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Who’s the best "pawsonal" coach? This doggy right here! Anyone interested in a fluffy training with this pup? You'll get fit for sure!
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA is considering a second firing of its moon rocket engines after a critical test came up short over the weekend, a move that could bump the first flight in the Artemis lunar-landing program into next year. The space agency had aimed to launch its new Space Launch System, or SLS, rocket and an empty Orion capsule by the end of this year, with the capsule flying to the moon and back as a prelude to crew missions. But that date could be in jeopardy following Saturday’s aborted test. “We have a shot at flying it this year, but we need to get through this next step," said Kathy Lueders, head of NASA's human spaceflight office. All four engines fired for barely a minute, rather than the intended eight minutes, on the test stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The countdown rehearsal for the 212-foot (65-meter) core stage — made by Boeing — included the liquid hydrogen and oxygen tanks, as well as the all necessary computers and electronics. On Tuesday, NASA attributed the automatic shutdown to the strict test limits meant to protect the core stage so it can be used on the first Artemis flight. The hydraulic system for one engine exceeded safety parameters, officials said, and flight computers shut everything down 67 seconds into the ignition. Two other engine-related issues also occurred. NASA said it can adjust the test limits if a second test is deemed necessary, to prevent another premature shutdown. Engineers will continue to analyze the data, as managers debate the pros and cons of proceeding with a second test firing at Stennis or shipping the rocket straight to Florida's Kennedy Space Center for launch preparations. Some of that Kennedy work might be able to be streamlined, Lueders said. This core stage can be loaded with super-cold fuel no more than nine times, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters Tuesday evening. A second full-blown test firing would reduce the remaining number of fill-ups. The Artemis program is working to put astronauts back on the moon by 2024, a deadline set by the Trump administration. It's uncertain how the incoming White House will approach that timeline. In its annual report Tuesday, the Aereospace Safety Advisory Panel urged NASA to develop a realistic schedule for its Artemis moon program and called into question the 2024 date for returning astronauts to the lunar surface. On the eve of his departure from NASA, Bridenstine, a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma, stressed that key programs like Artemis need to encompass multiple administrations, decades and even generations. It's crucial , he said, that "we've got buy-in and support from all of America and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.” ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
A local fitness trainer has reached a new personal best in powerlifting, placing her amongst the top in the country. Hilda Siegel fell into powerlifting accidentally 11 years ago at the age of 33. She decided she wanted to lose some weight and joined a gym with personal trainers. One of them was a strong man competitor, and his wife was a competitive powerlifter. “They did a little mock meet at their gym and they said – why don’t you try it out?” Hilda remembers. “That’s how I kind of got into it. I got what they call the iron bug.” She started competing in Ottawa at first, but quickly transitioned to national and international meets. Hilda was supposed to compete at nationals in November this year, however, like many sporting events, it was cancelled due to COVID-19. Instead, she was invited to compete at a small, local bench-press only meet, which is where she broke her Canadian record and benched 100kg (220lbs). This personal best is only 2.5kg off the world record for her age and weight class for the WPC Powerlifting Federation. “It was a big deal for me, because as you get more advanced in lifting, you kind of plateau for a bit. So, to break through that plateau is a huge thing,” Hilda says. Her next goal is to get to 102.5kg (225lbs). “Most women in general can’t bench 225. To bench over 200 is a big deal for a female.” Hilda has made fitness part of her lifestyle. She has been a yoga teacher since 1999, and is now a professional personal trainer, working at Anytime Fitness in Kemptville. Not only does she compete in powerlifting, but she has also does body building, and national and international pole fitness competitions. “I’m not the type of person who can just go to the gym and train, I have to have goals. I find with lifting, even with pole fitness, with anything, it’s like you are constantly trying to better yourself. You have these goals that you set for yourself, and being able to compete makes it that much more rewarding.” Hilda also feels empowered by powerlifting, which is still a male dominated sport. “There’s something about being a female and being able to lift almost as much as the men in the gym, if not more.” Hilda is hoping to bring a powerlifting competition to Kemptville in the future, which will include squat, bench, and dead lift. Before COVID-19, she was working with the organizer of the local powerlifting meets to bring one to the area, but it was put on hold because of the pandemic. “We’re looking for a location for maybe this year or next year to do a powerlifting meet and bring it to Kemptville, because there are quite a few people, even at Anytime, who dabble in powerlifting.” The pandemic has thrown a huge wrench into the competitive fitness world, with so many meets and events cancelled. Hilda was supposed to go to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous competition in Ohio to compete in pole fitness in March; but it was cancelled just a few days before it was supposed to start. “It was a huge letdown, because I’ve always wanted to go to Arnold’s, and it was my first time actually going to compete there. That was my goal,” she says. The most recent lockdown, and the closure of gyms, has also been difficult, forcing dedicated athletes like Hilda to train at home. “I’m really creative, so I am still able to train; but it’s not the same as being able to be in a gym,” she says. For now, Hilda is continuing to work towards her goals at home. When gyms open back up, she will be taking on new clients at Anytime Fitness. To learn more about Hilda and how you can work with her, visit www.powerpoleperformance.ca. Hilary Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times
