Quebec Premier Francois Legault and Health Minister Christian Dube said the province will be ready to begin vaccinating people against COVID-19 on Jan. 1 and outlined how the vaccination campaign will work.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault and Health Minister Christian Dube said the province will be ready to begin vaccinating people against COVID-19 on Jan. 1 and outlined how the vaccination campaign will work.
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office on Wednesday using Bibles that are laden with personal meaning, writing new chapters in a long-running American tradition — and one that appears nowhere in the law. The Constitution does not require the use of a specific text for swearing-in ceremonies and specifies only the wording of the president’s oath. That wording does not include the phrase “so help me God,” but every modern president has appended it to their oaths and most have chosen symbolically significant Bibles for their inaugurations. That includes Biden, who used the same family Bible he has used twice when swearing in as vice-president and seven times as senator from Delaware. The book, several inches thick, and which his late son Beau also used when swearing in as Delaware attorney general, has been a “family heirloom” since 1893 and “every important date is in there,” Biden told late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert last month. “Why is your Bible bigger than mine? Do you have more Jesus than I do?” quipped Colbert, who like Biden is a practicing Catholic. Biden’s use of his family Bible underscores the prominent role his faith has played in his personal and professional lives — and will continue to do so as he becomes the second Catholic president in U.S. history. He follows in a tradition of many other presidents who used family-owned scriptures to take their oaths, including Ronald Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Some have had their Bibles opened to personally relevant passages during their ceremonies. Bill Clinton, for example, chose Isaiah 58:12 — which urges the devout to be a “repairer of the breach” — for his second inauguration after a first term marked by political schisms with conservatives. Others took their oaths on closed Bibles, like John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, who in 1961 used his family’s century-old tome with a large cross on the front, similar to Biden’s. The tradition of using a Bible dates as far back as the presidency itself, with the holy book used by George Washington later appearing on exhibit at the Smithsonian on loan from the Masonic lodge that provided it in 1789. Washington’s Bible was later used for the oaths by Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. But not every president has used a Bible. Theodore Roosevelt took his 1901 oath without one after the death of William McKinley, while John Quincy Adams used a law book in 1825, according to his own account. Some have employed multiple Bibles during their ceremonies: Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump chose to use, along with others, the copy that Abraham Lincoln was sworn in on in 1861. Harris did the same for her vice-presidential oath, using a Bible owned by a close family friend and one that belonged to the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Harris has spoken of her admiration of Marshall, a fellow Howard University graduate and trailblazer in government as the high court’s first African American justice. “When I raise my right hand and take the oath of office tomorrow, I carry with me two heroes who’d speak up for the voiceless and help those in need,” Harris tweeted Tuesday, referring to Marshall and friend Regina Shelton, whose Bible she swore on when becoming attorney general of California and later senator. Harris, who attended both Baptist and Hindu services as a child, worships in the Baptist faith as an adult. While U.S. lawmakers have typically used Bibles for their oaths, some have chosen alternatives that reflect their religious diversity. Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress, in 2007 used a Qur’an that belonged to Thomas Jefferson, prompting objections from some Christian conservatives. Jefferson’s Qur’an made a return in 2019 at the oath for Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chose a Hebrew Bible in 2005 to reflect her Jewish faith. Newly elected Georgia Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, who is also Jewish and who swears in Wednesday, used Hebrew scripture belonging to Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, an ally of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement. Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, opted for the Bhagavad Gita in 2013 after becoming the first Hindu elected to Congress. And Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the only member of the current Congress who identifies as “religiously unaffiliated,” took her oath on the Constitution in 2018. ___ Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Elana Schor, The Associated Press
The Muskoka Lakes Snow Trail Association is looking to raise $10,000 to pay for the right equipment to fix their tricky snow trails for sledders this season. Steven Elliott, vice president of the association, said volunteers spend hundreds of hours every year grooming and maintaining trails in Port Carling, Bala, Moonbridge and Bass Lake. He said they pay a lot for special equipment to groom and maintain trails in the swampy lands of Muskoka Lakes. “If we, as volunteers, want to put together the best product that we can for our riders, then we need this equipment,” Elliott said. According to Elliott, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC), the non-profit organization financing their club and 230 others in the province, will not cover the expenses of this equipment. The federation declined a request for an interview or comment. The first week of January, the club began a fundraiser to purchase a Skandic Wide Track Utility Snowmobile and a small drag to be pulled behind the machine. The retail price of this Ski-Doo snowmobile begins at $10,099. As of Monday afternoon, Jan. 18, they’ve raised $1,800 via their GoFundMe page. “This is one of the first times we’ve really reached out … or done anything like this,” he said. “The reality is that the permit money people pay doesn’t go far enough to fund some of these types of equipment expenses.” People pay for a snowmobile permit, or season pass, to utilize the trails in the winter. A regular season pass currently costs $270. That money goes toward the grooming and preparation of the trails, including the purchase, fuelling and operation of purpose-built industrial groomers. However, Elliott said the funding doesn’t pay for utility snowmobiles, small drags or brushing equipment. Elliott said the club doesn’t have statistics on how many riders use their trails, but said OFSC's District 7, from Georgian Bay to Algonquin Park, sells 5,000 to 6,000 permits annually. Elliott said the club hopes they’ll receive support from the thousands who use trails like theirs for snowmobiling in Muskoka. Zahraa Hmood is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering the municipalities of Muskoka Lakes, Lake of Bays and Georgian Bay. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Zahraa Hmood, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
Ontario's police watchdog has charged a provincial police officer with assault after an incident at a police station that sent a woman to hospital. The Special Investigations Unit says the altercation happened in September 2019, after the 43-year-old woman was arrested by OPP officers and taken to the Orillia detachment. The SIU says there was an interaction between the officer and the woman in a cell at the detachment. It says that the woman was taken to hospital for treatment and was diagnosed with a serious injury two days later when she returned to the hospital.The SIU has charged OPP Const. Bailey Nicholls with one count of assault causing bodily harm.It says the officer is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 9.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021.This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
Paul Lavoie est devenu le nouveau directeur général de Tourisme Côte-Nord le 13 janvier. M. Lavoie assurait l’intérim du poste de directeur général pour l’organisation depuis le mois d’août. Cumulant une quinzaine d’années d’expérience dans le milieu du développement économique et fort d’une « passion inconditionnelle pour la Côte-Nord », M. Lavoie sera chargé d’assurer la poursuite des efforts de promotion et de développement touristique de la région, est-il mentionné dans un communiqué de presse. « Je suis extrêmement content que nous ayons nommé Paul. Ce fut un processus de longue haleine, mais nous avons trouvé le meilleur candidat pour ce poste », exprime le coprésident du conseil d’administration de Tourisme Côte-Nord et maire de l’île d’Anticosti, John Pineault. Paul Lavoie remplace Mario Cyr, qui avait quitté la tête de Tourisme Côte-Nord en août.Laurence Dami-Houle, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Portageur
Looks like this conductor isn't crazy about a drone getting some up-close footage of his train. Watch out for the water canon!
