Damiana Reyes is back at work at a busy Manhattan hair salon but her mind often drifts to her father, with whom she lived in Queens, before he succumbed to the new coronavirus at age 76. (July 28)
WASHINGTON — A former FBI lawyer plans to plead guilty to making a false statement in the first criminal case arising from U.S. Attorney John Durham's investigation into the probe of ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign, his lawyer said Friday.Kevin Clinesmith is expected to plead guilty to one count of making a false statement related to the altering of a government email about a former Trump campaign adviser who was a target of FBI surveillance, attorney Justin Shur told The Associated Press.The case against Clinesmith is likely to be cheered by President Donald Trump and his supporters as they look to the Durham investigation to lift Trump's wobbly reelection prospects and to expose what they see as wrongdoing as the FBI opened an investigation into whether the Trump campaign was co-ordinating with the Kremlin to sway the outcome of the 2016 election.The Durham investigation, which is also examining the intelligence community's assessment about Russian election interference, has caused deep concern among Democrats, who view it as a politically charged exercise meant to relitigate an already closed investigation and fear criminal charges or public reports issued so close to the 2020 election could be timed to affect November's vote.The investigation has proceeded alongside a parallel effort by Senate Republicans to discredit the Russia probe and as Attorney General William Barr has escalated his own criticism of the FBI's probe.Barr foreshadowed the legal action in a Fox News Channel interview on Thursday night in which he said there would be a development Friday that was “not earth shattering” but would be an indication that the investigation was moving along.Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, had no comment, a spokesman said. It remains unclear what additional charges, if any, Durham might bring or to what extent his investigation will validate Trump's allegations that the FBI investigation was tainted by political bias — claims for which the Justice Department watchdog found no evidence.Justice Department policy directs prosecutors not to take investigative steps for the purpose of affecting an election and frowns upon taking public actions in the weeks before an election. But Barr has said he did not feel constrained by that policy in part because the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice-President Joe Biden, is not a target of Durham's investigation, and Barr has signalled that he will look to make Durham's findings public before the election.Clinesmith was referred for potential prosecution by the department's inspector general's office, which conducted its own review of the Russia investigation. He resigned from the FBI last year.That review found that the Russia probe was opened for a legitimate reason and did not find proof of political bias, but it also concluded that the FBI made significant errors and omissions as it applied for secret national security warrants to eavesdrop on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.Specifically, the inspector general accused Clinesmith, though not by name, of altering an email about Page to say that he was “not a source” for another government agency and forwarding it along. Page has said he was a source for the CIA.The Justice Department relied on that assertion as it submitted a third and final renewal application in 2017 to eavesdrop on Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.Clinesmith told the inspector general that from his conversations he did not understand Page to be a source, or a “recruited asset,” or to have a direct relationship with another government agency. But that relationship was seen as something important to disclose to the FISA court, especially if Page was being tasked by the government to have interactions with Russians.“Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email," Shur said. “It was never his intent to mislead the court or his colleagues, as he believed the information he relayed was accurate, but Kevin understands what he did was wrong and accepts responsibility.”Durham is a veteran prosecutor with a history of special assignments from Washington. Former Attorney General Eric Holder selected him during the Obama administration to investigate the CIA's harsh interrogation techniques of terror suspects and the destruction of videotapes documenting that interrogation.Barr appointed Durham just weeks after special counsel Robert Mueller concluded his nearly two-year investigation. Mueller found significant contacts during the 2016 campaign between Russians and Trump associates but did not allege a criminal conspiracy between them.Mueller also examined multiple episodes in which Trump sought to affect or choke off the Russia investigation, but he did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump had obstructed justice.Barr signalled his skepticism with the Russia investigation right away, concluding that Trump had not obstructed justice even though Mueller had pointedly left that question unresolved.More recently, Barr stepped in to dismiss the criminal case against former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn even though Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, and Barr overruled prosecutors to seek a lighter prison term for Trump confidant Roger Stone. The Republican president commuted Stone's sentence last month.Eric Tucker And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
A child who's too anxious about the COVID-19 pandemic to return to school. An immunocompromised single mom whose doctor recommended keeping her daughter out of classes. A parent who feels the Alberta government's return to school plan is "reckless." These are just some of the Calgarians making the heart-wrenching decision to opt for the public school system's online learning this fall rather than sending kids back to the classrooms.Registration for the Calgary Board of Education's short-term Hub online learning program opened this week. It's meant as an alternative for families who aren't comfortable returning for "near-normal" in-person learning with the ongoing pandemic.For Tamara Rose, who has shared her experience with the education system with CBC News since the outset of the pandemic, keeping her seven-year-old daughter home in September is a necessity. "My doctor didn't recommend for me to put her back into class," she said. "So now we are going to have to try and manage doing the [Hub] home school while I continue to work full-time from home while being a single mom."Rose's doctor made that recommendation because she has multiple autoimmune diseases."One of them is in my lungs and therefore it makes me a higher risk for adverse effects from COVID-19, with the possibility of permanent lung damage," she said."We're hoping that something changes in February and she can go back to class. But we're prepared to just keep going for the whole year this way."Rose said her boyfriend and her father have stepped up to help her make Hub learning possible for her daughter, who is about to start Grade 2. "But with my dad being high risk as well — he unfortunately has a lot of the same medical things that I have — we have to completely close our cohort," she said. Rose said she knows she's fortunate to be able to make this work, and hopes her decision and that of other parents opting to use Hub helps the bigger picture."I'm hoping that with the choice for parents to stay home it will actually even decrease the class sizes slightly for the people that do have to send their kids," she said. "I hope that makes for a safer environment for pretty much everybody."Prospect of staying home upsets some studentsDana Watson signed up her daughter for Grade 6 with Hub. It was a decision she said that wasn't easy. "She is upset, she's not happy about it. She's a social creature and she misses all of that," said Watson.But with a family member who is considered high-risk, Watson said she didn't want to put her daughter into a crowded classroom — where no one really knows what will happen in the fall. "I would have liked to have seen the setup of the school before making the decision but that's not possible because it's summer. And they're starting in September and we had to register for the Hub previous to that," she said. "I'm not going to risk her health or another person's health for Grade 6."Watson said she'll still be working full-time, but her husband works from home and will cut back his hours to make this possible. Parents forced to decide without knowing school plansJoanne Pitman, superintendent of school improvement with the CBE, said the board has heard from parents the desire to have individual school plans, but she said it's important to recognize that the plans are dependent on student enrolment."The vast majority of school authorities across the province are asking families to be able to indicate whether or not they will attend in-person or online learning earlier and before individual school plans are posted," she said. Pitman said individual school plans will be completely in line with the re-entry guidelines."All of our schools will be required to have very clear seating plans, and the primary component of ensuring that wherever possible the movement of furniture and space to create ultimate space between students based on the number of students in a room follow the guidelines set out by Albert Education."Parent wishes class sizes were cappedMarissa Maitland Hare said she's still undecided regarding if she'll register her daughter, Audrey Maitland, for Grade 4 with Hub or in-person.She's still holding out hope that the UCP government will make changes to the province's school re-entry guidelines so that class sizes and cohorts are capped. "I don't want to send them if it's going to be how it was, say, March 1st, in a classroom of 24 or 25 kids — all in one place and without any other measures in place like proper Plexiglas barriers that would allow kids to work close to each other, and their table configurations or with the teachers," she said. Maitland Hare said Audrey seems apprehensive about going back for in-person learning. "She said she would probably rather go online, which I found really shocking because she was the one who was totally burnt-out from it," she said."But she's got major anxiety about COVID. She gets really upset when her brother doesn't properly social distance playing with kids on the playground. She's sort of the mask police in our house, making sure that we all have our masks before we go out."Maitland Hare said she's scheduled a call with her MLA to talk about her concerns about the re-entry plan. > It just seems so wrong in the face of it that we'd be asking kids to go and do the things that we as adults won't do. \- Marissa Maitland Hare, parent"He's not sitting with all of his colleagues in the legislature because they know it's unsafe for that many people to be together. I haven't been at my job since March because my employer recognizes that it's unsafe for 100 or so of us that sit on my floor to all be together in our open environment," she said."It just seems so wrong in the face of it that we'd be asking kids to go and do the things that we as adults won't do."Alberta plan feels 'reckless,' another mom saysLucy Martin registered her son for Grade 6 with Hub.She said that compared with how British Columbia is handling its return of students, Alberta's plan feels "reckless" to her. "Given the lack of safety provisions the UCP has provided, I don't feel safe for my son to return to a class of 32-plus with one teacher. His school is an older building and the classrooms are tiny," she said.But she worries about her son's lack of social interactions while learning from home. "He's an only child so learning at home can feel isolating," she said. "When I've asked him how he feels about it, he's OK and comfortable with the online learning format but really misses his classmates, teacher, music class and gym."Martin said she's made a big personal sacrifice by quitting her job to make this work but is hopeful it will go smoother than the emergency online schooling put in place in March. "I feel like the Hub will provide a lot more curriculum detail versus the emergency online learning, which was lacking a lot given how it had to be put in place in such a short time," she said.Hub requires major commitment from parents, studentsPitman said the Hub option will require a significant commitment from parents and students. Students in Grades 1 to 6 will have class instruction for set times each week for between five and six hours, to be supplemented by pre-recorded videos and direct instructions that will be specific to assignments. "Students will also then have independent work on top of those other instructional periods and then there's always individual followup with students or small groups," said Pitman, noting it will all add up to about 20 hours of work a week.Students in Grades 7 to 9 will have five to seven hours of direct instruction, supplemented also by videos and independent work. "Four hours daily or one hour per course daily of independent work," she said, noting it would add up to about 25 hours of work a week. High school students will receive two hours per-week of direct instruction per course, paired with videos and independent work, resulting in 30 hours per week of time that must be committed toward coursework. Pitman said once registration for Hub closes on Aug. 24, the CBE will reassign existing teachers to meet the demand. "At this time, it is challenging to make a full prediction of how many parents will be registering their students for the Hub," she said. "We have said that we are not limiting registration to the Hub for existing CBE students."
U.S. prosecutors said ensuring Ghislaine Maxwell's safety was a key reason she has been isolated from other inmates at the Brooklyn jail where she is being held on charges she facilitated late financier Jeffrey Epstein's sexual abuse of underage girls. In a letter on Thursday to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan, prosecutors also said it was "at best premature" to require they identify three alleged victims named in Maxwell's indictment. Lawyers for Maxwell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce says he's "unlocked" $500 million in funding to enhance physical distancing and improve air quality as multiple teachers' unions claim the province's current plan violates provincial health and safety law.The minister also announced an additional $50 million for upgrades to ventilation systems and $18 million for online learning amid concerns over student safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. The half a billion dollars in funding comes after the ministry allowed school boards to dip into reserve funds. Boards that do not have reserves will be provided with funding from an $11 million allocation.Allowing boards to use the reserve funds is in addition to $309 million provided by the province, which includes $60 million for personal protective equipment in schools and $100 million for custodians and enhanced cleaning products for schools, which was announced in July.On Thursday, Lecce also said the province is confident that children can return to schools safely in the fall, even amid the pandemic."Let me be perfectly clear. If the best medical minds in the province did not think it was safe for your child to go back to school, the choice would have been simple," he said. "We're in a position where we are able to safely and confidently reopen schools, but with strict health and safety protocols"But Lecce's opening up of new funding follows weeks of criticism of the province's back-to-school plan from parents, teachers and medical professionals, particularly when it comes to class sizes.The announcement also comes on the heels of Ontario's four major education unions alleging that the current back-to-school strategy breaks provincial law by violating occupational health and safety legislation.The unions, which represent more than 190,000 teachers and education workers, issued a press release Thursday afternoon saying the plan "fails to meet legal health and safety requirements," and that teachers and students are not protected against COVID-19. They raised red flags over the lack of mask requirements for children under 10, larger class sizes, poor ventilation in schools and lack of adequate screenings and safeguards for students. They've asked to meet with Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton and representatives from the Ministry of Education to discuss their concerns.During the press conference, Lecce didn't answer questions on whether he'd meet with union representatives, saying that there had been many meetings ahead of Thursday's announcement.No class size cap for elementary, air quality questioned in older schoolsThe issue of class sizes has been the crux of the opposition toward the province's plan, as while high schools will have a cap of 15 students per class, elementary schools will not have a limit on class sizes for Grades 4 to 8.Instead, the only stipulation is a maximum average of 24.5 students per class across each school board.WATCH | Provinces adjust back-to-school plans:This would mean it's likely a child could be in a class with 30 or more other students. While class caps will still not be placed at the elementary level, Lecce said Thursday that the reserve funding could be used to create alternative classrooms outside of schools if there are difficulties acquiring more space. It gives the opportunity for schools to use the money as they see fit, based on current concerns and needs, he said.In a report examining back-to-school planning published in July by SickKids hospital, it's recommended that smaller class sizes be a "priority strategy."However, the report said, there is "limited evidence" on what to base the maximum class size numbers on as it depends on other factors, such as the size of the classrooms and if non-traditional spaces, like outdoor classrooms, are being used.Teachers and parent groups held a protest at Queen's Park on Wednesday to address the class-size issue, as well as draw attention to the sometimes poor ventilation in older Toronto schools that could exacerbate the crowding concerns.At that protest, teachers spoke about how the two-metre physical distancing rules would be impossible for many classrooms based on their size.They also raised concerns about building repairs that are needed to increase airflow in many schools.Parents and teacher coalitions at Wednesday's protest asked the province for $3 billion in funding to allow for smaller class sizes and updated ventilation systems.Older schools can use individual HVAC mobile units with the funding to support current ventilation instead of entirely remodeling a school's airflow system, Lecce noted at the press conference.As schools are three weeks away from opening, Lecce was asked if there is enough time for boards to determine how to properly use the money that's become available and implement changes before the first day.In response, he said schools have already been preparing and these changes can be "layered" on top of what is already in the works in order to "de-risk the circumstance."Using reserve funds would create 'future financial risks': TDSBThe Toronto District School Board provided CBC News with a memo to school trustees from Interim Director Carlene Jackson that says pulling from reserve funds would be a liability and lead to "future financial risks" for the board."It would not be prudent or good financial management if we were to use a large amount of reserve funds to cover the entire cost of smaller class sizes," Jackson states. Staff are instead looking at whether the reserves could be used to augment the TDSB's share of $30 million for staffing coming from the province, so that they can create class sizes of 15 to 20, she said. The board will be applying for this funding as soon as it's available.Even if class sizes are smaller, the schools do not currently have enough space to accommodate these sizes and staff are working on finding more options for new classrooms, explained Jackson. Transportation would need to be arranged if new school locations are added.The TDSB is also looking into how to use its portion of the $50 million in HVAC upgrades with the school year just weeks away."Given this significant change, staff would have to assess if the necessary arrangements could be made in time for the first day of school on Sept. 8," she said.
The company and the UK government will collaborate for a phase 3 clinical trial to assess the efficacy of the vaccine in the UK population, Novavax said in a statement, but did not disclose any financial details of the agreement. Novavax would partner with Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies for manufacturing the antigen component of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the UK, it added.
Spotted eagle rays are a rare and spectacular sight for scuba divers. Their ornate markings and enormous wingspan make them a sight to behold. Powerful and graceful, they glide over the reef, seemingly effortlessly. They grow more than 3m across (10 feet) and can weigh as much as 230kg (500lbs). They have a long tail that is equipped with numerous venomous barbs. An injury from a stingray can be life-threatening, but these animals never attack humans. Any injuries documented have been the result of accidents or improper behaviour on the part of the person injured. Spotted eagle rays feed on fish, crustaceans, and conch, having the ability to crush a large shell in their powerful jaws to get to the meat inside. While scuba diving in Belize, this gigantic ray casually swam up behind and along side an unsuspecting diver who just happened to have the camera at the ready. Initially shocked to see this massive animal so close, the diver raised the camera to capture a beautiful video clip as the ray passed. The scuba diver followed along as the ray continued slowly over the coral and out to deeper water. Stingrays have thousands or receptors in their wings that enable them to detect very subtle electric impulses from prey buried in the sand beneath them. They can dig with their snouts or beat their wings to clear the sand to get at their prey beneath. Highly intelligent, the eagle ray exhibits a behaviour similar to human curiosity and they will often slow and circle swimmers to get a better look. Spotted eagle rays have been seen following humans and they will quickly catch on if the human lifts rocks or debris that exposes food beneath. The eagle ray will move in and eat what is disturbed and left unsheltered. The eagle ray is smart enough to repeat this behaviour, waiting patiently for each opportunity to feed. The eagle ray is a preferred food for large sharks. Their tail spines are designed to be used as a defense if the ray is attacked from behind or above by a predator. Due to predation and also bycatch from the fishing industry, the spotted eagle ray is declining in numbers and is now listed as near threatened. To lose such beautiful and gentle creatures would be an extreme tragedy.
U.S. tour boat operator David Kay is frustrated. He said he's prohibited from entering Canadian waters in the St. Lawrence River, yet he continually sees Canadian tour boats travel along the same river into U.S. waters. "We can't go over there and they can come over here," said Kay, owner of Clayton Island Tours in Clayton, N.Y. "It's kind of an unfair advantage."Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada and the U.S. have agreed to shut their shared land border to non-essential traffic, which includes recreational boating. But some U.S. commercial tour boat operators in the St. Lawrence — who are now prohibited from entering Canadian waters — say their Canadian counterparts don't face similar restrictions. "I have no problem with Canadian boats coming into the U.S. waters," said Ron Thomson, owner of Uncle Sam Boat Tours in Alexandria Bay, N.Y. But he said Canada should also let in U.S. tour boats — as long as no one docks and passengers don't disembark."What [COVID-19] threat do my boats pose by coming into Canada and then going back to my docks?" he said. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York agrees. In a statement earlier this month, he said he sent a letter to the Canadian government asking it to relax it's boating restrictions. Schumer said many U.S. boaters have recently reported facing fines when crossing to the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence. Americans caught entering Canadian waters for tourism face up to six months in jail and/or fines of up to $750,000.Schumer said U.S. boaters sailing through Canadian waters pose no health risks and that the rules aren't reciprocal, as U.S. authorities still allow Canadian vessels to pass through U.S. waters."That type of uneven enforcement puts U.S. boaters — especially tour companies — at a disadvantage and does nothing to protect Canadians from COVID-19 spread," the Senate minority leader said.However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) told CBC News that the rules are even because Canadian tour boats actually aren't allowed to enter U.S. waters."Traversing U.S. waters for recreational purposes is deemed non-essential and therefore not authorized due to the current travel restrictions," CBP spokesperson Mike Niezgoda said in an email.Confusion over rulesBut U.S. tour operators Kay and Thomson said they see two Ontario-based tour boat companies — Gananoque Boat Line and Rockport Boat Line — take Canadian passengers on tours multiple times a day along the U.S. side of the St. Lawrence River."People on [my] boat see the Canadian boat go by and say, 'Well why can they come here if we can't go there?'" Kay said. "We can't really give an answer."Gananoque Boat Line — based in Gananoque, Ont., near Kingston — declined to comment and referred CBC News to Transport Canada. Transport Canada responded in an email that it "respects the authority of U.S. officials regarding vessels entering their waters." Rockport Boat Line, based in Rockport, Ont., confirmed to CBC News that it's still sailing to the U.S. side of the St. Lawrence and said that it has permission to do so.Company president Kathleen Allen stated in an email that Rockport's tour boat is considered a commercial vessel, not a recreational boat, and that U.S. CBP told her the vessel could travel — without stopping — in U.S. waters. "We are not 'crossing into the U.S.' as in some kind of border crossing," Allen said. 'We are travelling nonstop through U.S. waters."When CBC News asked U.S. CBP about Allen's statement, it reiterated its policy that tour boats cannot enter the U.S. at this time. The agency said it's constantly on the lookout for trespassers and that boaters who break the rules could face fines or expulsion.CBP said it couldn't immediately provide information on how many Canadians have been fined for entering U.S. waters since the border closure began in March.A compromise?Back in Clayton, N.Y., tour operator Kay said he hopes his Canadian counterparts will continue to sail in U.S. waters. "I'm not trying to shut them down. I'm trying to open it up for us."In Schumer's letter to the Canadian government, he proposed that Canada grant U.S. boaters pre-clearance to enter Canadian waters, as long as they adhere to safety rules such as wearing masks and not docking. "Such a system ... would not increase the risk of COVID-19 spread to Canadians," he wrote.But, at least for now, Canada is sticking to its current travel restrictions for U.S. boaters."These are unprecedented times, and the measures imposed were done so in light of potential public health risks," Canada Border Services Agency said in an email.
On August 13, 2010, the MV Sun Sea, a cargo ship carrying 492 Tamils seeking asylum from civil war in Sri Lanka docked in Esquimalt on Vancouver Island. Ten years later, some are still seeking relief.Piranavan Thangavel, 29, a passenger on the ship, says he's still waiting for permanent residency status while other fellow passengers are waiting for their refugee hearings. "We are not terrorists. We are not criminals. We are refugees … We came here to save our lives," Thangavel said. When the ship arrived in Canada, all 380 men, 63 women, and 49 children on board were detained — for months to years. In the 10 years since his arrival, including eight months spent in detention, Thangavel has learned to speak English, graduated from high school and attended college.He says he has been able to endure the long wait for status better than most because he is single, but others with spouses or children back in Sri Lanka have fallen into depression because of the uncertainty caused by the immigration limbo. "I don't know why it takes this long," he said. Gary Anandasangaree, a Liberal MP and human rights lawyer, was in Victoria Thursday morning at a commemorative ceremony for the MV Sun Sea held at the grounds of the B.C. Legislature. Anandasangaree had met with detainees back in 2010."There was a lot of scare-mongering at the time by politicians saying they were terrorists, criminals, undesirables," he said."Sure enough, they were not as described and anticipated, they were actual refugees with enormous experiences of trauma."However, that political context and their subsequent months-long detention delayed the asylum claim process. Then came a shift in laws which led to a delay in processing refugee claims across the board, leading to a long, drawn-out process for many of the MV Sun Sea passengers. "Someone with a four-year-old now has a fourteen-year-old boy back home who doesn't really remember his father. There's many, many stories like that, I think, which goes to how the system failed on a number of different occasions," he said. Thangavel says Canada should open its arms to anybody affected by war who comes here seeking refuge and safety."I have only one aim. I want to become a good Canadian citizen."
OTTAWA — More than 12 million eggs will be redistributed via an emergency federal program designed to help farmers faced with too much food and nowhere to sell it due to the COVID-19 pandemic.Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced Thursday that the government has signed eight agreements worth nearly $50 million to help align the needs of food banks and other community groups with what farmers and producers can supply.In an interview with The Canadian Press, Bibeau called the program a "win-win-win.""It's reaching three objectives," she said."The first one to feed the people in need, second to support our farmers by buying some of their surplus at the cost of production and the third one was avoiding food waste."The organizations receiving the money include Food Banks Canada, Second Harvest and the Quebec group La Tablee des Chefs.Altogether, approximately 12 million kilograms of everything from fish to fowl will be purchased from food producers and then redistributed under the $50-million food surplus program announced by the Liberals earlier this year.The near shutdown of the hospitality industry has meant a sharp decline in the number of places to sell perishable foods.That has led to litres of milk being dumped down drains, potatoes going bad in storage and farmers facing higher costs to hold on to animals they had nowhere to sell if slaughtered.At the same time, food banks have reported sharp increases in the number of people seeking assistance, having lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and there were calls for the federal government to find a way to match up the two.Lori Nikkel, the chief executive officer at Second Harvest, said pre-pandemic, an estimated 58 per cent of all the food produced for Canadians was going to waste.That number was definitely pushed higher by COVID-19, she said, and she applauded the federal government's leadership in spooling up the program. Second Harvest uses an online platform, FoodRescue.ca, to link up organizations that need food for their programs with farmers and producers who have surplus goods.They received $11 million from the government to expand that program to include paying producers directly for their food, and ensure the groups on the receiving end have what they need to process, distribute and store it. Nikkel said the money will go fast, and she hopes the federal government will consider a new round of funding at a later date as the need will not go away. "The commodities are going to change," she said."Who we are helping now may not be the people we are helping tomorrow."Bibeau said the government will keep an eye on whether the demand from organizations, and oversupply from producers, remains in the coming months."We'll keep the door open in the sense that for now, we feel it's a very worthwhile program, and we look forward to seeing how it will evolve in the coming weeks."Ten per cent of the product being purchased by the surplus program is being sent to northern communities.Among the projects focused on those is one with Fisher River Cree Nation in Manitoba, which received $10.8 million to catch millions of kilograms of walleye and redistribute the fish to more than 75 Indigenous communities.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 13, 2020.Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
Jovian Radheshwar travels light.The Douglas College political science instructor says he often walks around his downtown New Westminster neighbourhood with only the essentials: house keys and a smart watch capable of making tap payments.His minimalist approach is meant to simplify, but it became an unexpected problem on the morning of July 27.Radheshwar says he was going to meet a friend for coffee, when he was suddenly stopped by two New Westminster Police Department (NWPD) officers and asked to present identification.He told them he didn't have any.Still, Radheshwar says the officers insisted, suggesting he looked similar to a suspect they were trying to arrest."They mentioned they were looking for a guy named Abdul," said Radheshwar. "I protested and said 'No, I'm not Abdul', [but] one of them said 'C'mon you look exactly like him.' "He says he eventually managed to walk away from the officers and meet his friend.But while he left the situation unscathed, he fears he was racially profiled and stopped without proper evidence. He also acknowledges the situation could have escalated had he not known his rights or if he panicked or had trouble communicating with the the officers. He has sent his concerns to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC).NWPD, meanwhile, denies the allegations, saying officers briefly stopped Radheshwar to "confirm" his identity and that "he was free to go.""It's really not fair for me to let this go because, you know, I'm able to say no. I'm able to carry myself in a conversation," said Radheshwar. "I'm just worried for people who don't have that ability."Description discrepanciesRadheshwar says his concerns over racial profiling stem from a phone call with NWPD following his interaction with the two officers.In the report filed with OPCC, Radheshwar claims he spoke with Staff Sgt. Eamonn Ward who told him officers hadn't seen a photo of the suspect, and had only been given a written description which stated the suspect was 6 feet tall, Middle Eastern, with a medium complexion and thick black hair."There are many people not just in [New Westminster], but in my very apartment building, who could be something like that in terms of how they appear" said Radheshwar, who's background is South Asian."And of course the officer said that I looked exactly like him. So how can I look exactly like a written description?"NWPD however denies that officers were working off a written description."My understanding is that the police officers, or one of the police officers, who is attending the location on Agnes street had seen a photo of the suspect" said Sgt. Jeff Scott.CBC requested to see a photo of "Abdul" but did not receive a response before deadline.CBC also requested an interview with Staff Sgt. Ward about the information given to officers on July 27.NWPD did not respond to that request before deadline.Civil rights groups warn street checksNWPD, meanwhile, argues that "Abdul" was wanted — and eventually arrested — on several serious offences, including criminal harassment, breaching a court order and uttering threats."We weren't just arbitrarily street checking somebody," said Sgt. Scott "This was as part of an investigation for four fairly serious offences."Civil rights advocates, however, believe Radheshwar's experience is tantamount to a street check, a controversial police practice defined as stopping a person outside of an investigation to obtain and record their information."People are only legally required to provide identification if they are being detained or they are being arrested by police" said B.C. Civil Liberties Association executive director Harsha Walia.Earlier this year her organization, along with dozens more, signed an open letter calling on the Vancouver Police Board and the provincial government to end street checks."Police will rarely, and almost never actually, let people know that an interaction is voluntary," she said."The most important thing to ask is whether you are being legally detained or arrested — and if not if you are free to go."Call for changeRadheshwar, meanwhile, says the incident has made him feel less safe."I still think twice now whenever I go outside. It hasn't kept me inside. But I do think about what the cops are doing," he said.He says he wants NWPD to find better ways to do policing.CBC requested an interview with New Westminster Mayor and Police Board chair Johnathon Coté about Radheshwar's situation and the practice of street checks, but was told he was on vacation and unavailable to comment.
Recent developments: What's the latest? Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported eight new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, a return to single digits for the first time since Tuesday.While all of Ottawa's English- and French-language school boards have now released their back-to-school plans, at least one inclusivity and gender equality advocate says those plans don't present a fair choice to families. Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce, meanwhile, says he's "unlocked" $500 million in funding to enhance physical distancing and improve air quality ahead of classes resuming next month.WATCH | How to safely open schoolsHow many cases are there?The city's current total since the pandemic began sits at 2,687 known cases, with 127 active, 2,296 resolved and 264 deaths linked to COVID-19. Overall, public health officials have reported more than 4,100 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with more than 3,500 cases resolved. COVID-19 has killed 102 people in the region outside Ottawa.As of Aug. 13, 52 have died in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties. Additionally, 17 people have died in other parts of eastern Ontario and 33 in the Outaouais.What's open and closedOttawa is in Stage 3 of Ontario's reopening plan, which means more businesses are open including dine-in restaurants and movie theatres.Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 are now allowed in that province but attendees must follow physical distancing guidelines.WATCH | Throwing a micro-wedding because of COVID-19Quebec has similar rules, with its cap on physically distanced gatherings in public venues now up to 250 people, allowing smaller festivals.The Canada Science and Technology Museum reopens tomorrow, and the Canadian Museum of Nature is scheduled to reopen on Sept. 5.Most Ottawa Public Library branches will be open for in-person browsing and computer use starting Monday.Elementary students in Ontario will be heading back to school full time come September, while most high school students will split their time between the classroom and online learning, depending on the board. Individual boards have started to release further guidance.Quebec updated its school plans in early August, including making masks mandatory in hallways for students Grades 5 and up.Distancing and isolatingThe novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes on another person or object. People don't need to have symptoms to be contagious.That means physical distancing measures such as working from home, meeting others outdoors as much as possible and keeping distance from anyone they don't live with or have in their circle, including when you have a mask on.Masks are now mandatory in indoor public settings in all of eastern Ontario and Quebec, where transit officials and taxi drivers are now required to bar access to users over age 12 who refuse to wear one.Masks are also recommended outdoors when you can't stay the proper distance from others.WATCH | School changes in other countriesAnyone who has symptoms or travelled recently outside Canada must self-isolate for at least 14 days.Anyone waiting for a COVID-19 test result in Ontario must self-isolate at least until they know the result. Quebec asks people waiting to only self-isolate in certain circumstances.People in both provinces should self-isolate if they've been in contact with someone who's tested positive or is presumed to have COVID-19.Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly urges self-isolation for people with weakened immune systems and OPH recommends people over 70 stay home as much as possible. Top medical officials say people should be prepared for the possibility COVID-19 restrictions last into 2022 or 2023.What are the symptoms of COVID-19?COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a dry cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pinkeye. Children can develop a rash.If you have severe symptoms, call 911.Where to get testedIn eastern Ontario:In Ottawa any resident who feels they need a test, even if they are not showing symptoms, can be tested at one of three sites.Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.In the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area, there is a drive-thru centre in Casselman that can handle 200 tests a day and assessment centres in Hawkesbury and Winchester that don't require people to call ahead.Others in Alexandria, Rockland and Cornwall require an appointment.In Kingston, the Leon's Centre is hosting the city's test site. Find it at Gate 2.Napanee's test centre is open daily for people who call for an appointment.You can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville or Trenton by calling the centre and in Picton by texting or calling.The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit asks you to get tested if you have a symptom or concerns about exposure.It has a walk-in site in Brockville at the Memorial Centre and testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment.There are test clinics in five Renfrew County communities this week.Its residents should call their family doctor and those without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 to register for a test or if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not.In western Quebec:Outaouais residents now can get a walk-in test in Gatineau five days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond and at recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.They can call 1-877-644-4545 to make an appointment or if they have other questions.As of mid-August, there were longer wait times for test results here compared to some other regions of Quebec.First Nations:Local communities have declared states of emergency, put in a curfew or both.Akwesasne has had 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Most are linked back to a gathering on an island with a non-resident who wasn't showing symptoms at the time.It has a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 80 kilometres away for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse. Face coverings are now mandatory in its public buildings.People in Pikwakanagan can book an appointment for a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259.Kitigan Zibi is planning for an Aug. 29 election with changes depending on the status of the pandemic at that time. It plans on starting to open schools and daycares next month.For more information
Hilary Astolfi, a Grade 2 teacher at King George School in northwest Calgary, was preparing her class lists in June to discover 27 kids were scheduled to arrive in her classroom this fall."We're being asked to socially distance where we can. It's just not possible in my classroom," Astolfi said."We want to be in classes with students, but I'm just not sure that it's safe to do so right now."Astolfi has taught for more than a decade, but said she, like many of her colleagues, is afraid to go back to school. That fear has led Astolfi, and some of her fellow teachers, to consider the bigger picture."I don't have a will. So we're going to get on that," she said. "Because, you know, what if something happens? [What if] we bring it home to our families?"Like, that's the scariest part, is the uncertainty in not knowing."The province's plan to reopen schools has been met with concern by some Alberta teachers and parents.When Alberta students head back into K-12 classrooms this fall, they will be required to wear masks, but some parent advocates have said such measures don't go far enough.The government's back-to-school plan requires masks for grades 4 to 12, meaning Astolfi's students don't fall under the mandate."We continue to follow the expert medical advice of our chief medical officer of health, who approved our school re-entry plan," reads a statement from a spokesperson for the minister of education."We will continue to work with [Dr. Deena] Hinshaw and our education system, and will adjust our guidelines as necessary."The province placed two orders for 1.7 million masks, valued at a total of $4.2 million, with Old Navy and IFR Workwear. Old Navy will make 90 per cent of those masks.On Wednesday, Hinshaw said all Alberta teachers and school staff should be tested for COVID-19 before schools reopen.But Astolfi said her fears will persist unless changes are implemented to class sizes."It's not just about the students in the classroom. It's about the greater impact, and the spreading of [the virus]," she said. "I've definitely been thinking about quitting. Is it worth my life?"
They'd have been bewildered, back in Daniel Webster's day, by this week's blanket news coverage and tea-leaf-reading dedicated to the choice of a U.S. vice-presidential candidate.The vice-presidency was maligned and ridiculed in that bygone era when statesmen sported mutton-chop sideburns and sat stone-faced in black-and-white photo portraits.Webster was offered the position and turned it down."I do not propose to be buried until I am dead," he replied, said Joel Goldstein, a scholar on the vice-presidency.Like many of his generation, the 19th-century statesman viewed the vice-presidency as so pointless, so soul-crushingly devoid of purpose, that he said thanks, but no thanks.That was a common view throughout U.S. history.Holders of the post mocked it with self-deprecating one-liners long before the TV show Veep practically turned disparagement of the office into its own comedic genre.But the position has changed and grown over time, illustrating a broader evolution in U.S. politics in which the presidency has gained, and Congress has lost, political power.Joe Biden told a story this week that underscored that change. As he introduced his running mate, Kamala Harris, the presumptive Democratic nominee described what happened when Barack Obama offered him the same job in 2008. "[Obama] asked me what I wanted most importantly. I told him I wanted to be the last person in the room before he made important decisions," Biden said."That's what I asked Kamala. I asked Kamala to be the last voice in the room. To always tell me the truth."In other words, the VP is now a top adviser to the president. And a troubleshooter — the lead on a few serious files, like a pandemic; a trusted envoy who flies on Air Force Two to carry the president's message to foreign capitals or rides a limousine motorcade up to Capitol Hill to represent the boss in a legislative negotiation.Nearly one-third become presidentNearly one-third of the office's holders have gone on to become president through election or succession. That's especially relevant this year given how historically old the election contenders are.The chance of an average American male of Biden's age who might need to be, erm, replaced over the next four years stands at nearly one-in-five, according to actuarial science.That's what happened in Webster's day.The next president died a couple of years later, and the man who accepted the running-mate role in his stead, Millard Fillmore, wound up in the White House in 1850.But the VP job occasionally went unfilled for years, until the 25th Amendment was ratified and became part of the U.S. Constitution in 1967, allowing a president to fill a vacancy.From the founding to todayThe country's founders had spent little time thinking about the office and originally gave the position to whomever finished second in the Electoral College vote."It was really an afterthought," Goldstein said in an interview. "We don't know exactly why [the founders] created it."The original system devolved into an awkward deadlock between political rivals and was changed a few years later.In its next incarnation, the job was viewed as a patronage post and often went to people with no federal experience — like a customs official, businessmen and state lawmakers.It took numerous decades for presidents to start picking their own running mates, with party bosses controlling the process until then.Dwight Eisenhower was caught off-guard when asked whom he wanted named as his running mate at the 1952 Republican convention."'I thought the convention had to do that,' [Eisenhower] replied, apparently unaware he had any say in the matter," veteran political writer Jules Witcover recounts in his book, The American Vice Presidency."After briefly mentioning some other names, they agreed on [Richard] Nixon."The role grew under Nixon. He began attending cabinet meetings and visited dozens of countries on Eisenhower's behalf. He was himself elected president after two tries.The man who beat Nixon in his initial presidential run — John F. Kennedy — was among the first to pick his own vice-president. But he was shocked when Lyndon B. Johnson accepted.Kennedy was desperate to win Texas and, at the 1960 convention, made a conciliatory offer to its native son. Kennedy friend and biographer Arthur Schlesinger Jr. said the president came back from LBJ's hotel room with startling news."You just won't believe it.... He wants it.... Now what do we do?" JFK told his brother, in an account originally included in Schlesinger's Robert Kennedy biography and repeated in Witcover's book.The role grew over the 20th century as presidents themselves took on more power — for instance, signing far more executive orders.The big turning pointThe final major turning point came after 1972. At a sad and awkward news conference, Democratic nominee George McGovern announced that he was withdrawing his VP pick, who was standing right next to him.This was after days of controversy following news that Sen. Thomas Eagleton had received electroshock therapy as treatment for depression.Pressed by reporters, McGovern, who had originally hoped to recruit Edward Kennedy, said it had been a chaotic party convention and he hadn't properly vetted his choice."We didn't have the time and the deliberation that were needed. I was still writing my acceptance speech within two or three hours of the time I had to deliver it," McGovern replied.The next Democratic nominee vowed not to repeat the mistake.Scholars of the vice-presidency credit Jimmy Carter and his running mate, more than anyone, with modernizing the role.Carter took the selection process seriously, choosing Walter Mondale from an original list of hundreds of names after interviewing the candidates.The Georgia governor wanted a VP with Washington experience to compensate for his own lack of it, and he landed on the senior senator.Goldstein said Carter also viewed reform as a moral issue. He considered it was wrong to leave a potential presidential replacement out of the loop and unprepared for the big job.Nuclear bomb? What nuclear bomb?The development of the nuclear bomb offers a classic, if chilling, example. Harry Truman was kept in the dark about the Manhattan Project to build the bomb — he only found out about it after Franklin Roosevelt died.Carter let Mondale write a new job description for vice-president. And that job description resembles the role we know today: VP as top adviser, present in key meetings, with access to intelligence briefings, playing a lead role on specific files and guaranteed regular lunches with the president.Carter not only agreed to those conditions; he even offered his running mate an office in the White House. The 1976 election was also the first featuring a televised vice-presidential debate. Early in the Carter presidency, Mondale was sent on a world tour to meet with NATO and other allies, and a New York Times piece called the reinvention of the role a legacy of Carter's first 100 days in office. "Because the perception was that [because] the vice-president mattered to the president, he mattered to other people," Goldstein said."The vice-president became part of the president's inner circle."The current roleThat pattern persisted. Under Bill Clinton, Al Gore took a lead on environmental, telecommunications and Russia issues. Dick Cheney had tremendous power from the start, leading the presidential transition and selecting key cabinet members for George W. Bush. He oversaw numerous policy areas. Most notoriously, he advocated for the Iraq War.Biden was involved in the 2009 recovery bill, pandemic preparation and budget negotiations with congressional Republicans.In an interview for Witcover's book, Biden said the president alone can't handle the increasing scope of issues that now cross the Oval Office desk."The president's plate is so very full," he said.WATCH | Biden and Harris make first appearance as running mates:As Biden conducted his search for a running mate, there were days, weeks and months of frenzied media speculation. Reporters produced countless profiles of the potential running mates, unearthing unflattering material about the candidates, publishing gripes from rivals, even tracking flights to Biden's state of Delaware for clues. This week he offered the job to Harris, a California senator and ex-prosecutor. And unlike Daniel Webster, she said yes.
A Makkovik man netted a sea creature far bigger than the salmon he was hoping for this week, unintentionally hauling in a porbeagle shark in the latest close encounter with sharks in Newfoundland and Labrador waters this summer.Tony Andersen headed out from shore late in the evening on Wednesday, hoping to see a salmon or Arctic char in his net. But when he reached the spot, the net was sunk below the surface, weighed down by something."I figured it might be a seal, or a harbour porpoise or something —they've been caught in nets like that," he said.As he hauled it up, he could see the tail tangled in the net, and knew by its shape that was no porpoise, but a large, greyish shark, still in the water."He was dead at the time, anyway, I was hoping," said Andersen.Alone with heavy nets and the shark, he towed it all back to shore slowly where men waiting at the dock confirmed it was a porbeagle shark. The accidental catch quickly became the centre of community attention."Lots of people came over yesterday to have a look," he told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning.Increased sightingsAndersen said shark sightings off Makkovik are up in recent years, with several spotted already this summer."A few have been caught here over the last few summers in salmon nets and that," he said."Seems like they're seeing them more, more coming around in the last few years. People will be out jigging and see them around the boats or try to take the fish from them off the hook."Porbeagles are one of the first shark species to swim up around Newfoundland and Labrador waters each summer, arriving when waters warm to between two to six degrees, according to DFO scientist Carolyn Miri.The species does like to snack on cod, and Miri reminded people out jigging to have a pair of work gloves and a bolt cutter handy to help sharks swim free if they find themselves hooked.Andersen hazarded a guess that the anecdotal uptick in shark sightings could be due to warming ocean temperatures along his section of the Labrador coast.Miri, however, said "we don't have enough data yet to be able to see what's happening with these large migratory sharks, and the changing water temperatures in our marine waters."She does ask anyone who sees a shark anywhere around the province to let DFO know."The public plays a very important role in our multi-year shark research around the province," she said."We're begging people who are enjoying a day on the water, or walking along on the beach, if they see a shark anywhere in Newfoundland and Labrador, dead or alive, please be a citizen scientist."Miri asks people to snap a picture, if possible, and record the time and location and send it along to DFO.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
People of colour in B.C. are likelier to have suffered job loss and financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data from the province.Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry revealed Thursday some of the responses to the province's COVID-19 population healthy survey, laying out the toll the pandemic has had on people of different ethnic and racial backgrounds.About 395,000 British Columbians completed the survey, which asked questions about the financial and societal impact the pandemic had taken on them."There was a differential impact on racialized populations in British Columbia," Henry said. "Not a surprise to us, but it is something that we need to pay attention to."Those who identified as West Asian, Latin American and South Asian respondents were the most likely to report difficulties in meeting financial needs.West Asian, Latin American and Black respondents were the most likely to report job losses caused by the pandemic.White respondents faced fewer financial difficulties and were more likely to be working, but reported drinking more alcohol.Japanese, Korean and South Asian respondents were most likely to have difficulty accessing health care. Latin American, Southeast Asian and Black respondents were also the most likely to report increased connection to family.Calls for race-based dataThe survey results come amid calls for the province to collect race-based COVID-19 data to understand the impacts of the virus on people of various races and ethnic backgrounds.Kevonnie Whyte, a member of the City of Vancouver's racial and ethno-cultural equity advisory committee, said earlier this week the survey results don't give a complete picture because the information is voluntary."We need it to be mandatory," Whyte said. The survey also found those with incomes less than $60,000 reported issues with food security as well as trouble meeting their financial needs.More than three-quarters of households with school-aged children said the pandemic had impaired their learning, and 59 per cent said the pandemic had increased their child's stress."These are all important considerations for how we move forward and the decisions we're making in the coming weeks and months," Henry said.The province has said students will return to school by Sept. 10.
A Greek and a Turkish warship were involved in a mild collision on Wednesday during a standoff in the eastern Mediterranean, in what a Greek defence source called an accident but Ankara called a provocation. Tensions between the NATO allies have risen this week after Turkey sent a survey vessel to the region, escorted by warships, to map out sea territory for possible oil and gas drilling in an area where Turkey and Greece both claim jurisdiction. European Union foreign ministers, who met via teleconference, called for a de-escalation of tensions, an EU official said.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump frankly acknowledged that he's starving the U.S. Postal Service of money to make it harder to process an expected surge of mail-in ballots, which he worries could cost him reelection.In an interview on Fox Business Network, Trump explicitly noted two funding provisions that Democrats are seeking in a relief package that has stalled on Capitol Hill. Without the additional money, he said, the Postal Service won't have the resources to handle a flood of ballots from voters who are seeking to avoid polling places during the coronavirus pandemic.“If we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money,” Trump told host Maria Bartiromo on Thursday. “That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting; they just can’t have it.”Trump's statements, including the false claim that Democrats are seeking universal mail-in voting, come as he is searching for a strategy to gain an advantage in his November matchup against Joe Biden. He's pairing the tough Postal Service stance in congressional negotiations with an increasingly robust mail-in-voting legal fight in states that could decide the election.In Iowa, which Trump won handily in 2016 but is more competitive this year, his campaign joined a lawsuit Wednesday against two Democratic-leaning counties in an effort to invalidate tens of thousands of voters’ absentee ballot applications. That followed legal manoeuvrs in battleground Pennsylvania, where the campaign hopes to force changes to how the state collects and counts mail-in ballots. And in Nevada, Trump is challenging a law sending ballots to all active voters.His efforts could face limits. The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday rebuffed Republicans who challenged an agreement in Rhode Island allowing residents to vote by mail through November’s general election without getting signatures from two witnesses or a notary.For Democrats, Trump’s new remarks were a clear admission that the president is attempting to restrict voting rights.Biden said it was "Pure Trump. He doesn't want an election.”Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said it was " voter suppression to undermine the safest method to vote during a pandemic, and force Americans to risk their lives to vote."Negotiations over a big new virus relief package have all but ended, with the White House and congressional leaders far apart on the size, scope and approach for shoring up households, reopening schools and launching a national strategy to contain the coronavirus.While there is some common ground over $100 billion for schools and new funds for virus testing, Democrats also want other emergency funds that Trump rejects.“They want $3.5 billion for something that will turn out to be fraudulent. That’s election money, basically,” Trump said during Thursday's call-in interview.Democrats have pushed for a total of $10 billion for the Postal Service in talks with Republicans on the COVID-19 response bill. That figure, which would include money to help with election mail, is down from a $25 billion plan in a House-passed coronavirus measure.Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has said that the agency is in a financially untenable position, but he maintains it can handle this year's election mail. A major donor to Trump and other Republicans, DeJoy is the first postmaster general in nearly two decades who is not a career postal employee.“Although there will likely be an unprecedented increase in election mail volume due to the pandemic, the Postal Service has ample capacity to deliver all election mail securely and on-time in accordance with our delivery standards, and we will do so," he told the Postal Service's governing board last week.Memos obtained by The Associated Press show that Postal Service leadership has pushed to eliminate overtime and halt late delivery trips that are sometimes needed to ensure mail arrives on time, measures that postal workers and union officials say are delaying service. Additional records detail cuts to hours at post offices, including reductions on Saturdays and during lunch hours.Democrats, and a handful of Republicans, have sent DeJoy several letters asking him to reverse his changes and criticizing what they say is a lack of openness by the agency. Late Wednesday, Senate Democrats again wrote DeJoy, this time saying postal leadership is pushing state election officials to opt for pricier first-class postage for mail-in ballots to be prioritized.“Instead of taking steps to increase your agency’s ability to deliver for the American people, you are implementing policy changes that make matters worse, and the Postal Service is reportedly considering changes that would increase costs for states at a time when millions of Americans are relying on voting by mail to exercise their right to vote,” the Democrats wrote.Separately, in a letter last month, the Postal Service warned Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson that the agency might not be able to deliver ballots in time to be counted under the state’s deadlines for casting mail-in votes.Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer said in a statement that “certain deadlines concerning mail-in ballots, may be incompatible with the Postal Service’s delivery standards,” especially if election officials don't pay more for first-class postage.“To the extent that states choose to use the mail as part of their elections, they should do so in a manner that realistically reflects how the mail works,” he said.In a memo to staff Thursday, DeJoy said his policies have brought “unintended consequences that impacted our overall service levels,” but added that the Postal Service “must make a number of significant changes which will not be easy, but which are necessary."“This will increase our performance for the election and upcoming peak season and maintain the high level of public trust we have earned for dedication and commitment to our customers throughout our history,” DeJoy wrote, according to the memo obtained by the AP.Judy Beard, legislative and political director for the American Postal Workers Union, said postal workers are up to the task of delivering mail-in ballots this year.“We definitely know that the president is absolutely wrong concerning vote-by-mail,” she said.Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., chair of the House subcommittee on government operations, said Trump is acknowledging that he wants to hold up funding for the U.S. Postal Service to hinder Americans from voting.“The president admits his motive for holding USPS funding hostage is that he doesn’t want Americans to vote by mail,” Connolly said in a statement Thursday. “Why? It hurts his electoral chances. He’s putting self-preservation ahead of public safety, for an election he deserves to lose.”Trump has requested a mail-in ballot for Florida’s primary election Tuesday. Ballots were mailed Wednesday to both the president and first lady Melania Trump at the Mar-a-Lago resort, which Trump lists as his legal address, according to online Palm Beach County elections records. Both voted by mail in the presidential preference primary in March, according to records.___Izaguirre reported from Charleston, West Virginia. The Associated Press produced this coverage with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.Deb Riechmann And Anthony Izaguirre, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Federal health officials are preparing for surges in new cases of COVID-19, including an expected peak of the outbreak this fall that could temporarily exceed the ability of the health-care system to cope.As Canada continues to reopen and as more people gather together indoors, including in schools, the federal government is planning for a "reasonable worst-case scenario."National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall, followed by ongoing ups and downs, which chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says could overwhelm health systems in different parts of the country.That's why health officials across Canada are now getting ready for outbreaks that could surpass the highest spikes of the virus experienced in March and April, to ensure they're ready for the worst."It's preparing for — something could happen to this virus, who knows? Something could change," Tam told reporters Friday in Ottawa."We don't know the seasonality of this virus, it's continued throughout the summer, that's for sure, but what if it demonstrates a certain type of acceleration under certain conditions?"Canada is better prepared than it was when the pandemic first hit the country this spring, she said, but officials are now planning for the likelihood of concurrent outbreaks of seasonal influenza, other respiratory illnesses and COVID-19 this fall and winter."We are over-planning beyond what we had for the previous wave and I think that's the prudent thing to do," Tam said."This planning scenario is to get all of our partners up and down the health system to over-plan."Increases in infection rates of COVID-19 are expected as economic and social activities resume, even with appropriate controls in place, according to the projection models.The data released Friday suggests the number of cases by Aug. 23 could be as high as 127,740 and the number of deaths could reach as high as 9,115.It also shows "peaks and valleys" of outbreaks are expected to continue in Canada until January 2022.Continuing to build up capacity within the health system, while encouraging people to follow best public health practices, will give Canada the best chance of keeping the epidemic on a "slow burn," Tam said, while also preparing for a need to quickly ramp up response measures if case numbers spike.The lesson learned from other countries and cities that suffered devastating impacts during their initial wave of COVID-19 is that "if you exceeded that capacity, the mortality goes up really, really high," Tam said."That's why you want to keep it below that capacity threshold in terms of activity."One method to stop large outbreaks is to ensure people who are infected can be identified and quarantined as soon as possible, Tam said.That's why officials believe the COVID-19 exposure mobile application will be an important tool.The pilot launch of the COVID Alert app in Ontario has seen two million people, out of a provincial population of 14 million, download the app to date. Tam says she finds that encouraging.Meanwhile, provinces bracing for outbreaks of flu and other seasonal illnesses in addition to a second wave of the novel coronavirus are stocking up on this year's influenza vaccine and on personal protective equipment, she added.Deputy chief health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said Friday he believes Canada has enough materials to also ramp up testing for COVID-19 in the event of a fall peak, thanks to ongoing bulk purchases by the federal government.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 14, 2020.— with files from Stephanie LevitzTeresa Wright, The Canadian Press
The United States will extend to a ban on non-essential travel at land borders with Canada and Mexico for another 30 days as several states struggle to contain a coronavirus outbreak, a top U.S. official confirmed Friday. Acting U.S. Homeland Security Department Secretary Chad Wolf confirmed the action on Twitter. The month-long ban - which does not cover trade or travel by air - was first imposed in March and has been rolled over several times as cases in the United States spike.
The Winnipeg Jets began this season in scramble mode. Dustin Byfuglien not reporting to training camp with two years remaining on a multi-million-dollar contract was the kickoff to Winnipeg's dramatic season. The hulking defenceman's contract on the books until its mutual termination in April hampered Winnipeg's financial ability to shore up the blue-line in his absence.
As media and people in the United Arab Emirates hailed the Gulf state's deal to normalise relations with Israel as a diplomatic victory that helps the Palestinians, silence reigned in Saudi Arabia, longtime figurehead of regional policy towards Israel. Analysts see the surprise UAE-Israel agreement announced on Thursday as a strategic boost for the UAE's regional and global standing that could put it ahead of its powerful Saudi neighbour and ally, especially in critical relations with Washington. Saudi Arabia is the Gulf's largest economy and the world's biggest oil exporter, but the UAE has in recent years become increasingly assertive in its own foreign policy, especially in regional hot spots such as Libya, Sudan and Yemen.
March 6, 2020: WE Charity staff prepare a concept paper on service learning for public servants at Employment and Social Development Canada. April 5: Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talk over the phone about how to help students whose summer job and volunteer opportunities were vanishing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. April 7 or 8: Morneau's office contacts the WE organization, among other groups, to get their input on potential programs.
U.S President Donald Trump is powering ahead with his anti-immigration agenda, even as voters say they are more concerned with the coronavirus pandemic and the economic destruction it has wrought. The Republican president won the White House in large part due to his hard-line stance on immigration, a bedrock issue that animates his base. Trump has amplified new issues this election cycle, including law and order in the wake of the protests, and unsubstantiated claims that a surge of mail voting due to coronavirus concerns will lead to widespread fraud.
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 Aug. 14.What we are watching in Canada ...WE Charity registered Thursday as a lobbyist of the federal government — months after it began talks with federal officials about potential programs to help Canadian youths during the COVID-19 pandemic.The organization's executive director, Dalal Al-Waheidi, disclosed the registration during testimony before the House of Commons finance committee, which is probing the controversy surrounding the Liberal government's decision to pay WE Charity up to $43.5 million to administer a now-abandoned student grant program.The controversy has triggered investigations by the federal ethics watchdog into potential breaches of conflict of interest rules by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, both of whom have close family ties to WE Charity.And it was blamed at least in part for WE Charity's announcement earlier Thursday that it is scaling back its operations, making dozens of layoffs in Canada and the United Kingdom, while also looking to sell some of its real estate holdings in Toronto.WE Charity said its financial position has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and "recent events," prompting it to shift programming and reduce staff.In its filing to the federal lobbyist registry, WE Charity disclosed 65 communications with federal officials or ministers in 19 different departments or federal institutions, dating as far back as January 2019.\---Also this ...A long-stalled addition to the Chateau Laurier is closer to being built following an agreement between the historic hotel's owners and a heritage group that fought initial plans.Heritage Ottawa says a new design for the addition would preserve a picturesque view of the landmark's rear courtyard and better mesh with the adjacent Rideau Canal.The group is also applauding the use of Indiana limestone cladding and copper and bronze elements that reflect defining elements of the early 20th-century structure near Parliament Hill.The new design and the settlement between Heritage Ottawa and Capital Hotel Limited Partnership, an affiliate of Larco Investments Ltd., will require approval by the City of Ottawa and a local planning appeals tribunal.Original plans for the addition were widely panned by critics, variously described as resembling a giant air conditioner, shipping container or radiator tacked on to the regal building.Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson tweeted he was pleased to see the parties had worked collaboratively and agreed on a new design.\---ICYMI (in case you missed it) ...There is still plenty of life in Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight Saga."Meyer is planning at least two more books in her mega-selling vampire series, she said during a recent promotional event. Meanwhile, the author's long-awaited "Midnight Sun" sold more than 1 million copies in its first week, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers announced Thursday.While such previous novels as "New Moon" and "Eclipse" were narrated by high school student Bella Swan, "Midnight Sun" is told from the point of view of Bella's lover, the vampire Edward Cullen.Meyer's new novel came out Aug. 4. She began working on "Midnight Sun" years ago, but set it aside after an early draft leaked online. Her novels have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, and were adapted into a blockbuster film franchise starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.Meyer once vowed never to write another "Twilight" book, but on Monday she revealed during an online event held by the chain store Books-A-Million that she is far from done with Edward and Bella."There are two more books I think in the world that I want to write," she said. "I have got them outlined and a chapter written I think of the first one, so I know it's there. I am not ready to do that right now. I want to do something brand new."\---What we are watching in the U.S. ...President Donald Trump on Thursday gave credence to a false and racist conspiracy about Kamala Harris' eligibility to be vice-president, fuelling an online misinformation campaign that parallels the one he used to power his rise into politics.Asked about the matter at the White House, Trump told reporters he had "heard" rumours that Harris, a Black woman and U.S.-born citizen whose parents were immigrants, does not meet the requirement to serve in the White House. The president said he considered the rumours "very serious."The conspiracy is false. Harris, who was tapped this week by Joe Biden to serve as his running mate on the Democratic ticket, was born in Oakland, California, and is eligible for both the vice presidency and presidency under the constitutional requirements. The question is not even considered complex, according to constitution lawyers."Full stop, end of story, period, exclamation point," said Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School.Trump built his political career on questioning a political opponent's legitimacy. He was a high-profile force behind the so-called "birther movement" — the lie that questioned whether President Barack Obama, the nation's first Black president, was eligible to serve. Only after mounting pressure during his 2016 campaign did Trump disavow the claims.Trump's comments landed in a blizzard of other untrue, racist or sexist claims unleashed across social media and conservative websites after Biden picked Harris, the first Black woman and the first Asian American woman on a major party ticket. The misinformation campaign is built on falsehoods that have circulating less noticeably for months, propelled by Trump supporters, and now the president himself."I have no idea if that's right," said Trump, who said he had read a column on the subject earlier Thursday. "I would have thought, I would have assumed, that the Democrats would have checked that out before she gets chosen to run for vice-president."\---What we are watching in the rest of the world ...Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced Thursday they are establishing full diplomatic relations in a U.S.-brokered deal that required Israel to halt its contentious plan to annex occupied West Bank land sought by the Palestinians.The historic deal delivered a key foreign policy victory to President Donald Trump as he seeks re-election and reflected a changing Middle East in which shared concerns about archenemy Iran have largely overtaken traditional Arab support for the Palestinians.A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the deal amounts to "treason," and should be reversed.The agreement makes the UAE the third Arab country, after Egypt and Jordan, to have full diplomatic ties with Israel. They announced it in a joint statement, saying deals between Israel and the UAE were expected in the coming weeks in such areas as tourism, direct flights and embassies.Trump called the deal "a truly historic moment.""Now that the ice has been broken I expect more Arab and Muslim countries will follow the United Arab Emirates," he told reporters in the Oval Office.\---Also this...A leading terror suspect who has been linked to beheadings of hostages, including two Canadians and a Malaysian, has surrendered after being wounded in battle, officials said Friday.National police chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said Thursday night that Abu Sayyaf commander Anduljihad Susukan gave up after negotiations with police in southern Davao city, where he was served warrants for at least 23 cases of murder, 6 for attempted murder and 5 for kidnapping.He is the highest-ranking commander of the small but brutal Abu Sayyaf group to be taken into custody so far this year. The military has been waging a years-long offensive against the Abu Sayyaf, which has been blacklisted by the United States and the Philippines as a terrorist organization for past bombings, ransom kidnappings and beheadings. Many of its gunmen, mostly peasants and desperately poor villagers, have aligned themselves with the Islamic State group.Security officials have blamed Susukan and his men for playing a role in cross-border kidnappings of tourists and other victims from the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo island, including a Malaysian citizen, who was beheaded by the militants in 2015 in their jungle base in southern Sulu province on the day when Malaysia's then-Prime Minister Najib Razak arrived in Manila to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.Susukan also helped finance the kidnappings in the south of two Canadian men, who were separately beheaded in Sulu in 2016 after the militants failed to get a huge ransom. Another Abu Sayyaf militant, Ben Yadah, murdered the two Canadians and remains at large, a military officer said.Susukan surrendered to a Muslim rebel chief after the accidental explosion of his M203 rifle grenade in a gunbattle with troops in Sulu severed his left arm. Military officials had believed he was killed but later learned he was in the custody of Nur Misuari, who leads an armed group which signed a 1996 peace deal with the government.This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 14, 2020.The Canadian Press
Top of mind for families in Ontario is their children’s safety as they get set to return to school. One of those parents is a Mississauga, Ont. mother who lost a child to the flu. Here is Caryn Lieberman with her warning.