WASHINGTON — The federal government recognized President-elect Joe Biden as the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election on Monday, formally starting the transition of power after President Donald Trump spent weeks testing the boundaries of American democracy. He relented after suffering yet more legal and procedural defeats in his seemingly futile effort to overturn the election with baseless claims of fraud.Trump still refused to concede and vowed to continue to fight in court after General Services Administrator Emily Murphy gave the green light for Biden to co-ordinate with federal agencies ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration. But Trump did tweet that he was directing his team to co-operate on the transition.Monday’s fast-moving series of events seemed to let much of the air out of Trump’s frantic efforts to undermine the will of the people in what has amounted to a weekslong stress test for American democracy. But Trump’s attempts to foment a crisis of confidence in the political system and the fairness of U.S. elections haven’t ended and are likely to persist well beyond his lame-duck presidency.Murphy, explaining her decision, cited "recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.”She acted after Michigan on Monday certified Biden’s victory in the battleground state, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday seeking to prevent certification in that state.It also comes as an increasing number of Republicans were publicly acknowledging Biden’s victory, after weeks of tolerating Trump’s baseless claims of fraud. The president had grown increasingly frustrated with the flailing tactics of his legal team.In recent days, senior Trump aides including chief of staff Mark Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipollone had also encouraged him to allow the transition to begin, telling the president he didn’t need to concede but could no longer justify withholding support to the Biden transition.Yohannes Abraham, executive director of the Biden transition, said the decision “is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”Murphy, a Trump appointee, has faced bipartisan criticism for failing to begin the transition process sooner, preventing Biden’s team from working with career agency officials on plans for his administration. The delay denied Biden access to highly classified national security briefings and hindered his team's ability to begin drawing up its own plans to respond to the raging coronavirus pandemic.Murphy insisted she acted on her own.“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official—including those who work at the White House or GSA—with regard to the substance or timing of my decision,” she wrote in a letter to Biden.Trump tweeted moments after Murphy's decision: “We will keep up the good fight and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”Max Stier, president and CEO of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, criticized the delay but said Biden’s team would be able to overcome it.“Unfortunately, every day lost to the delayed ascertainment was a missed opportunity for the outgoing administration to help President-elect Joe Biden prepare to meet our country’s greatest challenges," he said. "The good news is that the president-elect and his team are the most prepared and best equipped of any incoming administration in recent memory.”Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the GSA action “is probably the closest thing to a concession that President Trump could issue.? Noting that the nation “faces multiple crises that demand an orderly transition,? Schumer urged Democrats and Republicans to “unite together for a smooth and peaceful transition that will benefit America.?Murphy’s action came just 90 minutes after Michigan election officials certified Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in the state. The Board of State Canvassers, which has two Republicans and two Democrats, confirmed the results on a 3-0 vote with one GOP abstention. Trump and his allies had hoped to block the vote to allow time for an audit of ballots in Wayne County, where Trump has claimed without evidence that he was the victim of fraud. Biden crushed the president by more than 330,000 votes there.Some Trump allies had expressed hope that state lawmakers could intervene in selecting Republican electors in states that do not certify. That long-shot bid is no longer possible in Michigan.“The people of Michigan have spoken. President-elect Biden won the State of Michigan by more than 154,000 votes, and he will be our next president on January 20th,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said, adding it’s “time to put this election behind us.”Trump was increasingly frustrated by his legal team, led by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose erratic public performances drew bipartisan mockery in recent weeks. Still, the legal challenges were expected to continue, as Trump seeks to keep his supporters on his side and keep his options open for opportuntities post-presidency.In Pennsylvania on Saturday, a conservative Republican judge shot down the Trump campaign’s biggest legal effort in the state with a scathing ruling that questioned why he was supposed to disenfranchise 7 million voters with no evidence to back their claims and an inept legal argument at best.But the lawyers still hope to block the state’s certification, quickly appealing to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, which ordered lawyers to file a brief Monday but did not agree to hear oral arguments.The campaign, in its filings, asked for urgent consideration so it could challenge the state election results before they are certified next month. If not, they will seek to decertify them, the filings said.Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes.Pennsylvania county election boards voted Monday, the state deadline, on whether to certify election results to the Department of State. The boards in two populous counties split along party lines, with majority Democrats in both places voting to certify. After all counties have sent certified results to Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, she must then tabulate, compute and canvass votes for all races. The law requires her to perform that task quickly but does not set a specific deadline.In Wisconsin, a recount in the state’s two largest liberal counties moved into its fourth day, with election officials in Milwaukee County complaining that Trump observers were slowing down the process with frequent challenges. Trump’s hope of reversing Biden’s victory there depends on disqualifying thousands of absentee ballots —- including the in-person absentee ballot cast by one of Trump’s own campaign attorneys in Dane County.___Associated Press writers Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia, Jonathan Lemire in New York, Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pa., Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta and John Flesher in Traverse City, Mich., contributed to this report.Zeke Miller, David Eggert And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
COVID-19 vaccines are at risk of being undermined by vaccine hesitancy. Pharma must take steps to ensure transparency in data monitoring committees and trial data to build public trust in vaccines.
