the development of the land is endorsed, Gloade said this allows Millbrook to have a larger footprint in the Halifax Regional Municipality. Millbrook has also already worked with the Halifax Port Authority to establish a long-term lease for the infilled water lot. "We're looking at doing a mix of residential and commercial development along the waterfront for economic development purposes for our community," Gloade said. He said if all goes well, the area could see between five and 10 years of construction developments on the waterfront, which will eventually draw more people to the area. "There's a significant amount of the land that we're looking at developing and projects that we're going to be undertaking," he said. "So it will take between five to 10 years by the time everything is done and completed." Halifax Regional Council is expected to vote on the endorsement on Tuesday. MORE TOP STORIES