Wall Street ended sharply higher after a volatile session on Friday, with the Nasdaq rebounding at the end of a week that saw it extend losses to about 10% from its previous record high. All three main indexes bounced back from losses earlier in the day, with investors in recent sessions spooked by rising interest rates that offset optimism about an economic rebound. Microsoft rallied 2.15%, boosting the S&P 500 more than any other stock, with gains in Alphabet, Apple and Oracle also lifting the index.
Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw chiefs reacted in unified opposition Thursday to conditions set this week by the federal government for an Indigenous moderate livelihood fishery. They say the terms required for Fisheries and Oceans authorization were imposed without adequate consultation or scientific justification. "Our nation is shocked by what the minister said. For them to make a unilateral decision without consultation was extremely shocking," said Chief Gerald Toney, of the Annapolis Band, at a virtual news conference. "We are frustrated. All 13 communities are very disappointed with what has taken place," said Chief Sidney Peters, of Glooscap First Nation. Both were speaking on behalf of the Assembly of Mi'kmaw Chiefs. Chief Gerald Toney says his nation was 'shocked' by the decision.(CBC) It's the latest development in the 21-year saga over moderate livelihood. In 1999, the Supreme Court upheld the Mi'kmaw treaty right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood but under federal government regulation for conservation. Those rules have not been defined. This week the department of Fisheries and Oceans publicly declared its principles to authorise a "small scale" moderate livelihood fishery. In the Maritimes, bands already hold 2,377 of a total 11,500 commercial licences. Mi'kmaw say prove it On Thursday the chiefs challenged a key condition for approval of moderate livelihood: the fishery must take place within existing commercial seasons to protect stocks. Bruce Wildsmith, a lawyer who has represented the Mi'kmaq for decades, says the department has yet to make the case in formal consultations — as required by the Supreme Court of Canada when a treaty right is limited. "What evidence do you have? What is the science to justify why those seasons are the only way, the only times in which the Mi'kmaw can fish and respect conservation?" said Wildsmith during a virtual news conference. Bruce Wildsmith, speaking during a virtual meeting, says the government hasn't provided justification for its decision.(CBC) Many bands have completed or nearly completed their own fishery management plan for a moderate livelihood lobster fishery. The plans spell out the number of traps, season and other conditions for the fishery The chiefs said Thursday their fishermen will pursue a moderate livelihood on their terms. "The Mi'kmaw say this is the plan that we want to follow. If you think there's something wrong with that plan, you should tell us what it is, why we can't do what it is we propose to do," said Wildsmith. Charting the course Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan said Thursday the conditions were a practical blueprint so bands could develop plans knowing what is required to secure a DFO licence for a moderate livelihood. "What we've put in place is the ability for the authorization of a moderate livelihood fishery to take place. These are communities that can develop their own fishing plan for what works best for them and then be able to sell their catch," said Jordan. She says DFO will enforce these rules. "It's extremely important, for conservation reasons, to make sure that the moderate livelihood fishery also takes place during a season when lobsters are replenished, they're rested," she said. "They're making sure that they have a top quality product. And for conservation purposes, we need to make sure that the species is sustainable for years to come." Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan says DFO will enforce the rules.(CBC) Jordan said the Department's declaration was the result of eight months of talks with bands. The Assembly of Chiefs revealed Thursday that a formal consultation between the Mi'kmaw and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans was held on Tuesday and a second meeting is set for Friday. The consultation did not touch on the issue of conservation within existing seasons, Wildsmith said.. Commercial industry expresses relief Jordan continued to receive praise Thursday from the commercial fishing industry. "The government's commitment to a single regulated fishery is most certainly a step in the right direction. For over two decades there has been confusion, which has resulted in unnecessary tension and, regrettably, violence, within our communities," said Melanie Sonnenberg, president of the Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters Federation in a release. "I think that it's a responsible and a really good path that the minister has set the government on to," said Colin Sproul, of the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance, representing