The 100th birthday bash celebrating the Centennial of the Town of Temiscaming is shaping up for a good time in 2021. Two-time JUNO award-winning Glorious Sons has been booked to headline the “mega reunion weekend” show Sept. 4, 2021. The news was announced Thursday. The highly energetic Canadian rockers hail from Kingston, Ontario, and have more than 200 million global streams to their credit. They have toured the world, selling out arenas on their own and sharing the stage with rock legends such as The Rolling Stones, The Struts, Greta Van fleet, and Twenty-One Pilots. With 12 top-10 radio singles including the hits S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun), Everything Is Alright, Panic Attack and Kingdom in My Heart. Tickets will be sold exclusively at The Center in Temiscaming until Dec. 4 and then online 100e.temiscaming.net from 10 am on Dec. 4. Bleacher tickets $35, General Admission $45. Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. NoneDave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
NEW YORK — The co-author of the million-selling “Game Change” has a book of his own coming about the 2020 election. Simon & Schuster announced Monday that John Heilemann is working on a “dramatic, first-hand account” of Joe Biden's victorious campaigns over his Democratic Party rivals in the primaries and over President Donald Trump in the general election. Heilemann had collaborated with Mark Halperin on “Game Change,” about the 2008 race, and on “Double Down,” about 2012. Halperin has since faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment. He was dropped by Showtime, where he and Heilemann hosted the political series “The Circus,” and a planned book by the two authors on the 2016 campaign was cancelled by Penguin Press. Heilemann's new book, currently untitled, draws on three decades of covering the former vice-president, who was Barack Obama's running mate in 2008 and 2012. The publication date is not yet scheduled. “I first met Joe Biden in 1986 when I was in college and he was getting ready to run for president the first time, and I’ve been following his ups and downs, his triumphs and tragedies, ever since,” Heilemann said in a statement. “The story of how, against all odds and against the apocalyptic backdrop of America in 2020, Biden rallied in the winter of his life to defeat Trump — and, in the eyes of many, to save the country — is one of the great political tales of this or any age, and I’m thrilled to have a chance to tell it.” Screen rights have been acquired by Showtime, where Heilemann still hosts "The Circus." The HBO adaptation of "Game Change" won five Emmys and three Golden Globe awards. Heilemann is national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and co-founder of the political video platform The Recount. He is also the author of “Pride Before the Fall: The Trials of Bill Gates and the End of the Microsoft Era,” which came out in 2001. His current project adds to the list of books expected on the 2020 race, which includes works by Maggie Haberman of The New York Times and by Ryan Lizza of Politico and co-writer Olivia Nuzzi of New York magazine. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
Family is extremely important to Heather Desjardins.Her parents are just a five-minute drive away and up until a few weeks ago, the tight-knit family — in a pandemic bubble together — would gather weekly for Sunday dinner. They were keeping their contacts limited to ensure one of the most important dinner guests, her 93-year-old grandmother, would be kept safe at the suppers, even during a pandemic.And for her, gathering for the holidays is paramount. But this year, like many across the country, those holiday celebrations will look very different.The room may seem bigger, as family usually Saskatoon-bound from Alberta won't be in attendance, the meal will be a bit smaller and timeless gatherings like Christmas mass are out of the question."That's really hard," said Desjardins. "But even on a bigger scale, these are people that support us emotionally and if we can't get together on Christmas, I think that will have a big impact on everyone."Desjardins said holiday celebrations and time with family are one of the many things that help get her through Saskatchewan's cold, dark winter. While she's still planning a small four-person dinner for her family, she's hoping cases will fall enough over the next few weeks to the point her bubble of eight can be together again. Current restrictions in place until mid-December prohibit private gatherings of more than five people, and while the restrictions are set to be reviewed closer to Christmas, there's a chance they still could be in place when people are set to celebrate.Over the last month alone, the number of active cases in the province has jumped by more than 380 per cent, with 3,263 active cases recorded on Nov. 27, compared to 652 cases 30 days earlier.In preparation for a holiday season that looks very different due to the pandemic, family-owned Boryski's Butcher Block in Saskatoon has prepared pandemic-sized meals that may be perfect for those set to hold a smaller celebration."For many of us, so many of our holiday memories are really tied to that dinner and we all have those family favourites that we're just used to on the holidays," said Erin Boryski, a spokesperson for the shop.The smaller meals are perfect for families from two to five, though it may not be a giant turkey holding the position of centre piece at this year's holiday table, Boryski said. Boryski said while the business has seen a slowdown when it comes to catering large holiday and year-end events, there are businesses trying to ensure their employees are celebrated over the holidays, even if there's no chance of a workplace bash."We're offering things like gift baskets at all price ranges. We've had orders for hams and turkeys and things for those employees from corporations," said Boryski. "So I think everybody is doing their best within the new restrictions just to make sure their employees are safe." Boryski's Butcher Block isn't the only food supplier in Saskatchewan that has their holiday sales slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.Prairie Meats supplies hotel chains, restaurants and other venues across the province, and CEO Casey Collins said a lot of larger holiday celebrations are on hold. Collins said the pandemic has had a "huge effect" on the industry overall, noting while many conference centres and hotels are usually preparing for the holiday rush at this time of year, that just hasn't been the case in 2020. "Unfortunately, it's looking nothing like it did last year," he said. Collins said while the food service side of the business has dropped off, they're keeping busy on the retail side and he said overall the atmosphere at the producer has stayed positive.> It's a much different blip and the circumstances are much different, but they've always been kind of fighting that uphill battle. Casey Collins, CEO of Prairie MeatsWhile COVID-19 has been difficult, Collins said those in the industry are no stranger to facing and overcoming challenges. "The people of Saskatchewan, especially in this industry, have been through so many tough times throughout the years that this is just another blip on the radar," he said. "It's a much different blip and the circumstances are much different, but they've always been kind of fighting that uphill battle."Collins said the industry in the province has been defined by its resilience time and time again, and he's confident they will be able to continue to adapt during the pandemic."The owners and the operators and the people we deal with, they've kept a very positive attitude about this and worked with the government and just shown we're able to change and adjust to survive."What's yours? CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