The CP Holiday Train is a tradition that many hold dear in Medicine Hat. This year, the train is going to have a different look compared to previous iterations. Canadian Pacific is holding a virtual concert this year, so people can still take live music in while not crowding outside with hundreds of others. “Unfortunately because of COVID-19, we had to make the choice to hold the train virtual this year,” said CP spokesperson Salem Woodrow. “The spirit will continue with the Holiday Train at Home Concert.” The concert will launch at 6 p.m. on Dec. 12 on the Canadian Pacific Facebook page. “Even though it’s not in-person, we’re happy to bring the train to communities this year,” said Woodrow. The concert will be headlined by Canadian rock band, The Trews and singer Serena Ryder. Jojo Mason, Logan Staats and Kelly Prescott will also be performing. As is tradition, people will be encouraged to donate to their local food bank as part of the Holiday Train experience. “We know it’s been a hard year for everyone, but we encourage people to donate as best they can this year, and to be as generous as they’re able to be,” said Woodrow. Canadian Pacific will be making donations to food banks in all municipalities that the train usually stops in. The Holiday Train has been around for 22 years, and has stopped all around North America. In its first 21 years, the train has raised more than $17 million and has collected nearly five million pounds of food for food banks. People can find CP on social media platforms by searching for Canadian Pacific.Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) is putting their season on pause following new public health measures and guidance from the province. The KIJHL provided an update on league operations following the provincial health orders issued Nov. 19 and later clarification provided by Viasport, a B.C. government non-profit sports organization, on Nov. 20. "In light of the new parameters outlined on Friday evening by Viasport, which include restrictions concerning travel between different communities, the KIJHL will pause all regular season game play beginning Saturday, Nov. 21. Under the current Provincial Health Order, competition between teams cannot resume until Monday, Dec. 8 at the earliest. Other Phase 3 activities, including team practices, may proceed so long as they adhere to all aspects of the KIJHL’s Return to Play policies," says a statement on the KIJHL website dated Nov. 21. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, the KIJHL says it has made the health and safety of athletes, staff, volunteers, billet families and fans a top priority and the league is closely observing all of the guidance and protocols outlined by the province, Viasport, Hockey Canada and BC Hockey and team’s home facilities. Teams had been sorted into "cohorts" grouped together to reduce travel and exposure to other groups. The Osoyoos Coyotes had played three games thus far this season, with a record of one win, one loss and one overtime loss, sitting at third place in the Neil Murdoch Division. "On Thursday, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced additional province-wide restrictions, and we have been working hard to clarify their impact on our league," the statement from KIJHL says. "We recognize that circumstances can change quickly, and we will update our plans as soon as new information becomes available. The KIJHL appreciates the patience and support of our fans, volunteers, billet families and sponsors as we navigate this process."Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle
The provincial governments of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island, announced Monday morning that anyone arriving to the provinces from other regions in the Maritimes will have to self-isolate for 14-days, breaking down the Atlantic bubble.
WASHINGTON — The General Services Administration ascertained Monday that President-elect Joe Biden is the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election, clearing the way for the start of the transition from President Donald Trump’s administration and allowing Biden to co-ordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over on Jan. 20.Trump, who had refused to concede the election, said in a tweet that he is directing his team to co-operate on the transition but is vowing to keep up the fight.Administrator Emily Murphy made the determination after Trump efforts to subvert the vote failed across battleground states, citing, “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.” Michigan certified Biden’s victory Monday, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday seeking to prevent certification in that state.Yohannes Abraham, the executive director of the Biden transition, said in a statement that the decision “is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”He added: “In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies.”Murphy, a Trump appointee, had faced bipartisan criticism for failing to begin the transition process sooner, preventing Biden’s team from working with career agency officials on plans for his administration, including in critical national security and public health areas.“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official—including those who work at the White House or GSA—with regard to the substance or timing of my decision,” Murphy wrote in a letter to Biden.Trump tweeted shortly after her letter was made public: “We will keep up the good fight and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”Pressure had been mounting on Murphy as an increasing number of Republicans, national security experts and business leaders said it was time for that process to move forward.Retiring Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, who has repeatedly called for the transition to begin, released a new statement Monday saying that Trump should “put the country first” and help Biden’s administration succeed.“When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do,” Alexander said.Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio on Monday called for Murphy to release money and staffing needed for the transition. Portman, a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, also said Biden should receive high-level briefings on national security and the coronavirus vaccine distribution plan.Alexander and Portman, who have both aligned themselves with Trump, joined a growing number of Republican officials who in recent days have urged Trump to begin the transition immediately. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., also urged a smooth transition, saying in a statement Monday that “at some point, the 2020 election must end.”Meanwhile, more than 160 business leaders asked Murphy to immediately acknowledge Biden as president-elect and begin the transition to a new administration. “Withholding resources and vital information from an incoming administration puts the public and economic health and security of America at risk,? the business leaders said in an open letter to Murphy.Separately, more than 100 Republican former national security officials — including former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte — said in a statement that Trump’s refusal to concede and allow for an orderly transition “constitutes a serious threat” to America’s democratic process. The officials signing the letter worked under four Republican presidents, including Trump.The statement called on “Republican leaders — especially those in Congress — to publicly demand that President Trump cease his anti-democratic assault on the integrity of the presidential election.”Trump had publicly refused to accept defeat and launched a series of losing court battles across the country making baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and seeking to overturn the election results.Murphy missed a deadline on Monday set by House Democrats to brief lawmakers about the delay in beginning the transition, which is usually a routine step between the election and the inauguration. A spokeswoman for the GSA said that a deputy administrator would instead hold two separate briefings for House and Senate committees on Nov. 30.In response, the Democratic chairs of four committees and subcommittees said they could reschedule the meeting for Tuesday, but no later.