Skating through a beautiful wetland landscape in Smith Falls, Ont.
Skating through a beautiful wetland landscape in Smith Falls, Ont.
The A-list is back. How A-list? Try Lady Gaga and J. Lo. Inauguration officials announced on Thursday that the glittery duo would appear in person on Jan. 20, with Gaga singing the national anthem as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, and Jennifer Lopez giving a musical performance. Foo Fighters, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen will offer remote performances, and Eva Longoria and and Kerry Washington will introduce segments of the event. Later that day, Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute primetime TV special celebrating Biden’s inauguration. Other performers include Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Ant Clemons. Despite a raging pandemic that is forcing most inaugural events online, it was a sign that Hollywood was back and eager to embrace the new president-elect four years after many big names stayed away from the inauguration of President Donald Trump, hugely unpopular in Hollywood. The question: How would the star wattage play across the country as Biden seeks to unite a bruised nation? Eric Dezenhall, a Washington crisis management consultant and former Reagan administration official, predicted reaction would fall “along tribal lines.” “I think it all comes down to the reinforcement of pre-existing beliefs,” Dezenhall said. “If you’re a Biden supporter, it’s nice to see Lady Gaga perform.” But, he added, “what rallied Trump supporters was the notion of an uber-elite that had nothing to do at all with them and that they couldn’t relate to.” Presidential historian Tevi Troy quipped that the starry Gaga-J. Lo lineup was not A-list, but D-list — "for Democratic.” "When Democrats win you get the more standard celebrities,” said Troy, author of “What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House.” “With Republicans you tend to get country music stars and race-car drivers." Referring to Lady Gaga’s outspoken support for the Biden-Harris ticket, he said he was nostalgic for the days when celebrities were not so political. “Call me a hopeless romantic, but I liked the old days when Bob Hope or Frank Sinatra would come to these events and they were not overtly political,” he said. Still, he said, Biden’s unity message won’t be derailed. “In the end, I don’t think having Lady Gaga or J. Lo is all that divisive,” he said. Attendance at the inauguration will be severely limited, due to both the pandemic and fears of continued violence, following last week’s storming of the Capitol. Outside the official events, one of the more prominent galas each inauguration is The Creative Coalition's quadrennial ball, a benefit for arts education. This year, the ball is entirely virtual. But it is star-studded nonetheless: The event, which will involve food being delivered simultaneously to attendees in multiple cities, will boast celebrity hosts including Jason Alexander, David Arquette, Matt Bomer, Christopher Jackson, Ted Danson, Lea DeLaria, Keegan Michael-Key, Chrissy Metz, Mandy Patinkin and many others. Robin Bronk, CEO of the non-partisan arts advocacy group, said she's been deluged with celebrities eager to participate in some way. The event typically brings in anywhere from $500,000 to $2.5 million, and this year the arts community is struggling like never before. Bronk noted that planning has been a challenge, given not only the recent political upheaval in the country but also the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic. Given all that, did a celebration make sense? “I was thinking about this when we were trying to phrase the invitation,” Bronk said. “Do we celebrate? This is the most serious time of our lives.” But, she said, especially at a time when the arts community is suffering, it’s crucial to shine a spotlight and recognize that “the right to bear arts is not a red or blue issue. One of the reasons we have this ball is that we have to ensure the arts are not forgotten." The Presidential Inaugural Committee also announced Thursday that the invocation will be given by the Rev. Leo O’Donovan, a former Georgetown University president, and the Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Andrea Hall, a firefighter from Georgia. There will be a poetry reading from Amanda Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate, and the benediction will be given by Rev. Silvester Beaman of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware. On the same platform, Biden sat in 2013 behind pop star Beyoncé as she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at President Barack Obama's second inauguration. James Taylor sang “America the Beautiful,” and Kelly Clarkson sang “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.” At Trump’s inauguration in 2017, the anthem was performed by 16-year-old singer Jackie Evancho. A number of top artists declined the opportunity to perform at the festivities, and one Broadway star, Jennifer Holliday, even said she’d received death threats before she pulled out of her planned appearance. There was indeed star power in 2017, but most of it was centred at the Women’s March on Washington, where attendees included Madonna, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson, Cher, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Emma Watson and many others. This year, signs are that Obama-era celebrities are returning. Dezenhall said that in the end, it's logical for organizers to go with the biggest talent. “Lady Gaga is as big as you can get, and she is very talented,” he said. “If I were being inaugurated and I could have Lady Gaga, I would take it.” Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
Quebec's workplace safety board says it has issued fines to nine Dollarama locations in the province for failing to respect sanitary guidelines. The Commission des normes, de l'equite, de la sante et de la securite du travail visited 68 Dollarama locations since March 2020 and issued 11 fines to the nine locations, the agency said Thursday. In its release, the agency did not specify the nature of the violations. The agency's announcement comes after Dollarama workers held protests last year decrying a lack of sanitary measures at the company's facilities. The nine Dollarama locations are in the regions of Gaspesie, Valleyfield, Saint-Jean-sur-le-Richelieu, Saguenay, Quebec City and Yamaska, the agency says. Dollarama says it cannot comment on the nature of the notices, adding that it has not received all of them and the ones it has received do not "clearly indicate what the infractions are." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:DOL) The Canadian Press
