Quebec is tightening the health guidelines for stores and malls for the holiday shopping season in an attempt to limit the transmission of the coronavirus.Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault said Wednesday she wants Quebecers to be able to shop for loved ones in a safe environment.The measures include: * A maximum capacity of customers based on floor space available to customers. The capacity must be displayed at the front of the store or shopping mall. * Signs about distancing rules to ensure compliance while shopping and waiting in line. * Clear markings so that shoppers can more easily navigate the store.Guilbault acknowledged that many shopping venues already have these measures in place. But she said those that don't risk being fined up to $6,000 or closed altogether.She said police and workplace safety inspectors would increase their presence in shopping districts during the holiday period.The province reported a record 1,514 cases on Wednesday, the highest daily total since the start of the pandemic, along with 43 deaths.Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province's public health director, said earlier this week that shopping malls have not been a major driver of COVID-19 outbreaks but he said stricter guidelines would ensure that remains the case.
ENHYPEN, “BORDER : DAY ONE” (Belift Lab) With a speed and preparedness that would put to shame the world’s largest corporations, K-pop entertainment agencies continue to perfect the formula for success, launching multiple hit songs and albums with multiple acts. Next up is septet ENHYPEN. Following their participation in the 2020 reality TV show “I-LAND,” BELIFT LAB — a joint venture between BTS’ management BIG HIT and CJ ENM — is launching them into the stratosphere with a six-track debut album called “BORDER : DAY ONE.” The album introduces the seven-member group to the world with lyrics expressing anticipation, longing and the desire to connect. “Given-Taken” is a harp pop dramatic fantasy constructed around a hip-hop beat and “Let Me In (20 CUBE)” brings in a sexy, slow reggae rhythm wrapped around a captivating electric guitar. “10 Months” feeds a confident piano crescendo into a sort of a reverb pop and underwater effects and “Flicker” follows a dreamy drum bass infused with the charisma of a rake watching his next mark. “Intro : Walk the Line" and “Outro : Cross the Line" are mainly creative exercises meant to bookmark and flesh out the high concept release. It’s clear some sort of alchemy is turning voices and faces into gold overnight. Perhaps lucky No. 7 is real after all. Cristina Jaleru, The Associated Press
Transit users won't be able to use a credit card or debit card at fare gates for a second day as TransLink investigates suspicious activity on its online network.The transit authority said Wednesday morning that some of its online services are still down after it disabled them Tuesday "out of an abundance of caution."It said "suspicious network activity" affected some of its information technology systems Tuesday morning. Riders also won't be able to use their credit or debit card at Compass Card vending machines during the outage.TransLink says riders can still use cash at vending machines and will have staff on site to help customers with trouble buying fares. The transit provider says stored value may take longer than usual to load onto a Compass Card. It has also disabled its Trip Planner tool and says riders can use Google Trip Planner in the meantime."We apologize to our customers for this inconvenience," the company said in a statement. TransLink says all other transit services are operating regularly.
Waterloo Region council will vote Dec. 2 on whether to get rid of the five child-care centres it operates. Parents and advocates say the move would harm quality of care and leave hundreds of children in the lurch. Tania Gonzalez said her son Marcus has been well cared for since going to Christopher Children's Centre in Cambridge in mid-2019, when he was an infant. Caretakers at the centre recognized when Marcus was behind on his speech and made her aware of it. Marcus started talking around March, said Gonzalez, just before the province declared a state of emergency and closed all child-care centres. When Marcus returned to Christopher in July, they “lost all the progress,” Gonzalez said. “Not for lack of trying at home, but again, we ... don't specialize in children's development,” she said, adding, since returning to Christopher, Marcus is using easily up to 50 words. “It's not just a daycare. It's not just a babysitter. It's a whole system looking out for my kids.” Tania Resendes said her kids Leo, three, and Matteo, one, really love seeing their teachers at Christopher. Matteo, who has hearing loss, could only speak around three words when he started out and saw a “significant difference” within a month of being at the centre, using over 12 words. Resendes said parents should have “options,” and believes it would be hard to find care of the same calibre in a private daycare system, especially for children with special needs. She said she has tried calling around to child-care centres, but it has been hard to find available spots during the pandemic, when child-care centres are operating at a around 70 per cent capacity. “The prospect of closing or off-loading child-care centres during a pandemic is absolutely shameful,” Carolyn Ferns, policy co-ordinator at the Ontario Coalition of Better Child Care (OCBCC) stated in a media release. “The regionally-operated child-care centres play an important role in the child-care system in the Region of Waterloo. “High-quality, public child-care centres are a benchmark for decent wages, pensions, and benefits for educators who are predominantly women.” With the closures, the region would lose around $2.2 million in fees from parents and would free up $4.3 million in provincial financing earmarked for child care, a consultation review found. Closure would also, it found, require the region to immediately shell out up to $6.4 million in severance pay as the region is projected to be $25 million in the red. CUPE Local 1883, which represents workers in each of the five child-care centres, said the move would leave parents, caretakers and the children in the cold. “Hundreds of working families in the region are already at their breaking point during this brutal pandemic,” says Noelle Fletcher, president of the local. “Losing public child-care spaces due to closures or off-loading them to the community will result in a destabilization of care. “Many parents and caregivers may have to quit their jobs and rely on unlicensed, private care with exorbitant fees or be placed on lengthy wait lists in community-based centres.” Staff recommend eliminating Cambridge Children’s Centre, Kitchener’s Edith MacIntosh Children’s Centre, Kinsmen Children’s Centre and Christopher Children’s Centre, both in Cambridge, by mid-2021. Elmira Children’s Centre is recommended to be closed at a future date. As a result, around 250 children would lose support and 62 full-time staff would be permanently laid off. In 2015, council voted against the closure of all five centres amid public pressure. This time, Resendes said, parents were given too little time to prepare. “From the moment that we found out to when it's going to vote, we've been given three weeks to try and advocate, do our research ... and figure out exactly what's going on.” The meeting takes place at 6 p.m. Dec. 2 and will be livestreamed. Call 519-575-4400 to leave feedback.Swikar Oli, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times