The Municipality of Magnetawan is set to get better internet connectivity sooner rather than later. According to a Facebook post by the municipality, Magnetawan had applied for grant from CENGN, Canada’s Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks and was approved on Jan. 18 for three internet tower projects in the Ahmic Harbour and Lake regions. What internet service provider is involved with the project? Spectrum Telecom was selected to provide a broadband solution for Ahmic Harbour and Lake area. How does the funding work? This project is a part of CENGN’s Northern Ontario Residential Broadband program. Supported by the program's funding, Spectrum Telecom will build three self-supporting towers which will use licensed and unlicensed fixed wireless access technology to bring a range of internet access to residents in the area. What type of internet speeds will residents be able to use once the project is completed? The fixed wireless access will allow for internet service up to 50 mbps download and 10 mbps upload speeds. What is a self-supporting internet tower? A self-supporting tower is ideal for areas with limited space and it allows for towers to be built on narrow, unused road allowances. What are some benefits of the project? The multi-tower placement, on both sides of the lake, will ensure a wider coverage area for residents. The release also states that residents could see up to 50 per cent in cost savings over other options. When will this be operational? The project is aiming for a fast network deployment time frame and the release states it will be operational by the end of 2021. According to Magnetawan’s mayor, Sam Dunnett, the broadband initiative will help foster economic growth and retention of the population base within the municipality. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
WASHINGTON — Three new senators were sworn into office Wednesday after President Joe Biden's inauguration, securing the majority for Democrats in the Senate and across a unified government to tackle the new president's agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges. In a first vote, the Senate confirmed Biden's nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines. Senators worked into the evening and overcame some Republican opposition to approve his first Cabinet member, in what's traditionally a show of good faith on Inauguration Day to confirm at least some nominees for a new president's administration. Haines, a former CIA deputy director, will become a core member of Biden’s security team, overseeing the agencies that make up the nation’s intelligence community. She was confirmed 84-10. The new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged colleagues to turn the spirit of the new president’s call for unity into action. “President Biden, we heard you loud and clear,” Schumer said in his first speech as majority leader. “We have a lengthy agenda. And we need to get it done together.” Vice-President Kamala Harris drew applause as she entered the chamber to deliver the oath of office to the new Democratic senators — Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla — just hours after taking her own oath at the Capitol alongside Biden. The three Democrats join a Senate narrowly split 50-50 between the parties, but giving Democrats the majority with Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote. Ossoff, a former congressional aide and investigative journalist, and Warnock, a pastor from the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s church in Atlanta, won run-off elections in Georgia this month, defeating two Republicans. Padilla was tapped by California’s governor to finish the remainder of Harris’ term. “Today, America is turning over a new leaf. We are turning the page on the last four years, we’re going to reunite the country, defeat COVID-19, rush economic relief to the people,” Ossoff told reporters earlier at the Capitol. “That’s what they sent us here to do.” Taken together, their arrival gives Democrats for the first time in a decade control of the Senate, the House and the White House, as Biden faces the unparalleled challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout, and the nation's painful political divisions from the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by a mob loyal to Donald Trump. Congress is being called on to consider Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion COVID recovery package, to distribute vaccines and shore up an economy as more than 400,000 Americans have died from the virus. At the same time, the Senate is about to launch an impeachment trial of Trump, charged by the House of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol as rioters tried to interrupt the Electoral College tally and overturn Biden’s election. The Senate will need to confirm other Biden Cabinet nominees. To “restore the soul” of the country, Biden said in his inaugural speech, requires “unity.” Yet as Washington looks to turn the page from Trump to the Biden administration, Republican leader Mitch McConnell is not relinquishing power without a fight. Haines' nomination was temporarily blocked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Okla., as he sought information about the CIA's enhanced interrogation program. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is holding back the Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas over Biden's proposed immigration changes. And McConnell is refusing to enter a power-sharing agreement with Senate Democrats unless they meet his demands, chiefly to preserve the Senate filibuster — the procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. McConnell, in his first speech as the minority party leader, said the election results with narrow Democratic control of the House and Senate showed that Americans “intentionally entrusted both political parties with significant power.” The Republican leader said he looked forward working with the new president “wherever possible.” At her first White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s desire to have his Cabinet confirmed and in place is “front and centre for the president,” and she said he was hoping to have his national security nominees in place Thursday or Friday. Psaki said the president will be “quite involved” in negotiations over the COVID relief package, but left the details of the upcoming impeachment trial to Congress. The Senate can “multitask,” she said. That’s a tall order for a Senate under normal circumstances, but even more so now in the post-Trump era, with Republicans badly split between their loyalties to the defeated president and wealthy donors who are distancing themselves from Republicans who back Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to soon transmit to the Senate the House-passed article of impeachment against Trump, charged with incitement of insurrection, a step that will launch the Senate impeachment trial. Meantime, the power-sharing talks between Schumer and McConnell have hit a stalemate. It’s an arcane fight McConnell has inserted into what has traditionally been a more routine organizing resolution over committee assignments and staffing resources, but a power play by the outgoing Republican leader grabbing at tools that can be used to block Biden’s agenda. Progressive and liberal Democrats are eager to do away with the filibuster to more quickly advance Biden’s priorities, but not all rank-and-file Senate Democrats are on board. Schumer has not agreed to any changes but McConnell is taking no chances. For now, it will take unanimous consent among senators to toggle between conducting votes on legislative business and serving as jurors in the impeachment trial. The House last week impeached Trump for having sent the mob to the Capitol to “fight like hell” during the tally of Electoral College votes to overturn Biden’s election. __ Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
THUNDER BAY — The Thunder Police Services Board received a progress report on the 44 recommendations handed out by the Office of the Independent Police Review during Tuesday’s board meeting. Legal counsel for the Thunder Bay Police Service, Holly Walbourne, presented the second yearly report to the board on Tuesday, Jan. 19, and outlined the service’s progress on all 44 recommendations. In December 2018, a 300-plus page report by the OIPRD detailed failings on the part of the Thunder Bay Police Service to address the policing needs of Indigenous people in the community. One of the most significant recommendations in the report recommended the reinvestigation of nine sudden deaths involving indigenous people by a multi-discipline team. The OIPRD recommended the cases be reopened because the initial investigations lacked quality. On Tuesday, Walbourne informed the board the re-investigations are still ongoing and further updates will come from the executive governance committee. Other completed recommendations reported on Tuesday included the recommendation of the police force to make the wearing of name tags on the front of police uniforms mandatory for all officers. According to the report, as of August 2020, all name tags were ordered and are now considered a permanent part of an officer’s uniform. After the presentation by Walbourne, board member Michael Power stated he would advocate for updates on the report to be reviewed at every board meeting rather than an annual review. “We as a board own this report,” Power said, adding transferring the written report to a grid format where recommendations can be labelled as completed or not completed in terms of progress could also be beneficial to share with Indigenous leaders and communities to evaluate the police force's progress on the report. "We can get into more significant conversation about what has been done as a result of implementation, what needs to be done and improve the level of understanding," he said. Also on Tuesday, the board discussed the implementation of in-car and body-worn cameras. Police said in their report capital funding has been secured to actualize the project and the service will be announcing the rollout of the project by the end of the first quarter of 2021. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Superintendent Dan Taddeo said providing the board with a solid timeline for the implementation of the program is difficult. For the full progress report presented during Tuesday’s meeting go to the Thunder Bay Police Services Board website by clicking here. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Ontario's police watchdog is investigating after a 49-year-old man arrested by Ottawa police late Tuesday afternoon was found unresponsive in a police station cell hours later. He was later pronounced dead in hospital. Ottawa police arrested a man at a home around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday as officers carried out a warrant, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) wrote in a news release Wednesday morning. The unidentified man was taken to Ottawa police headquarters on Elgin Street and placed in a cell. The SIU said he was found unresponsive in the cell around 9:30 p.m. Paramedics were called to take the man to hospital, where he was pronounced dead just after 10 p.m. He had lost vital signs before arrival, said the SIU. An autopsy is scheduled to take place Wednesday. The SIU, which investigates when law enforcement officials are involved in a death, serious injury, shooting or allegations of sexual assault, is asking anyone with information to call 1-800-787-8529. Ottawa police said in a news release all information on the incident would be released through the SIU.
