With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
BRUSSELS — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday that the military alliance is grappling with a dilemma over its future in Afghanistan, as the United States starts pulling troops out while attacks by the Taliban and extremist groups mount.More than 17 years after taking the lead on international security efforts in Afghanistan, NATO now has around 11,000 troops from dozens of nations there helping to train and advise the national security forces. Most of the personnel are from Europe and other NATO partner countries.But the alliance relies heavily on the United States armed forces for air support, transport and logistics. European allies would struggle even to leave the country without U.S. help, and President Donald Trump’s decision to pull almost half the U.S. troops out by mid-January leaves NATO in a bind.“We face a difficult dilemma. Whether to leave, and risk that Afghanistan becomes once again a safe haven for international terrorists. Or stay, and risk a longer mission, with renewed violence,” Stoltenberg told reporters on the eve of a videoconference between NATO foreign ministers.Under a peace deal between the United States and the Taliban — without the involvement of other NATO allies or the Afghan government - all foreign troops should leave Afghanistan by May 1 if security conditions on the ground permit.“Whatever path we choose, it is important that we do so together, in a co-ordinated and deliberate way,” Stoltenberg said, on the eve of a videoconference between NATO foreign ministers where the organization’s most ambitious operation ever will be high on the agenda.Trump’s unilateral decision to leave only 2,500 U.S. troops with the mission had allied military planners scrambling, as they tried to work out whether NATO could continue to operate in Kabul, and other major cities. NATO diplomats say that for now they have enough “enablers” to get the job done.Afghan officials also fear that a rapid reduction in American troops could strengthen the Taliban’s negotiating position.NATO defence ministers are likely to make a final decision about the future of the Resolute Support Mission in February, after President-elect Joe Biden takes office. European diplomats expect the tone to change under Biden, but probably not the U.S. intention to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible.The uncertainty comes amid a sharp rise in violence this year and a surge of attacks by the Taliban against the beleaguered Afghan security forces since the start of peace talks in September. Islamic State militants have also struck this month, notably in a horrific attack on Kabul University that killed 22 people, most of them students.“We have seen over the last months and weeks several attacks,” Stoltenberg said. “Some are conducted by Taliban, some attacks ISIS claimed responsibility for. But what we know is that the Taliban is responsible for attacks and the level of violence is far too high.”Even U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said: “We do not think the Taliban is keeping its word under the agreement. The violence is too high, and the Afghan people and the Afghan soldiers have paid a heavy price.”But despite the surge in violence, and deep uncertainty cause by the U.S. drawdown, the peace agreement appears to be an opportunity too good for NATO to miss.“We now see an historic opportunity for peace. It is fragile, but it must be seized,” Stoltenberg said. “We see an unpredictable and difficult military and political situation. But at least there are now talks.”Lorne Cook, The Associated Press
British pop star Rita Ora apologised on Monday after she admitted she had attended a party to celebrate her 30th birthday which broke England's strict COVID-19 lockdown laws. Under the lockdown rules, people in England are not allowed to mix with other households indoors and can meet one person outside.
Indigenous communities in Wood Buffalo say they've been preparing for school shutdowns and they are ready to have an influx of students learning from home. Ron Quintal, president of the Fort McKay Métis Nation, said he's relieved three of his kids won't be travelling to school in Fort McMurray anymore. Internet in rural Wood Buffalo can be limited, but Quintal said the nation is providing students with laptops or Wi-Fi if needed. "We've done everything we can to make sure that going virtual is a reality in our household," he said. Fort McMurray has significantly more cases of COVID-19 than Fort McKay. Quintal said there have been just eight cases of COVID-19 in the community over the course of the pandemic. Fort McMurray has had almost 700. "You're constantly having to worry and have that anxiety," Quintal said. The community has used a security gate, temperature checks and COVID-19 testing at the health centre. "When it comes to your kids, protection is paramount," said Quintal. "We will take every precaution." The Northland School Division will see an additional 90 students start at-home learning as a result of the provincial government's new COVID-19 regulations. Nearly 630 students in rural Wood Buffalo will be learning from home and 1,291 will stay in class. Nancy Spencer-Poitras, superintendent of the Northland School Division, said about 40 per cent of the students in rural Wood Buffalo don't have access to the internet, and that an internet connection isn't always reliable for the other 60 per cent. So teachers have got creative — sending kids lessons on memory sticks or sending students homework packages. In some cases, where necessary, the school has provided students with Chromebooks as well. Spencer-Poitras said the district has the benefit of being smaller, meaning schools have been able to be flexible in response to the pandemic. Throughout the school year, more students have returned to class as parents become more comfortable. "We've been very fortunate with our communities being as diligent as they are that we have not had a lot of cases," she said. She said the numbers of students in class are always in flux, depending on how many cases the community has. "You might go from 100 kids being in the school down to 20," Spencer-Poitras said. "Our job is to ensure that programming continues for our students at all times." She said the Christmas break is welcome for the teaching staff though, because they are getting fatigued. "We don't have a lot of substitutes to begin with," said Spencer-Poitras. Calvin Waquan of Fort Chipewyan has a seven-year-old son in Grade 1. For the majority of the school year, his son is in class, but it fluctuates depending on community COVID-19 cases. "We're so remote that it's not really a big, big problem up here," Waquan said. But the class size isn't what it used to be. "My boy comes home and he tells us there's three kids in class," Waquan said. "Not as much as there normally would be." When he does his schooling from home, he gets booklets from the teacher that he can finish at his own pace. Janet Richards had been frustrated with her son's school in Conklin, but she said she's seen improvement this year. "I did send Levi to school [in person] this year because he really, really wanted to go," Richards said. She said there isn't much for him to do in Conklin, and she's a single mom, working a full-time job. Levi wanted to go to school, and it made sense for the family. Richards caught COVID-19, and now she and her family are isolating at home. Levi's teacher has sent him work packages and called to check-in. Richards said because her son is happy at school, she will likely be sending him back in December when the isolation is over.
