Host William Lou recaps the Toronto Raptors' 119-114 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Three stars: Chris Boucher, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam -
Gerald Henderson award: Patty Mills
Host William Lou recaps the Toronto Raptors' 119-114 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Three stars: Chris Boucher, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam -
Gerald Henderson award: Patty Mills
For two Virginia police officers who posed for a photo during the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection, the reckoning has been swift and public: They were identified, charged with crimes and arrested. But for five Seattle officers the outcome is less clear. Their identities still secret, two are on leave and three continue to work while a police watchdog investigates whether their actions in the nation's capital on Jan. 6 crossed the line from protected political speech to lawbreaking. The contrasting cases highlight the dilemma faced by police departments nationwide as they review the behaviour of dozens of officers who were in Washington the day of the riot by supporters of President Donald Trump. Officials and experts agree that officers who were involved in the melee should be fired and charged for their role. But what about those officers who attended only the Trump rally before the riot? How does a department balance an officer's free speech rights with the blow to public trust that comes from the attendance of law enforcement at an event with far-right militants and white nationalists who went on to assault the seat of American democracy? An Associated Press survey of law enforcement agencies nationwide found that at least 31 officers in 12 states are being scrutinized by their supervisors for their behaviour in the District of Columbia or face criminal charges for participating in the riot. Officials are looking into whether the officers violated any laws or policies or participated in the violence while in Washington. A Capitol Police officer died after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher as rioters descended on the building and many other officers were injured. A woman was shot to death by Capitol Police and three other people died after medical emergencies during the chaos. Most of the officers have not been publicly identified; only a few have been charged. Some were identified by online sleuths. Others were reported by their colleagues or turned themselves in. They come from some of the country’s largest cities — three Los Angeles officers and a sheriff’s deputy, for instance — as well as state agencies and a Pennsylvania police department with nine officers. Among them are an Oklahoma sheriff and New Hampshire police chief who have acknowledged being at the rally, but denied entering the Capitol or breaking the law. “If they were off-duty, it’s totally free speech,” said Will Aitchison, a lawyer in Portland, Oregon, who represents law enforcement officers. “People have the right to express their political views regardless of who’s standing next to them. You just don’t get guilt by association.” But Ayesha Bell Hardaway, a professor at Case Western Reserve University law school, said an officer’s presence at the rally creates a credibility issue as law enforcement agencies work to repair community trust, especially after last summer's of protests against police brutality sparked by the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Communities will question the integrity of officers who attended the rally along with “individuals who proudly profess racist and divisive viewpoints,” she said. “It calls into question whether those officers are interested in engaging in policing in a way that builds trust and legitimacy in all communities, including communities of colour.” In Rocky Mount, a Virginia town of about 1,000, Sgt. Thomas Robertson and Officer Jacob Fracker were suspended without pay and face criminal charges after posting a photo of themselves inside the Capitol during the riot. According to court records, Robertson wrote on social media that the “Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem … The right IN ONE DAY took the f(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.” Attempts to contact the pair were unsuccessful and court records do not list lawyers. Leaders in Rocky Mount declined to be interviewed. In a statement, they said the events at the Capitol were tragic. “We stand with and add our support to those who have denounced the violence and illegal activity that took place that day,” said Police Chief Ken Criner, Capt. Mark Lovern and Town Manager James Ervin. “Our town and our police department absolutely does not condone illegal or unethical behaviour by anyone, including our officers and staff.” On the other side of the county, five Seattle officers are under investigation by the city’s Office of Police Accountability. Two officers posted photos of themselves on social media while in the district and officials are investigating to determine where they were and what they were doing. Three others told supervisors that they went to Washington for the events and are being investigated for what they did while there. Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said his department supports officers’ freedom of speech and that those who were in the nation's capital will be fired if they “were directly involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.” But police leaders need to evaluate more than just clear criminal behaviour, according to Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a policing research and policy group. They must also consider how their actions affect the department credibility, he said. Officers' First Amendment rights “don’t extend to expressing words that may be violent or maybe express some prejudice,” Wexler said, “because that’s going to reflect on what they do when they’re working, when they’re testifying in court.” Through the summer and fall, Seattle police — along with officers elsewhere — came under criticism for their handling of mass protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd. The city received more than 19,000 complaints against officers, most for excessive use of force and improper use of pepper spray. Andrew Myerberg, director of the Seattle Office of Police Accountability, said none of the officers now under investigation were involved in those cases. But Sakara Remmu, cofounder of Black Lives Matter Seattle/King County, said the officers should be fired regardless. Their public declarations of solidarity with Trump fosters not just community distrust, but terror of the entire department, she said. “It absolutely does matter when the decorum of racial peace cracks and racial hatred comes through, because we already have a documented history and legacy of what that means in this country,” Remmu said. In Houston, the police chief decried an officer who resigned and was later charged in the riot. A lawyer for Officer Tam Pham said the 18-year veteran of the force "very much regrets” being at the rally and was “deeply remorseful.” But many chiefs have said their officers committed no crimes. “The Arkansas State Police respects the rights and freedom of an employee to use their leave time as the employee may choose,” department spokesman Bill Sadler said of two officers who attended the Trump rally. Malik Aziz, the former chair and executive director of the National Black Police Association, compared condemning all officers who were in Washington to tarring all the protesters who took to streets after the killing of George Floyd with the violent and destructive acts of some. A major with the Dallas Police Department, Aziz said police acting privately have the same rights as other Americans, but that knowingly going to a bigoted event should be disqualifying for an officer. “There’s no place in law enforcement for that individual,” Aziz said. Martha Bellisle And Jake Bleiberg, The Associated Press
Guyana said late on Saturday that a Venezuelan navy vessel detained two vessels that were fishing in Guyana's exclusive economic zone, the latest dispute in a long-running border conflict between the two South American nations. Caracas says much of eastern Guyana is its own territory, a claim that is rejected by Georgetown. The conflict has flared up in recent years as Guyana has started developing oil reserves near the disputed area.
Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a 53-year-old man who was found injured in a residence in the Athlone neighbourhood. Patrol officers arrived at a residence near 128 Avenue and 129 Street at about 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, responding to a trouble not known call, according to an Edmonton Police Service news release. The officers found an unconscious man inside the home, and began performing CPR on him until EMS arrived. He was taken to hospital, but died of his injuries at about 4:20 a.m. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday morning, but in the meantime detectives are treating the death as suspicious.
Crying outside a Mexico City cemetery, a family embraced the box that contained the ashes of their beloved grandmother. The grandmother had fallen ill a few days after they met to celebrate New Year's, and died shortly after, family members said. Mexico is set to surpass 150,000 deaths from COVID-19, one of the world's highest death tolls, a Reuters tally shows.
VANCOUVER — Many residents of British Columbia's south coast woke up to rain on Sunday after expecting an overnight snow dump, but Environment Canada warns snow is still in the forecast. The federal weather agency updated its snowfall warnings for the region early Sunday morning, saying that between two to 15 centimetres are expected by Monday morning. It says communities near the water such as Comox, Parksville, Nanaimo and lower elevations of Metro Vancouver could see up to five centimetres of snow, while rain or wet snow is also possible in these areas with no accumulations. Higher elevations and inland sections of Metro Vancouver, the western Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast are expected to see greater accumulations. Environment Canada says precipitation is expected to ease Sunday afternoon and then return in the evening, with snowfall at night and on Monday mainly accumulating over higher elevations. The agency is asking residents to be prepared to adjust their driving with changing road conditions, as rapidly falling snow could make travel difficult in some locations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
There was no distribution plan for the coronavirus vaccine set up by the Trump administration as the virus raged in its last months in office, new President Joe Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, said on Sunday. "The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the White House," Klain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Biden, a Democrat who took over from Republican President Donald Trump on Wednesday, has promised a fierce fight against the pandemic that killed 400,000 people in the United States under Trump’s watch.
