Belarus, Bulgaria and Russia have different histories and peoples but common denominators: a Soviet past, authorities that seem to see themselves as irreplaceable and populations revolting against the status quo.
Belarus, Bulgaria and Russia have different histories and peoples but common denominators: a Soviet past, authorities that seem to see themselves as irreplaceable and populations revolting against the status quo.
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
Four people have been arrested in connection with the death of Amber Dawn Wood, 38, of Bienfait, Sask. Justin Julien Englot, 29, and Jayden Marie Sanford, 25, both of Regina, have been charged with accessory after the fact to murder and possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000. Sanford and Englot made their first appearance in Regina provincial court Tuesday morning. Two other people, both males, are also in custody. They haven't been charged, but police say an investigation is continuing. Wood died after being severely injured Saturday morning at a home on the 700 block of Athol St., police said. Police were called to the scene following a report someone had been shot. Wood was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead. It was the city's first homicide of 2021.
OTTAWA — Canada is not going to get any vaccine does from Pfizer-BioNTech next week.Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the Canadian military commander co-ordinating the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, says Canada's shipments of the vaccine will be cut by nearly one-fifth this week and then go down to zero next week.Pfizer told Canada last week its shipments would be affected because the production facility in Belgium is being upgraded to produce more doses overall.Fortin said last week that Canada expected to get about half the total number of doses it was originally expecting over the next four weeks, but can't say today what the total impact will be beyond this week and next.Canada was to get more than 417,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and next, but will now get just 171,093 doses this week nothing the next week.Procurement Minister Anita Anand says this is disappointing and she spent the weekend on the phone with Pfizer officials about the matter.Pfizer says multiple countries will be affected but won't say which ones. Europe is seeing its shipments cut back this week but its dose deliveries will return to normal next week.Earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeated his commitment to have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for any Canadians who want them by the end of September.Meanwhile, Trudeau also urged Canadians who might be planning an international trip in the near future to cancel it.Trudeau said Canadians have the right to travel, but the government could at any time, and without warning, enforce new restrictions on travellers returning to Canada.New variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 add a level of uncertainty that could affect decisions about how to handle international arrivals.The Public Health Agency of Canada has documented 183 flights arriving in Canada from abroad since Jan. 4 alone, on which at least one passenger had COVID-19.That includes four flights from London since the ban on incoming flights from the United Kingdom was lifted Jan. 6. Trudeau would not say when pressed what other measures he is considering, noting only that travellers now must present negative COVID-19 tests before boarding their planes, and must still quarantine for two weeks after arriving in Canada.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
January Is The Right Time Of Year For Ice Fishing January is an excellent time of year to go ice fishing in Alberta! The lakes usually are well frozen at this time of year, and it’s a fantastic way to get out and enjoy the outdoors during the winter. It’s also an excellent way to get some more use out of your fishing license before it expires at the end of March. There isn’t a whole lot of equipment that is absolutely required, but like most hobbies, the extra “bells and whistles” can add up fairly quickly. There is a common misconception from people that have never tried ice fishing that it is a cold and miserable experience that nobody in their right minds could enjoy, but in actuality, it can be an absolute blast if you’re adequately prepared. Ice safety is of the utmost importance. Please do not take any chances! The ice thickness determines the general guidelines for whether the ice is safe to walk, ride, or drive on. These are the guidelines from the Alberta Conservation Association (https://www.ab-conservation.com/go-fish/learn-to-fish/?section=ice_safety): · 2”/5 cm thick or less: Stay off! · 6”/15 cm thick: Foot traffic and ice fishing. · 10”/25 cm thick: Snowmobiles or light ATVs (less than 1,100 lbs/500 kg). · 16”/41 cm thick: Mid-size cars and light trucks (2,200 – 4,400 lbs/1,000 – 2,000 kg), · 18”/46 cm thick: Mid-size trucks (4,400 – 6,600 lbs/2,000 – 3,000 kg). · 21.5”/55 cm thick: 3/4 ton 4x4 trucks (up to 11,000 lbs/5,000 kg). Here are six easy steps to get started: 1. The first thing you will need for your Alberta ice fishing adventure is an active Wilderness Identification Number (WIN) card. A WIN card is necessary to be able to buy a fishing license in our province, which you will also need. The new virtual WIN card was introduced on April 27, 2020, and no longer has an expiry date. A virtual WIN card costs $8.00 + GST and is available online (AlbertaRelm.com) or at point-of-sale retailers. WIN cards and fishing licenses are available in Swan Hills at the Esso and Husky gas stations. A physical WIN card isn’t necessary, but you can order one for $3.00 if you prefer to have one. 2. Next, you will need to get a fishing license. Fishing licenses are required for