While the province watches as COVID cases rise across the province, the Town of Nipawin is working on ways to share information among their residents and businesses. The Interagency Pandemic Oversight Committee, an informal emergency operations centre consisting of 20 organizations from across the town, have been meeting for the last few weeks to, “share resources and communication about COVID in our area and makes sure each organization is aware of how each agency is handling...education, chamber, social services, housing, health,” said Rennie Harper, Nipawin’s mayor. While they do not make any decisions regarding the pandemic, Harper said they have been mobilizing to assist those residents and communities that are in need of supplies. “It's a way for all of these organizations, the hospital and the health authority and others to communicate together about what's going on about the numbers and how can we help somebody.” The group also has been releasing messaging about public health orders like mandatory masking across the province and staying home as much as possible. Harper understands that people are tired of COVID and pandemic measures but she urges people to be vigilant. “We have to keep focusing on it, we have to keep going. Otherwise, the numbers will get higher here. And that's what I'm concerned about. Our numbers have been reasonable, let's keep them like that.” As of Nov. 28, there are 57 active cases in the 12 communities in the North East 1 zone, which includes Nipawin, Arborfield, Carrot River, Cumberland House and Zenon Park.Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
LONDON — Dave Prowse, the British weightlifter-turned-actor who was the body, though not the voice, of arch-villain Darth Vader in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, has died. He was 85.Prowse died Saturday after a short illness, his agent Thomas Bowington said Sunday.Born in Bristol, southwest England, in 1935, Prowse was a three-time British weightlifting champion and represented England in weightlifting at the 1962 Commonwealth Games before breaking into movies with roles that emphasized his commanding size, including Frankenstein’s monster in a pair of Hammer Studios horror films.Director George Lucas saw Prowse in a small part in “A Clockwork Orange” and asked the 6-foot-6-inch (almost 2-meter) actor to audition for the villainous Vader or the Wookie Chewbacca in “Star Wars.”Prowse later told the BBC he chose Darth Vader because “you always remember the bad guys.”Physically, Prowse was perfect for the part. Yet his lilting English West Country accent was considered less than ideal and his lines were dubbed by James Earl Jones.Prowse donned Darth Vader's black armour and helmet for “Star Wars” (1977), “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “Return of the Jedi" (1983).He expressed some regret that, thanks to Vader's mask, “I can walk around with complete anonymity."“All actors crave recognition and I’d like to have some like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo,” he told The Associated Press in 1980. “Fortune tends to follow fame.”Lucas said Prowse “brought a physicality to Darth Vader that was essential for the character.”“He made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen, with an imposing stature and movement performance to match the intensity and undercurrent of Vader’s presence," the director said in a statement on the official “Star Wars” website.“David was up for anything and contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic figure. May he rest in peace.”Prowse also worked as a trainer for other actors, helping Christopher Reeve prepare to be the Man of Steel in hit 1978 film “Superman.”Prowse was also known to a generation of British children as the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero in road safety advertisements during the 1970s and '80s.Prowse suffered from arthritis for many years and campaigned to raise money for research into disease. In 1999 he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to charity and road safety.He was a regular at “Star Wars” fan events but was banned from official conventions by Lucas in 2010 after the pair fell out.Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” films, tweeted that Prowse was “a kind man & much more than Darth Vader.” Hamill said the actor "loved his fans as much as they loved him. RIP.”“Shaun of the Dead” director-writer Edgar Wright also paid tribute to Prowse on Twitter.“As a kid, Dave Prowse couldn’t be more famous to me; stalking along corridors as evil incarnate in the part of Darth Vader & stopping a whole generation of kiddies from being mown down in street as the Green Cross Code man,” he wrote. “Rest in Peace, Bristol’s finest.”Prowse is survived by his wife Norma and their three children.Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
The P.E.I. government has provided funding for a Summerside group that hopes to learn more about the challenges faced by French-speaking women when dealing with family violence.Actions Femmes I.P.E. was founded in the 1970s to support Acadian and French-speaking women on the Island. It was recently given $10,000 for a project that will not only consult survivors of violence about their experiences, but also share those voices.Group executive director Johanna Venturini said the province's Acadian and French-speaking populations are largely in rural areas, and that can create challenges beyond any language barriers."When you are in a very small rural community, everyone knows each other. Sometimes it can be helpful but we know that sometimes people can talk a lot and gossip can circulate very quickly," said Venturini."If you are experiencing violence, you don't really want that everyone knows about it. So it can be sometimes why a victim will prefer to hide in a situation and not want to leave her home."By talking to survivors of violence, Actions Femmes hopes to learn more about how to help Acadian and French-speaking women on the Island.By sharing their stories, the group intends to let people know that domestic violence can happen even in small communities, and it is everyone's business to help stop it.There are a number of avenues for women experiencing domestic violence to seek help, said Venturini. * 911 for immediate emergencies. * P.E.I. Rape and Sexual Assault Centre. * Family Violence Prevention Services. * 211 for help navigating the services available.While primarily English, these services do have bilingual staff available. Actions Femmes wants to learn how these services are helping French-speaking women, as well as any ways they might be failing them.More from CBC P.E.I.
NEW YORK — On Dec. 31, China reported a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown origin to the World Health Organization. By Jan. 31, WHO declared an outbreak of a novel coronavirus a global health emergency. Come March 11, the world was facing down the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents sat children down to explain what a pandemic is. Related terms usually restricted to medicine and science stormed into everyday conversation. Over time, we were pandemic baking and pandemic dating and rescuing pandemic puppies from shelters. All of which led Dictionary.com on Monday to declare “pandemic” its 2020 word of the year. Searches on the site for the word spiked more than 13,500% on March 11, senior research editor John Kelly told The Associated Press in an interview ahead of the announcement. “That's massive, but even more telling is how high it has sustained significant search volumes throughout the entire year. Month over month, it was over 1,000% higher than usual. For about half the year, it was in the top 10% of all our lookups.” Another dictionary, Merriam-Webster, also selected pandemic as its word of the year earlier Monday. Kelly said pandemic beat out routine lookups usually intended to sort more mundane matters, such as the differences between “to, two and too.” “That's significant,” Kelly emphasized. “It seems maybe a little bit obvious, and that's fair to say, but think about life before the pandemic. Things like pandemic fashion would have made no sense. The pandemic as an event created a new language for a new normal.” Lexicographers often factor out routine lookups when evaluating word trends. The pandemic, Kelly said, made us all worthy of watercooler chatter with Dr. Anthony Fauci as our knowledge grew about aerosols, contact tracing, social distancing and herd immunity, along with the intricacies of therapeutic drugs, tests and vaccines that can help save lives. “These were all part of a new shared vocabulary we needed to stay safe and informed. It's incredible,” said Kelly, who works with a team of lexicographers to come up with words of the year based primarily on site traffic. Asymptomatic, furlough, non-essential, hydroxychloroquine and a host of other pandemic-related words saw massive increases in lookups as well. Jennifer Steeves-Kiss, chief executive officer of Dictionary.com, said one key ingredient in the hunt for the site's word of the year is sustained interest over time. Pandemic met that standard. “This has affected families, our work, the economy,” she said. “It really became the logical choice. It's become the context through which we've had dialogue all through 2020. It's the through line for discourse.” The word pandemic has roots in Latin and the Greek pandemos, meaning “common, public.” Breaking it down further, “pan” means “all” and “demos” means “people.” As evidenced in a medical text by a Dutch-born physician, Gideon Harvey, pandemic entered English in the 1660s in the medical sense, Kelly said. He noted that “demos” is also the basis for the word democracy. A pandemic is defined by Dictionary.com as a disease “prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world; epidemic over a large area.” Its broader sense, as evidenced in its roots, can be used thusly: “A pandemic fear of atomic war.” Dictionary.com also noted other worthy search trends beyond the pandemic. After the May 25 death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, words around racial justice experienced spikes, including fascism, anti-fascism, defund and white fragility. “There was no way for us to leave that out of the conversation this year,” Kelly said. Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — The co-author of the million-selling “Game Change” has a book of his own coming about the 2020 election.Simon & Schuster announced Monday that John Heilemann is working on a “dramatic, first-hand account” of Joe Biden's victorious campaigns over his Democratic Party rivals in the primaries and over President Donald Trump in the general election. Heilemann had collaborated with Mark Halperin on “Game Change,” about the 2008 race, and on “Double Down,” about 2012.Halperin has since faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment. He was dropped by Showtime, where he and Heilemann hosted the political series “The Circus,” and a planned book by the two authors on the 2016 campaign was cancelled by Penguin Press.Heilemann's new book, currently untitled, draws on three decades of covering the former vice-president, who was Barack Obama's running mate in 2008 and 2012. The publication date is not yet scheduled.“I first met Joe Biden in 1986 when I was in college and he was getting ready to run for president the first time, and I’ve been following his ups and downs, his triumphs and tragedies, ever since,” Heilemann said in a statement. “The story of how, against all odds and against the apocalyptic backdrop of America in 2020, Biden rallied in the winter of his life to defeat Trump — and, in the eyes of many, to save the country — is one of the great political tales of this or any age, and I’m thrilled to have a chance to tell it.”Screen rights have been acquired by Showtime, where Heilemann still hosts "The Circus." The HBO adaptation of "Game Change" won five Emmys and three Golden Globe awards.Heilemann is national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and co-founder of the political video platform The Recount. He is also the author of “Pride Before the Fall: The Trials of Bill Gates and the End of the Microsoft Era,” which came out in 2001.His current project adds to the list of books expected on the 2020 race, which includes works by Maggie Haberman of The New York Times and by Ryan Lizza of Politico and co-writer Olivia Nuzzi of New York magazine.Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
Edward Blake Rudkowski was a member of Nunatsiavut, and before that the Labrador Inuit Association, for 34 years. He ran successfully to represent Labrador Inuit living outside the land claim as an ordinary member in 2017, was re-elected in 2018 and was named the Speaker of the Nunatsiavut Assembly, the legislative branch of the Inuit government. That was, until Nov. 20, when Blake Rudkowski was told he was no longer a member of Nunatsiavut, his status as a beneficiary was revoked and he could no longer hold the political office he had been elected to. Blake Rudkowski told SaltWire Network he was told he didn’t meet the eligibility requirements and was just over 17 per cent Inuit. According to the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, there are a number of requirements that can lead to a person being a beneficiary, including that a person is one-quarter Inuit, is a descendant of someone who settled permanently in the land claim area prior to 1940 with no Inuit ancestry or is adopted by a beneficiary. “To be clear, they didn’t tell me I wasn’t Inuit,” he said. “They said I wasn’t Inuit enough.” He says he would like to know what formula they use to come up with that determination, and what factors were taken into account to determine it. He’d also like to know why that number matters more than what was determined when he was first accepted as a member of the Labrador Inuit Association 34 years ago. His status as a beneficiary of Nunatsiavut had been challenged two years ago and he’d been going through the process ever since. “Immediately after the election, literally the day after, there were two challenges to my membership eligibility,” he said. “I’d been dealing with this behind the scenes since then.” He said the two people who challenged his membership were political rivals — one a person he had beaten in an election and another a former politician — and the timing of it seemed curious to him. “It felt like membership was being used as a tool of political retribution,” he said. Having Nunatsiavut beneficiary status challenged is like coming in as a new applicant and is a daunting task that, successful or not, can take up a lot of time. In 2013 an amendment was made to the Nunatsiavut Beneficiaries Enrolment Act that allows any member to challenge the membership of another. Blake Rudkowski said this allows people to try to use membership as a tool to try to harm their enemies. “What this does is it allows someone who is a malcontent or has a beef with someone else a vehicle to exact some sort of retribution. At minimum, even if it's not successful, it can cause someone a significant amount of mental anguish.” What this has created, Blake Rudkowski said, is a climate where some people are afraid to speak up about issues they have with the government for fear they may have their rights as a beneficiary stripped away, or at the very least have it challenged. When he was in government, it appeared there were an increasing number of memberships being challenged, he said, to the point where people were asking whether a full review was underway. He said he also heard complaints that the process was inconsistent, which he believes to be the case. “You have a lot of cases where it’s one brother in, one sister out, one cousin in, one cousin out, so there’s an inconsistency across the board which speaks to the fact that maybe there’s a problem with the process. That’s been a long-standing critique of many beneficiaries, there’s an inconsistent application of the rules.” Blake Rudkowski said he doesn’t know what steps he’ll take next, and while it appears his career as a politician in Nunatsiavut has come to an end it won’t be the last time people see him the political arena. The Nunatsiavut Government put out a statement Monday about Blake Rudkowski’s removal, saying he was removed from the government once his eligibility as a beneficiary had been revoked. “First Minister Tyler Edmunds reminds beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement that the Nunatsiavut Government plays no role whatsoever in determining the membership of any individual,” the statement read. “The beneficiary enrolment process is independent from the Nunatsiavut Government.” SaltWire asked to speak to someone with the Nunatsiavut Government about the requirements and the process, but an interview was not available before deadline.Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
BUDAPEST, Hungary — The U.S. Embassy in Budapest on Monday condemned an article published by a Hungarian official that drew parallels between American-Hungarian billionaire George Soros and Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. The embassy posted on its Twitter account that it “strongly condemns” statements made in an article equating a debate over the European Union’s bid to bolster democratic standards within its member countries “with the horrific murder of millions of people during the Holocaust.” On Saturday, Szilard Demeter, a ministerial commissioner for culture and the head of the Petofi Literary Museum in Budapest, wrote an opinion piece in pro-government news site Origo referring to Europe as “George Soros’ gas chamber,” and calling Soros “the liberal Führer (whose) liber-aryan army deifies him more than did Hitler’s own.” In the piece, Demeter also noted the conflict over the European Union’s next budget, which Hungary and Poland are holding up over provisions that could block payments to countries that do not uphold democratic standards. He referred to the two countries, both of which are under EU investigation for undermining judicial independence and media freedom, as “the new Jews.” Soros, who was born in Hungary and is a Holocaust survivor, is a frequent target of right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who opposes Soros’ philanthropy which favours liberal causes. The statements prompted strong reactions from several Hungarian Jewish groups and Hungarian opposition politicians while the Israeli Embassy condemned the article. More than 12,000 people including numerous Hungarian public figures like Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony have so far signed a petition demanding Demeter’s resignation. Demeter retracted the article on Sunday following the backlash and said he would delete his Facebook account. In Hungary’s parliament on Monday, several opposition lawmakers inquired how long Demeter would be permitted to remain in his position while others demanded his dismissal. But deputy prime minister Mihaly Varga, who is also finance minister, said that Demeter would remain in his position since he had “admitted his mistake.” “He retracted his article, and he even deleted his Facebook account. He wrote that (his article) could harm the memory of the victims, so he admitted his mistake,” Varga said, and accused the opposition members of parliament of “applying a double standard.” Justin Spike, The Associated Press
From the bench on her front porch, Jan Jang had a perfect view of the small cove just over the bank from her St. Chad’s home. The home, originally from the nearby Flat Islands, was floated to the area in the 1950s. From her perch, the British Columbia resident could trace the likely path the house took when it entered the cove. It would have likely entered the cove pulled by a singular boat and around Damnable Island in the centre before being hauled out of the water and eventually into its current place. Jang and her husband Ed purchased the property shortly after a vacation to the province some 12 years ago. "We saw the view and we knew immediately,” she said. Saltbox in design with white siding and black trim, the home sits in the middle of a gravel road. On a nearby hill, there is a flagpole, a cracked concrete foundation holding it in place. The back of the property has a small garden and wooden archway covered in overgrown vines. “That is the common house (of the time),” said 85-year-old former Flat Islands resident Everett Saunders. “I didn’t know what a bungalow looked like until I left.” The Flat Islands were amongst the earliest reported settlements in Bonavista Bay, with