WASHINGTON — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office on Wednesday using Bibles that are laden with personal meaning, writing new chapters in a long-running American tradition — and one that appears nowhere in the law. The Constitution does not require the use of a specific text for swearing-in ceremonies and specifies only the wording of the president’s oath. That wording does not include the phrase “so help me God,” but every modern president has appended it to their oaths and most have chosen symbolically significant Bibles for their inaugurations. That includes Biden, who used the same family Bible he has used twice when swearing in as vice-president and seven times as senator from Delaware. The book, several inches thick, and which his late son Beau also used when swearing in as Delaware attorney general, has been a “family heirloom” since 1893 and “every important date is in there,” Biden told late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert last month. “Why is your Bible bigger than mine? Do you have more Jesus than I do?” quipped Colbert, who like Biden is a practicing Catholic. Biden’s use of his family Bible underscores the prominent role his faith has played in his personal and professional lives — and will continue to do so as he becomes the second Catholic president in U.S. history. He follows in a tradition of many other presidents who used family-owned scriptures to take their oaths, including Ronald Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Some have had their Bibles opened to personally relevant passages during their ceremonies. Bill Clinton, for example, chose Isaiah 58:12 — which urges the devout to be a “repairer of the breach” — for his second inauguration after a first term marked by political schisms with conservatives. Others took their oaths on closed Bibles, like John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, who in 1961 used his family’s century-old tome with a large cross on the front, similar to Biden’s. The tradition of using a Bible dates as far back as the presidency itself, with the holy book used by George Washington later appearing on exhibit at the Smithsonian on loan from the Masonic lodge that provided it in 1789. Washington’s Bible was later used for the oaths by Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. But not every president has used a Bible. Theodore Roosevelt took his 1901 oath without one after the death of William McKinley, while John Quincy Adams used a law book in 1825, according to his own account. Some have employed multiple Bibles during their ceremonies: Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump chose to use, along with others, the copy that Abraham Lincoln was sworn in on in 1861. Harris did the same for her vice-presidential oath, using a Bible owned by a close family friend and one that belonged to the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Harris has spoken of her admiration of Marshall, a fellow Howard University graduate and trailblazer in government as the high court’s first African American justice. “When I raise my right hand and take the oath of office tomorrow, I carry with me two heroes who’d speak up for the voiceless and help those in need,” Harris tweeted Tuesday, referring to Marshall and friend Regina Shelton, whose Bible she swore on when becoming attorney general of California and later senator. Harris, who attended both Baptist and Hindu services as a child, worships in the Baptist faith as an adult. While U.S. lawmakers have typically used Bibles for their oaths, some have chosen alternatives that reflect their religious diversity. Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress, in 2007 used a Qur’an that belonged to Thomas Jefferson, prompting objections from some Christian conservatives. Jefferson’s Qur’an made a return in 2019 at the oath for Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chose a Hebrew Bible in 2005 to reflect her Jewish faith. Newly elected Georgia Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, who is also Jewish and who swears in Wednesday, used Hebrew scripture belonging to Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, an ally of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement. Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, opted for the Bhagavad Gita in 2013 after becoming the first Hindu elected to Congress. And Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the only member of the current Congress who identifies as “religiously unaffiliated,” took her oath on the Constitution in 2018. ___ Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Elana Schor, The Associated Press
Canadian companies are being told to ensure they’re not importing Chinese goods produced through the forced labour of the Uighur religious minority group. “Reports indicate mass transfers of Uighur labourers to factories across China where they are enrolled in forced labour programs that taint global supply chains in a variety of industries,” reads a Global Affairs Canada advisory. The federal government says it’s also aware of other human rights violations affecting Uighurs and other ethnic and religious groups by Chinese authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang and other parts of China, including mass arbitrary detention, forced separation of children from their parents, forced sterilization, and torture. China is a major trading partner for Canada, with $75 billion worth of merchandise imported from China in 2019, according to Statista. International Trade Minister Mary Ng said that the feds are committed to ensuring Canadian businesses aren't engaged with supply chains involving forced labour. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to increasing supply chain transparency, promoting responsible business conduct, and ensuring that Canadian companies are upholding Canadian values, wherever they may operate,” Ng said in a statement. Parliament amended the Customs Tariff Act last July to ban the imports of goods produced wholly or partly as a result of forced labour from any country. The government reminds companies that they must conform to these laws, adding that companies that operate within the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) may also be subject to human rights legislation. “In addition to legal risks, companies face reputational damage related to their supply chains if it is discovered that they are sourcing from entities that employ forced labour,” the advisory added. It remains unclear if there indeed have been confirmed instances of Uighur-made products flowing through Canadian supply chains. Canada’s National Observer asked Ng if she can definitively say there aren’t products made by Uighurs or other minority groups in Canadian supply chains, but the question was deferred to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), which also didn’t provide direct comment to the question. However, Jacqueline Callin, spokesperson for CBSA, explained shipments containing goods suspected of being produced by forced labour are detained at the border for inspection by a border services officer who has the authority to ban these goods from entering Canada based on their analysis of the specific situation. The government announced Monday that companies with ties to Xinjiang will have to sign a “Xinjiang Integrity Declaration” recognizing they’re aware of Canadian laws regarding the prohibition of forced labour and the “human rights situation in Xinjiang” before they receive support from the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS). It wasn't indicated when this declaration requirement will come into effect. The government also appointed a Canadian ombudsperson for responsible enterprise in April 2019 to review claims of alleged human rights abuses involving Canadian companies abroad, but Amnesty International Canada doesn’t think the office’s role goes far enough. “Without the power to compel documents or witness testimony, we fear the ombudsperson will be unable to fully investigate allegations of forced labour or other abuses from companies’ supply chains,” said Ketty Nivyabandi, the organization’s secretary general, in a statement. The Global Affairs advisory said the government urges Canadian companies with links to Xinjiang to “closely examine their supply chains to ensure that their activities do not support repression, including ... the Chinese government’s surveillance apparatus in Xinjiang, detention or internment facilities, or the use of forced labour.” However, Nivyabandi believes this shouldn’t be left to individual companies, calling for the Trudeau government to pass legislation that would require Canadian companies to conduct “human rights due diligence” within their global operations and supply chains. “The Canadian government has missed a crucial opportunity to hold Canadian companies accountable for human rights violations in Xinjiang and beyond,” Nivyabandi said. Yasmine Ghania, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