people between the ages of 16 and 64 and cost $28 + GST for Alberta residents. You will need to have your fishing license with you while fishing, or you could be subject to some pretty hefty penalties. Fishing licenses are available online (AlbertaRelm.com) or at point-of-sale retailers. *You can purchase your WIN card as well as hunting and fishing licenses through the AlbertaRELM smartphone app. This app also keeps track of your WIN card and licenses and can be used as an electronic fishing license instead of keeping a paper copy with you. 3. Familiarize yourself with the Alberta Guide To Sportfishing Regulations (https://albertaregulations.ca/2020-Alberta-Fishing-Regs.pdf). A hardcopy of this document is usually available at the retailers that sell fishing licenses. This guide covers the general regulations for all locations in Alberta as well as the specific regulations for every body of water (the times of year that you can fish, what equipment or bait is or isn’t allowed, the type and number of fish that you can keep, etc.). Make sure that you’re following the regulations for your fishing location. 4. Now that you have the legal and regulatory side of things handled, it’s time to make sure that you have the gear you need. Here are the basics: a. An ice fishing rod. These are designed to handle the downward force from ice fishing and are shorter than regular rods, making them easier to manage. Luckily you can get a pretty good, basic ice fishing rod for a very reasonable price. b. Fishing lures/hooks. While there are fishing lures that are designed specifically for ice fishing, many people make out just fine with regular lures or hooks. Give it a try and see what works for you in your chosen fishing spot. c. An ice auger. The auger is used to make a hole in the ice so that you can fish. Hand powered augers are the most economical, but there are gas-powered augers if you really get into the sport. A lot of people have augers in Swan Hills. There’s a good chance that someone might lend you one if you ask around. d. An ice skimmer/scoop. This is pretty much just a giant ladle used to remove slush and ice from the water in the hole. Otherwise, it tends to build up and get in the way. e. Chairs. You’re going to want something to sit on while you fish. A camp chair works great, but some people are quite content with an overturned 5-gallon pail to sit on. f. A sled for your gear. This is a much more convenient way to get your equipment onto the lake (or pond) than trying to carry it out by the armload. 5. Good winter clothes/gear. This one’s a given, you’ll want to make sure that you’re dressed for the weather, or you’re not going to have a very good time. 6. Attach your lure or hook to the line on your ice fishing rod and drop it down through your hole in the ice. Have a seat while you wait for the fish to bite. Those are the basics. Feel free to bring some snacks and drinks if you’d like; just make sure that there’s a designated driver if you’re having adult beverages. A cooler is an excellent addition; you can keep your drinks cold, you have a place to put your catch, and it’s an extra place to sit while you fish. Bring a camera or your cell phone to capture some memories. Have a great time out there, and stay safe! Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
Each year the third week of January is recognized as National Non-Smoking Week. Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health is reminding vape and tobacco users that quitting is never easy and not to get discouraged. While pandemic related stress may have impacted some individuals’ plans to quit, HPEPH says that perseverance will pay off, although quitting tobacco smoking or vaping may sometimes take between 7 and 30 tries. Respiratory viruses such as COVID-19 impact an individual’s lungs, and quitting smoking or vaping can reduce the chances of experiencing more severe symptoms of viruses and illnesses. HPEPH explained that recent research shows that smokers who become sick with COVID-19 are more likely to have worse symptoms, be admitted to an ICU or pass away as compared to non-smokers. Smoking and vaping may also increase chances of contracting COVID-19 or other viruses since smoking requires individuals to remove their mask as well as increasing hand to mouth contact. HPEPH also said that the benefits of quitting can be experienced within 20 minutes after the last cigarette and can continue to be seen for up to 15 years. During the pandemic, HPEPH is offering limited in-person services with additional supports and services available to help residents interested in quitting smoking tobacco or vapes. Residents interested in speaking to a trained quit specialist can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or online at smokershelpline.ca. Canadian Addictions and Mental Health also offers a STOP on the Net program that provides online support as well as 4 weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy. More information can be found online at nicotinedependenceclinic.com. Youth-friendly support is available at breakitoff.ca, and local high school students can contact their school Public Health Nurse to discuss quit options. School nurses remain available during remote schooling, and students are advised to call their school’s guidance office for more information. Residents looking for more information about support resources are encouraged to contact HPEPH’s Tobacco Talk Line at 613-966-5500 ext. 600, or visit hpePublicHealth.ca/vaping or hpePublicHealth.ca/quit-smoking-program. Virginia Clinton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Intelligencer
Ontario Premier Doug Ford says all long-term care and high-risk retirement homes will receive vaccinations by Feb. 15 despite a shortage of Pfizer vaccines. As Morganne Campbell reports, the backlog is causing a delay in the province's rollout plan.