LONDON — Britain’s culture minister thinks the Netflix TV series “The Crown” should come with a disclaimer: It’s a work of fiction.Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden weighed in amid criticism of the historical liberties taken by the drama about the British royal family.“It’s a beautifully produced work of fiction. So as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that,” Dowden told the Mail on Sunday newspaper. “Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”Dowden is expected to write to Netflix this week to express his view. Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.Questions of historical fidelity were not a major issue during earlier seasons of the show, which debuted in 2016 and traces the long reign of Queen Elizabeth II, which began in 1952.But the current fourth season is set in the 1980s, a divisive decade that many Britons remember vividly. Characters include Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose 11-year tenure transformed and divided Britain, and the late Princess Diana, whose death in a car crash in 1997 traumatized the nation.Former royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter has called the series a “hatchet job” on Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, and his first wife Diana. The troubled relationship of the couple, played by Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin, is a major storyline in the series.Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, has also said the show should carry a notice that “this isn’t true but it is based around some real events.”“I worry people do think that this is gospel and that’s unfair,” he told broadcaster ITV.Some Conservatives have criticized the program’s depiction of Thatcher, played by Gillian Anderson. Britain’s first female prime minister, who died in 2013, is portrayed as clashing with Olivia Colman’s Elizabeth to an extent that some say is exaggerated.“The Crown” creator Peter Morgan, whose work also includes recent-history dramas “The Queen” and “Frost/Nixon,” has defended his work, saying it is thoroughly researched and true in spirit.In a 2017 discussion of “The Crown,” Morgan said “you sometimes have to forsake accuracy, but you must never forsake truth.”Steven Fielding, a professor of political history at the University of Nottingham, said the suggestion that “The Crown” carry a disclaimer was “reasonable and yet pointless.”“It invariably doesn’t have an effect,” he said. “There are studies that show that people believe fiction when it’s presented as fact — even if you tell them it’s not fact.”Fielding said it was no surprise that Charles and his allies were annoyed with the heir to the throne’s depiction as “a bit of an idiot.” But he said making a fuss about it only amplifies the attention.Historians are used to railing at inaccuracies in dramas such as the Academy Award-winning “Darkest Hour,” which included an invented scene of Winston Churchill meeting ordinary Londoners on an Underground Tube train during World War II.“Mixing historical fact and fiction has been around since Shakespeare. This is not new to films, it’s not new to TV,” said Fielding, co-author of “The Churchill Myths,” which examines Britain’s wartime leader in popular culture.“I don’t recall the culture secretary complaining about the ridiculous presentation of Winston Churchill in ’Darkest Hour,” he said. “Because it went with the myth, with the idea of Churchill the hero, nobody complained."“Nobody’s bothered if fact and fiction are all mangled up, so long as it’s saying nice things,” he added.Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
Nova Scotia reported 16 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, giving the province a total of 138 active cases.One of the new cases, linked to Northeast Kings Education Centre in Canning, was announced late Sunday but reported in Monday's figures. The other 15 are in the central zone.The Nova Scotia Health Authority said 628 people were tested at a pop-up clinic in Dartmouth, yielding six positive results. Those people were told to self-isolate and make arrangements to take a standard test. The health authority completed a total of 3,054 tests Sunday. It also reported that on Friday, it wrongly reported nine positive cases, when in fact it was eight. "We continue to see strong interest in the asymptomatic pop-up rapid testing locations, which shows Nova Scotians, including young Nova Scotians, are taking this virus seriously," said Premier Stephen McNeil in a news release."I want to thank all who have come out for a test, as well as the volunteers and health staff at the sites. We are also seeing impressive test numbers at the labs, a reflection of the hard work of staff there. These are important pieces of our collective effort to contain the virus."On Monday evening, the Nova Scotia Health Authority announced two sites where potential COVID-19 exposures may have taken place: * East Peak Indoor Climbing at 6408 Quinpool Rd. on Nov. 21 between 1:30-4:30 p.m. Symptoms may develop up to, and including, Dec. 5. * Heartwood Cafe at 3061 Gottingen St. on Nov. 21 between 4:00-7:00 p.m. Symptoms may develop up to, and including, Dec. 5.Anyone exposed to the coronavirus at these locations is asked to call 811 to arrange for COVID-19 testing even if they don't have symptoms.Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said experimental research detected COVID-19 in Wolfville's wastewater."Although it is not definitive, it could be a sign that COVID-19 has found its way into that community," he said in the news release. The province is operating pop-up COVID-19 rapid testing clinics Monday in Wolfville and Halifax.The Wolfville tests will be done at 117 Front Street between 1:30-8 p.m. The Halifax testing site will be at the YMCA at 2269 Gottingen Street from 1:30-8 p.m. Lineups could stretch outside, so people are encouraged to wear warm clothing. The rapid test clinics will test anyone over the age of 16 who has no symptoms of COVID-19, has not travelled recently, and has had no contact with someone known to have COVID-19. The two clinics won't test people who have been at an exposure site, or those who work in the hospitality industry.The Department of Health and Wellness said people who work in bars or restaurants should not go to pop-up sites, but instead book a test online at 811.novascotia.ca.Nova Scotia started using pop-up clinics to test for COVID-19 last week.7 health-care workers test positiveNova Scotia Health has resumed releasing the number of staff who have tested positive for COVID-19.As of Monday, seven health-care workers have tested positive in the province. There are six active cases and one resolved case.Public Health says 29 health-care workers are in isolation "as a result of moderate to high-risk staff-to-staff contact in the workplace." There haven't been any patient-to-staff risks identified at this time.COVID cases in the Atlantic provincesThe latest numbers from the Atlantic provinces on Monday are:SymptomsAnyone with one of the following symptoms should visit the COVID-19 self-assessment website or call 811: * Fever. * Cough or worsening of a previous cough.Anyone with two or more of the following symptoms is also asked to visit the website or call 811: * Sore throat. * Headache. * Shortness of breath. * Runny nose.MORE TOP STORIES
Mono Council met on November 17 of this year, in what was one of the most conten-tious and lengthy Council meetings to date.Councillors discuss a number of planning issues as well as a lengthy in-camera session on related issues and By-law Enforcement.The meeting opened with a presentation from the Fung Lou Kok Institute of Taoism, regarding their Niagara Escarpment Comis-sion (NEC) Development Permit Review. This issue has been ongoing since 2015 and concerns the applicant’s request to change their Cemetery Site Plan to allow for the site to be converted from plots to columbarium. As well, they want to beautify the site of the Cemetery, which will better conceal it from 5th Sideroad and the homes to the east of the site.The beautification is to include a new vehicular archway and the planting of numerous trees on the site as well as adding a pedestrian walkway and benches. Evans Planning Inc, the designated plan-ners, have been working closely with NEC and Town Staff to bring about the develop-ment changes. The currently approved site plan, calls for 1,575 flush mounted cemetery plots in the 2-hectare property. The eventual, total number of niches, in the columbarium plan will be 15,134. In a March 2016 Council Recommendation, the total number of niches was to be 1,507.In the plan seen November 17, the North-east corner of the cemetery would accom-modate 37 columbarium, housing 1,277 niches in place of 363 plots. The entrance archway would be reduced in size, with no lighting on either the arch-way or the columbarium and the landscap-ing to shield the view from the 5th Sideroad would be done.The plan also showed that there would be no impact on groundwater conditions and monitoring is a part of the Development Per-mit, regardless.A traffic study sowed no negative impact on road operations, however, a hidden drive-way sign would be installed on 5th Sideroad. In regards to the need for increased capac-ity, the current design has had limited suc-cess and the application will provide land-scape improvements and add phased long term capacity.Despite this, opposition was seen from several residents and some members of Council. The primary resident concerns centred around this being a Trojan horse, designed to allow for a massive commercialization of the site, seemingly in opposition to the NC guidelines.With niches in the GTA selling for upwards of $7,000, this was seen as a money-making incentive to open the cemetery to a larger Taoist community than the local one.Locally, the community is estimated to be 1,800 people living within an hour’s drive of the site. The residents’ arguments are that this does not take into consideration the larger general population of Mono, also within an hours drive.They argued that with the GTA there are approximately 15,000 in the Tao community and that this is who the project is aimed at. The fact that the occupants of a cemetery are all deceased did not seem to enter into any-one’s agenda.Councillor Manktelow was the most ada-mant of the councillors in his opposition. In his mind, a large cemetery was not appropri-ate in the, “rolling hills of Mono, the smaller the better.” Councillor Nix, who supported the presen-tation, pointed out that the Town was not the governing body, but we’re merely being asked to say yes or no to the NEC concern-ing the design proposal. He did however, say that although he has no issues with the proposal, the NEC guide-lines stipulate that it is allowable as long as it serves the size of the community. He asked who the community were and where do they come from? He asked if the NEC agreed with the estimated 1,800 person community num-ber. His primary concern was as to whether or not the proposal was in accordance with the NEC. This is of particular interest, as the NEC is the deciding body and their decision overrides any municipal one.Wayne Haddock, local resident, was of the opinion that Mono had more than enough cemeteries at present and that as only 11 burials had occurred in the past 35 years that the need for expansion was simply not there. He felt the traffic study did not look far enough in the future and cited existing water supply issues on the site already, with water already being trucked in, to support events. He supported maintaining the status quo.Dr. David Emery, a neighbour across the road from the site, had other opinions. He stressed that this was an exception to an approved NEC use and he felt that it was not in the best interests of the community at large. Dr. Emery stated that he has a problem with nimbyism, defined as, “the practice of objecting to something that will affect one or take place in one’s locality.”He stated that he has had no previous problems with the Taoists, yet does not agree they should receive special privileges. He was clear to point out that he is accept-ing of all cultures and religious beliefs and as a Canadian would not want to see any form of prejudice perceived in his objections. Nevertheless, he purchased his property to enjoy a quiet rural lifestyle and this applica-tion will affect his property. His argument is that of the Trojan horse, mentioned earlier and the fact that it does not meet the needs of either the Tao community or the greater Mono one. He feels that the application should be rejected and that the applicant should be allowed to come back when they can demonstrate an actual need.Councillor Nix reiterated his opinion that the numbers were not relevant, since it was not the Town that was building this, but the Tao Institute. If they overestimated the size it was their problem. He went on to question the opinion that this was unusual stating that Mono already had numerous similar undertakings, such as the Hockley Valley Resort, the Goodyear Scout Camp, the Buddhist Monastery just north of the Tao Institute and the Nordic Ski Club at Monora Park. He said that all the current discussions had still not changed his mind.In the end Council drafted a resolution saying they supported the first Phase of the project with a number of changes, including a limit of 365 niches and the landscaping being continued on the east side as well as the South. They also made the total number of plots remain the same as the 1987 permit at 1,575, including the niches and the pro-posed arch was acceptable. As well, it spec-ified that the NEC confirm that the develop-ment was acceptable within their guidelinesPeter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
