This pet raccoon wears a white dress and sits in a chair, rubbing his hands together for some tasty snacks. Cuteness overload!
This pet raccoon wears a white dress and sits in a chair, rubbing his hands together for some tasty snacks. Cuteness overload!
ATLANTA — After weathering criticism for certifying President Donald Trump's narrow election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, Republican officials in Georgia are proposing additional requirements for the state's vote-by-mail process, despite no evidence of systemic fraud or irregularities. Two state Senate committees held hearings Thursday to begin a review of Georgia’s voting laws. Republicans are zeroing in on a plan to require a photo ID for ballots cast by mail. Voting rights activists and Democrats argue that the change isn't necessary and would disenfranchise voters. Biden beat Trump by just over 12,500 votes in Georgia, with Biden receiving nearly twice as many of the record number of absentee ballots as the Republican president, according to the secretary of state's office. A recount requested by Trump was wrapping up and wasn't expected to change the overall outcome. Trump, who for months has sowed unsubstantiated doubt about the integrity of mail-in votes, has also made baseless claims of widespread fraud in the presidential race in Georgia. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff have vehemently rebuffed those claims, stating unequivocally that there is no evidence of systemic errors or fraud in last month's election. Yet Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp, both Republicans who have been publicly lambasted by Trump, have joined the push to require a photo ID for absentee voting. “Voters casting their ballots in person must show a photo ID, and we should consider applying that same standard to mail-in balloting,” Kemp said in remarks streamed live online. Kemp faced accusations of voter suppression during his successful 2018 run for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams, an election he oversaw as Georgia's previous secretary of state. He vehemently denied the allegations. Kemp faces reelection — and a possible rematch against Abrams — in 2022. Raffensperger also has suggested allowing state officials to intervene in counties that have systemic problems with administering elections and broadening the ways in which challenges can be posed to votes cast by residents who don’t live where they say. The photo ID idea has support among several members of the state legislature, including Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan. “I don't think there should be different standards for the same process,” Dugan said in an interview. Republican House Speaker David Ralston has been skeptical of voting by mail, telling a local news outlet in April that increased mail voting “will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia.” Political analysts have said that typically more Democrats than Republicans use mail-in ballots. Ralston later said he was not talking about his party losing an advantage but the potential for fraud. “We must do everything in our power to ensure votes are not stolen, cast fraudulently or plagued by administrative errors,” he said in a statement this week. Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said in an interview with The Associated Press that currently anyone who knows someone’s name, address and date of birth can request an absentee ballot on that person’s behalf. She said that while signature matches provide some security for mail-in ballots, the process should be shored up. One way to do that could be to require a person's driver's license number or a photocopy of a separate form of ID, she said. “We need to secure all avenues that we can of absentee ballots so we never have a candidate run around this state again saying the election was stolen because of absentee ballots,” she said. While Republicans seem ready to press forward with the photo ID requirement during the upcoming legislative session, Democrats and civil rights organizations are raising alarms. With no evidence of widespread fraud or other problems in the election, it doesn’t make sense to talk about measures that could ultimately prove to be barriers to voting, said Andrea Young, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. “What is the problem that you’re trying to solve?" she asked. “The rule should be first, ‘Do no harm’ when it comes to democracy, and whenever there are more restrictions being put on a process, you run the risk of disenfranchising Georgia citizens.” Young says adding a photo ID requirement for absentee voting would be harmful because “we know that these barriers have a different impact on African American voters, on younger voters and, in this instance, on seniors who have certainly earned the right” to vote. State Sen. Jen Jordan, an Atlanta Democrat, echoed Young’s concerns, saying Republicans were offering solutions in search of a problem. “What this says to me is that they just don’t want people voting," Jordan said. “And they specifically don’t want Democrats voting, or people that don’t support their chosen candidates voting, and they’re going to try to make it as hard as possible." Democrats and voting rights groups have for years sought to decrease rejections of absentee ballots in Georgia, arguing that minorities have been disproportionately affected. Absentee ballots are sometimes rejected because signatures on the outer envelope are deemed not to match signatures in the voter registration system, or because the envelope is not signed at all. An agreement signed in March to settle a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party spells out a standard process that must be used statewide to judge the signatures. That agreement has been the subject of much of Trump's online ire, and he has incorrectly said it “makes it impossible to check & match signatures on ballots and envelopes.” Ben Nadler And Kate Brumback, The Associated Press
This holiday season is going to look different for everyone, but as COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, seniors across the Durham Region are especially at risk of significant challenges associated with isolation. In years past, Home Instead has lifted the spirits of seniors, making them feel remembered and cherished, with its Be a Santa to a Senior program, in which the community can purchase gifts for seniors. Community members would grab an ornament from Christmas trees located in retailers, purchase a gift and return it to be wrapped and gifted to a senior. However, due to the pandemic, Cathy Dow, owner of Home Instead for Oshawa and the surrounding area, says they had to pivot the program and offer the program in a virtual capacity by partnering with Amazon Business. “Recognizing the program’s importance, and particularly this year, and with the need to keep everyone safe, Home Instead partnered with Amazon for the first time,” she says. “We have still developed great relationships with local non-profits and organizations to facilitate the purchasing and distribution of gifts on the wish list – which is all done virtually.” She says this year’s focus is on older adults who are living in long term care, as most are with restrictions and accessibility is very limited. “It spreads holiday cheer and brightens the lives of our older adults who are alone or financially challenged during this season,” Dow adds, noting through this global pandemic, the feelings of isolation are amplified. “Providing gifts and sense of community… that has always been there and so I think this year particularly will be very comforting to many.” To help a senior this season, members of the community can visit the BeASantatoaSenior.com website and enter their postal code to view wish lists for local seniors on Amazon. A personalized greeting can be included with the gift which will be shipped directly to the senior. Since the program began in 2003, Be a Santa to a Senior has provided approximately 2.1 million gifts and brightened the holiday season for more than 750,000 seniors nationwide. “We need the community’s help more than ever to make sure seniors feel connected this year,” Dow says. “This year we knew we had to find a way to spread holiday cheer to seniors, and we are grateful for the community’s participation.”Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express