the first mention of residence recorded in 1806. The community was made up of four islands, Flat Island, Coward Island, North Island and Berry Head. Families with the surnames Hallett, Dyer, Morgan, Samson and Saunders, amongst others, built a life there, 21 miles from Bonavista in the middle of Bonavista Bay. There were two churches — a Church of England Church on Flat Island and the Methodist Church on North Island. Each island had a school, while there was a post office with a wireless telegram and a nurses station on Flat Island. The fishery ruled on Flat Islands as people made their living at the height of the Labrador fishery. There were often 25 to 30 schooners in the nearby waters. In the 1920s, the islands had some 900 full-time residents. Resettlement began in 1954 when the first home was floated to Glovertown. Others were disassembled, moved and then reconstructed at their destination. The collapse of the Labrador fishery forced families to move to the mainland for steady work. By 1957, most of the population was preparing to leave. Saunders left in 1958 and headed for St. John’s. In 1979, he moved to Eastport and he has been going back to the island ever since. His parents moved to Eastport, while others made lives in places like Glovertown, St. Chad’s, Burnside and St. John’s. “There was a lot of living on the island,” said Saunders, who left when he finished school at the age of 17. “It was quite different.” It was Thanksgiving weekend when the Jangs happened across the place that would become their longtime summer home. They were frequent visitors to the province and spent their time renting places while travelling around the island. It got to the point when they were visiting so frequently they decided it would be in their best interest to buy a summer home. They had finished a stay in St. John’s and were headed towards Lark Harbour on the west coast when Jan had the impulse to go to the Eastport Peninsula, where they had visited before. There, they stumbled upon St. Chad’s and fell in love with a quaint home along the shore of a secluded cove. It had a faded ‘House For Sale’ sign on the lawn. “We looked at each other, we looked at the view and we looked at the house,” said Jan, recalling the moments before their decision to buy. After some renovations, they were ready to make it their five-week Newfoundland home every summer for a dozen years. The house was built by Stephen Hallett in the early 1900s, although Jan isn’t sure of the exact date. It was 1958 when it was floated from Flat Island across Bonavista Bay and into St. Chad’s. A picnic table dedicated to The Dickers sits on the site. Several years ago, Saunders took the Jangs out to see where the house had been. For a couple of years, Saunders showed off his boyhood home while running a tour boat business out of the Eastport. His family home is gone now, but he still routinely makes day trips to the area for berry picking or just to walk around. When he ties his boat to the old family wharf and takes his first steps on the island, the world he knew plays out in front of him. He knows the location of every rock and the beginning of every path. He remembers Mr. Decker, his apple tree and how he'd get angry when Saunders and his friends would swipe an apple or two. If someone asks to head out, Saunders is sure to take them for a run to the islands. Lately, people have requested passage to the islands as they seek to say goodbye to loved ones. Saunders figures there have been three or four occasions where he's accompanied people as they scatter the ashes of those who once called the Flat Islands home. Saunders understands their wishes. “It was a great place," he said. "I'm so contented when I'm out here." The Jangs knew that type of contentment in St. Chad’s, but they sold their home earlier this fall. It wasn’t something they wanted to do, but health issues had made it increasingly difficult to travel the long distance between British Columbia to Newfoundland. It was a bittersweet decision, but one they felt was necessary. They’ll miss their Newfoundland haven. “We loved the house,” said Jan Jang. “It was a dear little house.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is warning people about a "large number" of COVID-19 cases linked to curling clubs in Regina.A news release sent on Sunday said anyone who visited the Highland Curling Club between Nov. 13 to 23, or the Caledonian Curling Club between Nov. 16 to 24, must immediately self-isolate and call HealthLine 811 if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms.The release also said anyone who was at either club when the exposures occurred should consider getting tested, even if they don't have symptoms.SHA also said on Saturday there's an increased risk of COVID-19 exposures at curling clubs in Christopher Lake and Shellbrook.Letter sent to club membersThe Highland Curling Club has paused its season after a COVID-19 outbreak at a bonspiel held at the club, according to a letter on the rink's website.The outbreak happened at a seniors and masters bonspiel held at Highland Curling Club in Regina from Nov. 13 to 15. The tournament included divisions for senior men and women in the 50 and up category, as well as a masters division for men aged 60 and older.In the letter, general manager A.J. Scott said it was an "extremely isolated" event. "The rink was closed to the public and kept exclusively for the athletes competing in the event," the letter said. "We only ran two sheets at any single time, as well as made sure to run only the men's or women's divisions at one time. The teams all respected our safety protocols we have here at the rink and routine scheduled cleaning was done more than every 60 minutes as well as after every draw."In the middle of the tournament, a team pulled out due to flu-like symptoms. Scott wrote that the club asked the remaining teams "if they felt safe and confident enough to want to continue play," and all the teams said they did, so the tournament finished as planned.Shortly after the bonspiel, the club was notified that members of the team that pulled out had COVID-19.The club's website says curling has been postponed until Dec. 7 while the facility gets a "professional deep cleaning."
Second Lady Karen Pence unveils the 2020 Christmas decorations and theme "Old Fashioned Christmas," at the Vice President's residence in Washington. Mrs. Pence selected a theme highlighting the vintage feel of the Christmas holiday season. (Nov. 30)
Nine out of 11 of the major S&P 500 sectors fell, with the energy index tumbling 5.4% and leading losses, tracking a drop in crude prices. The S&P 500 technology index rose 0.7%, thanks in part to a 2.1% rise in Apple Inc shares. A rotation into energy, industrials and financials, all expected by many investors to outperform as the economy recovers from its downturn, drove gains of almost 11% for the S&P 500 in November and helped the Dow Jones Industrial Average make its biggest monthly gain since 1987.