Sarnia Police Service, Sarnia Fire and Lambton Paramedics responded to a call related to a deceased woman on Saturday evening, according to a Sunday media release. Emergency responders arrived at a residence in the 200 block of Essex Street at around 6:20 p.m. where they found a dead woman — now identified as Sue Elin Lumsden, a 66-year-old Sarnia resident. "Members of the Sarnia Police Service Criminal Investigations Branch have since taken over the investigation and are treating it as a homicide," the statement reads, making it the third death treated as a homicide in the city this month. The investigation is still preliminary and the residence is currently being held as a crime scene. Police urge residents to keep their windows and doors locked and secured. Residents in the area who have video surveillance are asked to contact Sarnia Police Service. Anyone with information is asked to call the Criminal Investigations Branch Information Line at 519-344-8861, ext. 5300, or Sarnia Lambton Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
CHICAGO — The Chicago Teachers Union said Sunday that its members voted to defy an order to return to the classroom before they are vaccinated against the coronavirus, setting up a showdown with district officials who have said such a move would amount to an illegal strike. The nation's third-largest school district wanted roughly 10,000 K-8 teachers and other staffers to return to school on Monday to get ready to welcome back roughly 70,000 students for part-time in-school classes starting Feb. 1. No return date has been set for high school students. The teachers union, though, opposed the plan over concern for the health of its members and called on them to continue teaching from home in defiance of the district's plan. The roughly 355,000-student district, which turned to full-time online instruction last March because of the pandemic, has gradually welcomed students back. The parents of thousands of pre-K and special education students chose this month to resume in-person learning, and teachers who didn't return to their classrooms were punished. The union’s collective bargaining agreement, which was approved after a 2019 strike, prohibits its roughly 25,000 members from striking and bars district officials from locking them out. District officials have said a union vote to disobey the order to return to schools on Monday would violate the contract. Union officials, though, say returning to in-person instruction before its members are vaccinated would put them at greater risk of contracting the virus. They argue that if the district tries to punish teachers for staying home Monday, then the district would be responsible for a work stoppage. The district on Friday said it would begin vaccinating teachers and staff starting in mid-February and that the process would take months. A union lawyer told the Chicago Sun-Times that the union wants to let teachers and other staffers continue working from home until they are vaccinated, with individuals returning to school after receiving the first of their two vaccine shots. The vote comes at a time of great uncertainty in the U.S. about how and when schools should resume in-person instruction. President Joe Biden has pledged to have a majority of schools reopened within his first 100 days in office. He is promising new federal guidelines on school opening decisions, and a “large-scale” Education Department effort to identify and share the best ways to teach during a pandemic. Sophia Tareen, The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — Dentists and teachers are among the groups that are disappointed they won't be given priority to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia. B.C. rolled out its vaccination plan on Friday, revealing that after the most vulnerable groups have been immunized, shots will be given out according to age, with the oldest residents first in line. That means many people who have not been able to work from home during the pandemic, including grocery store workers, police officers and bus drivers, will have to wait to get the vaccine along with others in their age group. The British Columbia Dental Association has written a letter to Premier John Horgan strongly urging him to include dentists in stage two of the vaccination plan, alongside family doctors and medical specialists. The B.C. Teachers' Federation says it's disappointed there is no prioritization for frontline workers who have kept schools open, but it acknowledges the vaccine supply is beyond its control and those who are most vulnerable must be immunized first. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that scientific evidence supports an age-based approach because older populations are at much higher risk of infection and death from COVID-19. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The Canadian military is set to help with COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Indigenous communities in northern Ontario.Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says on Twitter the Canadian Armed Forces will support vaccine efforts in 32 communities of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.The move comes after a request from the province for assistance in getting vaccines to First Nation communities.The Canadian military has already helped with vaccines in the community of Nain in Newfoundland and Labrador.Ontario is reporting 2,417 new cases of COVID-19 today and 50 more deaths related to the virus.Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 785 new cases in Toronto, 404 in Peel Region, 215 in York Region and 121 in Niagara.Over 48,900 tests have been completed in Ontario over the past 24 hours.The province is reporting that 4,427 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since the province's last report, and 1,436 are hospitalized with the virus.A total of 280,573 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario so far.Since the pandemic began, there have been 255,002 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario. Of those, 225,046 have recovered and 5,803 people have died.The numbers are slightly up from Saturday's 2,359 cases, though deaths declined by two from previous figures. Officials say a male teen who worked in a long-term care home is among the three deaths reported on the Middlesex-London region's COVID-19 case site in southwestern Ontario on Saturday. A spokesman for the Middlesex-London Health Unit says they can't provide the exact age or any other details about him, but added he is the youngest person with COVID-19 in the county to have died from the virus.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said there had been 102 deaths in Ontario over the past 24 hours. There were, in fact, 50 deaths.
Officials in President Joe Biden's administration tried to head off Republican concerns that his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief proposal was too expensive on a Sunday call with Republican and Democratic lawmakers, some of whom pushed for a smaller plan targeting vaccine distribution. "It seems premature to be considering a package of this size and scope," said Republican Senator Susan Collins, who was on the call with Brian Deese, director of the White House's National Economic Council, and other top Biden aides.
Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund plans to double its assets to 4 trillion riyals ($1.07 trillion) by 2025, Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Sunday, a move that would make it one of the world's biggest sovereign wealth funds. The fund would invest 3 trillion riyals in new sectors over the next 10 years, said the prince, who is Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler and chairs the fund's board. A new five-year plan would make the fund "the leading catalyst for Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation and diversification," the prince added in a speech on state TV.
Spain's top military chief has resigned after it was revealed he and other senior officers jumped the queue for a coronavirus vaccine.View on euronews
Nova Scotia had a single new case of COVID-19 to report Sunday along with two recoveries, bringing the total of known active cases to 19. The new case is in the central health zone and is a student at Dalhousie University. According to a provincial news release, the student lives off campus, is from Nova Scotia and is self-isolating. Public health is investigating. In the news release, Premier Stephen McNeil is quoted saying the low number of cases is encouraging, "but we are seeing that some of the recent cases are more complex than others." "It's another reminder that we need to stay vigilant to contain the virus — limit our social contacts, keep a social distance, wear a mask, stay home if feeling unwell and follow all the other public health measures," McNeil said. Restrictions easing Monday Starting Monday, sports teams will be able to play games, but with limits on travel and spectators, and there can be no games or tournaments involving teams that would not regularly play against each other. Art and theatre performances can take place without an audience. The province will also allow residents of adult service centres and regional rehabilitation centres to start volunteering and working in the community again. Also starting Monday, mental health and addictions support groups can meet in groups of 25, up from 10, with physical distancing. Drop-in testing in Wolfville Late Friday, Nova Scotia's health authority said it would hold a pop-up testing clinic in Wolfville this weekend after an Acadia University student tested positive for COVID-19. The student tested positive after completing their 14-day self-isolation. They are self-isolating again, but did attend class Jan. 18-20. Drop-in testing will be available at the Acadia Festival Theatre on Sunday until 5 p.m. Individuals may visit the clinic if they have no symptoms of COVID-19, are not a close contact of a person with the virus and are not isolating because of travel outside of Nova Scotia, P.E.I. or Newfoundland and Labrador. Atlantic Canada case numbers MORE TOP STORIES
While the world was put on hold for the COVID pandemic, not everything shut down. The Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge, in Pefferlaw, saw a very busy year in 2020. “We usually have just under 5,000 animals come through our doors, and in 2020 we had well over 6,000,” said Shades of Hope founder and wildlife concierge, Gail Lenters. And while they do have some full time staff, who have been bubbling together to continue working through the pandemic, Lenters says the centre usually takes on volunteers as well, which was very hard to do this year. “So we had less help and more animals.” As the spring season approaches, so does the busiest season for the wildlife refuge. Lenters says she is currently in the process of ordering all of the refuge centre’s supplies, including products like special feeds coming from as far away as Australia. “If people want to help, the best thing they can do is to help support financially. We ask people to consider a monthly donation, even $10 a month, that we can budget with.” While it’s not a lot of money, Lenters says it goes a long way to help the refuge plan and purchase the required essentials for proper animal care. Alternatively, dropping off donations of bird seed or cleaning products like paper towel, bleach and laundry detergent, is also greatly appreciated. Lenters wants to encourage everyone to keep an eye out as the warmer weather approaches. “All those creatures are there, nestled in trees, in wood piles and in sheds. Come spring, when you go to clean up, you risk disturbing those little guys.” If any member of the public does find an animal that is believed to be in need of assistance, Lenters suggests using the “Find Out What To Do” button on the Shades of Hope website, or give the refuge a call. Shades of Hope is open seven days a week, “COVID or no COVID,” says Lenters. Visit https://www.shadesofhope.ca to learn more. Justyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos
A family-owned grocer in Calgary is giving back to support neighbouring businesses hurting from the pandemic. Darren Hollman, owner of the European Deli and Produce Market, says because his business is essential, he hasn't faced the same struggles a restaurant or retailer might. "We're an essential business and people have to eat, [so] we haven't been affected nearly as bad as some of the other places have been. We've been operating at 15 per cent [capacity] but we feel we can give back so that's why we're doing it," he said. This weekend, the store is offering some staples like apples, potatoes and carrots at "pay-what-you-can" prices — customers decide what the want to pay, and 100 per cent of the proceeds will go toward supporting Platoon Fitness, Crolux Tailoring and Marco's Kitchen, all businesses impacted by public health restrictions. "The customers have been very receptive to it and have done a lot to help — like giving over and above which is nice to see," he said. Shopper Elena Khomiak said she was picking up apples, even though she doesn't need any, as a chance to support local. "We'll pay, I don't know, $50 or $100, the most expensive apples I've ever had," she said with a laugh. The fundraiser will run until 6 p.m. Sunday.