SHERBROOKE – By day, Karen Hallet works a phone as an administrative assistant at Historic Sherbrooke Village. But at night, when the winter wind whips, she solves crimes most foul as a detective in the rolling English Cotswalds. Or maybe she’s a famous chef, or a brilliant quilter, or an expert on British heraldry. It just depends on what dog-eared or peculiar paperback she finds to read at the bottom of a simple wooden box situated along an unprepossessing stretch of Second Street. “We call it our ‘Little Free Library’,” she says. “It’s three feet by two feet with a glass door and no lock. It can hold probably 30 paperbacks and 15 or so hardcovers. Anybody who comes through the town can stop there and, maybe, take a book or leave one. We keep an eye out and if it gets empty, we just fill it back up. We have quite a few volumes right now.” By “we” she means she and her friend Angelina Jack, supervisor of Historic Sherbrooke Village’s interpretation group. About three years ago, they assumed responsibility for the little library when, she says, the local writers’ guild scaled back. “It was their initiative originally. We’ve been looking after it.” Actually, they’ve been curating it and, most recently, promoting it to bibliophiles around the world on the Little Free Library’s website (yes, it’s a thing), littlefreelibrary.org/. Says Hallett: “We just registered ourselves there. If people are travelling and are familiar with the site, they can find little free libraries in towns and villages and countrysides. It’s a wide-open thing. They are popping up everywhere.” Indeed, Little Free Library says it’s “is a non-profit that builds community, inspires readers, and expands book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led little libraries. Through Little Free Library book exchanges, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.” Since its formal founding in 2009 (though the concept is probably as old as reading, itself), “LFL has been honored by the Library of Congress and the National Book Foundation for its work in creating book access for so many people,” according to the parenting advice website Scary Mommy scarymommy.com/. “There are over 100,000 registered LFL boxes in 50 [U.S.] states and 108 countries. The non-profit has seen more than 165 million books shared and is about to add even more titles and opportunities to the mix.” Certainly, Hallet and Jack are doing their best. “We also take books here at the main administration office at the Village,” Hallet says. “There’s been an initiative to build a new, little park in Sherbrooke. We hope to put our library down there… This whole thing is built with the purpose of having books available to anyone coming through.” And come through they do. Before COVID, she says, “People have come from all over the world. We’d fill it up quite often in the summertime… In future, when they go with a book, once they read it, we hope they’ll see another little free library in Canada, or Maine or Texas or wherever, and they’ll drop off the book they got here.” Not that any of this will replace the status quo. Nor should it. That book about the detective in the Cotswalds? Says Hallet: “I got that one through our main library here in Sherbrooke.” Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Le Règlement sur la récupération et la valorisation des produits par les entreprises est entré en vigueur le 5 décembre 2020. Il force les fabricants à mettre sur pied un système de récupération et de recyclage des électroménagers domestiques réfrigérants. Ce règlement, attendu depuis des années, va donner un beau coup de pouce à l’entreprise PureSphera de Bécancour, dont la survie était en cause il y a seulement 18 mois, en raison d’une carence d’appareils à recycler. «Ça va changer le paysage du recyclage des électroménagers dans les prochaines années, ce qui est évidemment souhaitable pour atteindre les plus hauts standards environnementaux et de récupération et de réemploi des vieux appareils», explique Mathieu Filion, directeur général de PureSphera. «Pour nous, l’effet à court terme est une hausse du volume au cours des prochaines semaines, mois et années, pour atteindre une opérationnalité complète de l’usine de Bécancour». Les annonces ont été retardées d’année en année depuis 2015. «Le ministère a finalement pris le taureau par les cornes pour que ça puisse se concrétiser. Ç'a été très difficile au niveau de notre planification. On est sur une bonne lancée», ajoute M. Filion. Québec va d’ailleurs injecter près de 90 M$ sur dix ans afin de faciliter la transition et la valorisation de ces appareils. Des sommes qui rendent service à PureSphera, qui peut dès maintenant récupérer des produits avec la collaboration des MRC, municipalités, magasins et écocentres de la province. L’entreprise offre un programme clé en main aux municipalités dans le cadre de son programme de récupération de réfrigérateurs, congélateurs, climatiseurs, refroidisseurs et déshumidificateurs. PureSphera compte aussi développer des marchés alternatifs de recyclage et de réparation de vieux appareils. Ce que M. Filion appelle «une nouvelle flore commerciale, financière et d’économie sociale. Les gens sont friands d’économie circulaire. Nos voisins européens sont très proactifs». PureShera a investi depuis 2008 près de 15 M$ dans ses installations de Bécancour. L’entreprise a, depuis cette date, recyclé près de 700 000 électroménagers et détourné près d’un million de tonnes de gaz à effet de serre de l’atmosphère. PureSphera estime sa capacité de traitement annuelle prochaine à 150 000 réfrigérateurs et congélateurs. Ceci ne couvre cependant pas l’ensemble des besoins de la province. Un procédé unique Ces électroménagers seront en bonne partie récupérés au Centre de Gestion Intégrée des Halocarbures (CGIH) de PureSphera, une initiative qu’elle dit unique en Amérique du Nord. «On travaille de près avec Recyc-Québec et des partenaires régionaux. On a des ententes avec des détaillants, ferrailleurs et points de dépôt». PureSphera espère devenir le meilleur recycleur accrédité au pays. «On va préparer les réfrigérateurs pour le broyage et dans une seconde étape, on va extraire les gaz réfrigérants et les introduire dans un sas, libérer les gaz qui sont dans la mousse et dans le système». L’entreprise affirme pouvoir récupérer 96% des contenus de tous les appareils qu’on lui confie. Les métaux ferreux et non ferreux, les huiles, gaz, plastiques, la vitre aussi. Les gaz sont détruits. Rappelons que certains frigos renferment des halocarbures volatiles jusque dans leurs mousses isolantes. Mal recyclé, un seul frigo rejette dans l’atmosphère autant de Co2 qu’une voiture qui roule sur 17 000 km! Certains frigos contiennent même du mercure. L’arrivée de ce nouveau règlement veut aussi dire que PureSphera va procéder à l’embauche d’une quarantaine d’employés. (Parution originale: Le Courrier Sud)Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
The United States swore in its 46th President on Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended their inauguration in Washington, D.C. with a slew of distinguished guests, but few onlookers as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a need for social distancing.Several past presidents were in attendance, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., however the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not attend. Trump flew to his golf club in Florida earlier in the day. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence did attend the ceremony with his wife.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