Toronto poet and children's writer Dennis Lee is among the winners of this year's Writers' Trust career honours.The Writers' Trust of Canada doled out $25,000 apiece to four well-versed wordsmiths on Wednesday for their continued contributions to Canadian literature.Lee was named the winner of the Matt Cohen Award for a lifetime of distinguished work by a Canadian writer.His achievements include co-founding the independent publishing company House of Anansi Press in 1967, and penning the 1974 children's classic "Alligator Pie."Also recognized on Wednesday was Kerri Sakamoto, the Toronto-based author of three novels exploring the experience of Japanese-Canadians, who won the Writers' Trust Engel/Findley Award honouring a mid-career writer for their contributions to fiction.Queen's University professor Armand Garnet Ruffo, who draws from his Ojibwe heritage in his genre-spanning works, won the Latner Writers' Trust Poetry Prize recognizing a mid-career poet for mastery of the form.The $25,000 Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People went to Montreal-based Marianne Dubuc, a French-language author and illustrator whose picture books have been published in more than 25 languages.Organizers say the Writers' Trust Awards has given out a total of more than $300,000 to Canadian writers this year between its prizes for individual works, career achievements and emerging talent.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.The Canadian Press
ST. MARY’S – Stricter provincewide measures to protect people during the second wave of COVID-19 won’t derail at least some public displays of holiday cheer in St. Mary’s this year, say municipal officials. Plans are still afoot for the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s Department of Community Development and Recreation’s annual carolling and fireworks event, though director Mallory Fraser says that could change at the last minute. “We will be monitoring the situation as it develops, and make a final decision closer to the date,” she says. For now, the event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Dec. 19, starting at 6:30 p.m., at the St. Mary’s Education Centre/Academy’s parking lot, followed by fireworks and hot chocolate at the Sherbrooke Ball Field. To ensure safety, carollers must register and maintain socially safe distances from each other – and each other’s respective bubbles – before heading through Historic Sherbrooke Village. Something new this year is the Holiday Light Extravaganza. Between Dec 1 and 15, St. Mary’s residents, after filling out an entry form, may submit photos of their home seasonal displays to the community and recreation department’s Facebook Page. Voting will begin on Dec. 10, and the winner will be announced before Christmas. “The Holiday Light Extravaganza will go ahead no matter what,” Fraser says. “This is something that people can do without having to worry about social distancing.” Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald is not expecting trouble despite the worsening infection rate elsewhere in the province. “We haven’t relaxed our protocols here at the office,” he says. “We were going to look into opening the fitness centre at the school, but we’ve just put that back on hold until the new year.” As for the Recplex, he says it is operating for hockey and curling. “When we made the decision to open the rink, it was always based on the idea that if COVID heated up again, we would see how it played out. We’re going to keep the protocols we have in place. If the situation gets worse, we are either going to tighten the protocols, or close some facilities down. But, right now, we are just watching and monitoring.” MacDonald confirmed that the municipality has not reported any cases since the pandemic hit the province earlier this year. Last week, the provincial government introduced newer, tighter controls on public gatherings to staunch an increase in the rate of infection mostly in the Halifax area. “We must immediately change course on COVID-19. The virus is circulating rapidly in Halifax, and we must stop its spread across the province,” Premier Stephen McNeil says in a Nov. 24 news release. The new regulations in the capital include: limiting public gatherings to five people (or up to the number of immediate family members of a household); requiring masks in common areas of multi-unit residential buildings; restricting restaurants to take-out service; limiting the number of customers and employees of retail outlets to 25 per cent of their normal capacity; and suspending organized sporting, recreational, cultural and religious gatherings. On Nov. 29, the number of active COVID-19 cases in the province stood at 125, up from 119 at the end of last week.Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
MONTREAL — Garda World Security Corp. has raised its hostile takeover offer for British security firm G4S to 3.68 billion pounds or about C$6.3 billion.Under the proposal, Garda says it will pay 235 pence in cash for each G4S share, up from its earlier offer of 190 pence announced in September that amounted to about 2.97 billion pounds.Montreal-based Garda also reduced the level of acceptances needed to a simple majority from 90 per cent.Garda called it a final offer and set a deadline of Dec. 16 for shareholders to accept the bid.The move follows a rival proposal by Allied Universal Security Services for G4S of "at least" 210 pence per share that the G4S board rejected on the basis that it was highly conditional and at 210 pence undervalued the company and its prospects.G4S has more than 533,000 employees in 85 countries, including more than 9,000 in Canada. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020.The Canadian Press
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week.MOVIES— Film history fans will get a meal out of David Fincher’s “Mank,” about “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz who is masterfully played by Gary Oldman. Shot in gorgeous black and white, “Mank” transports you into the depression era studio system, Upton Sinclair’s bid for governor, William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies’s elegant parties and to that bungalow in Victorville where the first draft of the classic Orson Welles film was composed. Available on Netflix on Friday, “Mank” is one of the year’s very best films and both a tribute to and searing critique of Hollywood’s golden age. Amanda Seyfried, as Davies, is one of the great performances of the year.— Another film full of excellent performances is “Sound of Metal,” starring Riz Ahmed as a punk metal drummer who experiences sudden severe hearing loss. The film, which is captioned in English, dives into the world of the deaf community with Ruben (Ahmed) in a way you’ve never seen or heard before. It’s the directorial debut of Darius Marder (a writer on “The Place Beyond the Pines”), who assembled an crack team of sound mixers and editors to create a unique auditory experience to simulate what Ruben is going through as he loses his hearing entirely.— If $30 was a little steep for your tastes to rent the new live-action “Mulan,” it’ll finally be free for Disney+ subscribers Friday. From director Niki Caro, this adaptation of the Chinese folk tale about a young woman who disguises herself as a man and takes her father’s place in the army, is breathtakingly beautiful, from the stunning landscapes to the colorful costumes. Although it may fall short on the kind of intoxicating story magic that the Disney label signifies, it is worth a watch and may just inspire some curious young viewers to delve into more Asian cinema classics. Also, if you find yourself missing the songs and Eddie Murphy, the animated 1998 version is also available on the service.— AP Film Writer Lindsey BahrMUSIC— A house is not a home during the holiday season if Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is not blasting – daily! During a normal, non-pandemic year, Carey and her Christmas craziness would be on a holiday tour, bringing joy to fans and lambs in-person. Because live shows aren’t really a thing in 2020, she’s launching a holiday TV special on Apple TV+ on Friday. “Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special” will includes a mix of musical performances and dancing with amination. Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg, Tiffany Haddish, Misty Copeland and Carey’s 9-year-old twins, son Moroccan and daughter Monroe, will make special appearances.— Shawn Mendes released his debut album in 2015 and he’s dropping his fourth effort Friday. “Wonder” continues to showcase Mendes’ growth as a singer, songwriter and performer. The album features the singles “Wonder” and “Monster” with Justin Bieber, which debuted in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot chart this week. Along with the album is the Netflix documentary called “Shawn Mendes: In Wonder,” which is available for streaming and follows Mendes’ rise and journey over the last few years.— Christmas came early when Carrie Underwood released her first holiday album in September, and on Thursday she’ll debut a musical TV special to accompany the album. On HBO Max’s “My Gift: A Christmas Special from Carrie Underwood” — conducted by award-winning musical director Rickey Minor — the country superstar is backed by a live orchestra, choir and her band. John Legend makes a special appearance and viewers will get a behind-the-scenes look at Underwood’s 5-year-old son, Isaiah, recording his vocals for their version of “Little Drummer Boy.”— AP Music Editor Mesfin FekaduTELEVISION— “Selena: The Series” is described by Netflix as a coming-of-age drama that follows Selena Quintanilla from talented youngster to musical phenom, aided by her family. A breakthrough star in male-dominated Tejano music, the singer was just shy of her 24th birthday in 1995 when she was fatally shot by a former business associate. The two-part series debuts Friday with Christian Serratos (“The Walking Dead”) as Selena and Gabriel Chavarria (“East Los Angeles’) and Ricardo Chavira (“Desperate Housewives”) among the cast members.— The 11th and final season of the Showtime dramady “Shameless” debuts 9 p.m. EST Sunday, weaving the pandemic, urban gentrification and personal pressures into the lives of the Gallaghers of Chicago’s South Side. Aging patriarch Frank (William H. Macy) is facing the toll of longtime alcohol and drug abuse, while and Ian and Mickey (Cameron Monaghan, Noel Fisher) struggle as newlyweds. Deb (Emma Kenney) stands ready to give her all to single motherhood and Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) feels the same about his nascent law enforcement career.— Two respected veterans are behind “A Suitable Boy,” a limited series directed by filmmaker Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding,” “The Namesake”) and written by Andrew Davies (“Pride and Prejudice,” “House of Cards”). An adaptation of Vikram Seth’s 1,300-plus page novel of the same name, the 1950s, India-set drama revolves around a university student who’s shaping her identity as the newly independent country does the same. The all-Indian lead cast includes Tabu (“The Namesake,” “Life of Pi”) and Tanya Maniktala. The series debuts Monday, Dec. 7, on Acorn TV.— AP Television Writer Lynn Elber___Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/apf-entertainment.The Associated Press
En date du 1er décembre, le député bloquiste de Bécancour–Nicolet–Saurel a bouclé 36 ans, deux mois et 27 jours aux Communes, battant de trois jours le record de Charles Marcil, l’élu de Bonaventure qui siégea jusqu’au 29 janvier 1937. L’indépendantiste qui se fait appeler amicalement «Doyen» par ses collègues est arrivé à la Chambre des communes en 1984 sous les couleurs du Parti progressiste-conservateur de Brian Mulroney. Avec l’échec de l’Accord du lac Meech en 1990, il change de fusil d’épaule pour cofonder le Bloc québécois, le parti politique créé à Sorel-Tracy en 1991. À 77 ans, Louis Plamondon s’apprête à briguer un douzième mandat. S’il est élu, il pourrait battre le record de longévité de cinq députés anglophones dont deux de 37 ans et trois autres de plus de 39 ans parmi lesquels le libéral Herb Gray. Ce dernier est le député qui a siégé le plus longtemps à la Chambre des communes avec au compteur une longévité de 39 ans, six mois et 30 jours. En tant que Doyen de la Chambre des communes, Louis Plamondon a régulièrement présidé la première session du parlement au lendemain des élections depuis 2008. Le secret de son ancienneté réside dans la proximité qu’il a longtemps développée avec les gens dans sa circonscription et aux assemblées parlementaires. Dans l’une de ses entrevues accordées au Courrier Sud pendant la pandémie, il s’est montré profondément affecté par les restrictions qui l’empêchent d’assister aux multiples évènements sportifs et culturels qui ont longtemps meublé son emploi du temps. M. Plamondon a plusieurs fois confié qu’il s’ennuyait des contacts humains et des activités auxquels il s’était habitué. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
A Windsor elementary school outbreak with 49 cases set the "precedent" for asymptomatic COVID-19 testing in the province, according to one expert.Biostatistician Ryan Imgrund, who is based in Newmarket, Ont., and works with a number of public health units across the province, told CBC Radio's Windsor Morning that the outbreak at Frank W. Begley Public Elementary School set the example of what should be done. "At the time that they found those cases, Windsor was not one of those super danger zones like Toronto, Peel and some other areas like that," Imgrund said. "So I don't think it was expected by anyone that a school that is in a lower-risk area would find up to 50 cases ... I think Begley set the precedent for the whole entire province what we should be doing." After three staff members tested positive for the disease, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit dismissed the entire school on Nov. 17 and advised everyone to get tested. COVID-19 testing was prioritized for the entire school population, with a temporary testing site set up in the school's gymnasium. Overall, 40 students and nine staff members have tested positive. In the same week that Begley was declared an outbreak, W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School also went into outbreak and dismissed all students after two positive cases. Testing was prioritized for all members of this group, with a temporary testing site set up in the school, and seven people were confirmed positive. Despite this, and the fact that Begley is the largest school outbreak in the province, Windsor was not included in the launch of an asymptomatic testing pilot project announced last week. Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Thursday that the pilot is available for students and staff in the province's COVID-19 hotspots of Toronto, Peel, York and Ottawa. "Right now, the next four weeks are targeting the highest-risk regions," he said at the time. "We're following the advice of public health. If they determine, they provide a recommendation it should be expanded or we should augment the list, of course we will continue to follow that direction and implement it swiftly."Lecce told reporters that 99.85 per cent of students in the Windsor-Essex region remain COVID-free, and he and his staff are in contact with school board and public health officials to keep transmission down.Though Begley remains closed, superintendent of education at the Greater Essex County District School Board Sharon Pyke told CBC News Wednesday that the board is working with the health unit and hopes to announce a reopening date this week. A letter sent out to parents in regards to the outbreak had asked them to have their child tested, even if they were asymptomatic. When asked whether she'd like to see asymptomatic testing in schools available in the region, Pyke said it might be best to spare our resources. "I think that if we can keep on top of doing our self-assessments, I think that we perhaps may be better served in terms of our resources in our area, we want to make sure that we're able to test the people that need to be tested," she said."So do I agree? Any kind of preventative measure is good for anyone so of course I want the best for students, I want the best for our staff. I just want to make sure that they're allocated in the right space and the right spot." An investigation by the local health unit is still ongoing to determine how COVID-19 transmission was so widespread in Begley.
Clasine van Adrichem had been enjoying her time with friends knitting mini-scarves for the plush toys of Mr. PG, the mascot of Prince George, B.C., which were to be given away during the World Women's Curling Championship in the city in March.But when the event was cancelled due to COVID-19, so were her weekly gatherings with her pals. As the province reopened in the summer, van Adrichem came up with a bigger project to reconnect with her friends: to make a gigantic scarf for the eight metre-tall Mr. PG statue itself.Van Adrichem and nine other women — ranging in age from 67 to 92 — congregated weekly in Prince George's Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park to weave the 13-metre long accessory for the city's landmark, which celebrated its 60th birthday in May.On Monday, Mr. PG finally got to put it on. Each member of the team knitted two to three squares, with a total of 25 making up the final scarf. The squares are different colours that represent local organizations and sports teams."Each square probably took close to 10 hours," van Adrichem told Carolina de Ryk, host of CBC's Daybreak North. The weekly knitting sessions in the park were a lifesaver for Sally McLean, who felt isolated at home and didn't get much social support for the first three months of the pandemic."We talked about the weather, and we talked about each other's families and how everybody was doing," McLean said. "We just supported one another in that way as we continued to knit."The women normally make mittens, toques, scarves and sweaters for families in need and give much of their time to support local charities. Van Adrichem hopes Mr. PG's scarf will serve as a reminder to Prince George residents about the importance of giving."There are so many here in the city who need support," she said. "We hope that people will be generous and provide people with something they really need, whether it be food or clothing, at this time of year."Members of the public now have a chance to own a human-size replica of Mr. PG's scarf hand-knitted by van Adrichem, McLean and their teammates. To be in the running, the City of Prince George is encouraging people to comment on its social media channels, stating which nonprofit organizations they've donated to, by Dec. 21.Tap the link below to listen to Clasine van Adrichem and Sally McLean's interview on Daybreak North:Subscribe to Daybreak North on CBC Listen or your favourite podcast app, and connect with CBC Northern British Columbia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
SCUGOG: Scugog councillors have decided not to send their 2021 cost of living wage increase back to the municipality, opposing a motion intended to lessen the tax impact on the community. At a meeting on Monday, November 23rd, Regional Councillor Wilma Wotten made a motion to have “council members support the donation of their 2021 cost of living wage increase back to the municipality to reduce the 2021 tax impact for Scugog Township.” The motion noted how the COVID-19 pandemic “continues to negatively impact economic realities for residents, businesses, non-profit organizations and charities.” Councillor Wotten explained why she decided to go this route instead of recommending a wage freeze. “I feel firmly we would be moving backwards if we were to do a full freeze. Originally I thought it would be good to donate it to a charity of choice, but I think it is better to donate it back to the township, so it can go into our revenue,” she said, adding this money would go towards all taxpayers in Scugog, rather than one charity. Ward 4 Councillor Deborah Kiezebrink supported Councillor Wotten’s motion. “I really appreciate Councillor Wotten’s heart and her thoughts. These have been extremely difficult and painful times for so many people. It’s hard because the services the township has to provide cost more. We’re all affected by this,” she said. But, the majority of councillors rejected the motion. “I’m one of those people who [doesn’t] have a problem donating back, but I’d like to donate back to the community by donating the money to the food bank. These are lean times for all of us, and especially for food banks and especially here in Scugog,” Ward 5 Councillor Lance Brown said. Ward 3 Councillor Angus Ross said this motion does not do enough to help the community. “I support council giving back to the community 100 per cent, but I don’t support this motion because I don’t believe it actually gives back to the community. I think it is a gesture, and that’s fine and I think [there are] times for gestures, how be it though I don’t think this is time for one,” he said. Scugog finance staff estimated the collective wage increase to be about $4,128. Councillor Wotten stated it would be improper for one councillor to decide what one charity these combined funds should be donated to. “How do we choose which one is more important?” she said. Councillor Wotten’s motion failed four to two. Councillors were instead encouraged to give back to charities of their choice. “I know this year I have stepped up my contributions to different organizations, especially in town, and I would just encourage everyone to do the same,” Mayor Bobbie Drew said.Dan Cearns, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Standard Newspaper
NAIROBI, Kenya — In a breakthrough a month after deadly conflict cut off Ethiopia’s Tigray region from the world, the United Nations on Wednesday said it and the Ethiopian government have signed a deal to allow “unimpeded” humanitarian access, at least for areas under federal government control after the prime minister’s declaration of victory over the weekend.This will allow the first food, medicines and other aid into the region of 6 million people that has seen rising hunger during the fighting between the federal and Tigray regional governments. Each regards the other as illegal in a power struggle that has been months in the making.For weeks, the U.N. and others have pleaded for access amid reports of supplies running desperately low for millions of people. A U.N. humanitarian spokesman, Saviano Abreu, said the first mission to carry out a needs assessment would begin Wednesday.“We are of course working to make sure assistance will be provided in the whole region and for every single person who needs it,” he said. The U.N. and partners are committed to engaging with “all parties to the conflict" to ensure that aid to Tigray and the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions is “strictly based on needs."Ethiopia’s government did not immediately comment.For weeks, aid-laden trucks have been blocked at Tigray’s borders, and the U.N. and other humanitarian groups were increasingly anxious to reach Tigray as hunger grows and hospitals run out of basic supplies like gloves and body bags.“We literally have staff reaching out to us to say they have no food for their children,” one humanitarian worker told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.“We have been urging, waiting, begging for access,” another aid official, Jan Egeland with the Norwegian Refugee Council, told the AP. “We're ready to go tomorrow. ... It has been heartbreaking to be forced to wait."More than 1 million people in Tigray are now thought to be displaced, including over 45,000 who have fled into a remote area of neighbouring Sudan. Humanitarians have struggled to feed them as they set up a crisis response from scratch.Communications and transport links remain almost completely severed to Tigray, and the fugitive leader of the defiant regional government this week told the AP that fighting continues despite Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's declaration of victory.It remains almost impossible to verify either side’s claims as the conflict threatens to destabilize both the country and the entire Horn of Africa.“It is critically important to get objective information as to what is going on,” the top U.S. diplomat for Africa, Tibor Nagy, told the BBC. “The active military phase is basically over. I’m not saying the fighting is over. So at this point, the humanitarian phase is the most important one.”Nagy added that “now the danger is this evolving into a long-term insurgency." He also disagreed with Ethiopia's description of the conflict as a “law enforcement operation” to arrest the Tigray leaders, saying that “it was obviously a military operation.” The fighting between two heavily armed forces has seen airstrikes, rocket attacks and tanks.For weeks, the U.N. and others have been increasingly insistent on the need to reach some 600,000 people in Tigray who already were dependent on food aid even before the conflict.Now those needs have exploded, but Abiy has resisted international pressure for dialogue and de-escalation, saying his government will not “negotiate our sovereignty.” His government regards the Tigray regional government, which dominated Ethiopia’s ruling coalition for more than a quarter-century, as illegitimate after months of growing friction as he sought to centralize power.Amid the warring sides’ claims and counter-claims, one thing is clear: Civilians have suffered.The U.N. says food has run out for the nearly 100,000 refugees from Eritrea whose camps close to the Tigray border with Eritrea have been in the line of fire as the fighting swept through. Reports that some refugees have been killed or abducted, if true, “would be major violations of international norms,” the U.N. refugee chief said over the weekend in an urgent appeal to Abiy.These are “extremely vulnerable people” who fled persecution in Eritrea, Egeland said. “It’s been extremely frustrating to lose access and communication.”With infrastructure there and elsewhere in Tigray damaged, the U.N. has said some people are now drinking untreated water, increasing the risk of diseases.In the largest hospital in the Tigray capital, Mekele, staff had to suspend other activities to focus on treating the large number of wounded from the conflict, the International Committee for the Red Cross said.The ICRC, the rare organization to travel inside the Tigray region and its borderlands, has reported coming across abandoned communities and camps of displaced people.No one knows the true toll of the fighting. Human rights and humanitarian groups have reported several hundred people killed, including civilians, but many more are feared.Inside Tigray, and among the majority ethnic Tigrayan refugees in Sudan, people are exhausted.“The world hasn’t seen anything like this year. I have never seen anything like this,” said one refugee who gave his name as Danyo, standing on the edge of a river that people on Tuesday were crossing to seek safety.“When Dr. Abiy came, we saw him as a good thing,” he said. “Our hopes were fulfilled, because his talk in the beginning was as sweet as honey, but now the honey has gone sour.”___Fay Abuelgasim in Hamdayet, Sudan, contributed.Cara Anna, The Associated Press
Huit ans, un mois et 13 jours. C’est le temps qui a passé depuis que Jason-Billy Coonishish-Rock a été arraché brutalement aux siens. Sa mère, Katia Rock de Pessamit sait qu’elle ne se sortira jamais de cette peine immense. Endeuillée, comme pratiquement au premier jour, Katia Rock a décidé qu’il était venu le temps de tout raconter dans les moindres détails pour ne jamais oublier son fils, pour partager l’événement le plus difficile de sa vie et aussi pour qu’elle puisse faire son deuil, si possible. Sa porte d’entrée pour exprimer cette indescriptible souffrance: les réseaux sociaux. « J’aimerais vous prévenir que le contenu de mon partage sera difficile à lire, mais les gens doivent connaître les circonstances du décès de mon garçon. Mon seul et unique », lance-t-elle d’emblée en entrevue téléphonique avec macotenord.com. C’est donc avec une voix tremblotante et chargée d’émotion qu’elle se lance. « Chaque année, un peu avant Noël, je revis ce pénible scénario. » Son fils de 22 ans a été sauvagement assassiné par Darryl Neeposh, un individu « dérangé » qui a agi comme un sanguinaire. Un meurtre crapuleux et d’une extrême violence. Lors de l’autopsie, la famille de la victime a eu de la difficulté à l’identifier tellement il était méconnaissable. « Une scène digne d’un film d’horreur. Il était défiguré. Son œil gauche crevé et enfoncé par le doigt de son assassin. Il a été battu à mort », livre Mme Rock, les trémolos dans la voix. Un témoignage à glacer le sang raconté une première fois lors du procès, alors que Mme Rock avait pu s’adresser au meurtrier de son fils, Darryl Neeposh. L’homme, qui avait 31 ans au moment de commettre son acte irréparable, était demeuré insensible dans le box des accusés. 4 ans de pénitencier Malgré une preuve accablante de ce sordide meurtre, Darryl Neeposh avait été accusé et reconnu coupable de meurtre au deuxième degré. Une peine d’emprisonnement de 4 ans. Aujourd’hui, il est libre. Les émotions se transforment en colère pour la mère lorsque nous abordons le nom de cet homme: Darryl Neeposh. « Injustice » est le premier mot qui a été prononcé par Katia Rock qui déplore le manque d’humanité de notre système de justice. « Il vit aujourd’hui en liberté, sans aucune conséquence. Il s’est même remarié. Mon fils, lui, ne reviendra jamais. Il est parti si jeune, alors qu’il avait toute la vie devant lui. Injustice », a martelé la femme de 48 ans. « Sa peine ne sera jamais assez suffisante pour tout le traumatisme que j’ai vécu et dont j’en garde encore aujourd’hui des séquelles psychologiques, et ce, à cause de lui », ajoute-t-elle avec la rage au cœur. Katia Rock était persuadée que la solide preuve dévoilée lors du procès aurait mené à une accusation de meurtre prémédité où aucune libération conditionnelle n’est possible avant 25 ans. Or, il a été démontré que Jason-Billy avait tenté de fuir son assassin à plusieurs reprises durant cette macabre soirée. En effet, des traces de sang retrouvées sur la neige près de la galerie de la résidence du meurtrier ont confirmé que la victime avait essayé de s’enfuir. Le jeune homme a rencontré son futur meurtrier vers 2h du matin alors qu’il était en chemin pour retourner chez ses grands-parents après avoir passé la soirée avec une copine dans la communauté autochtone de Mistissini, située à quelque 90 km au nord de Chibougamau, dans le Nord-du-Québec. Invité par le résident de la rue Minschiweek à le suivre à son domicile, Jason-Billy a accepté, ce qui lui aura coûté la vie. Vers 6h, un témoin a mentionné avoir vu les deux hommes prendre un taxi. À 7h30, la voisine du duplex dit avoir entendu Jason-Billy crier « Ekuen ma shash! (Arrête! ) » plus d’une fois. Ensuite, il y a eu un long silence. Vers 10h, la conjointe du tueur, qui avait dans le passé signalé aux policiers sa peur face à son copain violent, s’est rendue au domicile afin de récupérer des effets personnels pour elle et ses enfants. De retour chez sa mère, elle est persuadée qu’il s’est passé quelque chose de grave, précisant avoir vu un jeune homme inanimé et allongé par terre dans une mare de sang. Elle contactera les policiers. Rapidement, les policiers autochtones demanderont assistance à leurs collègues de la Sûreté du Québec. L’enquête a aussitôt été confiée aux policiers de l’unité des crimes contre la personne. Darryl Neeposh est retrouvé sur les lieux, allongé face contre le sol. Réveillé et amené au poste pour interrogatoire, il sera ensuite accusé du meurtre de Jason-Billy Coonishish-Rock. Au procès, il sera mentionné que Jason-Billy était étendu par terre, ne voyant que le bout de ses pieds avec une botte manquante, un matelas simple sur son corps meurtri. Quand les policiers ont soulevé le matelas, ils ont vu un jeune homme portant un masque Spiderman sur son visage. En retirant le masque, c’est la terrible découverte d’un visage »massacré ». Le thanatologue ira même a fortement recommander à la famille de ne pas ouvrir le cercueil lors des funérailles. « Je tenais à ce qu’il soit exposé pour que les gens puissent lui faire un dernier au revoir et pour que je puisse le voir et prendre conscience de sa mort. Même avec des heures de travail et malgré les efforts mis sur la reconstruction du visage, il était encore méconnaissable. » Mourant, il continue de le frapper Toujours devant le Tribunal, il a été démontré que le meurtrier s’était acharné sur sa victime jusqu’à son dernier souffle. « Il a reçu tellement de coups de la part de celui qui s’est permis de lui enlever la vie. Je ne peux croire qu’une personne puisse faire autant de mal à une personne de façon gratuite. Il est mort seul dans des conditions épouvantables. Je suis bouleversée en pensant à ça, moi qui par mon métier d’infirmière accompagne les gens en fin de vie. Je sais comment c’est difficile de mourir seul, loin de ses proches. » Katia Rock souligne qu’elle savait depuis longtemps qu’elle devait extérioriser sa peine, mais elle n’avait pas la force ni le courage d’exprimer ce qui la hante, jour après jour, depuis huit ans. Aujourd’hui, elle espère qu’avec cette sortie publique, elle pourra tourner la page et accepter l’absence de son fils, celui qui était sa raison de vivre.Stéphane Tremblay, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government will be ready to deploy COVID-19 vaccines to Canadians soon after they are approved by Health Canada. He says four promising vaccine candidates are currently under review.
Dysart et al council has signed off on a memorandum of understanding that will allow the Haliburton County Snowmobile Association (HCSA) to operate on the local trail this winter season, providing the organization comes to a separate agreement with the principal landowners along the site. In what turned out to be a hearty debate amongst council members, a recorded vote saw a majority of the municipality’s elected officials approve the HCSA’s request to amend an existing agreement that will, essentially, transfer a portion of the off-season liability from the snowmobile club to the town should an accident occur. Ward 4 Coun. John Smith was the sole vote against the request. He pointed to issues that Dysart’s legal counsel and insurance provider had with the wording of the new agreement as the main reason he voted to turn the application down. “I’m not trying to prohibit snowmobiling, but as our solicitor has pointed out, and as our insurance company has pointed out, these proposed changes put forth by the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, (and presented by local associations), are transferring risk from snowmobiling clubs to municipalities. That is liability from snowmobilers onto taxpayers,” Coun. Smith said. He continued, “For us to proceed with this when our solicitor has written us a letter, and our insurance company have written a letter expressing their concerns over the agreement, and for us to adopt our own casual interpretation of those risks … It’s a concern, for me, that we would appear to dismiss these risks so casually.” Earlier in the meeting, Jeff Iles, Dysart’s director of planning and land information, informed council that the town’s lawyer said it was “not inherently a negative thing” that the snowmobile association was looking to limit its responsibility in the event an injury or damages occur during the late spring, summer and early months of fall, when there’s no snow on the ground. Mayor Andrea Roberts said she understands completely why the snowmobile club would want to initiate such a change. “Why would the snowmobile club want to be responsible if somebody is trespassing on property, or a tree falls, or somebody is hiking on (the trail). I see why they’re asking for this change,” Mayor Roberts said. Coun. Smith did not concur with the mayor’s opinion, pointing to other municipalities and organizations, such as the United Counties of Prescott and Russell, and the Grand River Conservation Authority, who have refused to sign off on their own snowmobile club’s requests. “I remain supportive of snowmobiling in general, but to take these risks on behalf of our taxpayers in the face of professional advice to the contrary… We’re being too casual about this. We need to better understand the potential consequences of putting in place an agreement like this prior to passing the motion that is before us.” While council voted in favour of the new agreement, they did include a clause that staff will continue to consult with legal representation and their insurance company on this file moving forward. It was suggested, by Ward 2 Coun. Larry Clarke, that the municipality simply up their liability coverage with their insurer to cover any potential lawsuit. “It may cost us a few extra dollars, but snowmobile associations bring huge amounts of business to this community, which is so important for our economic health,” Coun. Clarke stated. Although Dysart council signed off on the agreement, the HCSA will still need to negotiate an agreement with Fleming College before its members can use the trail. Should council, at a future date, decide it wants to go back on this agreement, it will need to provide 60 days written notice to both the HCSA and Fleming College.Mike Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Haliburton County Echo
If 2020 were a Christmas tree, it would be what BC Ferries has concocted on board its vessel that sails between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert.The corporation's conifer — and its peculiar decorations — lit up Twitter this week, after a rider snapped a photo of it.The tree is festooned with blown-up purple latex gloves that "almost look like turkeys in a way," according to Joshua Azizi, who captured the tree in all its glory. Notice, too, the ornaments featuring BC Ferries' now-infamous mandatory mask logo, which bears striking phallic imagery.Other decorations include poop emojis, a toilet plunger and and toilet paper rolls with creepy faces on it, because why not? The piece de resistance? A toilet seat in the place of a star."That toilet seat may act as a flotation device if needed," a user noted in response. In an email, BC Ferries said the tree was their attempt to shine a little light of humour."The crews recognized the toll the pandemic has taken on everyone," a spokesperson wrote.The company added that it continues to take the pandemic seriously, noting "the safety of our employees, customers and communities remains our priority."Azizi suspected the sapling would spark some joy."People seem to really like this darn Christmas tree," he said.
Quebec hospitals usually see a rise in visits to the emergency room in early January, yet many across the province are already swamped.Doctors at some hospitals are urging Premier François Legault to cancel Christmas gatherings to avoid pushing the province's health-care system beyond its limits.Emergency rooms in several regions, including Montreal, Laval, Quebec City, the Laurentians and the Lanaudière, are operating well above capacity. About 30 percent of the province's ERs are operating at full capacity or far beyond that. Here are some examples, as of Wednesday morning: * Lakeshore General Hospital (Montreal): 142 per cent capacity. * Maisonneuve-Rosemont hospital (Montreal): 141 percent capacity. * Cité de la Santé Hospital (Laval): 129 per cent capacity. * Pierre-Le Gardeur Hospital (Lanaudière): 158 per cent capacity. * Pierre-Boucher Hospital (Montérégie): 189 per cent capacity.The number of people in emergency rooms traditionally rises between December and January. Last year, Quebec was 113 per cent in December, and 123 per cent in January, according to data provided by Quebec's Health Ministry.In the view of Dr. François Marquis, the head of intensive care at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, many facilities are taking in more COVID-19 patients, and that is putting pressure on emergency rooms across the province."As a doctor that looks strictly at the physical health aspect, and that's very restricted [as a perspective], the answer is simple: nothing at Christmas, we see no one," said Marquis."The reason I make that distinction, there's also mental health and we need to see people."Quebec reported Tuesday more than 700 people in hospital due to COVID-19, an issue Legault alluded to when acknowledging he may need to scrap the province's holiday gathering plan.Dr. Vincent Bouchard-Dechêne, an internal medicine specialist at Notre-Dâme Hospital, doesn't see how hospitals can deal with an increase in COVID-19 patients after the holidays, while still providing service to people with other ailments."To limit gatherings during Christmas time, would be the best gift we could give ourselves," said Bouchard-Dechêne.For now, the province plans to allow up to two gatherings between Dec. 24 and Dec. 27, with a maximum of ten people in attendance and with no limit on the number of households those people would come from.Legault is expected to make a final decision by Dec. 11.Is nine days enough?The characteristics of COVID-19, including the time it takes for its symptoms to appear, make it difficult for trends to change much between now and Dec. 11, according to Dr. Matthew Oughton, a physician with the Jewish General Hospital's infectious diseases division. "That's really at the fine cutting edge of where anything that you would do today, you'd really see changes reflected in the numbers by Dec. 11," said Oughton. "I'm certainly not optimistic that we're going to be able to change course in such a short time."Oughton said it was a mistake for the premier to release the plan for gatherings first, and then tell Quebecers they would only be allowed if the number of cases, deaths and hospitalizations went down."[He should've] said, 'look, this is what's at stake, it's Christmas gatherings. In order for us to situate ourselves well, we need to get our numbers down," said Oughton."Rather than giving up the reward upfront, and then sort of threaten to take it away.A growing number out outbreaks in private seniors homes (RPAs) could also make the health-care system even more fragile during the holiday period. On Tuesday, Health Minister Christian Dubé highlighted the situation in Quebec City, where a number of nurses have had to be deployed to 16 RPAs in an effort to contain the virus within those homes.Dubé admitted that taking staff away from hospitals is not ideal, but said the province has no choice but to offer help."What we need to is stop contacts in RPAs, to be certain that we don't have to transfer personnel that we currently don't have, to be very, very clear," Dubé said.
The Orangeville Public Library has followed the trend of finding creative solutions to Christmas in 2020, — new ways to bring their usual festive activities to children in the community. Beginning on Dec. 4, children young and old will be able to tune in every Friday and enjoy a recording of Santa reading around the fireplace. Videos will be posted to the Orangeville Public Library’s YouTube channel at 10 a.m. on Dec. 4, 11, 18, and on Christmas Day. Additionally, the library will extend the festive fun through holiday-themed story time craft kits for families to enjoy together at home. These kits will be available for pickup from the Mill Street branch beginning on Dec. 4, and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Stories with Santa program has been a favourite at the library over the years, with one aspect of it being Santa’s annual gift of literacy. This facet of the festivities will not be forgotten with the virtual event. Beginning on Dec. 18, children will be able to pick up a wrapped picture book at the Mill Street Library. There is a limit of one book per child, and quantities are limited. Additional virtual programming is available online during the closures via the library’s YouTube channel. Notifications are available by subscribing to the channel. For more information visit www.orangevillelibrary.ca.Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner
HAMILTON — Police say a Hamilton man has been arrested and charged after he allegedly hit a child with a pickup truck, critically injuring him. Hamilton police say the 11-year-old boy was crossing the street at a marked crosswalk Tuesday afternoon when he was hit. The driver allegedly hit the boy after failing to stop for a traffic light and a crossing guard. Police say the child was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries. The 28-year-old driver will appear in court today on a charge of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Police are still investigating but say they have ruled out driver impairment and other contributing factors. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020. The Canadian Press