SALT LAKE CITY — Deep in the Mars-like landscape of Utah's red-rock desert lies a mystery: A gleaming metal monolith in one of the most remote parts of the state. The smooth, tall structure was found during a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah, officials said Monday. A crew from the Utah Department of Public Safety and Division of Wildlife Resources spotted the gleaming object from the air Nov. 18 and landed to check it out during a break from their work. They found the three-sided stainless-steel object is about as tall as two men put together. But they discovered no clues about who might have driven it into the ground among the undulating red rocks or why. “This thing is not from another world,” said Lt. Nick Street of the Utah Highway Patrol, part of the Department of Public Safety. Still, it's clear that it took some planning and work to construct the 10- to 12-foot (3- to 4-meter) monolith and embed it in the rock. The exact location is so remote that officials are not revealing it publicly, worried that people might get lost or stranded trying to find it and need to be rescued. The monolith evokes the one that appears in the Stanley Kubrick movie “2001: A Space Odyssey." Because it’s on federal public land, it’s illegal to place art objects without authorization. Bureau of Land Management officials are investigating how long it's been there, who might have created it and whether to remove it. Lindsay Whitehurst, The Associated Press
Canada welcomes the choice of John Kerry as new U.S. climate envoy but will press Washington not to cancel permits for an oil pipeline he opposes, Ottawa's ambassador to the United States said on Tuesday. President-elect Joe Biden this week announced Kerry would be his climate czar, a cabinet-level position. Kerry played an important role in crafting the Paris Agreement on climate but President Donald Trump has withdrawn from the treaty.
Si les producteurs de fromage en grains peinent à écouler leurs stocks de fromage frais dans les restaurants fermés des zones rouges, ceux de la Fromagerie l’Ancêtre disparaissent rapidement aux comptoirs de Bécancour et de Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade. «On fait du fromage en grains chaque jour, mais pas encore avec un réseau de distribution», précise son PDG, Pascal Désilets. Mais la Fromagerie l’Ancêtre y réfléchit. «Présentement, le prix est encore le critère d’achat numéro un dans ce marché et le fromage bio est un produit de spécialité. Sa plus-value n’est pas propice au modèle d’affaires de la restauration», souligne M. Désilets. La fromagerie l’Ancêtre de Bécancour produit des fromages certifiés biologiques, de lait non pasteurisé, sans gluten ou sans lactose, demi-sel et des beurres. L’Ancêtre distribue 75% de sa production à travers le pays, en majorité au Québec, en Ontario et dans l’Ouest canadien. Surtout dans les épiceries et les marchés d’alimentation biologiques. «Le biologique a toujours été très populaire dans l’Ouest canadien». La fromagerie transforme près de 6 millions de litres de lait sur une base annuelle. M. Désilets ne veut pas nous dire combien de fromages en résultent. L’acquisition récente de la Fromagerie Le Baluchon semble démontrer que les affaires tournent assez rondement. «Nos fromages Baluchon sont arrivés dans les épiceries Métro et IGA cette semaine, à nos comptoirs aussi. On a une belle réponse de la clientèle. Malheureusement, on n’aura pas assez de fromages pour répondre à la demande pour le temps des Fêtes. L’an prochain, on vise à accroître la production de cette gamme de fromages qu’on fait affiner dans les installations de Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade». La pandémie n’aura pas trop affecté les ventes de la fromagerie l’Ancêtre. En revanche, les opérations tournent un peu au ralenti. «C’est vraiment un défi d’opérer une croissance durant une pandémie», ajoute M. Désilets. Le sempiternel problème de main-d’œuvre. «On est constamment à la recherche d’aide-fromager, de fromagers, de personnes à l’emballage. Et ce n’est pas qu’une question de salaire». En revanche, «le phénomène pour l’achat local a été positif pour les fromageries», ajoute-t-il.Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
India's ruling Hindu nationalist party approved a decree in the country's most populous state on Tuesday laying out prison terms for anyone compelling others to convert their faith or luring them into these conversions through marriage, officials said. The move follows a campaign by hardline Hindu groups against some interfaith marriages that they describe as "love jihad", Muslim men engaging in a conspiracy to turn Hindu women away from their religion by seducing them. Critics said the unlawful conversion order approved by the cabinet of Uttar Pradesh state, run by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP, was aimed at further alienating India's 170 million Muslims by painting them as aggressors plotting to weaken Hindus.
Volker Gerdts, a leading vaccine researcher at the University of Saskatchewan, says Canada should focus on manufacturing vaccines domestically to better prepare for future events.