fishermen across Nova Scotia. He says DFO is carrying out its responsibility to manage the fishery for all. "I truly believe that a lack of clarity from successive governments led to what happened last fall and that the minister's clarity in her decisions and in her statement yesterday can help to head all that off and prevent that this year," he said. Violence erupts over the first moderate livelihood fishery In southwest Nova Scotia, commercial fishermen erupted in fury — and in some cases violence — when the Sipekne'katik Band launched the first moderate livelihood lobster fishery in St Marys Bay last fall. Tensions had been brewing there for years over the band's out of season summer lobster fishery in the Bay. Under the cloak of a communal food, social and ceremonial fishery, some band members were selling their catch. That is not permitted under the licence. One court case revealed thousands of pounds were being sold to local lobster processors. Sipekne'katik and other bands said they were fed up waiting for DFO to define a moderate livelihood fishery Peace on the water or confrontation On Thursday Mik'maw leaders did not commit to a court challenge of DFO's conditions, only to carrying out moderate livelihood fishing on their terms. Bernadewtte Jordan was just as clear: that can only happen with DFO approval. Chief Terry Paul of the Membertou Band — which recently purchased 50 per cent of Canadian seafood giant Clearwater Seafoods — is worried about what happens next. "In this community we are going to continue to fish for our livelihood," he said. "And the fear, the greatest fear I have is someone getting hurt. And with the way the situation has been left and the decisions of the government, it makes it even more dangerous for us to be out there." MORE TOP STORIES
BROCKTON – Mayor Chris Peabody, who chairs the county’s homes committee, is looking forward to a change in the committee structure regarding long-term care homes. During Thursday’s meeting of the county’s homes committee, a recommendation is coming forward to revise the committee’s name to the long-term care homes committee of management. Peabody said he’s been seeking the change for some time. “It reflects the more serious nature of governance,” he said. He explained it’s not unlike the increased responsibilities involved in managing a water system. Said Peabody, “I’ve never been comfortable with the committee (the present system). The change will enhance the significance of caring for our most vulnerable citizens.” According to the county report, a committee of management “has oversight functions to ensure the corporation complies with the Long-Term Care Homes Act … Every member of the committee of management shall exercise the care, diligence and skill that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances, and take such measures as necessary to ensure that the corporation complies with requirements under the Act.” Peabody also commented on the COVID-19 outbreak at Brucelea Haven. “As with everything in this pandemic, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is we entered green … and on the same day, the bad news was an outbreak at Brucelea Haven. Let’s keep the staff member who tested positive in our prayers.” Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
NICOSIA, Cyprus — The European Union is ready to “actively contribute” to a new push to revive dormant talks on reunifying ethnically divided Cyprus, the Cypriot government said on Friday. Government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell conveyed the bloc’s readiness to help kickstart peace talks, during a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades in the capital Nicosia earlier. Koushos said in a written statement that Borrell told Anastasiades the EU believes a peace deal must be within the framework outlined by the United Nations, “as well as the founding principles and EU law.” This suggests EU backing for the Greek Cypriots' insistence on a federal solution, as opposed to a drive by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots to scrap the decades-old formula and move forward with a deal based on two separate states. Borrell’s visit to Cyprus comes ahead of a planned informal meeting in Switzerland next month, hosted by U.N. Chief Antonio Guterres, that will bring together both sides on Cyprus, as well as the east Mediterranean island nation’s “guarantors” — Greece, Turkey and former colonial ruler Britain. The aim will be to gauge whether there’s enough common ground to resume a process that was shelved in 2017 when high-level negotiations collapsed amid acrimony. Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence in the island’s northern third. Although Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, only the southern, internationally recognized part enjoys full benefits. Cyprus’ continued division has ratcheted up tensions with Turkey over claims to potential offshore oil and gas deposits in the east Mediterranean, and remains a key stumbling block to Ankara’s troubled bid for EU membership. Greek Cypriots see a more engaged EU in peace talks as a possible bulwark against the shift in the position of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots — from the long-held aim of a federated Cyprus made up of Greek and Turkish-speaking zones — to an agreement struck between two equal, internationally recognized states. An overwhelming majority of Greek Cypriots strongly oppose any deal that would legitimize Cyprus’ ethnic partition. In a video conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel late Thursday, Anastasiades said that EU participation in peace talks is essential to ensure that “whatever is agreed is compatible” with EU law. The Cypriot government also cites numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions stating that any peace deal should be based on a federal model. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots see it differently, insisting that decades of negotiations on cobbling together a federation have gone nowhere and that a two-state solution should be considered a feasible alternative. In a written statement, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar repeated that the federal model for Cyprus has “collapsed.” He said a peace deal based on “co-operation between two states living side-by-side on the bases of sovereign equality” is something that has the backing of Turkey “which is the biggest and most powerful state in the region.” Menelaos Hadjicostis, The Associated Press
Last summer, Kingston Animal Rescue rescued a German Shepherd from euthanasia at a non-local shelter. Earlier this month, Rex had to undergo surgery for a disc compression. The costs for the surgery and associated tests were nearly $10,000, and now the organization is asking for help to recoup those costs. Rex came into the care of Kingston Animal Rescue (KAR) in June 2020, according to a release from the organization. At the shelter, Rex suffered seizures, which are now well controlled with medication. The organization said Rex also suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which requires prescription food and medication. Kingston Animal Rescue is a no-kill animal rescue group that rescues and finds forever homes for animals in need. They use a network of foster homes, and primarily take in last chance animals – those at risk of euthanasia or who would otherwise be at risk without intervention. The organization said over the last few months Rex began to face a much more serious challenge as he began to struggle with his hind legs. At times, he could not move them properly, they would seize up, and he would drag his back feet until they were bloody, according to the release. A disc compression (“slipped disc”) was suspected but can only be diagnosed by MRI, a specialized and expensive procedure. Rex underwent an MRI on Monday March 1 – at a cost of $3,480.57 – which revealed a “markedly compressive right-sided L1-L2 intervertebral disc herniation,” KAR said. On Thursday March 4, Rex had surgery to correct the compression. He is currently hospitalized at a specialized veterinary clinic recovering from the intensive procedure. The surgery and associated costs are estimated to be $6,500, bringing the total of Rex’s medical care to nearly $10,000. Kingston Animal Rescue, a registered charity, is fundraising to cover the cost of the procedures. To date, $4,350 has been donated towards Rex’s care, the organization said. Rex isn’t the only Kingston Animal Rescue dog to need a specialized surgery. Jackson, a Dalmatian rescued in November 2020, requires Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgery to correct a torn cranial cruciate ligament in one of his back legs, the organization said in the release. KAR said this injury prevents Jackson from bearing weight on the leg and the corrective surgery is estimated at $4,500. Donations can be made on Kingston Animal Rescue’s website: https://www.kingstonanimalrescue.com/givenow Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
TORONTO — HBC has signed a deal to sell a minority stake in Saks Fifth Avenue's ecommerce business and turn it into a separate company.The retailer says private equity firm Insight Partners has agreed to invest US$500 million in a deal valuing the standalone business that will be known as Saks at US$2 billion.The retailer’s 40 stores will operate separately as an entity referred to as SFA, which will remain wholly owned by HBC. Marc Metrick, previously president and CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue, will serve as CEO of Saks and a member of the company’s board of directors. Larry Bruce will be president of SFA.HBC says Saks and SFA will be better able to plan and invest in their respective models as separate but related companies.The company says Saks and SFA will work together to continue delivering a seamless customer experience.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
As a single dose COVID-19 vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson product will be especially helpful for people who sometimes have difficulty accessing health care, says Dr. Lisa Bryski, a retired ER doctor in Winnipeg.
HANOVER – Local media got a preview of the new ‘Hockey Hub’ in Hanover on Friday, Feb. 26. The hub is a model for mass COVID-19 immunization clinics. The event was hosted by Grey Bruce Public Health. Following greetings by local health and municipal officials, members of the media had the opportunity to tour the Hockey Hub. Hopefully, their next visit to a Hockey Hub vaccination centre will be when they get vaccinated. Among the speakers at Friday’s event was Grey County Warden Selwyn “Buck” Hicks, deputy mayor of Hanover. He called the Hockey Hub a “spectacular achievement” and thanked all those who made the facility possible, including the Town of Hanover, and the area’s hockey community. “It’s quite an undertaking,” he said. “I hope it’s not long before this place is buzzing!” That won’t be until the supply of vaccine increases substantially. That should come in late March or April. Hanover Mayor Sue Paterson, who chairs the Grey-Bruce board of health, said Hanover is an ideal place for the Hockey Hub. “It has a central location and easy access,” she said. “Overall, the population is engaged and informed.” Paterson commented, “If (the Hockey Hub model) works here, it will work in other communities … We are really proud to be part of the solution.” Bruce Power was instrumental in providing funding and manpower for setting up the Hockey Hub. James Scongack, vice-president of corporate affairs and operational services, noted this area has done “exceptionally well” in keeping the numbers down, and coming together as a community. “What we have here in Grey-Bruce is very special … I’m looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said, adding, “Grey-Bruce has always been ahead of the curve.” A short Bruce Power video was shown; it showed what clients will find from the moment they enter the Hockey Hub. Included in the video was a message from Bruce County Warden Janice Jackson, who said, “We’re doing everything we can to end this pandemic.” Last to speak was the man of the hour, Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health and the driving force behind the Hockey Hub concept, from concept to implementation. He spoke of the many partners in the project. “The partners have done the heavy lifting,” he said. He also discussed the task force in Grey-Bruce that represents so many sectors. Arra said he hopes to see this model adopted by the federal government. “Arenas are ubiquitous in Canada,” he said. The facility set up on the arena floor of the P&H Centre consists of rows of cubicles and is designed to allow 4,500 people per day to be vaccinated in a 10-hour day, by five vaccinators assisted by non-medical personnel. Hanover’s arena has some special attributes that make it ideal – hands-free doors, wide corridors, plenty of space and a large amount of parking. The same setup is used at the Davidson Centre in Kincardine and Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound. They’ll be ready by March 5. It’s a model that can be downsized or made larger, depending on the size of the arena and the amount of vaccine available. Communities across the country have the infrastructure. It’s a matter of using a proven model. Arra explained the Hockey Hub is far more efficient and cost-effective than traditional vaccination clinics. A public health press release stated traditional large-volume clinics administer about 1,000 vaccines a day, using 20 vaccinators. What makes the Hockey Hub model work better is using clinical staff for clinical duties only, and other staff for non-medical duties. From the moment the client enters the vaccination hub, the process is streamlined and designed for maximum efficiency and safety. Once registered, the client remains in an individual pod for the entire process – documentation, administering vaccine and recovery. The vaccinator moves from pod to pod. In the Hockey Hub model, a vaccinator can administer 90 vaccines per hour. It’s not only faster, but safer. Fainting is an acknowledged risk at vaccination clinics, but this one has less risk of injury. The client is vaccinated and recovers in the same location, instead of having to walk to a recovery area. The need for disinfecting is minimized because the client stays in one location, and there’s less chance of anything being transmitted. The Hockey Hub model costs about $6,000 per 1,000 vaccines, about $1.7 million for a population of 140,000. Traditional large volume clinics cost $26,000 per 1,000 or $7.2 million for 140,000. Arra said given a sufficient supply of vaccine, the three Hockey Hubs in Grey-Bruce could vaccinate 140,000 people, or 75 per cent of the population, in about 21 days. Conventional clinics would take months rather than days. “The Hockey Hub is an ideal solution for large-scale immunization, not just locally but across Canada,” said Arra. At Friday’s press conference, he said the blueprints for the Hockey Hub have been made available throughout the province, and a number of other health units have requested them. The local health unit has even received a request for the blueprints from Australia. The Hockey Hub won’t be used for a while, apart from the recent test run vaccinating EMS personnel. There are two distribution models for vaccine, one traditional, using doctor’s offices and pharmacies. That’s the model in use right now, said Arra. The other, the mass vaccination centres, will be used when vaccines are available in large amounts. When that happens, there’ll be more learned, and that knowledge will be shared, said Arra. He noted the Hockey Hub is designed to move as many people through, as quickly as possible, meaning police have been involved to ensure the traffic flow through town is good. Arra was asked if he was excited to see the Hockey Hub vaccination centre in Hanover ready to go. “Excited? You can say that again!” said the usually unflappable Arra. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says January saw the country post its first trade surplus since May 2019 as exports surged higher. The agency says the surplus of $1.4 billion was the largest surplus since July 2014 and compared with a revised deficit of nearly $2 billion in December. Economists on average had expected a deficit of $1.4 billion for January, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. Total exports rose 8.1 per cent in January to $51.2 billion, with increases in all product sections. Meanwhile, total imports increased 0.9 per cent in January to $49.8 billion In real or volume terms, exports were up 5.1 per cent, while imports gained 1.0 per cent. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
Les élus de Tadoussac ont octroyé un mandat à la Fédération québécoise des municipalités (FQM) afin d’accompagner la municipalité dans le projet Destination Tadoussac phase 2. « La chargée de projets actuelle qui travaille sur le dossier va nous quitter dans deux semaines et on va travailler avec la FQM pour cheminer la dernière étape de ce projet », a expliqué la directrice générale Marie-Claude Guérin lors de l’assemblée extraordinaire le 24 février. « On n’a pas vraiment le droit à l’erreur avec le calendrier serré », d’ajouter le maire Charles Breton. Rappelons que la première phase de Destination Tadoussac s'est réalisée en 2020. Les travaux, dont les coûts ont été évalués à 1,8 M$, prévoyaient le réaménagement de l’espace situé devant l’église Sainte-Croix. Une place publique adjacente à l’église a été érigée ainsi que des voies piétonnières pour y accéder via la rue du Bord-de-l’Eau. Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
Four Hong Kong democracy activists were released from custody on Friday after prosecutors withdrew an appeal against a court decision to grant them bail in a controversial national security case following marathon hearings this week. The four are part of a group of 47 activists charged with conspiracy to commit subversion in a case that has triggered global concern that Beijing is using the security law to crush dissent and wipe out meaningful opposition in the former British colony. The vote was aimed at selecting the strongest opposition candidates for a Legislative Council election that the government later postponed, citing the coronavirus.
It's a foggy Friday morning across much of the province. The Highway Hotline map highlights an area starting in the far northwest corner, extending in a band southeast through Saskatoon and Regina and ending at the U.S, border. The fog is a result of clear skies, light winds and melting snow. The white blanket is dense enough to reduce visibility to zero in some areas. It's expected to burn off by noon. Until then, drivers are urged to turn on their lights and keep a safe distance between other vehicles.
A woman in Kings County has been acquitted on charges of animal cruelty. After the Nova Scotia SPCA seized 35 dogs from her Wolfville, N.S., business more than a year ago, Karin Robertson was charged with two counts of allowing an animal to be in distress, and another charge of disobeying orders. A provincial court judge has ruled in Robertson's favour. "I find she did not fail to comply as those directions did not apply to her operation," Ronda van der Hoek said this week in her decision. "She was directed to provide continuous access to shelter if the dogs are kept outdoors, and I find there was no evidence presented by the Crown that I accept supporting a conclusion the dogs were outdoors." Dozens of complaints In 2019, Robertson's kennel business was impacted by dozens of online complaints against her. The complaints said her animals were in poor health and in distress from living in dirty conditions. Because of those complaints, fewer people were buying puppies from her and at one point she had as many as 80 dogs. Karin Robertson addresses the media in December 2019 during her appeal of the seizure of her 35 Jack Russell terriers and border collies. (Paul Poirier/CBC) SPCA inspectors visited Robertson's property and issued five orders against her and 44 directives that required compliance. Van der Hoek took exception to those directives. "It would be wise for the SPCA to consider the issue of due diligence during their investigations, rather than ignoring it until trial," said van der Hoek. "If they had done so, they could have better understood the nature of her operation and not contributed to the problems Ms. Robertson faced." The dogs were seized by the SPCA on Dec. 10, 2019 after enforcement officers found the animals living in "unsanitary conditions." Appealed seizure Jo-Anne Landsburg, the chief provincial inspector for the Nova Scotia SPCA, called the property a puppy mill. She described the dogs as timid, anxious and "very fearful of humans," with whom they've had little contact. Robertson appealed the seizure of her 35 Jack Russell terriers and border collies on Dec. 30, 2019, but it was upheld by the Animal Welfare Appeal Board. Jo-Anne Landsburg is the Nova Scotia SPCA's chief inspector.(Robert Short/CBC) At the time, the SPCA said it was one of the largest dog seizures in the province's history. More than 150 people showed up in support of the SPCA at an appeal hearing in Halifax. But van der Hoek said Robertson underwent "herculean" efforts to find new homes for many of her dogs to try and lower the number of animals at her kennel. She did this while she was dealing with cancer. All 35 dogs adopted "I accept the evidence of Ms. Robertson who I found to be both credible and reliable. She worked from approximately 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day, caring for all the dogs and the growing puppies," said van der Hoek. "She fed, watered, cleaned and re-homed over half her animals at an impressive speed and with care and deliberation." Last January, SPCA officials said all 35 dogs had been adopted. MORE TOP STORIES
Canada's exports to the United States, its largest trading partner, rose sharply in January, leading to a surprise trade surplus, Statistics Canada said on Friday. Canada's trade surplus with the rest of the world was C$1.41 billion ($1.11 billion) in January, the largest since July 2014. "This is very strongly driven by our top trading partner," Hall said, noting that demand from the United States will continue to be strong as its economy strengthens with increased vaccinations spurring a broader recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The chief of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation is urging residents to get tested for COVID-19 following a recent cluster of cases. As of Thursday, there were 26 active cases on the reserve in Lambton County. The community's school was closed on Monday to help contain the virus. Chief Jason Henry said residents had done great job of not letting the virus is in to the community throughout the pandemic and he's urging them to follow public health measures. "We let our guard down a little bit and the virus crept in," Chief Jason Henry said in a Facebook video on Wednesday. He said there were 50 tests administered on Monday and all of the 20 results received so far were positive. Anyone in the community should get tested for COVID-19 if they have attended gatherings or had contact with anyone outside their household in the last 10 to 14 days, he said. "I can't put enough stress on the importance of being tested because getting tested early in this is going to stop it from going farther and farther," he said. The community's first COVID-19 vaccination clinic will open on Tuesday.
TOKYO — Myanmar's security forces have killed scores of demonstrators protesting a coup. The new junta has jailed journalists — and anyone else capable of exposing the violence. It has done away with even limited legal protections. The outside world has responded so far with tough words, a smattering of sanctions and little else. The slide from a nascent democracy to yet another coup, as rapid as it has been brutal, opens up a grim possibility: As bad as it looks in Myanmar now, if the country’s long history of violent military rule is any guide, things could get worse. Protesters have continued to fill the streets despite violence that left 38 people dead one day this week — though in smaller numbers than the weeks right after the Feb. 1 coup. They have used smartphones to capture the brutality. Recent videos show security forces shooting a person at point-blank range and chasing down and savagely beating demonstrators. The military, however, has the clear upper hand, with sophisticated weapons, a large network of spies, the ability to cut telecoms, and decades of fighting experience from civil conflicts in the country’s borderlands. “We are at a crisis point,” Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations with long experience working with Myanmar, told The Associated Press, pointing to the arrests of journalists, including AP's Thein Zaw, and the indiscriminate killing of protesters. “The international community needs to respond much more forcefully, or this situation will degenerate into complete anarchy and violence.” So, will it? Governments around the world, including the United States, have condemned the coup, which reversed years of slow progress toward democracy. Before that opening up began, Myanmar had languished under a strict military rule for five decades that led to international isolation and crippling sanctions. As the generals loosened their grip in the past decade, the international community lifted most sanctions and poured in investment. Despite the flurry of recent global criticism, however, there's not much hope that pressure from outside will change the course of events inside the country. For one thing, co-ordinated action at the U.N. — like a global arms embargo that the world body's independent expert on human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, called for — is unlikely. Russia and China, Myanmar’s most powerful supporter, are still selling arms to the military — and they each have a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council and thus could veto any such measure. The Security Council will take up the crisis in Myanmar on Friday. Myanmar's neighbours, the countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, are generally loathe to “interfere” in one another's affairs — a policy that means they are unlikely to do anything more than call for talks between the junta and the ousted government of Aung San Suu Kyi. That leaves sanctions from the United States and other Western countries. Washington imposed sanctions on Myanmar’s top military leaders after the Feb. 1 coup. More pressure came after a U.N. envoy said security forces killed 38 people on Wednesday. Britain imposed sanctions on three generals and six members of the junta in response to the coup and the crackdown. The European Union is drawing up measures to respond to the coup. But even tough sanctions from those countries are unlikely to yield anything, though they may weigh heavily on ordinary people. Myanmar has ridden out decades of such measures before, and the military is already talking about plans for “self-reliance.” U.N. special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, told reporters this week that she had warned the military that tough sanctions may be coming — and the response was that the generals knew how to “walk with only a few friends.’” “Myanmar’s history suggests the military will use ever increasing brutality and violence in an attempt to put down the protest movement,” said Ronan Lee, a visiting scholar at the International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary University of London. “In the past, the military has been prepared to murder thousands to quell civil unrest or to meet its goals.” In the face of such determination, some observers question how long the protest movement can last. “While it may appear at first glance to be a battle of wills, the military has a substantial resource advantage over the average protester and has demonstrated that it’s willing to engage in extreme acts of violence and brutality to try to force compliance,” said John Lichtefeld, vice-president of The Asia Group, a consulting firm. It may get much worse, he said. The military “is an organization with tremendous institutional pride, and it’s possible that hardliners within the military who have been pushing for a more aggressive response are beginning to gain influence.” The military has also gotten away with past abuse. In 2017 the army slaughtered thousands of minority Rohingya Muslims in massacres that U.N. officials have said bear the “hallmarks of genocide” with few consequences so far. In a sign of how limited the options are to influence the junta, when asked what more Britain and other countries could do, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab responded: “We will continue to look at how we hold individual members of the regime to account.” Myanmar’s military is banking on the world going no further than “harsh words, some economic sanctions and travel bans,” Lee, the scholar at Queen Mary University, said. In order to ensure that, it may exercise some restraint in its crackdown — to try to keep violence below a threshold that would compel action — or at least keep it hidden. This is why, he said, authorities are targeting journalists. It suggests they “understand the value of international exposure to the protesters and are aggressively working to limit it.” ___ Milko reported from Jakarta, Indonesia. Associated Press writers Jill Lawless in London, Jamey Keaton in Geneva, Frances D’Emilio in Rome and Raf Casert in Brussels contributed to this report. Victoria Milko And Foster Klug, The Associated Press
The European Union has promised legal action after the British government unilaterally extended a grace period for checks on food imports to Northern Ireland, a move that Brussels said breached the terms of London's EU divorce deal. Provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement and the protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland set out the EU's course of action. Britain signed them when it formally left the EU in January 2020.
Living through pandemic can have a silver lining. For budding artist Lisa Koenig, the extra time at home has allowed her to pursue her creativity while raising money for a worthy cause. “Having more time on my hands, not needing or having to go anywhere, and working from home has been great, as it has allowed me time to paint,” Keonig said. “Raising money for Napanee Community Kitten Rescue through my painting was an easy, fun way to pay it forward.” Koenig says she’s not new to painting, but had let her hobby lapse as life got busy. Currently a Registered Reflexologist and an Ayurvedic Indie Head Masseuse – on hold since the pandemic began – and an Ambassador and Sales Manager for the Gibbard District Riverside Residences in Napanee, she says her passion was reignited after taking a couple of art classes at the at the Gibbard District given by Napanee artists Gary Barnett and Joanne Kells Chalmers. “I started collecting paint, brushes, and canvases, and just let the creativity happen,” Koenig shared with Kingstonist. “With information overload, along with so many unknowns during these times, I was able to immerse myself in developing my artistic side.” Back in September, Sondra Elliott, owner of Pet Panache in downtown Napanee, approached Koenig with the idea of holding some sort of art show fundraiser. “There was no question who to raise funds for,” Koenig said. “Napanee Community Kitten Rescue was an obvious choice, as the inspiration for my art are my cats.” Koenig is more well-known to many in the Kingston area than they may think -- She was a radio personality under the name Lisa Ray at a variety of radio stations in the area prior to retiring from the career. Launching Groovy Cats, art with a mid-century vibe, has allowed Koenig to raise $1,100 for the kitten rescue. Contributions of artwork from local Rivers Edge Art District artists Lynn Barnett and Joanne Kells Chalmers were also part of the fundraiser, and contributed to the total. “I had three cats, however my eldest cat, Oscar, passed away at the age of 18 (he's the longest relationship I've had!). I chose to do this fundraiser in his honour,” she said. “The idea was to donate 50 per cent of the sales from our artwork that was on display for sale at Pet Panache in downtown Napanee, but I decided to donate 100 per cent of sales from my Groovy Cats paintings to the fundraiser.” Keonig says the donation has been put toward the purchase of a nebulizer for cats who develop lung diseases, such as pneumonia and asthma. Nebulizers aerosolize medicines into a fine mist, allowing some medicines to be inhaled, instead of taken orally. “Napanee Community Kitten Rescue is truly an inspiring charity,” she continued, “They are dedicated to assisting our community with awareness, educationand resources for the care, rehabilitation and adoption of community kittens --- feral, homeless, or stray.” Learn more about Napanee Kitten Rescue here, and visit Groovy Cats on Facebook to see what Koenig is working on. Some of her painting are on display at Ellena's Cafe in Napanee. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
Britain's Prince Philip, the 99-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth, has been transferred back to a private hospital after successfully undergoing a procedure to treat a heart condition, Buckingham Palace said on Friday. Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh who has been hospitalised for more than two weeks, was moved to a London hospital with a specialist cardiac centre on Monday for treatment for a pre-existing heart issue. The Palace said he had now returned the private King Edward VII’s Hospital where he was first admitted for treatment for an unspecified but non-COVID related infection.
The pandemic has led to many men battling stress while trying to embody the role of “the protector or provider” and struggling to reach out for help, says Elissa Rodkey, a Crandall University psychology professor. And these challenges aren’t being talked about as often as those being faced by women or children during the pandemic, she said, but it's important they also come to light and steps are taken to address them. Alexithymia, a difficulty recognizing emotions, is much more common in men, said Rodkey. Boys and girls being raised differently has meant, traditionally, we don’t always encourage displays of certain emotions in boys, she said. The result is “these men do not have a vocabulary to describe their inner life. They don’t understand what they are experiencing.” Research indicates that men tend to be worse at seeking both mental and physical help, said Rodkey, which can have a negative impact on their well-being. To address that issue, Nova Scotia’s Department of Community Services launched a pilot program during the pandemic, said Dominic Boyd, a part-time social worker for Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia and a former Sackville resident. Men can call 211 to be connected to the Men’s Help Line and talk to a councillor for up to 30 minutes, or can be referred to a service that could last up to four sessions, he said. The pandemic “has certainly put a lot of strain on men,” Boyd said, pointing to breadwinners who may have lost jobs, rotational workers who face strain over travelling and their family life, pressures in relationships, and loss of social support. A lot of things happening right now may feel emasculating, agrees Rodkey. For some men, it may be losing their job, resulting in dependency on the government or a family member. Some may also feel an internal responsibility to appear strong on behalf of the household even if they're struggling, she said. Male identity can also be tied to working out, sports, clubs or other activities wiped out by the pandemic, and they may be missing the male friendships, established through them, Rodkey said. Men generally have a more difficult time forming friendships than women, have fewer friends and have interactions that are shorter in duration, said Crandall University sociologist Adam Stewart. Men often don’t have a support network of other men to rely on and workplaces often fill in some of the gaps, providing valuable interactions for men with other men, he said. With many men working from home since March, many of those interactions have been lost, Stewart said. And with all the changes that came with the pandemic, “mental distress has gone up,” said Boyd. Boyd considers himself one of the lucky exceptions, because he is part of a group of men who meet once a month to talk about the challenges they are facing during the pandemic. The group previously met in person, in Sackville. It was a little weird to move online, he said, but he’s now found it helpful to talk about issues they're grappling with. “Each person gets a chance to share with the group and there is time for reflection and feedback. We just share our thoughts or perspectives, but it’s helpful to hear things from different angles,” he said. “I don’t think there are a lot of groups like this out there,” Boyd said, adding that it’s likely harder to start groups online if you didn’t have something established before. Online support like this isn’t for everyone, he said, but if men try it and allow themselves to relax and trust, after a couple of meetings, they may find it helpful. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal