StatsCan says the price of food has been growing, which couldn’t come at a worse time for many. Both those running the Daily Bread Food Bank and the people who rely on it are concerned about what that price increase will do. Matthew Bingley reports.
StatsCan says the price of food has been growing, which couldn’t come at a worse time for many. Both those running the Daily Bread Food Bank and the people who rely on it are concerned about what that price increase will do. Matthew Bingley reports.
NEW YORK — The co-author of the million-selling “Game Change” has a book of his own coming about the 2020 election.Simon & Schuster announced Monday that John Heilemann is working on a “dramatic, first-hand account” of Joe Biden's victorious campaigns over his Democratic Party rivals in the primaries and over President Donald Trump in the general election. Heilemann had collaborated with Mark Halperin on “Game Change,” about the 2008 race, and on “Double Down,” about 2012.Halperin has since faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment. He was dropped by Showtime, where he and Heilemann hosted the political series “The Circus,” and a planned book by the two authors on the 2016 campaign was cancelled by Penguin Press.Heilemann's new book, currently untitled, draws on three decades of covering the former vice-president, who was Barack Obama's running mate in 2008 and 2012. The publication date is not yet scheduled.“I first met Joe Biden in 1986 when I was in college and he was getting ready to run for president the first time, and I’ve been following his ups and downs, his triumphs and tragedies, ever since,” Heilemann said in a statement. “The story of how, against all odds and against the apocalyptic backdrop of America in 2020, Biden rallied in the winter of his life to defeat Trump — and, in the eyes of many, to save the country — is one of the great political tales of this or any age, and I’m thrilled to have a chance to tell it.”Screen rights have been acquired by Showtime, where Heilemann still hosts "The Circus." The HBO adaptation of "Game Change" won five Emmys and three Golden Globe awards.Heilemann is national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and co-founder of the political video platform The Recount. He is also the author of “Pride Before the Fall: The Trials of Bill Gates and the End of the Microsoft Era,” which came out in 2001.His current project adds to the list of books expected on the 2020 race, which includes works by Maggie Haberman of The New York Times and by Ryan Lizza of Politico and co-writer Olivia Nuzzi of New York magazine.Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
A company has started selling the first blood test to help diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, a leap for the field that could make it much easier for people to learn whether they have dementia. It also raises concern about the accuracy and impact of such life-altering news.Independent experts are leery because key test results have not been published and the test has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — it's being sold under more general rules for commercial labs. But they agree that a simple test that can be done in a doctor’s office has long been needed.It might have spared Tammy Maida a decade of futile trips to doctors who chalked up her symptoms to depression, anxiety or menopause before a $5,000 brain scan last year finally showed she had Alzheimer’s.“I now have an answer,” said the 63-year-old former nurse from San Jose, California.If a blood test had been available, “I might have been afraid of the results” but would have “jumped on that” to find out, she said.More than 5 million people in the United States and millions more around the world have Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. To be diagnosed with it, people must have symptoms such as memory loss plus evidence of a buildup of a protein called beta-amyloid in the brain.The best way now to measure the protein is a costly PET brain scan that usually is not covered by insurance. That means most people don’t get one and are left wondering if their problems are due to normal aging, Alzheimer’s or something else.The blood test from C2N Diagnostics of St. Louis aims to fill that gap. The company's founders include Drs. David Holtzman and Randall Bateman of Washington University School of Medicine, who headed research that led to the test and are included on a patent that the St. Louis university licensed to C2N.ABOUT THE TESTThe test is not intended for general screening or for people without symptoms — it’s aimed at people 60 and older who are having thinking problems and are being evaluated for Alzheimer’s. It’s not covered by insurance or Medicare; the company charges $1,250 and offers discounts based on income. Only doctors can order the test and results come within 10 days. It's sold in all but a few states in the U.S. and just was cleared for sale in Europe.It measures two types of amyloid particles plus various forms of a protein that reveal whether someone has a gene that raises risk for the disease. These factors are combined in a formula that includes age, and patients are given a score suggesting low, medium or high likelihood of having amyloid buildup in the brain.If the test puts them in the low category, “it’s a strong reason to look for other things” besides Alzheimer’s, Bateman said.“There are a thousand things that can cause someone to be cognitively impaired,” from vitamin deficiencies to medications, Holtzman said.“I don’t think this is any different than the testing we do now” except it’s from a blood test rather than a brain scan, he said. “And those are not 100% accurate either.”ACCURACY CLAIMSThe company has not published any data on the test’s accuracy, although the doctors have published on the amyloid research leading to the test. Company promotional materials cite results comparing the test to PET brain scans — the current gold standard — in 686 people, ages 60-91, with cognitive impairment or dementia.If a PET scan showed amyloid buildup, the blood test also gave a high probability of that in 92% of cases and missed 8% of them, said the company’s chief executive, Dr. Joel Braunstein.If the PET scan was negative, the blood test ruled out amyloid buildup 77% of the time. The other 23% got a positive result, but that doesn't necessarily mean the blood test was incorrect, Braunstein said. The published research suggests it may detect amyloid buildup before it's evident on scans.Braunstein said the company will seek FDA approval and the agency has given it a designation that can speed review. He said study results would be published, and he defended the decision to start selling the test now.“Should we be holding that technology back when it could have a big impact on patient care?" he asked.WHAT OTHERS SAYDr. Eliezer Masliah, neuroscience chief at the U.S. National Institute on Aging, said the government funded some of the work leading to the test as well as other kinds of blood tests.“I would be cautious about interpreting any of these things,” he said of the company’s claims. “We’re encouraged, we’re interested, we’re funding this work but we want to see results.”Heather Snyder of the Alzheimer’s Association said it won't endorse a test without FDA approval. The test also needs to be studied in larger and diverse populations.“It’s not quite clear how accurate or generalizable the results are,” she said.___Marilynn Marchione can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP.___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Marilynn Marchione, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — In the land of lexicography, out of the whole of the English language, 2020's word of the year is a vocabulary of one. For the first time, two dictionary companies on Monday — Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com — declared the same word as their tops: pandemic. A third couldn't settle on just one so issued a 16-page report instead along the same lines, noting that a world of once-specialized terms entered the mainstream during the COVID-19 crisis. The year, Oxford Languages said in the report last week, “brought a new immediacy and urgency to the role of the lexicographer. In almost real-time, lexicographers were able to monitor and analyze seismic shifts in language data and precipitous frequency rises in new coinages." Its Oxford English Dictionary and others found themselves madly updating well beyond routine schedules to keep up. Such publication updates are usually planned far in advance. Because the coronavirus pandemic brought on gargantuan language changes, according to Oxford Languages, “2020 is a year which cannot be neatly accommodated in one single `word of the year.'” Not so at Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com, both of which also noted enormous shifts toward many other related words but announced just one nonetheless. Pandemic “probably isn’t a big shock,” Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster, told The Associated Press ahead of the announcement. “Often the big news story has a technical word that’s associated with it and in this case, the word pandemic is not just technical but has become general. It’s probably the word by which we’ll refer to this period in the future,” he said. John Kelly, senior research editor at Dictionary.com, told the AP before breaking the news that searches on the site for pandemic spiked more than 13,500% on March 11, the day the World Health Organization declared an outbreak of the novel coronavirus a global health emergency. The daily spike, he said, was “massive, but even more telling is how high it has sustained significant search volumes throughout the entire year." Month over month, lookups for pandemic were more than 1,000% higher than usual. For about half the year, the word was in the top 10% of all lookup on Dictionary.com, Kelly said. Similarly, at Merriam-Webster.com, searches for pandemic on March 11 were 115,806% higher than spikes experienced on the same date last year, Sokolowski said. Pandemic, with roots in Latin and Greek, is a combination of “pan,” for all, and “demos,” for people or population, he said. The latter is the same root of “democracy,” Sokolowski said. The word pandemic dates to the mid-1600s, used broadly for “universal” and more specifically to disease in a medical text in the 1660s, he said. That was after the plagues of the Middle Ages, Sokolowski said. He attributes the lookup traffic for pandemic not entirely to searchers who didn’t know what it meant but also to those on the hunt for more detail, or for inspiration or comfort in the knowing. “We see that the word love is looked up around Valentine’s Day and the word cornucopia is looked up at Thanksgiving,” Sokolowski said. “We see a word like surreal spiking when a moment of national tragedy or shock occurs. It’s the idea of dictionaries being the beginning of putting your thoughts in order.” The pandemic, Kelly said, made us all worthy of watercooler chatter with Dr. Anthony Fauci as our knowledge grew about all things pandemic, aerosols, contact tracing, social distancing and herd immunity, along with the intricacies of therapeutic drugs, tests and vaccines that can help save lives. “These were all part of a new shared vocabulary we needed to stay safe and informed. It’s incredible,” said Kelly, who works with a team of lexicographers to come up with words of the year based primarily on site traffic. Merriam-Webster began designating a word of the year in 2008, with “bailout.” The company's word of the year for 2019 was “they,” when a shifting use of the personal pronoun was a hot subject and lookups increased by 313% in 2019 over the previous year. Dictionary.com has been in the word of the year game since 2010, with “change.” Its word of the year in 2019 was “existential" in a year that climate change, gun violence, the very nature of democracy and an angsty little movie star named Forky from Disney's “Toy Story 4” helped propel search spikes. Oxford went with two words last year: climate emergency. Kelly, Sokolowski and Oxford Languages noted other worthy search trends beyond the pandemic. After the May 25 death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, words around racial justice experienced spikes, including fascism, anti-fascism, defund and white fragility, Kelly said. “There was no way for us to leave that out of the conversation this year,” he said. Oxford included a range in its report, from “karen” to “QAnon.” But it was all things pandemic that ultimately won the annual word sweepstakes. Jennifer Steeves-Kiss, chief executive for Dictionary.com, said one key ingredient in the hunt for the site’s word of the year is sustained interest over time. Pandemic met that standard. “This has affected families, our work, the economy,” she said. “It really became the logical choice. It’s become the context through which we’ve had dialogue all through 2020. It’s the through line for discourse.” Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
Mono Council met on November 17 of this year, in what was one of the most conten-tious and lengthy Council meetings to date.Councillors discuss a number of planning issues as well as a lengthy in-camera session on related issues and By-law Enforcement.The meeting opened with a presentation from the Fung Lou Kok Institute of Taoism, regarding their Niagara Escarpment Comis-sion (NEC) Development Permit Review. This issue has been ongoing since 2015 and concerns the applicant’s request to change their Cemetery Site Plan to allow for the site to be converted from plots to columbarium. As well, they want to beautify the site of the Cemetery, which will better conceal it from 5th Sideroad and the homes to the east of the site.The beautification is to include a new vehicular archway and the planting of numerous trees on the site as well as adding a pedestrian walkway and benches. Evans Planning Inc, the designated plan-ners, have been working closely with NEC and Town Staff to bring about the develop-ment changes. The currently approved site plan, calls for 1,575 flush mounted cemetery plots in the 2-hectare property. The eventual, total number of niches, in the columbarium plan will be 15,134. In a March 2016 Council Recommendation, the total number of niches was to be 1,507.In the plan seen November 17, the North-east corner of the cemetery would accom-modate 37 columbarium, housing 1,277 niches in place of 363 plots. The entrance archway would be reduced in size, with no lighting on either the arch-way or the columbarium and the landscap-ing to shield the view from the 5th Sideroad would be done.The plan also showed that there would be no impact on groundwater conditions and monitoring is a part of the Development Per-mit, regardless.A traffic study sowed no negative impact on road operations, however, a hidden drive-way sign would be installed on 5th Sideroad. In regards to the need for increased capac-ity, the current design has had limited suc-cess and the application will provide land-scape improvements and add phased long term capacity.Despite this, opposition was seen from several residents and some members of Council. The primary resident concerns centred around this being a Trojan horse, designed to allow for a massive commercialization of the site, seemingly in opposition to the NC guidelines.With niches in the GTA selling for upwards of $7,000, this was seen as a money-making incentive to open the cemetery to a larger Taoist community than the local one.Locally, the community is estimated to be 1,800 people living within an hour’s drive of the site. The residents’ arguments are that this does not take into consideration the larger general population of Mono, also within an hours drive.They argued that with the GTA there are approximately 15,000 in the Tao community and that this is who the project is aimed at. The fact that the occupants of a cemetery are all deceased did not seem to enter into any-one’s agenda.Councillor Manktelow was the most ada-mant of the councillors in his opposition. In his mind, a large cemetery was not appropri-ate in the, “rolling hills of Mono, the smaller the better.” Councillor Nix, who supported the presen-tation, pointed out that the Town was not the governing body, but we’re merely being asked to say yes or no to the NEC concern-ing the design proposal. He did however, say that although he has no issues with the proposal, the NEC guide-lines stipulate that it is allowable as long as it serves the size of the community. He asked who the community were and where do they come from? He asked if the NEC agreed with the estimated 1,800 person community num-ber. His primary concern was as to whether or not the proposal was in accordance with the NEC. This is of particular interest, as the NEC is the deciding body and their decision overrides any municipal one.Wayne Haddock, local resident, was of the opinion that Mono had more than enough cemeteries at present and that as only 11 burials had occurred in the past 35 years that the need for expansion was simply not there. He felt the traffic study did not look far enough in the future and cited existing water supply issues on the site already, with water already being trucked in, to support events. He supported maintaining the status quo.Dr. David Emery, a neighbour across the road from the site, had other opinions. He stressed that this was an exception to an approved NEC use and he felt that it was not in the best interests of the community at large. Dr. Emery stated that he has a problem with nimbyism, defined as, “the practice of objecting to something that will affect one or take place in one’s locality.”He stated that he has had no previous problems with the Taoists, yet does not agree they should receive special privileges. He was clear to point out that he is accept-ing of all cultures and religious beliefs and as a Canadian would not want to see any form of prejudice perceived in his objections. Nevertheless, he purchased his property to enjoy a quiet rural lifestyle and this applica-tion will affect his property. His argument is that of the Trojan horse, mentioned earlier and the fact that it does not meet the needs of either the Tao community or the greater Mono one. He feels that the application should be rejected and that the applicant should be allowed to come back when they can demonstrate an actual need.Councillor Nix reiterated his opinion that the numbers were not relevant, since it was not the Town that was building this, but the Tao Institute. If they overestimated the size it was their problem. He went on to question the opinion that this was unusual stating that Mono already had numerous similar undertakings, such as the Hockley Valley Resort, the Goodyear Scout Camp, the Buddhist Monastery just north of the Tao Institute and the Nordic Ski Club at Monora Park. He said that all the current discussions had still not changed his mind.In the end Council drafted a resolution saying they supported the first Phase of the project with a number of changes, including a limit of 365 niches and the landscaping being continued on the east side as well as the South. They also made the total number of plots remain the same as the 1987 permit at 1,575, including the niches and the pro-posed arch was acceptable. As well, it spec-ified that the NEC confirm that the develop-ment was acceptable within their guidelinesPeter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
The Downtown Windsor Winter Market has been cut short as the region enters the province's red-control COVID-19 measures. This weekend was the last for the city's winter market as Windsor-Essex adopted new restrictions Monday under the red-control COVID-19 provincial category. The market was an extension of the summertime Downtown Windsor Farmers' Market and was expected to run until Dec. 12 on the ground floor of the Pelissier Parking Garage. "The severity of circumstances that have caused our region to be moved to red means we are left with no option but to close the Winter's Market," Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association chair Brian Yeomans said in a news release. "On the grounds of public safety, and in an effort to protect our visitors, vendors, volunteers and staff and to contain the virus, we are unable to proceed with the market at this time."Under the new restrictions, only 25 people are allowed to gather for outdoor events.A full breakdown of COVID-19 restrictions in Ontario's red level can be found on the province's website here. More from CBC Windsor
Louis Vuitton LVMH is set to rejig the team that oversees its online strategy after Ian Rogers, recruited from Apple as the group's digital chief in 2015, left to join a French start-up focused on cryptocurrencies. Rogers said in a note posted on his Twitter account that he would remain an adviser to Paris-based LVMH, the world's biggest luxury goods group. LVMH, meanwhile, is set to promote Michael David, a Vuitton executive in charge of online retail at the brand, to a new group-wide role as chief omnichannel officer, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.
The first two vaccines against the novel coronavirus could be available to Americans before Christmas, Health Secretary Alex Azar said on Monday, after Moderna Inc became the second vaccine maker likely to receive U.S. emergency authorization. The Food and Drug Administration's outside advisers will meet on Dec. 10 to consider authorizing Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine. "So we could be seeing both of these vaccines out and getting into people's arms before Christmas," Azar said on CBS' "This Morning."
NEW YORK — On Dec. 31, China reported a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown origin to the World Health Organization. By Jan. 31, WHO declared an outbreak of a novel coronavirus a global health emergency. Come March 11, the world was facing down the COVID-19 pandemic.Parents sat children down to explain what a pandemic is. Related terms usually restricted to medicine and science stormed into everyday conversation. Over time, we were pandemic baking and pandemic dating and rescuing pandemic puppies from shelters.All of which led Dictionary.com on Monday to declare “pandemic” its 2020 word of the year.Searches on the site for the word spiked more than 13,500% on March 11, senior research editor John Kelly told The Associated Press in an interview ahead of the announcement.“That's massive, but even more telling is how high it has sustained significant search volumes throughout the entire year. Month over month, it was over 1,000% higher than usual. For about half the year, it was in the top 10% of all our lookups.”Another dictionary, Merriam-Webster, also selected pandemic as its word of the year earlier Monday.Kelly said pandemic beat out routine lookups usually intended to sort more mundane matters, such as the differences between “to, two and too.”“That's significant,” Kelly emphasized. “It seems maybe a little bit obvious, and that's fair to say, but think about life before the pandemic. Things like pandemic fashion would have made no sense. The pandemic as an event created a new language for a new normal.”Lexicographers often factor out routine lookups when evaluating word trends.The pandemic, Kelly said, made us all worthy of watercooler chatter with Dr. Anthony Fauci as our knowledge grew about aerosols, contact tracing, social distancing and herd immunity, along with the intricacies of therapeutic drugs, tests and vaccines that can help save lives.“These were all part of a new shared vocabulary we needed to stay safe and informed. It's incredible,” said Kelly, who works with a team of lexicographers to come up with words of the year based primarily on site traffic.Asymptomatic, furlough, non-essential, hydroxychloroquine and a host of other pandemic-related words saw massive increases in lookups as well.Jennifer Steeves-Kiss, chief executive officer of Dictionary.com, said one key ingredient in the hunt for the site's word of the year is sustained interest over time. Pandemic met that standard.“This has affected families, our work, the economy,” she said. “It really became the logical choice. It's become the context through which we've had dialogue all through 2020. It's the through line for discourse.”The word pandemic has roots in Latin and the Greek pandemos, meaning “common, public.” Breaking it down further, “pan” means “all” and “demos” means “people.” As evidenced in a medical text by a Dutch-born physician, Gideon Harvey, pandemic entered English in the 1660s in the medical sense, Kelly said. He noted that “demos” is also the basis for the word democracy.A pandemic is defined by Dictionary.com as a disease “prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world; epidemic over a large area.” Its broader sense, as evidenced in its roots, can be used thusly: “A pandemic fear of atomic war.”Dictionary.com also noted other worthy search trends beyond the pandemic. After the May 25 death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, words around racial justice experienced spikes, including fascism, anti-fascism, defund and white fragility.“There was no way for us to leave that out of the conversation this year,” Kelly said.Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
LONDON — Dave Prowse, the British weightlifter-turned-actor who was the body, though not the voice, of arch-villain Darth Vader in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, has died. He was 85.Prowse died Saturday after a short illness, his agent Thomas Bowington said Sunday.Born in Bristol, southwest England, in 1935, Prowse was a three-time British weightlifting champion and represented England in weightlifting at the 1962 Commonwealth Games before breaking into movies with roles that emphasized his commanding size, including Frankenstein’s monster in a pair of Hammer Studios horror films.Director George Lucas saw Prowse in a small part in “A Clockwork Orange” and asked the 6-foot-6-inch (almost 2-meter) actor to audition for the villainous Vader or the Wookie Chewbacca in “Star Wars.”Prowse later told the BBC he chose Darth Vader because “you always remember the bad guys.”Physically, Prowse was perfect for the part. Yet his lilting English West Country accent was considered less than ideal and his lines were dubbed by James Earl Jones.Prowse donned Darth Vader's black armour and helmet for “Star Wars” (1977), “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “Return of the Jedi" (1983).He expressed some regret that, thanks to Vader's mask, “I can walk around with complete anonymity."“All actors crave recognition and I’d like to have some like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo,” he told The Associated Press in 1980. “Fortune tends to follow fame.”Lucas said Prowse “brought a physicality to Darth Vader that was essential for the character.”“He made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen, with an imposing stature and movement performance to match the intensity and undercurrent of Vader’s presence," the director said in a statement on the official “Star Wars” website.“David was up for anything and contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic figure. May he rest in peace.”Prowse also worked as a trainer for other actors, helping Christopher Reeve prepare to be the Man of Steel in hit 1978 film “Superman.”Prowse was also known to a generation of British children as the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero in road safety advertisements during the 1970s and '80s.Prowse suffered from arthritis for many years and campaigned to raise money for research into disease. In 1999 he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to charity and road safety.He was a regular at “Star Wars” fan events but was banned from official conventions by Lucas in 2010 after the pair fell out.Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” films, tweeted that Prowse was “a kind man & much more than Darth Vader.” Hamill said the actor "loved his fans as much as they loved him. RIP.”“Shaun of the Dead” director-writer Edgar Wright also paid tribute to Prowse on Twitter.“As a kid, Dave Prowse couldn’t be more famous to me; stalking along corridors as evil incarnate in the part of Darth Vader & stopping a whole generation of kiddies from being mown down in street as the Green Cross Code man,” he wrote. “Rest in Peace, Bristol’s finest.”Prowse is survived by his wife Norma and their three children.Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
The number of patients with the coronavirus in Manitoba hospitals has tripled in the last month, says Manitoba's chief nursing officer, Lanette Siragusa.
Nearly 4,000 BC Hydro customers on the South Coast and Vancouver Island are still without power at the tail end of a rainy, windy overnight storm that brought gusts of up to 100 km/h to coastal areas of B.C.The outages affect customers across the southern and northern ends of Vancouver Island, in the Lower Mainland and on the Sunshine Coast. Earlier Monday, the number of customers without power had approached 20,000.Wind warnings were in effect for much of the day in Greater Victoria, which has been bearing the brunt of a Pacific coastal front. Winds between 70 and 90 km/h were in the forecast for areas of southern Vancouver Island near the Juan de Fuca Strait.At the Sand Pebbles Inn in Qualicum Beach, the wind caused heavy branches and an overhang in the parking area to collapse, crushing the roof of Todd Milligan's car.Weather warnings for other parts of the island were lifted early Monday afternoon, though a special weather statement remains in effect for Metro Vancouver. Gusts sent a large tree crashing into Vancouver's Commercial Drive late Monday morning, downing a number of power lines as it went.BC Ferries cancelled several early morning sailings between the mainland and Vancouver Island due to the weather. Normal ferry sailings have since resumed.Simon Fraser University announced it was closing some buildings and cancelling some services due to the power outage.Earlier wind warnings for western Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast were lifted before 10 a.m. PT.The weather is expected to ease Monday except for Haida Gwaii and the North Coast, where high winds are expected to continue through Tuesday night.
BRUSSELS — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday that the military alliance is grappling with a dilemma over its future in Afghanistan, as the United States starts pulling troops out while attacks by the Taliban and extremist groups mount.More than 17 years after taking the lead on international security efforts in Afghanistan, NATO now has around 11,000 troops from dozens of nations there helping to train and advise the national security forces. Most of the personnel are from Europe and other NATO partner countries.But the alliance relies heavily on the United States armed forces for air support, transport and logistics. European allies would struggle even to leave the country without U.S. help, and President Donald Trump’s decision to pull almost half the U.S. troops out by mid-January leaves NATO in a bind.“We face a difficult dilemma. Whether to leave, and risk that Afghanistan becomes once again a safe haven for international terrorists. Or stay, and risk a longer mission, with renewed violence,” Stoltenberg told reporters on the eve of a videoconference between NATO foreign ministers.Under a peace deal between the United States and the Taliban — without the involvement of other NATO allies or the Afghan government - all foreign troops should leave Afghanistan by May 1 if security conditions on the ground permit.“Whatever path we choose, it is important that we do so together, in a co-ordinated and deliberate way,” Stoltenberg said, on the eve of a videoconference between NATO foreign ministers where the organization’s most ambitious operation ever will be high on the agenda.Trump’s unilateral decision to leave only 2,500 U.S. troops with the mission had allied military planners scrambling, as they tried to work out whether NATO could continue to operate in Kabul, and other major cities. NATO diplomats say that for now they have enough “enablers” to get the job done.Afghan officials also fear that a rapid reduction in American troops could strengthen the Taliban’s negotiating position.NATO defence ministers are likely to make a final decision about the future of the Resolute Support Mission in February, after President-elect Joe Biden takes office. European diplomats expect the tone to change under Biden, but probably not the U.S. intention to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible.The uncertainty comes amid a sharp rise in violence this year and a surge of attacks by the Taliban against the beleaguered Afghan security forces since the start of peace talks in September. Islamic State militants have also struck this month, notably in a horrific attack on Kabul University that killed 22 people, most of them students.“We have seen over the last months and weeks several attacks,” Stoltenberg said. “Some are conducted by Taliban, some attacks ISIS claimed responsibility for. But what we know is that the Taliban is responsible for attacks and the level of violence is far too high.”Even U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said: “We do not think the Taliban is keeping its word under the agreement. The violence is too high, and the Afghan people and the Afghan soldiers have paid a heavy price.”But despite the surge in violence, and deep uncertainty cause by the U.S. drawdown, the peace agreement appears to be an opportunity too good for NATO to miss.“We now see an historic opportunity for peace. It is fragile, but it must be seized,” Stoltenberg said. “We see an unpredictable and difficult military and political situation. But at least there are now talks.”Lorne Cook, The Associated Press
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Eight inmates were killed and 59 others were injured when guards opened fire to control a riot at a prison on the outskirts of Sri Lanka's capital, officials said Monday. Two guards were critically injured, they said.Pandemic-related unrest has been growing in Sri Lanka’s overcrowded prisons. Inmates have staged protests in recent weeks at several prisons as the number of coronavirus cases surges in the facilities.Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said inmates created “unrest” Sunday at Mahara prison, about 15 kilometres (10 miles) north of Colombo, and officials attempted to control the situation.But “the unrest situation turned into a prison riot,” he said, adding that prisoners tried to take control of the prison and hundreds attempted to escape.The inmates “reportedly destroyed most of the property including offices inside the prison,” Rohana said.The guards opened fire, and the clash left eight inmates dead and 59 injured, he said. Two prison officers were critically injured.He said hundreds of additional police were deployed to help the guards and strengthen security around the prison.An inmate was killed in similar unrest at another prison last week. Another died in March.More than a thousand inmates in five prisons have tested positive for the coronavirus and at least two have died. About 50 prison guards have also tested positive.Senaka Perera, a lawyer with the Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners, said the inmates at Mahara prison had been frustrated because their pleas for coronavirus testing and separation of infected prisoners had been ignored by officials for more than a month.On Monday, about 500 relatives of inmates gathered in front of the prison and urged the authorities to provide information about the prisoners and ensure their safety.Sujeewa Silva said her son has been detained at the facility for seven months after being arrested on drug charges. “I want to know whether he is safe. I asked the officers, please tell me the condition of my son," she said.Sri Lankan prisons are highly congested with more than 26,000 inmates crowded into facilities with a capacity of 10,000.Sri Lanka has experienced an upsurge in the coronavirus since last month when two clusters — one centred at a garment factory and other at a fish market — emerged in Colombo and its suburbs.Confirmed cases from the two clusters have reached 19,449. Sri Lanka has reported a total number of 22,988 coronavirus cases, including 109 fatalities.Bharatha Mallawarachi, The Associated Press
Mono Council passed a Zoning Bylaw Amendment for a proposed micro brewery at its November 17 meeting. There was some objections from a few surrounding neighbours, however the majority of input was very positive.The primary issue of concern was water usage and this was addressed by a pump test conducted by Cambium. The test, using the existing well and pip-ing confirmed that the water supply was more than adequate and that a 98% recovery was achieved within 24 hours. Three private offsite wells were monitored during the test and no adverse effects were documented. The current max flow is 18 litres per min-ute, but could be increased to as much as 38 litres per minute if required. The proposed daily draw is 7,000 litres per day which is considered to be a very low amount, roughly equivalent to four, four bedroom homes. Such an amount is not considered signifi-cant according to Cambium. The project meets all the required policies and provisions of the Province, the County and Town. The County saw no problem with excess traffic on Mono Centre Road and had no objections to the proposed Microbrew-ery.As well, the Zoning Bylaw Amendment regulates the size of the Microbrewery and any increase in size would require a new application. The site and the buildings will detail the rural agricultural look of the prop-erty.Since Council passed the Zoning Bylaw Amendment, development of the proposed Microbrewery will proceePeter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
BRUSSELS — With nothing on their agendas for months to come, music festival organizers in Belgium want to use their know-how to help the country's coronavirus vaccination campaign.The Belgian government has set a goal of vaccinating about 70% of the country's population, about 8 million people, when approved COVID-19 vaccination shots become available.As the vaccines are expected to arrive in multi-dose vials for shots to be administered all on the same day, Belgium health authorities are planning to vaccinate people in groups as much as possible. The task will pose many logistical challenges, including the creation of vaccination centres that festival organizers say they can help set up.Enjoying a strong reputation in the music world, Belgian festival experts have proven experience in both building huge pop-up structures and in crowd management.With the music industry hit hard by the pandemic's economic, several festivals in the French-speaking region of Wallonia and the Brussels area have created a federation to better defend their interests. They have a large network of technicians who are currently unemployed and are ready to help out.“Our sector has been at a standstill for many months, and our many staff are eager to bring their creativity and dedication to the fight against coronavirus," said federation president Damien Dufrasne.One of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, Belgium has reported some 577,000 confirmed cases and more than 16,500 deaths linked to the virus.Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said COVID-19 vaccinations could start in the European Union's 27 nations before the end of December. The commission, the EU’s executive arm, has agreements with six potential vaccine suppliers and is working on a seventh contract. The deals allow it to purchase over 1.2 billion doses, more than double the population of the EU.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakThe Associated Press
Shelburne Council’s recent 1.6 per cent residential tax increase projection may be un-appealing to residents in the short term, but Councillor Steve Anderson says its much need-ed for responsible future planning. Anderson noted that Shelburne has several major infrastructure projects that must be dealt with and these projects are very costly.Steve said not having a tax increase just to appease voters is, in his mind, not responsible.Somewhere down the line, someone is going to have to pay for that lack of an increase. What’s important is that you’re able to show the public that they are getting value out of that tax increase, according to Steve. Having the best underground water and sewage pipes in the world does not appease the public, they cannot see underground in-frastructure. It is something they expect to be there, it is a given. A dog park or a tennis court is something tangible that they can appreciate and use. This budget is doing that with money being put to-ward the cricket pitch, community garden, res-toration of Jack Downey Park and even a tennis court. These are tangible projects that residents have asked for and make the tax increases more palatable, while allowing Council to deal with the big infrastructure issues. In addition, the new bus service in town will be expanding and there are plans for a major marketing push to make everyone aware of the service. Apparently, the Shelburne stop, is the most popular in the entire system. With this push, comes plans for more fre-quent service and even weekend runs. In addi-tion, Go Transit discussions are still on the ta-ble with the support of Solicitor General, MPP Sylvia Jones. The reception from Go was very positive.At the moment, the two proposed routes, by the advocates, are both not viable.None of the proposed roads are built to handle the traffic and they are not owned by the Town. Amaranth is dead set against any route running through their roads and ultimately, it is a Pro-vincial decision, not a Town one.Recent talks with MPP Sylvia Jones left things somewhat murkier still, as she said that first Shelburne needed to get the County on board before involving her office. The Coun-ty most recently were less than enthusiastic to proceed saying they would prefer to wait until a County Municipal Comprehensive Review, (MCR), was completed, before moving forward. That study and any subsequent decision would easily put construction 10 years away or more.A10 ORANGEVILLE CITIZEN | NOVEMBER 26, 2020 Shelburne Councillor comments on need for tax increasePeter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
Members of the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation are electing a chief and council today.The first thing voters will encounter at the polling centres will be COVID-19 stations meant to prevent the spread of the virus, said Chief Electoral Officer Raelina Jobin.She said that includes a package with latex gloves, a disposable mask and a pencil to mark their ballot. Hand sanitizers will be available, said Jobin, and voters will put their names down on a list in case contact tracing is needed later.The voting process is set up to encourage physical distancing and voters will leave by a different door, she said.There are polling stations at the Heritage Hall in Carmacks, Jobin said, and in the Fireside Room at the Yukon Inn in Whitehorse.She said citizens can also arrange to cast a special ballot at a different location such as their home if they choose. CandidatesThe polling stations are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.There are two people, Edward Skookum and Nicole Tom, running for chief.Two people, Shirley Bellmore and Willian Van Fleet are running for elder councillor.Terry Billy, Chantelle Blackjack, Toni Blanchard and Joseph O'Brien are running for one of the two Crow clan councillors.Six people, Veronica Burgess, Cody Cashin, Calvin Charlie, Bill Johnnie Jr., Jo-lene Mullett and Tanya Silverfox are in the race for one of the two Wolf clan councillors.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Sled dog mushers in communities on Alaska's Yukon River have received thousands of pounds of donated food to help feed their animals during a shortage of the salmon that is normally a staple of their diet.Pet food manufacturer Purina donated 39,000 pounds (17,690 kilograms) of high-protein dog food last week to mushers in Tanana and Fort Yukon, The Anchorage Daily News reported Saturday.The donation by the company, Nestle Purina PetCare Co., was prompted by the efforts of Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.Quinn-Davidson organized an online effort to help the sled dog mushers after several contacted the commission.The campaign raised more than $32,000 in addition to the donation from Purina.The Alaska Department of Fish and Game stopped subsistence fishing for fall chum salmon in some Yukon River areas, leaving mushers struggling to feed their dogs.The area has experienced a decline in king salmon runs, a primary human food source, for more than a decade, said Alida Trainor, a subsistence resource specialist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.The king salmon run was bad this year, but summer and fall chum salmon runs usually help make up the difference. This year’s combination of king salmon and chum salmon crashes was unprecedented, Trainor said.“It was a double whammy. They got hit twice,” Trainor said. “So it creates a food insecurity issue for humans and for dogs, but dogs are part of what we call the subsistence economy.”Quinn-Davidson and regional experts worry generous donations will not be enough. This year’s poor salmon run affects more than just the mushers, who are often integral components of the subsistence economy of entire communities.“It’s a tradition, a culture that’s been passed down for years, and without being able to feed these dogs this winter, there’s some mushers who are going to have to sell them or give them away, or worse,” Quinn-Davidson said.The Associated Press
From the bench on her front porch, Jan Jang had a perfect view of the small cove just over the bank from her St. Chad’s home. The home, originally from the nearby Flat Islands, was floated to the area in the 1950s. From her perch, the British Columbia resident could trace the likely path the house took when it entered the cove. It would have likely entered the cove pulled by a singular boat and around Damnable Island in the centre before being hauled out of the water and eventually into its current place. Jang and her husband Ed purchased the property shortly after a vacation to the province some 12 years ago. "We saw the view and we knew immediately,” she said. Saltbox in design with white siding and black trim, the home sits in the middle of a gravel road. On a nearby hill, there is a flagpole, a cracked concrete foundation holding it in place. The back of the property has a small garden and wooden archway covered in overgrown vines. “That is the common house (of the time),” said 85-year-old former Flat Islands resident Everett Saunders. “I didn’t know what a bungalow looked like until I left.” The Flat Islands were amongst the earliest reported settlements in Bonavista Bay, with the first mention of residence recorded in 1806. The community was made up of four islands, Flat Island, Coward Island, North Island and Berry Head. Families with the surnames Hallett, Dyer, Morgan, Samson and Saunders, amongst others, built a life there, 21 miles from Bonavista in the middle of Bonavista Bay. There were two churches — a Church of England Church on Flat Island and the Methodist Church on North Island. Each island had a school, while there was a post office with a wireless telegram and a nurses station on Flat Island. The fishery ruled on Flat Islands as people made their living at the height of the Labrador fishery. There were often 25 to 30 schooners in the nearby waters. In the 1920s, the islands had some 900 full-time residents. Resettlement began in 1954 when the first home was floated to Glovertown. Others were disassembled, moved and then reconstructed at their destination. The collapse of the Labrador fishery forced families to move to the mainland for steady work. By 1957, most of the population was preparing to leave. Saunders left in 1958 and headed for St. John’s. In 1979, he moved to Eastport and he has been going back to the island ever since. His parents moved to Eastport, while others made lives in places like Glovertown, St. Chad’s, Burnside and St. John’s. “There was a lot of living on the island,” said Saunders, who left when he finished school at the age of 17. “It was quite different.” It was Thanksgiving weekend when the Jangs happened across the place that would become their longtime summer home. They were frequent visitors to the province and spent their time renting places while travelling around the island. It got to the point when they were visiting so frequently they decided it would be in their best interest to buy a summer home. They had finished a stay in St. John’s and were headed towards Lark Harbour on the west coast when Jan had the impulse to go to the Eastport Peninsula, where they had visited before. There, they stumbled upon St. Chad’s and fell in love with a quaint home along the shore of a secluded cove. It had a faded ‘House For Sale’ sign on the lawn. “We looked at each other, we looked at the view and we looked at the house,” said Jan, recalling the moments before their decision to buy. After some renovations, they were ready to make it their five-week Newfoundland home every summer for a dozen years. The house was built by Stephen Hallett in the early 1900s, although Jan isn’t sure of the exact date. It was 1958 when it was floated from Flat Island across Bonavista Bay and into St. Chad’s. A picnic table dedicated to The Dickers sits on the site. Several years ago, Saunders took the Jangs out to see where the house had been. For a couple of years, Saunders showed off his boyhood home while running a tour boat business out of the Eastport. His family home is gone now, but he still routinely makes day trips to the area for berry picking or just to walk around. When he ties his boat to the old family wharf and takes his first steps on the island, the world he knew plays out in front of him. He knows the location of every rock and the beginning of every path. He remembers Mr. Decker, his apple tree and how he'd get angry when Saunders and his friends would swipe an apple or two. If someone asks to head out, Saunders is sure to take them for a run to the islands. Lately, people have requested passage to the islands as they seek to say goodbye to loved ones. Saunders figures there have been three or four occasions where he's accompanied people as they scatter the ashes of those who once called the Flat Islands home. Saunders understands their wishes. “It was a great place," he said. "I'm so contented when I'm out here." The Jangs knew that type of contentment in St. Chad’s, but they sold their home earlier this fall. It wasn’t something they wanted to do, but health issues had made it increasingly difficult to travel the long distance between British Columbia to Newfoundland. It was a bittersweet decision, but one they felt was necessary. They’ll miss their Newfoundland haven. “We loved the house,” said Jan Jang. “It was a dear little house.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
A CBC News crew was deported from Uganda this weekend despite following protocols laid out for foreign journalists entering the country.The deportation, which occurred on Friday, happened about a month before the country's elections. Opposition parties and election observers have expressed concerns the vote won't be free or fair.Uganda is due to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on Jan. 14. Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni is seeking to extend his 34 year-rule — but has been accused of muzzling the media and has clamped down on political opponents."The expulsion of a foreign news crew in the early days of an election campaign that's already been marred by government security forces opening fire on opposition protests is extremely ominous," said CBC News foreign correspondent Margaret Evans, who was one of three CBC News journalists deported.Evans, producer Lily Martin and videographer Jean-François Bisson landed in the country on Nov. 21 to do a series of reports from both rural and urban areas, mainly focusing on issues relating to the coronavirus pandemic."Before entering the country, we applied for — and were issued with — accreditation from the Media Council of Uganda," Evans said, noting they also sought advice from the Ugandan High Commission in London on proper visa requirements prior to the trip."They advised that we enter Uganda on an 'ordinary,' or tourist, visa. This is a long-established practice for foreign journalists."Evans said five government agents arrived at their hotel in Kampala on Thursday."They said we were breaking the law by having arrived in the country on a tourist visa and then performing 'business activities,'" Evans said. "We, of course, said that made no sense given that we had openly applied for media credentials."Hotel security intervened after the CBC News crew refused to go to an undisclosed address with the five officials, who also wanted to confiscate their passports. Evans said she then went to her room to call and ask CBC's London bureau manager to contact the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi — which is also responsible for Uganda."We agreed with the man who had identified himself as being with the police that we would present ourselves at the Ministry of the Interior the next day," Evans said.The CBC News crew arrived at the ministry at 9 a.m. local time on Friday, along with Canada's honorary vice-consul in Uganda. Evans said they were held for several hours before being told they were being deported. They were then allowed to return to their hotel under armed guard to pack before being driven to the airport in Entebbe for an overnight flight to Amsterdam, she said."The vice-consul engaged on our behalf, but it was pretty clear it had been decided the day before when they sent five people to our hotel," Evans said.A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada told CBC News on Sunday that they are aware of the situation. "Consular officials were in contact with local authorities in Uganda to gather information, and Canadian officials provided consular services to the affected individuals," spokesperson Angela Savard wrote in an email, adding that no further information could be disclosed due to Privacy Act provisions."Canada will continue to advocate for the protection of media freedom around the world."A spokesperson from the Ugandan government communications department said on Twitter the government "reserves the right to admit foreign persons including journalists."The same spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo P'Odel, also sent a pair of statements to CBC News in response."Every visa, work permit and media accreditation have terms and conditions, which can be revoked by the Uganda authority if violation occurs," he said in the first statement.In a follow-up statement, P'Odel said the journalists "applied for a tourist visa, instead they were found working without work permit. Consequent they [were] removed and advised to apply for permit and can be allowed to return."As stated by Evans, the trio had been advised to apply for tourist visas upon entering.Violent protests following arrest of opposition candidateIntimidation and violence against media is a regular occurrence in Uganda, according to Reporters Without Borders, a non-profit organization that advocates for freedom of information. In the organization's press freedom index for 2020, Uganda ranked 125th out of 180 countries.Evans said Museveni's government has been accused of suppressing Ugandan journalists "through a series of arbitrary arrests and attacks — especially against those covering the campaign of opposition candidate Bobi Wine, who has himself been jailed by the government on more than one occasion.""Those journalists don't have the support we in Canada are fortunate enough to have in circumstances like these," she said.Wine, a member of parliament and a musician who has emerged as a serious threat to a sixth term for Museveni, was released on bail on Nov. 20 after he was charged with holding rallies likely to spread COVID-19. New York-based Human Rights Watch said authorities were "weaponizing" COVID-19 to suppress the opposition ahead of elections."This is just the beginning of the campaign season," Oryem Nyeko, the group's Africa researcher, said on Nov. 20. "It seems to be a sign of things to come."Protests erupted in the wake of Wine's arrest, which, according to Reuters, led to at least 37 deaths. Violence snowballed as authorities deployed the military across Kampala and surrounding areas to help police forces disperse protesters they accuse of rioting and looting. Police said they used live bullets, tear gas and water cannon and arrested nearly 600 people.