Last week, 345 COVID-19 vaccines were administered in local long term care homes experiencing outbreaks in Elgin and Oxford counties. The Pfizer BioNtech vaccinations were administered to residents at Extendicare in Port Stanley, PeopleCare in Tavistock, and Maple Manor in Tillsonburg. Southwestern Public Health (SPH) is on track to administer another 550 first doses this week. “This is a hopeful time in public health, and in the pandemic overall,” said SPH spokesperson Natalie Rowe. The health unit is continuing to focus on first-dose vaccinations to residents at long-term care homes. Their next focus will be on retirement home residents. Second doses of the Pfizer vaccine take place between 21 and 28 days from the initial dose. “Our timeline is to begin administering second doses during the week of February 1, pending vaccine availability,” said Ms. Rowe. Due to a limited supply of the vaccine, the initial allocation was prioritized for individuals who have not yet tested positive for COVID-19. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are expected to have a level of natural immunity upon recovery. The province of Ontario has sequenced its immunization rollout into three phases, with timelines subject to vaccine supply. Phase 1 is dedicated to high-risk community members, such as long-term care and retirement home staff, residents and caregivers, followed by hospital-based care workers, First nations, Metis, and Inuit communities. This phase is expected to last until the end of March. Phase 2 will see broader vaccination of essential workers, adults aged over 75, adults aged 60-75, at-risk populations, and eventually adults aged 16-60 through vaccination clinics. This begins in April and will last until the end of July. Phase 3 will continue mass immunization once a steady supply of vaccine is available. These will be in immunization clinics at public health and pharmacies. This starts in August. 30 Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express
WASHINGTON — Three new senators were sworn into office Wednesday after President Joe Biden's inauguration, securing the majority for Democrats in the Senate and across a unified government to tackle the new president's agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges. In a first vote, the Senate confirmed Biden's nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines. Senators worked into the evening and overcame some Republican opposition to approve his first Cabinet member, in what's traditionally a show of good faith on Inauguration Day to confirm at least some nominees for a new president's administration. Haines, a former CIA deputy director, will become a core member of Biden’s security team, overseeing the agencies that make up the nation’s intelligence community. She was confirmed 84-10. The new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged colleagues to turn the spirit of the new president’s call for unity into action. “President Biden, we heard you loud and clear,” Schumer said in his first speech as majority leader. “We have a lengthy agenda. And we need to get it done together.” Vice-President Kamala Harris drew applause as she entered the chamber to deliver the oath of office to the new Democratic senators — Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla — just hours after taking her own oath at the Capitol alongside Biden. The three Democrats join a Senate narrowly split 50-50 between the parties, but giving Democrats the majority with Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote. Ossoff, a former congressional aide and investigative journalist, and Warnock, a pastor from the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s church in Atlanta, won run-off elections in Georgia this month, defeating two Republicans. Padilla was tapped by California’s governor to finish the remainder of Harris’ term. “Today, America is turning over a new leaf. We are turning the page on the last four years, we’re going to reunite the country, defeat COVID-19, rush economic relief to the people,” Ossoff told reporters earlier at the Capitol. “That’s what they sent us here to do.” Taken together, their arrival gives Democrats for the first time in a decade control of the Senate, the House and the White House, as Biden faces the unparalleled challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout, and the nation's painful political divisions from the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by a mob loyal to Donald Trump. Congress is being called on to consider Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion COVID recovery package, to distribute vaccines and shore up an economy as more than 400,000 Americans have died from the virus. At the same time, the Senate is about to launch an impeachment trial of Trump, charged by the House of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol as rioters tried to interrupt the Electoral College tally and overturn Biden’s election. The Senate will need to confirm other Biden Cabinet nominees. To “restore the soul” of the country, Biden said in his inaugural speech, requires “unity.” Yet as Washington looks to turn the page from Trump to the Biden administration, Republican leader Mitch McConnell is not relinquishing power without a fight. Haines' nomination was temporarily blocked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Okla., as he sought information about the CIA's enhanced interrogation program. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is holding back the Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas over Biden's proposed immigration changes. And McConnell is refusing to enter a power-sharing agreement with Senate Democrats unless they meet his demands, chiefly to preserve the Senate filibuster — the procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. McConnell, in his first speech as the minority party leader, said the election results with narrow Democratic control of the House and Senate showed that Americans “intentionally entrusted both political parties with significant power.” The Republican leader said he looked forward working with the new president “wherever possible.” At her first White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s desire to have his Cabinet confirmed and in place is “front and centre for the president,” and she said he was hoping to have his national security nominees in place Thursday or Friday. Psaki said the president will be “quite involved” in negotiations over the COVID relief package, but left the details of the upcoming impeachment trial to Congress. The Senate can “multitask,” she said. That’s a tall order for a Senate under normal circumstances, but even more so now in the post-Trump era, with Republicans badly split between their loyalties to the defeated president and wealthy donors who are distancing themselves from Republicans who back Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to soon transmit to the Senate the House-passed article of impeachment against Trump, charged with incitement of insurrection, a step that will launch the Senate impeachment trial. Meantime, the power-sharing talks between Schumer and McConnell have hit a stalemate. It’s an arcane fight McConnell has inserted into what has traditionally been a more routine organizing resolution over committee assignments and staffing resources, but a power play by the outgoing Republican leader grabbing at tools that can be used to block Biden’s agenda. Progressive and liberal Democrats are eager to do away with the filibuster to more quickly advance Biden’s priorities, but not all rank-and-file Senate Democrats are on board. Schumer has not agreed to any changes but McConnell is taking no chances. For now, it will take unanimous consent among senators to toggle between conducting votes on legislative business and serving as jurors in the impeachment trial. The House last week impeached Trump for having sent the mob to the Capitol to “fight like hell” during the tally of Electoral College votes to overturn Biden’s election. __ Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