“We cannot wait yet another week to obtain basic information about your refusal to make the ascertainment determination,” the Democrats said in a letter to Murphy. “Every additional day that is wasted is a day that the safety, health, and well-being of the American people is imperiled as the incoming Biden-Harris administration is blocked from fully preparing for the coronavirus pandemic, our nation’s dire economic crisis, and our national security.”Portman said it was “only prudent” for GSA to begin the transition process immediately.“Donald Trump is our president until Jan. 20, 2021, but in the likely event that Joe Biden becomes our next president, it is in the national interest that the transition is seamless and that America is ready on Day One of a new administration for the challenges we face,? Portman wrote in an op-ed calling for the transition to begin.Murphy's ascertainment will free up money for the transition and clear the way for Biden’s team to begin placing transition personnel at federal agencies. Trump administration officials had said they would not give Biden the classified presidential daily briefing on intelligence matters until the GSA makes the ascertainment official.“Now that GSA Administrator Emily Murphy has fulfilled her duty and ascertained the election results, the formal presidential transition can begin in full force,” said Max Stier, president and CEO of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service. “Unfortunately, every day lost to the delayed ascertainment was a missed opportunity for the outgoing administration to help President-elect Joe Biden prepare to meet our country’s greatest challenges. The good news is that the president-elect and his team are the most prepared and best equipped of any incoming administration in recent memory.”Among those signing the letter from business leaders were Jon Gray, president of the Blackstone private equity firm; Robert Bakish, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Inc.; Henry Kravis, the co-chief executive of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., another private equity giant; David Solomon, CEO at Goldman Sachs; and George H. Walker, CEO of the investment firm Neuberger Berman and a second cousin to former President George W. Bush.Matthew Daly, Zeke Miller And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
Northumberland Ferries has cancelled all sailings between Nova Scotia and P.E.I. on Tuesday as bad weather conditions linger. All crossings between Wood Islands, P.E.I. and Caribou, N.S. had been called off for Monday as well. Environment Canada has a gale warning in effect for the Northumberland Strait. As of 3:30 p.m. AT on Monday, the agency said southeast winds were 35 knots dropping to 25 out of the northwest late Monday night, then increasing to 35 knots northwest Tuesday morning. Rain was expected to change to flurries overnight.On shore, CBC's Jay Scotland estimates 15 to 25 mm of rain is possible before precipitation tapers off Tuesday morning. More from CBC P.E.I.
TORONTO — Sherritt International Corp. says president and CEO David Pathe intends to step down from his role in 2021 but will stay on until a replacement is in place.The company says Pathe’s eight years as leader were marked by difficult and unpredictable nickel prices and financial threats posed by its participation in the Ambatovy nickel mine in Madagascar.The Toronto-based company concluded a court-supervised restructuring in August that allowed it to exit the mine partnership and eliminate debt and cash calls associated with the investment.Sherritt chairman Richard Lapthorne says Pathe's tenure was also made more difficult by "increasingly hostile" U.S. policy toward Cuba, where the company mines for cobalt and nickel and produces oil and power with its Cuban partners.Pathe also supervised Sherritt's exit from the thermal coal business, selling assets including seven producing mines in Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2014 for $946 million.Before becoming CEO in 2012, Pathe acted as chief financial officer and general counsel and corporate secretary for Sherritt. “David’s tenure as chief executive was over a time as difficult to manage as any the company has faced in its over 90-year history,” said Lapthorne in a news release.“Quite simply, David is leaving Sherritt having given it a new ability to look forward.”This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:S)The Canadian Press
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) logged 40 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, while marking 57 more cases resolved, lowering the number of known active cases in the city to 347.Both that number and the rolling average of new cases have returned to levels unseen since mid-September.OPH also reported the death of another resident at a long-term care home where an outbreak has been declared, bringing the city's death toll to 367.More than sixty per cent of the city's latest cases are people under the age of 40.A total of 8,212 Ottawa residents have now tested positive for COVID-19. The vast majority of those cases — 7,498 — are considered resolved.In the Outaouais, which has about one-third of Ottawa's population, 48 more people have tested positive for COVID-19. The region is now averaging 39 new cases a day.More than 85 per cent of the cases in western Quebec are in Gatineau, currently a red zone on the province's pandemic scale. With 42 patients curently in hospital, the Outaouais is outpacing Ottawa in that category as well. Thirty patients are currently being treated for COVID-19 in Ottawa hospitals, including two in intensive care.An outbreak is over at École élémentaire catholique des Pionniers, leaving active outbreaks at four schools, nine long-term care homes and one hospital in Ottawa.Elsewhere, an outbreak at École secondaire publique L'Héritage in Cornwall, Ont., has also ended, the last COVID-19 outbreak at an eastern Ontario school outside Ottawa.Colour by numbersAmong the key indicators that could allow Ottawa to move from orange to yellow on Ontario's pandemic scale: * The per-capita rate of COVID-19 sits at 24.6, just below the orange zone threshold of 25. * The test positivity rate is 1.8 per cent; the yellow zone threshold is 1.2 per cent.The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has moved from orange to the less severe yellow, while the health unit covering the Kingston, Ont., area went from green to yellow.The rest of eastern Ontario is green, the lowest level on the province's pandemic scale.
