China's embassy in the Philippines has denounced the United States for "creating chaos" in Asia, after a visiting White House envoy backed countries in disputes with China and accused Beijing of using military pressure to further its interests. During a trip to Manila on Monday, national security adviser Robert O'Brien underscored the U.S. commitment to Taiwan and told the Philippines and Vietnam, countries both locked in maritime rows with China, that "we've got your back". "It shows that his visit to this region is not to promote regional peace and stability, but to create chaos in the region in order to seek selfish interests of the U.S.," the embassy said in a statement issued late Monday.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday vowed to defend the democratic island's sovereignty with the construction of a new fleet of domestically-developed submarines, a key project supported by the United States to counter neighbouring China. Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has been for years working to revamp its submarine force, some of which date back to World War Two, and is no match for China's fleet, which includes vessels capable of launching nuclear weapons. At a ceremony to mark the start of construction of a new submarine fleet in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, Tsai called the move a "historic milestone" for Taiwan's defensive capabilities after overcoming "various challenges and doubts".
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Miss Vickie's Canada says some of its potato chips that were part of a recall in Eastern Canada earlier this month due to possible glass contamination were inadvertently shipped west. The company says the chips were only shipped to retail customers in Alberta, Brandon, Man., and Moose Jaw, Sask, and that it's working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to co-ordinate a voluntary recall. It says 630 bags are involved, and they have very specific "guaranteed fresh" dates and "manufacturing codes." Consumers who have purchased the chips should not eat them and are urged to throw them out or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. At the beginning of November, Miss Vickie's recalled some chips sold online and in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada due to what it said was "isolated reports of the presence of a small piece of glass found at the bottom of the bag." The CFIA says on its website there have been reported injuries associated with the products. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020. The Canadian Press
Grand River watershed — The Grand River Conservation Authority held an emergency board meeting this week to discuss the province’s proposed changes for conservation authorities and to plan its response. “I’m asking us to be as thoughtful as possible about what is non-negotiable going forward,” Grand River Conservation Authority Chair Helen Jowett said to open the discussion. In its summary, the staff report detailing the changes expressed the significance of the planned changes: “If enacted, some changes will significantly impact the role of a conservation authority board to establish programs and services. “As well, the proposed amendments will enable Regulations that will either limit or completely change the role of conservation authorities to protect Ontario’s environment and ensure people and property are safe from natural hazards.” The most impactful proposed change is to mandate that only municipal councillors will be allowed to sit on a conservation authority board, and that board members’ fiduciary duty must be to their individual municipalities rather than to the conservation authority, according to Samantha Lawson, the Chief Administrative Officer for the Grand River Conservation Authority. Lawson and Jowett both feel this will put individual interests of municipalities above the watershed as a whole. “We work together to look after the entire watershed because water knows no boundaries. And it works for us,” says Jowett. “We are concerned that it could undermine that watershed approach, which is very successful currently.” Other changes introduced in schedule six of Bill 229 — the Protect Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures) — include: allowing the province to intervene in the conservation authority permitting process at any time and make any decisions with or without use of watershed-level science remove or limit a conservation authority’s ability to appeal decisions to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal and remove a conservation authority’s (not yet proclaimed) ability to give a stop work order in the case of harmful activity. Staff at the Grand River Conservation Authority feel the proposed changes will limit any meaningful authority, and interfere with the watershed approach. The Grand River Conservation Authority board voted to approve the report prepared by staff. A cover letter summarizing the conservation authority’s stance will be added. Together these will be sent to the Premier, Ministers of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Natural Resources, Municipal housing and Affairs and Finance, watershed MPPs, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Rural Ontario Municipal Association and circulated to watershed municipalities. The entire staff report can be viewed on the conservation authority’s website.Leah Gerber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Waterloo Region Record