Residents who have been missing a backyard fire can now apply for burn permits online, as well as in person at the fire station on Mahood Johnston Drive. As of Jan. 15, residents wishing to purchase a permit online have been directed to https://mok.burnpermits.com/loginto set up an account. Once that is complete, payment can be made online through ‘Square One’ with debit or credit. Cash purchases should be made in person. Fire prevention officer Shane Watson suggests that anyone purchasing a permit should read the terms and conditions carefully, so they are informed as to what the permit entitles them to do and conditions they must adhere to. The type of permit purchased determines the length of time it is valid for and the cost of the permit. A recreational burn permit is valid for the calendar year in which it is purchased, and costs $20, as does the open air burning permit. An agricultural burning permit is valid for seven days and costs $20. The special occurrence burning permit can only be granted by the chief fire official or the designate. The cost of the permit is $20. A house, barn or similar burning permit can only be granted by the chief fire official or the designate, and is only valid for one day. The cost of the permit is $50 and those applying for this permit are asked to see the terms and conditions in open air burning permits, for additional instruction. All permits, except the recreational burning permit, require the permit holder to notify (844) 777-0443 before any burning takes place. The terms and conditions also list all items that can and cannot be burned. If applicants have additional questions not covered on the https://mok.burnpermits.com/loginwebsite, they do have the option of calling Kincardine Fire and Emergency Services for assistance. Do not call 911, call the fire station at 519-396-2141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. “Kincardine Fire and Emergency Services are always trying to serve the community as best we can,” said Watson. “This new online process adds another layer to allow the community to apply for burn permits online from the comfort of their home, while still offering in-person service for those that choose to do so. Safety is always our priority and we also recognize the times we are currently in. This is another reason why we are launching the online platform, to promote people and families staying at home while continuing to attain what they need, whether it’s an approved fire to clear brush for crops, or a camp fire with your loved ones.” Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
SPRY BAY – During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mark Krause and his wife Devon Query of North Carolina have come to appreciate even more their seasonal life in Nova Scotia. Prevented from returning because of the border closure, they miss their Nova Scotia friends, their Spry Bay neighbours and their way of life on the Eastern Shore. “Property ownership makes no difference, as far as the border closing is concerned. We understand the closing of the border and support it,” Krause told The Journal via email. “Keeping the place and the people we love safe is a priority for us. We think and talk of Nova Scotia every day and have Zoom conversations with friends on a regular basis. It’s not the same as being there, but it helps.” In the U.S., the COVID-19 vaccine is rolling out slowly. Krause is a senior and has received the first dose. His wife, a little younger, is anticipating getting her first shot in the next month or two. “There are way too many active cases here [in North Carolina],” said Krause. “While most people wear masks, there is a good amount of resistance to the vaccine…. Since it’s been 10 months since all this started – most of us are accustomed to living this way. “The civil unrest takes our minds off COVID. I’m not sure which is more unsettling. “It is our hope that having had the vaccine will enable us to return ‘home’ [to Nova Scotia] – even though quarantine might be required. Getting the vaccine is easy, painless and effective. I had no reservations about getting it. I lived through 40 years in show business, what could be more dangerous?” Route to the Eastern Shore While in college, Krause worked summers at the St. Louis Municipal Opera, a 12,000-seat outdoor theater. “Following graduation, I moved to Seattle to work at the Seattle Repertory Theater for four years. I moved back to New York and my ‘road’ career started,” he said. “I did tours with the likes of Catherine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Vincent Price, Roddy McDowell, Sally Struthers, Larry Gatlin, Robert Goulet, Luci Arnaz, Florence Henderson and more.” Finding working on the road to be a difficult life; he ended it in 1998 and taught at a small private university in Lexington, Kentucky. “Upon my retirement we moved to Carolina Beach, North Carolina, when we discovered that there is no ocean frontage in Kentucky,” he said. The couple made the decision to look for a vacation home. “We’d been all over the world – Europe, Japan [and] Russia – but those were all too far away to be practical. So, we looked at a map, spotted Nova Scotia and said, ‘Look at that, not overcrowded with people and lots of water.’” Over the course of a month, the Krauses went camping from Yarmouth to Meat Cove. “At the end of our trip, we saw a star in the east and followed it to Spry Bay. That was 1990. We bought a cottage and then a real house; the rest is history. Our time away is spent counting the days until we can return,” Krause said. “I miss the people of Nova Scotia … and that’s my greatest sorrow. We miss all of our friends and all that we do there.” Community engagement During the six months the couple is in Spry Bay, Devon teaches yoga, hooks rugs and enjoys time with friends. Krause volunteers at the community garden, is founder of Sheet Harbour Radio and serves on the boards of the Gerald Hardy Memorial Society, Chamber of Commerce and the Eastern Shore Cooperator. Krause said, “I participate in events during the Sheet Harbour Seaside Festival and parades. I'm always available to pretend I can emcee an event at a moment's notice. I'm always looking for more opportunities to serve the community I love.” Sheet Harbour radio From an early age, Krause has loved radio. He always had a desire to work in that area but “… chance led me in other directions. Sheet Harbour gave me a second chance. Sheet Harbour Radio started out as an after-school activity for students at what was then DMHS [Duncan MacMillan High School].” Krause and four students were provided with a small space in the attic of Eastern Shore Wildlife Campground lodge. “Since its inception, it has morphed into a much larger enterprise, with a low power FM license, a donated office at Gammons Home Hardware and more equipment than we ever dreamed of – a real transmitter, a stereo generator, computers, mixers, microphones and more.” Krause credits all levels of government for the growth and success of the radio station, with grants secured through the help of Central Nova MP Sean Fraser and Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) Councillor David Hendsbee. “We have received support from the emergency management office in the form of a Sage Endec system, which enables us to broadcast emergency announcements; the Community Radio Fund of Canada and significant community support. Sean Fraser, the MP, helps us out by talking about us and consenting to interviews. “We have dozens of sponsors who we talk about on the air and we’re always looking for more. We’re always looking for new people to work with us, as producers – no experience required; supporters – a little money required, not much; and people who talk about us and tell their friends and family,” Krause said. Despite his continued absence from the community, he is adamant the radio station manages quite well without him. “Thanks in great part,” he said, “to Dr. Ed Empringham and Dan Goodsell. They deserve much of the credit for making the station what it is today. We Zoom, of course, and use social media to communicate on an almost daily basis. Thanks to our volunteers – Dave Josey, George Purcell, Vanessa Lowe, Roscoe Schofield, Penny Farris, Vicki Crowell, June Schofield, Patrick Ruggles – and more – we keep the ball in the air.” Political reflections Krause is looking ahead, optimistically, to the impact of the change of government in his country. “Without mentioning any names, I’m overjoyed that the current president will be out of office. Now things have a chance of returning to normal,” Krause said. “As I've always said, in Canada and the United States, we need all of us to make things work. Left, right, center – we all play a part. Respect and love are the keys. If each of us will do our small part – things will turn out fine.” Krause continued, “Politics works as a pendulum. I've been around long enough to have seen it swing; from Joe McCarthy to John Kennedy to Richard Nixon to the Bush Family to Barack Obama to Donald Trump to Joe Biden. As the famous playwright Neil Simon said: ‘Without problems, the day would be over at 11 o'clock in the morning.’” “I look forward to getting home as soon as I possibly can. I plan to be the first one at the border crossing when that restriction is lifted.” Janice Christie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
CANSO – Maritime Launch Services (MLS) will not get liftoff as early as the company had hoped. Just more than four years ago, in Oct. 2016, MLS was formed in Nova Scotia to create a spaceport in Canso. In some of the earliest press releases about the proposed project, MLS stated the estimated timeline for first launch capability was 2020. And, although COVID-19 has created a Groundhog Day effect, time has continued to move forward – the calendar has turned to a new year, and MLS has yet to break ground on the Canso Spaceport facility. MLS CEO Steve Matier told The Journal on Monday (Jan. 18) that the delay could be attributed to several causes including, most recently, the wrench the global pandemic has put in every plan – be it business or personal. In addition, Matier said the original 2020 launch date was based on getting shovels in the ground in 2018. That wasn’t possible, as it took until June of 2019 to get the Environmental Assessment (EA) approved by the Department of Environment. And, he said, “There’s the whole land lease issue working with [Nova Scotia] Lands and Forestry; that takes time as well.” At this point, the company is working to meet the terms and conditions in the 2019 EA document, which include associated activities involved with designs for roads and buildings; plans for erosion and settlement control; analysis of potential impacts to watercourses and existing water users; environmental monitoring plans and more. “Within that approval (EA) was the rather lengthy list of compliance pieces that we need to get to them to review,” Matier told The Journal, adding that no construction could take place until the information supplied by the company was accepted by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment. Matier said he hoped they could move to breaking ground on the project in six months’ time, but “it’s hard to predict exact dates,” due to the time it takes for review and approval. Given that the Department of Lands and Forestry accepted the company’s draft survey for the lease of Crown land required for the project just before Christmas, the wheels of government can be seen to move forward. Once the project moves past approvals, and on to groundbreaking, Matier said it could be another two years before the first launch. “We require about 18 months of construction activities and six of commissioning before you can get to an actual launch.” While there have been delays, Matier told The Journal the company has potential clients lined up and waiting. “We have a fairly extensive set of letters of intent and MOUs with satellite developers and aggregators already, but these don’t turn into formal launch contracts until the point when we can tell them what that actual launch date is. Once we break ground, we’ll be in a much better position to project what the launch date is and start to turn those letters of intent into launch contracts.” Progress on the project has been slow this past year, and there has been little to report, which may have pleased some people in the Canso/Hazel Hill area who are opposed to the spaceport. Matier said, while the company is aware of the opposition, MLS would not have selected the site without support from the majority of community members. “We really started this initiative by working with the community, first and foremost,” he said, adding that the company has held open information sessions and met with stakeholder groups like the Municipality of the District of Guysborough and the Fishermen’s Association. “We have sought input and will continue to do so. We’re not about to ram this through … we have been open and honest about everything we are planning to do,” Matier said. The Environmental Assessment Approval, dated June 4, 2019 states that work must commence on the project within two years of the approval date; beyond that time, a written extension must be granted by the provincial environment minister. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
THE LATEST: As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 465 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 more deaths. There are currently 4,331 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C. 329 people are in hospital, with 70 in the ICU. 92,369 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C. There are no new health-care facility outbreaks. The number of cases linked to the Big White Mountain community cluster has grown by 28. B.C. health officials confirmed 465 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and said 12 more people had died of the disease. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix put the number of hospitalized patients at 329 people, 70 of whom are in intensive care. A total of 1,090 people in B.C. have lost their lives due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. B.C. recorded no new outbreaks in health-care facilities. Interior Health also confirmed there are now 28 additional cases of COVID-19 linked to the Big White Mountain community cluster — bringing the total to 203 since the cluster was declared. Of the 28 new cases, 22 reside and work at Big White. B.C.'s current health restrictions are in effect until at least Feb. 5 at midnight. The current orders include a ban on gatherings with people outside of one's immediate household. Henry said in a news conference on Monday that if B.C.'s case count continues to trend downward, there is a possibility some restrictions could be lifted by the Family Day weekend in mid-February. A non-existent flu season Health officials in B.C. have not detected a single case of influenza circulating in the community since flu season began, continuing an "exceptional" nationwide trend. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) confirmed the non-existent seasonal flu numbers to CBC News on Monday. "It's still a big goose egg in terms of influenza detection provincially. It's really quite exceptional how low the influenza activity is," said Dr. Danuta Skowronski, the lead for influenza and emerging respiratory virus monitoring at the BCCDC. B.C. 'prepared' for vaccine delays The federal government on Friday announced Pfizer is temporarily reducing shipments of its vaccine in order to expand manufacturing capacity at a facility in Belgium. The move means there will be fewer shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccing coming to Canada until at least March. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday he's still confident the country is on track to vaccinate every Canadian who wants a shot by September. Henry called the delay a "setback" that will temporarily slow the province's delivery of the vaccine to at-risk people. But she said the province is working to ensure the highest number of people are immunized. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 9 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Canada had reported 719,465 cases of COVID-19, and 18,266 total deaths. A total of 71,055 cases are considered active. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Common symptoms include: Fever. Cough. Tiredness. Shortness of breath. Loss of taste or smell. Headache. But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. What should I do if I feel sick? Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911. What can I do to protect myself? Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. Keep your distance from people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces. More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
WASHINGTON — Troops in riot gear lined the sidewalks, but there were no crowds. Armored vehicles and concrete barriers blocked empty streets. Miles of fencing cordoned off many of the nation's most familiar landmarks. Joe Biden was safely sworn in as president in a Washington on edge, two weeks after rioters loyal to former President Donald Trump besieged the Capitol. Law enforcement officials contended not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack. Officials monitored members of far-right extremist and militia groups, increasingly concerned about the risk they could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said. There were a few scattered arrests but no major protests or serious disruptions in the city during Biden's inauguration ceremony. As Biden put it in his address: “Here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever.” After the deadly attack that killed five on Jan. 6, the Secret Service stepped up security for the inauguration early, essentially locking down the nation's capital. More than 25,000 troops and police were called to duty. The National Mall was closed. Checkpoints were set up at intersections. In the hours before the event, federal agents monitored “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said. In right-wing online chat groups, believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory expressed disappointment that top Democrats were not arrested for sex trafficking and that Trump did not seize a second term. Twelve National Guard members were removed from the security operation a day earlier after vetting by the FBI, including two who had made extremist statements in posts or texts about Wednesday's event. Pentagon officials would not give details on the statements. The FBI vetted all 25,000 members in an extraordinary security effort in part over the presence of some ex-military in the riot. Two other U.S. officials told The Associated Press that all 12 were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or to have posted extremist views online. The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe groups the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.” The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, confirmed that Guard members had been removed and sent home, but said only two cases were related to inappropriate comments or texts related to the inauguration. He said the other 10 cases were for issues that may involve previous criminal behaviour or activities but were not directly related to the inaugural event. The FBI also warned law enforcement officials about the possibility that members of right-wing fringe groups could pose as National Guard troops, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter. Investigators in Washington were particularly worried that members of right-wing extremist groups and militias, like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, would descend on Washington to spark violence, the law enforcement officials said. Some of the groups are known to recruit former military personnel, to train extensively and to have frequented anti-government and political protests. In addition to the thousands of National Guard troops, hundreds of law enforcement officers from agencies around the country were also brought into Washington. The increased security is likely to remain in the nation's capital for at least a few more days. ___ Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor in Washington and James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida, contributed to this report. Ben Fox, Colleen Long And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Hydrogen-filled cargo airships could do for the Northern economy what the railways did for Western Canada 125 years ago. It's time to lift the antiquated ban on hydrogen gas for use in blimps.
Le développement des infrastructures touristiques est dans la mire des trois municipalités de l’est de la Minganie pour 2021, contre-coup implicite des débordements survenus lors de la dernière saison estivale. L’accent sera mis sur les campings municipaux. À Natashquan, on compte ajouter une quinzaine de places pour les véhicules récréatifs et les tentes au camping Chemin Faisant et finaliser les nouveaux règlements municipaux liés au tourisme. À Baie-Johan-Beetz, le développement passe par la structuration du site derrière le quai, où ont été envoyés les touristes en quête d’une place où dormir. « L'an passé, on a été chanceux parce que tout s'est bien déroulé, mais c'était quand même chaotique », déclare le maire, Martin Côté. Trouver un moyen d’enregistrer les campeurs, déterminer le nombre maximal d’occupants, identifier les places disponibles et engager une personne pour l’entretien du site permettraient d’encadrer les activités au camping et de mieux accueillir les visiteurs. En parallèle, la restauration du sentier Piashti, situé près de l’entrée est du village, ajouterait aux attraits de plein air pour les touristes et les résidents, estime M. Côté, en soulignant qu’il vise l’automne prochain pour la réalisation de ces travaux. À Aguanish, il sera question d’améliorer les infrastructures touristiques pour « mieux accompagner les visiteurs et les gens du village », informe la directrice générale de la municipalité, Marlène Blais, « mais tout n’en est qu’aux balbutiements de projets ». Pour 2021, la mise aux normes de l’établissement municipal et de la station d’eau potable, ainsi que l’installation des afficheurs de vitesse font partie des priorités. La mise en place des panneaux de vitesse électronique s’inscrit aussi dans les projets de la municipalité de Natashquan, tout comme l’embellissement du village. « On aimerait acheter des poubelles, mettre des bacs à fleurs… Je ne veux pas trop en dire, mais on a de belles idées pour 2021 », glisse la mairesse, Marie-Claude Vigneault. Les dossiers de la relocalisation du hameau de Pointe-Parent et du port de pêche seront poursuivis. Du côté de Baie-Johan-Beetz, le début de 2021 laisse présager une année bien occupée. Martin Côté veut concentrer une bonne partie de l’effort sur le développement résidentiel, en continuation de la stratégie de marketing territorial adoptée en 2020. La municipalité possède 11 terrains cadastrés, dans le secteur est de la rue Bellevue, qui pourraient servir à accueillir de nouveaux résidents. « Vu que la santé financière [de la municipalité] est bonne, on pense qu’on peut bien planifier pour faire la rue, au moins y amener les services », avance le maire, en ajoutant qu’il faut avant tout savoir quelle entité serait chargée de la construction et la gestion des habitations. « Pour l’instant, on a rouvert le dossier pour faire faire des études afin d’avoir une idée du prix que ça coûterait et quelle technologie serait la plus appropriée pour les eaux usées. » La mise aux normes de l’usine de traitement d’eau potable, un enjeu qui dure depuis 2008, devrait normalement aller de l’avant, selon M. Côté, qui a indiqué déposer bientôt une demande dans le cadre du Programme d’infrastructures municipales d’eau (PRIMEAU) du ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation (MAMH). En ce qui a trait à la carrière que désire rouvrir l’entreprise Dexter, la municipalité pense plutôt tabler sur un possible projet de plantation d’arbustes fruitiers résistants au climat nordique, « comme l’argousier, les camérisiers ou les amélanchiers », pour éviter que le ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles accorde un bail exclusif (BEX) pour l’exploitation de substances minérales de surface. À la liste s’ajoutent la préparation du 150e anniversaire de Baie-Johan-Beetz, prévu pour 2022, et la suite de la pandémie. « Au mois de décembre, on verra bien ce qu’il en sera! », s’esclaffe Martin Côté. « Avec la pandémie, on fonctionne au conditionnel », relativise Marlène Blais. Les trois municipalités entreront également en période d’élections municipales générales à l’automne, élections qui se tiendront fort probablement sous le spectre de la COVID-19. Aucun élu n’a divulgué ses intentions en vue du 7 novembre prochain.Laurence Dami-Houle, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Portageur
TIRANA, Albania — Albania’s Defence Ministry on Wednesday reported the death of a soldier in Afghanistan, the second from the tiny Western Balkan country to die during the international peacekeeping mission. The soldier, identified only by the initials Xh. J., died Tuesday night at 1810 GMT (1:10 p.m. EST), the ministry said in a statement. It didn't specify the location or give any details about the circumstances. The ministry said that the Albanian military was assisting an investigation by the command of the Resolute Support Mission operation in Afghanistan, made up of around 16,000 troops from 38 countries. Albania, a NATO member since 2009, has been part of the international mission since 2010. The country currently has 99 troops in Afghanistan, located at two bases in Herat and Kabul. The ministry expressed condolences to the family and “assure the personnel in the mission and their families of continuous support in the successful accomplishment of their mission.” The Associated Press
Raven is an 11 month old Great Dane puppy with a love for life that is a thrill to watch. Like all puppies, she is full of energy and enthusiasm. A large Great Dane at full gallop is a beautiful sight but Raven is also adorably clumsy with her legs that are long and gangly. She runs like freight train full of joy and happiness when she discovers the yard full of freshly fallen snow. This is Raven's first winter and she is overjoyed at the opportunity to play. Raven's owner had brought her outside with the intention of taking her in the car to the nearby forest for a long walk on the leash, but Raven was having such fun running around free that he decided to let her have her moment before they got into the car. She can't decide which direction to go in as she runs around in circles at full tilt. After a few minutes, Raven grew tired and willingly got into the car for her daily forest time. Great Danes are one of the most beautiful and loveable dog breed and anyone who owns one usually falls completely in love with the breed. They are strong, noble, protective, and incredibly affectionate. After a day running and playing, they are content to stretch out on the couch and sleep as their humans relax and watch television or sit by the fire.
Edmonton International Airport officials are guardedly optimistic about the expansion on February 1 of the COVID-19 international border testing pilot program. Currently the pilot is only available to eligible international travellers arriving at the Calgary airport and the Coutts land border crossing. Those participating in the program entering Canada will have to show proof of a negative test — taken within 72 hours before the flight — before being allowed to board the plane destined for the province. Once they arrive in Alberta, they're tested again and must quarantine for 48 hours. If the second test result comes back negative, they can leave quarantine as long as they remain in Alberta for the first 14 days and get a followup test a week later. "We believe this is a great program," EIA vice president Steve Maybee said. "We have to put these in place so when travel does come back and people are encouraged to travel again, that we have the right programs in place to make it safe." Currently, both the federal and provincial governments are discouraging unnecessary travel. Maybee said the EIA isn't encouraging people not to follow the advisories. "We're not suggesting or encouraging travel right now," Maybee said. "We're following along with what the government restrictions and mandates that are in place." Edmonton travel agent Lesley Paull thinks the expansion of the pilot program is a sign of better days ahead for local travellers. "I think it's just going to give people more encouragement to go," she said. "We don't have as many flights as Calgary has, so we'll probably be starting a slower process, but hopefully with testing here, that will bring us more non-stop flights back." The testing is free of charge for eligible participants and the pilot will run until 52,000 people have been tested. No international flights for six months in 2020 at EIA Based on 2020 travel numbers, it may take awhile to get to that 52,000 mark. EIA said 2.6 million people went through their airport last year, compared to 8.1 million the year before, for an overall drop of 67.7 per cent. There were no international flights at all between April and September and flights to the United States were down 78.5 per cent. There was also a 70 percent decrease in domestic flights coming in and going out of the Edmonton airport. The travel agent summed up her business in one word. "Brutal," Paull said with a laugh. But she hopes pent up demand will lead to change. "We're doing so many bookings for 2022 now, and even the end of 2021," Paull said. "I think that people are so anxious to get out of here. They're really quite sick of the whole thing."
In his first official acts as president, Joe Biden is signing executives orders on a broad range of issues, from the coronavirus pandemic to climate change and immigration, to fulfil campaign promises. Highlights of actions Biden is taking Wednesday: THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC MASK REQUIREMENT: Biden is requiring the use of masks and social distancing in all federal buildings, on federal lands and by federal employees and contractors. Consistently masking up is a practice that science has shown to be effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, particularly when social distancing is difficult to maintain. He is challenging all Americans to wear a mask for the first 100 days of his administration. That’s a critical period, since communities will still be vulnerable to the virus even as the pace of vaccination increases in pursuit of Biden’s goal of 100 million shots in 100 days. WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Biden also is directing the government to rejoin the World Health Organization, which Donald Trump withdrew from earlier this year after accusing it of incompetence and bowing to Chinese pressure over the coronavirus. Symbolizing Biden’s commitment to a more prominent global role, White House coronavirus co-ordinator Jeff Zients announced that Dr. Anthony Fauci will deliver a speech Thursday to the WHO as head of a U.S. delegation. Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, will lay out how the administration intends to work with the WHO on reforms, supporting the coronavirus response and promoting global health and health security ___ CLIMATE PARIS CLIMATE ACCORD: Biden will sign an executive orders to rejoin the Paris climate accord, fulfilling a campaign pledge to get back into the global climate pact on Day One. Trump, a supporter of oil, gas and coal, had made a first priority of pulling out of global efforts to cut climate-damaging fossil fuel emissions. It will take 30 days for the U.S. to officially be back in. REVIEWING TRUMP ROLLBACKS: Biden’s Day One plans also include a temporary moratorium on new Trump administration oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, moving to revoke a presidential permit for the Keystone XL oil and gas pipeline and reviewing a Trump administration freeze on vehicle mileage and emissions standards. Biden also is setting in motion an evaluation of another Trump move that cut boundaries and protections for some national monuments. Agencies will be directed to consider impact of climate change on disadvantaged communities and on future generations from any regulatory action that affected fossil fuel emissions, a new requirement. ___ IMMIGRATION ENDING BAN ON MUSLIM Travellers: Biden is ending what is variously known as the “travel ban” or the “Muslim ban,” one of the first acts of the Trump administration. Trump in January 2017 banned foreign nationals from seven mostly Muslim countries from entry into the country. After a lengthy court fight, a watered-down version of the rule was upheld by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision in 2018. The new administration says it will improve the screening of visitors by strengthening information sharing with foreign governments and other measures. BORDER WALL: Biden is immediately ending the national emergency that Trump declared on the border in February 2018 to divert billions of dollars from the Defence Department to wall construction. He also is halting construction to review contracts and how wall money might be redirected. Despite Trump's repeated promises that Mexico would pay for the wall, U.S. Customs and Border Protection says Americans have committed $15 billion for more than 700 miles (1,120 kilometres). It is unclear how many miles are under contract and what penalties the government would have to pay for cancelling them. The Supreme Court has scheduled arguments Feb. 22 on the legality of Trump’s diverting Defence Department funds for counter-narcotics efforts and military construction projects to wall construction. DACA: Biden will order his Cabinet to work to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has shielded hundreds of thousands of people who came to the country as young children from deportation since it was introduced in 2012. Trump ordered an end to DACA in 2017, triggering a legal challenge that ended in June when the Supreme Court ruled that it should be kept in place because the Trump administration failed to follow federal rule-making guidelines in undoing it. But DACA is still facing legal challenges. In his presidential proclamation, Biden is calling on Congress to adopt legislation that gives DACA recipients permanent legal status and a path to citizenship. There are currently about 700,000 people enrolled. DEPORTATIONS: Biden is revoking one of Trump’s first executive orders, which declared that all of the roughly 11 million people in the country illegally are considered priorities for deportation. The Department of Homeland Security will conduct a review of enforcement priorities. Biden’s campaign site says deportations will focus on national security and public safety threats. The order says nothing about a 100-day moratorium on deportations that Biden promised during the campaign. Susan Rice, who is tapped to run the White House Domestic Policy Council, says any decision on moratoriums would come from Homeland Security. CENSUS: Biden is reversing a Trump plan to exclude people in the country illegally from being counted in the 2020 Census. The once-a-decade census is used to determine how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets, as well as the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal spending each year. Biden’s team says the new administration will ensure the Census Bureau has time to complete an accurate count for each state and that the apportionment is “fair and accurate.” LEGISLATION: Biden is also proposing legislation that would grant green cards and a path to citizenship to anyone in the United States before Jan. 1, 2021, an estimated 11 million people. Most would have to wait eight years for citizenship but people enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for young immigrants and with Temporary Protective Status for fleeing strife-torn countries would only wait three years. Other provisions lessen the time that many people have to wait outside the United States for green cards, provide development aid to Central America and reduce the 1.2-million-case backlog in immigration courts. ___ STUDENT DEBT Biden is asking the Education Department to extend a pause on federal student loan payments through at least Sept. 30, continuing a moratorium that began early in the pandemic but was set to expire at the end of January. Borrowers, who owe a collective $1.5 trillion, would not be required to make payments on their federal student loans, their loans would not accrue any interest, and all debt collection activity would halt through September. Congress paused student debt payments last March as part of a virus relief package, and the Trump administration extended it twice. Biden's order does not include the type of mass debt cancellation that some Democrats asked him to orchestrate through executive action. He has said that action should come from Congress. ___ HOUSING FORECLOSURES Housing foreclosures and evictions would be delayed until at least March 31, 2021. Almost 12% of homeowners with mortgages are late on their payments, while 19% of renters are behind, according to a Census Bureau survey of households. The federal moratoriums would ensure that people could stay in their homes even if they cannot afford their monthly bills. Biden is also calling on Congress to extend assistance to renters. While the moratoriums have aided several million Americans during the pandemic and helped to contain the disease, they have also meant that billions of dollars in housing costs have gone unpaid. ___ Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Ellen Knickmeyer, Ben Fox, Elliot Spagat, Matt Lee and Josh Boak contributed to this report. The Associated Press
Widespread compliance with the new stay-at-home order is being credited for the low number of tickets issued in Peel over the weekend, a shift in behaviour from the illegal parties that thrust the community into the spotlight in the summer. Peel’s police chief and politicians say the low number of tickets issued over the weekend speaks to the community now understanding the severity of the threat posed by COVID-19. “Hopefully, it’s an indication of compliance. We did not receive a lot of complaints from the public over the last few days,” Peel police Chief Nishan Duraiappah told the Star Tuesday. Peel Regional Police confirmed that it had issued five tickets and one warning since the stay-at-home order came into effect, but was unable to clarify the exact breach the fines were issued for. In the past week, Mississauga’s bylaw enforcement team issued fines for 14 violations, which included 11 to businesses and three for gatherings. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said she’s pleased with how residents and businesses have been obeying the rules. She attributed the levels of compliance in Mississauga to the fact that Peel Region has been in varying degrees of lockdown for close to two months, and residents have adjusted their habits over time. “The message has been and continues to be the same: stay at home, only leave for essential activities and limit close in-person contacts to just your immediate household,” she said Monday. Brampton officials laid five charges related to COVID-19 rule violations over the weekend. Three of those tickets were due to a violation of the stay-at-home order after a small group was caught gathering in a parking lot. The other two charges, laid under the Reopening Ontario Act, were people visiting a resident that was not part of their own household, Brampton officials confirmed Monday. Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown said most residents now grasp the severity of the situation. “We have seen a high level of compliance in response to the stay-at-home order announced last week,” Brown said Monday. Each of the fines issued in Brampton over the weekend were $880, for a total of $4,400 in fines. Mississauga enforcement officers, inspectors from the labour ministry and local public health officials conducted inspections of six big-box store locations in Mississauga over the weekend and found that all were complying. Solicitor General Sylvia Jones told the Star the Mississauga enforcement of large outlets was part of a provincial blitz of big-box operations that started on the weekend. “They are going on site to both manufacturing and businesses that continue to operate to make sure they’re doing so in a safe manner,” said Jones. Brampton was thrust into the spotlight in the summer when it became the hotbed for large parties, one of which attracted an estimated 200 people in July and another where police ended up being called to a shooting. Brampton officials said that between March 31 and early November, officers laid 940 charges, including 66 summonses, for violation of the relevant provincial rules and city bylaws targeting large residential gatherings and other emergency measures violations. In Mississauga, 424 tickets and or fines were handed out over the same time. In both cities, people hosting residential gatherings accounted for most of the fines. Cases against people fined for hosting illegal parties in the summer are trickling through the courts." Jason Miller is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering crime and justice in the Peel Region. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him on email: email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic Jason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
After four years, U.S. President Donald Trump will be leaving office as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into the position on Jan. 20, 2021. The weeks leading up to Trump’s departure have been tumultuous, with a siege on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, five federal executions, and 143 presidential pardons, just to name a few pivotal moments.Trump began the day by speaking to a crowd at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One. He is traveling to his golf club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, and will not be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.Supporters of the 45th U.S. President gathered in West Palm Beach, Fla. to greet Trump’s motorcade when it arrived in the city.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.