Pandémie oblige, le Double défi des deux Mario se fera à distance, cette année. Alors que Mario Cantin et Mario Bilodeau ont décidé de faire le tour du lac Saint-Jean en ski, parcourant 200 kilomètres en 10 jours du 5 au 14 février 2021, ils invitent les participants à se lancer un défi personnel tout en amassant des fonds pour les jeunes atteints du cancer. « On ne peut pas amener du monde avec nous, alors on va partir ensemble pour faire le tour du lac », lance d’emblée Mario Bilodeau, le fondateur du Double défi des deux Mario. Cette année, le défi servira de point d’ancrage, et de modèle, pour inciter les gens à se lancer un défi personnel, renchérit Mario Cantin, vice-président ventes et distribution pour Banque Nationale assurances. « En ski, en raquette, à pied, on invite les gens à se lancer un défi physique à la hauteur de leurs capacités », dit-il. Ce défi peut se faire de manière individuelle ou en groupe, sur une journée ou même pendant 10 jours, alors que les deux Mario parcourront le Piekouagami entre le 5 et le 14 février. Ces derniers suggèrent aux participants de tenter de repousser leurs limites, question de sortir de leur zone de confort. « Un gros volet du Double défi, c’est le défi que chacun accomplit à l’intérieur de soi », remarque Mario Cantin. « Les gens peuvent voir ça comme une pratique avant de venir participer au Double défi en 2022 », ajoute Mario Bilodeau. Par exemple, un bon défi pourrait être de franchir 200 km en 10 jours, seul ou en équipe, donnent-ils en exemple. Un défi en boîte Dès qu’un participant s’inscrira au Double défi, il recevra un kit d’aventurier en boîte qui lui sera livré par la poste, un concept développé l’hiver dernier pour remplacer une expédition au Nunavik. La boîte inclura notamment des trucs d’entraînement, des capsules et des outils pour la préparation financière, « tout ce qu’il faut pour qu’ils puissent préparer et réussir leur défi », explique Mario Bilodeau. Les deux Mario feront le tour du lac Saint-Jean cet hiver, parcourant une distance de 200 km en 10 jours en autonomie complète. Ça sera un moyen d’inspirer les gens à réaliser leur propre défi à la maison. COURTOISIE, ADRÉNAFILM Chaque participant aura aussi la mission d’amasser 500 dollars dans le cadre de cet événement, qui sert de collecte de fonds pour les expéditions thérapeutiques réalisées par la fondation Sur la pointe des pieds. Pour une première fois, plusieurs prix seront offerts aux participants, dont des traîneaux et un kit d’aventurier, sous la forme d’un tirage. Chaque tranche de 100 dollars en excédent qui sera amassé donnera un coupon de participation. Rio Tinto sera partenaire du Double défi pour une quatrième année consécutive avec une aide financière de 25 000 dollars. Mais ce n’est qu’une partie du soutien apporté à l’événement, car Stéphane Larouche, directeur des opérations Énergie Électrique et Programme de stabilisation des berges du lac Saint-Jean, compte recruter 50 personnes au sein de son équipe pour accomplir le défi à la maison, ce qui permettrait d’amasser un autre 25 000 dollars. « Rio Tinto veut faire une différence pour des jeunes qui ont été atteints d’un cancer et pour sensibiliser nos employés à la cause en leur permettant de vivre une expérience humaine unique et de s’impliquer sur le plan personnel, dit-il. Je suis heureux de participer à nouveau au défi pour permettre d’offrir des expériences inoubliables à ces jeunes, et ce, malgré la pandémie. » Même si les participants ne pourront pas vivre l’expérience de dormir une nuit sur les glaces du lac Saint-Jean, Mario Cantin estime qu’il sera possible de rejoindre une autre clientèle, en mobilisant des gens qui n’étaient pas prêts pour une si grande aventure, mais qui souhaitent tout de même s’impliquer pour aider les jeunes. COURTOISIE, ADRÉNAFILM La pandémie de COVID-19 amène son lot de difficultés. « C’est “tough” ce qu’on vit en ce moment, mais ce n’est rien par rapport à ce que les jeunes atteints du cancer doivent passer à travers », ajoute ce dernier. Les aventures thérapeutiques leur permettent de développer de nouvelles aptitudes et de réaliser des choses qu’ils se croyaient incapables de faire auparavant. Ils deviennent alors plus résilients et mieux équipés pour faire face aux défis quotidiens, estime Mario Bilodeau. « Et c’est justement cette résilience dont nous aurons besoin pour passer à travers cette pandémie. On veut continuer à offrir des petits miracles aux jeunes et à leur famille et pour y arriver », dit-il, espérant qu’un maximum de participants s’inscrira au Double défi en boîte. \+ DES BESOINS ÉNORMES POUR LES JEUNES ATTEINTS DE CANCER Depuis plus de 20 ans, la fondation Sur la pointe des pieds réalise des expéditions thérapeutiques pour aider les jeunes atteints du cancer à se dépasser. Pendant la pandémie, les expéditions sur le terrain ont été remplacées par des « défis en boîte » envoyés aux participants par la poste. L’équipe travaille d’arrache-pied pour développer un nouveau concept qui permettra d’accueillir des jeunes à l’été 2021, tout en respectant les mesures sanitaires. « Les jeunes ont besoin de nous plus que jamais », soutient Jean-Charles Fortin, le directeur général de la fondation. D’emblée, les jeunes atteints du cancer vivent une détresse profonde, dit-il, et cette détresse est exacerbée lors d’une situation anxiogène comme on le vit en cette période de pandémie. COURTOISIE, ADRÉNAFILM « C’est stressant quand tes traitements sont repoussés et que tu sais que le cancer continue de progresser, remarque Jean-Charles Fortin. Et pour ceux qui ont commencé les traitements, ils se retrouvent avec un système immunitaire affaibli pendant une pandémie, ce qui n’est pas plus encourageant. » « On se devait d’adapter nos collectes de fonds pour continuer à offrir des aventures thérapeutiques », conclut-il, ajoutant que la formule par la poste n’impose aucune limite de participants.Guillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
ATLANTA — After the Trump campaign requested a recount of the presidential ballots in Georgia, county election workers have just over a week to complete the new tally, a top elections official said Monday.The election results certified last week by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger showed Democrat Joe Biden beating Republican President Donald Trump by 12,670 votes out of about 5 million cast, or about 0.25%. Under state law, a candidate can request a recount when the margin is less than 0.5%.The Trump campaign on Saturday sent a formal request for a recount to the secretary of state’s office.The counties can begin the recount at 9 a.m. Tuesday and must finish by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 2, Gabriel Sterling, who oversaw the implementation of the state's new voting system for the secretary of state's office, said during a video news conference Monday. The counties are to give public notice of when during that period they will be counting so monitors from political parties and any interested members of the