Salt that crystallizes with sharp edges is the killer ingredient in the development of a reusable mask because any COVID-19 droplets that land on it would be quickly destroyed, says a researcher who is being recognized for her innovation.Ilaria Rubino, a recent PhD graduate from the department of chemical and materials engineering at the University of Alberta, said a mostly salt and water solution that coats the first or middle layer of the mask would dissolve droplets before they can penetrate the face covering.As the liquid from the droplets evaporates, the salt crystals grow back as spiky weapons, damaging the bacteria or virus within five minutes, Rubino said."We know that after the pathogens are collected in the mask, they can survive. Our goal was to develop a technology that is able to inactivate the pathogens upon contact so that we can make the mask as effective as possible."Rubino, who collaborated with a researcher at Georgia State University in Atlanta to advance the project she started five years ago, was recognized Tuesday with an innovation award from Mitacs. The Canadian not-for-profit organization receives funding from the federal government, most provinces and Yukon to honour researchers from academic institutions.The reusable, non-washable mask is made of a type of polypropylene, a plastic used in surgical masks, and could be safely worn and handled multiple times without being decontaminated, Rubino said.The idea is to replace surgical masks often worn by health-care workers who must dispose of them in a few hours, she said, adding the technology could potentially be used for N-95 respirators.The salt-coated mask is expected to be available commercially next year after regulatory approval. It could also be used to stop the spread of other infectious illnesses, such as influenza, Rubino said.Dr. Catherine Clase, an epidemiologist and associate professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, said the "exciting" technology would have multiple benefits.Clase, who is a member of the Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials in the engineering department at McMaster, said there wasn't much research in personal protective equipment when Rubino began her work."It's going to decrease the footprint for making and distributing and then disposing of every mask," she said, adding that the mask could also address any supply issues.The Public Health Agency of Canada recently recommended homemade masks consist of at least three layers, with a middle, removable layer constructed from a non-woven, washable polypropylene fabric to improve filtration.Conor Ruzycki, an aerosol scientist in the University of Alberta's mechanical engineering department, said Rubino's innovation adds to more recent research on masks as COVID-19 cases rise and shortages of face coverings in the health-care system could again become a problem.Ruzycki, who works in a lab to evaluate infiltration efficiencies of different materials for masks and respirators, is also a member of a physician-led Alberta group Masks4Canada, which is calling for stricter pandemic measures, including a provincewide policy on mandatory masks.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Janet Yellen is in line for another top economic policy job — just in time to confront yet another crisis.Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden's apparent choice for treasury secretary, served on the Federal Reserve's policymaking committee during the 2008-2009 financial crisis that nearly toppled the banking system.She became Fed chair in 2014 when the economy was still recovering from the devastating Great Recession. In the late 1990s, she was President Bill Clinton's top economic adviser during the Asian financial crisis.And now, according to a person familiar with Biden's transition plans, she has been chosen to lead Treasury with the economy in the grip of a surging viral epidemic. The spike in virus cases is intensifying pressure on companies and individuals, with fear growing that the economy could suffer a “double-dip” recession as states and cities reimpose restrictions on businesses.Yet many longtime observers of the U.S. economy see Yellen as ideally suited for the role.“She is extraordinarily talented,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at auditing firm Grant Thornton. “She is the right person at this challenging time. She has worked every crisis."If confirmed, Yellen would become the first woman to lead the Treasury Department in its nearly 232 years. She would inherit an economy with still-high unemployment, escalating threats to small businesses and signs that consumers are retrenching as the worsening pandemic restricts or discourages spending.Most economists say that the distribution of an effective vaccine will likely reinvigorate growth next year. Yet they warn that any sustained recovery will also hinge on whether Congress can agree soon on a sizable aid package to carry the economy through what Biden has said will be a “dark winter” with the pandemic still out of control.Negotiations on additional government spending, though, have been stuck in Congress for months.Yellen has favoured further stimulus, including more money for state and local governments, which she has said need “substantial support” to avoid further job cuts. Rescue aid for states has been a major sticking point in congressional negotiations.Nathan Sheets, chief economist at PGIM Fixed Income and a former senior Fed and Treasury official, said that Yellen could effectively use the “bully pulpit” during what are likely to be difficult negotiations with Senate Republicans."Yellen," Sheets said, “has a unique ability ... to communicate about economics and economic policies in terms that resonate with individuals.”She will also have the opportunity to work with Fed Chair Jerome Powell, with whom Yellen enjoys a close relationship after having worked together at the Fed, to restart several emergency lending programs. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week that the programs will expire, as scheduled, at the end of this year — a decision that critics warn will unnecessarily hamstring the Fed.Powell objected to the Treasury's move, though he agreed to return money that Congress had authorized to backstop the lending.The most likely credit programs to be renewed, economists say, would be one that supported states and cities and a second, the Main Street Lending program, that targeted small and mid-sized businesses.Neither program has made very many loans. But just the understanding that those backstops existed lent confidence to the financial markets. Economists say Yellen could allow Powell to offer more generous terms to increase the programs' use.The 74-year-old Yellen, long a path-breaking figure in the male-dominated economics field, was the first woman to serve as Fed chair, from 2014 to 2018.“She is an icon,” said Stephanie Aaronson, a vice-president at the Brookings Institution and a former top economist at the Fed. “Having a female chair meant a lot to a lot of people.”Yellen was known as a highly prepared, sometimes demanding but down-to-earth manager who was popular with the Fed's staff.“I have never met anyone who has worked for or with Janet who has an unkind word to say about her," said Claudia Sahm, a former Fed economist. "She is the kind of person who uplifts her staff.”Under Yellen's tenure, the central bank began a seminal shift of its policy focus away from fighting inflation, which has been quiescent for decades, to trying to maximize employment, the second of its two mandates. That process culminated this summer when Powell announced that the Fed planned to keep rates ultra-low for a time even after inflation has topped the central bank's 2% annual target level, rather than raising rates pre-emptively.As Fed chair, Yellen won praise for her attention to disadvantaged groups, including the long-term unemployed, at a time when financial inequalities were widening across the economy. She made numerous visits to employment training centres to spotlight the need for training programs to equip people for good jobs.During the 2008-2009 financial crisis, transcripts of the Fed's meetings show that Yellen was more prescient than most other Fed officials about the potential for a deep recession and weak recovery afterward.Yellen is well-known on Capitol Hill after years of testifying as Fed chair to Senate committees about the economy and interest rate policy. During those years, she frequently clashed with Republican lawmakers who accused her of keeping rates too low for too long after the 2008 financial crisis. Some of them charged that Yellen and her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, had elevated the risk of runaway inflation and asset bubbles that could destabilize financial markets.None of those fears came to pass. On the contrary, under Bernanke and Yellen — and later, under Powell — the Fed's more difficult challenge became raising inflation merely to the Fed's annual 2% target level. It has yet to do so consistently.Yellen, a Democrat, had served only one four-year term as Fed chair when President Donald Trump decided to replace her with Powell, a Republican, despite Yellen’s desire to serve another term. That move broke a four-decade tradition of presidents allowing Fed chairs to serve at least two terms even if they had first been nominated by a president of the opposing party.After leaving the Fed, Yellen became a distinguished fellow in residence at the liberal Brookings Institution in Washington, signalling her continuing interest in financial policymaking.When she stepped down from the Fed in early 2018, Shawn Sebastian, co-director of the Fed-Up coalition, a collection of progressive groups, called Yellen's departure “a loss for working people across the country." He hailed her efforts to take on “economic inequality, racial disparities in the economy, the role of women in the workplace and the need for more diversity at the Fed.”Yet some progressives have also criticized Yellen for the Fed's December 2015 decision to raise its benchmark rate from near zero, where it had been pegged since late 2008 in the midst of the financial crisis. That rate hike, which caused a sharp increase in the value of the dollar, contributed to a slowdown in U.S. economic growth in 2016 and is now seen by many economists as having been premature.Yellen is married to George Akerlof, a Nobel Prize-winning economist whom she met in a Fed cafeteria in 1977. They have one son, Robert, who is an economics professor.___AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.Christopher Rugaber And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
An opposition lawmaker called on Tuesday for Malaysia to outlaw online hate speech, accusing authorities of downplaying the gravity of an issue highlighted by a Reuters investigation into abuse on Facebook of Rohingya refugees and undocumented migrants. Citing the Reuters report on rising xenophobia online in Malaysia in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, lawmaker Chan Foong Hin asked the Communications and Multimedia Ministry last week to state its plans to combat such hate speech.
A B.C. surgeon who called his preteen patient a "loose woman" during an appointment has been fined and reprimanded by his professional regulator.Dr. Bruce Taro Yoneda, an orthopedic surgeon based in Victoria, has admitted that he "engaged in unprofessional conduct by using sexualized language during a surgical consult," according to a public notice posted Friday by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.Yoneda also acknowledged telling the same young patient he would give her a "lube job," and admitted he did not give her a full explanation before he began questioning her about her menstrual cycle.The college's inquiry committee, which investigates complaints against doctors, "was critical of the registrant's admitted conduct and concluded that his use of inappropriate language displayed a lack of insight," the notice says.As part of a consent agreement with the college, Yoneda has been fined $7,500, received a formal reprimand and has had his registration as a doctor transferred to "conditional" status. He's also agreed to take courses in clinical communication and professionalism.