Guillaume Carlier, un jeune cinéaste francophone de Calgary, nous amène sur les traces de jardins japonais en Alberta et en Colombie-Britannique, symboles de résilience de la population nippono-canadienne déportée durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Borrowed from Nature, un documentaire qui vient de sortir en partenariat avec Radio-Canada, à Vancouver. La première fois que Guillaume Carlier a posé son regard sur le jardin japonais de New Denver, en Colombie-Britannique, il n’était alors qu’un enfant. En dépit de son jeune âge, il avait déjà entendu parler de l’histoire douloureuse relatant la déportation de la population nippono-canadienne durant la Seconde Guerre. « Depuis que je suis jeune, je connaissais ce jardin, mais je ne m’étais jamais demandé qui l’avait créé », explique-t-il, jusqu’à ce qu’il soit parvenu à l’âge adulte et que cette question commence sérieusement à l’interpeller. Plus tard, il apprend que c’est le Canadien-Japonais, Roy Tomomichi Sumi qui l’avait conçu de ses propres mains. Le maître jardinier avait été déporté comme l’environnementaliste canado-japonais David Suzuki dans les camps d’internement durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Roy Tomomichi Sumi est depuis décédé. Aujourd’hui, il est considéré comme une sommité en Alberta et en Colombie-Britannique dans l’art du jardin japonais, et devient le fil d’Ariane du jeune cinéaste francophone qui lui permettra de se plonger dans un chapitre de l’Histoire canadienne aussi douloureux que méconnu. Ces jardins sont des métaphores qui racontent le passé, mais ils sont aussi le moyen de faire la paix avec le présent et d’avancer vers le futur. L’Histoire en héritage L’immigration japonaise a commencé vers 1860 dans la province de la Colombie-Britannique et représentait juste avant le début de la Seconde Guerre mondiale une population de 22 000 personnes. Après l’attaque en 1941 du Japon contre Pearl Harbor, le Canada, allié des États-Unis, décide de prendre des mesures draconiennes. La loi sur les mesures de guerre permet alors des actions de grande envergure comme la confiscation de bateaux, des entreprises, des biens fonciers et finit par transférer vers des camps d’internement la population canado-japonaise . Ces Canadiens d’origine japonaise durent y rester durant toute la Seconde Guerre, n’emmenant avec eux que deux valises et un simple sac. Au vu du contexte historique, « il y avait un fort sentiment anti-asiatique au Canada et aux États-Unis, ils craignaient qu’il y ait de l’espionnage », explique le jeune cinéaste alors qu’ils étaient citoyens canadiens. Un vrai traumatisme pour des gens venus initialement au Canada pour embrasser une vie meilleure, et qui perdirent du jour au lendemain tout ce qu’ils avaient mis si longtemps à bâtir. Une situation injuste qui, à la fin de la guerre, a mis la population nippono-canadienne face à un second choix cornélien : partir vers l’est, ou bien retourner au Japon selon la volonté des autorités canadiennes. Certains décidèrent d’aller en Alberta, notamment du côté de Lethbridge. C’est en 1967 que la petite ville des Prairies accueillera son premier jardin japonais, le jardin de Nikka Yuko. Des jardins et des hommes Transmuter sa peine en un magnifique jardin japonais, c’est la façon dont les rescapés de ces camps ont décidé d’exorciser les mauvais souvenirs. Un signe de réconciliation en somme. « Dans la culture japonaise, c’est très difficile de parler de cette période dans l’histoire du Canada », explique le cinéaste de 31 ans. Ce documentaire a été filmé durant l’été 2020 dans trois de ces jardins japonais : le jardin de Nikka Yuko à Lethbridge, en Alberta, et construit en 1967, le jardin d’Heiwa Teien à New Denver, en Colombie-Britannique, construit en 1994, et le jardin de Nitobe, à Vancouver, situé lui aussi en Colombie-Britannique et construit en 1960. « Ce jardin [de Roy Tomomichi Sumi créé dans les années 1980], est un geste pour tout le monde, c’est aussi pour enseigner aux Canadiens ce qui s’est passé », explique Guillaume Carlier. Le documentaire a pu être livré à Radio-Canada Vancouver en septembre et aura pris un mois de tournage entre les deux provinces pour raviver la mémoire de cette partie de l’histoire, mais aussi « questionner l’identité de la culture canadienne », met de l’avant le cinéaste. Guillaume Carlier et son épouse Gillian McKercher ont sorti ce documentaire avec leur maison de production Kinosum qui signifie littéralement en japonais « on aime les films ». Si le film reste l’exclusivité de Radio-Canada pendant une année, « tous les Canadiens peuvent déjà voir ce documentaire de 45 minutes sur le site de CBC GEM », explique le cinéaste. Le film a déjà été vendu à l’international et sera distribué par la suite en France, au Japon et aux États-Unis.Hélène Lequitte, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir
Regina– When the COVID-19 vaccine comes, Saskatchewan will be ready. That’s according to Minister of Health Paul Merriman, who started the Dec. 2 COVID-19 update talking about upcoming vaccines, the first of which, made by Pfizer, received emergency approval in the United Kingdom on that very day. “Near the start of this pandemic, I remember Premier Moe saying, ‘This is not a sprint. It’s a marathon,’” Merriman said. “That is still true today. And we still have a long way to go in this marathon. Even marathons have a finish line. And now we know where that finish line is. “The finish line is when we have delivered a safe, effective vaccine to a significant number of Saskatchewan residents. That's where life can truly start getting back to normal. “Saskatchewan Health and the SHA (Saskatchewan Health Authority) have already done a lot of work, getting ready to deliver this vaccine. They will have a more detailed presentation on that plan sometime next week. For now, I want everybody to know: We in Saskatchewan are ready to go. “As soon as the federal government is able to start delivering the vaccine to us, we will be ready to deliver that to Saskatchewan people quickly and safely. “This is a huge undertaking involving thousands of healthcare workers, and other support staff, transportation, storage, and many other logistical issues. But let me assure you, we will be ready. Healthcare workers, elderly first Merriman continued, “Premier Moe and I have directed all necessary resources be directed to this effort. Based on the advice of public health officials, we will be prioritizing who will receive it first. There'll be more detail on this presentation next week. But it's no surprise that we expect healthcare workers, and the residents in our long-term care and personal care homes to receive the first vaccines. “We do not yet have an exact timeline on when we will be receiving these vaccines. The federal government is now saying the first deliveries will be early in the new year. Saskatchewan’s per capita share that we should be receiving in the first quarter of 2021 is about 180,000 doses, enough to vaccinate 90,000 people. This is just based on the deliveries from Pfizer and Moderna, who have applied for their vaccine approvals. In the last few days two more companies, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, have also applied to have their vaccines approved. This could result in more vaccines being delivered, even quicker. When that occurs, we will be ready to start receiving the shipments. And we will also be ready to go. “This is how we get back to normal in Saskatchewan. This is how our health system will get back to normal. This is how our economy will get back to normal. This is how our lives will get back to normal. It is quite literally the shot in the arm that Saskatchewan needs. And be ready to deliver that shot in the arm, as soon as the federal government starts getting us that vaccine. Until then, we all have to keep following the public orders and guidelines to protect ourselves and others. Keep physical distancing. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Limit your close contacts and stay home, if you're not feeling well. And follow the other good practices that we know to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It's how we keep ourselves, and those around us safe,” Merriman said. New Democratic Party Leader Ryan Meili told reporters, “I was concerned that the minister didn't understand his responsibility yesterday. This government should be talking about vaccine readiness and encouraging people to learn about the vaccine and get ready to take it, ready to protect each other. “They failed when it came to masks, getting people ready and promoting that early. They helped create this anti-mask pushback that we see in the in the province, with their mixed messages. They need to be ready and be promoting the COVID-19 vaccine, because it is essential, if we're going to get past this. And we're going to need more than the vaccine. It's not enough to wait to the vaccine and have a terrible December and January, and who knows when we actually get it. We need to act now. But we also need to act now, to get people ready for when the vaccine is here.” Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
Do “self-cleaning” elevator buttons really work? Without rigorous independent studies, experts say it’s hard to verify claims of “self-cleaning” or “antiviral" surfaces that have popped up during the pandemic. But they also say you shouldn’t worry too much about how well such features really work. COVID-19 is an airborne disease. Research suggests it would be difficult to catch the virus from surfaces like an elevator button. “You get it through what you breathe, not through what you touch,” said Emanuel Goldman, who studies viruses at Rutgers University. Studies showing the virus can survive several hours on plastic or metal surfaces do not mimic real-life conditions, said Dr. Dean Winslow, an infectious disease specialist at Stanford Health Care. Companies are selling antibacterial and antiviral elevator button or door handle covers. But building or office managers looking to protect employees or tenants would be better off buying hand-sanitizing stations instead, Winslow said. And anyone wanting to avoid the virus should continue taking regular public health precautions: mask-wearing, social distancing and avoiding indoor events, bars, dining and gyms. Routine hand washing is also recommended, whether there's a pandemic or not, Goldman said. ___ The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org. Read previous Viral Questions: Are dining tents a safe way to eat out during the pandemic? Do masks with antiviral coating offer more protection? Will social distancing weaken my immune system? The Associated Press
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 Dec. 3 ... What we are watching in Canada ... The Liberal government is set to introduce long-awaited legislation today to enshrine the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian law. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised during the 2019 election campaign to introduce such a bill, developed with Indigenous people, by the end of this year. The bill is expected to echo a private member's bill introduced by former NDP MP Romeo Saganash, which the House of Commons passed two years ago. That bill stalled in the Senate, where Conservative senators argued it could have unintended legal and economic consequences, and then died when Parliament dissolved. The UN declaration, which Canada endorsed in 2010, affirms the rights of Indigenous Peoples to self-determination and to their language, culture and traditional lands. It also spells out the need for free, prior and informed consent from Indigenous Peoples on anything that infringes on their lands or rights. --- Also this ... The trial of a teen boy accused of sexually assaulting two fellow students at a renowned Toronto high school is set to continue today. The teen has pleaded not guilty to two counts each of gang sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon and assault with a weapon in connection with two incidents at St. Michael's College School in the fall of 2018. Earlier this week, court viewed part of a video in which one of the complainants, also a teen boy, told police about an October 2018 incident in the school's locker room. In the video, the complainant recalled hearing a group of students laugh as they held back his arms and sexually assaulted him with a broom handle after football practice. The role of the accused was not specified in the portion of the video played in court, and the complainant did not mention him by name in that part of the footage. More of the video is expected to be shown in today's hearing, which is taking place in court and over video conference. --- What we are watching in the U.S. ... Advocates and lawyers anticipate a flurry of clemency action from U.S. President Donald Trump in the coming weeks that could test the limits of presidential pardon power. Trump is said to be considering a slew of pardons and commutations before he leaves office, including potentially members of his family, former aides and even himself. While it is not unusual for presidents to sign controversial pardons on their way out the door, Trump has made clear that he has no qualms about intervening in the cases of friends and allies whom he believes have been treated unfairly, including his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. The list of potential candidates is long and colourful: Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, imprisoned for financial crimes as part of the Russia investigation; George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, just like Flynn; Joseph Maldonado-Passage, a.k.a. “Joe Exotic," who starred in the Netflix series “Tiger King”; and former contractors convicted in a Baghdad firefight that killed more than a dozen civilians, including women and children. Trump, long worried about potential legal exposure after he leaves office, has expressed worry to confidants in recent weeks that he, his family or his business might be targeted by president-elect Joe Biden’s Justice Department, although Biden has made clear he won't be part of any such decisions. Nonetheless, Trump has had informal conversations with allies about how he might be able to protect his family, though he has not taken any steps to do so. His adult children haven't requested pardons nor do they feel they need them, according to people familiar with the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private matters. --- What we are watching in the rest of the world ... Nearly 100 world leaders and several dozen ministers are slated to speak at the UN General Assembly’s special session starting Thursday on the response to COVID-19 and the best path to recovery from the pandemic which has claimed 1.5 million lives, shattered economies, and left tens of millions of people unemployed in countries rich and poor. Assembly President Volkan Bozkir said when he took the reins of the 193-member world body in September that it would have been better to hold the high-level meeting in June. Nonetheless, he said Wednesday it "provides a historic moment for us to come together to beat COVID-19." "With news of multiple vaccines on the cusp of approval, and with trillions of dollars flowing into global recovery efforts, the international community has a unique opportunity to do this right," he said. "The world is looking to the UN for leadership. This is a test for multilateralism." When financial markets collapsed and the world faced its last great crisis in 2008, major powers worked together to restore the global economy, but the COVID-19 pandemic has been striking for the opposite response: no leader, no united action to stop the pandemic that has circled the globe. --- On this day in 1970 ... The "October Crisis" ended when British Trade Commissioner James Cross was released by his FLQ kidnappers in Montreal. Cross was seized from his home in October, and another FLQ cell later kidnapped and murdered Quebec cabinet minister Pierre Laporte on Oct. 17. --- In entertainment ... William Shatner, the Canadian who played the iconic commander Capt. James T. Kirk in "Star Trek," has taken to Twitter to urge Alberta use the federal COVID-19 app rather than its own. Shatner writes, “you just need to get Alberta on board,” adding that the province cannot go its own way in a world interconnected by travel. Shatner writes Alberta’s approach is, “bizarre and dangerous,” but also says “what do I know? I’m just an actor.” Premier Jason Kenney’s government has avoided signing onto the federal app, saying it’s not as effective because Alberta’s app is connected to contact tracing rather than simply delivering notifications of close contacts. Alberta’s app has tracked down just a handful of cases in six months, but the government says the program will be more effective as more people sign on. --- ICYMI ... Former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams is accusing the City of St. John's of taking Christmas away from the residents of a subdivision he developed on the city's outskirts. Williams says that just as he did last year, he recently installed a 10-metre Christmas tree in the centre of a traffic roundabout in the Galway subdivision, which was developed by his company DewCor. But this year, he says the city took issue with the tree, requiring that he take out an insurance policy and asking him to keep it unlit due to traffic concerns. In a statement emailed Wednesday, city staff in the transportation engineering department say they're open to considering other locations for the tree in Galway that don't interfere with an intersection. Kevin Breen, the St. John's city manager says the tree went up last year without a permit. Meanwhile, the neighbouring city of Mount Pearl has offered to give the tree a proper home with lights, and Williams says the tree will be delivered there within the next two days. "All's well that ends well," Williams said in an interview. "It's going to the neighbouring city of Mount Pearl, and to be quite honest with you, if Galway could be part of Mount Pearl, that would be my choice." --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020 The Canadian Press
A number of projects will be moving forward next year as council has approved the capital portion of the city’s 2021 budget. Building repairs and upgrades, park redevelopments, and new vehicle acquisitions were hot button topics during the hours-long discussion of council’s first budget deliberation meeting. Repairs and upgrades to roads, sidewalks, street lights and traffic lights will also be conducted across the city. In total, the city’s capital budget comes in at $33.59 million. In terms of new vehicles and equipment, the city will be acquiring three new ice resurfacers, in which Councillor Rosemary McConkey questioned why all three needed to be replaced at once. While the life cycle of these vehicles is about 10 years, McConkey notes two of them are only eight years old, adding a staggered approach to acquiring new vehicles would be better. “Having three replaced all at once will put pressure on another council’s budget year down the road,” she says. However, according to city staff, two of the vehicles have multiple issues, which would cost more in the end to fix rather than to replace. “We go through a whole process of identifying total cost to upkeep equipment,” says city staff. “If it’s on the list, it’s costing us too much or there are safety issues related to the units.” A number of other vehicles will be added to the city’s fleet as part of a scheduled replacement program, including a couple of Chevrolet Silverado trucks, two vacuum sweepers, three front mowers, and a pumper, to name a few. A new Hazmat vehicle will be added to Fire Hall 1 to provide Oshawa Fire Services with a fully operational rapid response vehicle, as well as a new vehicle for the assistant deputy chief. Phase 3 of the city’s downtown streetscape redevelopment program is also moving forward, which includes the widening of sidewalks on the north side of King Street West from Simcoe to Prince Streets, “to enhance pedestrian amenities and increase accessibility.” Parks to see improvements this year include Raglan Park, Kingside Park, Crimson Court Park, Deer Valley Park, Conant Park, and Sunnyside Park. Some of the redevelopment in these parks include the replacement of playground equipment, playground resurfacing, the replacement of existing site furnishings, new park pathways, a parking lot and the addition of tree plantings and naturalization areas. As part of the city’s capital budget, council also endorsed a number of anchor and partnership grant requests to community organizations. The city’s Anchor and Partnership Grant programs are part of council’s commitment to work with Oshawa-based, not-for-profit volunteer community organizations that provide beneficial programs and services to the community. Organizations receiving anchor grants this year include Boys and Girls Club of Durham, Friends of Second Marsh, Motor City Car Club, Oshawa Children’s Community Fair, Oshawa Folk Arts Council, Oshawa Rotary Ribfest, Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame, and Santa’s Parade of Lights. Council also approved partnership grant requests for Hearth Place, Bawaajiigewin Aboriginal Community Circle, and Durham Alliance. However, there were a number of organizations that did not receive funding grants in next year’s budget, including Canadian Automotive Museum, Feed the Need in Durham, Oshawa Art Association, Oshawa Firefit, Royal Canadian Legion Branch and the Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre. Council’s next budget deliberation meeting is on Friday, Dec. 4 when council will continue with the 2021 operating budget. According to city staff, with the pandemic came several unexpected costs to the city, and as a result, council is looking at a 2.39 per cent tax levy increase for 2021. According to Commissioner of Finance Stephanie Sinnott, this means a $47.88 increase to the city portion of the property taxes for a property assessed at $356,000 – the average assessment by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation. Final approval of the 2021 budget is expected on Friday, Dec. 11.Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express
Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter is urging the province to take a look at the evidence-based data for COVID-19 to help save local communities from further hardship. In just a matter of days, Durham Region was moved from the Orange zone to the Red zone of the provincial framework for fighting and stopping the spread of the virus. Carter says this means there’s been a lot of significant changes in regards to public gatherings and how retail locations have operated. He’s urging the community to continue to follow the advice of the health care professionals and continue to “stay apart, mark up, lather up, and if you can work from home stay at home.” “That’s one of the ways we can stop the spread.” Carter is also calling for the community to support local. “If there’s a way that we can support local, like I always say, ‘Oshawa loves local,’ let’s find a way of supporting our local economy,” he says. Carter is also calling on the province to consider the “true data” and where the spread is coming from, when making decisions in regards to moving the different regions to different stages. “Our retailers, our service industry, our local economy has done an incredible job in investing in PPE and making sure they’ve taken all the right steps to make sure that your safety, your well-being, is their number one priority,” Carter continues. He says any decisions the province makes impacts communities locally, adding the province needs to take into consideration where the spreads are happening and take a look at the data, and make a decision based upon that. “The province must take a close look at the region’s COVID-19 active case numbers to identify the sources of transmission,” he says. “It is critical the data be used to make sector-specific restrictions and to determine if local restrictions – especially those that are having a huge impact on our restaurants and local businesses – can be reduced.” The City of Oshawa continues to post updates to its webpage. Visit www.oshawa.ca/coronavirus for the latest updates on changes to services and programs, as well as frequently asked questions and resources.Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand authorities have approved tech billionaire Sean Parker’s purchase of a one-third stake in film director Peter Jackson’s visual effects studio.Parker needed special permission from the Overseas Investment Office because he isn’t a New Zealand resident and the Weta Digital studio is worth more than 100 million New Zealand dollars ($71 million).In a decision published on its website this week, the office said Parker and his business associates had the relevant experience and were “of good character.” It said Weta Digital was raising money to grow its business.Parker, who co-founded the file-sharing service Napster and is a former president of Facebook, said in June there was a huge, unmet demand for high-quality animated content.“I have been a Weta superfan for the past two decades — I recall my sense of wonder when I first saw the character of Gollum brought to life, and later the surreal feeling of being transported to the alternate reality of Pandora," Parker said, referring to the work Weta did on Jackson's “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and James Cameron's “Avatar."Parker's representative said Wednesday he had no further comment on the purchase.Weta employs about 1,550 people and is based in New Zealand's capital, Wellington. Company records indicate Jackson and collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens own just over two-thirds of the company. Weta will issue new shares for Parker, diluting Jackson's stake.Jackson could not be reached for comment.In June, Weta appointed Parker's business associate Prem Akkaraju as chief executive and said it would begin producing original content for the first time in its 25-year history.In 2016, Parker and Akkaraju founded a video-on-demand startup called Screening Room, which this year relaunched as SR Labs.Nick Perry, The Associated Press
En Abitibi-Témiscamingue comme partout ailleurs au Québec, les personnes immigrantes et les Autochtones font souvent face à des inégalités et à du mépris dans le contexte d’intégration au travail. Cela se reflète dans un écart de leurs revenus et dans un accès limité aux emplois correspondant à leurs compétences, ce qui peut avoir des répercussions sur leur santé mentale. Le président du conseil d’administration de La Mosaïque, association interculturelle d’accueil et d’intégration des personnes immigrantes de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Aimé Pingi, constate que les différences culturelles ont une incidence sur l’ouverture à parler de santé mentale, ce qui peut être particulièrement nuisible en milieu de travail. « Là d’où je viens, parler de santé mentale, c’est un tabou. On va parler de santé mentale uniquement lorsqu’une personne a des comportements extrêmes, alors que la dépression est considérée simplement comme un signe de découragement », dit le Rouynorandien d’origine congolaise. Il a été approché dans le passé par des syndicats de la région pour régler des différends entre employeurs et employés immigrants. « J’ai été appelé à intervenir, car les employeurs trouvaient que certains comportements chez les immigrants étaient “bizarres”, mais en réalité, ces derniers se montraient simplement découragés de devoir franchir des plafonds de verre pour essayer d’avoir des postes qui ne leur étaient pas accessibles », dit M. Pingi. Inaccessibilité aux emplois qualifiés Les nombreuses embûches rencontrées par les immigrants qui tentent d’obtenir un emploi et un revenu correspondant à leurs compétences finissent par avoir une répercussion sur leur stabilité émotionnelle. Selon Statistique Canada, la rémunération des nouveaux arrivants diplômés universitaires représentait 70 % du montant gagné par leurs homologues nés au Canada en 2017. Un rapport de la Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse révèle qu’à compétences et profils égaux, les candidats ayant un nom à consonance canadienne-française ont au moins 60 % plus de chances d’être invités à un entretien d’embauche que les candidats ayant un nom à consonance africaine, arabe ou latino-américaine au Québec. M. Pingi signale qu’en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, la situation n’est pas différente qu’ailleurs dans la province. « J’ai accompagné un immigrant diplômé en biologie qui a été contraint de travailler chez McDonald’s et Tim Hortons. Il était très découragé et il a fini par quitter la province. » Il souligne également le cas d’un homme russe qui avait du mal à se trouver un emploi dans la région après avoir quitté son emploi précédent. « Il était découragé et à un moment donné, il a commencé à développer des problèmes de santé mentale. Les gens jugeaient qu’il avait des comportements “anormaux” et riaient de lui. Personne ne voulait lui donner une lettre de recommandation. C’était un cas difficile à gérer. » Les diplômés touchés davantage M. Pingi précise que les immigrants détenant des diplômes de l’étranger sont notamment défavorisés dans la région. « Il arrive souvent que les postes de gestion et de supervision soient octroyés à de jeunes locaux qui n’ont pas la formation adéquate, au détriment d’immigrants qualifiés qui ne reçoivent même pas d’appel lorsqu’ils postulent pour ces postes. » Selon le ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration, 62 % des 1020 immigrants admis au Québec de 2008 à 2017 avaient au moins 14 ans de scolarité. Du total des personnes immigrantes reçues dans cette période, 61 % provenaient de l’Afrique. Diplômé en sciences chimiques au Congo à son arrivée en 2008, M. Pingi a décroché un poste comme chauffeur de surfaceuse à Saint-Félix-de-Dalquier, près d’Amos, pendant un an, avant d’être embauché comme technicien au contrôle de qualité dans l’usine d’embouteillage d’eau Eska. Il lui aura toutefois fallu quatre ans pour être reconnu par l’Ordre de chimistes du Québec. « J’ai de la chance, car depuis deux ans, je peux travailler au laboratoire de chimie analytique à la Fonderie Horne à Rouyn-Noranda », se réjouit-il. Impliqué à La Mosaïque depuis dix ans, M. Pingi est dévoué à l’intégration des nouveaux arrivants en Abitibi-Témiscamingue. « Nous organisons des activités pour leur offrir des opportunités de réseautage afin qu’ils puissent briser l’isolement, se faire des contacts dans la région et trouver un emploi », explique-t-il. Briser le cycle Une étude de la Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse souligne que la sous-représentation et les relations avec les Autochtones suivent souvent les mêmes tendances que celles en matière de communautés culturelles. « Si le gouvernement ne reconnaît pas l’existence du racisme systémique, ce sera difficile que les gens voient cette problématique », soutient Arlene Laliberté, psychologue algonquine originaire de Témiscamingue. Consultante en bien-être des communautés à la firme LaLouve et membre du Centre de recherche en prévention du suicide (CRISE) à l’Université du Québec à Montréal, Mme Laliberté s’intéresse au suicide en milieu autochtone. Elle offre des services de psychothérapie dans quatre communautés autochtones de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue. « Je suis toujours émerveillée par la force et la résilience de mes clients, et je souligne souvent à ces personnes leur courage pour briser le cycle de discrimination et d’abus. » Mme Laliberté invite ceux qui vivent cette réalité ou qui en sont témoins de joindre leur voix à ceux qui travaillent pour l’inclusivité et la justice sociale.Karla Meza, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir
With two old rivals facing off in Ghana's presidential election on Dec. 7 amid familiar economic woes, many voters are paying more attention to a new element in the political mix - the first ever female vice-presidential candidate for a major party. Former education minister Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman hopes that the decision of Ghana's main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to nominate her as its candidate for vice-president will inspire other women to enter politics.
ISTANBUL — Turkey’s disaster authority and the U.S. Geological Survey say a 5.0 magnitude earthquake has struck Siirt in southeastern Turkey. The Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, or AFAD, said Thursday there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the quake that hit at a depth of 20 kilometres (12 miles) at 8:45 a.m. (0545 GMT). Turkey is crisscrossed by fault lines and was hit by two strong tremors this year -- one that hit the western port city of Izmir last month, killing 117 people, and another in Elazig province, killing 41 people. At least 17,000 people died in a powerful earthquake in northwest Turkey in 1999. The Associated Press
Two Rohingya told Reuters their names appeared on lists compiled by government-appointed local leaders without their consent, while aid workers said officials used threats and enticements to pressure people into going. Mohammad Shamsud Douza, the deputy Bangladesh government official in charge of refugees, said the relocation was voluntary. Police escorted the first group of 1,000 refugees in buses from Ukhiya in Cox's Bazar for the journey to Chittagong port and then on to Bhasan Char – a flood-prone Bay of Bengal island that emerged from the sea 20 years ago.
Parry Sound-Almaguin hunters say they feel targeted by a federal firearm ban that came into effect in May, but they don’t believe it influenced the recent hunting season. Bruce Hatt, a member of the Parry Sound Hunters and Anglers Association, said that the association supports safe hunting, gun handling and shooting sports. “The regulations that are out (now), do not do anything for safe hunting, they do not do anything for crime — they do not do anything for anybody, honestly,” said Hatt. “The guns they’re banning are as dangerous as the people that are using them.” On May 1, 2020, the federal government prohibited nine types of “assault-style” firearms as well as placed new restrictions on muzzle energy, which determines the damage a bullet can do, and the bore diameter, which is the calibre of gun. “If you’re a safe gun handler, there’s no reason those guns should be banned — there’s no justification for it,” he said. Asked if the new firearms ban had any effect on the recent hunting season, Hatt replied, “No, I don’t think so.” “Most of the guns that were banned are target rifles used for recreational shooting — the guys I hunt with use the same rifles they’ve used for the last 20 years,” he said. However, the pandemic did impact the hunting season, according to Hatt. “We have people from all over the province come to our camp. A lot of people decided not to come; a lot of us stayed in different locations, met in the morning and social distanced in the field, which was easy to do,” he explained. “But it did impact it — there was a lot people that opted out.” In Sundridge, the Eagle Lake Gun Club has been operating for over 60 years and has over 550 members. Peter Turnbull manages membership for the club and has been hunting in Almaguin for years. He said that in the Parry Sound-Muskoka region, the federal gun ban doesn’t have a big impact; however, the issue, according to Turnbull, is it doesn’t target the right group of people. “There’s about 2.3 million people that are lawfully licensed to have firearms — we’re not the problem,” said Turnbull. “We go through extensive training just to be able to have that privilege.” The firearms ban didn’t affect the hunting season in his opinion, as he said not many hunters would consider hunting with the calibre of rifles listed in the prohibition. “For the most part, the AR-15 are .223 calibre, which isn’t suitable for bear hunting or any big game,” he said. “But there are cases in places, especially up in the far north, where people are using stuff like that.” Echoing Hatt’s sentiments regarding the pandemic’s effect on the 2020 hunting season, Turnbull said there were less hunters at his camp. For both Hatt and Turbull, the emphasis is on the safe handling of guns. “We have to go through courses to get firearms, it’s very regulated, it’s very safe,” said Hatt. STORY BEHIND THE STORY: After seeing a release about a recent federal firearms ban, our reporter wanted to find out if hunters in the Parry Sound, Almaguin region found the firearms ban to alter the hunting season. With the pandemic entering the second wave during the hunting season, she thought it was important to find out if hunting had seen a decline. 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
The pandemic is preventing Pearl Harbor survivors from attending an annual ceremony remembering victims in the Dec. 7, 1941 attack. WWII veteran Mickey Ganitch, 101, has attended before, but will mark the anniversary this year from California. (Dec. 3)
Patricia Young describes her home of Walker’s Point as a place where people believe in the importance of community. “I think if you look up ‘community’ in the dictionary, you’ll see Walker’s Point listed,” she said. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada, that community often gathered at the Walker’s Point Community Centre for activities and socializing: people went to check out books at the library inside, attend exercise classes, crafting sessions or the monthly potluck dinners. Paola Randall, like Young, has lived in Walker’s Point for over 20 years. She spent a lot of time at the community centre before the pandemic: she’s part of the library’s executive board and used to play pickleball there. “We see it as a hub,” she said. “It really connects us to all the services of the township, as well as bringing us together.” Young, who’s part of the community centre’s hall board, said while people are understanding of the situation they’re in, the loss of some of their traditional events is felt. “I’ve run into a few people and they have specifically said, ‘We really miss the potluck suppers,’” she said. She added, however, no one wants to “jeopardize people’s health and safety.” Community centres in Bala, Port Carling, Minett and Milford Bay reopened Nov. 2, allowing 10 people maximum in their facilities at a time for an hour a day, booked in advance. However, many feel they aren’t out of the woods yet. Residents, particularly seniors, don’t want to take the risk of infection by going out and are still leaning on the adjustments and virtual support systems they’ve developed during the pandemic in lieu of these in-person gathering places. Part of the Walker’s Point Community Centre is open to the public for limited use. The library, which has 500 members, reopened on Nov. 4. It’s open Wednesdays and Fridays, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and allows one person at a time into the library to check out or return books. The reopening, limited in its capacity, has been a mood-booster for many. "I think people are just happy to have it there," Young said. Heather Elliott works with the District of Muskoka, where she’s in charge of running free service programs for seniors in the region, including community centres in Torrance Bay, Milford Bay, Port Carling and Ullswater. They host a handbell choir, a course on learning to use the computer and various social events — all held virtually now. Once the pandemic began and people were confined to their homes for several weeks, Elliott said her team began reaching out to residents to see how they were faring physically and mentally. “Many of them are living alone and life is very different for them during a pandemic,” she said, “but we see them logging in and participating in ways that I don’t think they ever would a year ago.” While Young said she and the people she knows in the community have been doing well throughout the pandemic, she understands many must be feeling isolated. Connections through Facebook, email and over the phone have become essential in Walker’s Point. “We are definitely there for each other. It’s a very strong community,” Randall said. Elliott said, for the health and safety of their elderly population, who are more vulnerable to the consequences of the virus, they haven’t transitioned into hosting indoor events. “We’re hearing from seniors at this point that they’re not comfortable resuming in-person programming,” she said. She said they’re prioritizing plans for outdoor events like walking groups in Muskoka Lakes trails this winter. Walker’s Point residents, like Young, know one thing for certain: things are likely not going to change before the year is over. A clear sign of this is the cancellation of their annual holiday potluck, a hit event with local families and children, which ran out of the community centre. Young is planning for a more quiet, subdued Christmas in town: “We just won’t have any of the normal socializing,” she said. STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Our reporter wanted to see how residents are faring in places where the community centre is a cornerstone of local socialization and togetherness given limited openings during the pandemic. 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
Judy Havers says she used to like going outside, getting coffee at Boston Pizza, watching animals in the park and, most of all, feeding the feral cats she's nourished and taken comfort from for the last six years. That's all out of reach now. Havers, 60, is a resident of Providence Place, a Moose Jaw care home dealing with one of the many COVID-19 outbreaks hitting Saskatchewan's extended care homes.Havers is not infected, unlike four other residents and seven staff confirmed to have tested positive at the home, according to a statement management gave CBC News six days ago. "But we're all under lockdown," Havers said over the phone Wednesday from her single room, where she's been largely cooped up in her wheelchair for days.The isolation imposed by COVID-19 has taken a toll on her mental health, Havers says — quickened her already short temper, fed her depression, even given her the shakes because of how powerless she feels. "Sometimes I get really lonely because there isn't anybody to talk to," she said. "I find it very, very constricting being in the room all the time. "I miss going outside." 'Zero chance' of lower numbers by Christmas: profOn Tuesday, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe offered a ray of hope for care home residents and their families. Moe said people might be able to visit loved ones in care homes for two or three days during the holiday season, provided the rate of COVID-19 transmission decreases over the next two weeks and depending on the advice he receives from Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province's chief medical health officer."This is the goal," Moe said of Christmas visits, before adding another caveat. "People need to adhere to the measures that are in place [now]."Moe said care-home staff face the risk of transmission every day they go to work, but that they lessen that risk by wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and being cautious."The same may be true, potentially, for families that would want to visit in a long-term care," Moe said.He pointed to Quebec, where "there's going to be a little bit of a different standard so that families would be able to come together for those few days."Kyle Anderson, an assistant professor in the college of medicine at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, said it took Quebec about six weeks from the implementation of its new restrictions to start seeing active case numbers go down."There is zero chance Saskatchewan will have lower active case numbers on Christmas than we are right now, and right now we have seniors dying daily," he said."We need to commit to these measures, not look for ways to circumvent them."Anderson has been closely tracking the daily number of new COVID-19 cases. He created a video that shows the surge in cases among Saskatchewan seniors beginning in mid-November — right around the time outbreaks in care homes began, he said. "We need to keep our vulnerable safe for the next three or four months," Anderson said. "This might seem like too much to ask of us, and ask of them, after such a hard year, but we do the hard things now so we can enjoy the bountiful harvest at the end of the season. This is the Saskatchewan way."'I'm afraid it will spread'At Providence Place in Moose Jaw, Havers said that while it would be nice to see someone in person, she's wary of allowing visits again. She said some residents at her care home are worried about further COVID-19 spread."If it was too much of a risk for us, I'd just as soon not see anybody and stay safe," she said of Christmas visits. "I have some pre-existing conditions and I'm just really afraid of getting COVID in here. I'm afraid it will spread like it did in those homes back east."The day before Moe's comments, Health Minister Paul Merriman said people should plan to see their loved ones at Christmas. It's just a matter of whether they'll do that in person or virtually, he said. Merriman was asked if family members who test negative might be allowed to visit homes."The problem with a negative test is somebody can be negative, tested in the morning and could have picked it up on the way," he said. "We want to make sure that the individuals in that home are safe."> If it was too much of a risk for us, I'd just as soon not see anybody and stay safe. \- Judy HaversOn Thursday, Dr. Shahab said that every time the province relaxes restrictions, "you see a bit of a rebound" in cases.He said the province has seen outbreaks in many different settings, but that those in long-term care homes are the most "high risk out of all the outbreaks that we're seeing in terms of impact on residents and staff and families." Outings restricted for last 2 weeksHealth officials declared an outbreak at Providence Place on Nov. 18, according to an update sent to families that day.The day before, the Ministry of Health announced it was halting visits to all long-term care homes except for people visiting patients in end-of-life care. Providence Place said at the same time it was suspending all outings for its residents, a decision it would revisit in four weeks.Havers said she gets some fresh air because she still goes to a hospital three days a week for dialysis. She keeps in touch with a sister living in Nanaimo, B.C., via texts and FaceTime.But it's hard watching other people face the full brunt of restrictions, she said. "You see the residents [whose] family was here every day … giving them extra attention, washing them, talking to them, bringing them treats, whatever," she said. "Now, all of a sudden, even if they have dementia or Alzheimer's or something, I think they still realize that they're alone. It's not their fault, but I don't think they understand that."As of Thursday, the outbreak numbers at Providence Place were stable among staff and residents, said Georgia Hutchinson, the facility's executive director. "Our spiritual care, recreation and other redeployed staff are focusing on supporting and assisting our residents to cope with the effects of isolation in the outbreak," she said. "The SHA does provide mental health supports to our residents as they are required."On Tuesday, Moe was asked why he would get people's hopes up about visits given recent modelling from the Saskatchewan Health Authority that projects a continued rise in COVID-19 cases."It may not be possible," Moe said. "But is it my place to provide hope and to provide opportunity, to provide some targets for the people of the province to work towards between now and December the 25th? "I think it is."
The Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) says it is looking into several instances of uninvited strangers joining online classes and disrupting lessons.Nathalie Seskus, a Grade 7 St. Alphonsus School student — and the daughter of a CBC employee — said that since moving online this week, her class has been crashed by uninvited strangers more than once."It happened in two calls — one on [a] Google meeting, one on Zoom, where people who aren't part of our school or class have just been joining in calls," Seskus said.Seskus, 12, said the students and teacher can tell when someone uninvited had joined their chat rooms because of their usernames."We noticed because we're always supposed to use our real names when we're on calls. When we don't, we're asked to change them," she said. "In one case, when we were on a Zoom meeting, a man who was posing as a student had a random username."Seskus said the teacher told him to leave because he wasn't part of her class."She had kicked him out of the meeting and he joined again," Seskus said.She said in the other case, the intruder claimed to be a new student. "But he sounded like a man, not a child," Seskus said. "Everyone in the class was telling our teacher to kick them out. So she did, and we didn't see him pop up again."Disruptions were more common in the springBryan Szumlas, chief superintendent of the CCSD, said these disruptions are definitely happening — but were more common in the spring."For example, zoom back from March to June, there were some security issues with them, but they have since improved their technology significantly," Szumlas said. "It has been assessed by our Calgary Catholic technology team and it is a platform that we are comfortable with."Szumlas said the process of moving all Grade 7 to 12 students online this week was bound to include hiccups along the way. "What I did hear wasn't a huge problem," Szumlas said. "But I did hear about it in one or two classrooms where a teacher never clicked on a security feature and consequently [people outside the class joined]."We suspect it was just another student playing a prank and jumping into a class and making an inappropriate comment and then taking off."Szumlas said these types of incidents are taken very seriously and investigated fully."When something like this happens, obviously the teacher would communicate that to the principal and the principal would then start an investigation," Szumlas said. Szumlas said that should an incident be criminal, then the principal would also contact Calgary police, adding that police have not yet been required.Moving students onlineThe superintendent said the direction from the province to move older students online came relatively quickly."There was only four or five days for teachers to prepare," he said. "So the direction that we've given our teachers is that, use whatever platform you're comfortable with, so that we can continue the continuity of education."We've tried to give our teachers choice here. And I think we live in a world today that is so full of different technologies that are improving continuously, that having that rich variety is only good for our staff and good for our students."Szumlas said the district is constantly working with staff to help them understand some of the new security features on Zoom and other online platforms."One of the measures is that all students need to wait in the waiting room and then be admitted by the teacher and the teacher by clicking a few buttons within Zoom can lock in the student names and also prevent other people from accessing the room," he said.Calgary Board of Education experienceThe Calgary Board of Education said this is not an issue it has been seeing."We have not heard of incidences of strangers being a part of online lessons with our students," said the CBE in an emailed statement.The majority of the CBE's online learning takes place through Google Classrooms or D2L, according to the district."Classroom spaces, physical or digital, are learning environments specific for guiding interactions between teachers and students," the statement read.The CBE said there have been instances where a parent or guardian pops in on a lesson. "Caregivers entering a classroom space without invite and without following all of our guidelines are asked to leave and reminded of the importance of privacy for all students," the statement read."In most cases, our school-based administrators share the expectations of the classroom and parallel these expectations with face-to-face learning environments, and parents or caregivers are very understanding and receptive."
A youth has been acquitted in the Orillia stabbing death of Jordan Carter-Bonfield during the summer of 2018 in a robbery gone wrong. “It was clear to me that there was an abundance of evidence… to (show) self-defence,” said the youth’s criminal lawyer, David Heath. “Really from the time of the incident the police investigation centred on the fact that it appeared there was a robbery planned.” Emergency crews were summoned to the Tim Hortons coffee shop on Westmount Drive North at 7:35 a.m., July 30, 2018, where they found Carter-Bonfield, 25, with a neoprene black face mask under his chin and suffering from several stab wounds. He was declared dead at the scene. The cause of death was later attributed to a stab wound of the right chest and neck. Police subsequently issued an alert that they were looking for a suspect. Five days later, a youth surrendered to police in Toronto and was charged with second-degree murder. “There is no question that (the youth) caused the death of Jordan Carter-Bonfield at the time and place alleged. The focus of this trial was on whether (the youth) caused that death unlawfully and with the requisite state of mind for second-degree murder,” Justice Vanessa Christie of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario wrote in her decision dated Nov. 25 following a nine-day trial at the Barrie courthouse. In the 146-page decision, the judge pointed out that on Sept. 23, 2019, Zachary Jones-Sheppard pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit robbery in connection with the event. On Oct. 30, 2019, Miles Mathias pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit robbery. They admitted being at an Albert Street house in Orillia with Carter-Bonfield and Donnie Johnson earlier, planning to buy drugs. After meeting with the youth three times to make purchases, they hatched a plan to rob him of drugs, according to details in the decision. Charges were dropped against Johnson, who testified for the Crown at the youth’s trial. The presence of cocaine and cocaine metabolite were later found in Carter-Bonfield’s blood. Christie found the four drove a borrowed car and parked near the Bank of Montreal at Westmount Drive and Coldwater Road where Jones-Sheppard and Mathias waited while Carter-Bonfield and Johnson went to meet the youth in the woods across the street behind Tim Hortons. Carter-Bonfield was then stabbed in an altercation while trying to rob the youth. Johnson ran back to the car to tell the others about the stabbing. Mathias called 911 and then the three took off in the car. At his trial, the youth claimed he acted in self-defence, saving himself from being stabbed as he faced his robber, a much larger man who was armed with a knife. In contending the youth’s guilt, the Crown pointed to his behaviour after the stabbing. He went back to the scene to retrieve his shoes, threw his knife into a lake, changed his clothes, went to a crackhouse and secluded himself in the washroom where he shaved his head and tried to alter his appearance. He then left Orillia. The judge found that the youth became frightened when, approaching along the footpath, a masked Carter-Bonfield raised his head and appeared in front of him quickly while pulling out a knife. “(The youth) reacted by grabbing the right wrist of Mr. Carter-Bonfield with his left hand, and with his right hand, pulled his own knife out of his hoodie pocket, opened it, and swung that knife in the direction of Mr. Carter-Bonfield, several times,” Christie wrote, concluding that the Crown prosecution failed to disprove self-defence. “Having considered the totality of the circumstances, this court finds (the youth) not guilty of second-degree murder; in fact, not guilty of any crime," the judge added. Heath said the youth was released on bail in December 2018 and has since been thriving. “He and his family are looking forward to having an opportunity to get on with his life,” he said.Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, barrietoday.com
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A mysterious object temporarily orbiting Earth is a 54-year-old rocket, not an asteroid after all, astronomers confirmed Wednesday. Observations by a telescope in Hawaii clinched its identity, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The object was classified as an asteroid after its discovery in September. But NASA’s top asteroid expert, Paul Chodas, quickly suspected it was the Centaur upper rocket stage from Surveyor 2, a failed 1966 moon-landing mission. Size estimates had put it in the range of the old Centaur, which was about 32 feet (10 metres) long and 10 feet (3 metres) in diameter. Chodas was proven right after a team led by the University of Arizona's Vishnu Reddy used an infrared telescope in Hawaii to observe not only the mystery object, but — just on Tuesday — a Centaur from 1971 still orbiting Earth. The data from the images matched. “Today’s news was super gratifying!,” Chodas said via email. “It was teamwork that wrapped up this puzzle.” The object formally known as 2020 SO entered a wide, lopsided orbit around Earth last month and, on Tuesday, made its closest approach at just over 31,000 miles (50,476 kilometres). It will depart the neighbourhood in March, shooting back into its own orbit around the sun. Its next return: 2036. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press