public can be there to observe, Sterling said.This will be the third time the votes in the presidential race have been counted in Georgia. After the initial count following Election Day, Raffensperger selected the presidential race for an audit required by state law. Because of the tight margin, he said, the audit required every vote in that contest to be recounted by hand.County election workers completed that hand tally last week. Because some previously uncounted ballots were discovered during the audit, several counties had to recertify their totals. Then the secretary of state certified the results and Gov. Brian Kemp certified the state's slate of 16 presidential electors.A state election board rule mandates that the recount requested by the Trump campaign be done by machine. County election workers will create test decks of 100 ballots — 75 marked by touchscreen voting machines and 25 marked by hand — and count those ballots by hand, Sterling said. Then they run those ballots through a scanner to make sure the tallies match. Once they determine each scanner is counting accurately, every single ballot will be rescanned, he said.Sterling also addressed a request the state Republican Party made Sunday urging the secretary of state to order an audit of the absentee ballots cast in the 2020 election, including verification of the signature match process.When Georgia voters return an absentee ballot, they have to sign an oath on the outer envelope. County election office workers are required to ensure the signature matches the one on the absentee ballot application and the one in the voter registration system, Raffensperger has said. Once the signatures are verified, to protect ballot secrecy enshrined in Georgia law, the ballots are separated from the envelopes and can't be matched back to individual voters.Sterling said the secretary of state's office is still reviewing whether any sort of investigation is appropriate, but he said there hasn't been any specific claim that the signature match process was not done properly.“We can't really see a legal path that makes any sense because if you open up investigations on a generalized grievance without any evidence, that leaves it open for somebody else in the future to do the exact same thing,” Sterling said.Also Monday, the state election board held a special called meeting and approved an extension of two emergency rules meant to accommodate the large number of absentee ballots expected because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. One rule authorizes absentee ballot drop boxes in each county. The other allows counties to begin opening and scanning absentee ballots about two weeks before the election, and the board added a requirement for them to begin that processing one week before Election Day.The election board had planned to discuss another possible emergency rule on verification of residency during the voter registration process. But secretary of state's office general counsel Ryan Germany told the board members that it turns out state law already addresses the issue, and the secretary of state's office decided instead to send county election officials instructions reminding them of their authority and responsibilities under that law.Kate Brumback, The Associated Press
he recent spill in Lake Manitouwabing has been identified by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. The agency stated that the spill has been determined to be fuel oil/furnace oil. Cleanup of the spill is being led by the Township of McKellar, its consultant and a local cleanup contractor according to Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks supervisor Chris Mahon. “The material leaking has been identified as furnace oil,” wrote Mahon in an email to this newspaper. “The oil was leaking from a nearby home.” On Nov. 13, the township notified residents that a substance was discovered coming out of a culvert near Patterson Lane and Lakeshore Drive. The leak was contained promptly by Adams Bros. Construction, according to the township. As for any long-lasting effects the spill could have on Lake Manitouwabing, Mahon said the ministry did not anticipate any impact. “A small sheen on the lake has dissipated,” he said. “A local environmental cleanup company deployed absorbent booms and absorbent material to contain, recover the (oil).” Asked about the risk of any further incidents, Mahon replied that any tank has the potential to leak if not properly maintained. “We like to remind residents that they should inspect their home heating fuel tanks on a regular basis to prevent leaks,” he said. The Township of McKellar issued a release on Nov. 19 saying that the spill continued to be contained and that there didn’t appear to be any major concerns about water usage in Lake Manitouwabing. “To be cautious, those along Lakeshore to the government dock are advised not to use lake water until the booms are removed,” the release states, adding that additional booms have been installed and are containing the spill to that area. According to McKellar Mayor Peter Hopkins, there hasn’t been an incident like this in Lake Manitouwabing in his 10 years as head of council. “We had a thing at the Ridge that looked like a spill, but it turned out to be red mud,” he said. “So, not to my knowledge.” The leak from the tank has been stopped, but the cleanup of the culvert is still in progress. “There’s no threat to public health,” Hopkins said. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
OTTAWA — One of Canada's top central bankers says the Bank of Canada is keeping a close eye on household debt that were already elevated before COVID-19.The Bank of Canada had warned that a recession could easily strain the financial system and the debt load being carried by households.Deputy governor Toni Gravelle said Monday that fear hasn't played out during the pandemic, despite it being the worst downturn since the Great Depression.He said the key has been the level of aid provided by governments, that helped replace lost earnings, and low interest rates that were driven down by the Bank of Canada putting its key policy rate at 0.25 per cent.Still, Gravelle warns the country needs to watch out for the possibility that the tough times many households and businesses face could ripple throughout the financial system."The longer the pandemic constrains jobs and incomes, the greater the risk of financial trouble for highly indebted households, and the greater the risk of defaults that could impair the whole financial system," Gravelle said in the text of a speech today to the Autorite des marches financiers.If loan losses make it harder for banks to make loans, Gravelle says the economic recovery will be hampered and amplify an already challenging situation.Banks have provided deferrals on loans, mortgages, lines of credit and credit cards during the pandemic, with about about 14 per cent of homeowners with mortgages and 10 per cent of renters asking for deferral on some kind of debt