WASHINGTON — As the House prepares to bring the impeachment charge against Donald Trump to the Senate for trial, a growing number of Republican senators say they are opposed to the proceeding, dimming the chances that former president will be convicted on the charge that he incited a siege of the U.S. Capitol. House Democrats will carry the sole impeachment charge of “incitement of insurrection” across the Capitol late Monday evening, a rare and ceremonial walk to the Senate by the prosecutors who will argue their case. They are hoping that strong Republican denunciations of Trump after the Jan. 6 riot will translate into a conviction and a separate vote to bar Trump from holding office again. But instead, GOP passions appear to have cooled since the insurrection. Now that Trump's presidency is over, Republican senators who will serve as jurors in the trial are rallying to his legal defence, as they did during his first impeachment trial last year. “I think the trial is stupid, I think it’s counterproductive,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.. He said that "the first chance I get to vote to end this trial, I’ll do it” because he believes it would be bad for the country and further inflame partisan divisions. Trump is the first former president to face impeachment trial, and it will test his grip on the Republican Party as well as the legacy of his tenure, which came to a close as a mob of loyal supporters heeded his rally cry by storming the Capitol and trying to overturn Joe Biden's election. The proceedings will also force Democrats, who have a full sweep of party control of the White House and Congress, to balance their promise to hold the former president accountable while also rushing to deliver on Biden's priorities. Arguments in the Senate trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. Leaders in both parties agreed to the short delay to give Trump's team and House prosecutors time to prepare and the Senate the chance to confirm some of Biden’s Cabinet nominees. Democrats say the extra days will allow for more evidence to come out about the rioting by Trump supporters, while Republicans hope to craft a unified defence for Trump. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday that he hopes that evolving clarity on the details of what happened Jan. 6 “will make it clearer to my colleagues and the American people that we need some accountability.” Coons questioned how his colleagues who were in the Capitol that day could see the insurrection as anything other than a “stunning violation” of tradition of peaceful transfers of power. “It is a critical moment in American history and we have to look at it and look at it hard,” Coons said. An early vote to dismiss the trial probably would not succeed, given that Democrats now control the Senate. Still, the mounting Republican opposition indicates that many GOP senators would eventually vote to acquit Trump. Democrats would need the support of 17 Republicans — a high bar — to convict him. When the House impeached Trump on Jan. 13, exactly one week after the siege, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said he didn’t believe the Senate had the constitutional authority to convict Trump after he had left office. On Sunday, Cotton said “the more I talk to other Republican senators, the more they’re beginning to line up” behind that argument. “I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” Cotton said. Democrats reject that argument, pointing to a 1876 impeachment of a secretary of war who had already resigned and to opinions by many legal scholars. Democrats also say that a reckoning of the first invasion of the Capitol since the War of 1812, perpetrated by rioters egged on by a president who told them to “fight like hell” against election results that were being counted at the time, is necessary so the country can move forward and ensure such a siege never happens again. A few GOP senators have agreed with Democrats, though not close to the number that will be needed to convict Trump. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said he believes there is a “preponderance of opinion” that an impeachment trial is appropriate after someone leaves office. “I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offence,” Romney said. “If not, what is?” But Romney, the lone Republican to vote to convict Trump when the Senate acquitted the then-president in last year’s trial, appears to be an outlier. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, said he believes a trial is a “moot point” after a president's term is over, “and I think it’s one that they would have a very difficult time in trying to get done within the Senate.” On Friday, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close Trump ally who has been helping him build a legal team, urged the Senate to reject the idea of a post-presidency trial — potentially with a vote to dismiss the charge — and suggested Republicans will scrutinize whether Trump’s words on Jan. 6 were legally “incitement.” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who said last week that Trump “provoked” his supporters before the riot, has not said how he will vote or argued any legal strategies. The Kentucky senator has told his GOP colleagues that it will be a vote of conscience. One of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nine impeachment managers said Trump’s encouragement of his loyalists before the riot was "an extraordinarily heinous presidential crime." Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pennsylvania., said "I mean, think back. It was just two-and-a-half weeks ago that the president assembled a mob on the Ellipse of the White House. He incited them with his words. And then he lit the match.” Trump’s supporters invaded the Capitol and interrupted the electoral count as he falsely claimed there was massive fraud in the election and that it was stolen by Biden. Trump’s claims were roundly rejected in the courts, including by judges appointed by Trump, and by state election officials. Rubio and Romney were on “Fox News Sunday,” Cotton appeared on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures” and Romney also was on CNN's “State of the Union,” as was Dean. Rounds was interviewed on NBC's “Meet the Press.” ___ Associated Press writer Hope Yen contributed to this report. Mary Clare Jalonick And Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
A church north of Waterloo, Ont., opened for Sunday service in defiance of a Superior Court of Justice order. The order, obtained by the Attorney General, tells Trinity Bible Chapel to follow the requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act. If they opened for in-person services, church officials could be held in contempt of court. A statement by senior pastor Jacob Reaume was posted to the church's website on Friday informing people the church would be open for in-person services on Sunday. The statement argued the church is providing an essential service to its members and community. Under the Reopening Ontario Act, just 10 people are permitted inside a building for a religious ceremony or service. Church officials were issued tickets on two separate occasions for in-person services held Dec. 27 and Jan. 3 for exceeding gathering limits. These tickets were issued after the province implemented a provincewide lockdown on Dec. 26. The church held a drive-in service on Jan. 10, which is permitted under provincial rules. On Sunday, independent MPP Randy Hillier, who has likened COVID-19 to a bad flu in the past, tweeted he was at the church for one of two services. The Waterloo Regional Police Service tweeted that officers are working with regional bylaw and public health officials "to ensure appropriate action is taken." "We ask for your patience, as these are complex issues that require proper engagement of the judicial process. We urge members of the public to abide by public health guidelines and the current Stay-At-Home order," the service tweeted. The Region of Waterloo said in a statement on Sunday that bylaw officers were "on location to observe activities and we continue to work closely with and support our provincial enforcement partners." There was no mention from the region on whether the church will be issued any additional tickets, although the region noted there is a "minimum fine of $10,000 and a maximum fine of $100,000 (individual) / $10 million (corporation) upon a conviction for hosting or organizing an in person gathering that exceeds the 10-person limit and prescribes a maximum fine of $100,000 if convicted for attending such a gathering." The region did "thank the many places of worship that continue to comply with the Reopening Ontario Act. These actions help protect our community's health."
The saga around Vancouver's Rio Theatre took yet another twist on Saturday as it reopened as a sports bar to circumvent provincial health regulations which mandate movie theatres to close. It's the latest creative ploy by owner Corrine Lea to keep the indie theatre in its historic building open. "Our marquee says 'screw the arts, we're a sports bar now.' And that's because the arts are getting screwed," she said. Lea does not agree with an order from the provincial health officer that bars the gathering for events such as movies to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Lea said it's unfair that bars and restaurants can stay open, while theatres like hers had to close late last year. "To see all these bars open, and especially sports bars that are playing Canucks games on their big screens, their TV screens, it was really a slap in the face," she said. The Rio Theatre has a liquor licence and so is able to serve beverages such as beer to patrons booking seats to now watch sports like hockey, football and UFC fighting. Watch what Rio Theatre patrons think about their neighbourhood theatre becoming a sports bar: Lea said the hardest part of the transition was figuring out what sports to show. "We were all googling the NFL and the NHL, trying to figure out, what are these sports things?" she said. Just two years ago a seven-month fundraising campaign, which drew the support of people like actor Ryan Reynolds, saved the theatre from redevelopment. Lea said the theatre is complying with all provincial health regulations required for it to operate as a bar as it endures yet another period of uncertainty. On Saturday though, health inspectors showed up at the theatre asking for some last minute changes, which Lea said she wasn't able to do. "We're going ahead ... and I guess we'll be hearing from the health authorities," she said.
Egypt began vaccinating frontline medical staff against COVID-19 on Sunday using the jab developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). The vaccine will be provided free of charge first to all doctors and frontline workers treating coronavirus patients, then to other medical workers, senior citizens and people with chronic illnesses, Health Minister Hala Zayed said.