Peel Regional Police are forecasting a $16.7 million increase in spending for 2021, the bulk of which will service a spike in salaries and benefits, and the addition of 27 officers. The budget, presented at a police board meeting Friday, calls for $462.5 million in total spending in 2021, a 3.8 per cent increase or a $316 per capita bump in the annual tax levy. The spending increase comes at a time when police services across Canada and south of the border have seen outcry over police violence and systemic anti-Black racism lead to calls to defund police in favour of non-police alternatives and community programs. Peel police will spend $5.2 million on hiring the 27 new officers, while other salary and benefits costs will eat up another $11.4 million of the increase. After it was endorsed by the board Friday, the budget will now go to Peel Regional Council for final review and approval in early 2021. Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, who is on the seven-member Peel Police Services Board, lauded police Chief Nishan Duraiappah for seeking to reallocate millions of dollars toward areas of public concern. “Thank you for putting emphasis on areas that are a concern to the community, whether it’s street racing, mental health, whether it’s human trafficking,” Brown said. The service says it saw more than $2 million in unforeseen costs this year as a result of the pandemic. It will draw on reserve funds to cover any COVID-related shortfalls. Looking ahead, Peel police is also calling for $597 million in capital upgrades –– to be funded from capital reserve funds –– it says will be needed over the next decade. It includes an anticipated $307 million for land and new facilities, $153 million for information and technology advancements, and $76 million for vehicles. At the board meeting Friday, Duraiappah also discussed a summary of the year’s crime trends: Gun crime and homicides trending down Peel is seeing a decline in gang and gun activity so far this year, and is also tracking a decrease in homicides, Duraiappah told the police board Friday. Nevertheless, he dubbed the service’s Project Siphon, which ended with more than 800 charges against 88 people earlier this month, the “largest in the service’s history.” The arrests led to what police say is the dismantling of a prominent Peel-area gang, the seizure of dozens of guns and arrests over three homicides and one attempted murder. So far this year, Peel police have seized 363 firearms, Duraiappah said, noting that “91 per cent of the handguns seized that are traceable came from the United States,” up from the 74 per cent in 2019. “We do have a plan to bolster our gang response,” Duraiappah said. “We know a dedicated gang team is one we need for the new year.” But intimate partner violence is still common So far this year, police have responded to 90 shootings and 14 homicides, five of which were linked to intimate partner violence. That continues a trend that also saw more than a third of the region’s 34 homicides last year linked to intimate partner-related disputes. “It’s still the top three calls that we have each day,” the chief said. “We need to turn the dial on this,” he said, adding that it’s a priority to lower the number of repeat offenders. This year, the service is averaging about 50 calls a day for intimate partner disputes and in response, Duraiappah said the service has created a dedicated intimate partner and family unit with 48 officers who will soon start working out of a hub dedicated to those calls. Rethinking mental health crisis calls Peel’s three dedicated Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Teams responded to 1,700 calls between their introduction in January and October, with only 22 per cent of those calls ending in someone being apprehended, a report to the board said. But police field about 16 daily calls for mental health distress, and the bulk of those calls still land in police hands, Duraiappah said. “We know it’s understaffed,” he said, adding that the rapid response teams can’t respond to that volume of demand — “they do about a third of them, so two-thirds are still being done by uniformed officers.” “Our goal is to have eight on the rapid response team,” he added. Under existing provincial law, only police have the power to apprehend a person experiencing a mental health crisis and take them for treatment. A near-record year for traffic deaths So far this year, Peel has seen a significant increase in vehicle-related deaths, at 38, up from 23 all of last year. Since 2010, only two full years have recorded more motor vehicle-related fatalities: 41 in 2018 and 40 in 2016. “We’re sadly at one of the highest levels of fatal motor vehicle collisions this region has ever seen,” the chief said. The chief also mentioned a troubling bump in stunt driving charges. Police laid 719 charges for stunt driving, to date, up from 332 over the same time frame in 2019.Jason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
Louis Vuitton LVMH is set to rejig the team that oversees its online strategy after Ian Rogers, recruited from Apple as the group's digital chief in 2015, left to join a French start-up focused on cryptocurrencies. Rogers said in a note posted on his Twitter account that he would remain an adviser to Paris-based LVMH, the world's biggest luxury goods group. LVMH, meanwhile, is set to promote Michael David, a Vuitton executive in charge of online retail at the brand, to a new group-wide role as chief omnichannel officer, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.
The first two vaccines against the novel coronavirus could be available to Americans before Christmas, Health Secretary Alex Azar said on Monday, after Moderna Inc became the second vaccine maker likely to receive U.S. emergency authorization. The Food and Drug Administration's outside advisers will meet on Dec. 10 to consider authorizing Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine. "So we could be seeing both of these vaccines out and getting into people's arms before Christmas," Azar said on CBS' "This Morning."