repayment, Gravelle said.By September, about three-fifths of payment deferrals expired and 70 per cent off deferrals on credit card debt and automobile loans.Data from the central bank's survey of consumers suggested one-third deferral requests were for precautionary reasons, not because of income losses from COVID-19. Gravelle suggested this as reason to be optimistic those borrowers will return to regular debt payments. Still, with with interest rates remaining low for the foreseeable future — the central bank doesn't expect to raise rates until at least 2023 — Gravelle said the Bank of Canada will have to keep an eye on household debt and the risks to the financial system.Industry professionals have told the bank that they are broadly confident in the system's ability to withstand a severe shock, even as they said that risks to the system have grown considerably, Gravelle noted.Much of the confidence comes from the central bank's near-zero policy rate and its related bond-buying measures to keep the flow of credit from getting jammed up, and federal aid measures to hold up the financial floor under households and businesses.Gravelle said some of those early liquidity measures have since and may continue to be rolled back, but slowly. "Just as it is important to gradually wean a patient off painkillers as their injuries heal so they don’t become addicted, we gradually phase out our various facilities once painful market stress has dissipated," he said in the text of his speech."But make no mistake: if market-wide stresses reappear and we need to do more to ensure that the financial system can continue to support Canadian households and businesses, we will."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.The Canadian Press
Michigan election officials on Monday certified Democrat Joe Biden's 154,000-vote victory in the state, another setback for President Donald Trump. (Nov. 23)
Bruce, the fiberglass shark made from the “Jaws” mould, is ready for his close-up. The 1,208 pound, 25-foot-long, 45-year-old shark, famous for being difficult to work with on the set of Steven Spielberg’s classic thriller, on Friday was hoisted up in the air above the main escalator of the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles where he will greet guests for the foreseeable future. And this time, he co-operated. It is the culmination of years of planning, including a seven-month restoration by special effects and makeup artist Greg Nicotero. The shark is expected to be a major draw for the museum, which plans to open its doors to the public on April 30, 2021. Super fans know that the “Jaws” crew started calling the shark Bruce after Spielberg’s lawyer Bruce Ramer. They’ll also know that the Bruce that will greet guests in the museum wasn’t technically in “Jaws.” He's a replica and it’s the last of his kind. The three mechanical Great Whites designed by art director Joe Alves were destroyed when production wrapped. But once the film proved to be a box office phenomenon, a fourth shark was made from the original mould. For 15 years he hung at Universal Studios Hollywood as a photo opportunity for visitors until he wound up at the Sun Valley junkyard he would call home for the next 25. Nathan Adlan, who inherited his father’s junkyard business, donated him to the museum in 2016. But Bruce wasn’t quite camera ready. A quarter century in the California sun, plus all the years of being re-painted at Universal had taken its toll on the poor creature, who badly needed care and attention. Nicotero, who has worked on “Day of the Dead” and “The Walking Dead,” said he got into the business because of “Jaws” and volunteered for the task of bringing him back to life. “One of the great things about being the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is that we have access to Academy members in all craft areas of the industry,” said Academy Museum Director Bill Kramer. “We can call on our members and other members of the film industry who have either worked on the film that the artifact is from or know enough about the provenance and work that had been done to help us restore it. We’re in an incredibly privileged position.” Restoration was one thing, but loading Bruce into the museum proved to be another ordeal. Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano made sure to account for large-scale objects in his restoration of the Saban Building, which was originally the May Company department store. But Bruce is their biggest piece to date and everyone soon realized that he wouldn't be able to get into the building with his fins attached. Last week Bruce was transported from a storage facility on a 70-foot flatbed to the museum at Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard where engineers, construction workers and art handlers removed two panels of glass three stories up to get him into the building. Once inside with fins reattached and a final touching up, Bruce was hooked onto five cables, each of which could hold his weight if any were to fail, and hoisted up on a truss by remote control to get into position in the building’s “spine” where he faces East and is visible from Fairfax. Shraddha Aryal, Vice-President of Exhibition Design and Production, described the years of painstakingly detailed modeling and work that went in to preparing for this moment, including full scale mock-ups and light tests to ensure that all of Bruce’s 116 teeth would be visible to tourists. Seeing him lifted into the building was “such an exciting moment,” she said. Kramer said they expect Bruce to be a huge draw for visitors, which is why he’ll be hanging in a public area where people can see him without having to pay for a museum ticket. Almost a half century after Bruce made generations of kids and adults scared to get in the water, he's now beckoning film lovers into a museum. “We plan on having Bruce greet our visitors for as long as we can keep him up there,” Kramer said. “It’s a free space and a free moment for our visitors to bring delight and hopefully inspire them to learn more about the movies, the history of visual effects and how this prop was made.” Curious visitors can come and check out the massive great white, the restaurant and the Spielberg Family Gallery to see a 10-minute film on the history of cinema before even committing to purchasing a ticket. There will also be a public programming series on conservation and restoration drawing on items from the collection that have been restored including the ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz,” the Aries-1B from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the extra-terrestrial from “Alien” and, of course, Bruce. “There are so many stories that can take you places just through this one object,” Kramer said. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
In the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alberta Health Services posted a heart-wrenching on Twitter after the province confirmed more than 460 people have died from the virus.
BROCKTON – Mayor Chris Peabody said Tuesday, “There’s a lot of anxiety about rising numbers of COVID-19.” He said that while Grey-Bruce is still Green, looking at the numbers, a move to Yellow will probably happen. He was pleased to note that all the people he saw at the Hometown Christmas Market event in Walkerton on the weekend were following the safety guidelines, including wearing masks. While there’s no meeting of Brockton council this week, Bruce County council is holding a number of committee meetings. Among the topics on the various agendas are development fees.Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
Victory is always sweet in municipal politics, said Mayor Duane Favel, and this year, victory has meant starting his fifth term as leader of the Northern Village of Île-à-la-Crosse. Duane defeated fellow mayoral candidate Peter Durocher with 323 votes to 257, with 580 total votes cast. This will be a long four years of council, Favel said, with many challenges facing northern Saskatchewan communities and with COVID-19 those challenges are going to get bigger, he said. In a previous interview before the election, Duane said physician retention and high water levels have been a challenge for the community for years. Joining Duane at the council table will be incumbents Vincent Ahenakew, Bodean Desjarlais, Myra Malboeuf, and Gerald Roy, and new councillors Noel McLean and Kevin Favel. Having a mix of old and new councillors is good to have for both continuity and bringing new voices to the table, Duane said. “It's nice to have a council who clearly has a good background on some of the things we've been working on and to bring those two councillors up to speed. Certainly, their voices will be heard as well.” Mentoring the new councillors will be an important step in the coming term, Duane said. Duane said he would like to thank the outgoing councillors who have stepped away from the table, including Durocher, who decided to run for mayor. The open spots allowed for two new voices to join the conversation and Duane said he is excited to work with this new council. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
LONDON — Drugmaker AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage trials showed its COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective, buoying the prospects of a relatively cheap, easy-to-store product that may become the vaccine of choice for the developing world. The results are based on an interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. No hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were reported in those receiving the vaccine. AstraZeneca is the third major drug company to report late-stage data for a potential COVID-19 vaccine as the world waits for scientific breakthroughs that will end a pandemic that has pummeled the world economy and led to 1.4 million deaths. But unlike the others, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doesn’t have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it easier to distribute, especially in developing countries. “I think these are really exciting results,” Dr. Andrew Pollard, chief investigator for the trial, said at a news conference. “Because the vaccine can be stored at fridge temperatures, it can be distributed around the world using the normal immunization distribution system. And so our goal … to make sure that we have a vaccine that was accessible everywhere, I think we’ve actually managed to do that.” The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in one of the dosing regimens tested; it was less effective in another. Earlier this month, rival drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna reported preliminary results from late-stage trials showing their vaccines were almost 95% effective. While the AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at 2 degrees to 8 degrees Celsius (36 degrees to 46 degrees Fahrenheit), the Pfizer and Moderna products must be stored at temperatures approaching minus-70 degrees Celsius (minus-94 Fahrenheit). The AstraZeneca vaccine is also cheaper. AstraZeneca, which has pledged it won’t make a profit on the vaccine during the pandemic, has reached agreements with governments and international health organizations that put its cost at about $2.50 a dose. Pfizer’s vaccine costs about $20, while Moderna’s is $15 to $25, based on agreements the companies have struck to supply their vaccines to the U.S. government. All three vaccines must be approved by regulators before they can be widely distributed. AstraZeneca applied for approval of its vaccine candidate in Canada on Oct. 1, under a special process that is allowing Health Canada to review COVID-19 vaccines for use at the same time as the vaccines are finishing their final clinical trials. Pfizer and Moderna have also applied for the rolling-review process. Canada signed a deal with AstraZeneca at the end of September to secure 20 million doses of the highly touted vaccine. The federal government has not said when those doses would be available to Canadians, but they can't be distributed here until Health Canada gives the vaccine the green light for use. Oxford researchers and AstraZeneca stressed they weren’t competing with other projects and said multiple vaccines would be needed to reach enough of the world’s population to end the pandemic. “We need to be able to make a lot of vaccine for the world quickly, and it’s best if we can do it with different technologies so that if one technology runs into a roadblock, then we’ve got alternatives, we've got diversity,'' professor Sarah Gilbert, a leader of the Oxford team, told The Associated Press. “Diversity is going to be good here, but also in terms of manufacturing, we don’t want to run out of raw materials.” AstraZeneca said it will immediately apply for early approval of the vaccine where possible, and it will seek an emergency use listing from the World Health Organization, so it can make the vaccine available in low-income countries. The AstraZeneca trial looked at two different dosing regimens. A