When COVID-19 first appeared, people and governments across the globe reacted with alarm. Action was swift.In Alberta, businesses shuttered as the government imposed restrictions. People mostly stayed inside. Premier Jason Kenney said it was a generational challenge his government would rise to meet. But restrictions were loosened as the weather warmed. The most dire predictions didn't come to pass, and barbecues or drinks with friends seemed less risky. People held parties and their neighbours thought: why not me? Disinformation spread and, with it, doubt about the dangers of the virus and the actions of the government. But warnings were everywhere: Second wave. The fight isn't over. Be prepared.Many listened, but too many did not. Alberta's government said the economy couldn't take another hit and it was up to individuals to stem the tide. It delayed and equivocated. When the weather cooled, the virus was soon spreading more than ever. Now the talk was exponential growth and warnings of overwhelmed hospitals.As Kenney prepares to make an announcement on COVID this afternoon, he has so far stuck with personal responsibility as the key to fighting the outbreak.He and his government have pointed fingers at individuals for not obeying official recommendations, but now people are pointing back, laying blame at the feet of the government. Laying blame, however, is no easy thing.Personal responsibility and the role of the government aren't easily disentangled. Why individuals and the government have behaved as they have goes to the heart of who Albertans are — or at least who they perceive themselves to be. It begins with the ways that people, in general, deal with crises. The psychology of a pandemicThere's a common view of the world that assumes people panic when confronted with danger — causing more harm than the threat itself — but that's not often the case. Social psychologists have shown the greater risk is underestimating danger and not reacting in time. We also tend to believe the worst will happen to others, not us. Add misinformation to the mix and none of this should come as a surprise. "I've done an awful lot of reading about the Great Mortality, black plague, and about the Spanish influenza epidemic in 1918," said Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an infectious disease expert at the University of Alberta. "And I would just say that every single thing that has happened could have been predicted by reading a history book."People in the past, like today, reacted to an invisible, existential threat by embracing conspiracy theories or unlikely cures while ignoring medical advice. Many denied the problem. Add social media, and the spread of misinformation is even more damaging and difficult to control. It creates deep divisions when cohesion is key to beating back the virus. Collective action problemThere are times when 51 per cent is enough. If enough people do the right thing, everyone will be swept along by their good deeds. A virus — especially an airborne one — doesn't work that way. We are in a classic collective action problem where almost universal buy-in is required. We all have to keep distance, wear masks, wash our hands, limit social interactions or just stay home. If we don't all do it, the virus spreads. Saxinger thinks the province has reached the ceiling on what independent co-operation can do.Compounding the problem is the perception of risk. Research shows that individuals are more likely to make moral decisions when ambiguity about risks is reduced.Prof. Leslie Francis, who works in the faculties of law, medicine and philosophy at the University of Utah, says the vast majority of people understand not to put other people at risk by, say, speeding down a residential road at 100 km/h. But people might not see COVID-19 the same way."What we see going on right now is that many people deny that COVID exists, or they think it's not going to make people very sick, or they think that it won't make them very sick, maybe they'll even be asymptomatic," she said."But they don't realize that, for example, in my own state right now, the estimate is that one in 73 people right now is actively contagious."Alberta's political cultureWe judge our behaviour and the behaviours of others based on what we observe, but also on how we perceive our own political culture and what it will allow. In Alberta, a lot of it might be built on myth.Political science Prof. Jared Wesley of the University of Alberta asks participants about the province in his ongoing study of politics and culture. He gets them to sketch out their typical Albertan and then asks what that Albertan would do in certain situations. The Albertan — here nicknamed "Joe" — is always male, often a farmer, a libertarian conservative. Wesley's point is to narrow in on what people believe the political culture to be — what is acceptable and what is possible.In the pandemic, Joe reacts in a specific way."They will tell you, like you see in the media everywhere, they'll tell you all Albertans will never stand for mask mandates because it's an infringement on their freedoms," said Wesley.That sort of statement comes from people across the political spectrum, not just those who agree with their typical Albertan. That shapes the way we think about the world and can shape our own behaviour. We make moral decisions based on how we think others might perceive us. If people think broader society doesn't want to have its freedoms restricted — even in minor ways like donning a mask — they are less likely to be strict about virus-beating behaviours and less likely to feel judged for their laxity. This despite a majority not agreeing with their "typical" Albertan. "Do a survey like we just did three or four weeks ago: Albertans are massively in favour of heavier restrictions," said Wesley. "You ask them on an individual basis, would you like to see a provincewide mask mandate, doesn't matter if they're rural areas. Absolutely, it's the right thing to do. They going to push for it? No, because they don't think that the rest of the province would accept it."At some point that tide could turn. There are more voices calling for government to impose more severe restrictions, including a complete lockdown, in order to fight surging case counts.The ethics of action are clear, even if the ultimate answers are not. The ethicsFrancis says there's a clear difference between someone who puts themselves in harm's way versus someone who creates "a real risk of harm to other people." Individuals are expected to go about in the world obeying the rules so that a free society can operate in a mostly free way. Social norms keep most of us from hurting one another, but there is never a full participation rate. Murders, assaults and more happen on a regular basis. So there are laws. Even the most stringent libertarians agree there is a role for the state to some protections. Francis argues that we should view restrictions around COVID-19 in the same light."I think a lot of people are treating this as some kind of unusual interference with liberty," Francis said about pandemic responses. "And my point is, it's actually much more like when people are thinking through some of the most standard kinds of interferences with liberty."Yet despite the ethical obligations to protect citizens, the decision to impose restrictions across a society is no small thing.Some see the delay in implementing more restrictions as cruel — akin to saying the economy is as important as human life.Certainly the belief that Alberta's political culture would not allow a lockdown plays a role in politicians' decisions. But governments also have to consider how their decisions might affect broader society. Lives and livelihoods can be lost due to a cratered economy. Not every individual can simply choose to stay home. Many calling for a sharp lockdown have salaries, home offices or the security to stay isolated. And race, class and gender mix to create a set of ethical and moral traps many can't escape."There has to also be an economic solution for those whose lives are going to be torn apart by this," Melissa Caouette, a political strategist with the Canadian Strategy Group, said on the CBC's West of Centre podcast. As cases and hospitalizations rise, there comes a point when political calculation isn't relevant, and protecting the health of Albertans and its health-care system becomes a priority.Every decision can have a profound impact on Albertans. The hesitance of the government to shut things down as the pandemic spreads out of control, however, should come as no surprise. The Alberta government"This government is refreshingly transparent and completely doctrinaire when it comes to all elements of public policy," Wesley says of the United Conservative Party's approach. "So if you want to know where this government was heading, you need to look no further than the 2018 UCP statement of principles."Wesley calls it Neoliberalism 101 — a