PARIS — French university students protested Wednesday on Paris’ Left Bank to demand to be allowed back to class, and to call attention to suicides and financial troubles among students cut off from friends, professors and job opportunities amid the pandemic. Carrying a banner reading “We Will Not Be the Sacrificed Generation,” hundreds of students gathered to march on the Education Ministry, seeking government help for those struggling. Other student protests were planned Wednesday elsewhere in France. The government ordered all universities closed in October to stem resurgent virus infections, after a similar closure in the spring set many students back academically and socially. Students have increasingly been sharing their woes on social networks under such hashtags as #suicideetudiant and #etudiantphantomes, or ghost students. Heidi Soupault, a 19-year-old student in Strasbourg, wrote an open letter to President Emmanuel Macron last week saying she and her peers have “no more dreams” and have “the impression of being dead.” While France tightened its curfew last week as virus hospitalizations grow again, Prime Minister Jean Castex made a gesture toward college students, allowing first-year students to start returning to partial classes as of next week. The government acknowledged that lockdown-related mental health problems among young people are also a public health concern. But the protesting students say the measures don’t go far enough to address their woes. France has among the world’s highest numbers of virus infections and deaths. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
Soit par visioconférence, Facetime, appel téléphonique ou rencontre individuelle en personne, l’équipe du Centre des Femmes du Val-Saint-François et de la MRC des Sources est toujours à pied d’œuvre. Tant mieux ! Cette pandémie est stressante et peut générer beaucoup d’anxiété pour nombre d’entre nous. Les intervenantes se sont familiarisées avec l’imprévu ! On a rencontré la directrice, Catherine Durocher. Comment cela se passe-t-il depuis mars dernier ? « Durant le premier confinement le printemps dernier, les rencontres en chair et en os se sont arrêtées, mais on a continué à offrir des services en ligne, explique-t-elle. Une partie de nos membres sont des femmes plus âgées et cela a été difficile de faire le virage vers les ressources en ligne. Une partie de celles-ci ont préféré attendre pour bénéficier de nos services. Généralement l’été, c’est plutôt calme. Sauf le dernier où nous avons été très occupées ! Les demandes d’aide individuelle ont beaucoup augmenté, à tel point qu’on a demandé à Centraide d’accroître d’une dizaine d’heures par semaine les services à cet égard. On ne voulait surtout pas se retrouver avec une grosse liste d’attente. » Une ressource essentielle La moyenne d’âge des participantes aux ateliers est de 55 ans et plus. Pour ce qui est des rencontres individuelles, l’âge varie de 18 à 90 ans ! « On remarque une hausse de l’anxiété chez les plus âgées à cause de la solitude, précise Mme Durocher. Un désarroi jumelé à la crainte d’attraper le virus. Autant de raisons qui ont eu des répercussions sur notre programmation d’ateliers sur la santé mentale pour l’hiver et le printemps 2021. Cela dit, confinement ou non, ces ateliers se réaliseront ! En respectant les consignes bien sûr, et par petits groupes de six. » Aussi à surveiller, les ateliers de création à venir au nouveau local d’Asbestos. « On martèle également le message de ne pas tolérer les situations de violence conjugale qui peuvent être exacerbées ces temps-ci. De plus, nous travaillons sur une entente de développement de parité entre hommes et femmes conclue à l’échelle de L’Estrie. Plusieurs actions dans la MRC des Sources se déploient en ce sens en ce qui a trait à l’intégration des femmes en entreprise et en politique, à l’accompagnement lors de démarches d’immigration, etc. Nous planchons aussi sur un projet visant à trouver des solutions pour la garde des enfants de parents séparés dont l’un des conjoints est violent. Bref, conclut la directrice, on ne chôme pas ! » facebook.com/Lepointdancrage cfvsf.com/contactMireille Fréjeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal L'Étincelle
Canadian companies are being told to ensure they’re not importing Chinese goods produced through the forced labour of the Uighur religious minority group. “Reports indicate mass transfers of Uighur labourers to factories across China where they are enrolled in forced labour programs that taint global supply chains in a variety of industries,” reads a Global Affairs Canada advisory. The federal government says it’s also aware of other human rights violations affecting Uighurs and other ethnic and religious groups by Chinese authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang and other parts of China, including mass arbitrary detention, forced separation of children from their parents, forced sterilization, and torture. China is a major trading partner for Canada, with $75 billion worth of merchandise imported from China in 2019, according to Statista. International Trade Minister Mary Ng said that the feds are committed to ensuring Canadian businesses aren't engaged with supply chains involving forced labour. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to increasing supply chain transparency, promoting responsible business conduct, and ensuring that Canadian companies are upholding Canadian values, wherever they may operate,” Ng said in a statement. Parliament amended the Customs Tariff Act last July to ban the imports of goods produced wholly or partly as a result of forced labour from any country. The government reminds companies that they must conform to these laws, adding that companies that operate within the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) may also be subject to human rights legislation. “In addition to legal risks, companies face reputational damage related to their supply chains if it is discovered that they are sourcing from entities that employ forced labour,” the advisory added. It remains unclear if there indeed have been confirmed instances of Uighur-made products flowing through Canadian supply chains. Canada’s National Observer asked Ng if she can definitively say there aren’t products made by Uighurs or other minority groups in Canadian supply chains, but the question was deferred to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), which also didn’t provide direct comment to the question. However, Jacqueline Callin, spokesperson for CBSA, explained shipments containing goods suspected of being produced by forced labour are detained at the border for inspection by a border services officer who has the authority to ban these goods from entering Canada based on their analysis of the specific situation. The government announced Monday that companies with ties to Xinjiang will have to sign a “Xinjiang Integrity Declaration” recognizing they’re aware of Canadian laws regarding the prohibition of forced labour and the “human rights situation in Xinjiang” before they receive support from the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS). It wasn't indicated when this declaration requirement will come into effect. The