B.C.'s health-care workers are pleading with the public to heed health orders while bracing for difficult working conditions as COVID-19 cases in the province continue to rise.On Monday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced there were another 1,933 cases of COVID-19 over the last three days and 17 more deaths.This comes just over two weeks after restrictions were initially put in place in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health authorities, and a few days after those restrictions were extended to cover the entire province. Christine Sorensen, president of the B.C. Nurses' Union, says nurses are frustrated when they see people continue to gather in groups and not follow the guidelines because that increases transmission and puts additional pressure on the health-care system."It puts greater demands on the staff that also fairly tired, looking for a bit of a rest and a break and really not seeing anything coming in the next few months, particularly with the holiday season coming and people wanting to mix and mingle with their friends and family," Sorensen said. Dr. Kathleen Ross, the president of Doctors of B.C., says the prospect of burnout is looming closer for many front line health-care workers. "Many of us are afraid to go home for fear of infecting our loved ones and many more of us drop our clothes at the door and run to the shower before we even greet our family," said Ross. "We're adjusting to the new normal ... but of course we cannot expect that surge capacity to last forever."And both Ross and Sorensen point out it is not just front line health-care workers shouldering the burden, but additional staff like cleaning crews and maintenance workers who keep the whole health-care system operational."There are lots of unsung heroes in the system, not just in the emergency rooms where there are doctors and nurses taking care of our most acutely ill," Sorensen said. Sorensen says she worries the spike in cases could escalate to point where essential health-care workers are kept on the job even if they've been exposed."[I'm] very concerned [about that]. Nurses are dedicated and they do want to continue working, but if we get enough nurses exposed or sick, we won't have enough nurses to deliver healthcare," she said. Ross says this is a crucial moment."If everyone does their part, if we all step forward and follow the public health guidelines as they have been laid out, then we'll get there. But we have to do it all together."
The staff tested positive last week and Maxwell was checked for the virus on Nov. 18 using a rapid test which was negative, the prosecutors said in a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan. Maxwell was placed in quarantine at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn for 14 days, said the letter. Maxwell has not shown any symptoms of COVID-19 and will be tested again at the end of her two-week quarantine.
Residents were given proper notice of a vote to remove Fort Simpson's liquor purchasing restrictions, according to N.W.T. finance minister Caroline Wawzonek. MLA for Nahendeh Shane Thompson – also a minister – posted to Facebook on Monday regarding concerns constituents had raised about the plebiscite held on November 12. Specifically, the post related to concerns about how much public notice was provided leading up to the vote and how to contact the official in charge of it. Residents ultimately voted overwhelmingly in favour of lifting alcohol restrictions in the community. Of 730 eligible voters, 240 cast a ballot and 175 of those were in favour of removing restrictions. The Department of Finance, which oversees liquor regulations in the N.W.T., is now in the process of implementing the result, which may take several weeks. Thompson's post relayed a message he had received from Wawzonek addressing concerns. “Based on all of the information I have received to date, I am confident in the integrity of the plebiscite held in the village of Fort Simpson,” Wawzonek's message to Thompson reads. Wawzonek states some residents who attend school away from Fort Simpson believe they did not receive adequate notice of the plebiscite. She concludes, however, that there was sufficient notice within the village, on Facebook, and through the media in the weeks and months before the vote. She adds returning officer Tammie Cazon fulfilled her duties in the Local Authorities Elections Act by providing public notice of the plebiscite, including details on how and where to vote. Wawzonek says Cazon met legislative requirements by posting public notices in five locations – the bank, the Northern store, the Unity store, the Nahanni Inn and Pandaville restaurant. “It is not the responsibility of the returning officer to locate and notify every resident of the community who may not be currently living in the community. That would be an impossible task," Wawzonek writes. "Voters bear some of the responsibility for informing themselves about how to exercise their democratic right to vote.” The final concern regards the returning officer’s email address and confusion about how to reach Cazon. Wawzonek again asserts faith in the process, saying her department confirmed with Cazon only one email address was distributed for voters to use. Proxy voting was an option in the plebiscite but, according to Wawzonek, Cazon did not receive any emails related to proxy voting. The community of Fort Simpson requested the plebiscite after a petition with more than 150 signatures from residents was turned in to the village council late last year, asking for action to try to remove the restrictions. Restrictions are set to be lifted in the coming weeks, though an exact date has not been set. Once the regulations are changed and restrictions lifted, the village is still bound to pandemic-related alcohol restrictions, which limit customers to a maximum of $200 per day at any liquor store in the territory and six mickeys (375-ml bottles) of spirits in a 24-hour period.Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
On Sunday evening the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) identified a positive COVID-19 case in three individuals at Ecole St. Mary High School in Prince Albert. In a news release by the Prince Albert Catholic School Division on Sunday evening the division explained that communication has been shared with the specific classroom/cohort, as well as the school community. These cases have not been school acquired according to the division. There had been several cases reported in October at St. Mary. The SHA is proceeding with their assessment of the situation, and all individuals deemed to be close contacts are being notified. “The classrooms/cohorts impacted by this case, barring any other cases, are required to Self-Isolate until midnight on Dec. 1 and these classrooms/cohorts will be move to remote learning until the isolation period is complete,” the division said in a release. These specific classrooms/cohorts are advised to contact 811Healthline for advice. “École St. Mary High School will resume classes Nov. 23 for all other students and staff that are not deemed to be close contacts. Public Health officials are advising all students and staff to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms daily and not to enter the school if ill.” No further information was made available citing privacy concerns. “Our thoughts and prayers are with this member of our school community, and we hope they are doing well.” They emphasized that everyone has a shared responsibility to decrease the risk of COVID-19 entering schools. “Thank you to everyone for continuing to be diligent in performing daily health screening, staying home if ill, calling HealthLine 811 if exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, practicing proper hand hygiene, maintaining physical distancing as much as possible, wearing a mask when appropriate and doing everything we can to keep each other safe,” the release stated.Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
VANCOUVER — An Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the BC Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. Maxwell Johnson's complaint says both he and his 12-year-old granddaughter were detained last December by Vancouver police officers when they tried to open an account at the Bank of Montreal using their Indigenous status cards.His complaint alleges that the bank called 911 over an identification issue because they are Indigenous, while it accuses the police of racial profiling that led to their detention and the use of handcuffs. Johnson released details of the human rights complaint in a news release issued on the website of the Heiltsuk First Nation. He and his granddaughter are members of the First Nation in Bella Bella.He said in an interview on Monday that the incident has led to a resurgence in his panic and anxiety attacks."It's affected me quite a bit," Johnson said. "When this happened to us, my anxiety just went through the roof. I started counselling again. It's affected my motivation, my thought process, quite a bit of stuff."Johnson is seeking compensation and wants a public apology from the Vancouver Police Board, the police department and the bank. Const. Tania Visintin of the Vancouver Police Department said in a statement that the circumstances are regrettable and that the actions of the responding officers are being investigated by the Office of Police Complaints Commissioner.The department is also reviewing its policy for future situations with a report to be submitted to the police board, she said. The Bank of Montreal said in a statement that it "deeply regrets the situation that took place in Vancouver in December 2019 involving Mr. Johnson and his granddaughter."The bank apologized again and said it was "humbled and honoured" to be invited by the Heiltsuk Nation to participate in a healing ceremony for the Johnson family in Bella Bella. Since then, it has established an Indigenous advisory council and conducted cultural training for bank staff."We continue to seek ways to ensure we are doing better for our Indigenous customers," the statement says.Johnson questioned the actions of police, particularly why officers placed him and his granddaughter in handcuffs if they were only being detained."It was so hard when we were detained. We had to prove who we were and where we came from," he said. "It gets so tiring trying to prove who you are as a First Nations person."Marilyn Slett, the chief councillor of the Heiltsuk First Nation, said her community wants to see changes in the way the Bank of Montreal and the Vancouver Police Department handle Indigenous issues."We're a long ways away from reconciliation when these types of things happen to our people when they're trying to open up a bank account," she said in an interview. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.Nick Wells, The Canadian Press
Britain's telecoms companies could be fined up to 10% of turnover or 100,000 pounds ($133,140) a day if they contravene a ban on using equipment made by China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd under a new law put forward on Tuesday. The Telecommunications (Security) Bill will boost the security standards of the UK's telecoms networks and remove the threat of high-risk vendors, the government said. Britain in July decided to ban the use of Huawei in 5G networks from the end of 2027 because of concerns that U.S. sanctions on chip technology meant the Chinese company would not be a reliable supplier.
TRANSPORT. Le ministère des Transports rappelle aux propriétaires de véhicules routiers motorisés et immatriculés au Québec que ces derniers doivent obligatoirement être munis de pneus d'hiver, et ce, au plus tard le 1er décembre prochain. En contexte de pandémie, les automobilistes sont invités à planifier la pose de leurs pneus dès maintenant afin d'être prêts à affronter la saison hivernale. Cette obligation s'applique à tout véhicule routier motorisé et immatriculé au Québec autre qu'un véhicule lourd, un véhicule-outil ou une machine agricole. Elle s'applique également à tout véhicule en location sans égard à son lieu d'immatriculation. Les propriétaires, tout comme les locateurs de ces véhicules, doivent se conformer à l'obligation pour la période du 1er décembre 2020 au 15 mars 2021. Quiconque contreviendrait à la réglementation commettrait une infraction et serait passible d'une amende variant de 200 $ à 300 $. Rappelons qu'un pneu conçu pour la conduite hivernale est un pneu sur lequel est apposé le pictogramme officiel ou un pneu muni de crampons et utilisé conformément au Règlement sur l’utilisation d’antidérapants sur les pneus de certains véhicules routiers. C’est en 2018 que l'Assemblée nationale a adopté la Loi modifiant le Code de la sécurité routière et d'autres dispositions, dont les nouvelles règles devançaient au 1er décembre l'obligation pour un véhicule d'être muni de pneus d'hiver. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
China launched an ambitious mission on Tuesday to bring back material from the moon's surface for the first time in more than 40 years - an undertaking that could boost human understanding of the moon and of the solar system more generally. (Nov. 24)
A combination of little activity and fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic led to a decision to give away, not rent, toys at Jasper's Toy Lending Library, located in the Anglican Church. The toys are free and donations are welcome too, and will go to Santa's Anonymous. "There hasn't been much activity taking out toys," said Melody Gaboury, who started the toy lending library with Anglican Church Reverend Andreas Sigrist, last fall. Donations came from Jasper parents, the church network in Edmonton and a store called Once Upon a Time, and the toys, games and costumes have been free to rent since then, on the condition they're returned clean. "The toy lending room wasn't as busy as I hoped," Gaboury said. "The main reason I wanted to do this is because children don't need it to come in a package to be special. “A new toy is a new toy, the plastic packaging isn't important. The fact is they get a new toy to play with. It's new to them. It doesn't need to be brand new.” Gaboury lives by example. She said there have been very few times when she has purchased new toys for her children. "Research has shown that if children have too many choices, they're not going to be as creative and use what they have, and get bored. It's just not necessary,” she said. "I told my kids we're going to start sharing our toys with the community.” The COVID pandemic has presented challenges in many forms including employment. With either loss of a job, or a reduced number of hours being worked, "There's going to be a lot of people who need Santa's Anonymous this year,” Gaboury said. "Instead of bringing toys to the thrift shop after Christmas, they can be dropped off before Christmas at the Anglican Church, by the office door. “Do it now, because people are going to need help." In the current stock of toys, Gaboury said there are a lot for children under the age of five, but not as many for kids older than five. The Toy Lending Library is accepting cleaned toys that are in complete sets and in good condition. All toys are disinfected after they are donated. Toys can be picked up on the same days the Jasper Food Recovery items are available: Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. The initiative started on Nov. 19 and Gaboury said she is happy to report $50 has been donated already.Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
L'avocate et militante des droits des animaux Me Anne-France Goldwater menace d'entamer des procédures judiciaires contre la Ville de Longueuil si elle ne suspend pas le début de l'opération d'abattage d'une quinzaine de cerfs de Virginie au parc Michel-Chartrand. Lors d'une conférence de presse virtuelle organisée par Sauvetage Animale Rescue, une organisation qui a pour mission de protéger les animaux en détresse, lundi après-midi, Me Goldwater a dit souhaiter discuter avec la Ville de Longueuil à propos de solutions pour éviter que cette «tuerie» n'ait lieu. La municipalité de la Rive-Sud a annoncé plus tôt en novembre sa décision d'euthanasier une quinzaine de cerfs en raison de la surpopulation dans le parc. Selon les autorités municipales, cette surpopulation menace l'avenir écologique du parc, le risque d'accidents de la route est augmenté de même que celui de transmission de la maladie de Lyme. Et la Ville ajoute que le déplacement des cerfs dans d'autres régions présenterait des inconvénients importants. La flamboyante avocate, qui avait pris la défense des pitbulls montréalais au cours des dernières années, a dit trouver «extrêmement difficile à supporter qu'on va abattre des animaux pour rien». Me Goldwater a expliqué que sa requête remettrait en question la décision de la municipalité d'aller de l'avant avec l'abattage des cerfs «de manière si empressée, sans consultation publique». La requête contiendrait une demande d'injonction interlocutoire pour suspendre l'opération. La municipalité refuse de dire quand elle compte débuter l'opération d'abattage pour laquelle son permis est entré en vigueur lundi et demeure valide jusqu'au 4 décembre. Plusieurs policiers étaient présents au parc lundi. «Je ne donne aucun ultimatum, a déclaré l'avocate, mais je propose un délai très court parce que le problème auquel fait face la Ville c'est qu'ils ont un permis qui ne vaut que pour deux semaines.» Selon elle, un délai de 24 heures serait «raisonnable» pour que la Ville manifeste ses intentions. L'avocate a cependant reconnu que le plan de Longueuil «n'est pas illégal» puisque la Ville détient le permis approprié pour abattre les animaux. «S'ils agissent aujourd'hui, ce sera dans la légalité. C'est pour ça que ça prend une requête devant un tribunal pour obtenir un sursis de ce projet-là pour nous donner le temps de soumettre l'autre projet», a-t-elle ajouté. Le Code civil du Québec précise depuis 2015 que les animaux «ne sont pas des biens», que ce sont «des êtres doués de sensibilité» et qu'ils «ont des impératifs biologiques». Me Goldwater compte invoquer cet article de loi, mais estime que cela présente «certains défis parce que c'est difficile de faire reconnaître que les animaux ont le moindre droit à part d'être des objets». «Ce sont des lois qui n'ont pas de becs, ongles ou griffes. Quand j'essaie de les invoquer, mes réussites sont mitigées.» Sauvetage Animale Rescue propose à la Ville de Longueuil de relocaliser gratuitement les 15 cerfs vers des refuges de la faune prêts à les accueillir. Le «plan opérationnel» précise que les bêtes seraient d'abord mises en quarantaine pendant quelques jours dans un enclos temporaire qui serait construit au parc. Durant cette période, l'état de santé des animaux serait examiné et une équipe médicale pourrait s'assurer d'éradiquer des maladies transmissibles afin qu'elles ne soient pas exportées dans une autre région. Les cerfs seraient ensuite capturés par sédation à l'aide d'un fusil tranquillisant sous assistance vétérinaire. L'opération s'échelonnerait sur un à deux mois puisque les cerfs seraient capturés tous les deux à trois jours. Ils seraient déplacés vers un enclos temporaire pour une autre quarantaine durant laquelle ils subiraient un examen vétérinaire. Les animaux seraient finalement transportés vers un ou des lieux approuvés par le ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs. Sauvetage Animale Rescue précise que les cerfs pourraient être relocalisés dans un «environnement sauvage» en juin ou juillet, soit une période plus propice à leur relâche. Le plan a été transmis à la Ville jeudi. «On est face à un mur, a déclaré Eric Dussault, directeur général de Sauvetage Animale Rescue. Un mur politique qui ne veut pas prendre en considération une solution du privé. (...) Nous sommes une entité privée qui a pour mission de sauver des animaux pour qui personne ne veut payer.» Deux manifestations ont eu lieu au cours des derniers jours pour le sauvetage des cerfs. \- Texte de l'Initiative de journalisme localMichel Saba, Initiative de journalisme local, La Presse Canadienne
With frosty weather rolling into town, Montreal is ramping up its effort to get the city's homeless population safely inside for the winter — offering a range of options such as hotel accommodations, a shuttle bus, warming stations and even storage lockers.Mayor Valérie Plante said on Tuesday that authorities can't force people to move indoors, but the city is doing everything it can to encourage all those in need to take advantage of the various services offered. "We need to bring people to other types of services because it is getting cold out there," she said."We are lucky because we have a lot of different types of resources."Teams are heading out to the far reaches of the city, not just downtown, to hand out notices and build awareness of the various warming stations, overnight shelters and organizations that work to help homeless people get back on their feet.One of the first stops Tuesday morning was the large encampment along Notre-Dame Street just east of downtown, trying to get people to move and store their camping equipment for the winter."There are still people who live in tents, there are some on Notre-Dame but there are some in other places where people are in tents," Plante said."So today we are starting this exercise of solidarity, going to every person and telling them about the different options for them."Notices were distributed to people living along Notre-Dame Street, alerting them to the plan to help them move.Teams then arrived Tuesday to help residents pack up their belongings and transport them to temporary shelters, like the Hotel Place Dupuis, where there are 380 hotel beds available.Plante said there are several other places for people to spend the night, rather than trying to survive southern Quebec's bitter cold.Working to keep homeless people safeThe city has been working since the early days of the pandemic to help the homeless population stay safe. Back in late March and April, temporary shelters were set up with hygiene measures in place.But when the warmer weather moved in, people moved out and many took to camping in city parks — something that is usually against the rules.Montreal relaxed restrictions in some areas and the stretch of green along Notre-Dame slowly filled up with residents over the summer. Since then, people have been reluctant to move out.The Welcome Hall Mission is managing the shelter inside the Hotel Place Dupuis. It is open to people of all genders and their pets too.Sam Watts, the organization's CEO, has said the hotel is designed to help people connect with resources and, hopefully, to begin the process of getting off the streets for good.He said in early November that there will be outreach workers on site to work with those who stay there."What we're going to do is find out what they need and refer them to that right spot," he said.Solidaribus to be on the move 18 hours a dayThe Old Brewery Mission is also partnering with the city in helping to connect people to resources.But rather than relying only on the organization's van to shuttle people around as was done in the past, a city bus — called Solidaribus — will be on the move 18 hours a day, seven days a week.James Hughes, the mission's president and CEO, said the bus will help keep people safely distanced while transporting them from the streets to a warm place to spend the night."When anybody wants a place, we will be there to pick them up and bring them inside," said Hughes."It's our responsibility collectively to make sure we offer a place to everyone who wants one."Inspectors with the city's transit authority, the STM, will also be patrolling the Metro network alongside Montreal police officers and social workers from the Société de développement social to help connect people to services."We will protect people and keep people safe," said Hughes on Tuesday, speaking alongside Plante in the Place-des-Arts Metro station."That's our obligation and that's the one we are fulfilling through this announcement today."
WARSAW, Poland — Police detained several people and charged a female photojournalist with assaulting a police officer as women-led protests over abortion rights flared up again on Monday in Poland.Soon after the protest in Warsaw began, police arrived and forcibly removed people, including photojournalist Agata Grzybowska.It was the first case of a reporter being detained during the month of protests that have rocked Poland after a high court ruled in favour of a near-total abortion ban.Officers dragged Grzybowska away as bystanders called on them to stop, saying that she was a journalist. A large group then gathered outside the police station in central Warsaw where she was taken, rallying on her behalf as they waited hours for her release.After she was let go, Grzybowska said that she was charged with assaulting an officer, something she denied. In video footage of the incident circulating in Polish media, Grzybowska does not appear to act aggressively to the officers.She told The Associated Press that an officer appeared to be angered by her use of a flash when she took photos and that he kicked her.Police spokesman Mariusz Ciarka said on TVN24 that police did not realize at the time of her arrest that she was a journalist, though she can be seen in videos holding up her press credentials.Lawmakers from the centrist opposition party Civic Platform went to the police station to intervene on behalf of the reporter and another detained person. One of them, Sen. Bogdan Klich accused police of growing increasingly aggressive toward protesters, in quotes carried by the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper.The protests, organized by the group Women's Strike, have been occurring regularly ever since the country's constitutional court issued an Oct. 22 ruling that further tightens an abortion law that was already one of the most restrictive in Europe.Women and many others have reacted with rage to a step they believe deprives citizens of a fundamental freedom. They have been defying the risk of contagion and a ban on gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic to join demonstrations that have drawn hundreds of thousands of people across the nation of 38 million people.The protests have also come to encompass other grievances against the conservative ruling party, including the detentions of people taking part in the demonstrations.On Monday, protesters blocked traffic in Warsaw while others gathered in front of the Education Ministry building in an expression of solidarity with teachers who have been threatened with disciplinary reprisals by the education minister for supporting the protests.Several people handcuffed themselves to the ministry gate and and a large banner was hung reading, “Free abortion and free education.”One woman glued her hand to the gate of the Education Ministry and the police worked for about an hour to unglue her before she was taken away in an ambulance.As mass protests have continued, the government has so far not taken the legal action needed for the abortion ruling to take effect..Vanessa Gera, The Associated Press