WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA is considering a second firing of its moon rocket engines after a critical test came up short over the weekend, a move that could bump the first flight in the Artemis lunar-landing program into next year. The space agency had aimed to launch its new Space Launch System, or SLS, rocket and an empty Orion capsule by the end of this year, with the capsule flying to the moon and back as a prelude to crew missions. But that date could be in jeopardy following Saturday’s aborted test. “We have a shot at flying it this year, but we need to get through this next step," said Kathy Lueders, head of NASA's human spaceflight office. All four engines fired for barely a minute, rather than the intended eight minutes, on the test stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The countdown rehearsal for the 212-foot (65-meter) core stage — made by Boeing — included the liquid hydrogen and oxygen tanks, as well as the all necessary computers and electronics. On Tuesday, NASA attributed the automatic shutdown to the strict test limits meant to protect the core stage so it can be used on the first Artemis flight. The hydraulic system for one engine exceeded safety parameters, officials said, and flight computers shut everything down 67 seconds into the ignition. Two other engine-related issues also occurred. NASA said it can adjust the test limits if a second test is deemed necessary, to prevent another premature shutdown. Engineers will continue to analyze the data, as managers debate the pros and cons of proceeding with a second test firing at Stennis or shipping the rocket straight to Florida's Kennedy Space Center for launch preparations. Some of that Kennedy work might be able to be streamlined, Lueders said. This core stage can be loaded with super-cold fuel no more than nine times, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters Tuesday evening. A second full-blown test firing would reduce the remaining number of fill-ups. The Artemis program is working to put astronauts back on the moon by 2024, a deadline set by the Trump administration. It's uncertain how the incoming White House will approach that timeline. In its annual report Tuesday, the Aereospace Safety Advisory Panel urged NASA to develop a realistic schedule for its Artemis moon program and called into question the 2024 date for returning astronauts to the lunar surface. On the eve of his departure from NASA, Bridenstine, a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma, stressed that key programs like Artemis need to encompass multiple administrations, decades and even generations. It's crucial , he said, that "we've got buy-in and support from all of America and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.” ___ 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. Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Quebec Premier Francois Legault says he won't grant a curfew exemption for Montreal's homeless population, telling reporters Tuesday he has confidence that police will use their good judgment in dealing with cases. Legault told reporters during a COVID-19 briefing in Montreal that altering the government's decree to exclude the homeless from the provincial curfew would be used as a loophole by others to flout the measure. Montreal's mayor had made the formal request just an hour earlier, calling on Quebec to relax the COVID-19 measure on the city's most vulnerable population. "What I'm say is right now, the police are doing a very good job. They use their judgment," Legault said. "If we change the rules and say that you can't give a ticket to someone who is saying they're homeless, you may have some people that will pretend to be homeless." Mayor Valerie Plante's appeal followed the weekend death of Raphael "Napa" Andre, a 51-year-old Innu man found dead in a portable toilet not far from a shelter he frequented. Andre often spent time at a day centre for the homeless called The Open Door, which was forced to close its overnight service last month following a COVID-19 outbreak. He visited the centre Saturday evening and was found dead Sunday morning, not far from the shelter, which had to send him out at 9:30 p.m. The coroner is investigating Andre's death. Plante said there's evidence the curfew is causing problems for the homeless and those who work with them. "What we've been seeing in the past week is that it created a lot of stress — not only for the homeless population itself but also the workers," Plante told reporters outside Montreal City Hall. "The curfew just adds to that and creates a sense of insecurity for a lot of users and we don't want that.... I want people to feel safe in the streets." Plante says the 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew — which began Jan. 9 and is scheduled to last at least until Feb. 8 — is creating an untenable situation for the city's most vulnerable. Legault said police aren't there to ticket homeless people, but direct them to homeless shelters. Plante agreed Montreal police have shown compassion, noting they had helped at least 400 homeless people find shelter. The mayor says on most nights the city's overnight shelters are at least 95 per cent full. While she wants the rules relaxed to relieve the pressure, she doesn't want people sleeping on the street. "I want people to have access to a bed, a place where it's warm, where there's food, where there's services for them," she said. Plante said a 100-bed facility is set to open in the coming days. Legault said the province has added 800 beds and it stands ready to add more as needed. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
The small Saskatchewan town of Biggar made headlines in 2018 when the federal government approved the demolition of their CN Rail Station, which was designated a national heritage site in 1976. The town took a blow, said D'Shea Bussiere, community development officer for the Town of Biggar, but now, the mayor and town office is excited for the potential transformation of the space thanks to the Brownlee Family Foundation. The town, as well as former residents Ina Lou and Wayne Brownlee, have been in discussions since 2019 on how a large charitable donation can “revitalize and energize” the community, said Bussiere in a Jan. 18 press release. Updating the downtown core and the former CN Station site became an important goal for the community. The Brownlee Family Foundation will match up $2.5 million in fundraiser dollars raised by the town and residents, meaning there is upwards of $5 million going towards the project. Especially with COVID-19 and vaccines dominating the news, communities need to start looking at how they can revitalize their communities, Bussiere said. “We have the same struggles as any small town. It's hard to compete with the cities, so anything to try and encourage a beautiful place for our people and other people to come, hang out, and shop is good development.” Mayor Jim Rickwood said the town has banded together during COVID-19 and when that is over, that need will still be there. Developing the CNR Grounds into a welcoming community space will bring tight-knit residents even closer, he said. “(The new development) is going to bring some opportunities for some gatherings, for some reasons to be downtown, and just to tighten us up a little bit more, and to give us more of a spirit of community. Communities are not just where we live, it's who we live with. (The development) is going to be a good step for that.” Ina Lou and Wayne Brownlee felt it was important to honour their roots with this donation and leave a last legacy that celebrates their families. “Town leaders have framed a renewal concept that showcases Biggar’s history and speaks to its bright future. If the town is behind it, so are we,” said Ina Lou in the press release. A Public Open House on Jan. 22 and 23 and an online open house on Jan. 25 will share a concept plan that will turn the “Canadian National Railway grounds into a multi-use park, tourism hub and interpretive center,” said the release. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
CALGARY — What Marie-Philip Poulin looks forward to the most at the Canadian women's hockey team camp is simply lining up for drills and seeing her teammates' faces. It's been 10 months since the national women's hockey team was on the ice together. Hockey Canada obtained the necessary exemptions from Alberta Health to hold a 14-day camp in Calgary amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Poulin, Canada's captain, has missed the competition and camaraderie desperately. "It means a lot. It's been a long time coming," said the 29-year-old forward from Beauceville Que. "Just being back here as a group in Calgary, it's going to be awesome just to get back on the ice and really connect." All players and staff were told to quarantine for seven days and get tested for the virus before heading to Calgary. Of the 47 players invited, 35 arrived Sunday to quarantine in their hotel rooms and be tested four times over five days. Barring positive tests, the players were scheduled to start skating in groups of three Tuesday before larger groups hit the ice Thursday. Three intrasquad games are planned. "These women want the opportunity to just compete a little bit against each other," head coach Troy Ryan said. "That's one of the biggest things we're going to be able to provide them at this camp. "It brings a little bit of normal life back to them. Although it looks totally different, I think it kind of gives them a little bit of hope." The dozen invitees not in Calgary were classified as "unable to attend", which ranges from injury, college commitments and COVID exposure, but they'll participate in virtual meetings and activities, said Hockey Canada director of women’s national teams Gina Kingsbury. "We're seeing everyone on the screen. We just won't see everyone on the ice," Kingsbury said. Canada's last international game was Feb. 8, 2020, to cap a five-game Rivalry Series against the United States. At a short camp in Toronto later that month, Hockey Canada finalized the roster for the women's world championship, but the tournament in Nova Scotia was cancelled and rescheduled to April 7-17, 2021. Canada's international games in the 23 months since finishing third in the 2019 world championship in Finland has been limited to seven games against the U.S. The 2019 Four Nations Cup in Sweden was cancelled because of a dispute between the host women's team and its own federation. Women's professional hockey was in transition when the pandemic hit. The majority of the Canadian women's team belongs to the Professional Women's Hockey Players' Association (PWHPA) which has yet to announce any showcase tournaments this winter. So a perfect storm of circumstances has Canada's top female hockey players sorely lacking in meaningful games. Women in the national team pool train in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary hubs under varying restrictions and have skills coaches employed by Hockey Canada. Poulin's on-ice environment in Montreal has ranged from a limit of three players on the ice to larger groups with everyone wearing masks while they skate. "It's been a little difficult," Poulin acknowledged. "It's been challenging, but any time we had a chance to jump on the ice as a group, we took advantage and really pushed each other. Beyond camp is continued uncertainty over if and when the women's world championship will happen. Hockey Canada's operation of the national junior men's team and world under-20 tournament that concluded Jan. 5 in Edmonton paved a path for this women's camp and potentially the world championship to go ahead in a pandemic. "I hear from Hockey Canada the commitment is there," Kingsbury said. "If one country can do it's definitely us and we've shown that with world juniors. "It's just a matter of when in the year that looks like. I'm confident it will happen in the spring. It might be a few weeks later or a month later." The Calgary' camp, which concludes Jan. 30, is normally held in September. Ryan wants the players to focus on what they have and not what they're missing. "There's no way we would have been able to do this camp a few months ago, so it's a step in the right direction for sure," he said. "All the things that had to be done to make this camp possible, if you're not someone that steps back from that and actually appreciates it, I'm not sure that's the type of person we're going to have success with." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Troops in riot gear lined the sidewalks, but there were no crowds. Armored vehicles and concrete barriers blocked empty streets. Miles of fencing cordoned off many of the nation's most familiar landmarks. Joe Biden was safely sworn in as president in a Washington on edge, two weeks after rioters loyal to former President Donald Trump besieged the Capitol. Law enforcement officials contended not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack. Officials monitored members of far-right extremist and militia groups, increasingly concerned about the risk they could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said. There were a few scattered arrests but no major protests or serious disruptions in the city during Biden's inauguration ceremony. As Biden put it in his address: “Here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever.” After the deadly attack that killed five on Jan. 6, the Secret Service stepped up security for the inauguration early, essentially locking down the nation's capital. More than 25,000 troops and police were called to duty. The National Mall was closed. Checkpoints were set up at intersections. In the hours before the event, federal agents monitored “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said. In right-wing online chat groups, believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory expressed disappointment that top Democrats were not arrested for sex trafficking and that Trump did not seize a second term. Twelve National Guard members were removed from the security operation a day earlier after vetting by the FBI, including two who had made extremist statements in posts or texts about Wednesday's event. Pentagon officials would not give details on the statements. The FBI vetted all 25,000 members in an extraordinary security effort in part over the presence of some ex-military in the riot. Two other U.S. officials told The Associated Press that all 12 were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or to have posted extremist views online. The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe groups the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.” The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, confirmed that Guard members had been removed and sent home, but said only two cases were related to inappropriate comments or texts related to the inauguration. He said the other 10 cases were for issues that may involve previous criminal behaviour or activities but were not directly related to the inaugural event. The FBI also warned law enforcement officials about the possibility that members of right-wing fringe groups could pose as National Guard troops, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter. Investigators in Washington were particularly worried that members of right-wing extremist groups and militias, like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, would descend on Washington to spark violence, the law enforcement officials said. Some of the groups are known to recruit former military personnel, to train extensively and to have frequented anti-government and political protests. In addition to the thousands of National Guard troops, hundreds of law enforcement officers from agencies around the country were also brought into Washington. The increased security is likely to remain in the nation's capital for at least a few more days. ___ Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor in Washington and James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida, contributed to this report. Ben Fox, Colleen Long And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia joined other provinces Tuesday in having to rapidly recast its plans to provide Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this month and next. Provincial officials initially provided an estimate that it would have 13,500 fewer doses than expected over the next six weeks. However, by mid-afternoon, chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang said that with Ottawa's announcement that Pfizer was shipping no vaccine next week, plans were underway to cope with a "substantive reduction in the weeks ahead." The province had forecast, as of midday on Tuesday, that due to the slowdown it would receive only 16,575 doses of the vaccine from Pfizer's Belgium plant by the end of the month and 28,275 in February. An official later confirmed Nova Scotia would no longer be receiving the 975 doses of vaccine it had expected next week. The federal government has said it's expected that the shipments will ramp back up after the company has made changes to its production facility in Belgium. Nova Scotia public health officials say it is among the best positioned jurisdictions in the country to cope with the vaccine delays due to its low case counts of the illness. As of Tuesday morning, the province has just 22 active cases, with four new cases of COVID-19 detected on Monday. Asked about the Pfizer announcement's impact, Strang said the news was still fresh. "We'll be able to talk in more detail in the next few days about what our vaccine supply will mean for the next few weeks," he said. However, Premier Stephen McNeil said the closure of a production line to allow for the increased production rate in the near future is "short-term pain for what we believe will be long-term gain." "The lack of shipment will be made up in the following month and the next six months for sure." The premier said the province will meanwhile focus on setting up vaccination sites in every region of the province. "When Pfizer starts ramping up, or a new vaccine gets permitted by Health Canada, we (will) have a system that allows us to ramp up vaccinations very quickly across our province," he said. The province had hoped to provide 78,750 vaccinations in March and then have a mass rollout of 333,333 doses in April at clinics in pharmacies and doctors offices. Over the next month, the first wave of shots will go to health workers and long-term care staff and residents, along with a pilot project for African Nova Scotian and First Nations communities. Special care homes for people with intellectual and physical disabilities will also have vaccinations for staff and residents. The second phase, happening over the next 60 days, will include a pilot project for community clinics for residents over 80 years old in Halifax and Truro, more vaccinations of health workers and special care facilities and a pilot project for delivering vaccines at pharmacies. The 90-day plan is to have mass immunization clinics established in all communities with cold storage locations. As of Monday evening, about 2,200 Nova Scotians had received both vaccine doses, and 8,520 total doses had been administered from the province's supply of 23,000 doses. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press
A year ago, Dr. Lawrence Loh could not have predicted how 2020 would play out. At the time, Loh was serving as associate medical officer of health for the Region of Peel under Dr. Jessica Hopkins. She was responsible for environmental health programs, immunization records and working with chronic disease and injury prevention. That mandate evolved rapidly. In March, just as the pandemic’s first wave formed, Hopkins departed the Region to take up a role as a deputy chief with Public Health Ontario, leaving Loh with big shoes to fill as a global crisis landed at his feet. By July, he dropped the ‘interim’ label from his title and was officially named Peel’s medical officer of health. Any new job is a challenge; Loh’s baptism by fire was heated further by the learning curve faced by all public health units. In particular, the rapidly evolving spread of COVID-19 meant experts, the media and public heard about new developments almost simultaneously. Loh found himself in front of the cameras at least twice per week at press conferences, presenting councillors and the public with updates and advocating to the Province for policy considerations such as paid sick days. Infectious diseases themselves are not new to public health officials, but COVID-19, and the novel coronavirus that causes it, has constantly confused even seasoned epidemiologists. The approval by Health Canada of two vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) means the path toward immunity has been opened. After a year of unfamiliar territory, Loh and his team at Peel Public Health find themselves on slightly more familiar ground. The logistics involved in vaccine distribution on its current scale are new to public health units, but the basics are not. Every year, local health professionals oversee flu vaccine campaigns. Loh himself has experience at the federal level as a medical specialist in vaccine safety between 2012 and 2013. “Immunization is bread and butter public health,” Loh told councillors at the Region Thursday, saying lessons had been learned in the past. “This is something that we’ve done year in and year out.” The pandemic complicates matters, meaning Peel Public Health is balancing its roles in contact tracing, communication, outbreak management and testing with the plans to vaccinate. The task may be simpler than managing a pandemic blind, but it remains no small feat. The goalposts of vaccine rollout have been set by the federal government, the order and eligibility decided at the provincial level and, in Ontario, local public health units are in charge of making it happen. In Peel Region, long-term care has been identified by the Province as a particular priority, with a deadline of January 21 to inoculate the most vulnerable. Ashleigh Hawkins, a spokesperson for Peel Public Health, confirmed “all consenting residents” at 28 long-term care and 15 at-risk retirement homes in the region have received their first dose of vaccine. In its first phase, Peel is concentrating on a few select groups. Long-term care residents and staff, frontline healthcare workers, including paramedics, and adult recipients of chronic home health care are among the first to receive their vaccines in Peel. Around March, when the supply of vaccines is expected to pick up, the second phase will begin. It will offer access to seniors who live in the community, teachers and some essential frontline workers, including those who work in food processing, many of whom live and work in Peel. The third and final stage of the rollout will inoculate anyone who wants to be vaccinated. It is voluntary. Peel Region is completing a rollout plan to submit to the Province by Wednesday. Janice Baker, the Region’s CAO, told councillors the task will require around 700 people to deliver the full vaccine rollout. “Council [must] understand the enormity of the task,” she said, saying active recruitment was ongoing and that Peel, “really will be mobilizing an army to get this done”. A key to the vaccine rollout in Peel will be community clinics. The first will open at the Region’s large Service building at 7120 Hurontario Street (Mississauga) and its headquarters at 10 Peel Centre Drive (Brampton) with more to follow between February and April as public health scales up. Brampton and Mississauga are weighing which facilities they can offer for vaccination efforts to expand access and get needles in arms as quickly as possible. “It is anticipated that these sites will be able to vaccinate thousands of people per day, as supplies allow, over as many hours as possible,” a Region of Peel press release explains. “Additional community clinics will be set up once vaccine becomes readily available.” It is unclear how recent delays to the Pfizer vaccine delivery in Canada could affect Peel’s plan. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, with the support of her Brampton and Caledon counterparts, has been pushing for the Province to greenlight a mass vaccination centre in Peel. The first such space opened in Toronto Monday to pilot the approach before it is rolled out across Ontario. “We know that Toronto is getting a vaccination centre with their 230 cases per 100,000, so it is only fair that our region, with 261 cases per 100,000, also has a mass vaccination centre,” she said at a press conference last Wednesday. “Mississauga and all of Peel Region has suffered greatly from this pandemic and I am doing everything I can to make sure we move past this COVID nightmare as soon as possible.” A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health acknowledged a request for comment Monday, but did not respond in time for publication. One unique discrepancy in Peel Region is among firefighters. In Mississauga, they’re a frontline group, but in Brampton firefighters will have to wait longer. Brampton Regional Councillor Rowena Santos pointed out the difference at regional council last week, saying she had “some concerns”. A Christmas COVID-19 outbreak within the Mississauga Fire and Emergency Service, which led 90 firefighters to isolate, means staff have been bumped into the first phase. Mississauga has been sending 20 to 25 firefighters per day to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for roughly the last week, according to Shari Lichterman, commissioner community services. “There was a concern — a public safety concern — that was identified by the prioritization team and so that is why Mississauga Fire was prioritized… recognizing, of course, that if they didn’t have that outbreak, they would be probably waiting the same way the rest of the fire services in the region are,” Loh explained. Peel Public Health will also demonstrate the lessons it learned testing residents for close to a year by planning drive-thru and mobile vaccination clinics as well. “Our team is working day and night,” Baker added. Email: email@example.com Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
After four years, U.S. President Donald Trump will be leaving office as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into the position on Jan. 20, 2021. The weeks leading up to Trump’s departure have been tumultuous, with a siege on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, five federal executions, and 143 presidential pardons, just to name a few pivotal moments.Trump began the day by speaking to a crowd at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One. He is traveling to his golf club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, and will not be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.Supporters of the 45th U.S. President gathered in West Palm Beach, Fla. to greet Trump’s motorcade when it arrived in the city.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
A hallway fire that ousted dozens of people from their homes late Sunday is considered suspicious, say RCMP, and an investigation is ongoing. The fire started in the second floor hallway of Town Park Apartments C-block at around 11:30 p.m on Jan. 17. It quickly engulfed the hallway, pumping heat and smoke through the building. A mattress was found on fire in the hallway, but officials would not confirm whether it was intentionally set alight. Andrew Dawson lives on the second floor with his wife and uncle. Earlier that night he says someone pulled the fire alarm, and shortly after the building manager sorted that out, the smoke detector went off. “I usually don’t react because they’re so sensitive, they go off all the time. You open your shower and steam will set it off,” he said. But that night for some reason he went to check, and found an actual fire. Dawson ran down the hallway banging on doors, yelling for people to get out. Outside, he found his wife, uncle and uncle’s girlfriend at the window trying to climb down with blankets. Dawson could see it billowing out the neighbour’s window, who had left their hallway door open. “I started screaming, jump, I’ll catch you just jump, I was pleading,” he said. They dropped while he tried to break their fall. A handful of other residents jumped out of second floor windows when they found the hallway exit blocked by smoke, including Dawson’s sister, who broke her leg. A dog, Dex, also broke its forepaw when he was thrown out of the building. READ MORE: Apartment fire in Port Hardy forces residents to jump from building to save their lives It could be months before residents are allowed back inside. Parallel 50 Realty and Property Management is working with insurance adjusters to assess the damage to the 15 suites, but it won’t be quick. “You’ve got a building that just had extensive smoke damage. You have to make sure it’s safe before we can even determine how much work needs to be done,” said Parallel 50 CEO Dale Mailman. Emergency Support Services (ESS) was called in the early hours of Jan. 18, to coordinate housing the tenants in the interim. They have 25 people in hotels, three are in hospital, and a few others had family or friends to stay with. The automatic 72-hour ESS support period has already been extended for another three days. After that, no one can say yet what will happen, but Port Hardy ESS volunteer Susan Bjarnason said no one will be left stranded. Port Hardy Fire Rescue crews doused the fire quickly. It was short-lived due to lack of fuel and oxygen in the hall, but was hot and intense with smoke. Crews were on scene for over three hours ventilating and securing the building. All six Port Hardy fire trucks were on site with over 30 firefighters. A truck with five crew from Port McNeill also came as back up. BC Ambulance Services, Port Hardy RCMP and BC Hydro crews were all on scene as well. If anyone has knowledge of this incident or any other or who is responsible, please contact the Port Hardy RCMP at 250-949-6335. If you wish to remain anonymous, please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or visit their web site at www.crimestoppers.ca. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
BERLIN — Teenager Florian Wirtz scored for Bayer Leverkusen in a 2-1 win which dealt Borussia Dortmund its latest Bundesliga setback on Tuesday. Dortmund, which was held 1-1 at home by lowly Mainz on Saturday, slumped to its second defeat in six games under new coach Edin Terzic. Dortmund could fall 10 points behind Bayern Munich at the top on Wednesday when Bayern visits struggling Augsburg. Leverkusen moved second after bouncing back from its 1-0 loss at Union Berlin. Leipzig, which is just behind Leverkusen on goal difference, hosts Union on Wednesday. It was a lacklustre display from Dortmund, which only threatened briefly in the second half and was fortunate not to concede more with Moussa Diaby missing several good chances after he opened the scoring. The unhurried Nadiem Amiri played a cross-field pass that Diaby controlled with his first touch and swept past Dortmund ’keeper Roman Bürki with his next in the 14th minute. Diaby continued to cause problems after the break before Dortmund’s first real chance in the 54th. Marco Reus almost set up Erling Haaland but the 17-year-old Wirtz managed to clear. Thomas Meunier missed another good chance for the visitors before Julian Brandt equalized against his former team in the 67th when Raphaël Guerreiro laid the ball off for him to fire inside the far corner. Brandt almost scored again a minute later, but Edmond Tapsoba cleared off the line. Dortmund paid the price in the 80th when Wirtz scored after Meunier lost the ball. It fell to Patrik Schick and he combined with Diaby, who crossed for the unmarked Wirtz to unleash an unstoppable shot past Bürki for his fourth Bundesliga goal. HERTHA HUMBLED Goals from Sebastian Rudy and two from Andrej Kramaric gave Hoffenheim a 3-0 win at Hertha Berlin that will increase the pressure on coach Bruno Labbadia. Hertha had hopes this season of challenging for European qualification but it has dropped to 14th in the 18-team division with only one win in its last seven games. Wolfsburg moved fifth with a 2-0 win at Mainz, and Borussia Mönchengladbach rode its luck to beat Werder Bremen 1-0. Nico Elvedi’s header was enough for Gladbach. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press
Specific details about workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 are not made public in most of Canada. Toronto is starting to make the information available, arguing that transparency increases accountability, but others wonder whether ‘naming and shaming’ does more harm than good.
Richmond councillors are considering a program that would make free menstrual products available in most city facilities. At last night’s general purposes committee meeting, Coun. Carol Day brought the proposal before councillors. While the program was initially envisioned as a pilot project with a review to come at the one-year mark, councillors were in support of expanding the proposed program to a permanent one. “We know many women are specifically marginalized now more than ever due to COVID,” said Richmondite Karina Reid, who spoke as a delegation at the committee meeting. “Access is important, because if you’re in a public facility, you should be able to access (products) and your needs should be able to be met.” In addition to coming up with an implementation plan, staff were also directed to report back with a budget and come up with an education plan. There will be a one-year review of the program. All councillors were in support of the project. It will come before council for final approval in the coming weeks. Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
Police have identified a woman who was found dead on a rural road near Chestermere, Alta., on Friday. The body of Jennifer Ashley Foley, 29, was found on Range Road 284 north of Chestermere Boulevard, police said in a release on Tuesday. An autopsy was completed on Monday. Foley was from the Calgary area, police said, and investigators are trying to determine her whereabouts in the weeks that led up to her body being found. RCMP have released photos of Foley in the hopes that friends or family will recognize her. Anyone with information is asked to contact Chestermere RCMP at 403-204-8900, or Crime Stoppers anonymously. Chestermere is located just east of Calgary.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A woman accused of entering the U.S. Capitol illegally during the Jan. 6 riot will likely be charged with stealing a computer from the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a federal prosecutor said in court Tuesday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin Carlson in Harrisburg said he will consider bail and that he plans to conduct a preliminary hearing on Thursday in the case of Riley June Williams. Williams is charged with trespassing as well as violent entry of the Capitol and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanours, and is being held in the county jail in Harrisburg. She spoke only briefly during the half-hour proceeding and was represented by a public defender. Federal authorities are preparing two new felony charges of stealing government property and aiding and abetting against the Harrisburg resident, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian T. Haugsby told Carlson. Those charges have not yet been approved by a judge in Washington, he said. The FBI has said a witness who claims to be an ex of Williams' said friends showed that person a video of Williams taking a laptop computer or hard drive from Pelosi’s office during the breach of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump. The tipster alleged that Williams intended to send the device to a friend in Russia who planned to sell it to that country’s foreign intelligence service, but that plan fell through and she either has the device or destroyed it, investigators said in court records. Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, confirmed two days after the Capitol attack that a laptop used only for presentations had been taken from a conference room. Haugsby told Carlson that prosecutors in Washington intend to file two felony charges against Williams, but the documents had not yet been approved by a federal judge. Haugsby argued Williams should not be released on bail pending trial, saying she might flee or try to obstruct justice. Carlson scheduled the preliminary hearing and consideration of bail for early Thursday morning. Williams' lawyer, Lori Ulrich, argued for her release and against a delay. Williams' father, who lives in the Harrisburg suburb of Camp Hill, told local law enforcement that he and his daughter went to Washington on the day of the protest but didn’t stay together, meeting up later to return to Harrisburg, the FBI said. Mark Scolforo, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — After leaving the White House, President Donald Trump may lose his SAG card, too. The Screen Actors Guild said Tuesday that the SAG-AFTRA board voted “overwhelmingly” that there is probable cause that Trump violated its guidelines for membership. The charges, the guild said, are for Trump's role in the Capitol riot on January 6, “and in sustaining a reckless campaign of misinformation aimed at discrediting and ultimately threatening the safety of journalists, many of whom are SAG-AFTRA members.” If found guilty by a disciplinary committee, Trump faces expulsion. Trump has been a SAG member since 1989. His credits include “The Apprentice,” “Saturday Night Live” and many cameos in films and TV series including “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York," “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Sex in and City.” The SAG board acted in response to a request from Gabrielle Carteris, the guild's president. “Donald Trump attacked the values that this union holds most sacred — democracy, truth, respect for our fellow Americans of all races and faiths, and the sanctity of the free press,” said Carteris in a statement. “There’s a straight line from his wanton disregard for the truth to the attacks on journalists perpetrated by his followers.” A White House spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. Losing SAG membership doesn't disqualify anyone from performing. But most major productions abide by union contracts and hire only union actors. Online petitions have recently circulated to have Trump removed from some films. One is trying to rally support to have President-elect Joe Biden digitally substituted for Trump in “Home Alone 2.” Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
IMMOBILIER. Tel que rapporté, selon les données colligées par JLR, une société d’Equifax, 899 préavis d’exercice (prise en paiement, vente sous contrôle de justice, vente par le créancier et prise de possession à des fins d’administration) ont été émis au cours du quatrième trimestre de 2020. Ce qui représente une baisse de 46 % par rapport à la même période un an plus tôt. Pour l’ensemble de l’année, les publications d’actes de ce type se sont élevées à 3916, une chute de 42 % comparativement à 2019. Le nombre de préavis diminuait légèrement avant la pandémie une tendance qui se poursuivait depuis 2016 grâce à une économie et un marché immobilier en croissance rapporte JLR. «La baisse s’est grandement accrue à partir de la mi-mars, soit lors de l’arrivée de la pandémie et de la mise en place de mesures d’aide. Peu de temps après la mise sur pause de l’économie, une possibilité pour les ménages ayant perdu tout, ou une partie, de leurs revenus de reporter leurs paiements hypothécaires de six mois a été annoncée. Ceci, combiné à l’octroi de la PCU à plusieurs citoyens dans le besoin, a réduit de manière importante les processus de reprise hypothécaire, ce qui est contraire à ce qui s’observe habituellement lors d’une crise économique», indique-t-on. Un total de 296 délaissements a été publié au Registre foncier au cours du quatrième trimestre de 2020, une chute de 26 % relativement à la même période en 2019. Un recul qui s’amenuise depuis deux trimestres pour ces immeubles hypothéqués abandonnés volontairement au profit de son créancier ou d’un jugement qui l’ordonne.Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
FREDERICTON — More than half of New Brunswick was moved to the red level of the province's COVID-19 recovery plan as Premier Blaine Higgs warned Tuesday of even more severe measures if the spread of the virus doesn't slow. Health officials reported one new death and 31 new COVID-19 cases in the province Tuesday, with 21 of them in the Edmundston region, which entered the red level Monday. The Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John zones were to join Edmundston as of midnight Tuesday. At the red level, gyms, salons and recreational facilities must close, and restaurants can only offer takeout or delivery. Outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of five people, with masks and physical distancing. "We have had some success in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus across our province, and we have succeeded because we acted swiftly and decisively," chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell said Tuesday. "We haven't waited, as some other jurisdictions have done, until critical levels have been breached." Russell called the increase in cases across the province this month alarming. "The threat it poses to our health-care system and the well-being of our citizens cannot be ignored," she said. Russell said the death of a person in their 80s at the Parkland Saint John long-term care facility brings to 13 the number of COVID-related deaths in the province. There are currently 316 active cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick, and there have now been more than 1,000 cases since the pandemic began. Four hundred of those have been in the last 30 days. Russell said many of the new cases were spread through large social gatherings, such as parties and holiday gatherings around Christmas and New Year's. Higgs said the province will consider imposing more stringent measures if the latest restrictions don't limit the spread of the virus. "We are not making enough progress with the current measures that are in place," he said. "We know there are more cases in these zones that exist but have not yet tested positive, and we cannot take the risk of potentially overwhelming our hospitals." He said a continuing rise in case numbers could mean a return to a full lockdown as was in place in March, with schools closed and people staying home except to buy essential items. Higgs said the all-party COVID cabinet committee would meet again Thursday to discuss next steps. "Public health is currently working to determine exactly what a lockdown would look like if we need to take this additional step," he said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario’s Minister of Long-Term Care, called out the province’s NDP Leader, Andrea Horwath, for spreading “misinformation.”
Small businesses located near various U.S. capitol buildings are still anxious after the violent political rallies of Jan. 6, and they’re hoping for a calmer inauguration and a return to stability under a new president.