government also appointed a Canadian ombudsperson for responsible enterprise in April 2019 to review claims of alleged human rights abuses involving Canadian companies abroad, but Amnesty International Canada doesn’t think the office’s role goes far enough. “Without the power to compel documents or witness testimony, we fear the ombudsperson will be unable to fully investigate allegations of forced labour or other abuses from companies’ supply chains,” said Ketty Nivyabandi, the organization’s secretary general, in a statement. The Global Affairs advisory said the government urges Canadian companies with links to Xinjiang to “closely examine their supply chains to ensure that their activities do not support repression, including ... the Chinese government’s surveillance apparatus in Xinjiang, detention or internment facilities, or the use of forced labour.” However, Nivyabandi believes this shouldn’t be left to individual companies, calling for the Trudeau government to pass legislation that would require Canadian companies to conduct “human rights due diligence” within their global operations and supply chains. “The Canadian government has missed a crucial opportunity to hold Canadian companies accountable for human rights violations in Xinjiang and beyond,” Nivyabandi said. Yasmine Ghania, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
Representatives of the religious faiths recognized in Belgium have joined forces to urge federal authorities to increase the number of people admitted inside places of worship during the coronavirus pandemic. Under the current COVID-19 rules, such places can accommodate up to 15 people. In a letter to Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne, the religious representatives argued that the number of people allowed should instead be linked to the space available. They proposed a return to the “one person per 10 square meters" rule which applied in June last year when Belgium exited the spring lockdown. “The use of this standard proved to be less restrictive for religious practice and at the same time very protective for public health,” they said in a statement on Wednesday. The letter was signed by representatives from the Roman Catholic, Protestant-Evangelical, Jewish, Anglican, Muslim and Orthodox faiths. “In these difficult and uncertain times, the need for meaning and spirituality is felt more than ever," they said. “For months now, a maximum of 15 people at a time have been able to gather in churches, mosques and synagogues in our country. Even if the life of a believer does not take place exclusively in the place of worship, many feel this measure in the long run as a drastic restriction of the latter." The government introduced the 15-person limit in December after the country’s highest court said the ban of services — with the exception of weddings and funerals in restricted company — which was introduced in October was disproportionate and impeded constitutional conditions on freedom of religion. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
Widespread compliance with the new stay-at-home order is being credited for the low number of tickets issued in Peel over the weekend, a shift in behaviour from the illegal parties that thrust the community into the spotlight in the summer. Peel’s police chief and politicians say the low number of tickets issued over the weekend speaks to the community now understanding the severity of the threat posed by COVID-19. “Hopefully, it’s an indication of compliance. We did not receive a lot of complaints from the public over the last few days,” Peel police Chief Nishan Duraiappah told the Star Tuesday. Peel Regional Police confirmed that it had issued five tickets and one warning since the stay-at-home order came into effect, but was unable to clarify the exact breach the fines were issued for. In the past week, Mississauga’s bylaw enforcement team issued fines for 14 violations, which included 11 to businesses and three for gatherings. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said she’s pleased with how residents and businesses have been obeying the rules. She attributed the levels of compliance in Mississauga to the fact that Peel Region has been in varying degrees of lockdown for close to two months, and residents have adjusted their habits over time. “The message has been and continues to be the same: stay at home, only leave for essential activities and limit close in-person contacts to just your immediate household,” she said Monday. Brampton officials laid five charges related to COVID-19 rule violations over the weekend. Three of those tickets were due to a violation of the stay-at-home order after a small group was caught gathering in a parking lot. The other two charges, laid under the Reopening Ontario Act, were people visiting a resident that was not part of their own household, Brampton officials confirmed Monday. Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said most residents now grasp the severity of the situation. “We have seen a high level of compliance in response to the stay-at-home order announced last week,” Brown said Monday. Each of the fines issued in Brampton over the weekend were $880, for a total of $4,400 in fines. Mississauga enforcement officers, inspectors from the labour ministry and local public health officials conducted inspections of six big-box store locations in Mississauga over the weekend and found that all were complying. Solicitor General Sylvia Jones told the Star the Mississauga enforcement of large outlets was part of a provincial blitz of big-box operations that started on the weekend. “They are going on site to both manufacturing and businesses that continue to operate to make sure they’re doing so in a safe manner,” said Jones. Brampton was thrust into the spotlight in the summer when it became the hotbed for large parties, one of which attracted an estimated 200 people in July and another where police ended up being called to a shooting. Brampton officials said that between March 31 and early November, officers laid 940 charges, including 66 summonses, for violation of the relevant provincial rules and city bylaws targeting large residential gatherings and other emergency measures violations. In Mississauga, 424 tickets and or fines were handed out over the same time. In both cities, people hosting residential gatherings accounted for most of the fines. Cases against people fined for hosting illegal parties in the summer are trickling through the courts." Jason Miller is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering crime and justice in the Peel Region. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him on email: email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic Jason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