political philosophy that makes no room for collective action problems. "From a political science standpoint, that's almost like the ideal of what we expect of responsible party actors, is that they have a set of principles, we know what they stand for, they're being transparent about it," he said. "And we know when they're confronted with things that are out of the ordinary, are not part of their policy platform, we know how they're going to react."In short, they'll react like Joe Alberta would want them to.That policy consistency is tied directly to the founding leader of the UCP, Kenney. A principled conservative to some, an ideologue to others, he tends to stake his position and stick to it. It doesn't help that he was elected on a commitment to get the economy back on track and the budget balanced — a near impossibility given COVID spending and the languishing price of oil. The focus is, and has been, on trying to preserve and repair a battered economy. Kenney wants to avoid more business closures and loss of jobs. He does not want to spend more money.There's also a documented combativeness to Kenney and his government that hasn't abated during the pandemic, including battles with doctors, nurses and public servants. The ensuing division inhibits any chance that collective action could be effective against the pandemic. It seems the government won't abandon its ideological mores until, as Wesley calls them, a substantial "accumulation of anomalies" attacks the tenets of that foundation.It seems plenty of individuals feel the same. With more cases, more deaths, fewer ICU beds and more calls for action as the government resists, the situation is ripe for blaming the government no matter the culprit in our collective failures. Laying blameEvery catastrophe eventually leads to the need for answers: Who is responsible? Who or what could have prevented this? Things are getting out of control in Alberta, with contact tracers overwhelmed and community spread in full bloom. Recent restrictions on fitness classes and earlier last calls have had no impact to date as 1,000-plus new cases a day becomes the norm. For a while, it appeared things were under control. As cases rose, most people were not vocally critical.Then doctors started writing letters with hundreds of their colleagues' signatures calling for circuit-breaker lockdowns. The chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency called for the same. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi wished for more, but told citizens not to wait for the province to do what was needed. Social media was flooded with calls for restrictions.Cases soared, as did hospitalizations. There are more deaths and likely many more to come.The government continued to resist, but looks prepared to act — in some way — on Tuesday afternoon.Critics have said the government has failed to provide clarity across the province on what is expected and even failed to model the baselines of good behaviour. Research has shown that people tend to lay more blame when an intentional harm has occurred, but that those in power can be judged harshly even if causality is ambiguous or indirect. Polls have shown that Albertans are dissatisfied with the performance of their government, including a recent poll by ThinkHQ that suggested the majority of Albertans don't think recent government restrictions went far enough. But it can't all be put at the feet of the government. No one told Albertans to celebrate birthdays with friends and family. There was no public health recommendation to drink until closing time on Saturday night.Frustration, however, is mounting. So too is evidence that something more drastic needs to take place."I say that it's never too late to do something that's useful," said Saxinger, the infectious disease specialist from the U of A. "But earlier action is very clearly, and in a very data-driven way, the best way to handle something that has exponential growth — acting before it becomes a problem, because you act after it becomes a problem and you're already on your way to a much, much bigger problem."What is happeningOn Nov. 20, Alberta announced 1,155 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. That number has grown every day since, giving Alberta the highest number of active cases of all the provinces. Hinshaw has said ICU beds set aside for the pandemic are nearing capacity, but that more resources could be freed up. Those resources would come at a cost to those seeking treatment for other reasons. Decisions will soon have to be made within hospitals about who has the best chance of survival and therefore gets a bed and treatment. Some of the dire predictions that were elaborately presented in Alberta's first wave are coming into focus.On Monday, Hinshaw admitted defeat in terms of the government's already limited contact tracing and, in an attempt to catch up, was giving up on contacting thousands of those linked to high-priority settings such as hospitals, schools and continuing care homes. She also said she'd be making recommendations to a cabinet huddle after her announcement. The government response is expected to be announced Tuesday afternoon. Francis, speaking from Utah without any knowledge of Alberta's situation, said the way to minimize the impact on businesses while protecting the health of the public is to act swiftly and comprehensively if restrictions are imposed. "One wishes that business closures were very short-lived," she said. "Unfortunately, we've made some mistakes, we've done it halfway, and so we've let community spread really get out of control.... You don't treat a rapidly growing tumour by cutting out 20 per cent of it. And unfortunately, a sort of tepid approach to infection control has done exactly that."So, with the surgery delayed, that incision will only have to go deeper.
Nonobstant la récession provoquée par la COVID-19, la ville de Laval maintient sa cote de crédit. La firme de notation financière S&P; Global Ratings vient en effet de lui renouveler la cote «AA» avec une perspective stable, indique l’administration Demers par voie de communiqué, le 24 novembre. Dans un rapport publié quatre jours plus tôt, l’agence «confirme que la structure économique dynamique et diversifiée ainsi que les rigoureuses pratiques de gestion financière de la Ville sont des facteurs favorables au maintien de la cote», résument les autorités municipales. Rappelons qu’il y a à peine un mois, la Ville anticipait clôturer l’année 2020 avec un surplus de 29 M$, une projection basée sur une mise à jour budgétaire au 31 août dernier. «Cette cote, qui témoigne de la qualité de notre gestion, permet de positionner avantageusement Laval afin de poursuivre la réalisation de projets et d’investissements nécessaires aux besoins de sa population croissante», a réagi le maire Marc Demers. Celui-ci a profité de l’occasion pour rappeler l’engagement de son administration «à maintenir l’attractivité de la ville et à la propulser vers une reprise économique robuste en 2021». À cet égard, une récente étude économique de Desjardins prévoit que le produit intérieur brut (PIB) bondirait de 7,3 % à Laval, l’an prochain, comparativement à 6,3 % à l’échelle de la province, sous réserve que le virus demeure sous contrôle. Enfin, pour la Municipalité, la cote de crédit qui lui est attribuée démontre qu’elle «possède la capacité de respecter ses engagements tout en s’assurant que le niveau de sa dette demeure prévisible et sous contrôle».Stéphane St-Amour, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
WHITEHORSE — Residents of Yukon will be required to wear a non-medical mask in all public indoor spaces effective Dec. 1.Premier Sandy Silver made the announcement during the territory's regular pandemic briefing in Whitehorse.He says everyone who does not have a medical exemption and is over the age of two will be required to wear a mask. The territory has 38 cases of COVID-19, including 14 active cases related to what Yukon's top doctor says is the second wave of the pandemic, involving two separate outbreaks.Dr. Brendan Hanley says the illnesses have been linked, either directly or indirectly, to travel outside Yukon.The territory reintroduced COVID-19 control measures last week that include a mandatory 14-day quarantine for almost everyone entering or returning to the territory after travel outside its boundaries.Hanley says there is no plan to impose a lockdown, despite the arrival of the second wave, but he warned residents to prepare."Now, I don't mean, by preparation, you need to run out and buy toilet paper," he says."Prepare yourselves, more, that we may see more cases, perhaps many more. Prepare your mental health by being ready to see worse before we see better," he says.Hanley also urged residents to "start to think" about organizing virtual gatherings this holiday season.Silver reminded residents who must quarantine, or follow other public-health orders, that the restrictions are not optional.He says 26 charges have been laid under the Civil Emergency Measures Act, including the most recent charge last week against a person who failed to self-isolate.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.The Canadian Press