Mono Council passed a Zoning Bylaw Amendment for a proposed micro brewery at its November 17 meeting. There was some objections from a few surrounding neighbours, however the majority of input was very positive.The primary issue of concern was water usage and this was addressed by a pump test conducted by Cambium. The test, using the existing well and pip-ing confirmed that the water supply was more than adequate and that a 98% recovery was achieved within 24 hours. Three private offsite wells were monitored during the test and no adverse effects were documented. The current max flow is 18 litres per min-ute, but could be increased to as much as 38 litres per minute if required. The proposed daily draw is 7,000 litres per day which is considered to be a very low amount, roughly equivalent to four, four bedroom homes. Such an amount is not considered signifi-cant according to Cambium. The project meets all the required policies and provisions of the Province, the County and Town. The County saw no problem with excess traffic on Mono Centre Road and had no objections to the proposed Microbrew-ery.As well, the Zoning Bylaw Amendment regulates the size of the Microbrewery and any increase in size would require a new application. The site and the buildings will detail the rural agricultural look of the prop-erty.Since Council passed the Zoning Bylaw Amendment, development of the proposed Microbrewery will proceePeter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
Shelburne Deputy Mayor, Steve Anderson is a crusader for inclusivity of all people in his com-munity and fervently believes that one should be judged on their aims and accomplishments.He also serves as the County Councillor of Dufferin and is the first born Canadian in a fam-ily of six siblings, with Jamaican parents.Steve grew up in Jane Finch, in Toronto, attended the University of Windsor for his Hon-ours Baccalaureate in criminology, started Law School at the University of Detroit Mercy and finished his degree at the University of Ottawa. He was subsequently hired by the Toronto Transit Commission to work in their legal department as a litigator. Considering his present position as a vocal advocate for civil rights and the inclusion of all people and races in todays society, it begs the question why choose litigation law rather than civil rights of some similar field?Steve’s answer was simple. He did not start out imagining himself leading some great advocacy charge. Rather, he knew he wanted to make a dif-ference in the world and saw the law as a poten-tial pathway to achieving it. Steve said the TTC gave him the chance to build his own platform. Once he found himself working for such an iconic institution, people saw him as a possible resource.He was a lawyer when working for the TTC and someone who could go into schools to speak with youth. This resulted in many opened many doors for Steve. He was asked to speak to schools and many organizations about his experiences. This, in turn, reverberated with his bosses and their bosses and they supported it wholeheartedly. In part, because of its benefit to the youth of the community and in part, because it reflected positively on them. Steve and a friend of his, Ian, worked together in Steve’s old neighbourhood of Jane Finch, to help youth there. They assisted in achievement awards for academics, community service and other accomplishments. They have done this for over ten years and still continue today, but with COVID-19 precautions.From Steve’s work in Toronto he learned a lot about the potential to impact change through politics and a seed was planted. The seed sprouted when he had just moved to Shelburne with his family and the munici-pal elections were underway. He thought about entering the race, but realized that he knew noth-ing about the issues of his new community, so he waited. But while he waited, he began to follow the local political scene and learned about issues affecting ShelburneHe did not yet know the community, but he knew the issues. It was then that the Town asked for members to become a part of the Transit Task Force. It was a perfect fit for a TTC veteran. The task force was composed of CAO John Telfer, Ron Monroe and Steve. The plan was to run a transit system in town for two years and then have Go Transit take it over. Unfortunately, the plan never came to fruition, but it made Go Transit aware of the town and its desire for tran-sit.Several years later, Steve was part of bringing Grey County transit buses to Shelburne.It was shortly after the task force dissolved, that Councillor Tom Egan suddenly passed, creating a vacancy on Town Council. Steve decided that he should throw his hat in the ring and try to become a part of the commu-nity’s political machine. He faced an uphill battle. Tom Egan had been a much loved member of the community for many years and he left very big shoes to fill, no matter who took over, let alone a new resident, not well known in the community. After going through the selection process, Steve won the appointment and the rest is his-tory, but, not history without effort. Realizing how big of an achievement he had just accomplished, Steve decided that he had to hit the ground running if he was to have any chance of wining the hearts and minds of Shel-burne’s residents and continue in his political endeavours.His first goal was to honour Tom Egan and he did so by getting Council to create the Tom Egan Community Service Award.When Steve was going through the selection process and even before that, on the Transit Task Force, the question came up as to what he thought could be done to make the old and new resident communities more inclusive of each other.The slogan, “Shelburne Stronger Together” originated from this thought. This is what char-acterizes Steve’s community involvement, bring-ing the community together. He was the first councillor in Shelburne, to hold a “meet and greet “ at the Town Library, where constituents could come and meet him, hear his views and present their questions and opinions.Following his first 10 months, Steve let the community know who he was and what to expect. Then came the 2018 municipal elections. As he tells it, Steve never wanted to be Deputy Mayor. He had formed a close friendship with Geoff Dunlop, the Deputy Mayor preceding him and he wanted to see Geoff remain in that posi-tion. I would have been happy just to win a full term on council, he said. But life had other plans and Geoff decided to bow out of politics, leaving Steve feeling like he should run for the position after all. He revealed that his reason for doing so, almost reluctantly, is because if he did not, he felt the community “was going to go off in a direction that he did not think it should be going.”Steve knew he would have to be exceptional to win the seat, but he believed in his vision for the direction of the community and so he took up the challenge.Following his election to the position of Dep-uty Mayor, his political life has become almost as demanding as his career as an attorney.Partially, the reason for this is because of his dedication to welcoming and supporting all the different cultures and populace diversities of Shelburne, while working to help solve the many municipal government problems in the Town. When looking back on his campaign to become Deputy Mayor, one of the things Steve feels most strongly helped him was going door to door with Councillor Walter Benotto. Walter is the longest serving member of council and is very well known in the town, yet together they complimented each other in going door to door. In the newer subdivisions, frequently Steve was recognized and introduced Walter, while in the established parts of town, it was the other way around, but together, they made a solid impres-sion of cooperation and a shared commitment to a Shelburne both embracing the new and holding onto the establishment.When asked if he would consider running for Mayor, Steve was adamant, he will not. He thinks Wade Mills is a good Mayor and a good working partner. They share a similar vision of the Town and Steve is happy being the Deputy Mayor. Serving as Mayor is demanding rand requires a considerable amount of time, which Steve feels, for him, would be better spent continuing his current efforts. One of those efforts was epitomized for Steve in the Black Lives Matter March that was held in Shelburne. He was overwhelmed by the turnout and by the diversity of people who participated. “Black, white, you name it,” said Steve. It was then that the realization came that if he and the Mayor and the Town ever needed a man-date, it was there. The people overwhelmingly were in support of the fundamental right for all people to be included in society as equals. It was a clear indi-cation that it was time to take action and that action became the Anti Racism and Discrimina-tion Taskforce, established by Shelburne Town Council.The task force was established to confront social issues and seek to correct them. One point that was brought up by Steve in the context of having difficult conversations about racism, was that having these conversations does not mean pointing fingers at people. Pointing fin-gers defeats the purpose of discussion. What is needed is collaboration and a willing-ness to listen and work towards rectifying issues, said Steve.Council has set aside $20,000 in its 2021 Bud-get to follow the task force recommendations and advocated for money in future budgets to con-tinue the work and to support new initiatives that may come from this.With the next election only two years away, Steve has put thought into what he wants to do and what he has been able to accomplish. He told the Citizen he isn’t interested in pro-vincial or federal politics, nor the Mayor position but is content being Deputy Mayor and staying in municipal politics, where he can get things accomplished. Steve likes to be able to point to the promises he made and kept, he is proud of his personal brand and what he stands for. He has not done all that he wants to do in Shelburne, he may never, but he wants to try. Steve believes that a man is judged by his accomplishments, not just by his promises and in municipal politics he can live by his own stan-dard and not the will of the party. He can listen to the people and he can try to get them what they want and so for the foreseeable future he is happy being on Town Council.Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
LONDON — British singer Rita Ora apologized Monday for breaking lockdown rules by holding a birthday party, saying it was “a serious and inexcusable error of judgment.”The Sun newspaper ran photos of Ora and others, including models Cara and Poppy Delevingne, arriving at the Casa Cruz restaurant in London’s Notting Hill area on Saturday.Under lockdown rules that end Wednesday, all pubs and restaurants in England must close except for takeout and delivery, and people are barred from meeting indoors with members of other households.Ora said on Instagram that she had held “a small gathering with some friends to celebrate my 30th birthday.”“It was a spur of the moment decision made with the misguided view that we were coming out of lockdown and this would be OK,” she wrote.Ora, whose hits include “Anywhere” and “I Will Never Let You Down,” said she now realized “how irresponsible these actions were and I take full responsibility.”Reports of the party attracted widespread criticism.Asked about the event, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman, Jamie Davies, said it was “important that everybody in society sets an example by following the rules. That is for every member of the public, including celebrities.”(backslash)Britain has Europe's worst coronavirus death toll, at over 58,000 people.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakThe Associated Press
When Calvin Little died, no one noticed for a while. For the last two years of his life, the 63-year-old Torontonian lived in a nondescript east-end apartment — alone, save for a rotating cast of animals he would watch for periods of time. Little had lived inside the building since August 2018: a place for him to land after a decade of episodic homelessness. He was funny, friendly and charming, those who knew him said. But he kept his past close to his chest. Sometimes, he’d disappear for a day or two, or venture out to panhandle in the Beaches. When he died, he died in his apartment, quietly and alone. Neighbours were only alerted that something was wrong when a strange odour floated through the halls, police said. From there, they faced a challenge — no one knew how to find his next of kin. On Nov. 5, nearly a month after his death was first discovered, police turned their fruitless search over to the public — issuing a rare appeal for information leading to Little’s family. The investigator tasked to his case was puzzled. “Usually, it’s people in the building that give us good leads to the next of kin,” said Det. Const. Dennis Inniss. But none he spoke to seemed to know anything substantial about Little’s life. They couldn’t find a phone book, and had no luck via doctors, social services or the public trustee’s office. It took weeks of searching. Eventually, a spokesperson for the police force confirmed that Little’s next of kin was found. But his case, according to the head of the agency that housed him, is an illustration of a broader trend. “Throughout the city, vulnerable, older, single adults pass away, and too often, it’s totally anonymous,” said Mainstay Housing’s Gautam Mukherjee, adding that many who were once homeless were dying prematurely. “You see that here … it’s not just the hidden death, or the unacknowledged or unknown death, but also everything leading up to it that’s part of the story.” Before Calvin Little, there was John Cunningham. And before him, there was Harold Dawes. Each of the three men — Little in his 60s, the other two in their 70s — lived along the same streetcar line, and died at home. And each time, Inniss was tasked with finding their families. More than a year after Dawes died in 2018, Inniss said police decided to try something new by issuing a public appeal. Within a day, Dawes’s family was located. Deeming the tactic a success, Inniss asked police brass to do the same after Cunningham died in January. The plea did coax out some people who knew him. Neighbours, speaking to Toronto.com, painted a picture of a loner: a limo driver who told elaborate tales but, like Little, kept his personal life private. But none of the information led to his family, Inniss said. So in March, his remains were claimed by social services to be put to rest. While police appeals are rare, unclaimed remains are not. Coroner’s data shows that, in 2006, there were 145 unclaimed bodies across Ontario. Last year, there were 438, and so far in 2020, there have been more than 630, though there were some carry-overs from last year’s deaths. Separately, the number of Canadians living alone has risen from nine per cent of the population aged 15 or older in 1981, to 14 per cent in 2016. The data stoked concern about isolation and loneliness, especially among seniors, even before COVID-19 cloistered households