Le rêve des deux amies derrière Pomme F se poursuit. Depuis 2015, l’entreprise de graphisme et de papeterie de Carolane Tremblay et Catherine Girard ne cesse de s’épanouir, avec une plus grande offre de produits, davantage de contrats, ainsi qu’une communauté grandissante de fidèles clients. L’entreprise de Saguenay compte maintenant quelque 4700 ventes sur sa page Etsy. Les deux amies se sont rencontrées sur un autre lieu de travail. Catherine avait été engagée pour remplacer Carolane lors de son congé de maternité. C’est le coup de foudre professionnel entre les deux employées, qui décident de quitter et de se lancer en affaires ensemble. En 2015, Pomme F ouvrait ses portes. Le sympathique duo se concentrait alors uniquement sur ses services de graphisme. Elles s’occupaient de tout ce qui touche l’image de marque des entreprises, en créant des logos et images originales de leur cru, selon les besoins de leurs clients. C’est encore aujourd’hui ce qui occupe le plus clair de leurs temps. « Toutes les images que l’on créées, ce sont vraiment tous nos dessins. On fait tout de A à Z. On ne fait jamais d’achat d’images pour créer l’un de nos produits, autant du côté du graphisme que de la papeterie. On fait vraiment tout par nous-mêmes, c’est ça notre créneau, on veut que tout soit original », explique Carolane, lors d’un entretien par visioconférence avec Le Quotidien. Toutefois, avec les années, une offre de produits de papeterie s’est ajoutée aux cordes de cette jeune entreprise. Son produit le plus populaire est son agenda inspiré du « bullet journal ». Un « bullet journal » est un cahier que l’on construit selon ses besoins et les personnes doivent donc monter les pages une à une. Les entrepreneures aimaient beaucoup le principe, mais trouvaient que ça demandait un grand effort. Elles avaient elles-mêmes passé plusieurs mois sur la construction du leur. Elles ont donc décidé de créer un agenda, destiné à la vente et basé sur ce style, dont les amateurs pourront se servir comme canevas et remplir selon leurs goûts et besoins. « Ça va vraiment bien pour la vente de ce produit. On l’appelle notre organisateur de bonheur. Il est vraiment fait pour s’aider à mieux s’organiser. D’année en année, ça grossit énormément », continue la créatrice. Plusieurs des produits vendus par Pomme F touchent ces agendas. Des volets, qui permettent de compléter son agenda selon des thèmes précis, des autocollants ou des rubans adhésifs, sont des exemples de ce qui se trouve dans l’inventaire de l’entreprise et qui permettent de personnaliser ces planificateurs. L’entreprise fait également la vente de cahiers de notes, de cahiers à colorier et plus. Pomme F est suivie par une communauté de passionnés de cette méthode d’organisation. Le groupe Agenda — Pomme F, sur Facebook, regroupe plus de 600 amateurs qui partagent quotidiennement trucs et réalisations. Au fil du temps, les créatrices sont devenues amies avec bien des personnes qui suivent cette page et puisent souvent dans leurs suggestions pour la création de nouveaux produits. Depuis peu, le duo organise également Les heures de bonheur avec Pomme F, un événement en ligne pour le groupe Agenda. Les deux amies invitent les membres à discuter avec elles, par visioconférence, une fois par semaine. La suite Carolane Tremblay et Catherine Girard veulent, pour 2021, prendre du temps pour leur entreprise, en mettant par exemple à jour leur site Internet, en travaillant sur leur image de marque avec un nouveau logo qui sera dévoilé prochainement et en consacrant davantage de temps à leurs différents réseaux sociaux. Lorsqu’elles pensent à l’avenir, elles souhaitent continuer à s’amuser et n’ont pas d’objectif précis en termes d’embauches d’employés ou de profits. Si les deux femmes pouvaient continuer ensemble pour cette entreprise encore des années, elles seraient comblées. Elles espèrent aussi continuer d’avoir l’appui de leur grande communauté de clients, qui les aident beaucoup plus qu’ils ne peuvent le penser. Sans faire de publicité, l’entreprise réussit à grandir grâce au bouche-à-oreille de sa fidèle clientèle, ce qui est bien gratifiant pour les femmes de 34 et 29 ans.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
After four years, U.S. President Donald Trump will be leaving office as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into the position on Jan. 20, 2021. The weeks leading up to Trump’s departure have been tumultuous, with a siege on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, five federal executions, and 143 presidential pardons, just to name a few pivotal moments.Trump began the day by speaking to a crowd at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One. He is traveling to his golf club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, and will not be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.Supporters of the 45th U.S. President gathered in West Palm Beach, Fla. to greet Trump’s motorcade when it arrived in the city.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
CANSO – Maritime Launch Services (MLS) will not get liftoff as early as the company had hoped. Just more than four years ago, in Oct. 2016, MLS was formed in Nova Scotia to create a spaceport in Canso. In some of the earliest press releases about the proposed project, MLS stated the estimated timeline for first launch capability was 2020. And, although COVID-19 has created a Groundhog Day effect, time has continued to move forward – the calendar has turned to a new year, and MLS has yet to break ground on the Canso Spaceport facility. MLS CEO Steve Matier told The Journal on Monday (Jan. 18) that the delay could be attributed to several causes including, most recently, the wrench the global pandemic has put in every plan – be it business or personal. In addition, Matier said the original 2020 launch date was based on getting shovels in the ground in 2018. That wasn’t possible, as it took until June of 2019 to get the Environmental Assessment (EA) approved by the Department of Environment. And, he said, “There’s the whole land lease issue working with [Nova Scotia] Lands and Forestry; that takes time as well.” At this point, the company is working to meet the terms and conditions in the 2019 EA document, which include associated activities involved with designs for roads and buildings; plans for erosion and settlement control; analysis of potential impacts to watercourses and existing water users; environmental monitoring plans and more. “Within that approval (EA) was the rather lengthy list of compliance pieces that we need to get to them to review,” Matier told The Journal, adding that no construction could take place until the information supplied by the company was accepted by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment. Matier said he hoped they could move to breaking ground on the project in six months’ time, but “it’s hard to predict exact dates,” due to the time it takes for review and approval. Given that the Department of Lands and Forestry accepted the company’s draft survey for the lease of Crown land required for the project just before Christmas, the wheels of government can be seen to move forward. Once the project moves past approvals, and on to groundbreaking, Matier said it could be another two years before the first launch. “We require about 18 months of construction activities and six of commissioning before you can get to an actual launch.” While there have been delays, Matier told The Journal the company has potential clients lined up and waiting. “We have a fairly extensive set of letters of intent and MOUs with satellite developers and aggregators already, but these