The Venables Theatre is postponing and cancelling some scheduled shows following new public health measures laid out by the province last week. All events at the theatre scheduled prior to Dec. 7 have been cancelled or postponed following provincial health orders banning social gatherings, even in theatres with appropriate safety measures and events with less than 50 people attending. Mike Delamont’s Socially Distanced Stand-Up Comedy show scheduled for Nov. 28 has been cancelled. Two shows included in the Venables Alive series featuring local artists have been postponed including Great White North and Kristi Neumann. The shows will likely be moved to February at the earliest, according to theatre manager Leah Foreman, though it is still unclear when shows will be permitted to resume. The theatre is one of the few in the region to continue to operate successfully during the pandemic, however the new public health measures are throwing a wrench into the works. “We were having really good success with our shows. Lots of people were coming out to see them. We were keeping people safe and people and people felt comfortable here so I think we were doing great,” Foreman said. “But I mean, we’re all in this together and now we just have to hunker down.” The successful operation at the Venables since it reopened this fall is in part due to the support the theatre receives from the community. “We used all our tools we had. We talked to health officials, I’ve been on calls with venues across the province just talking about best practices and how do we all do this. Then I felt confident that I had the information on it that I needed and the logistics and stuff in order to reopen. I think it was just a matter of being really knowledgable about what was going on,” Foreman said. “I think one of the reasons we were able to do it was just the fact that we have such great support from our community and we were able to focus on figuring this out.” Following last week’s public health orders, movie theatres remained open over the weekend in B.C. — which was considered a bit of a thorn in the side of the Venables Theatre management — however, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry clarified Monday that the public health order cancelling events applied to movie theatres as well. However, Foreman still questions why bars and pubs can operate safely while the theatre is ordered to shut down for at least two weeks. “We aren’t a social gathering. You come in, you watch a show, you leave. You’re not congregating in the lobby, you’re enjoying a show in a socially-distanced way. So we did feel that we were being penalized for no reason,” Foreman said. The Venables box office is now open by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call 250-498-1626. Most refunds can be done over the phone or will be processed automatically.Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle
LAS VEGAS — The Nevada Supreme Court made Joe Biden’s win in the state official on Tuesday, approving the state's final canvass of the Nov. 3 election.The unanimous action by the seven nonpartisan justices sends to Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak results that will deliver six electoral votes from the western U.S. battleground state to Biden.The court action drew extra scrutiny amid legal efforts by the state GOP and Trump campaign to prevent sending vote-by-mail ballots to all 1.82 million active registered voters and then to stop the counting of the 1.4 million votes that were cast.Nevada’s six Democratic presidential electors are scheduled to meet Dec. 14 in the state capital of Carson City.Biden won Nevada by 33,596 votes, according to results approved by elected officials in Nevada’s 17 counties — including Clark County, which encompasses Las Vegas, and Washoe County, which includes Reno.Biden got 50.06% of the vote and Trump 47.67%.Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican who has avoided the public eye in recent weeks, presented the results to the court.She noted the first-ever use of all-mail balloting statewide in a general election, same-day voter registration and early voting.“The result was more of a hybrid model where voters had a choice of how to participate,” she said, adding that a record number of voters participated.Certification of the vote does not stop several lawsuits pending in state and federal courts.They include bids by two Republican congressional candidates and a state Senate challenger to obtain re-votes in those races, an open-records case by the state GOP, and a U.S. District Court action alleging that thousands of ineligible people voted.A federal judge in that case declined a bid for an immediate injunction that would have stopped the use of a signature verification scanner during the vote count.Jesse Binnall, an attorney for the Trump campaign who is handling an election challenge pending before a state court judge, said Tuesday he intends to prove that so many fraudulent votes were cast statewide that Trump won Nevada.Turnout among the state’s more than 1.8 million active registered voters was almost 77.3%, including mail, early voting and Election Day ballots cast amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to secretary of state data.That was up from a turnout of 76.8% during the presidential election in 2016, when Democrat Hillary Clinton carried Nevada by a little under 2.5% over Trump.Nevada was one of several states due to certify the election on Tuesday.Ken Ritter, The Associated Press
CALGARY — The Alberta Court of Appeal has refused to throw out one of the convictions against a man who was found guilty of killing a father and his two-year-old daughter as well as a senior.Derek Saretzky's lawyer, Balfour Der, had argued that his client's first-degree murder conviction in the death of Hanne Meketech, 69, in September 2015 should be overturned because Saretzky's rights were breached when police improperly took his confession.Saretzky was also convicted of first-degree murder in the slayings of Terry Blanchette, who was 27, and his daughter Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette.Saretzky, 27, was in custody when he confessed Meketech's killing to an RCMP officer who visited him at a correctional centre.Der said Saretzky should never have been convicted in the woman's death since the confession came without a lawyer present and six months after Saretzky admitted to killing Blanchette and the toddler.The Crown argued that at the time of the police interview Saretzky would have been well aware of his right to counsel.The three-justice Appeal Court panel unanimously dismissed the appeal."The appellant was not under arrest and the trial judge found he had not been detained," wrote Justice Peter Martin on behalf of the court."Those findings were well supported by the evidence and are entitled to deference. I agree with his conclusion that on considering all of the circumstances of this case, the appellant's confession would not have been excluded."Meketech's body was found in her home in Coleman, Alta., on Sept. 9, 2015. She had been struck in the head and stabbed in the neck. During the trial, the jury was shown videotaped confessions in which Saretzky told police it was a spur-of-the-moment decision to kill Meketech, who was a friend of his grandparents, because he didn't think anyone cared about her. Five days later, Blanchette's body was discovered in his home in Blairmore, Alta. His daughter was missing, which sparked an Amber Alert and an extensive search in the Crowsnest Pass area of southwestern Alberta.Court heard Saretzky was "an aspiring serial killer" at the time of the attacks. He had few close friends and possessed numerous books on serial killers and serial killings.Saretzky was sentenced in 2017 to three consecutive life sentences, which means he is ineligible for parole until he has served 75 years in prison.The Court of Appeal still has to schedule and hear an appeal of the sentence.This report by The Canadian Press was first published November 24, 2020.— Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterBill Graveland, The Canadian Press
France will start easing its COVID-19 lockdown this weekend so that by Christmas, shops, theatres and cinemas will reopen and people will be able to spend the holiday with their families, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday. In a televised address to the nation, Macron said the worst of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in France was over, but that restaurants, cafes and bars would have to stay shut until Jan. 20 to avoid triggering a third wave. "We must do everything to avoid a third wave, do everything to avoid a third lockdown," Macron said.