COVID-19. La Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) reconnaît les efforts du premier ministre pour tenter de freiner la transmission de la COVID-19 au sein de la population, tout en gardant les écoles ouvertes, dans l'intérêt de la réussite des élèves. Cependant, cela doit se faire en prenant tous les moyens nécessaires pour assurer la santé et la sécurité du personnel et des élèves, notamment en garantissant une qualité de l'air saine et sécuritaire dans les bâtiments. «C'est bien beau d'assurer des masques pour tout le monde, mais les scientifiques ont démontré que le virus se transmet principalement par aérosols. Il est donc essentiel que le gouvernement prenne sans tarder des mesures pour connaître la situation de la qualité de l'air dans tous les établissements scolaires et pour l'améliorer, le cas échéant», souligne Sonia Ethier, la présidente de la CSQ. Cette dernière a hâte d'entendre le ministre de l'Éducation, Jean-François Roberge, dévoiler son plan pour soutenir les élèves et le personnel dans ce contexte. «J'espère que le ministre a tiré des leçons de la période de confinement du printemps dernier et qu'il aura un vrai plan, cette fois-ci, pour que le personnel enseignant, professionnel et de soutien puisse poursuivre sa mission auprès des élèves et accompagner particulièrement celles et ceux qui ont des difficultés», plaide Sonia Ethier qui déplore d'ailleurs que cette annonce tardive laissera bien peu de temps au personnel pour se préparer aux ajustements à apporter. La présidente de la CSQ invite également la ministre de l'Enseignement supérieur, Danielle McCann, à faire connaître ses intentions pour assurer la sécurité et la santé des étudiants ainsi que du personnel des cégeps et universités d'ici la fin de la pandémie. Elle rappelle que, tout comme le personnel de l'éducation, le personnel de la santé doit avoir accès à un nombre suffisant de masques N95 pour assurer sa santé et sa sécurité, de même que les éducatrices travaillant dans les services éducatifs à la petite enfance, qui ont connu des ratés récemment dans la qualité du matériel de protection. Toujours du côté de la CSQ, la petite enfance a besoin elle aussi d'un «traitement-choc» pour assurer la sécurité des intervenantes. Alors que ses membres continueront à jouer un rôle essentiel dans la société en offrant tous les services dont les tout-petits et leurs parents ont besoin, la Fédération des intervenantes en petite enfance du Québec (FIPEQ-CSQ) est très inquiète pour la santé et la sécurité de ses éducatrices et a fait part de ces inquiétudes au ministre de la Famille. La FIPEQ-CSQ croit fermement que les mesures actuellement en place pour protéger les éducatrices des risques associés à la COVID-19 ne sont pas suffisantes et que des mesures concrètes supplémentaires doivent être mises en place non seulement pour assurer leur santé et leur sécurité, mais aussi leur équilibre travail-famille. Ainsi, la fédération a fait part de plusieurs demandes au ministère de la Famille, notamment : La FIPEQ-CSQ a également réitéré sa demande de mettre en place une prime COVID-19 pour les intervenantes en petite enfance. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
SÉISME. La terre a tremblé le 28 décembre, à sept kilomètres de La Malbaie. Un tremblement de 3,4 sur l’échelle de Richter a été confirmé par Séisme Canada. À ce sujet, connaissez-vous les gestes simples à poser lorsque la terre commence à trembler? Ainsi, il faut s’abaisser et s’abriter sous un meuble solide. Il est également indiqué de s’agripper en couvrant sa tête et son torse. Rappelons qu’un tremblement de terre, aussi appelé séisme, est un phénomène géologique imprévisible qui provoque des vibrations à la surface du sol. Au nombre de 5 000 chaque année au Canada, la plupart sont de faible intensité, ne durent que quelques secondes et ne causent pas de dommages. Les tremblements de terre majeurs, eux, peuvent durer quelques minutes. Il y a généralement des secousses principales suivies de secousses secondaires (répliques) plus ou moins fortes. Au Québec, même si peu de séismes de forte intensité ont été répertoriés récemment, des secousses sismiques peuvent toujours se produire. Voici les trois principales zones sismiques du territoire : Charlevoix-Kamouraska Cette zone est la plus active du Québec. Elle longe le fleuve Saint-Laurent, dans les MRC de Charlevoix et de Charlevoix-Est, sur la rive nord, et dans les MRC de L’Islet et de Kamouraska, sur la rive sud. La zone sismique de l’ouest du Québec Cette zone comprend la vallée de l’Outaouais, la région comprise entre Montréal et le Témiscamingue ainsi que les Laurentides. Les régions urbaines de Montréal et d’Ottawa-Gatineau font aussi partie de cette zone. Bas-Saint-Laurent et Côte-Nord Cette zone se situe dans l’estuaire du Saint-Laurent, entre la région de la Côte-Nord et celle du Bas-Saint-Laurent. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
COVID-19. La Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ) demeure vivement préoccupée par l'état des entreprises québécoises et s'inquiète pour la survie de plusieurs. Elle accueille tout de même favorablement l'ouverture du gouvernement pour maintenir certaines activités économiques tout en rappelant qu'une aide financière directe plus importante que ce qui a été annoncé par le passé devrait être prévue. «Les Québécois sont fatigués. La situation actuelle est extrêmement difficile pour de trop nombreux secteurs économiques et les annonces d'aujourd'hui sont un autre coup dur pour des milliers d'entrepreneurs. Nous reconnaissons toutefois que les décisions du gouvernement visent à maintenir le plus d'activités économiques possible sans nuire aux efforts pour lutter contre le virus, notamment pour le secteur manufacturier et celui de la construction. Les entrepreneurs québécois ont fait d'énormes efforts pour rendre les lieux de travail les plus sécuritaires possible. Voici leur chance d'en faire la démonstration», souligne Charles Milliard, président-directeur général de la FCCQ pour qui le gouvernement doit maintenant plancher sur deux priorités nationales : maximiser la distribution et l'administration des vaccins et s'assurer que les aides de soutien aux entreprises soient les plus directes et les plus efficaces possible. «Le gouvernement doit présenter et exécuter rapidement un plan de vaccination cohérent et efficace. En plus de pouvoir compter sur les professionnels de la santé, il devrait aussi prêter rapidement l'oreille aux offres d'aide du secteur privé pour accélérer la vaccination de la population», indique-t-il. Par ailleurs, pour couvrir un maximum d'entreprises ayant besoin d'une aide financière pour survivre, l'enveloppe globale devrait être augmentée et la notion d'aide directe devrait être privilégiée selon le réseau de 130 chambres de commerce et 1 100 membres corporatifs. «Le surendettement des entreprises était déjà une réalité bien présente qui sera aggravée par ces fermetures prolongées de plusieurs entreprises. La situation est exceptionnelle et impose des mesures exceptionnelles comme le couvre-feu, mais nos entreprises n'ont plus la capacité de s'endetter davantage et le gouvernement doit en tenir compte», précise Charles Milliard. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped nine of her most trusted allies in the House to argue the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Democrats, all of whom are lawyers and many of whom have deep experience investigating the president, face the arduous task of convincing skeptical Senate Republicans to convict Trump. A single article of impeachment — for “incitement of insurrection” — was approved by the House on Wednesday, one week after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. At the time, lawmakers were counting the votes that cemented Trump’s election defeat. As members of the House who were in the Capitol when it was attacked — several hiding under seats as rioters beat on the doors of the chamber — the Democrats are also witnesses to what they charge is a crime. So are the Senate jurors. “This is a case where the jurors were also victims, and so whether it was those who voted in the House last night or those in the Senate who will have to weigh in on this, you don’t have to tell anyone who was in the building twice what it was like to be terrorized,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the managers. It is unclear when the trial will start. Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate. It could be as soon as next week, on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office. The managers plan to argue at trial that Trump incited the riot, delaying the congressional certification of the electoral vote count by inciting an angry mob to harm members of Congress. Some of the rioters were recorded saying they wanted to find Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the count. Others had zip ties that could be used as handcuffs hanging on their clothes. “The American people witnessed that,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., one of the managers. “That amounts to high crimes and misdemeanours.” None of the impeachment managers argued the case in Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when the Senate acquitted the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House impeached Trump in 2019 after he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden’s family while withholding military aid to the country. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, another manager, says the nine prosecutors plan to present a serious case and “finish the job” that the House started. A look at Pelosi’s prosecution team in Trump’s historic second impeachment: REP. JAMIE RASKIN, MARYLAND Pelosi appointed Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee, as lead manager. In a week of dramatic events and stories, Raskin’s stands out: The day before the Capitol riots, Raskin buried his 25-year-old son, Tommy, after he killed himself on New Year’s Eve. “You would be hard pressed to find a more beloved figure in the Congress” than Raskin, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was the lead manager during Trump’s first trial. He worked closely with Raskin on that impeachment investigation. “I know that part of what gives him strength to take on this burden that he now carries is knowing that this is something that would be enormously meaningful to his son.” REP. DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO DeGette, who is serving her 13th term representing Denver, is a former civil rights attorney and one of Pelosi’s go-to allies. The speaker picked her to preside over the House during the first impeachment vote in 2019. DeGette said Pelosi trusted her to do it because she is “able to to control the passions on the floor.” She says she was surprised when Pelosi called to offer her the prosecutorial position but quickly accepted. “The monstrosity of this offence is not lost on anybody,” she says. REP. DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence and public defender, is in his sixth term in Congress and is a senior member of the Judiciary panel. He was heavily involved in Trump’s first impeachment and was one of three original authors of the article that the House approved on Wednesday. He and California Rep. Ted Lieu began writing the article together, in hiding, as the rioters were still ransacking the Capitol. He tweeted out a draft the next morning, writing that “I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.” REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels, where he has been an outspoken critic of Trump's handling of Russia. He was a litigator in private practice before he was elected to the Texas legislature and came to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. Julian Castro ran in the Democratic primary for president last year. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA Swalwell also serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels and was deeply involved in congressional probes of Trump’s Russian ties. A former prosecutor, he briefly ran for president in 2019. “The case that I think resonates the most with the American people and hopefully the Senate is that our American president incited our fellow citizens to attack our Capitol on a day where we were counting electoral votes, and that this was not a spontaneous call to action by the president at the rally,” Swalwell said. REP. TED LIEU, CALIFORNIA Lieu, who authored the article of impeachment with Cicilline and Raskin, is on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs panels. The Los Angeles-area lawmaker is a former active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force and military prosecutor. “We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic,” he said. DEL. STACEY PLASKETT, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Because she represents a U.S. territory, not a state, Plaskett does not have voting rights and was not able to cast a vote for impeachment. But she will bring her legal experience as a former district attorney in New York and senior counsel at the Justice Department — and as one of Raskin's former law students. “As an African American, as a woman, seeing individuals storming our most sacred place of democracy, wearing anti-Semitic, racist, neo-Nazi, white supremacy logos on their bodies and wreaking the most vile and hateful things left not just those people of colour who were in the room traumatized, but so many people of colour around this country," she said Friday. REP. JOE NEGUSE, COLORADO Neguse, in his second term, is a rising star in the Democratic caucus who was elected to Pelosi’s leadership team his freshman year in Congress. A former litigator, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee and consulted with Raskin, Cicilline and Lieu as they drafted the article the day of the attack. At 36, he will be the youngest impeachment manager in history, according to his office. “This armed mob did not storm the Capitol on any given day, they did so during the most solemn of proceedings that the United States Congress is engaged in,” Neguse said Thursday. “Clearly the attack was done to stop us from finishing our work.” REP. MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA Like Neguse, Dean was first elected when Democrats recaptured the House in 2018. She is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is a former lawyer and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She says she hopes the prosecutors can convince the Senate and the American people “to mark this moment" with a conviction. “I think I bring to it just the simple fact that I’m a citizen, that I’m a mom and I’m a grandma," Dean said. "And I want my children, my grandchildren, to remember what we did here.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
BARCELONA, Spain — Barcelona’s presidential elections have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the club said Friday. Barcelona said the Jan. 24 elections were delayed because of “mobility restrictions decreed by the Catalan government in the current context of (the coronavirus) pandemic.” “The current epidemiological situation does not make it possible to authorize the movement outside the municipality to members who do not have a polling station in their municipality on Jan. 24, given the high mobility this would entail," the club said. Barcelona said it has asked the Catalan government to allow voting by mail, "a request that the government has undertaken to study.” A new date for the elections has not been set. The three candidates running for the club's presidency are Joan Laporta, Víctor Font and Toni Freixa. Barcelona has been led by a caretaker board since former president Josep Bartomeu resigned in October while facing the possibility of being ousted in a no-confidence motion supported by thousands of club members furious after the team’s poor performances and the club’s bad financial situation. Barcelona lost to Bayern Munich 8-2 in the Champions League quarterfinals in August, and its soaring debt forced the club to practically give away veterans like Luis Suárez to slash its salary burden. Lionel Messi later asked to leave the club but had his request denied. Barcelona plays Athletic Bilbao on Sunday in the Spanish Super Cup final. The team trails Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid in the Spanish league. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Founded by entrepreneur Greg Wyler in 2014, OneWeb aims to provide high-speed broadband internet services globally using low earth orbit satellites, taking on a similar offering by Elon Musk's SpaceX. The funding would allow OneWeb to cover the costs for its network of 648 satellites, expected to be ready by the end of 2022. SoftBank Group, a former investor in OneWeb, had pulled the plug on funding earlier, forcing OneWeb to file for bankruptcy protection in March.
Atlanta rapper YFN Lucci is accused of being the driver in a gang-related drive-by shooting that left one man dead and another wounded, authorities said. The 29-year-old rapper turned himself in Wednesday, a day after Atlanta police announced murder charges against Lucci, whose real name is Rayshawn Bennett. Police said Bennett and other “gang members” drove through rival gang territory on Dec. 10 and two people inside the car opened fire, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported citing an arrest warrant. The rivals returned fire, hitting James Adams, 28, in the head, police said. Adams was “manually ejected” from the car and police later found his body lying in the road. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Later that day, Kevin Wright, 32, arrived at a fire station with a gunshot wound to his abdomen. He survived. Police said Ra’von Boyd, 23, was also in the vehicle during the shooting. Boyd and a 17-year-old juvenile were charged in the incident and were both arrested in Miami. A warrant was put out for Bennett's arrest Tuesday, charging him with murder, aggravated assault, participating in criminal street gang activity and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Before he surrendered to authorities Wednesday night, he released his latest music video on his Twitter and Instagram pages. Bennett's attorney Drew Findling said a “review of the initial evidence” provided “no basis for any criminal charges.” Lucci is best known for his 2016 song “Key to the Streets” featuring the Atlanta-area-based rap group Migos. The Associated Press
Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said today that global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will temporarily reduce shipments of its vaccine to Canada, further complicating the slow rollout of doses. Anand said she was told last night that Pfizer will send fewer doses than expected because it is pausing some production lines at its facility in Puurs, Belgium, in order to expand long-term manufacturing capacity. "This expansion work means that Pfizer is temporarily reducing deliveries to all countries receiving vaccines manufactured at its European facility, and that includes Canada," Anand told reporters at a public health briefing. "Pfizer believes that by the end of March it will be able to catch up, such that we will be on track for the total committed doses for Q1," she added, referring to the first quarter of the calendar year. Anand stressed that this is a "temporary reduction" and not a "stoppage," as some doses will still be shipped to Canada when some of Pfizer's manufacturing lines are idle. "It's going to be temporary, it's not a loss, and we will make up those doses," she said, adding deliveries will be disrupted for "two or three weeks." WATCH | Canada affected by Pfizer vaccine production delay in Europe: Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccine logistics, said Canada's allotment will be reduced by 50 per cent for four weeks. He said the shipment next week of roughly 208,000 doses will proceed as planned, but shipments over the subsequent four weeks will be substantially smaller as a result of this manufacturing hiccup. Fortin said Canada will experience the "most profound impact" during the week of Jan. 25, when Pfizer will ship just a quarter of what had been promised originally. All told, the delivery of roughly 400,000 doses has been punted to a later date. Fortin stressed that Pfizer's shipments will scale up after that point and "return to what we expected for end-February and onwards." The general has stated previously that Canada was expecting the delivery of 1.4 million Pfizer doses that month. "As numbers increase, Pfizer indicated that they intend to offset the impact of their production dip," he said. "It will hurt in the short-term but ... the manufacturer is committed to the doses it has promised us." A spokesperson for Pfizer Canada said the delay will allow the company to significantly scale up its manufacturing operations and pump out up to 2 billion vaccine doses this year — up from the previous target of 1.3 billion. The company said there will be "fluctuations in orders and shipping schedules" as it works to increase production volumes. "As part of the normal productivity improvements to increase capacity, we must make modifications to the process and facility. Although this will temporarily impact shipments in late January and February, it will provide a significant increase in doses available for patients in late February and March," the spokesperson said. Other countries supplied by Pfizer's European facility provided some rough estimates Friday of how deliveries will be affected as Pfizer retools. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health said it expects deliveries to be reduced by as much as 20 per cent over the coming weeks. Lithuania said it was told its supplies would be halved until mid-February. "The manufacturer told us the cuts are EU-wide," Lithuanian health ministry spokesperson Vytautas Beniusis told Reuters. Anand said the federal government still expects to receive roughly four million doses of the Pfizer product in the first three months of this year. Moderna is expected to deliver another two million doses of its vaccine. Pfizer also has a plant in Kalamazoo, Mich., but all of Canada's doses are being shipped from the company's European operation. "While both our U.S. and European sites are approved by Health Canada to supply the Canadian market, the supply to Canada has been allocated from our Puurs site in Belgium. For the time being, that has not changed," the Pfizer spokesperson said. Later Friday, in an interview with CBC's Power & Politics, Anand said she did try to negotiate with the company to avoid this delay but was unsuccessful. "In my telephone conversation with them, I did raise what other measures we could take," she said. Pfizer's Michigan plant is only 220 kilometres away from the Detroit-Windsor border crossing. Asked if Canada could receive doses from the Michigan plant while the Brussels location is working at reduced capacity, Anand said those products have been earmarked already for the American market. 'Bumps along the way' Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought to assure Canadians today that the "temporary" delays won't derail the government's long-term goal of getting everyone who wants a shot vaccinated by the end of September. He also said he doesn't expect the manufacturing pause to "change our second quarter goals. Canada must still get ready for the 'ramp up' phase in Q2." Fortin has said the country is expecting delivery of about one million vaccine shots each week starting in April. In the spring, Canada will shift from phase one of the vaccine rollout — immunizing particularly vulnerable people, such as long-term care home residents, some Indigenous adults and health care providers — to wider distribution among the general population. Trudeau said the government always anticipated some "bumps along the way," given the unprecedented global demand for vaccines. WATCH: Trudeau says Pfizer's reduction is 'just temporary' "This kind of issue is out of our hands and that's why we pursued an aggressive procurement strategy in the first place," Trudeau said, adding Canada is not entirely dependent on Pfizer for shots. Other promising vaccine candidates, such as those from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceutical division, Janssen, are currently being reviewed by regulators at Health Canada.
Une seconde procédure de destitution de Donald Trump vient d’être déclenchée. Si les démocrates sont partis confiants, son succès est en réalité compromis par la posture des élus républicains.
The Township of Seguin and the other six municipalities that make up west Parry Sound have signed off on a letter, dated Dec. 1, to Ontario’s minister of the environment, conservation and parks. The letter states that they would like the ministry to reconsider the transition of the blue box from 2025 to 2024. What exactly is the blue box transition program? The Blue Box Transition program is being legislated by the Province of Ontario and means the responsibility of collecting and processing recyclable products will be on the manufacturers who make the items. What that means is the duty of recycling is being shifted to the manufacturers who produce the material rather than society. Will this effect how I put out my recycling? The government says there shouldn’t be any change of service. You may have to go to a different location to drop off your recycling, if rural, or you may have a new company that picks up your curbside blue box materials. When is this supposed to come into effect? For the municipalities that make up west Parry Sound — Parry Sound, Archipelago, Seguin, McKellar, McDougall, Carling and Whitestone — the change is supposed to come into effect in 2025; however, all seven municipalities have signed a letter to Minister Jeff Yurek requesting the transition take place in 2024. Why? The District of Muskoka is transitioning in 2024 and, currently, the west Parry Sound municipalities process blue box materials in Bracebridge. They are concerned about issues that may happen if the transition happens at a different time than Muskoka. Another concern is the fact the Greater Toronto Area is transitioning in 2023 and the expanded list of recyclables there will differ from what is offered in west Parry Sound for a time. Residents who migrate north for the summer may expect to recycle the same list of items, which may cause contamination in waste systems. Will this transition raise my taxes? Once the producers and manufacturers take over the recycling process, it’s going to save the taxpayers; however, prices for products may go up to pay for the manufacturers’ cost of processing the recycling. The Township of Seguin said at its Jan. 11 council meeting that the mayors from the seven municipalities would follow up on the letter once a response was received. 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 Township of Perry held a special meeting on Jan. 13 to address the use of the outdoor rinks and parks during the provincial stay-at-home order. While the outdoor rinks could remain open under increased restrictions, the township decided to close both rinks as well as the parks. “We understand with the order we could have (the rinks) open but the spirit of the (resolution) was stay at home,” said Beth Morton, clerk-administrator for the township. Ontario announced on Jan. 12 the province would head into another state of emergency as of 12:01 a.m. Jan. 13. The province is further restricting the limit of outdoor gatherings from 10 people to a maximum of five with limited exceptions. The wearing of masks or face coverings is now recommended for the outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres. Prior to the Jan. 12 announcement, people could use outdoor rinks during the provincewide lockdown with guidelines in place for a maximum of 10 people, wearing a face mask or covering, no hockey and maintaining two-metres distancing. However, Morton said people weren’t adhering to the previous guidelines. “We’re having a lot of increased enforcement,” she said, which is why council decided to close the rinks and parks. “People aren’t willing to wear masks, they’re not willing to follow restrictions and guidelines that are in place, and so we’ve had no alternative but to close (the rinks).” The resolution comes into effect on Jan. 14. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
The Canadian Red Cross on P.E.I. is looking for volunteers to help out both on the Island and across the country. "There are so many opportunities," said Alanna Green, program manager for the provincial Red Cross branch. "It's national, and a lot of it is working virtually. Some of it is an opportunity to deploy in other areas across Canada." The COVID-19 pandemic has cut into volunteer numbers, especially in provinces struggling to control the second wave. There are opportunities to help out with testing and vaccinations, contact tracing, and with more traditional Red Cross work such as assisting families affected by fires or floods. Just this week, the organization provided help with emergency lodging and food after a family of four lost its townhouse unit to fire in O'Leary. On the Island, Green is looking for people to help with the health equipment loan program. Some of the volunteers in that program didn't return after the pandemic led the Red Cross to shut it down in the spring. "We're looking to rebuild that volunteer base," she said. "In Charlottetown, St. Peters and O'Leary, all those service centres are reopened, so we need more volunteers in those areas." You can investigate volunteer opportunities at the Red Cross website or call the Charlottetown office at 902-628-6262. More from CBC P.E.I.
ZURICH — Coronavirus restrictions in New Zealand have caused next month’s Club World Cup to shrink from seven teams to six. Auckland City told FIFA on Friday it could no longer represent Oceania at the tournament in Qatar because of the “COVID-19 pandemic and related quarantine measures required by the New Zealand authorities.” FIFA said the requirements in New Zealand “in relation to isolation and quarantine” go beyond the soccer body’s remit. Auckland’s absence means Qatari champion Al-Duhail will get a bye into the second round. The six-team tournament draw will be made at FIFA headquarters in Zurich on Tuesday. New Zealand is also working with FIFA to co-host the 2023 Women’s World Cup with Australia. New Zealand, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, has won wide acclaim for combating the pandemic. The nation of 5 million people has registered only 25 deaths because of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. FIFA also praised Qatar, which hosted the latter stages of the Asian Champions League last year. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
U.S. president-elect Joe Biden has unveiled a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan to turn the tide on the pandemic, speeding up the vaccine rollout and providing financial help to individuals, governments and businesses.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his entire Cabinet resigned Friday to take political responsibility for a scandal involving investigations into child welfare payments that wrongly labeled thousands of parents as fraudsters. In a nationally televised speech, Rutte said he had informed King Willem-Alexander of his decision and pledged that his government would continue work to compensate affected parents as quickly as possible and to battle the coronavirus. “We are of one mind that if the whole system has failed, we all must take responsibility, and that has led to the conclusion that I have just offered the king, the resignation of the entire Cabinet,” Rutte said. The move was seen as largely symbolic; Rutte’s government will remain in office in a caretaker mode until a new coalition is formed after a March 17 election in the Netherlands. The resignation brings to an end a decade in office for Rutte, although his party is expected to win the election, putting him first in line to begin talks to form the next government. If he succeeds in forming a new coalition, Rutte would most likely again become prime minister. The Netherlands is the third European country thrown into political uncertainty this week in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. In Estonia, the government resigned over a corruption scandal, while Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte’s governing coalition is at risk of collapse after a small partner party withdrew its support. Rutte said earlier this week that his government would be able to keep taking tough policy decisions in the battle against the coronavirus even if it were in caretaker mode. The Netherlands is in a tough lockdown until at least Feb. 9, and the government is considering imposing an overnight curfew amid fears about new, more contagious variants of the virus. “To the Netherlands I say: Our struggle against the coronavirus will continue,” Rutte said. On Thursday, the leader of the Dutch opposition Labor Party stepped down because he was minister of social affairs in a governing coalition led by Rutte when the country’s tax office implemented a tough policy of tracking down fraud with child welfare. Lodewijk Asscher’s decision put further pressure on Rutte ahead of Friday's Cabinet meeting. Ministers were to decide on their reaction to a scathing report issued last month, titled “Unprecedented Injustice,” that said the tax office policies violated “fundamental principles of the rule of law.” The report also criticized the government for the way it provided information to parliament about the scandal. Many wrongfully accused parents were plunged into debt when tax officials demanded repayment of payments. The government has in the past apologized for the tax office’s methods and in March earmarked 500 million euros ($607 million) to compensate more than 20,000 parents. One of those parents waited near parliament as the Cabinet met and said she wanted it to resign. “It's important for me because it is the government acknowledging, ‘We have made a mistake and we are taking responsibility,’ because it's quite something what happened to us,” Janet Ramesar told The Associated Press. Rutte plans to lead his conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy into the March election, and polls suggest it will win the most seats. That would put Rutte, who has been in office for a decade at the head of three different coalitions, first in line to attempt to form the next ruling coalition. Deputy Prime Minister Kajsa Ollongren, who serves as interior minister, said as she entered Friday's meeting that “it is very important to be accountable and also to show responsibility in the political sense, and we are going to talk about that in the Council of Ministers today.” Mike Corder, The Associated Press
Toronto's speed enforcement cameras issued more than 53,000 tickets in their months of use, the city says, and appear to have led drivers to slow down in the areas where they were positioned. In about four and half months last year, the 50 automated devices led to some 53,090 tickets being handed out, the city said in a news release Friday. Further, as the initial enforcement window continued, there was a notable reduction in both the overall number of tickets issued and also the number of repeat offenders. The cameras first went into action on July 6, 2020, and all 50 remained in the their original locations until Oct. 31. Throughout November, the devices were rotated to new spots in stages. According to the city, the data from that period looks like this: July 6 to Aug. 5, 2020: 22,301 total tickets, with 2,239 repeat offenders. Aug. 6 to Sept. 5, 2020: 15,175 total tickets, with 1,198 repeat offenders. Sept. 6 to Oct. 6, 2020: 9,719 total tickets, with 604 repeat offenders. Oct. 7 to Oct. 31, 2020, the last full day before staff began moving cameras to new locations: 5,174 total tickets, with 251 repeat offenders. Throughout November, 721 tickets were issued, the city said. A speed camera situated on Renforth Drive near Lafferty Street in the riding of Etobicoke Centre issued the most tickets at 5,404. That device was also connected to the single biggest fine issued: $718 to a vehicle owner driving 89 km/h in a 40 km/h zone. Meanwhile, the most frequent repeat offender was a driver in Scarborough North, who received 17 tickets from a device located near Crow Trail and Bradstone Square. Data for December, 2020 is expected next month, the city said, and all of the automated cameras are expected to be moved again in the spring this year.
Calling Métis an "interest group," as Premier Brian Pallister did Wednesday after touring the Brandon vaccination site, does not sit well with Manitoba Metis Federation David Chartrand. "It’s insulting," said Chartrand. When The Brandon Sun asked Pallister to explain the lack of a COVID-19 data sharing agreement with the federation, including the lack of a partnership to ensure Métis are prioritized for vaccines as First Nations have been, he was quick to bristle. But instead of answering the question, the premier spoke about Indigenous people generally, First Nations and reconciliation. "Well, Métis representatives have been at the table and have been part of this. But, of course, Métis people live integrated, for the most part, with the rest of us in the province, as opposed to a lot of the Northern Indigenous communities that do not. And, so, the considerations are not identical, as you would recognize," he said, when pressed. When pressed again, he said, "There are significant efforts being made to work with our interest groups in our province, in particular with the Indigenous and Métis people to make sure that we’re doing what’s culturally appropriate, what works well for their population, what’s acceptable, agreeable, sensitive to their needs. That work is ongoing." But Chartrand objects to Pallister’s statements. He said the only committee the federation – a self-governing political representative for Manitoba Métis – has been asked to sit on is about how best to communicate about vaccines, which has nothing to do with the roll-out. To begin with, Chartrand explained, in some villages, the clear majority will be First Nation and Métis, with very few non-Indigenous people living in them. Chartrand offers Camperville, on the western shore of Lake Winnipegosis, St. Laurent, established as Fond du Lac in 1824 by Métis, and St. Eustache as examples of predominantly Métis villages. "Those are Métis villages. The vast majority (of people) are Métis. These are historical Métis villages which existed even before Canada existed, before the Province of Manitoba," Chartrand said. "Excuse me, but I can tell you where every Métis person lives. I can tell you their chronic illnesses. I can tell you their education level. I can tell you what universities they’re going to. I can tell you what colleges they’re going to." Further, Chartrand said Pallister has a responsibility to establish a distinct process with Métis, and that he’s making excuses not to engage with Métis as a rights-holding Indigenous population. NDP leader Wab Kinew weighed in, after Pallister’s appearance in Brandon. "Unfortunately, Mr. Pallister has politicized his relationship with the Métis people in Manitoba. And I think, in this instance, it’s getting in the way of public health," he said. He said due to the strong work of First Nations health leaders, the benefits of data sharing and strategizing can be seen, and that the Métis community being able to participate in the same kind of arrangement would probably benefit all Manitobans. "If there is one group in society that – whether it’s a cultural group, a geographic region, a socio-economic group – that gets left behind, and that becomes the opening by which the virus can spread, then that affects all of us," Kinew said. "Then we all have to live with the virus or the public health restrictions that are attempting to combat it." He thinks the Métis are raising an important issue and Pallister would do well to dramatically improve his working relationship with them. Jerry Daniels, the Grand Chief of the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO), concurs. "SCO supports our Métis relatives in their efforts to have allotments of COVID-19 vaccines that they can distribute to their own people," stated Daniels by email. "COVID-19 has impacted the Métis population in Manitoba and there needs to be accountability for this. There also needs to be a facts-based approach to vaccine distribution, to ensure they receive a fair amount of vaccines and can keep their most vulnerable people safe. So far, the province has been unwilling to collaborate with the Metis Nation." Meanwhile, in a follow-up email from a Pallister spokesperson, Chartrand’s previous statements on this matter were denigrated. "Contrary to the inaccurate and inflammatory comments made by the president of the Manitoba Metis Federation, the Government of Manitoba appreciates the willingness of the MMF to assist in Manitoba’s COVID-19 response," stated the spokesperson later Wednesday afternoon. "We have invited them to work with us, in partnership, to discuss how Métis communities can be supported to enhance their ability to access Manitoba’s three COVID-19 vaccination super sites. We have yet to receive a response to this invitation, but remain optimistic about the prospect of working together on this pivotal aspect of the vaccination strategy." But that’s not what Chartrand wants. He wants an allocation of vaccine, and he would partner with pharmacies to deliver them to vulnerable Métis, likely much the same way the science has dictated priority groups so far. "We’d pay them (pharmacies) to give the vaccines. We’d put up the resources to make sure it’s there. We know where our people live, we know their ages, we know their locations, we know the communities. We can quickly put an action team together and a plan – overnight," Chartrand said. When asked about a possible "plan B" if the Province of Manitoba continues to exclude the federation from meaningful participation in the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in the province, to ensure the most vulnerable Métis are adequately protected, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) stated the federal government places great importance on including Indigenous voices in the priority-setting for early vaccination. "ISC is working collaboratively with all provinces and territories to encourage inclusion of Indigenous perspectives to ensure an integrated and coordinated approach to support the administration and planning process of the COVID-19 vaccine for Indigenous peoples," stated a spokesperson by email. "The logistics of a COVID-19 vaccine roll-out require coordination amongst partners and provinces and territories; an efficient and effective roll-out requires co-planning and is dependent on full collaboration."Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
MAMUJU, Indonesia — A strong, shallow earthquake shook Indonesia's Sulawesi island just after midnight Friday, toppling homes and buildings, triggering landslides and killing at least 42 people. More than 600 people were injured by the magnitude 6.2 quake, which sent people fleeing their homes in the darkness. Authorities were still collecting information about the full scale of casualties and damage in the affected areas. There were reports of many people trapped in the rubble of collapsed homes and buildings. In a video released by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, a girl stuck in the wreckage of a house cried out for help and said she heard the sound of other family members also trapped. “Please help me, it hurts,” the girl told rescuers, who replied that they desperately wanted to help her. The rescuers said an excavator was needed to save the girl and others trapped in collapsed buildings. Other images showed a severed bridge and damaged and flattened houses. The earthquake damaged part of a hospital and patients were moved to an emergency tent outside. Rescuers struggled to extract seven patients and staff who were trapped under tons of rubble. After several hours, an excavator came to help and the rescuers eventually retrieved four survivors and three bodies. Another video showed a father crying, asking for help to save his children buried under their toppled house. “They are trapped inside, please help,” he cried. Thousands of displaced people were evacuated to temporary shelters. The quake was centred 36 kilometres (22 miles) south of West Sulawesi province’s Mamuju district, at a depth of 18 kilometres (11 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey said. The Indonesian disaster agency said the death toll climbed to 42 as rescuers in Mamuju retrieved 34 bodies trapped in the rubble of collapsed homes and buildings. The agency said in a statement that eight people were killed and 637 others were injured in Mamuju's neighbouring district of Majene. It said at least 300 houses and a health clinic were damaged and about 15,000 people were being housed in temporary shelters in the district. Power and phones were down in many areas. West Sulawesi Administration Secretary Muhammad Idris told TVOne that the governor's office building was among those that collapsed in Mamuju, the provincial capital, and many people there remained trapped. Rescuer Saidar Rahmanjaya said a lack of heavy equipment was hampering efforts to clear the rubble from collapsed houses and buildings. He said his team was working to save dozens of people trapped in eight buildings, including in the governor's office, a hospital and a hotel. “We are racing against time to rescue them,” he said. Relatives wailed as they watched rescuers pull a body of a loved one from a damaged home in devastated Mamuju. It was placed in an orange body bag and taken away for burial. “Oh my God, why did we have to go through this?” cried Rina, who uses one name. “I can’t save my dear sister ... forgive me, sister, forgive us, God!” President Joko Widodo said in a televised address that he had ordered his social minister and the chiefs of the military, police and disaster agency to carry out emergency response measures and search and rescue operations as quickly as possible. “I, on behalf of the Government and all Indonesian people, would like to express my deep condolences to families of the victims,” Widodo said. The National Search and Rescue Agency’s chief, Bagus Puruhito, said rescuers from the cities of Palu, Makassar, Balikpapan and Jakarta were being deployed to help in Mamuju and Majene. Two ships were heading to the affected areas from Makassar and Balikpapan carrying rescuers and search and rescue equipment, while a Hercules plane carrying supplies was on its way from Jakarta. Puruhito is already leading more than 4,100 rescue personnel in a separate massive search operation for victims of the crash of a Sriwijaya Air jet into the Java Sea last Saturday. Among the dead in Majene were three people killed when their homes were flattened by the quake while they were sleeping, said Sirajuddin, the district’s disaster agency chief. Sirajuddin, who goes by one name, said although the inland earthquake did not have the potential to cause a tsunami, people along coastal areas ran to higher ground in fear one might occur. Landslides were set off in three locations and blocked a main road connecting Mamuju to the Majene district, said Raditya Jati, the disaster agency’s spokesperson. On Thursday, a magnitude 5.9 undersea quake hit the same region, damaging several homes but causing no apparent casualties. Indonesia’s meteorology, climatology and geophysical agency, known by its Indonesian acronym BMKG, warned of the dangers of aftershocks and the potential for a tsunami. Its chairwoman urged people in coastal areas to move to higher ground as a precaution. Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 260 million people, is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. In 2018, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in Palu on Sulawesi island set off a tsunami and caused soil to collapse in a phenomenon called liquefaction. More than 4,000 people died, many of the victims buried when whole neighbourhoods were swallowed in the falling ground. A powerful Indian Ocean quake and tsunami in 2004 killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Indonesia. ___ Karmini reported from Jakarta, Indonesia. Niniek Karmini And Yusuf Wahil, The Associated Press