don’t turn into formal launch contracts until the point when we can tell them what that actual launch date is. Once we break ground, we’ll be in a much better position to project what the launch date is and start to turn those letters of intent into launch contracts.” Progress on the project has been slow this past year, and there has been little to report, which may have pleased some people in the Canso/Hazel Hill area who are opposed to the spaceport. Matier said, while the company is aware of the opposition, MLS would not have selected the site without support from the majority of community members. “We really started this initiative by working with the community, first and foremost,” he said, adding that the company has held open information sessions and met with stakeholder groups like the Municipality of the District of Guysborough and the Fishermen’s Association. “We have sought input and will continue to do so. We’re not about to ram this through … we have been open and honest about everything we are planning to do,” Matier said. The Environmental Assessment Approval, dated June 4, 2019 states that work must commence on the project within two years of the approval date; beyond that time, a written extension must be granted by the provincial environment minister. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
WASHINGTON — His term at an end, President Donald Trump said farewell to Washington on Wednesday but also hinted about a comeback despite a legacy of chaos, tumult and bitter divisions in the country he led for four years. “So just a goodbye. We love you," Trump told supporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland where he walked across a red carpet and boarded Air Force One to head to Florida. "We will be back in some form.” Trump departed office as the only president ever impeached twice, and with millions more out of work than when he was sworn in and 400,000 dead from the coronavirus. Under his watch, Republicans lost the presidency and both chambers of Congress. He will be forever remembered for inciting an insurrection, two weeks before Democrat Joe Biden moved into the White House, at the Capitol that left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer, and horrified the nation. It was on Trump's on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2017, that he had painted a dire picture of “American carnage." The first president in modern history to boycott his successor’s inauguration, Trump is still stewing about his loss and maintains that election won by Biden was stolen from him. Republican officials in several critical states, members of his own administration and a wide swath of judges, including those appointed by Trump, have rejected those arguments. Trump refused to participate in any of the symbolic passing-of-the-torch traditions surrounding the peaceful transition of power, including inviting the Joe and Jill Biden to the White House for a get-to-know-you visit. He did follow at least one tradition: The White House said Trump left behind a note for Biden. A Trump spokesman, Judd Deere, declined to say what Trump wrote or characterize the sentiment in the note, citing privacy for communication between presidents. Members of Trump’s family gathered for the send-off on the military base along with the president’s loyalists, who chanted “We love you!” “Thank you, Trump” and “U.S.A.” Four Army cannons fired a 21-gun salute. Speaking without notes, Trump said his presidency was an “incredible four years.” He told the crowd that he and first lady Melania Trump loved them and praised his family for its hard work, saying they could have chosen to have an easier life. “It’s been something very special. We’ve accomplished a lot,” Trump said, citing the installation of conservative judges, creation of the space force, development of coronavirus vaccines and management of a robust pre-pandemic economy. “I hope they don’t raise your taxes, but if they do, I told you so,” he said of the incoming Biden administration. He acknowledged that his was not a “regular administration” and told his backers that he would be returning in some form. He said the Trump campaign had worked so hard: “We’ve left it all on the field," he said. Without mention's Biden's name, Trump wished the new administration great luck and success, which he said would made easier because he had laid “a foundation.” “I will always fight for you," he told the crowd. “I will be watching. I will be listening.” Before arriving at the airport, Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House that being president had been the honour of his lifetime. “We love the American people, and again, it has been something very special," he said over the sound of the Marine One helicopter. "And I just want to say goodbye but hopefully it’s not a long-term goodbye. We’ll see each other again.” If the schedule holds, by the time Biden is sworn in, Trump will have landed at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. He will face an uncertain future. Aides had urged Trump to spend his final days in office trying to salvage his legacy by highlighting his administration’s achievements — tax cuts, scaled-back federal regulations, normalizing relations in the Middle East. But Trump largely refused, taking a single trip to the Texas border and releasing a video in which he pledged to his supporters that “the movement we started is only just beginning.” In his final hours, Trump issued pardons for more than 140 people, including his former strategist, rap performers, ex-members of Congress and other allies of him and his family. Trump will retire to Florida with a small group of former White House aides as he charts a political future that looks very different now from just two weeks ago. Before the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, Trump had been expected to remain his party’s de facto leader, wielding enormous power as he served as a kingmaker and mulled a 2024 presidential run. But now he appears more powerless than ever — shunned by so many in his party, impeached twice, denied the Twitter bullhorn he had intended to use as his weapon and even facing the prospect that, if he is convicted in his Senate trial, he could be barred from seeking a second term. For now, Trump remains angry and embarrassed, consumed with rage and grievance. He spent the week after the election sinking deeper and deeper into a world of conspiracy, and those who have spoken with him say he continues to believe he won in November. He has lashed out at Republicans for perceived disloyalty and has threatened, both publicly and privately, to spend the coming years backing primary challenges against those he feel betrayed him. Some expect him to eventually turn completely on the Republican Party, perhaps by flirting with a run as a third-party candidate as an act of revenge. For all the chaos and drama and bending the world to his will, Trump ended his term as he began it: largely alone. The Republican Party he co-opted finally appeared to have had enough after Trump’s supporters violently stormed the Capitol, hunting for lawmakers who refused to go along with Trump’s unconstitutional efforts to overturn the results of a democratic election. White