BRUSSELS — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday that the military alliance is grappling with a dilemma over its future in Afghanistan, as the United States starts pulling troops out while attacks by the Taliban and extremist groups mount.More than 17 years after taking the lead on international security efforts in Afghanistan, NATO now has around 11,000 troops from dozens of nations there helping to train and advise the national security forces. Most of the personnel are from Europe and other NATO partner countries.But the alliance relies heavily on the United States armed forces for air support, transport and logistics. European allies would struggle even to leave the country without U.S. help, and President Donald Trump’s decision to pull almost half the U.S. troops out by mid-January leaves NATO in a bind.“We face a difficult dilemma. Whether to leave, and risk that Afghanistan becomes once again a safe haven for international terrorists. Or stay, and risk a longer mission, with renewed violence,” Stoltenberg told reporters on the eve of a videoconference between NATO foreign ministers.Under a peace deal between the United States and the Taliban — without the involvement of other NATO allies or the Afghan government - all foreign troops should leave Afghanistan by May 1 if security conditions on the ground permit.“Whatever path we choose, it is important that we do so together, in a co-ordinated and deliberate way,” Stoltenberg said, on the eve of a videoconference between NATO foreign ministers where the organization’s most ambitious operation ever will be high on the agenda.Trump’s unilateral decision to leave only 2,500 U.S. troops with the mission had allied military planners scrambling, as they tried to work out whether NATO could continue to operate in Kabul, and other major cities. NATO diplomats say that for now they have enough “enablers” to get the job done.Afghan officials also fear that a rapid reduction in American troops could strengthen the Taliban’s negotiating position.NATO defence ministers are likely to make a final decision about the future of the Resolute Support Mission in February, after President-elect Joe Biden takes office. European diplomats expect the tone to change under Biden, but probably not the U.S. intention to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible.The uncertainty comes amid a sharp rise in violence this year and a surge of attacks by the Taliban against the beleaguered Afghan security forces since the start of peace talks in September. Islamic State militants have also struck this month, notably in a horrific attack on Kabul University that killed 22 people, most of them students.“We have seen over the last months and weeks several attacks,” Stoltenberg said. “Some are conducted by Taliban, some attacks ISIS claimed responsibility for. But what we know is that the Taliban is responsible for attacks and the level of violence is far too high.”Even U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said: “We do not think the Taliban is keeping its word under the agreement. The violence is too high, and the Afghan people and the Afghan soldiers have paid a heavy price.”But despite the surge in violence, and deep uncertainty cause by the U.S. drawdown, the peace agreement appears to be an opportunity too good for NATO to miss.“We now see an historic opportunity for peace. It is fragile, but it must be seized,” Stoltenberg said. “We see an unpredictable and difficult military and political situation. But at least there are now talks.”Lorne Cook, The Associated Press
LONDON — Dave Prowse, the British weightlifter-turned-actor who was the body, though not the voice, of arch-villain Darth Vader in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, has died. He was 85.Prowse died Saturday after a short illness, his agent Thomas Bowington said Sunday.Born in Bristol, southwest England, in 1935, Prowse was a three-time British weightlifting champion and represented England in weightlifting at the 1962 Commonwealth Games before breaking into movies with roles that emphasized his commanding size, including Frankenstein’s monster in a pair of Hammer Studios horror films.Director George Lucas saw Prowse in a small part in “A Clockwork Orange” and asked the 6-foot-6-inch (almost 2-meter) actor to audition for the villainous Vader or the Wookie Chewbacca in “Star Wars.”Prowse later told the BBC he chose Darth Vader because “you always remember the bad guys.”Physically, Prowse was perfect for the part. Yet his lilting English West Country accent was considered less than ideal and his lines were dubbed by James Earl Jones.Prowse donned Darth Vader's black armour and helmet for “Star Wars” (1977), “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “Return of the Jedi" (1983).He expressed some regret that, thanks to Vader's mask, “I can walk around with complete anonymity."“All actors crave recognition and I’d like to have some like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo,” he told The Associated Press in 1980. “Fortune tends to follow fame.”Lucas said Prowse “brought a physicality to Darth Vader that was essential for the character.”“He made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen, with an imposing stature and movement performance to match the intensity and undercurrent of Vader’s presence," the director said in a statement on the official “Star Wars” website.“David was up for anything and contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic figure. May he rest in peace.”Prowse also worked as a trainer for other actors, helping Christopher Reeve prepare to be the Man of Steel in hit 1978 film “Superman.”Prowse was also known to a generation of British children as the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero in road safety advertisements during the 1970s and '80s.Prowse suffered from arthritis for many years and campaigned to raise money for research into disease. In 1999 he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to charity and road safety.He was a regular at “Star Wars” fan events but was banned from official conventions by Lucas in 2010 after the pair fell out.Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” films, tweeted that Prowse was “a kind man & much more than Darth Vader.” Hamill said the actor "loved his fans as much as they loved him. RIP.”“Shaun of the Dead” director-writer Edgar Wright also paid tribute to Prowse on Twitter.“As a kid, Dave Prowse couldn’t be more famous to me; stalking along corridors as evil incarnate in the part of Darth Vader & stopping a whole generation of kiddies from being mown down in street as the Green Cross Code man,” he wrote. “Rest in Peace, Bristol’s finest.”Prowse is survived by his wife Norma and their three children.Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
While the province watches as COVID cases rise across the province, the Town of Nipawin is working on ways to share information among their residents and businesses. The Interagency Pandemic Oversight Committee, an informal emergency operations centre consisting of 20 organizations from across the town, have been meeting for the last few weeks to, “share resources and communication about COVID in our area and makes sure each organization is aware of how each agency is handling...education, chamber, social services, housing, health,” said Rennie Harper, Nipawin’s mayor. While they do not make any decisions regarding the pandemic, Harper said they have been mobilizing to assist those residents and communities that are in need of supplies. “It's a way for all of these organizations, the hospital and the health authority and others to communicate together about what's going on about the numbers and how can we help somebody.” The group also has been releasing messaging about public health orders like mandatory masking across the province and staying home as much as possible. Harper understands that people are tired of COVID and pandemic measures but she urges people to be vigilant. “We have to keep focusing on it, we have to keep going. Otherwise, the numbers will get higher here. And that's what I'm concerned about. Our numbers have been reasonable, let's keep them like that.” As of Nov. 28, there are 57 active cases in the 12 communities in the North East 1 zone, which includes Nipawin, Arborfield, Carrot River, Cumberland House and Zenon Park.Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Edward Blake Rudkowski was a member of Nunatsiavut, and before that the Labrador Inuit Association, for 34 years. He ran successfully to represent Labrador Inuit living outside the land claim as an ordinary member in 2017, was re-elected in 2018 and was named the Speaker of the Nunatsiavut Assembly, the legislative branch of the Inuit government. That was, until Nov. 20, when Blake Rudkowski was told he was no longer a member of Nunatsiavut, his status as a beneficiary was revoked and he could no longer hold the political office he had been elected to. Blake Rudkowski told SaltWire Network he was told he didn’t meet the eligibility requirements and was just over 17 per cent Inuit. According to the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement, there are a number of requirements that can lead to a person being a beneficiary, including that a person is one-quarter Inuit, is a descendant of someone who settled permanently in the land claim area prior to 1940 with no Inuit ancestry or is adopted by a beneficiary. “To be clear, they didn’t tell me I wasn’t Inuit,” he said. “They said I wasn’t Inuit enough.” He says he would like to know what formula they use to come up with that determination, and what factors were taken into account to determine it. He’d also like to know why that number matters more than what was determined when he was first accepted as a member of the Labrador Inuit Association 34 years ago. His status as a beneficiary of Nunatsiavut had been challenged two years ago and he’d been going through the process ever since. “Immediately after the election, literally the day after, there were two challenges to my membership eligibility,” he said. “I’d been dealing with this behind the scenes since then.” He said the two people who challenged his membership were political rivals — one a person he had beaten in an election and another a former politician — and the timing of it seemed curious to him. “It felt like membership was being used as a tool of political retribution,” he said. Having Nunatsiavut beneficiary status challenged is like coming in as a new applicant and is a daunting task that, successful or not, can take up a lot of time. In 2013 an amendment was made to the Nunatsiavut Beneficiaries Enrolment Act that allows any member to challenge the membership of another. Blake Rudkowski said this allows people to try to use membership as a tool to try to harm their enemies. “What this does is it allows someone who is a malcontent or has a beef with someone else a vehicle to exact some sort of retribution. At minimum, even if it's not successful, it can cause someone a significant amount of mental anguish.” What this has created, Blake Rudkowski said, is a climate where some people are afraid to speak up about issues they have with the government for fear they may have their rights as a beneficiary stripped away, or at the very least have it challenged. When he was in government, it appeared there were an increasing number of memberships being challenged, he said, to the point where people were asking whether a full review was underway. He said he also heard complaints that the process was inconsistent, which he believes to be the case. “You have a lot of cases where it’s one brother in, one sister out, one cousin in, one cousin out, so there’s an inconsistency across the board which speaks to the fact that maybe there’s a problem with the process. That’s been a long-standing critique of many beneficiaries, there’s an inconsistent application of the rules.” Blake Rudkowski said he doesn’t know what steps he’ll take next, and while it appears his career as a politician in Nunatsiavut has come to an end it won’t be the last time people see him the political arena. The Nunatsiavut Government put out a statement Monday about Blake Rudkowski’s removal, saying he was removed from the government once his eligibility as a beneficiary had been revoked. “First Minister Tyler Edmunds reminds beneficiaries of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement that the Nunatsiavut Government plays no role whatsoever in determining the membership of any individual,” the statement read. “The beneficiary enrolment process is independent from the Nunatsiavut Government.” SaltWire asked to speak to someone with the Nunatsiavut Government about the requirements and the process, but an interview was not available before deadline.Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
BRUSSELS — With nothing on their agendas for months to come, music festival organizers in Belgium want to use their know-how to help the country's coronavirus vaccination campaign.The Belgian government has set a goal of vaccinating about 70% of the country's population, about 8 million people, when approved COVID-19 vaccination shots become available.As the vaccines are expected to arrive in multi-dose vials for shots to be administered all on the same day, Belgium health authorities are planning to vaccinate people in groups as much as possible. The task will pose many logistical challenges, including the creation of vaccination centres that festival organizers say they can help set up.Enjoying a strong reputation in the music world, Belgian festival experts have proven experience in both building huge pop-up structures and in crowd management.With the music industry hit hard by the pandemic's economic, several festivals in the French-speaking region of Wallonia and the Brussels area have created a federation to better defend their interests. They have a large network of technicians who are currently unemployed and are ready to help out.“Our sector has been at a standstill for many months, and our many staff are eager to bring their creativity and dedication to the fight against coronavirus," said federation president Damien Dufrasne.One of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, Belgium has reported some 577,000 confirmed cases and more than 16,500 deaths linked to the virus.Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said COVID-19 vaccinations could start in the European Union's 27 nations before the end of December. The commission, the EU’s executive arm, has agreements with six potential vaccine suppliers and is working on a seventh contract. The deals allow it to purchase over 1.2 billion doses, more than double the population of the EU.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakThe Associated Press
Nearly 4,000 BC Hydro customers on the South Coast and Vancouver Island are still without power at the tail end of a rainy, windy overnight storm that brought gusts of up to 100 km/h to coastal areas of B.C.The outages affect customers across the southern and northern ends of Vancouver Island, in the Lower Mainland and on the Sunshine Coast. Earlier Monday, the number of customers without power had approached 20,000.Wind warnings were in effect for much of the day in Greater Victoria, which has been bearing the brunt of a Pacific coastal front. Winds between 70 and 90 km/h were in the forecast for areas of southern Vancouver Island near the Juan de Fuca Strait.At the Sand Pebbles Inn in Qualicum Beach, the wind caused heavy branches and an overhang in the parking area to collapse, crushing the roof of Todd Milligan's car.Weather warnings for other parts of the island were lifted early Monday afternoon, though a special weather statement remains in effect for Metro Vancouver. Gusts sent a large tree crashing into Vancouver's Commercial Drive late Monday morning, downing a number of power lines as it went.BC Ferries cancelled several early morning sailings between the mainland and Vancouver Island due to the weather. Normal ferry sailings have since resumed.Simon Fraser University announced it was closing some buildings and cancelling some services due to the power outage.Earlier wind warnings for western Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast were lifted before 10 a.m. PT.The weather is expected to ease Monday except for Haida Gwaii and the North Coast, where high winds are expected to continue through Tuesday night.
'We all need to consider whose life we might be gambling with' during holiday celebrations because of the coronavirus, says World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Eight inmates were killed and 59 others were injured when guards opened fire to control a riot at a prison on the outskirts of Sri Lanka's capital, officials said Monday. Two guards were critically injured, they said.Pandemic-related unrest has been growing in Sri Lanka’s overcrowded prisons. Inmates have staged protests in recent weeks at several prisons as the number of coronavirus cases surges in the facilities.Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said inmates created “unrest” Sunday at Mahara prison, about 15 kilometres (10 miles) north of Colombo, and officials attempted to control the situation.But “the unrest situation turned into a prison riot,” he said, adding that prisoners tried to take control of the prison and hundreds attempted to escape.The inmates “reportedly destroyed most of the property including offices inside the prison,” Rohana said.The guards opened fire, and the clash left eight inmates dead and 59 injured, he said. Two prison officers were critically injured.He said hundreds of additional police were deployed to help the guards and strengthen security around the prison.An inmate was killed in similar unrest at another prison last week. Another died in March.More than a thousand inmates in five prisons have tested positive for the coronavirus and at least two have died. About 50 prison guards have also tested positive.Senaka Perera, a lawyer with the Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners, said the inmates at Mahara prison had been frustrated because their pleas for coronavirus testing and separation of infected prisoners had been ignored by officials for more than a month.On Monday, about 500 relatives of inmates gathered in front of the prison and urged the authorities to provide information about the prisoners and ensure their safety.Sujeewa Silva said her son has been detained at the facility for seven months after being arrested on drug charges. “I want to know whether he is safe. I asked the officers, please tell me the condition of my son," she said.Sri Lankan prisons are highly congested with more than 26,000 inmates crowded into facilities with a capacity of 10,000.Sri Lanka has experienced an upsurge in the coronavirus since last month when two clusters — one centred at a garment factory and other at a fish market — emerged in Colombo and its suburbs.Confirmed cases from the two clusters have reached 19,449. Sri Lanka has reported a total number of 22,988 coronavirus cases, including 109 fatalities.Bharatha Mallawarachi, The Associated Press
Shelburne Council’s recent 1.6 per cent residential tax increase projection may be un-appealing to residents in the short term, but Councillor Steve Anderson says its much need-ed for responsible future planning. Anderson noted that Shelburne has several major infrastructure projects that must be dealt with and these projects are very costly.Steve said not having a tax increase just to appease voters is, in his mind, not responsible.Somewhere down the line, someone is going to have to pay for that lack of an increase. What’s important is that you’re able to show the public that they are getting value out of that tax increase, according to Steve. Having the best underground water and sewage pipes in the world does not appease the public, they cannot see underground in-frastructure. It is something they expect to be there, it is a given. A dog park or a tennis court is something tangible that they can appreciate and use. This budget is doing that with money being put to-ward the cricket pitch, community garden, res-toration of Jack Downey Park and even a tennis court. These are tangible projects that residents have asked for and make the tax increases more palatable, while allowing Council to deal with the big infrastructure issues. In addition, the new bus service in town will be expanding and there are plans for a major marketing push to make everyone aware of the service. Apparently, the Shelburne stop, is the most popular in the entire system. With this push, comes plans for more fre-quent service and even weekend runs. In addi-tion, Go Transit discussions are still on the ta-ble with the support of Solicitor General, MPP Sylvia Jones. The reception from Go was very positive.At the moment, the two proposed routes, by the advocates, are both not viable.None of the proposed roads are built to handle the traffic and they are not owned by the Town. Amaranth is dead set against any route running through their roads and ultimately, it is a Pro-vincial decision, not a Town one.Recent talks with MPP Sylvia Jones left things somewhat murkier still, as she said that first Shelburne needed to get the County on board before involving her office. The Coun-ty most recently were less than enthusiastic to proceed saying they would prefer to wait until a County Municipal Comprehensive Review, (MCR), was completed, before moving forward. That study and any subsequent decision would easily put construction 10 years away or more.A10 ORANGEVILLE CITIZEN | NOVEMBER 26, 2020 Shelburne Councillor comments on need for tax increasePeter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
A CBC News crew was deported from Uganda this weekend despite following protocols laid out for foreign journalists entering the country.The deportation, which occurred on Friday, happened about a month before the country's elections. Opposition parties and election observers have expressed concerns the vote won't be free or fair.Uganda is due to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on Jan. 14. Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni is seeking to extend his 34 year-rule — but has been accused of muzzling the media and has clamped down on political opponents."The expulsion of a foreign news crew in the early days of an election campaign that's already been marred by government security forces opening fire on opposition protests is extremely ominous," said CBC News foreign correspondent Margaret Evans, who was one of three CBC News journalists deported.Evans, producer Lily Martin and videographer Jean-François Bisson landed in the country on Nov. 21 to do a series of reports from both rural and urban areas, mainly focusing on issues relating to the coronavirus pandemic."Before entering the country, we applied for — and were issued with — accreditation from the Media Council of Uganda," Evans said, noting they also sought advice from the Ugandan High Commission in London on proper visa requirements prior to the trip."They advised that we enter Uganda on an 'ordinary,' or tourist, visa. This is a long-established practice for foreign journalists."Evans said five government agents arrived at their hotel in Kampala on Thursday."They said we were breaking the law by having arrived in the country on a tourist visa and then performing 'business activities,'" Evans said. "We, of course, said that made no sense given that we had openly applied for media credentials."Hotel security intervened after the CBC News crew refused to go to an undisclosed address with the five officials, who also wanted to confiscate their passports. Evans said she then went to her room to call and ask CBC's London bureau manager to contact the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi — which is also responsible for Uganda."We agreed with the man who had identified himself as being with the police that we would present ourselves at the Ministry of the Interior the next day," Evans said.The CBC News crew arrived at the ministry at 9 a.m. local time on Friday, along with Canada's honorary vice-consul in Uganda. Evans said they were held for several hours before being told they were being deported. They were then allowed to return to their hotel under armed guard to pack before being driven to the airport in Entebbe for an overnight flight to Amsterdam, she said."The vice-consul engaged on our behalf, but it was pretty clear it had been decided the day before when they sent five people to our hotel," Evans said.A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada told CBC News on Sunday that they are aware of the situation. "Consular officials were in contact with local authorities in Uganda to gather information, and Canadian officials provided consular services to the affected individuals," spokesperson Angela Savard wrote in an email, adding that no further information could be disclosed due to Privacy Act provisions."Canada will continue to advocate for the protection of media freedom around the world."A spokesperson from the Ugandan government communications department said on Twitter the government "reserves the right to admit foreign persons including journalists."The same spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo P'Odel, also sent a pair of statements to CBC News in response."Every visa, work permit and media accreditation have terms and conditions, which can be revoked by the Uganda authority if violation occurs," he said in the first statement.In a follow-up statement, P'Odel said the journalists "applied for a tourist visa, instead they were found working without work permit. Consequent they [were] removed and advised to apply for permit and can be allowed to return."As stated by Evans, the trio had been advised to apply for tourist visas upon entering.Violent protests following arrest of opposition candidateIntimidation and violence against media is a regular occurrence in Uganda, according to Reporters Without Borders, a non-profit organization that advocates for freedom of information. In the organization's press freedom index for 2020, Uganda ranked 125th out of 180 countries.Evans said Museveni's government has been accused of suppressing Ugandan journalists "through a series of arbitrary arrests and attacks — especially against those covering the campaign of opposition candidate Bobi Wine, who has himself been jailed by the government on more than one occasion.""Those journalists don't have the support we in Canada are fortunate enough to have in circumstances like these," she said.Wine, a member of parliament and a musician who has emerged as a serious threat to a sixth term for Museveni, was released on bail on Nov. 20 after he was charged with holding rallies likely to spread COVID-19. New York-based Human Rights Watch said authorities were "weaponizing" COVID-19 to suppress the opposition ahead of elections."This is just the beginning of the campaign season," Oryem Nyeko, the group's Africa researcher, said on Nov. 20. "It seems to be a sign of things to come."Protests erupted in the wake of Wine's arrest, which, according to Reuters, led to at least 37 deaths. Violence snowballed as authorities deployed the military across Kampala and surrounding areas to help police forces disperse protesters they accuse of rioting and looting. Police said they used live bullets, tear gas and water cannon and arrested nearly 600 people.
Members of the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation are electing a chief and council today.The first thing voters will encounter at the polling centres will be COVID-19 stations meant to prevent the spread of the virus, said Chief Electoral Officer Raelina Jobin.She said that includes a package with latex gloves, a disposable mask and a pencil to mark their ballot. Hand sanitizers will be available, said Jobin, and voters will put their names down on a list in case contact tracing is needed later.The voting process is set up to encourage physical distancing and voters will leave by a different door, she said.There are polling stations at the Heritage Hall in Carmacks, Jobin said, and in the Fireside Room at the Yukon Inn in Whitehorse.She said citizens can also arrange to cast a special ballot at a different location such as their home if they choose. CandidatesThe polling stations are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.There are two people, Edward Skookum and Nicole Tom, running for chief.Two people, Shirley Bellmore and Willian Van Fleet are running for elder councillor.Terry Billy, Chantelle Blackjack, Toni Blanchard and Joseph O'Brien are running for one of the two Crow clan councillors.Six people, Veronica Burgess, Cody Cashin, Calvin Charlie, Bill Johnnie Jr., Jo-lene Mullett and Tanya Silverfox are in the race for one of the two Wolf clan councillors.