Pancho the rescue cat absolutely loves playing with Jinxy!
Pancho the rescue cat absolutely loves playing with Jinxy!
China's medical products regulator said on Thursday that it had approved two more COVID-19 vaccines for public use, raising the number of domestically produced vaccines that can be used in China to four. The two newly cleared vaccines are made by CanSino Biologics Inc (CanSinoBIO) and Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, an affiliate of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). They join a vaccine from Sinovac Biotech approved earlier this month, and another from Sinopharm's Beijing unit approved last year.
A North Battleford woman and alleged Westside gang member had court appearances scheduled in Lloydminster and Meadow Lake Provincial Courts and the matters were adjourned. Tonia Cantel, 22, is charged in connection to several separate incidents. She was denied bail in January. In February the Crown said they continue to oppose her release. Cantel has been in custody at Pinegrove Correctional Centre for women in Prince Albert since her arrest in November 2020. In the November 2020 incident, where Cantel and four others allegedly took police on a 150-kilomtre, two-hour chase, she is charged with theft of a vehicle, storing a prohibited firearm, four counts of possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, two counts of carrying a concealed weapon, possessing a firearm without a license, being in a vehicle with an unauthorized firearm, possessing a prohibited firearm with accessible ammunition without registration, possession of a firearm with an altered serial number, endangering the safety of the public and flight from police. For those charges Cantel had an appearance scheduled in Lloydminster Provincial Court on Feb. 23 and the matter was adjourned. In that incident, police also arrested Juanita Wahpistikwin, Kyle Lajimodiere and two young offenders who can’t be named in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Earlier this month, Wahpistikwin was sentenced to 18 months in jail for her part in that incident. Lajimodiere’s trial is set for June 29 and 30, 2021, in Lloydminster Provincial Court. Cantel also has charges out of Big River including aggravated assault, operation of a vehicle causing bodily harm, robbery, and possession of property obtained by crime. For those charges she had an appearance scheduled in Pierceland Circuit Court on Feb. 16. The charges against Cantel haven’t been proven in court. She is now scheduled to appear in Meadow Lake Provincial Court on March 9. If you are associated with a gang and want to leave it, contact STR8 UP in northern Saskatchewan at 306-763-3001, STR8 UP in central Saskatchewan at 306-244-1771, or Regina Treaty Status Indian Services in southern Saskatchewan at 306-522-7494 to get assistance. email@example.com Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
De nouvelles voix s’élèvent pour s’opposer publiquement au modèle de financement que souhaite implanter la Fédération des clubs de motoneigistes du Québec (FCMQ) afin de réduire les écarts de revenus entre les divers clubs de la province. Depuis deux semaines, les instances de plusieurs clubs d’un peu partout se mobilisent contre le nouveau modèle, Objectif 2020, auquel ils ont adhéré sous forme de projet-pilote. En vertu de ce modèle, appliqué à l’invitation de la FCMQ, une somme de 200 $ est accordée pour chaque kilomètre de sentier reconnu auquel s’ajoute une somme de 70 $ pour chaque heure de surfaçage effectué ainsi que 10 $ par membre d’un club ayant acquis un droit d’accès. Sous la formule traditionnelle, chaque club reçoit de la FCMQ 160 $ par droit d’accès acquis. Depuis la sortie médiatique de mardi faite dans Le Quotidien par des dirigeants de clubs du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, certains dirigeants de clubs de la région des Laurentides et de Québec ont tenu à faire part de leur opposition au projet Objectif 2020. Soulignons au départ que tous ont convenu de la nécessité de mieux répartir les revenus tirés des droits d’accès entre les clubs dits « riches » et ceux plus « pauvres ». Clément Belval, trésorier du Club de motoneige Blizard, qui opère un réseau de 2473 kilomètres dans les secteurs Sainte-Marguerite du Lac Masson, L’Esterel, Entrelacs et Saint-Hippolyte, accuse la FCMQ de vouloir s’approprier tout l’argent des clubs locaux au détriment de leur autonomie, et ce, avec l’établissement d’une formule uniforme à travers toute la province, sans tenir compte des réalités régionales ou locales. « Il y a deux ans, la FCMQ a voulu nous embarquer dans sa nouvelle formule. Les 21 clubs des Laurentides, on s’est réunis pour établir un partage régional. On a proposé ça à la FCMQ et on n’a même pas eu de réponse », affirme-t-il. Il précise que dans le cadre du projet proposé, la région des Laurentides aurait dû transférer ses surplus de 300 000 $ à 400 000 $ pour éponger le déficit des clubs gaspésiens. M. Belval prédit que si la nouvelle formule est appliquée à l’ensemble de la province, c’est le sentiment d’appartenance et le bénévolat au sein des clubs qui risquent de s’effriter, tandis qu’on assistera à une hausse des droits d’accès. Il compare la situation à l’organisation du Canada, dans lequel le fédéral, assimilé à la FCMQ, disposerait de tout l’argent, alors que les provinces (clubs) devraient quémander l’argent alors qu’ils fournissent les bénévoles sur le terrain, la négociation des droits de passage, etc. Dans la région de Québec, une autre réalité a été exprimée par Mario Bernier, président du Club de motoneige Le Petit Sentier Saint-Émile. Ce club compte 750 membres et entretient 35 kilomètres de sentiers en milieu fortement urbanisé, entre le marché Jean-Talon, la réserve de Wendake et Stoneham, Lac-Saint-Charles et le Haut-Charlesbourg. Il s’agit d’un secteur névralgique où passe le sentier 3 reliant l’est et l’ouest de la province. M. Bernier affirme qu’il n’est pas question d’embarquer dans Objectif 2020, même s’il est d’accord pour une meilleure redistribution des revenus entre les clubs, à la condition de ne pas déshabiller les plus riches au profit des plus pauvres. « Le point d’accrochage avec la FCMQ est la façon dont on redistribue l’argent. On ne tient pas compte de la réalité des milieux. Nous ici, on doit négocier huit droits de passage pour traverser un kilomètre de sentier. Avec la nouvelle formule, la FCMQ veut nous couper les deux tiers de nos revenus », affirme-t-il. Selon lui, avec 33 000 kilomètres de sentiers à entretenir et plus d’une centaine de clubs actifs, il serait peut-être temps de parler de fusions et de rationalisation du réseau. Il ajoute que la volonté d’établir le nouveau modèle tel qu’il a été élaboré est inacceptable pour la majorité des clubs de la province et qu’il revient aux membres des clubs de prendre les décisions et non à la FCMQ de décider pour la base. « Ça prend une décision de nous tous. La FCMQ est là pour nous représenter, ce qui n’est pas le cas actuellement », conclut-il. Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Many people dream of their retirement day, and finally find time to pick up new hobbies or travel but for Dr. Robert Lidkea, it is the last thing on his mind. Lidkea was born in North Bay and came to Fort Frances after he graduated from university. He said he would have stayed in North Bay but there were no openings for an optometrist and he was forced to find a job elsewhere. Lidkea came to Fort Frances in 1952 to become part of the Fort Frances Clinic. At the time the clinic only had two M. D’s, a dentist, an optometrist who was looking to retire and a pharmacy. In 1952 Lidkea was the youngest practicing optometrist in Ontario and now in 2021, he is the oldest optometrist at 90. He graduated as a registered optometrist in 1952 from the College of Optometrists in Toronto and in 1957, he returned for his post graduate studies and earned his doctor of optometry. Lidkea said jokingly he continues to work because he needs the money, but in reality he said he could not stay home all day. Lidkea said he officially retired on Jan.1 and went back to work on Jan. 21. “I just enjoy doing what I’m doing, that’s all,” Lidkea said. “I’m happy to come to work.” It may only be for one day a week, but Lidkea said he always looks forward to it. Lidkea was president of the Ontario Association of Optometrists from 1975 to 1976. He was accepted as a fellow in the American Academy of Optometrists in 1983 and was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Waterloo in 1987. Lidkea said when he first began practicing, an eye exam was $3. “It’s quite a long stretch since then,” Lidkea said. “A lot of knowledge and a lot of changes, knowledge and training, everything’s changed.” Lidkea said he has been learning all his life as the training never stops. “When I graduated there was not even such a thing as calculator so it’s been a very long learning process but it’s not all at once, it’s been very gradual,” Lidkea said. He adds that is has been helpful working with his son Bruce who has been able to coach him through all the new technology. Bruce is now the primary practitioner. Lidkea has also been an active member in the community, through clubs and volunteer work. He has been a member of the Kiwanis Club of Fort Frances since he came in 1952 and has 60 years of perfect attendance. He became president of the club in 1961 and was elected Lt. Governor in 1973. He has now been the secretary for many years. Lidkea was also elected to town council for two terms and has served on many local boards. In 2004, Lidkea was honoured with the Ontario Association of Optometrists 2004 Milenium Award for Public Service. The award recognizes a member of the Ontario Association of Optometrists who has performed extraordinary public service in either a professional or non-professional capacity. In 2007, Lidkea received the Fort Frances Citizen of the Year award. Lidkea said his favourite part of the job is interacting with people in the community, adding that in some families, he has cared for five generations. “It’s been an interesting life,” Lidkea said. “My wife and I have been blessed with good health and we’re getting by quite well.” Lidkea said he gets to see his two sons quite often and has coffee with his friends every morning at 10 a.m. sharp. The secret to a long career, according to Lidkea, is being passionate about what you do. “If you’re eager to get to work in the morning, you’ve got the right job,” Lidkea said. “If you aren’t happy going to work, you got the wrong job.” Natali Trivuncic, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times
Le CLD de Brome-Missisquoi invite les très petites, petites et moyennes entreprises qui ont un manque de liquidité à le contacter pour déterminer si elles sont admissibles à un programme d’aide d’urgence (PAUPME), dont une partie peut se transformer en subvention. « Le salon de coiffure, la petite boutique du coin et même la cantine, ils peuvent passer par le prêt pour avoir un pardon de prêt qui va jusqu’à 80 % du prêt initial. On ne demande pas la rentabilité de l’entreprise, on vise la viabilité, indique Isabelle Dumont, conseillère en développement d’entreprises au CLD. Il faut que leurs problèmes découlent de la pandémie et non d’avant la pandémie. » Le prêt permet d’éponger un manque de liquidité résultant de la pandémie. Il est accessible à toutes les PME, même si elles n’ont pas été obligées de fermer leurs portes depuis le début de la deuxième vague de COVID-19. Le pardon de prêt, soit le AERAM, qui permet aux entrepreneurs d’être libérés d’une partie de cette dette, s’applique aux frais fixes des PME qui ont été fermées par décret gouvernemental. Gym, restaurant, services non essentiels ne sont que quelques exemples des entreprises admissibles. Selon Mme Dumont, ce ne sont pas toutes les PME qui sont au courant de l’existence de ces programmes. Le CLD joue le rôle de facilitateur dans la demande. La conseillère prend le temps de bien vulgariser le programme et le CLD a même élaboré un formulaire simple pour déterminer l’admissibilité. Une pression de moins La Galerie Artêria, à Bromont, a eu droit à un prêt ainsi qu’à un pardon de prêt puisqu’elle a dû fermer à partir des Fêtes. La propriétaire Geneviève Lévesque a eu une « petite panique » quand le gouvernement a annoncé que les commerces non essentiels allaient devoir fermer à partir du 24 décembre. Elle avait déjà vécu une première fermeture de trois mois au printemps. De plus, ses employés ne peuvent plus voyager à travers le monde pour vendre des tableaux d’artistes québécois. Le chiffre d’affaires de la petite entreprise bromontoise a donc fondu depuis maintenant un an. Le programme d’aide a permis la survie de la galerie d’art. « Ça enlève une pression, ça nous donne de meilleures nuits, confie Mme Lévesque. On pense qu’on va passer à travers, mais on ne sait pas combien de temps il faut survivre, donc tous les petits coups de pouce font la différence. De sentir qu’on n’est pas laissé à nous-même, de sentir que les gens croient en notre projet, ça fait du bien. » L’exportation d’œuvres d’art se poursuit, mais repose sur la réputation que la galerie auprès de clients réguliers qui leur font confiance. Processus simplifié par le CLD La coiffeuse Nathalie Dépeault, de Coiffure Ovima à Farnham, peut mieux respirer grâce au programme d’aide d’urgence pour les PME et au pardon de prêt. Elle a trouvé le processus simple et efficace avec le CLD. « Quand on a fermé le 24 décembre, on devait fermer jusqu’au 8 janvier seulement. J’avais assez d’argent d’accumulé pour le loyer, mais la fermeture s’est prolongée. Je ne me qualifiais pas pour de l’aide au loyer au fédéral et quand je regardais les critères des autres programmes, je ne fittais dans rien. Ça commençait à m’apeurer parce que je voyais les prochains mois s’en venir vite. » En deux semaines, le processus pour accéder au PAUPME était complété et Mme Dépeault obtenait de l’aide financière. « Ça réduit beaucoup d’anxiété de savoir qu’on peut compter sur de l’aide. Je me suis sentie bien accompagnée. Je me sentais moins seule. » Quelques éléments du programme de pardon de prêt ont été modifiés. Les mois de novembre et de décembre ne sont plus admissibles pour les nouveaux demandeurs. Par contre, si l’entreprise a dû fermer plus de 90 jours, elle aura droit à un ou deux mois supplémentaires de pardon de prêt, indique Isabelle Dumont. Elle invite les entrepreneurs et travailleurs autonomes à la joindre au 450 266-4928, poste 301, ou par courriel au firstname.lastname@example.org pour obtenir des informations et vérifier leur admissibilité. Au cours des derniers mois, le CLD de Brome-Missisquoi a reçu 375 demandes d’information et 120 demandes d’aide financière. Les membres de son équipe de conseillers ont ouvert 95 dossiers et approuvé 85 demandes de prêt. Dix dossiers sont toujours à l’étude. L’organisme s’est déjà vu attribuer une demi-douzaine de subventions gouvernementales, dans le cadre du Fonds local d’investissement (FLI) d’urgence, pour soutenir la communauté d’affaires locale. Une bonne partie de cette somme, soit environ 2,65 M$, a déjà été redistribuée à quelque 77 entreprises sous forme de prêts d’une valeur moyenne de 34 400 $. « Nous disposons présentement d’une réserve de 869 000 $ pour répondre aux nouvelles demandes d’aide financière », souligne Mme Dumont. Cynthia Laflamme, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix de l'Est
(Submitted by The Front Yard Flower Co. - image credit) Flower vendors are worried B.C.'s COVID-19 rules for farmers' markets could lead to greenhouses full of blooms going to waste. Farmers' markets are considered an essential service and have been allowed to continue operating throughout the pandemic. However, non-food vendors like potters, jewelry and soap makers and flower sellers are excluded from in-person sales. This rule was lifted for a time last summer before being reinstated in December. Flower farmers plan months ahead, ordering seeds and growing plants throughout the winter, said Rachel Ryall, who owns River and Sea Flowers in Ladner. "We planted the current flowers that will be blooming over the next month back in September and October, assuming things would be alright to sell them again," Ryall said. "I can't stop them from flowering. They're coming." Rose Dykstra, owner of The Front Yard Flower Co. in Richmond, says it was never clear why non-food vendors were excluded from selling in farmers' markets. She has started a petition urging non-food vendors be allowed back. She has sold her flowers at the Vancouver Farmers Market for years and says the market has maintained strict rules throughout the pandemic to keep visitors and vendors safe. Spring flowers like tulips, narcissus, ranunculus and anemones will be ready soon and she's worried about lost sales and wasted blooms — she says she's not equipped for large-scale delivery across the Lower Mainland. "I feel like maybe we've been forgotten, because we're not vegetable farmers, we're kind of a smaller segment of vendors," Dykstra said. Rose Dykstra, owner of The Front Yard Flower Co. in Richmond, says it was never clear why non-food vendors were excluded from selling in farmers' markets. She has started a petition asking that non-food vendors be allowed back. Laura Smit, executive director of Vancouver Farmers Market, says although she is grateful the province has permitted markets to continue operating, it's never been made clear why non-food vendors aren't allowed. The farmers' market has been working since December to bring back non-food vendors, and she says if the rule is not overturned, it will have a big impact on the bottom line for flower vendors in particular. "Their product is absolutely seasonal," Smit said. "It's not something that is shelf-stable and can sit around to be sold later on in August. Literally the spring time is when these flower farmers are planning for, preparing for, and they don't understand why they can't come to market and we don't either." Spring flowers like tulips, narcissus, ranunculus and anemones will be ready soon and Rose Dykstra is worried about lost sales and wasted blooms if she can't bring them to the market. In an email to CBC News, the B.C. Ministry of Health said the rule is in an effort to keep the risk of COVID-19 transmission down, and added that non-food vendors can do online sales and pick-up orders. "The reason that food vendors are allowed is that farmers' markets are essential food and agriculture service providers," a spokesperson said. "The B.C. government will continue to listen to feedback from the community and stakeholders and adjust our response to support businesses as needed." Soap also not allowed — during a pandemic It's not just flower farmers who are concerned. Shea Hogan hopes he will be able to sell his natural bar soap at farmers' markets again this spring. The owner of PoCo Soap Co. says farmers' markets used to be a big part of his business and a way to build relationships with customers. He says it's ironic that, as a non-food vendor, he can't sell soap in a pandemic. He believes buying items from an outdoor farmers' market is among the safest ways to shop. "It was frustrating because other than being arbitrary and general, we're being told to wash our hands with soap and water," Hogan said. "And as a maker and seller of soap, to not be allowed to sell soap somewhere seems ... extra weird."
ROME — Italy paid tribute Thursday to its ambassador to Congo and his bodyguard who were killed in an attack on a U.N. convoy, honouring them with a state funeral and prayers for peace in Congo and all nations “torn by war and violence.” Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the pope’s vicar for Rome, presided over the solemn funeral at the Santa Maria degli Angeli basilica that was attended by Premier Mario Draghi, top lawmakers, representatives of the armed forces and relatives of the young men. Ambassador Luca Attanasio and Carabiniere paramilitary officer Vittorio Iacovacci were killed Monday north of Goma when an armed group stopped them as they travelled in a two-car convoy to a World Food Program school feeding project. WFP's Congolese driver, Moustapha Milambo, was also killed in the attack. Italy has formally asked the U.N. for an inquiry into what happened amid questions about whether the U.N. security arrangements were sufficient for the mission. In his eulogy, De Donatis decried the “stupid and ferocious” attack and said it was right that Italy, Congo and the community of nations weep over such violence that “tore Luca and Vittorio from this world." “Let us pray together that today is a day in which the prayer for peace in Congo and in all nations torn by various forms of war and violence is raised to heaven," he said. He denounced how so many Congolese feel the constant threat of danger from rebel groups “knocking at their door,” saying the country had been “cruelly devastated by violence that sees their children die every day.” But he praised the men for working for peace and looking out for others “even at the cost of their own lives.” “If this the fate of peace workers, what will be the fate of the rest of us?” he asked. The funeral, carried live on state RAI television, featured masked Carabinieri officers as pallbearers and altar servers, with a military band performing Chopin’s haunting “Funeral March” as the flag-draped coffins were carried in and out of the basilica. After the service, the socially-distanced crowd applauded as the two hearses pulled out of the piazza carrying the coffins for burial, flanked by a police escort. Attanasio is survived by his wife and three young daughters, at least one of whom attended the funeral, as well as his parents and siblings. Iacovacci is survived by his fiancee and other family members. Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press
Chinese retailer Suning.com said on Thursday shareholders plan to sell 20% to 25% of the company to unnamed buyers which might lead to a change in control as its parent seeks to raise cash. The company said it was notified of the stake sale by its founder Zhang Jindong and its parent Suning Appliance Group, who respectively hold a 20.96% and 19.88% stake in the firm. Suning.com's other shareholders include e-commerce giant Alibaba Group which bought a 19.99% stake as part of a strategic partnership in 2015.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — “Better Call Saul,” the prequel spinoff to the hugely successful series “Breaking Bad,” will begin production in New Mexico on its sixth and final season beginning in March. White Turtle Casting officials told the Albuquerque Journal that production will begin in the second week of March and the agency is looking for stand-ins for the series. Pre-production is currently underway, and the crew is being quarantined and tested for the upcoming start, the Journal reported Wednesday. Production originally was set for March 2020, but it was moved because of the pandemic. There will be 13 episodes in the final season, although no air date has been confirmed. “Better Call Saul” has been shot in New Mexico since 2015. The production has given nearly $178,000 to the state’s film programs. The Associated Press
BERLIN — A German man has been charged with espionage for allegedly passing information on properties used by the German parliament to Russian military intelligence, prosecutors said Thursday. The suspect, identified only as Jens F. in line with German privacy rules, worked for a company that had been repeatedly contracted to check portable electrical appliances by the Bundestag, or the lower house of parliament, federal prosecutors said in a statement. As a result of that, he had access to PDF files with floor plans of the properties involved. The Bundestag is based in the Reichstag building, a Berlin landmark, but also uses several other sites. Prosecutors said, at some point before early September 2017, the suspect “decided of his own accord” to give information on the properties to Russian intelligence. They said he sent the PDF files to an employee of the Russian Embassy in Berlin who was an officer with Russia's GRU military intelligence agency. They didn't specify how his activities came to light. The charges against the suspect, who is not in custody, were filed at a Berlin court on Feb. 12. The court will have to decide whether to go ahead with a trial. Relations between Germany and Russia have been buffeted by a growing list of issues in recent years. In October, the European Union imposed sanctions on two Russian officials and part of the GRU agency over a cyberattack against the German parliament in 2015. In addition, a Russian man accused of killing a Georgian man in broad daylight in downtown Berlin on Moscow’s orders in 2019 is on trial in Berlin. And last year's poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was flown to Germany for treatment and then arrested immediately after he returned to Russia, has added another layer of tensions. The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Stephen King doesn't think of himself as a horror writer. “My view has always been you can call me whatever you want as long as the checks don't bounce,” King told The Associated Press during a recent telephone interview. “My idea is to tell a good story, and if it crosses some lines and it doesn't fit one particular genre, that's good.” Readers may know him best for “Carrie,” “The Shining” and other bestsellers commonly identified as “horror,” but King has long had an affinity for other kinds of narratives, from science fiction and prison drama to the Boston Red Sox. Over the past decade, he has written three novels for the imprint Hard Case Crime: “Joyland,” “The Colorado Kid” and “Later,” which comes out this week. He loves sharing a publisher with such giants of the past as James M. Cain and Mickey Spillane, and loves the old-fashioned pulp illustrations used on the covers. At the same time, he enjoys writing a crime story that is more than a crime story — or hardly a crime story at all. “Joyland" is a thriller set around an amusement park and could just as easily be called a coming-of-age story. “The Colorado Kid” has a dead body on an island off the coast of King's native Maine, but otherwise serves as a story about why some cases are best left unsolved. “It's the beauty of the mystery that allows us to live sane as we pilot our fragile bodies through this demolition derby world,” he writes in the book's afterword. His new novel has a lot of crime in it but, as King's narrator suggests, it might actually be a horror story. Jamie Conklin is looking back on his childhood, when he was raised by a single mother, a New York literary agent. Like other young King protagonists, Jamie has special powers: He not only can see dead people, but when he asks them questions, they are compelled to tell the truth. “Later” also features a bestselling novelist and his posthumous book, and a police detective who for a time is the girlfriend of Jamie's mother. The 73-year-old King has written dozens of novels and stories, and usually has three to four ideas that “are half-baked, kind of like an engine and no transmission." He doesn't write ideas down because, he says, if something is good enough he's unlikely to forget it. For “Later,” he started with the idea of a literary agent who needed to get her late client's manuscript finished, and thought of having a son who communicates with the dead. He then decided the mother needed a companion. “And I thought, ‘You know what, I’m going to make the love relationship female.' Then I thought to myself, ‘Cop,’ and the cop is dirty and everything fell into place," he says. King, who publishes most of his work with Simon & Schuster, is part of the founding story of Hard Case Crime. Back in 2004, Charles Ardai and Max Phillips were launching a line of books to “revive pulp fiction in all its lurid mid-century glory." Hoping for some publicity, they wrote to King and asked for a blurb. A representative for the author called and said King did not want to write a blurb for Hard Case Crime; he wanted to contribute a book. That became “The Colorado Kid.” “I sat on the other end of the phone while this sank in and tried to sound cool, like this was the sort of phone call I got every day and twice on Fridays,” Ardai wrote in an introduction to “The Colorado Kid,” which came out in 2005. “But inside I was turning cartwheels.” King's passions also include politics and current events, and over the past few years he regularly tweeted his contempt for President Donald Trump. But he doubts that Trump's loss to Democrat Joe Biden will have an effect on his work. Fiction has been an “escape” from politics, he says, not a forum. And though he has written a famous novel about a pandemic, “The Stand,” he passed on a chance to write about COVID-19 in a work of fiction coming later this year, “Billy Summers." He originally set it in 2020, but decided instead on 2019. Toward the end of “Later,” Jamie observes that his writing has improved as the story went along, “improved by doing, which I suppose is the case with most things in life.” Asked during the interview to evaluate his own writing, King, the baseball fan, likens himself to an aging but resourceful pitcher. “I've gotten better in some ways, but you lose a little of the urgency. In my 40s, the ideas were like people jamming into a fire door to get out. There were so many ideas, and you couldn't wait to get to the typewriter and the words would pour out,” he says. “Nowadays, you're almost feeling people are looking over your shoulder and they're apt to be a little more critical. You slow down a little bit. I'm aware I'm getting older. You lose the blazing fastball and start to count more on your changeups and curves and be a little more careful and mix them up.” Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
(Philippe Morin/CBC - image credit) Students in Whitehorse have been transforming the walls of their high school by adding colourful murals. It's the second year for the art project at F.H. Collins Secondary School. Twenty-six Grade 11 and 12 students in the elective arts class have been given themes such as the environment, music or mathematics. From there it's been their job to get creative. "We've been encouraged to cover the whole school, it's a multi-year project," said art teacher Haley Thiessen. The elements of student life, as painted on the school wall. Math mural Grade 12 student Zeke Dukart was painting a numerical mural near where math classes are taught. "We have the golden ratio on some kind of colour gradient, and different mathematical constants," he explained. At the bottom is a saying he attributed to Albert Einstein: "Mathematics is the poetry of logical ideas." Dukart says the project "makes the walls a lot less bland. This allows students to put something here that will be here a while." We the North: Ask students what they like and the Toronto Raptors are sure to get mentioned. Ocean life and a message about climate change Yooie Mak, in Grade 10, has worked on a big mural showing whales, fish and other ocean life as well as a big stopwatch. The message: Tick tock. Time is passing and earth's oceans are warming. "The stopwatch symbolizes how much time we have left to stop the issue," she said. Mak said she's happy with the result, as this is her first painting of this size. "I really love it. I think we've been trusting the process, we worked on it and I really like the outcome." Yooie Mak, right, and friend Emma Hamilton have been working on a mural showing ocean life with a message about climate change. Other murals show favourite sports teams and even celebrity chef and television host Guy Fieri. Ava Irving-Staley, in Grade 11, was working on something near the band room: a raven wearing a white-feathered trilby hat perched on a rainbow piano keyboard. "It's a nice pop of colour," she said. Kyruss Hodginson, in Grade 11, painted a big, snarling, ready-to-brawl Marvel Comics character, Wolverine. "I think it shows that the school is open to art and it makes it more vibrant and more alive," he said. The murals add 'a nice pop of colour' said Ava Irving-Staley in Grade 11. This raven, with feathered hat and rainbow keyboard, is being painted near the band room.
Voters in Placentia-St. Mary’s will have some more time to reflect on who they want to cast their vote for. Along with 17 other districts in the Avalon, voting for residents in Placentia-St. Mary’s has been delayed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the St. John’s Metro area. Meanwhile, Liberal incumbent Sherry Gambin-Walsh says her constituents have more than her word to hold her accountable; they have her record. “My record shows that I’ve brought millions of dollars to the district of Placentia-St. Mary’s, from $500 grants to million-dollar capital works projects,” said Gambin-Walsh, who has been the focus of two major controversies during her time in office: one involving former Liberal stalwart Eddie Joyce, whom she accused of bullying, and the other involving the leaking of cabinet information. “You should vote for me because I’m ready and available for you if you have an issue… I’m easy to access and I have no problem standing up and advocating for your issue.” Gambin-Walsh was elected in the 2015 provincial election and beat PC candidate Hilda Whalen in 2019 by just over 500 votes — a margin of about 10 percent. The margin was not quite as comfortable as her over 2,000 vote lead against PC candidate Judy Manning in 2015. Gambin-Walsh said residents in her district, which is geographically larger than most, have different concerns depending on where they live. For example, while employment on the Cape Shore is not a concern due to the landing of fishery boats in Branch, employment in St. Mary’s Bay area is a major issue. “We don’t have any good source of solid employment anymore,” said Gambin-Walsh. “Once upon a time, we did have a fish plant down in St. Mary’s. It’s dormant right now, but I do now that the operator is trying to get his license re-established. He hasn’t been successful yet, but I do really support that, because I have a significant number of people down there having to access programs, seek community enhancement programs and job creation programs, specifically because they have no other source of income. And to drive from Peter’s River to Tim Hortons in CBS for minimum wage, you’re in the negative, you’re not in the positive. The evidence is there. The dollar amount that has gone out in JCP this year alone is excessive, so that’s a problem in that area.” Another concern, is the defunct Admirals Beach fish plant, which “is currently falling into the ocean,” said Gambin-Walsh. “It’s going to cost anywhere from $700,000 to a million to get it down, and there’s no jobs created in taking it down because it will be tendered. There has been a study done that shows there are some environmental chemicals that are dangerous to the environment, so that’s an issue at Admirals Beach.” Meanwhile, residents throughout the district are worried about the future of Argentia and the White Rose offshore oil project, while residents in Dunville worry about the need for water infrastructure upgrades, estimated, said Gambin-Walsh, at about $10-11 million, while residents in Placentia wonder about the increased construction costs of a wellness centre. Across the district as a whole, residents decry the state of many provincial roads. “Roads, roads, roads, roads, roads, I’m constantly hearing about roads,” said Gambin-Walsh, who added that millions of provincial dollars have gone towards roads in the district over the years, but there are still roads that need to be done. Access to general and nurse practitioners is also an issue. “Another thing I’m hearing about, and this is something I’m experiencing myself, as my son is an individual with autism, is the access to GP’s,” said Gambin-Walsh. “People are having difficulty accessing GPs, and they’re having difficulty even accessing nurse practitioners to meet their needs.” Gambin-Walsh said constituents who do have access to family doctors and have been availing of virtual appointments during the pandemic have been mostly satisfied with the service, but there are still too many people without proper access to healthcare. “I have a number of constituents in my district who do not have access to a GP, and that is a problem, that is a huge problem,” Gambin-Walsh admitted. She said constituents haven’t raised concerns about her removal from cabinet last year following an RCMP investigation that showed she broke cabinet confidentially by leaking information regarding a promotion in the RNC. She was not charged, but Premier Andrew Furey did not reappoint her to cabinet. “With this RCMP investigation, constituents are not interested at all,” said Gambin-Walsh. “I was prepared and offering to answer questions at the door to my constituents directly, but they don’t want to hear about it, they don’t want to talk about it, they’re not interested.” Gambin-Walsh said constituents are, however, eager to hear details about her involvement in 2018 bullying allegations against former Liberal MHA Eddie Joyce. At the time Joyce, seen by many political watchers as perhaps the loyalist Liberal in the province having relinquished his seat in 1989 so Clyde Wells could serve in the legislature as Premier, was serving as Minister of Municipal Affairs and charged with making tough decisions about a sea of demands coming in from MHAs for funding from their towns. Gambin-Walsh said constituents are happy that she spoke up against Joyce, and that some have even gone so far as to read the official reports. After then Premier Dwight Ball allegedly failed to keep a private promise to back Joyce against the charges of bullying, he left the Liberal party and sat as an Independent, getting re-elected without party affiliation in 2019. “The 2018 situation with MHA Joyce, that got get a bit of attention, and people were very curious and did ask me a fair bit about that. They are interested in bullying and harassment though. And they’re happy that I spoke up against it,” said Gambin-Walsh. “When I look at my social media, my Twitter and my Facebook, when I see anyone saying something negative, when I check out their account, it’s ether a troll account or the person doesn’t live in my district.”. As to Furey, Gambin-Walsh said he is a more than capable leader. She added that despite cries from the PC and NDP that Furey should not have called the election during a pandemic or during the winter, people are actually more engaged in this election than in previous years. “I am finding that people are more interested in this election than they were in ’15 and ’19,” she said. “This time, people are truly interested in what’s happening with COVID, they’re interested in the economy, they’re interested in chatting with me and getting my opinion… I think, now I could be wrong, but I think we’re going to have a very high turn out by the end of this election.” Gambin-Walsh said there’s been another noticeable difference in this year’s campaign. “I can’t keep a sign up. I have about 50 signs gone. They’re destroyed. People have called and said they’re beat up and up in the dump,” said Gambin-Walsh, adding some constituents have had to display their signs in shed windows for fear of having them removed — again. “I’ve been firm in telling my volunteers not to touch the other signs, regardless of the number of signs we lose. Just keep going… this is not going to slow us down.” Voters will choose between Gambin-Walsh, PC candidate Calvin Manning, and NL Alliance hopeful Clem Whittle. Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
Après avoir omis d’appliquer sa propre Loi sur les espèces en péril (LEP) dans le dossier du chevalier cuivré en 2012, le gouvernement fédéral a corrigé la situation la semaine dernière. Mais parallèlement, Ottawa serait tout de même sur le point de donner son aval au projet d’agrandissement du terminal à conteneurs du Port de Montréal dans sa forme actuelle, et ce, malgré les risques que ce dernier pose pour la survie du poisson en danger d’extinction. Ciblé par une action légale intentée par des organismes voués à la protection de l’environnement, dont la Société pour la nature et les parcs du Canada (SNAP), Ottawa a publié vendredi un projet d’arrêté ministériel afin d’officialiser l’obligation de conserver intact l’habitat essentiel du chevalier cuivré. Ce dernier se limite à une portion du fleuve Saint-Laurent et de la rivière Richelieu. En vertu de la LEP, Ottawa aurait dû poser ce geste dans les 180 jours suivant le dépôt du texte définitif du programme de rétablissement du chevalier cuivré dans le registre public des espèces en péril, dépôt qui a eu lieu le 20 juin 2012. Une action concrète aurait donc dû être posée avant le 17 décembre 2012, mais pour une raison toujours inexpliquée, cette démarche n’a pas eu lieu plus tôt. Quoique tardive, une telle décision devrait, selon toute logique, avoir des conséquences sur l’agrandissement du terminal à conteneurs du Port de Montréal à Contrecœur. Or, les représentants fédéraux ont également annoncé « qu’on ne s’attend pas à ce qu’un promoteur de projet ait à supporter une charge administrative accrue à la suite d’un arrêté du conseil sur l’habitat essentiel », une remarque qui a de quoi laisser perplexe les électeurs préoccupés par la protection de l’environnement et la transparence de leurs représentants. Le gouvernement libéral a par ailleurs réitéré que le décret ne devrait pas avoir de répercussions considérables sur l’examen du projet présenté par l’Administration du Port de Montréal (APM) pour son terminal de Contrecœur. Rappelons que ce projet de plus de 750 millions de dollars a reçu l’appui du gouvernement fédéral via un investissement de 300 millions de dollars de la Banque de l’infrastructure du Canada. On peut donc se demander à ce stade comment l’administration Trudeau parviendra à respecter son engagement environnemental et sa promesse faite aux administrateurs du port. « Ça semble arrangé à l’avance avec le gars des vues », a affirmé Alain Branchaud, directeur général de la Société pour la nature et les parcs (SNAP) lors d’un entretien accordé à La Presse. Le décret couvre tout l’habitat essentiel. C’est solide, ça correspond à ce qu’on s’attend. Mais en même temps le gouvernement dit à l’avance qu’il va autoriser le projet de Contrecœur avant même qu’on lui ait fait la demande! » Le biologiste met par ailleurs en doute la validité du plan proposé afin de compenser la perte d’habitat du chevalier cuivré. « On dit qu’on va compenser, mais on n’a aucune expertise scientifique pour le chevalier cuivré, a poursuivi M. Branchaud. Ce n’est pas sérieux! On est dans une crise de biodiversité et on fait encore des niaiseries comme ça, ça n’a pas de bon sens. » Steve Martin, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
"What happened today is that some people tried to put our military staff in a non-democratic process and a military coup," said Pashinyan to his supporters. View on euronews
The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic was full of uncertainty. Almost a year later, people and businesses have found ways to adapt and help each other in the community. In March 2020, local teen Ray Calder created the Rainy River District COVIDelivery group on Facebook, that aimed to help deliver essential groceries and supplies to those unable to go out themselves due to self-isolation or being part of a high risk group. “I think we had around 25 volunteers the first time around probably late March or the first part of April last year, right when things were just starting to shut down and a lot of people were returning from travels and having to quarantine for 14 days. We had quite a few requests in the early days because of that,” said Lisa Brockie, who handles calls and messages for the Rainy River District COVIDelivery. The initial response was overwhelming because many people were self-isolating after returning from trips and many seniors could not risk leaving their homes, Brockie said, adding that since then, requests have decreased. Brockie got involved with the service as a volunteer and later came on board to help Calder when the requests were too overwhelming to handle on his own, but they have not had any requests this month. Brockie said they did just over 100 deliveries in total from March until now. There were not many requests in June so they decided to suspend the service, Brockie added. “We thought that was the end of it and then we got a handful in January,” Brockie said. “A lot of our volunteers who were off work last year are now back so we had a smaller group of volunteers sign up to help and then all of a sudden, we didn’t get any more calls.” Brian Cawston, owner of Einar’s Foods in Fort Frances, has quite a popular grocery delivery service. Cawston said the service was busy because of the pandemic but has now gone back to its usual flow. Cawston said he is happy that the delivery service which runs twice a week, has been steady. He said that more people are opting for it or for curbside pickup. “We have some people who do more curbside,” Cawston said. “A lot of people phoning in and we get ready for them and then they just come in and pick it up.” Brockie said she thinks one of the reasons the demand for the COVIDelivery service dropped was because stores were pivoting to curbside pickup and that many people were able to get family members to buy their necessities. “Overall I think it was really positive, especially back when there weren’t really many options for people and there was a lot of fear when we didn’t know much about the virus, how it was spread and who was most at risk,” Brockie said. “There was a lot of gratitude from the people who were getting the delivery to know that they didn’t have to put their health at risk or go without their necessities.” Brockie said the service is currently running but they are in discussion of whether to continue it. Natali Trivuncic, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort Frances Times
People 95 and older, as well as First Nations people 75 and older, are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. "I’m personally very excited to be announcing that we’re expanding into general population, and I’m looking forward to decrease the age of eligibility continually over time," said Dr. Joss Reimer at Wednesday’s news conference. Calls for the newly eligible can be made beginning this week, with vaccines beginning next week. The vaccine call centre, at 1-844-MAN-VACC (1-844-626-8222) now has 2,000 lines, with more than 370 trained agents. The online booking self-serve tool is in its pilot phase, but will not replace the call centre. "We do know it’s possible the call centre will receive an overwhelming number of calls. We know Manitobans have been eager for this moment, and many of you are going to want to call right away," said Reimer. She asked that only eligible people, or the people calling for an elderly person, ensure they fit the criteria. These days, the wait time is less than a minute on the booking line, with a call-back option. If the wait time does increase, people can opt to have their call returned rather than waiting on the phone. Dr. Marcia Anderson, public health lead for the First Nation Pandemic Response Co-ordination Team, explained that in the coming weeks, people who call to make an appointment and self-identify as First Nations would be transferred to a member of a specialized team. "These specialists will have additional training and cultural safety to ensure that they support callers and facilitate access to an appointment for those who are eligible," Anderson said. At first, self-identification will be the method by which First Nations can access the vaccine. But, in the future, because some people do falsely identify as First Nations — called "pretendians" — the system will be tightened up over time. "This is a phenomenon that I have been aware of and had to work through in multiple different contexts, but I never imagined that one of the harmful ripple effects would be that non-registered or non-status First Nation people would face the risk of not being able to get a vaccine at a time when they rightly should be able to," said Anderson. In the future, First Nations people in Manitoba will be asked to verify their identity, she added. "We want to make sure that this is done in a way that is safe for people and does not exclude our First Nations relatives, that because of the complicated and various processes of colonization, do not have Indian status cards," she said. If a First Nations person does not have a status card under the Indian Act, there will be an escalation process to deal with the more complex cases in a trauma-informed and culturally safe way. Anderson reported that, as of last Friday, 7,023 doses of vaccine have been administered on-reserve — four per cent of the eligible population received first doses, while .08 per cent are fully vaccinated. Off-reserve, 2.96 per cent of the population have received one dose and .07 per cent are fully vaccinated. Of Manitoba’s eligible population, 2.4 per cent are fully vaccinated. As Anderson explained, First Nations have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 — making up 54 per cent of new cases in the overall Manitoba population and 70 per cent of active cases, and the virus does affect them more harshly, as demonstrated by hospitalization rates. The median age of death in Manitoba is 83, while in First Nations it is 66. Meanwhile, full two-dose vaccination at personal care homes is set to wrap up this week. "This is a tremendous accomplishment," said Reimer, adding results are already showing. "While we are seeing decreases in rates in the community overall, and we know that there are strong public health measures still taking place in personal care homes, we’re also seeing quite a sharp drop in the number of outbreaks happening in personal care homes." Additionally, the focused immunization teams began first doses at congregate living sites in Brandon and Winnipeg on Feb. 19, with regional health authorities scheduling high-priority congregate living sites starting this week. There are 1,400 congregate living sites in the province. A list of those sites can be found at bit.ly/2P9KaWX The vaccination task force has looked ahead in terms of doses coming to Manitoba to the end of March — which Johanu Botha, co-lead for the Vaccine Implementation Task Force, said will be 15,000 Pfizer doses weekly, up slightly from the roughly 12,000 doses it is receiving currently. "These are not large quantities," said Botha, adding all Pfizer doses go to supersites due to the storage requirements. There are currently two supersites — in Winnipeg and Brandon — with two more scheduled to open. The plan is to open Selkirk’s site in early March and Morden/Winkler’s in mid-March. Apart from the doses received from Moderna this week, next shipments of that vaccine are unknown. "We have just over 8,000 doses on hand remaining," said Botha, who added that those are tagged to complete vaccinations at personal care homes and support the congregate living campaign. Moderna is the vaccine of choice for First Nations, due to its less stringent storage requirement. That’s concerning, said Anderson. "We certainly want to respond to the data and have everybody — First Nations people living both on and off reserve — vaccinated as quickly as possible, especially as we start to think about heading into flood season, fire season, and what a large-scale evacuation at the same time as we’re dealing with the pandemic would mean," she said. But Anderson referenced Reimer’s news that Pfizer is looking into changing some of its shipping and storage restrictions. That may mean Pfizer can be used at First Nations in the future. "And I would say my experience has been both our provincial and federal counterparts are very willing to have that dialogue," she said. Anderson said it’s hard to calculate First Nation uptake of the vaccine at this time. "In general, in 61 of the 63, the anecdotal feedback that we got was that uptake was very high among those who were eligible. In one community, some further communication was needed, and support. Then uptake improved," she said. Anderson said the experience is much more in line with H1N1, which was higher than usual vaccine uptake. "We’re very encouraged by this progress." It was also revealed at the news conference that the Manitoba Metis Federation continues to be in conversation with the province for a vaccine program targeting vulnerable Métis populations. Reimer suggested Manitobans monitor the eligibility criteria website. The eligibility criteria will expand — sometimes quickly — by decreasing age, and can be found at bit.ly/3ssXBQb Additionally, 213 pharmacies and doctors across the province have signed up to deliver vaccines when more, with less stringent storage needs, are approved. The Wednesday technical briefing for media, which preceded the news conference, can be found at bit.ly/37LRuhP Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
(Jacob Barker/CBC - image credit) The executive director of the Downtown Mission says a new emergency shelter for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 is opening up to the city's most vulnerable. Rev. Ron Dunn said on CBC Radio's Windsor Morning that people will begin moving to the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre on Thursday. "My staff are going to be staffing it mainly and so many of them are going to be reporting there this morning," he told host Tony Doucette. Clients are expected to start moving in Thursday afternoon. The opening of the shelter was prompted by large COVID-19 outbreaks among people experiencing homelessness in Windsor-Essex. As of Wednesday, there are 81 cases among clients and staff at the Downtown Mission, and 34 related to an outbreak at the Salvation Army shelter. The city's existing isolation and recovery shelter had become full amid the outbreaks, creating a scramble to accomodate those affected. Windsor's International Aquatic and Training Centre is being transformed into an emergency shelter. When the city announced that a second space would be opening up to respond to the crisis, officials initially said Wednesday would be the target date but as of that afternoon, it had still not opened and the city gave no indication of why the opening was delayed or when it may be opened. The Mission's two main locations were shut down officially by order of the health unit earlier this week, though the organization had already taken that step and moved into the former Windsor Public Library site on Ouellette Avenue. Dunn said on Windsor Morning that screening measures and other protocols were in place prior to the outbreak and the Mission was in contact with city officials and the health unit on outbreak plans. Nonetheless, Dunn said he felt it was inevitable that someone at the shelter would contract COVID-19. Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for the region, has previously noted the vulnerabilities within the homeless population to COVID-19, and challenges in preventing transmission.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia — A Bosnian court sentenced on Thursday a Bosnian Muslim man to six years in prison on charges that he fought for the Islamic State group in Syria. Jasmin Keserovic, who has spent nearly seven years in Syria, was also charged with inciting others to take part in terrorist activities. Judges said that by publicly calling on Muslims to kill Christian soldiers and civilians alike, the defendant “demonstrated specific ruthlessness.” Hudges rejected defence claims that Keserovic was in Syria for charity work to help the local population amid the war. He was part of a group of seven Bosnian men flown back to Bosnia from Syria on a U.S. Air Force flight in December 2019 along with 18 women and children. In 2014, Bosnia became the first country in Europe to introduce prison terms for its citizens who fought abroad. Fighters who have since returned to the country were tried and, in most cases, sentenced to prison. The Associated Press
NEW YORK — “Caste,” Isabel Wilkerson's exploration of racism in the United States, and “The Dead are Arising,” an acclaimed biography of Malcolm X, are among this year's nominees for awards presented by the J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project. The project announced Thursday that Wilkerson is a finalist for the Lukas Book Prize, along with Becky Cooper's “We Keep the Dead Close,” Seyward Darby's “Sisters in Hate,” Barton Gellman's “Dark Mirror” and Jessica Goudeau's “After the Last Border.” The Lukas project, based at Columbia University's journalism school and named for the late investigative journalist, also announced nominees for the Mark Lynton History Prize and the Lukas awards for works in progress. The awards honour “literary grace and commitment to serious research and social concern.” Winners will be announced March 24. Winners of the Lukas Book Prize and Lynton history prize receive $10,000 each. The project awards two works in progress, each worth $25,000. “The Dead are Arising,” which won the National Book Award last fall, is a finalist for the Lynton prize. The book was co-written by Les Payne, who died in 2018, and daughter Tamara Payne. Other Lynton nominees are Martha S. Jones' “Vanguard,” Geraldine Schwarz's “Those Who Forget,” Walter Johnson's “The Broken Heart of America” and Dwayne Betts' “A Question of Freedom.” Finalists for the work-in-progress awards are David Dennis Jr.'s “The Movement Made Us,” Emily Dufton's “Addiction, Inc.,” Channing Gerard Joseph's “House of Swann,” Casey Parks' “Diary of a Misfit” and Elizabeth Rush's “The Mother of All Things.” The Associated Press