away. Innis wishes apartments would keep records of their tenants’ family contacts for these situations. Little was asked repeatedly to give an emergency contact to staff, Mukherjee said, but he always declined. “We were it,” he said. Little was born March 5, 1957. Records tell part of his story, but there are gaps that those who spoke to the Star couldn’t fill. When his housing worker, Ben Kershaw, asked on occasion about Little’s past, he said the older man would brush the questions aside. “We have to respect other people’s way of life. Everyone has their reasons for doing what they do,” Kershaw said. Some of their tenants, he added, just wanted a fresh start. By the time he arrived at Mainstay, Little had been well-known to Toronto’s Streets to Homes team for years. To many, he was known as “Papa Smurf,” a kind man who would give his own clothes and belongings to others, and make dream catchers or carvings for those he cared about. He tried to make people laugh, staff recalled, and focus on what good fortune he had. The Kingston Road unit was one of those strokes of good fortune. Kershaw remembers Little’s joy moving into unit 421, one of 136 bachelor apartments in the building. “He’d had enough of life on the streets. He wanted somewhere to call a home, somewhere to keep warm.” The east-end site offers various supports in addition to shelter. It’s unique among Mainstay’s buildings in that it accepts new tenants, including Little, by referral from Streets to Homes, instead of just through a waiting list. Little had been housed in at least two other locations before, between periods of homelessness — including in social housing. But it didn’t last. At Mainstay, Little cared for multiple animals — at first a dog, and later a cat that scampered out when Little answered his door, prompting Little to hurry down the corridor after it. He had challenges still. Inniss noted that Little battled cancer many years ago, and was in remission for five years before it returned again. “He dealt with it better than I imagine I would, or most people,” said Kershaw. The diagnosis didn’t seem to dampen his mood. To Mukherjee, Little’s death at just 63 years of age speaks to the toll that homelessness can take, even after someone is housed. In 2007, a Toronto street health report found that, compared to the overall population, homeless people were 20 times as likely to have epilepsy, five times as likely to have heart disease and four times as likely to have cancer, among ailments. It’s unclear whether Little’s health challenges were connected to the periods of time he spent homeless, but Mukherjee has found himself wondering. The average man’s life expectancy in Canada was 79 as of 2017. Little’s death, he noted, was more than a decade premature. Cancer and cardiovascular disease are the most common causes of death among older people who have been homeless, said Dr. Stephen Hwang, director of St. Michael’s MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, who described stark inequalities. “The life expectancy of someone who is homeless is comparable to someone living back in the Great Depression, before we had antibiotics or pretty much any of the effective medical treatments that we have today,” he said. Even if someone got into better housing and had more care, it may not be enough to undo the damage inflicted on their body — and their mind — during years of homelessness, said Dr. Sean Kidd, a senior psychologist with Toronto’s Centre for Addictions and Mental Health. COVID-19 may change things. Kidd expects it will take a year or two to see the impacts of economic instability and job losses on homelessness. But he also believes the pandemic has prompted officials to focus more on creating permanent housing, rather than temporary fixes. “These are the things that will turn the boat around,” Kidd said. Joe Cressy, Toronto’s health board chair, noted that public health data shows homeless men in the city living 20 years less on average than the overall population. “Entrenching homelessness, simply sheltering the homeless, does not reduce the lower life expectancy rates — ending homelessness does,” he said. For now, in far too many cases, people were dying without anyone to remember them, said Mukherjee. Toronto’s homeless memorial lists dozens of John and Jane Does for 2020 alone. But Little won’t be one of them. To those who knew him, he will be remembered for the animals he doted on, the artwork he made for those around him, and his perpetual sense of hope. “He was a really nice guy,” Kershaw said. “We miss him.”Victoria Gibson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
Homicide investigators have identified the man who was shot and killed in front of a busy mall in the Fleetwood area of Surrey, B.C., on Sunday evening.The RCMP's Integrated Homicide Investigation team said Riyad Rasheed, 29, was shot in front of the Evergreen Mall at the corner of 152 Street and Fraser Highway just after 7:40 p.m. PT. He died of his injuries on scene.The mall was open at the time of the shooting, with shoppers having dinner or running errands when shots were fired. The bullets left holes in the front windows of a Shoppers Drug Mart, which was open at the time."Part of what makes this crime egregious ... this was a risk to the public as it unfolded," said Surrey RCMP Cpl. Elenore Sturko said during a news conference Monday."To have a shooting like this take place in such a public place at a time where there were individuals in the area shopping, going about their day, is very disturbing," Sturko continued. "Not only did a person lose their life last night, but it also damaged people's feeling of safety and security in their neighbourhood."RCMP said one of Rasheed's family members was with him when he was shot.IHIT Sgt. Frank Jang said Rasheed was known to police. His death is believed to be targeted and "linked to the ongoing Lower Mainland gang conflict," Jang said.Officials believe there was more than one suspect involved.Around 9 p.m., a vehicle was found burning near Cambie Road and No. 7 Road. Jang said the car, a dark-coloured sedan, is considered to be the vehicle the suspects used to escape after the shooting.Anyone who saw the shooting or who has relevant video or dashcam footage is asked to call the IHIT information line at 1-877-551-4448 or, if they wish to remain anonymous, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
WINNIPEG — Artis Real Estate Investment Trust says four trustees have tendered their resignations and both its chief executive officer and chief financial officer will retire as part of a deal reached with private equity firm Sandpiper Group which sought changes at the trust.Under the terms of the agreement, Artis chief executive Armin Martens will retire effective Dec. 31 and chief financial officer Jim Green will retire after the trust's 2021 annual meeting of the unitholders.Sandpiper's slate of five nominees, including Sandpiper chief executive Samir Manji, will join two of the existing trustees — Ben Rodney and Lauren Zucker — to make up the new board.Artis proposed a plan in September that would see it spin off its retail portfolio into a new real estate trust and focus on its North American industrial and office businesses. Sandpiper opposed the plan and said it would cut costs and increase distributions if it won its fight to replace the Artis board. Jetport Inc., the trust's largest unitholder, had said it would vote in favour of the Sandpiper board nominees at a meeting set for February.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:AX.UN)The Canadian Press