An ambitious project to map and monitor sea kelp forests along the entire B.C. coast is afoot, and scientists are using seemly disparate tools — both ancient and modern — to do it. Researchers are using centuries-old British sea charts and advanced technology, such as camera drones and satellite images, to trace shifts in the abundance and distribution of kelp beds over time, said geographer Maycira Costa. Like rainforests, B.C.’s canopy-forming kelp beds are critical and extensive ecosystems that shelter and feed a host of marine life, including juvenile salmon and marine mammals such as seals and otters, said Costa. “We're trying to combine efforts to understand how these areas have been changing,” she said, adding climate change in particular is a big concern, “and what we can do to minimize those changes because they're such an important habitat.” There is a lack of overall data around kelp beds along the coast, said Costa, who heads the Spectral lab at the University of Victoria, which specializes in using remotely sensed imagery to monitor change in marine environments. Some individual kelp beds in B.C. have been studied, but not consistently over time in a wider way, leaving a poor understanding of what’s going on with the giant algae populations so critical to the marine ecosystem, Costa said. “It’s one thing to look at kelp beds for just one year, but the important part is looking at several years of data,” said Costa, noting kelp bed growth or loss can be quite dynamic over short periods of time. Establishing a widespread picture of where and why kelp is diminishing or growing is critical to determining management or conservation policy and even the commercial harvest of these marine forests, she said. But, curiously, to establish a baseline measurement of kelp on the coast, Costa’s high-tech research team relied on antiquated marine maps for the job. Using information from British admiralty charts from 1858 to 1956, the team created the first historical digital map of B.C.’s coastal kelp beds. Considered navigational hazards, large kelp beds were carefully notated on British charts, which turned out to be an unusual but valuable source of information about coastal habitat in the 19th century, said Costa. A total of 137 charts were scanned, with the co-ordinates and kelp beds included on digital maps after ensuring the scale and quality of the data, according to the study. The chart data suggests most concentrated kelp beds are around the north and west coasts of Vancouver Island, in the Johnstone Strait and in northern waters and northwestern Haida Gwaii. The next step to map the distribution of kelp on the coast over time is compiling satellite data from 2005 to the present, along with available scientific and government data from kelp inventories from the 1970s to 1990s, Costa said. “You wouldn’t believe the amount of data we have (to analyze),” she said. “For the B.C. coast, we have almost 6,000 satellite images. The amount of time spent processing data, it’s almost surreal.” The project is looking at both Bull and giant kelp with help from the Hakai Institute and funding by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), the Canadian Hydrographic Service and the Pacific Salmon Foundation, Costa said. A complete kelp map for the Salish Sea, which stretches across the inside passage of Vancouver Island, is expected to be complete by mid-2021, she said, adding maps of B.C.’s central and north coasts will follow. “So, looking at this more recent history in comparison with the past (sea chart map), about 100 years ago, that’s when we're going to have the major findings,” Costa said. “When we understand present and the past and how things have changed.” Once complete, the spatial-temporal kelp maps will be valuable in honing in on what factors, such as climate change, human activity or environmental changes, might be impacting kelp resiliency, she added. Factors like warming waters, sea urchin populations and over-harvesting for commercial uses are all possible threats to kelp beds, Costa said. “What we need to understand is where the kelp is, and what’s changing to support and to preserve the ecological and economic importance of these marine forests.” Rochelle Baker / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada's National Observer Rochelle Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
As President Donald Trump entered the final year of his term last January, the U.S. recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19. Not to worry, Trump insisted, his administration had the virus “totally under control.” Now, in his final hours in office, after a year of presidential denials of reality and responsibility, the pandemic’s U.S. death toll has eclipsed 400,000. And the loss of lives is accelerating. “This is just one step on an ominous path of fatalities,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University and one of many public health experts who contend the Trump administration’s handling of the crisis led to thousands of avoidable deaths. “Everything about how it’s been managed has been infused with incompetence and dishonesty, and we’re paying a heavy price,” he said. The 400,000-death toll, reported Tuesday by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of New Orleans, Cleveland or Tampa, Florida. It's nearly equal to the number of American lives lost annually to strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, flu and pneumonia combined. With more than 4,000 deaths recorded on some recent days — the most since the pandemic began — the toll by week's end will probably surpass the number of Americans killed in World War II. “We need to follow the science and the 400,000th death is shameful,” said Cliff Daniels, chief strategy officer for Methodist Hospital of Southern California, near Los Angeles. With its morgue full, the hospital has parked a refrigerated truck outside to hold the bodies of COVID-19 victims until funeral homes can retrieve them. “It’s so incredibly, unimaginably sad that so many people have died that could have been avoided,” he said. The U.S. accounts for nearly 1 of every 5 virus deaths reported worldwide, far more than any other country despite its great wealth and medical resources. The coronavirus would almost certainly have posed a grave crisis for any president given its rapid spread and power to kill, experts on public health and government said. But Trump seemed to invest as much in battling public perceptions as he did in fighting the virus itself, repeatedly downplaying the threat and rejecting scientific expertise while fanning conflicts ignited by the outbreak. As president he was singularly positioned to counsel Americans. Instead, he used his pulpit to spout theories — refuted by doctors — that taking unproven medicines or even injecting household disinfectant might save people from the virus. The White House defended the administration this week. “We grieve every single life lost to this pandemic, and thanks to the president’s leadership, Operation Warp Speed has led to the development of multiple safe and effective vaccines in record time, something many said would never happen,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. With deaths spiraling in the New York City area last spring, Trump declared “war” on the virus. But he was slow to invoke the Defence Production Act to secure desperately needed medical equipment. Then he sought to avoid responsibility for shortfalls, saying that the federal government was “merely a backup” for governors and legislatures. “I think it is the first time in history that a president has declared a war and we have experienced a true national crisis and then dumped responsibility for it on the states,” said Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care policy think-tank . When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tried to issue guidelines for reopening in May, Trump administration officials held them up and watered them down. As the months passed, Trump claimed he was smarter than the scientists and belittled experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top authority on infectious diseases. “Why would you bench the CDC, the greatest fighting force of infectious disease in the world? Why would you call Tony Fauci a disaster?” asked Dr. Howard Markel, a medical historian at the University of Michigan. “It just doesn’t make sense.” As governors came under pressure to reopen state economies, Trump pushed them to move faster, asserting falsely that the virus was fading. “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” he tweeted in April as angry protesters gathered at the state capitol to oppose the Democratic governor’s stay-at-home restrictions. “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” In Republican-led states like Arizona that allowed businesses to reopen, hospitals and morgues filled with virus victims. “It led to the tragically sharp partisan divide we’ve seen in the country on COVID, and that has fundamental implications for where we are now, because it means the Biden administration can’t start over," Altman said. “They can’t put the genie back in the bottle.” In early October, when Trump himself contracted COVID-19, he ignored safety protocols, ordering up a motorcade so he could wave to supporters outside his hospital. Once released, he appeared on the White House balcony to take off his mask for the cameras, making light of health officials' pleas for people to cover their faces. “We’re rounding the corner,” Trump said of the battle with the virus during a debate with Joe Biden in late October. “It’s going away.” It isn’t. U.S. deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 100,000 in late May, then tripled by mid-December. Experts at the University of Washington project deaths will reach nearly 567,000 by May 1. More than 120,000 patients with the virus are in the hospital in the U.S., according to the COVID Tracking Project, twice the number who filled wards during previous peaks. On a single day last week, the U.S. recorded more than 4,400 deaths. While vaccine research funded by the administration as part of Warp Speed has proved successful, the campaign trumpeted by the White House to rapidly distribute and administer millions of shots has fallen well short of the early goals officials set. “Young people are dying, young people who have their whole lives ahead of them,” said Mawata Kamara, a nurse at California’s San Leandro Hospital who is furious over the surging COVID-19 cases that have overwhelmed health care workers. “We could have done so much more.” Many voters considered the federal government’s response to the pandemic a key factor in their vote: 39% said it was the single most important factor, and they overwhelmingly backed Biden over Trump, according to AP VoteCast. But millions of others stood with him. “Here you have a pandemic," said Eric Dezenhall, a Washington crisis management consultant, "yet you have a massive per cent of the population that doesn’t believe it exists.” Adam Geller And Janie Har, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Quebec Premier Francois Legault is calling on the federal government to ban all non-essential flights to Canada.Legault said Tuesday he's worried that people travelling to vacation destinations will bring new variants of COVID-19 back to the province.While the premier said it may be difficult to determine which flights are essential, he said it's clear that flights to sun destinations are non-essential.His comments came after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier in the day urged Canadians to cancel any plans they have for an international trip in the near future. Trudeau warned the federal government could at any time, and without warning, enforce new restrictions on travellers returning to Canada.Quebec on Tuesday revised its COVID-19 vaccination schedule as a result of the expected slowdown in Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments.The Health Department said it would lower its target of administering 250,000 doses by Feb. 8, to 225,000 doses, adding it expects to have received 1,203,100 doses of approved vaccine by March 29.Last week, Canada learned production of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be reduced over the next month in order for Pfizer to expand its facilities.Quebec says it will maintain its plan to deliver booster shots within 90 days of the first injection.The vaccination announcement came as public health authorities in the province reported the lowest number of new infections in a single day since early December.Quebec today reported 1,386 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and 55 additional deaths linked to the virus, including 16 deaths within the preceding 24 hours.The number of hospitalizations rose by nine from the day before to 1,500, the Health Department said, while the number of people in intensive care declined by five from the previous day, to 212.Quebec has reported 245,734 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 9,142 deaths linked to the novel coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic.Health Minister Christian Dube on Monday boasted the province had met its target of vaccinating 75 per cent of long-term care residents, with the remainder expected to be inoculated by Jan. 25.Officials say people living in private seniors residences across the province are next in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
Adam Grant, who first began working for the Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) in 2007 as the assistant director of the engineering and public works department, now gets a turn at the helm. Grant was appointed as the department’s new director at the RQM council meeting on January 12. He has been in the role of acting director since the retirement of Brad Rowter in December 2020. Rowter worked for the municipality for 24 years. He began his career at RQM as an engineer and was appointed Director of Engineering and Public Works in September 2003, after being in the role of acting director for about a year. “We are pleased to have Adam take on this important role with Region of Queens Municipality. With 14 years’ experience as an engineer with the municipality, we are confident Adam can lead the Municipality in our continued growth and continue to advance important infrastructure projects,” Darlene Norman, RQM’s mayor, commented in a press release. As director, Grant will be responsible for overseeing the management, maintenance and development of municipal infrastructure of two sewer systems, its water system, Queens Solid Waste Management Facility and Materials Recovery Facility, streets in Liverpool, parks and green spaces throughout Queens County, as well as the operational components of Queens Place Emera Centre. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
After four years, U.S. President Donald Trump will be leaving office as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into the position on Jan. 20, 2021. The weeks leading up to Trump’s departure have been tumultuous, with a siege on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, five federal executions, and 143 presidential pardons, just to name a few pivotal moments.Trump began the day by speaking to a crowd at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One. He is traveling to his golf club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, and will not be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.Supporters of the 45th U.S. President gathered in West Palm Beach, Fla. to greet Trump’s motorcade when it arrived in the city.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left municipal councils in Queens and Lunenburg counties rethinking this year’s tax sales. The majority have either deferred them or cancelled them entirely for 2021, while others, such as the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL), was in the throes of deciding how to proceed last week. Municipalities auction off properties where taxes have been owing for several years as a means of recouping some of the outstanding payments. Typically, the municipalities hold the auctions within the first three months of a year, prior to their fiscal year-end. But as the pandemic continues to be a concern, this year will be different. The Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) has decided against having a tax sale for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which ends March 31, “due to the global health pandemic” according to a post on its web page. “I was not part of the decision. But I believe people may be feeling the repercussions of COVID-19 and perhaps people were unable to work,” explained RQM Mayor Darlene Norman. However, a tax sale has been scheduled for April 7. Heather Cook, RQM’s communications coordinator, reported that staff are preparing 60-day notices for those whose properties are scheduled for the sale. Fifty-seven properties are on RQM’s April 7 tax sale list. The value of outstanding taxes and charges is estimated at more than $170,000. All properties listed on this tax sale are in arrears of four years or more. Property owners still have time to pay off their taxes before their property is put up for sale, however. RQM normally has three tax sales per year. The dates for the next two have not been set. The Municipality of Chester (MOC) had also decided not to proceed with a tax sale during their 2020-21 fiscal year, but it has yet to commit to a timeline for an upcoming sale. According to Jennifer Webber, communications officer for MOC, council members have only discussed how they might proceed and have asked staff to investigate online bidding as a possible option. The number of eligible properties to go on the list was not available. In MODL, currently, there are 37 properties that would be included in a tax sale this fiscal year, including 16 residential properties, 17 resource properties, one commercial and three classified as forestry. Owners of 24 of the 37 properties appear not to be residents of MODL, according to a report to council on January 12 by Elana Wentzell, MODL’s director of finance. The municipality was looking to collect $123,531 in outstanding taxes. At the meeting, staff recommended that council agree to sell the properties through a tender process. However, councillors were uncertain how best to proceed. They discussed a variety of approaches including deferring the tax sale to later in the year, and taking out residential properties from the equation this year and deferring their sale until next year. Some councillors wondered about the optics of having the tax sale during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I realize that this time of year, and with everything going on, can be hard,” said Councillor Chasidy Veinotte. “I would like to be able to avoid reading on Facebook or seeing a headline in the local paper, ‘Municipal council proceeds with tax sale amid COVID-19 pandemic.” Councillor Kacy DeLong agreed. “It does seem particularly heartless in this moment of time. Where are people going to go?” she asked. In the end, it was agreed the council should seek the advice of the municipality’s solicitor. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
When Brandy Roy’s son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at just 15 months old during the COVID-19 pandemic, her world was turned upside down. Isolated and unable to return to work, Roy described the experience as extremely isolating and overwhelming. “There is very little support out there – financial, educational, emotional – for parents of babies and toddlers with type 1 diabetes (T1D) because of the rarity of the diagnosis,” she said. “The average age of diagnosis is between four and 12 years of age. I couldn’t find any videos of babies getting their shots, support groups, books, or help getting access to life-saving equipment. “It was also heartbreaking to learn about how many babies and toddlers are misdiagnosed, including my son, because not many doctors test for diabetes in children that young.” As she learned to navigate her son’s diagnosis, Roy continued to search for support – but when that did not yield results, she decided to set out on her own. Roy, who was born and raised in Elliot Lake and currently lives near Ottawa, created her own online community and wrote a children’s book called “Little Shots for Little Tots.” She also started a petition to try to get life-saving equipment for babies and toddlers with T1D funded by the government and set up a GoFundMe campaign to help support her son. Any excess funds raised through the campaign will be donated to NEO Kids in Sudbury, CHEO Hospital, and SickKids to help parents of newly diagnosed children purchase the equipment they need. “The story kind of starts in February when I was coming off maternity leave. I was getting ready to go back to work when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March,” said Roy. “Because of the pandemic, I was out of work. Then, two months later, Ryder got sick.” Ryder, who is almost two years old, was initially misdiagnosed by his family physician when he started to present symptoms. “The doctor checked his vitals, which were good at that point, and he said that he was concerned that Ryder was losing weight – dropped from the 75th percentile to the 3rd,” said Roy. “But the doctor said it was probably teething, and Ryder also might have some constipation from too much Advil because of the teething. His suggestion was to go home and feed him more fruit and fibre, which is the worst thing you can give to a type 1 diabetic.” After 24 hours, it was clear that Ryder wasn’t improving, so Roy took him to the emergency department. It was there they discovered what was really going on. “It was scary. My husband wasn’t allowed into the hospital because of COVID-19, so he was at home and I was on the phone with him telling him what was happening,” she said. “When I heard the diagnosis, I asked the doctor two questions. The first was, is it the bad kind (of diabetes)? The second thing was, can I give him my pancreas? Is there a way that we could switch, and I could become the diabetic?” TD1, she learned, is an autoimmune disease where the immune system destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, making it impossible for the body to regulate blood sugar levels. People diagnosed with TD1 rely on insulin injections to survive. While TD1 typically develops early on in life, only 0.1 per cent of children aged 1 to 4 were diagnosed with diabetes in Canada in 2013-2014. In the months following Ryder’s diagnosis in May, Roy and her family experienced a lot of frustration, fear, and financial pressure. Ryder’s blood sugar levels must be constantly monitored, and he receives around seven to 10 needles per day. Roy must also ensure that Ryder maintains a special diet. On top of that, treating T1D in babies and toddlers is particularly challenging because they are often non-verbal and cannot move around independently. “Kids that young can’t communicate with you yet – they can’t tell you when something is wrong or come and get you if they don’t feel well. They’ve also got so many other things going on that masks the diabetes, like teething,” said Roy. “Children’s glucose levels can dip dangerously low at night when parents aren’t around to monitor them. The child could potentially lose consciousness, fall into a coma, or die as a result.” As part of Ryder’s care, Roy uses a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) made by the company Dexcom, because it is the only device that can send parents alerts when glucose levels are too high or too low. Without a CGM, Ryder would have to get up every three hours to monitor his blood sugar. CGMs, however, cost about $300 per month or $100 per senor every 10 days. “That’s one of the hardest things about this, the financial burden. Right now, I can’t work due to Ryder’s diagnosis and the COVID-19 pandemic. I used to be very independent and earned my own income,” she said. “Now, I have to stay home with Ryder because it’s difficult to even find a daycare willing to provide care. I get $200 per month for Ryder’s special needs, and that doesn’t even cover the CGM, never mind other supplies like needles.” Despite the challenges, Roy searched for a way to help channel her “negative energy” into something more positive and inspirational. That’s why she launched a number of initiatives she hopes will celebrate and educate parents of babies and toddlers with T1D. “I started an Instagram handle called @TD1Toddler this past July. Its purpose is to inspire and advocate, to be a place to share meal ideas and stories with other families going through the same thing,” she said. She also started a smaller support group over WhatsApp for moms around the world who were looking for a like-minded community. “Then, I wrote a book which is supposed to help educate toddlers, especially those who are newly diagnosed, and celebrate their hero parents.” “Little Shots for Little Tots,” published by Academy Arts Press in 2021 and illustrated by Mandy Morreale, is meant to introduce the concept of diabetes to young children using simple words. “The book welcomes a newly diagnosed toddler or baby and teaches them about what diabetes is and how to cultivate good habits like healthy eating,” she said. “It also celebrates the parents because when you’re a T1D toddler or baby parent, you’re the one with diabetes. Yes, the kids go through it physically, but the parent is the one with the mental and emotional burden who is constantly monitoring, checking, taking away the pain, hurting them by puncturing them. “The book really celebrates the parents and I think they need that recognition because they don’t get much help or support elsewhere.” The proceeds from the book sales will be donated to Roy’s GoFundMe campaign called Dexcom for Ryder. Some of the funds will go towards Ryder’s care and any left over will be donated to children’s hospitals in Ontario. “We did want to set up a fundraiser to help cover some of the costs of our son’s care, but if the government doesn’t want to help fund CGMs, we decided that we’re going to do it ourselves,” said Roy. “We are going to raise money so that these hospitals can provide Dexcom CGMs to newly diagnosed babies and toddlers. The more money we raise, the more money we can donate. Hopefully, the government will notice.” Roy also created a petition on Change.org to try and get Dexcom CGMs fully covered by the government for children aged 0 to 3. So far, the petition has over 1,600 signatures. To purchase a copy of “Little Shots for Little Tots,” visit amzn.to/2M3XGto. To donate to Dexcom for Ryder, visit bit.ly/3qyjZGC. The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's youngest daughter, Tiffany, is engaged to be married. The 27-year-old recent Georgetown law school graduate announced her good news on Instagram on Tuesday, her father's final full day in office. She shared a photograph of herself and fiance Michael Boulos posing on the West Wing colonnade at the White House. “It has been an honour to celebrate many milestones, historic occasions and create memories with my family here at the White House, none more special than my engagement to my amazing fiance Michael!” Tiffany Trump wrote. “Feeling blessed and excited for the next chapter!” Boulos, a 23-year-old business executive, also shared the photograph on his Instagram account. “Got engaged to the love of my life! Looking forward to our next chapter together,” he wrote. Tiffany Trump is the president's daughter with Marla Maples, his second ex-wife. She and Boutros have been dating for the past few years and have attended White House events together. Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
Division 1 and 2 students at the Swan Hills School will participate in an Earth Rangers virtual presentation on January 22, 2021. Crescent Point Energy has sponsored this presentation at no cost to the school. According to information shared by an Earth Rangers representative, the presentation will include: · Real-time broadcasting from the Earth Rangers Centre · Curriculum-linked education information appropriate for grades 1 - 6 · An integration of technology like green-screens, video segments, and multiple camera angles to create a unique and immersive virtual experience · Interactive elements like trivia and a choose-your-own-adventure format to keep students attentive and engaged · Demonstrations by our beloved Animal Ambassadors · Featured local content, including conservation work happening to restore habitat for the Western Bumblebee in Saskatchewan Earth Rangers is a conservation organization that focuses on “instilling environmental knowledge, positivity, and the confidence to take action in every child in Canada.” They offer free programming for children to participate in at school, home, and in the community. Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
LONDON — Lawyers for the Duchess of Sussex asked a British judge on Tuesday to settle her lawsuit against a newspaper before it goes to trial by ruling that its publication of a “deeply personal” letter to her estranged father was “a plain and a serious breach of her rights of privacy.” Meghan's latest attempt to protect her privacy laid bare more details of her fraught relationship with her estranged father, who claims he has been “vilified” as a dishonest publicity-seeker. The former Meghan Markle, 39, is suing Associated Newspapers for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement over five February 2019 articles in the Mail on Sunday and on the MailOnline website that published portions of a handwritten letter to her father, Thomas Markle, after her marriage to Britain’s Prince Harry in 2018. Associated Newspapers is contesting the claim, and a full trial is due to be held in the autumn at the High Court, in what would be one of London's highest-profile civil court showdowns for years. The duchess is seeking a summary judgment that would find in her favour and dismiss the newspaper’s defence case. Her lawyer, Justin Rushbrooke, argued that the publisher had “no real prospect” of winning the case. “At its heart, it’s a very straightforward case about the unlawful publication of a private letter,” he said at the start of a two-day hearing, held remotely because of coronavirus restrictions. Lawyers for the duchess say Thomas Markle, a retired television cinematographer, caused anguish for Meghan and Harry before their May 2018 wedding by giving media interviews and posing for wedding-preparation shots taken by a paparazzi agency. In the end, he didn't attend the wedding ceremony after suffering a heart attack. Rushbrooke said Meghan's letter, sent in August 2018, was “a message of peace” whose aim was “to stop him talking to the press." He said the duchess took steps to ensure the five-page, 1,250-word letter wouldn't be intercepted, sending it by FedEx through her accountant to her father’s home in Mexico. The letter implored Thomas Markle to stop speaking to the media, saying: “Your actions have broken my heart into a million pieces.” The last sentences, read out in court, were: “I ask for nothing other than peace. And I wish the same for you.” Rushbrooke said the fact that the duchess is a public figure “does not reduce her expectation of privacy in relation to information of this kind.” He said “the sad intricacies of a family relationship … is not a matter of public interest.” Lawyers for Associated Newspapers argue that Meghan wrote the letter knowing it would eventually be published. They say it came into the public domain when friends of the duchess described it in anonymous interviews with People magazine. Thomas Markle says he allowed the Mail to publish portions of the letter to “set the record straight” after reading the People article. In a written witness statement submitted by the defence, he said the article “had given an inaccurate picture of the contents of the letter and my reply and had vilified me by making out that I was dishonest, exploitative, publicity-seeking, uncaring and cold-hearted, leaving a loyal and dutiful daughter devastated.” “I had to defend myself against that attack," he said. “The letter was not an attempt at a reconciliation. It was a criticism of me," Markle added. "The letter didn’t say she loved me. It did not even ask how I was. It showed no concern about the fact I had suffered a heart attack and asked no questions about my health. It actually signalled the end of our relationship, not a reconciliation." In October, judge Mark Warby agreed to Meghan’s request to postpone the trial, scheduled to begin this month, until October or November 2021. He said the reason for the delay should remain secret. Meghan, an American actress and star of TV legal drama “Suits,” married Harry, one of the grandsons of Queen Elizabeth II, in a lavish ceremony at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born the following year. A year ago, Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said was the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California. ___ Follow all AP developments on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at https://apnews.com/hub/prince-harry and https://apnews.com/hub/meghan-markle Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
As with businesses elsewhere in the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has left companies in Queens County scrambling to adjust and become more lean and efficient. Strict provincial pandemic regulations motivated residents to shop local. The South Queens Chamber of Commerce is determined that they continue to do so. While at least some local businesses, such as Liverpool’s Main & Mersey Home Store and Coffee Bar and Lloyoll Prefabs in Brooklyn, are managing to pivot toward continued prosperity. Kerry Morash, the chamber’s president, suggested that most businesses in Liverpool so far have been able to ride out the pandemic. But like those elsewhere they’re looking forward to a new start. “A lot of the businesses went above and beyond the rules and regulations that had been set out by the province – sanitation, masks, everything,” he said. “Businesses were very vigilant and made consumers feel as comfortable as possible.” Morash is among others in anticipating that the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine will be a shot in the arm of local business. “Once they get started with the vaccinations, I’m hopeful things will ramp up after that and we will have a brighter 2021,” he said. Meanwhile, business owners such as Shani Beadle of Main & Mersey Home Store and Coffee Bar, on Main Street in Liverpool, are working to adjust. “We had to adapt, but we’re lucky because obviously Liverpool didn’t have a lot of cases.” As with other years, summer residents returned for the season, and other visitors from the Nova Scotia “bubble” also visited. “We had people traveling from all over Nova Scotia here. People that haven’t come to Liverpool for years were coming down because of the bubble, spending their money here. And so we had all of these people that discovered us. For us, that’s great,” said Beadle. She and her husband, Andreas, opened Main & Mersey in 2017, after they moved from London, UK. They began with the interior décor portion of the business and added a small coffee bar in 2019 with outdoor space. “I’ve been a business owner for a long time. I had a manufacturing business in the U.K., so I’m very familiar with having to adapt a business formula on a regular basis,” said Beadle. The coffee shop consists of a small bar and a large communal table. not allowing for a lot of people under normal circumstances. And government health restrictions have meant that available seating has had to be reduced even further. With the onset of winter, the owners closed off their outdoor space with corrugated plastic, so that patrons might use it on warmer days. And with the Christmas tree gone in the home décor part of the business, they were able to add another table. Lloyoll Prefabs meanwhile is also managing to ride out the COVID storm, according to its president, Jonathan Lloy. The company, which builds premium modular homes in Liverpool, has been in operation since 2010. Lloy admitted being concerned early on in the pandemic last year about what the summer and fall were going to look like. “From a sales perspective, many customers were limited in their ability to travel to Nova Scotia, which was a deterrent to start some projects,” said Lloy. But contrary to initial expectations, there was “a surprising surge in demand and we were fortunate that opportunity came our way.” The businessman indicated that the biggest adjustment through COVID-19 was working with the “market volatility, especially when it comes to commodities.” Prices for materials skyrocketed and the shortcomings of the supply chains they use were brought to the forefront. “We had to start buying materials way ahead of schedule and materials were costing a lot more and some were just unavailable,” he said. “This year we bought a fireplace from Italy and it was four months behind getting here. We regularly buy cabinet products from New York and that has been a challenge.” While the company’s usual Canadian suppliers were struggling to keep supplies in stock. However, through it all, he said, the company has become leaner and better. It was able to purchase shaping equipment this year, allowing it to secure raw wood materials and mill it in-house, alleviating some of the reliance the business had on other companies. “This also allows us to grow the business a little bit. We can now employ more people to run this equipment specifically, that don’t necessarily have the training and experience to do some of the more technical things that we do,” added Lloy. “It opens things up to who we can hire, which is important when you are from a small area like we are.” Meanwhile, the company has managed to retain its existing component of 14 staff members, and hopes to employ another six workers by the end of summer. “We took some of our slower times and did some infrastructure work on the shop, did some organizing, made some improvements and now we’re really set up for a strong year in 2021,” said Lloy. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
WASHINGTON — Janet Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden's choice as Treasury secretary, said Tuesday that the incoming administration would focus on winning quick passage of its $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan, rejecting Republican arguments that the measure is too big given the size of U.S. budget deficits. “More must be done,” Yellen told the Senate Finance Committee during her confirmation hearing. “Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now — and long-term scarring of the economy later.” Democrats voiced support for the Biden proposal while Republicans questioned spending nearly $2 trillion more on top of nearly $3 trillion that Congress passed in various packages last year. Various Republicans questioned elements of the Biden proposal such as providing an additional $1,400 stimulus check to individuals earning less than $75,000. They also objected to the inclusion of such long-term Democratic goals as boosting the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., argued that this was cause the loss of jobs and was coming at a time that thousands of small businesses such as restaurants had one out of business. Yellen said that the increase in the minimum wage would help millions of frontline American workers who are risking their lives to keep their communities functioning and often working two jobs to put food on the table. “They are struggling to get by and raising the minimum wage would help these workers,” she said. Despite policy differences, Yellen, who would be the first woman to be Treasury secretary after being the first woman to be chair of the Federal Reserve, is expected to win quick Senate confirmation. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, who will become chairman when Democrats take over the Senate, said it was his hope that Yellen could be confirmed by the full Senate as soon as Thursday. Biden last week unveiled a $1.9 trillion relief plan that would provide more aid to American families and businesses and more support for vaccine production and distribution as well as providing support for states and localities to avoid layoffs of teachers and first responders. Many Republicans raised the soaring budget deficits as a reason to be cautious in passing further relief. Last year, the budget deficit climbed to a record $3.1 trillion. Yellen said that she and Biden were aware of the country's rising debt burden but felt fighting the pandemic-recession was more important currently. “Right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big,” she said. “In the long run, I believe the benefits will far outweigh the costs, especially if we care about helping people who have been struggling for a very long time.” Yellen was nominated to be chair of the Fed by Barack Obama and she stepped down in February 2018 after President Donald Trump decided not to nominate her for a second four-year term. Since leaving the Fed, Yellen has been a distinguished researcher at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank . In the financial disclosure forms filed with the committee, Yellen listed more than $7 million in speaking fees she has received from a number of top Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup since leaving the Fed. Yellen has agreed to recuse herself from Treasury matters involving certain firms that have compensated her for her talks. Yellen's Treasury nomination was supported in a letter from eight previous Treasury secretaries serving both Republican and Democratic administrations. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus eclipsed 400,000 on Tuesday in the waning hours in office for President Donald Trump, whose handling of the crisis has been judged by public health experts a singular failure. The running total of lives lost, as compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is nearly equal to the number of Americans killed in World II. It is about the population of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Tampa, Florida; or New Orleans. It is equivalent to the sea of humanity that was at Woodstock in 1969. It is just short of the estimated 409,000 Americans who died in 2019 of strokes, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, flu and pneumonia combined. And the virus isn't finished with the U.S. by any means, even with the arrival of the vaccines that could finally vanquish the outbreak: A widely cited model by the University of Washington projects the death toll will reach nearly 567,000 by May 1. While the Trump administration has been credited with Operation Warp Speed, the crash program to develop and distribute coronavirus vaccines, Trump has repeatedly downplayed the threat, mocked masks, railed against lockdowns, promoted unproven and unsafe treatments, undercut scientific experts and expressed scant compassion for the victims. Even his own bout with COVID-19 seemed to leave him unchanged. The White House defended the administration. “We grieve every single life lost to this pandemic, and thanks to the president’s leadership, Operation Warp Speed has led to the development of multiple safe and effective vaccines in record time, something many said would never happen," said White House spokesman Judd Deere. President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Wednesday. The nation reached the 400,000 milestone in just under a year. The first known deaths from the virus in the U.S. were in early February 2020, both of them in Santa Clara County, California. While the count is based on figures supplied by government agencies around the world, the real death toll is believed to be significantly higher, in part because of inadequate testing and cases inaccurately attributed to other causes early on. It took four months to reach the first 100,000 dead. It took just over a month to go from 300,000 to 400,000. The Associated Press
LONDON — The Premier League is looking into why West Ham apparently struck an agreement with West Bromwich Albion for Robert Snodgrass not to play in Tuesday's game as part of the winger's transfer between the two clubs. West Brom manager Sam Allardyce disclosed details of the transfer to his relegation-threatened team two weeks ago to explain the absence of Snodgrass. “That was an agreement between the clubs that this game he would not be allowed to play," Allardyce told broadcaster BT Sport ahead of the match in east London. "We could only get the deal done with that agreement.” West Ham is portraying it as a “gentleman's agreement” rather than a formal part of the transfer. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press