Chase and Sydney Brown are again living their football dream.Growing up, the identical twins from London, Ont., often dreamt about playing U.S. college football together. That aspiration was put on hold in 2018 when they went to different schools but rekindled briefly last year when Chase Brown transferred from Western Michigan to rejoin his brother at Illinois.Chase Brown played four games in 2019 but redshirted for the remainder of the season before returning to the lineup full-time this year. Illinois (2-3) has won two straight games but is a decided 28.5-point underdog for Saturday's showdown with No. 3 Ohio State (4-0)."This is what we dreamt about as kids," Sydney Brown said during a videoconference this week. "Having him come here has been like having a piece of home here in Illinois."It's been great so far."Chase Brown, a five-foot-11, 195-pound sophomore running back, is coming off consecutive 100-yard performances. After rushing for a career-high 131 yards in 23-20 win over Rutgers on Nov. 14, Brown ran for 115 yards and two TDs as Illinois got past Nebraska 41-23 victory last weekend.Brown has rushed for a team-high 357 yards on 61 carries (5.9-yard average) and two TDs while adding three receptions for 15 yards.Sydney Brown, a six-foot, 200-pound junior starting defensive back, had five tackles (three solo, half a tackle for a loss) against Rutgers before recording six tackles (one solo) versus Nebraska. He has 33 tackles (18 solo, the half-tackle for a loss) and a forced fumble this season.After missing the first two games of '19 due to injury, Sydney Brown started 10-of-11 contests, registering 88 tackles (51 solo), 2.5 for a loss with three interceptions (one returned for a TD).After starting their high school careers in London, the Browns transferred to Bradenton, Fla., helping St. Stephen's Episcopal School win consecutive Sunshine State Athletic Conference titles. After receiving upwards of 25 NCAA scholarship offers, Chase Brown settled upon Western Michigan because of its aviation program."Unfortunately the career path wasn't there for me," he said. "As far as football and people there, I loved everybody there, they supported but it didn't feel right so I put my name in the transfer portal."When I got the Illinois offer, I knew I wanted to come here because I had an opportunity to play with my brother. When I finally enrolled here I just felt like I was at home."We're so close, he's my best friend and I don't even have to think twice about that. Probably the first couple of months away, we called each other maybe every night but as we got used to being away it was once a week. As far as our connection going down a bit? No, that didn't really happen."There's very little physically that distinguishes the two, who both wear their hair in a bun. Sydney Brown is slightly bigger but Chase Brown is the older of the two, by about two minutes. In full gear, the only way to tell them apart on the field is by their numbers - Chase Brown wears No. 2 while Sydney Brown dons No. 30.Early in their football careers, Sydney Brown played running back while Chase Brown lined up along the defensive line. Predictably, there's no doubt in Sydney Brown's mind about who's the bigger offensive threat."Me, obviously," he said, tongue firmly in cheek. "No, Chase is doing a great job right now."It's been real exciting to see him go out on Saturday and show off his talent on the field and show everybody what I know he can do."So does that mean Chase Brown was a better defensive player?"No," Sydney Brown quipped with a broad smile. "If you want a 200-pound defensive end, I mean, take him."While the two brothers are best friends and roommates, a sibling rivalry exists."We always want to outperform the other," Chase Brown said. "It could be a look, it would be words . . . sometimes it gets chippy but that's just the competitive nature of the sport and us."A prime example is during camp when we have an opportunity to hit each other. We'd make contact and I'll be like, 'Damn, he actually did give me a good hit.' But we move on and go from there."During games, the 20-year-old brothers pay attention to what the other is doing on the field and feed off each one another's accomplishments."If Chase scores a touchdown, I'm going to try to score a touchdown on defence or make a big play to help the team," Sydney Brown said. "It's cool having somebody just like you on the other side of the ball making plays and helping his team win."Of course, we push each other. It's just the twin rivalry that we've had with each other since we were kids. It's great to have someone like that to push you in practice each week."Chase Brown's enthusiasm got the best of him last year when he watched his brother record a pick-six versus Michigan State."I flipped our coffee table because it was so unexpected," he said. "I couldn't have been happier for him."Watching that made me want to do more when my opportunity came. He's done so much for this program and I want to match that."With no tackle football in Canada — both the CFL and U Sports cancelled their seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic — the country's focus has shifted to Canadians excelling south of the border. And the Browns are part of a long list of Canucks who've made significant contributions to their collegiate programs.But only Sydney Brown actively monitors and follows the accomplishments of Canadians in the NCAA ranks."I'm always looking, I love to see guys playing real well each week.," he said. "We have guys all over the country right now who're playing elite roles."I'm always keeping tabs and seeing how they're doing each week as they might be doing the same with others. It's always cool to see a brother from up north playing well."Chase Brown is more philosophical about it."I'd say more opportunities are being given to Canadians because of guys making the most of the opportunity," he said. "As far as my performances and being part of the Canadian group that's been able to do well, it really hasn't sunk in yet."I'm still focused on this season and getting wins for the program. Maybe when the season is over I'll be able to reflect a little bit more."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press
WINDSOR, Ont. — The mayor of Windsor, Ont., has apologized for breaking COVID-19 rules when dining out with seven other people last week. Mayor Drew Dilkens made a statement to Windsor city council on Monday, saying he made an "unfortunate error" that should not have occurred. Windsor was in the yellow tier of Ontario's COVID-19 restrictions system last week. That tier permits only six people to dine together while inside a restaurant. “As mayor, there is responsibility for me to lead by example and showcase to all in our region that we need to follow all restrictions and guidelines to the letter," Dilkens said. Dilkens noted to city council that although he was not fined or issued a bylaw ticket, he will donate $750 – the typical fine for such an infraction – to the Windsor Goodfellows. The Windsor Goodfellows provides local families with assistance and support, including through a food bank, school breakfast programs, and a children’s footwear program. Dilkens also said that Gordon Orr, the chief executive officer of Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island, will be making an equivalent donation to an organization that works with children and youth facing mental health concerns. Windsor-Essex Region moved to the heightened orange zone of Ontario's COVID-19 restriction system on Monday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020. The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Nearly two months later, Chris Wallace can't bring himself to watch a rerun of the disastrous first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden. “I'm not sure I ever will,” said Wallace, the “Fox News Sunday” host who moderated the slugfest. George Washington University brought leaders of the Commission on Presidential Debates and moderators of all three encounters together for a remote debrief Monday night. Two takeaways: increased early voting means the commission is considering earlier debates, and the mute button may be here to stay. It was a boisterous, uncomfortable fall for the debate commission, which dropped the second of three planned presidential sessions when Trump refused to agree to a remote debate following his COVID diagnosis. Trump and supporters also attacked the bipartisan commission as being biased toward Biden. “No one likes to be on the receiving end of attacks in reference to us being swamp monsters,” said Kenneth Wollack, one of the commission's co-chairs. He said there's “not an ounce of partisanship” that goes into the commission's decisions. One decision, the subject of much internal debate, was to mute the microphones of Trump and Biden when their opponent was giving a two-minute answer at the introduction of a new subject matter. The commission said it wasn't a new rule, but a means to enforce rules that had already been agreed upon. Trump's repeated interruptions during the Sept. 29 debate, an apparent strategy to knock Biden off stride, forced the change. NBC's Kristen Welker, the moderator who benefited from the mute button, said she was “pleasantly pleased” with how it worked; the commission will formally evaluate its future next spring, said Frank Fahrenkopf, another co-chair. If he has any regrets, Wallace said he wished he would have acted sooner to suggest a “time out” so the candidates might be convinced to better behave themselves. “I realized after 15 minutes that I had a problem and the country had a problem,” he said. But Wallace said it was a “very bad strategy” on the president's part because it quickly became clear that Trump was hurting himself more than Biden. Fahrenkopf said he believed Trump's performance that night was a key factor in his election loss. “For better or worse, I think the first debate was a deeply clarifying moment,” Wallace said. USA Today's Susan Page, who moderated the debate between Vice-President Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris, was bedeviled by the candidates' long-windedness and elusiveness, preventing her from following up questions unanswered. If she had a do-over, she said she would have been more aggressive in cutting Pence off. The moderators shared preparation strategies. Welker, who drew praise for her handling of the final debate, left her beat at NBC News to concentrate on getting ready. She said she called people across the country, like undecided voters and teachers working remotely due to COVID. “It gave me a sense and sensibility of what voters cared about,” she said. “I really wanted it to not be a Washington debate.” Fahrenkopf said it's getting more difficult to choose moderators because the commission wants to make sure there's nothing in their work to make them appear to favour one candidate over the other. With more voters retreating to media outlets that reflect their points of view, debates offer an increasingly rare chance to see different viewpoints side-by-side. If he had one piece of advice to viewers, Fahrenkopf said it would be to turn off their televisions after the debate's conclusion and not listen to TV analysts telling them what they just saw. “I think that's very bad advice,” replied Wallace, who fills that role when he's not moderating. David Bauder, The Associated Press
Public health officials in Nova Scotia are asking anyone who was in a bar or restaurant in Halifax or surrounding metro area past 10 p.m. in the last two weeks — including staff — to get tested for COVID-19, regardless of if they are showing symptoms of the virus. That provincial government and its chief medical officer of health announced the measure on Tuesday as it broadens an asymptomatic testing strategy.Newfoundland and Labrador's health department followed suit, asking anyone who has returned to Newfoundland and Labrador from Nova Scotia in the last two weeks, and who visited bars in Halifax and the surrounding metro communities to call 811 to arrange COVID-19 testing, even if they aren't experiencing symptoms.The Department of Health said even in the event of a negative test result public health, it is encouraging these people to continue monitoring themselves for symptoms for a full 14 days from the time of their arrival in the province.Recently in Newfoundland and Labrador a man returned to the St. John's region from Nova Scotia and tested positive for COVID-19. Two more cases in the Eastern Health region came as a result, and are connected to that man. On Monday, Premier Andrew Furey announced a two-week suspension for the Atlantic Bubble as cases rise in the region. Prince Edward Island is doing the same.2 new cases on TuesdayNewfoundland and Labrador is reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, both in the Eastern Health region.With a new recovery in the Western Health region, the province's active caseload is now 24.Both new cases are connected to previous cases, the Department of Health said in a news release. The first is a woman between 60 and 69 years old, a resident of the province and a close contact of a previous travel-related case reported on Nov. 17.The second new case is a woman over 70 years old, and is connected to the recent cluster in Grand Bank, according to the news release. The release said the woman, a resident of the province, is not a tenant of the Blue Crest Cottages retirement facility in the community.Both people are self-isolating and contact tracing by public health officials is completed, said the release, with neither of Tuesday's cases connected to each other.The Department of Health is also advising rotational workers about a COVID-19 outbreak at the LNG Canada project site in Kitimat, B.C. The department said it was notified about the outbreak by the Public Health Agency of Canada as people from this province work there. "Rotational workers with the project who have returned to Newfoundland and Labrador in the last 14 days must self-isolate and physically distance away from household members, and call 811 to arrange COVID-19 testing," reads the media release. These workers must now complete the full 14-day self-isolation period, regardless of test result.Tuesday saw no new cases connected to the Western Health region, where a cluster has emerged including the first positive case within a school, involving a student at Elwood Elementary in Deer Lake.On Monday, education officials announced the school would be closed for two days. On Tuesday a spokesperson for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District told CBC News in an emailed statement school administration has been advised that "staff can make preparations for classes to resume at Elwood Elementary tomorrow.""All of the current public health information indicates school operations can continue," the statement reads.In total, 59,741 people have been tested across the province as of Tuesday's update provided by the Department of Health in a media release. That's an increase of 471 since Monday's update. There have been 295 recoveries and four deaths related to COVID-19 in the province since March. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
PARIS — Restorers at Paris’ fire-damaged Notre Dame cathedral have completed key preliminary work by successfully removing all the perilous roof scaffolding, officials said Tuesday. The removal of the 200 tons of scaffolding was considered dangerous, with some experts fearing that it could cause more of the Gothic monument to fall down. It was thought that the scaffolding might have melded to the cathedral in the blaze, and be keeping it in place. When the Notre Dame fire broke out on April 15 last year destroying the spire, the cathedral was already under restoration. The scaffolding previously installed resisted collapse, “but was deformed by the heat of the fire” Notre Dame restoration officials said in a communique. The Associated Press
Twenty-three B.C. mayors are calling on Premier John Horgan to establish policies that give resource-based communities a key role in the province’s post-pandemic economic recovery plan. In an open letter to Horgan Nov. 19, the mayors of both rural and urban municipalities praised previous foundation investments in natural resource development, as well as associated construction and transportation needs, and asked for inclusion in future policy discussions. “As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, BC has undergone a tremendous economic shock,” the letter reads. “Fortunately, BC’s resource industries have been able to persevere during this period. Our mines have continued to operate, the forest sector was able to take advantage of soaring lumber prices during 2020, aquaculture continues to invest and innovate, and four major energy projects have kept British Columbia workers busy building the resource infrastructure of the future.” In September the province announced a $1.5 billion pandemic economic recovery plan, in addition to previous commitments, targeting primarily tourism, food security, climate action, technology and innovation. Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman said the group of mayors found no disagreements with the strategy, and issued the letter primarily as a show of support. “This was just to let the premier know that we are ready and willing to engage,” Ackerman said. “Our resource industries need to be front of mind when we’re looking at creating the future of British Columbia. We’ve got businesses that need to get working. With a new cabinet coming into place we needed to send the premier our congratulations and hope that we can work on this together.” The mayors asked Horgan to enshrine five core pillars for economic recovery into the Mandate Letters of incoming cabinet ministers. Those pillars are: quickly enable shovel-ready projects to proceed; ensure international investors know B.C.’s industries can succeed in uncertain global investment conditions; recognize the unique advantage of globally carbon-competitive exports; put workers and communities first when delivering on campaign commitments; and ensure any new regulations affecting delivery on the first four pillars are considered carefully. Going forward, the mayors also offered their support on all aspects of pandemic recovery and ongoing efforts with climate change and First Nations reconciliation. The letter was written by Ackerman and Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb, and supported by: Mayor Andy Adams, Campbell River Mayor Bruno Tassone, Castlegar Mayor Allen Courtoreille, Chetwynd Mayor Lee Pratt, Cranbrook Mayor Dale Bumstead, Dawson Creek Mayor Michelle Staples, Duncan Mayor Sarrah Storey, Fraser Lake Mayor Brad Unger, Gold River Mayor Linda McGuire, Granisle Mayor Phil Germuth, Kitimat Mayor Dennis Dugas, Port Hardy Mayor Joan Atkinson, Mackenzie Mayor Linda Brown, Merritt Mayor Gary Foster, Northern Rockies Mayor Brad West, Port Coquitlam Mayor Gaby Wickstrom, Port McNeill Mayor Lorraine Michetti, Pouce Coupe Mayor Doug McCallum, Surrey Mayor Rob Fraser, Taylor Mayor Carol Leclerc, Terrace Mayor Keith Bertrand, Tumbler Ridge Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View
MONTREAL — The Quebec government has tightened its rules surrounding Christmas gatherings, specifying on Tuesday that people will only be able to attend two holiday events during a four-day window.Premier Francois Legault's government last week announced it would permit gatherings of a maximum of 10 people for four days between Dec. 24 and 27 and asked Quebecers to voluntarily quarantine themselves for a week before and after in exchange.Legault said Tuesday that while there are four days available to gather with people outside their households, Quebecers should at most use two of them.He also asked that people who are unable to quarantine avoid gatherings altogether."I’m sure those people don’t want to infect, or take the risk of infecting, members of their own family, so it’s understood that if you can’t quarantine a week before it’s better not to go to Christmas dinner," Legault told a news conference in Quebec City.Legault has faced some criticism for his decision to loosen restrictions for Christmas as the province continues to report over 1,000 cases a day.On Tuesday, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister weighed in on Quebec's plan, calling it dangerous."I don’t want to get into quarterbacking other provinces — there are premiers there doing their absolute best — except to say this: I think it’s dangerous what the Quebec premier has decided to announce on Christmas," Pallister said. Legault, in response, said the number of new cases per million residents is currently lower in Quebec than Manitoba."Second, I want to (remind) my friend Brian that we’re talking about a maximum of 10 people per house, and also we’re asking for a quarantine of seven days before the gathering," he said. "I don’t know if he’s aware of all these requirements."Legault, however, said he was not willing to impose stricter measures, such as shutting down stores, to enforce the quarantine, saying it would not be fair to people who aren't planning to gather.Under the province's current rules, bars, restaurant dining areas and most cultural venues are closed in most regions of the province, and social gatherings are limited to people of the same household, with a few exceptions.The change to the Christmas rules came as the number of deaths and hospitalizations in the province continued to jump.Quebec reported 45 more deaths attributed to COVID-19 and 1,124 new infections on Tuesday, as well as a 21-person increase in the number of hospitalizations.Legault said that unlike in the first wave, the problem is now mostly concentrated outside of major cities.He said the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region is hardest hit, followed by Estrie, Gaspe, parts of Lanaudiere, Bas-St-Laurent and Sorel.Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, with a population of just over 275,000, counted more than 100 new cases on Tuesday, giving it the highest per-capita infection rate in the province."I'm asking everyone in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, if you're able in the coming days, the coming weeks, to stay home, it will help to reduce the pressure," Legault said.The premier said there was also a "real problem" in private seniors' residences, which are driving transmission in some regions.Government data showed a total of 167 new cases in private seniors' homes in the past 24 hours. The two residences with the biggest increases were both in Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, with 53 and 37 new cases.Earlier Tuesday, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube announced a plan to track the movement of staff working at multiple long-term care homes.In a statement, Dube said he was creating a registry that would record instances when staff need to work at more than one care home "due to a risk of service disruption that could compromise user safety."He said employees who have to move between hot and cold zones — those with infected patients and those without — will have to seek permission from management or infection control specialists first.The government's plan for the pandemic's second wave included a ban on allowing personal care attendants to work at multiple locations, after this was identified as a key factor in COVID-19 transmission.However, Dube has conceded that stopping all movement of personnel has been difficult due to shortages in certain jobs, such as nurses.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
Yellowknife city council is exploring whether to apply for up to $25 million in federal Rapid Housing Initiative funding that would create permanent housing in the city for those experiencing homelessness. The project, if a Yellowknife bid were successful, could delay previously identified priorities like the city's replacement water line from the Yellowknife River, new aquatic centre, and potential expansion in Kam Lake. “We are so very conflicted on this," said city administrator Sheila Bassi-Kellett at a meeting with councillors on Monday. Bassi-Kellett said there was "enormous benefit" in building permanent supportive housing, but City Hall had limited resources and "a couple of massive projects under way." The N.W.T. is in a housing crisis, lacking adequate, suitable, and affordable homes across its communities. Even in the territorial capital, a 2019 report found 29 per cent of homes were not considered affordable for residents. The Rapid Housing Initiative offers $1 billion across the country to address urgent housing needs for vulnerable Canadians by rapidly building affordable homes. Half of the cash is allocated to specific, larger municipalities. The other $500 million is available to other groups, ranging from Indigenous governments to smaller cities like Yellowknife. City staff will now create a plan to bid on the funding and councillors will vote on whether or not to submit an application. Mayor Rebecca Alty said a special meeting may be required so council can vote and the city potentially submit its application before the federal December 31 deadline. Bassi-Kellett told council the city could look to retrofit an existing building with the money, turning it into permanent supportive housing. Once renovated, that building – a specific lot wasn't identified – could be operated by a non-governmental organization. A modular structure could also be considered. Bassi-Kellett added revenue from rent could cover operating costs like utilities and maintenance, and may cover some core funding for a group to run programs and pay for staffing. A stipulation of the federal funding is the city must aim to spend any funds allotted by March 31, 2021. Housing must be available within one year of the agreement being signed. With its scope and timeline, Bassi-Kellett told council the project would be an “ambitious undertaking” and other big projects would be set aside. “I do need to stress that this would mean a reallocation of other priorities, so that other projects and responsibilities would not be achieved if this one came to the top of the list,” she said. The city has since 2017 had a 10-year plan to end homelessness that states Yellowknife needs to “develop 80 new place-based units of permanent supportive housing” for people experiencing homelessness and problems with mental health, addiction, and physical health. “One area where we do see a gap in advancing some of the priorities of our 10-year plan is around permanent supportive housing,” Bassi-Kellett said. The Rapid Housing Initiative would help meet that need. “It is a lot of work but it would be hard to pass up on this opportunity to hit such a milestone within the 10-year plan,” said Grant White, the city's director of community services. Councillors Niels Konge and Robin Williams both saw the funding as a positive step and said it should be applied for without hesitation. “The reality is if someone says, hey, there’s $25 million here to help you solve one of the biggest problems you have in your community – that becomes the priority,” Konge said. “Here’s the long list of things that we have to do. This now gets moved up to the front, we go through the application process and then, at that point, we go back to doing what we were doing.” Councillor Shauna Morgan was cautiously optimistic, provided the application and work is done properly. “I don’t want us directing energy and resources down a path that is going to fall apart because we didn’t think it through, or we tried to go for a building or project that actually we don’t have any NGOs prepared to take on at the end of the day,” she said. According to Alty, the N.W.T. government and YWCA are each planning on submitting their own applications to address other housing needs. She told council, if approved, the YWCA’s application would address some need in Yellowknife. The GNWT's application is expected to focus on smaller, more remote communities. Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio