Britain's royals unveiled their 2020 Christmas cards on Wednesday, choosing traditional happy family snapshots for their festive messages.
Britain's royals unveiled their 2020 Christmas cards on Wednesday, choosing traditional happy family snapshots for their festive messages.
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
Regina – By Tuesday, Jan. 19, SGI Canada had already received 1,885 property claims as a result of the Alberta clipper storm that whacked southern Saskatchewan Jan. 13-14. That’s according to Tyler McMurchy, manager, media relations, with SGI. He added that’s for just for one insurer, as SGI is one of many property insurers in the province. A further 386 auto claims were also received – not from people bumping fenders, but from things like trees landing on vehicles, or trailers being blown over. “Those were some pretty crazy winds,” McMurchy said by phone from Regina on Jan. 19. He said claims came from throughout the province, anywhere south of Prince Albert. Regina, Moose Jaw and Weyburn were particularly hit, but so were places like Saskatoon, Radville, Estevan and Milestone. In October, 2017, there had been a similar storm, but McMurchy said, “This past one had higher wind speeds and more trees knocked down.” Environment Canada had reported wind gusts as strong as an EF1 tornado north of Regina. Since it was winter, more outside items like lawn furniture and trampolines had been put away, while other items were frozen to the ground, he noted. There will be some “very large claims” he said, including building damage and farm claims. Adjusters worked throughout the weekend, and by Jan. 19, most of those who had filed claims had initial contact with an SGI adjuster, according to McMurchy. Shingles, roofs, soffits and siding are just some of the damage claims that have come in. “Some neighbourhoods, everyone’s got some shingles missing,” he said. He spoke of limiting further damage, but it may be necessary to get contractors to do that. Hold onto receipts, he noted, and take pictures, both wide angle and closeups. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
A Chatham-Kent police officer has been charged after a 40-year-old Chatham man was taken to hospital with injuries. Police responded to a home in Chatham on Jan. 9, just after 7 p.m., to help EMS with an injured man. The victim was transported to Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, but has since been released from hospital, according to a news release from police Tuesday. After an investigation, police said they learned that Const. Cristelle VandenEnden, who is currently on medical leave from the organization, might have driven the vehicle that injured the man. In order to remain impartial, Windsor police were called in to take over the investigation. On Monday, the officer was arrested by Windsor police and charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle and criminal negligence causing bodily harm. In the past eight months, VandenEnden has been arrested and charged at least five times, three of them in the past two weeks. In May 2020, she was arrested and charged with fraud under $5,000, causing the use of a forged document and possession of property obtained by crime. Then in August 2020, she was arrested and charged with drug possession while on a leave of absence. In a news release last week, Chatham-Kent police said VandenEnden was arrested for allegedly breaching bail conditions. She was also charged with three counts of drug possession and possession of property obtained by crime by Leamington OPP on Jan. 6.
Open-educational resources are critical for increasing global learners' access to education during COVID-19 and beyond. Blockchain technology can address concerns about plagiarism in resources.
Like many in Saskatchewan, Regina homeowners Loretta and Blair McClinton are still cleaning up after last week's big winter storm. Last Wednesday night, their decades-old backyard spruce tree snapped in the 100 km/h wind gusts. "All of a sudden I heard a loud cracking noise. My husband was still sleeping and I said, 'I think something's hit the house,'" Loretta remembered. "Then we looked [out the window] and we just went, 'Oh, my God!' We just couldn't believe what we saw." She said they first checked the attic to make sure the tree didn't go through the roof — and, luckily, it didn't. "It's just astonishment, really. It was unbelievable. The tree's 80 feet tall [about 24 metres]," Loretta said. "I've had thoughts in my mind that if it ever fell over, what would happen? So to see it actually blow over was just incredible." Loretta said it's "an immense relief" their home and fence weren't damaged at all by the tree; only a gas line, which was disrupted by its roots, had to be repaired. "We were so lucky that it basically landed on our elm tree, which held it up. If it had came down, it probably would have crashed on the side of our house and probably our neighbour's house," she said. "Who knows what could have happened? It was a pretty traumatic event." On Thursday, the McClintons brought in a crane to remove the spruce. "It's going to be a loss because it was such a beautiful tree. Now, it's so open," Loretta said, noting they have plans to landscape their backyard in the spring. "It's kind of a good thing that this happened before we accomplished that."
OTTAWA — Canada’s veterans ombudsman is calling on the federal government to reverse restrictions on mental-health services for veterans' families. Ombudsman Nishika Jardine’s demand is in a scathing report released today, a year after Ottawa cut off this federal funding for veterans' families, even when the family member needs treatment because of their loved one’s military service. That move followed outrage over Veterans Affairs Canada having paid for Christopher Garnier’s PTSD treatment while in prison because he was the son of a veteran, even though Garnier had been convicted of killing police officer in Halifax. Jardine’s report quotes several veterans and their family members about the harm those restrictions have done to them and their children, most of whom were receiving support before the change was made without notice. Some of those quoted also question how the government can justify the restrictions when Canadian Armed Forces commanders have repeatedly stressed how supporting military families at home contributes to successful missions abroad. Jardine says reversing the restrictions is a matter of fairness given the unique challenges facing veterans' families, including constant moves, long periods of separation and the stress of living with someone suffering from physical and mental injuries. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
A union representing health-care workers in long-term care is calling on the province to make vaccines more accessible — just as the province scales back on vaccinations due to a pause in production. SEIU Healthcare wrote to the province asking for paid sick leave for all staff in long-term-care homes and hospitals in order to remove “barriers” to getting vaccines. The union has members working in Hamilton homes such as Grace Villa and Shalom Village — both with large ongoing COVID outbreaks. “We’ve been advocating for paid leave in support of vaccination from the time to consult with a physician, to the time and cost related to travel and transportation, to paid sick days that may be required if someone experiences adverse side effects,” said Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Healthcare in an emailed statement. She noted members raised concerns about scheduling, where workers don’t often know when and where they’ll be vaccinated far enough in advance. Language is also a hurdle. “Many long-term-care staff are new Canadians whose first language may be neither English nor French,” Stewart said. “We’re asking for more multilingual communications about the process to establish confidence in the rollout.” Meanwhile, as of Jan. 18, the province says only residents, staff and caregivers at long-term-care homes and “high risk” retirement homes will be eligible to receive the vaccine, as Pfizer pauses work at its Belgium facility to prepare for increased production in future weeks. That means retirement homes not deemed high risk — which were next in line for vaccines — will have to wait. Anyone who already received their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is expected to get their second dose on time, though Hamilton’s medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, said Monday that public health is “continuing to work with the province ... to ensure that happens.” The city has administered 13,400 doses so far and aims to wrap up its first phase of vaccine rollout by Wednesday. In an email Monday, the city said there are about 700 eligible workers left to be vaccinated. The news comes the day a new death was reported at Grace Villa, Hamilton’s worst outbreak which has now seen 44 deaths since Nov. 25. Two new resident cases each were reported at Shalom Village (specifically in long-term care), Macassa Lodge and the Cardinal Retirement Residence. Richardson said she’s happy with vaccine uptake so far in long-term-care and retirement home workers. “We were up over 65 per cent vaccine coverage as of the end of last week,” she said. “We’re moving forward quite well.” Richardson said public health has asked homes to work with their staff to schedule their vaccines, but acknowledged language barriers persist and said there’s ongoing translation work to address them. “It’s been a little slower than we would’ve liked on that front,” Richardson said. “That’s absolutely something that we need.” Stewart said the work should happen “immediately.” “Front-line workers have given everything to their communities through this battle with COVID-19. Many have gotten sick. Some have lost their lives,” she said. “We owe it to these workers ... to ensure that vaccines are available and that the barriers that could imperil the vaccination effort are eliminated.” Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
NEW YORK — A U.S. Army soldier was arrested Tuesday in Georgia on charges that he plotted to blow up New York City's 9-11 Memorial and attack U.S. soldiers in the Middle East, authorities said Tuesday. Cole James Bridges of Stow, Ohio, was in custody on charges of attempted material support of a terrorist organization — the Islamic State group — and attempted murder of a military member, said Nicholas Biase, a spokesperson for Manhattan federal prosecutors. The 20-year-old soldier, also known as Cole Gonzales, was with the Third Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Georgia, Biase said. He was scheduled to make an initial appearance in federal court in Georgia on Thursday. It was not immediately clear who would represent him. The Associated Press
Val-Brillant, l’école en musique La petite école primaire de Val-Brillant (95 élèves) va rejoindre un cercle très fermé : celui des établissements scolaires offrant un programme Arts-études en musique. Pour l’instant, seules neuf écoles primaires le font au Québec. Val-Brillant va donc devenir la dixième dès l’année scolaire 2021-2022, et la première dans l’Est. Il s’agit d’une progression logique pour cette école, qui proposait depuis une douzaine d’années déjà un programme de concentration en arts : des cours de musique étaient donnés sur les heures scolaires en partenariat avec le Camp musical du lac Matapédia. Mais la fermeture de ce dernier, couplée à la décision du ministère de l’Éducation de mettre fin à ce type de programmes en juin 2021, a poussé la direction de l’école à envisager un virage. « On était rendus à la croisée des chemins, explique la directrice Renée Belzile : on avait le choix de redevenir simplement une école avec un programme particulier en musique, ou de faire le grand saut vers un programme Arts-études officiel avec toutes les balises du ministère. » C’est la deuxième option qui a été retenue, en partenariat cette fois-ci avec l’École de musique du Bas-Saint-Laurent à Rimouski. Jusqu’à présent, les enfants pouvaient suivre des cours d’instruments (seuls ou en petits groupes) ou de chant choral. Bientôt, ils auront accès à de la formation auditive et des cours de musique d’ensemble. Pour obtenir la reconnaissance Arts-études, l’école doit permettre aux élèves inscrits de bénéficier d’un minimum de 20 % d’enseignement en musique par semaine durant la plage horaire scolaire. Bons pour les élèves… et les parents Selon Mme Belzile, le passage par l’école de Val-Brillant a été marquant pour de nombreux jeunes, certains étant depuis devenus enseignants de musique. Mais sans aller aussi loin, étudier la musique et devoir faire des prestations sur scène devant les amis et les parents permet d’améliorer confiance et estime de soi. « La fierté d’avoir accompli un gros projet qui sort des matières scolaires, comme par exemple une comédie musicale, ça va chercher des élèves qui ont parfois peu de valorisation au niveau des notes », ajoute la directrice tout en précisant qu’il ne s’agit pas d’un « programme élitiste » mais qu’au contraire, tout le monde est accepté. La moitié des élèves de l’école de Val-Brillant viennent déjà d’autres municipalités. Avec ce nouveau programme, Renée Belzile espère attirer de nouvelles têtes, tout en assurant que cela ne crée pas de conflit avec les autres écoles primaires du coin. « Plus on aura d’élèves, plus l’offre de cours va être diversifiée et intéressante », déclare-t-elle. Les parents y trouvent aussi leur compte, puisqu’ils n’ont pas à amener leurs rejetons à des cours de musique après les classes ou en soirée. Pas besoin non plus d’acheter un instrument sans savoir si l’enfant va apprécier en jouer, puisque l’école en prête des petits (violons, ukulélé…) qu’on peut ramener à la maison.Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
Steve Fortin and his family survived a harrowing COVID-19 infection and he wants to share it with everyone “because it may save a life.” Fortin, a trucker and musician, said he and his wife started to notice mild symptoms Dec. 22, three days after exposure. “Sniffles, slight cough, and a dry, sore nose,” he wrote, but they weren’t sure if it was sinus problems or a cold. “Here is our mistake, we should have immediately been tested,” Fortin said, adding they were being careful in case they were infected that they wouldn’t spread it. “We are new to the area so we didn't really go anywhere to spread it but I did go to work and went to the store but wore a mask and sanitized regularly and kept a safe distance at all times,” he said. By New Year’s Eve, he and his wife “became terribly ill” with the full laundry list of symptoms. “We couldn’t get off the couch the pain was so bad, fevers and chills almost unbearable,” he wrote, with “stomach ache and diarrhea with no appetite at all. “My wife was vomiting and I was lucky enough not to vomit,” Fortin wrote. “Then we got the call, a friend of ours who works in the medical field tested posted for COVID-19. “Immediately we called the North Bay COVID centre for testing and our results came back positive as well. “My wife, kids, and myself all had COVID-19,” he said, explaining the children had no symptoms. “They didn’t even know they had it but my wife and I were very ill. “Public Health and I back-tracked all our steps to make sure we didn’t come into contact with anyone. They called my work and had employees that were around me tested and thank God they were all negative,” Fortin said. See: Some provinces see positive signs in COVID fight See: Two new COVID cases “My stupidity could have made a lot of people sick. I became so ill I should have been hospitalized but was afraid that I may never see my kids again,” he said. A Public Health nurse called to check and suggested they be hospitalized for treatment and to be more comfortable, he added. “I had every symptom possible and by the second week it started to affect my lungs, nose, and bronchial tube,” Fortin said. “It burned to breathe. One night, I woke up and asked my wife to talk to me because I was sure it may be our last conversation.” Things started to improve after being sick for three weeks and the Fortin family cases were considered resolved Sunday. “I feel much better but still a little weak,” he said, adding praise for the support they received. “As sick as we were, our neighbors were amazing with support and help. My closest neighbor Marcel did our grocery shopping and his wife made our family an amazing meat pie,” he said. “Neighbors were calling to check on us and to offer their help and I must say thank you so much to them” for being there in their time of need. “Sturgeon Falls is the most amazing community we have ever lived in and thank you for accepting us and making us feel so welcomed,” he wrote. He suggests people be diligent and follow Public Health advice: “If you show any cold or flu symptoms don't assume it is. Go get tested, it’s easy, painless, and fast. “Always keep your mask on and practice safe distancing in public. It’s so easy to spread this virus. When you go through a drive-thru or use a debit machine, sanitize immediately before they hand your stuff to you. “When grocery shopping, ask if your cart was sprayed before you use it and if not clean it yourself or request it to be and the most important thing when you’re around friends or family you don't live with, WEAR YOUR MASK. “I made one mistake and almost lost my life so I feel very lucky to be here and just want to help this amazing community in any way I can. Thank you,” he wrote. Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Masks off the minute you step inside. Bars packed and pulsing like it’s 2019. Social media stars waving bottles of champagne. DJs spinning party tunes through multi-hour brunches. Since becoming one of the world's first destinations to open up for tourism, Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, has promoted itself as the ideal pandemic vacation spot. It cannot afford otherwise, analysts say, as the virus shakes the foundations of the city-state's economy. With its cavernous malls, frenetic construction and legions of foreign workers, Dubai was built on the promise of globalization, drawing largely from the aviation, hospitality and retail sectors — all hard hit by the virus. Now reality is catching up to the big-dreaming emirate. With peak tourism season in full swing, coronavirus infections are surging to unprecedented heights. Daily case counts have nearly tripled in the past month, forcing Britain to slam shut its travel corridor with Dubai last week. But in the face of a growing economic crisis, the city won't lock down. “Dubai's economy is a house of cards," said Matthew Page, a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “Its competitive advantage is being a place where rules don't apply." While most countries banned tourists from the U.K. over fears of the fast-spreading virus variant found there, Dubai, home to some 240,000 British expats, kept its doors open for the holidays. Emirates flew five daily flights to London’s Heathrow Airport. Within days, the new virus strain had arrived in the emirates, but that didn't stop reality TV and soccer stars from fleeing Britain's lockdown and wintry weather for Dubai’s bars and beaches — without taking a coronavirus test before boarding. Scenes of pre-pandemic revelry were splattered across British tabloids. Facing backlash, Instagram influencers spotted at raucous yacht parties were quick to proclaim their travel “essential.” Dubai was glad of the influx. Hotel occupancy rates surged to 71% in December, according to data provider STR. The London-Dubai air route ranked busiest in the world over the first week of January, said OAG, an aviation data analysis firm. “People have had enough of this pandemic already,” said Iris Sabellano from Dubai's Al Arabi Travel Agency, adding that many of her clients have been forced to quarantine after testing positive for the virus on arrival or before departure. Travelers coming from a select list of countries don't need to get tests before their trips but all must at Dubai's airport. “With vaccines coming out, they feel it's not the end of the world, they're not going to die," she said. For those who do die of COVID-19, long-haul airline Emirates offers to pay $1,800 to help cover funeral costs. As the outbreak worsens, it seems the stampede will slow. Israeli tourists, who were coming in the tens of thousands following a normalization deal between the countries, have vanished due to new quarantine rules. A decision to suspend visa waivers for Israelis to the UAE until July took effect Monday. Britain's move to mandate a 10-day quarantine for those returning from Dubai threatens to clobber what's left of the tourism sector. “Brits make up such an important proportion of tourists and investors in Dubai,” said David Tarsh, spokesman for ForwardKeys, a travel data-analysis company. “Cutting that pipeline ... is a complete disaster for the city." British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted that the government's decision was prompted by the UAE's latest virus data. Beyond daily infections, however, the data is scant. The UAE does not make public information about disease clusters or hospitalizations. Amid an aggressive testing campaign, the country has reported more than 256,000 cases and 751 deaths. On Tuesday, dozens of cars idled at a drive-in coronavirus clinic on Dubai’s desert outskirts awaiting tests. At Dubai’s American Hospital, where a makeshift tent administers virus tests in a parking lot, a guard said wait times stretched over two hours. At least 80 people lined up as the call to afternoon prayers echoed overhead. Hours after The Associated Press published this story, the sheikhdom’s government-run Dubai Media Office issued a statement saying the emirate "continues to maintain the highest levels of protection against the pandemic and compliance with preventive measures." Analysts speculate the UAE’s unique demographics — 90% expatriate, comprising mostly healthy, young labourers — have prevented well-staffed hospitals from becoming overwhelmed and kept the death rate low, at 0.3%. But that hasn’t assuaged Abu Dhabi, Dubai's more conservative neighbour and the country's capital. Without explanation, Abu Dhabi has kept its border with freewheeling Dubai shut, despite promises to reopen by Christmas. Anyone crossing into Abu Dhabi must present a negative coronavirus test. Relations between service-heavy Dubai and oil-rich Abu Dhabi can get tense. During the 2009 financial crisis, Abu Dhabi needed to rescue Dubai with a $20 billion bailout. This time, it's unclear whether Dubai can count on another cash infusion, given the crash in global oil prices. Even pre-pandemic, Dubai's economy was heading toward another downturn thanks to a shaky real estate market, which has plunged 30% in value since 2014 peaks. The emirate and its web of government-linked entities face billions of dollars in debt repayments. Already the government has stepped in to help carrier Emirates, which received $2 billion in aid last year. Other indebted firms invested in hospitality and tourism may need help, especially with events like World Expo pushed back a year. S&P Global, a ratings agency, estimates Dubai's debt burden to be some 148% of gross domestic product if state-linked industries are included. Under pressure, authorities have seized on vaccines as the only way to contain the outbreak. Plastered across front pages of state-linked newspapers are stories touting the mass inoculation drive, which officials claim to be the world’s second-fastest after Israel, with 19 doses distributed for every 100 people as of Tuesday. The UAE is offering the Chinese coronavirus vaccine Sinopharm to everyone, even as its announcement about the shot's efficacy lacks data and details. Demand has overwhelmed supply for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in Dubai, where hotline operators say thousands of high-risk residents remain on a waiting list. With the country shattering its infection record for seven consecutive days, Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, declared that widespread vaccination, not movement restrictions, would “accelerate the full recovery of our country.” But even if Dubai meets its goal of inoculating 70% of the population by the end of 2021, Moody’s Investors Service expects the UAE's economy to take three years to bounce back. “I don't think Dubai's days are numbered,” said Page, the Carnegie scholar. “But if the city were more modest and responsible, it would be a more sustainable place.” ___ Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai contributed to this report. Isabel Debre, The Associated Press
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.
Cybersecurity company Malwarebytes said on Tuesday that some of its emails were breached by the same hackers who used the software company SolarWinds to hack into a series of U.S. government agencies. In a statement, the Santa Clara, California-based company said that while it did not use software made by SolarWinds, the company at the center of the breach, it had been successfully targeted by the same hackers who were able to sneak into its Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure environments. Malwarebytes said the hack gave the spies access to "a limited subset of internal company emails."
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's youngest daughter, Tiffany, is engaged to be married. The 27-year-old recent Georgetown law school graduate announced her good news on Instagram on Tuesday, her father's final full day in office. She shared a photograph of herself and fiance Michael Boulos posing on the West Wing colonnade at the White House. “It has been an honour to celebrate many milestones, historic occasions and create memories with my family here at the White House, none more special than my engagement to my amazing fiance Michael!” Tiffany Trump wrote. “Feeling blessed and excited for the next chapter!” Boulos, a 23-year-old business executive, also shared the photograph on his Instagram account. “Got engaged to the love of my life! Looking forward to our next chapter together,” he wrote. Tiffany Trump is the president's daughter with Marla Maples, his second ex-wife. She and Boutros have been dating for the past few years and have attended White House events together. Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
BANGUI, Central African Republic — Armed groups stood on the outskirts of Bangassou on Tuesday, raising fears of further clashes in the southern city a day after two U.N. peacekeepers were killed in a nearby ambush blamed on rebels. Tensions are high in Central African Republic after other coalition rebels attempted a rare attack on the capital of Bangui last week in the aftermath of President Faustin Archange Touadera's reelection on Dec. 27. Now residents of Bangassou say rebel fighters from the northeast of Central African Republic have begun arriving in the same area where only days earlier other rebels had left after controlling the city for more than a month. Abacar Sabone, a spokesman for the rebel coalition known as the Coalition of Patriots for Change, says his fighters consider Bangassou to be strategically important. “It is from this city that Touadera is bringing in mercenaries," he alleged of the town located 750 kilometres (310 miles) from the capital on the border with Congo. The Rev. Jean-Noel Kinazounga at the Cathedral of St. Pierre Claver said there was an uneasy calm Tuesday in Bangassou, where residents remained fearful of more violence. “We are afraid to go to the field or even join our parents on the other side of the river because of the return in force and the armed men,” said Angeline Koundro, a 40-year-old resident. Rebel fighters had first seized control of Bangassou in early December, looting shops and plunging the city into crisis. Local officials say some residents drown while attempting to flee across the river to neighbouring Congo. The rebel forces finally withdrew from the town last week but now other fighters have recently come into the area from the country's north, residents say. Those arriving rebels are being blamed for Monday's attack that killed two U.N. peacekeepers. A peacekeeper from Gabon and another from Morocco were killed about 17 kilometres (about 11 miles) outside the embattled city, according to Vladimir Monteiro, the spokesman for the U.N. mission known as MINUSCA. The rebels' attempted attack on the capital last week marked the most serious threat to Bangui since 2013, when a coalition of predominantly Muslim rebels known as Seleka overthrew President Francois Bozize after long claiming marginalization. Later that year, militia fighters known as the anti-Balaka launched their own assault on Bangui in an attempt to overthrow Michel Djotodia's rebel-led government. Eventually the anti-Balaka began attacking Muslim civilians too, beating people to death in the streets, destroying mosques and forcing tens of thousands of Muslims to flee Bangui in 2014. The rebel president Djotodia eventually stepped aside amid international pressure and an interim government organized democratic elections, which Touadera won in 2016. While he won reelection in December with 53% of the vote, he continues to face political opposition from forces linked to ex-president Bozize, who was disqualified from taking part in the recent presidential vote. ___ Associated Press writer Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal, contributed to this report. Jean Fernand Koena, The Associated Press
Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation Chief Tony Alexis wants to make it clear he does not begrudge Maskwacis the early vaccines the four First Nations received. His concern is about the process in Alberta. Alexis said three meetings last week between chiefs and staff with health officials from both the province and federal government gave no indication that any First Nation would see early arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine doses. They were informed that Elders 65 years and over on reserves would be the next to receive the vaccine. At this point, both long-term care facilities and front line health personnel on reserves had been vaccinated against the coronavirus. On Saturday, the third day of successive funerals on his First Nation, Alexis was told by one of his band members that Maskwacis had received the vaccine. He assured his community member that wasn’t the case, because it hadn’t been discussed at previous meetings. But it turned out that it was the case. “Everybody, whether you're Albertan or Canadian or some different part of the world, everyone is afraid. People are afraid and every leadership I know have been doing their best to keep things calm and try to eliminate the noise.” Alexis said “things like this create that noise. Experiences like this go back to examples like the residential schools, Sixties Scoop, leaving the Indigenous people out of that decision-making table.” A news release issued last night by Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson confirmed Maskwacis received a “limited number of doses” as they “are currently experiencing a serious rise in cases.” The combined population of the four First Nations—Louis Bull, Samson Cree, Montana and Ermineskin Cree—which comprise Maskwacis is 18,000. Samson Cree Nation Chief Vernon Saddleback told the media last Friday that nearly 10 per cent of the community were COVID-19 positive. More than five per cent of the population on Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation has COVID-19. Then yesterday, like everyone else, Alexis heard the announcement from Premier Jason Kenney that a cut by 20 to 80 per cent over the coming weeks in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine meant a delay in vaccinating those in the next priority group, including First Nations and Métis Elders. “It’s disappointing. It’s disheartening,” said Alexis, both about the news and not being part of the discussion before the announcement was made. Assembly of First Nations Alberta Regional Chief Marlene Poitras was surprised by Kenney’s announcement. “In terms of the decisions, how things are rolling out, whose decision was it to put a hold on vaccines distribution to First Nations? We don’t know. I really don’t know. Like everybody else, I found out (Monday) morning. The First Nations are the most vulnerable population everywhere, so it doesn’t make sense to me,” said Poitras. Both Poitras and Alexis reference the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and say Health Minister Tyler Shandro needs to comply with it. NACI has “adults in Indigenous communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences” included in stage one of the COVID-19 roll out. Poitras points to Alberta Health statistics to emphasize the point: 7.1 per cent of First Nations in Alberta have been hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to 4.3 per cent of Albertans generally. After Kenney’s announcement, Poitras began a text conversation with Indigenous Services Canada Minister Marc Miller. She said Miller said he was unaware of the decision and did not know how the province had arrived at it. Poitras said she requested information from Miller on the national roll out of the vaccine. “The numbers don’t pan out. That’s the issue,” said Poitras. “If we’re not at that decision-making table, how do we know how many vaccines are being rolled out? How many are actually being distributed to who? Who are the priorities? I know they sent out a priority list, but now they’re changing that, putting First Nations on hold. Without our direct involvement how are we to know exactly what kind of decisions are being made?” Wilson said in his statement that First Nations were “particularly vulnerable.” He points out that Phase 1 will see Indigenous Elders living on reserve and Métis settlements vaccinated at 65 years of age and up while the rest of the Alberta population in that phase has to be 75 years or older. The priority list for Alberta has phase one divided into three timelines beginning in December 2020, with Phase 1B to begin in February 2021 and including First Nations and Métis Elders on reserves and settlements. Phase 2, which spans April to September, says “work to identify sequencing … is underway.” “We value the leaders’ input and measures taken to date by First Nations,” said Wilson. However, both Alexis and Poitras believe that First Nations have not had enough input. “We’ve been trying to keep the people calm. Trying to be supportive, trying to provide proper information. When you hear information coming from the general public and they know more than we do, as leaders being told we’re sitting at this important table. It’s disheartening,” said Alexis. “There needs to be a coordinated response where First Nations are involved and that we’re making these decisions together,” said Poitras. Alexis would like to see not only chiefs directly involved with Alberta politicians in the decision making, but also First Nations experts, such as Treaty 6 physicians James Makokis and Alika La Fontaine, weighing in. “There are experts that the chiefs would listen to their advice and support them at the same time. They would echo where our communities are at. Whether it’s this or anything else in government, our people need to be at those tables and a fair process needs to be put in place that we’re following. Right now what it does, it actually damages that conversation because (the communities) will look at their leadership that they're not doing enough,” said Alexis. He added that if that process isn’t solid and transparent, First Nations may be further ahead by operating on their own and advocating for themselves. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Les recherches récentes indiquent qu’en virtuel, les consommateurs se montrent plus sensibles à des offres de fruits et légumes « modérément » difformes, qui véhiculent une image plus qualitative.
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.
NEW ORLEANS — The coronavirus pandemic, which forced cancellation of last year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, is forcing postponement of the festival this year. “ Jazz Fest ” is usually a spring event that begins on the last weekend in April. But festival producers announced in a news release Tuesday that the 2021 production will run Oct. 8 through Oct. 17. The event draws tens of thousands to the vast infield of the Fair Grounds Race Course horse track for music on multiple stages, food from a wide variety of Louisiana restaurants and arts and crafts from scores of vendors. “It’s taking longer than we want, but we’ll all have our celebration when the time comes,” festival producer Quint Davis said in the release. "Your health, along with the health of our musicians, food and crafts vendors, and all of the folks that work to make the magic happen, remains the priority as we plan the return of Jazz Fest.” Details on the fall lineup are to be released in the spring. ___ Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak. The Associated Press
New Brunswick's Liberal opposition says it supports the decision to let schools stay open during the red phase of COVID-19 restrictions. Liberal Leader Roger Melanson is backing up Education Minister Dominic Cardy's assertion that Public Health officials recommended the change to the red-phase guidelines. "That's what Public Health recommended," said Melanson, who sits with other political party leaders on an all-party COVID-19 committee with Premier Blaine Higgs and key cabinet ministers. The province announced the abrupt change to the red-zone rules for schools on Sunday, the same day it put Zone 4 into the red phase. Melanson said he agrees with Cardy's rationale that schools, where rigid COVID policies are in place, are safer places for children than potentially uncontrolled gatherings outside school. Most of transmission "happen in an environment where it's in private sessions, in social gatherings, where people are unfortunately not respecting the guidelines," Melanson said. "The data that I received from Public Health is that it's a safer environment. It's in a controlled environment for the kids to be able to be in school in a safe way." 'Making up plans as they go' On Monday Liberal MLA Guy Arseneault, a former president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Association, accused the Higgs government in a tweet of "making up plans as they go." Arseneault questioned the decision to allow schools to open in the red phase, a decision also criticized by the teachers' association. "People are asking who's calling the shots?" he said in another tweet. Cardy said Tuesday morning in a series of interviews that changes to red-phase rules, based on Public Health data, had been in the works for some time and should have been ready before Sunday's Zone 4 decision. "My apologies for this coming at the last minute," he said. "I did not want it to be this way." Melanson said he had not heard about possible changes to red guidelines until the last few days. "That's the issue here," he said, arguing Arseneault's tweets did not risk confusing the public on the credibility of Public Health decisions. "I think what MLA Arseneault questioned was the process of how the stakeholders were informed or not informed." Minister should've contacted teacher organizations sooner Melanson said Cardy should have done better at contacting people affected by the changes, including teacher organizations, as soon as he could. "The dialogue is important here," he said. "People want to be part of the solution." Arseneault refused an interview request Tuesday. "Mr. Arseneault is comfortable leaving the leader [to] speak on behalf of caucus on this issue, so he will not be doing an interview today," said Liberal spokesperson Ashley Beaudin. Last November, before a spike in COVID-19 cases, Liberal education critic Benoit Bourque said New Brunswick high school students, who attend classes in two groups on alternating days, should be in school full-time to help them avoid mental-health issues. At the time, Cardy said the alternate-days system for high school had been endorsed by the all-party COVID committee before the start of the school year.