half-dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose at least one month later was 90% effective. Another approach, giving patients two full doses one month apart, was 62% effective. That means that, overall, when both ways of dosing are considered, the vaccine showed an efficacy rate of 70%. Gilbert said researchers aren't sure why giving a half-dose followed by a larger dose was more effective, and they plan to investigate further. But the answer is probably related to providing exactly the right amount of vaccine to get the best response, she said. “It's the Goldilocks amount that you want, I think, not too little and not too much. Too much could give you a poor quality response as well ...,'' she said. "I’m glad that we looked at more than one dose because it turns out to be really important.” The vaccine uses a weakened version of a common cold virus that is combined with genetic material for the characteristic spike protein of the virus that causes COVID-19. After vaccination, the spike protein primes the immune system to attack the virus if it later infects the body. Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said the finding that a smaller initial dose is more effective than a larger one is good news because it may reduce costs and mean more people can be vaccinated with a given supply of the vaccine. “The report that an initial half-dose is better than a full dose seems counterintuitive for those of us thinking of vaccines as normal drugs: With drugs, we expect that higher doses have bigger effects, and more side-effects,” he said. “But the immune system does not work like that.” The results reported Monday come from trials in the U.K. and Brazil that involved 23,000 people. Of those, 11,636 people received the vaccine — while the rest got a placebo. Overall, there were 131 cases of COVID-19. Details on how many people in the various groups became ill weren’t released Monday, but researchers said they will be published in the next 24 hours. Late-stage trials of the vaccine are also underway in the U.S., Japan, Russia, South Africa, Kenya and Latin America, with further trials planned for other European and Asian countries. Researchers said they expect to add the half dose-full dose regimen to the U.S. trial in a “matter of weeks.’’ Before doing so they must discuss the changes with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The AstraZeneca trials were paused earlier this year after a participant in the U.K. study reported a rare neurological illness. While the trials were quickly restarted in most countries after investigators determined the condition wasn’t related to the vaccine, the FDA delayed the U.S. study for more than a month before it was allowed to resume. AstraZeneca has been ramping up manufacturing capacity, so it can supply hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine starting in January, Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said earlier this month. Soriot said Monday that the Oxford vaccine’s simpler supply chain and AstraZeneca’s commitment to provide it on a non-profit basis during the pandemic mean it will be affordable and available to people around the world. “This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency,’’ Soriot said. British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he felt “a great sense of relief” at the news from AstraZeneca. Britain has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine, and the government says several million doses can be produced before the end of the year if it is approved by regulators. Just months ago, “the idea that by November we would have three vaccines, all of which have got high effectiveness … I would have given my eye teeth for,” Hancock said. From the beginning of their collaboration with AstraZeneca, Oxford scientists have demanded that the vaccine be made available equitably to everyone in the world so rich countries can't corner the market as has happened during previous pandemics. Leaders of the world's most powerful nations on Sunday agreed to work together to ensure “affordable and equitable access" to COVID-19 drugs, tests and vaccines. “If we don’t have the vaccine available in many, many countries, and we just protect a small number of them, then we can’t go back to normal because the virus is going to keep coming back and causing problems again," Gilbert said. “No one is safe until we’re all safe.” ___ Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Danica Kirka And Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
HURON COUNTY – Gift giving just got easier in Huron County with the release of an online wish book on Nov. 12. Highlighting local businesses, the Wish Book provides plenty of gift ideas from retailers and companies across Huron County. Whether looking for a handcrafted one-of-a-kind item or popular brand name products, everyone can find great gift-giving ideas available right in their backyard. According to a press release from Huron County, Canadians spent an average of $1,593 on holiday gifts last year. Not only does shopping locally keep those dollars in Huron communities, but purchasing gifts from local merchants is also the most convenient choice to avoid crowded malls, unexpected delivery delays from online retailers, and making unnecessary trips out of town. There will be daily gift-giving inspiration posts between now and Dec. 24. A weekly draw for $100 in gift certificates from local merchants on Ontario’s West Coast Facebook and Instagram pages. You can view the Huron County Wish Book at https://www.ontarioswestcoast.ca/wishbook and scroll through all of the gift ideas to show support for Huron County businesses and communities this holiday season. The County of Huron developed the Huron County Wish Book in partnership with the Blyth BIA, Central Huron BIA, Community Futures Huron, Goodrich BIA, Huron County Chamber of Commerce Seaforth BIA, Municipality of Bluewater, South Huron Chamber of Commerce, Town of Goderich, Wingham BIA and the Zurich District Chamber of Commerce.Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times