House cleaning crews worked overnight Wednesday and were still going as the sun rose to get the building cleaned and ready for its new occupants. Most walls were stripped down to the hooks that once held photographs, and offices were devoid of the clutter and trinkets that gave them life. While Trump has left the White House, he retains his grip on the Republican base, with the support of millions of loyal voters, along with allies still helming the Republican National Committee and many state party organizations. The city he leaves will not miss him. Trump rarely left the confines of the White House, except to visit his own hotel. He and his wife never once ate dinner at any other local restaurant and never ventured out to shop in its stores or see the sites. When he did leave, it was almost always to one of his properties: his golf course in Virginia, his golf course in New Jersey, his private club and nearby golf course in Palm Beach, Florida. The city overwhelmingly supported Biden, with 93% of the vote. Trump received just 5.4% of the vote — or fewer than 18,600 ballots — not enough to fill the Washington Capitals hockey arena. ___ Associated Press writer Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report. Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 10:35 a.m. Ontario says there are 2,655 new cases of COVID-19 in the province today and 89 more deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott says 925 of the new cases are in Toronto, 473 are in Peel Region and 226 are in York Region. Nearly 14,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since Ontario's last daily update. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. The Canadian Press
INDIANAPOLIS — When Philip Rivers first started tossing footballs as a high-school ball boy, he heaved them any way he could. The throwing motion stuck — and success soon followed. Rivers used that strange, shot put-like style to land a college scholarship, become a first-round draft pick and eventually string together one of the greatest 17-year careers in NFL history. On Wednesday, the 39-year-old Indianapolis Colts quarterback announced his retirement. “Every year, Jan. 20 is a special and emotional day,” Rivers said in a statement posted on the team’s website. “It is St. Sebastian’s Feast day, the day I played in the AFC championship without an ACL, and now the day that after 17 seasons, I’m announcing my retirement from the National Football League. Thank you God for allowing me to live out my childhood dream of playing quarterback in the NFL. I am grateful to the Chargers for 16 seasons, and the Colts for the 17th season.” Rivers was one of a kind. Between his trademark throwing style and his penchant for trash-talking without cussing, he carved out his own niche in the NFL. There’s no doubt Rivers could sling it. When he threw for 401 yards and five touchdowns in his second college game, then-Indiana Hoosiers coach and future NFL head coach Cam Cameron proclaimed that the North Carolina State freshman had a future in the NFL. Rivers didn’t just play in the league — he created a legacy few achieve. “We kind of think it started at 5, 6, 7, 8 years old, throwing a regulation-size football,” Rivers said before the season opener, explaining how he developed his style. “I couldn’t hold it, grip it, palm it, so I had to kind of lay it in my hand a little bit. You’re not strong enough to throw it, you push it. Then as you get bigger and stronger, you change it a little bit. But I think the actual motion kind of stays with what’s most comfortable and muscle memory and how you get used to throwing it.” After being selected fourth overall in the 2004 draft, he was quickly traded to the New York Giants for Eli Manning. Rivers spent the next two seasons backing up Drew Brees in San Diego before taking over as the starter when Brees left in free agency. In the 2006 season opener, Rivers made his starting debut — and then the next 251 in a row including the playoffs. Nothing kept him out — not the awkward mechanics, not the critics who thought he should retire after his final season with the Chargers, not even the torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered against the Colts following the 2007 playoffs. His 240 consecutive regular-season starts was the second-longest streak since 1970, trailing only Brett Favre (297), and it was one of the few stats Rivers cherished. “It’s certainly important to me and I’m thankful that I’ve been healthy enough to be out there,” Rivers said in November. “I do think there is something about that availability, being there each and every week.” He was more than just dependable, too. Rivers won 134 career games — No. 2 among quarterbacks without a Super Bowl ring — and was eighth all-time. Only Tom Brady (230), two-time Super Bowl champs Peyton Manning (186) and Ben Roethlisberger (156), Brees (172) and Hall of Famers Favre (186), John Elway (148) and Dan Marino (147) won more regular-season games than Rivers. He also finished his career ranked fifth in career completions (5,277), yards passing (63,440) and touchdown passes (421), and as the Chargers’ franchise record-holder in every major passing category. Age didn’t slow him down, either. Despite struggling in 2019, Rivers rebounded when he was reunited with coach Frank Reich in Indianapolis. After throwing five interceptions and four TD passes in his first five Colts games, Rivers finished with 22 TD passes and six interceptions over the last 12. Rivers, an eight-time Pro Bowler, had the second-highest completion percentage of his career (68%) in 2020 while leading the Colts to an 11-5 mark and their second playoff appearance since 2015. And he did it despite playing the final seven with an injured toe on his right foot. His teammates were upset they couldn’t help him go out by clearing the most glaring omission from his otherwise remarkable resume — a championship. “The ultimate goal is a Super Bowl and you’ve got a guy playing for 17 years,” two-time All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard said after a 27-24 loss wild-card round loss at Buffalo. “Adam Vinatieri played 23 years and he has some Super Bowl rings, but Philip doesn’t have any. So you’ve got to continue to work and for us not to give him one this year, it sucks.” Leonard was hoping Rivers would return. Reich and Colts general manager Chris Ballard both said they wanted him back, too. But last week, Ballard said he wanted to take some time to evaluate the season and possible off-season acquisitions and urged Rivers to take time to determine if he would be all-in for 2021. Rivers finally decided it was time to leave. He already has a day gig lined up, becoming the head coach of St. Michael Catholic High School in Fairhope, Alabama, where he hopes to coach his sons just like his father coached him. And where those children may perfect the motion Rivers made famous. “My son never did throw a big ball like I did at that age and he throws it the exact same way,” Rivers said. “He throws it the same way and anytime I try to tell him, he says, ‘Dad, you throw it that way.’ So I’ve left him alone also.” ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL Michael Marot, The Associated Press