Richmond councillors are considering a program that would make free menstrual products available in most city facilities. At last night’s general purposes committee meeting, Coun. Carol Day brought the proposal before councillors. While the program was initially envisioned as a pilot project with a review to come at the one-year mark, councillors were in support of expanding the proposed program to a permanent one. “We know many women are specifically marginalized now more than ever due to COVID,” said Richmondite Karina Reid, who spoke as a delegation at the committee meeting. “Access is important, because if you’re in a public facility, you should be able to access (products) and your needs should be able to be met.” In addition to coming up with an implementation plan, staff were also directed to report back with a budget and come up with an education plan. There will be a one-year review of the program. All councillors were in support of the project. It will come before council for final approval in the coming weeks. Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
IMMOBILIER. Tel que rapporté, selon les données colligées par JLR, une société d’Equifax, 899 préavis d’exercice (prise en paiement, vente sous contrôle de justice, vente par le créancier et prise de possession à des fins d’administration) ont été émis au cours du quatrième trimestre de 2020. Ce qui représente une baisse de 46 % par rapport à la même période un an plus tôt. Pour l’ensemble de l’année, les publications d’actes de ce type se sont élevées à 3916, une chute de 42 % comparativement à 2019. Le nombre de préavis diminuait légèrement avant la pandémie une tendance qui se poursuivait depuis 2016 grâce à une économie et un marché immobilier en croissance rapporte JLR. «La baisse s’est grandement accrue à partir de la mi-mars, soit lors de l’arrivée de la pandémie et de la mise en place de mesures d’aide. Peu de temps après la mise sur pause de l’économie, une possibilité pour les ménages ayant perdu tout, ou une partie, de leurs revenus de reporter leurs paiements hypothécaires de six mois a été annoncée. Ceci, combiné à l’octroi de la PCU à plusieurs citoyens dans le besoin, a réduit de manière importante les processus de reprise hypothécaire, ce qui est contraire à ce qui s’observe habituellement lors d’une crise économique», indique-t-on. Un total de 296 délaissements a été publié au Registre foncier au cours du quatrième trimestre de 2020, une chute de 26 % relativement à la même période en 2019. Un recul qui s’amenuise depuis deux trimestres pour ces immeubles hypothéqués abandonnés volontairement au profit de son créancier ou d’un jugement qui l’ordonne.Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
WASHINGTON — Troops in riot gear lined the streets of the nation's capitol, but there were no crowds. Armored vehicles and concrete barriers blocked the empty streets around the U.S. Capitol. From behind miles of fencing, Joe Biden was safely sworn in as president in a Washington on edge, two weeks after pro-Trump rioters besieged the U.S. Capitol. Law enforcement officials contended not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack. Officials were monitoring members of far-right extremist and militia groups, increasingly concerned about the possibility such groups could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said. There were a few scattered arrests, but no serious disruptions in the city during Biden's inauguration ceremony. As Biden put it in his address: "Just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground, it did not happen. It will never happen. Not today. Not tomorrow, not ever, not ever.” After the deadly attack that killed five on Jan. 6, the U.S. Secret Service stepped up security for the inauguration early, essentially locking down the nation's capital. More than 25,000 troops and police were called to duty. The National Mall was closed. Checkpoints were set up at intersections. In the hours before the event, federal agents were monitoring “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said. In right-wing online chat groups, members who believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory expressed disappointment that their long belief in the unfounded conspiracy that top Democrats would be arrested for a sex trafficking ring and that Trump could seize a second term did not materialize. And 12 National Guard members were removed from the security operation a day earlier after vetting by the FBI, including two who had made extremist statements in posts or texts about Wednesday's event. Pentagon officials wouldn't give details on the statements. The FBI vetted all 25,000 members in an extraordinary security effort in part over the presence of some ex-military in the riot. Two other U.S. officials told The Associated Press that all 12 were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or to have posted extremist views online. The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe groups the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.” The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, confirmed that Guard members had been removed and sent home, but said only two cases were related to inappropriate comments or texts related to the inauguration. He said the other 10 cases were for potential issues that may involve previous criminal behaviour or activities but were not directly related to the inaugural event. The FBI has also warned law enforcement officials about the possibility that members of right-wing fringe groups could pose as National Guard troops, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter. Investigators in Washington were particularly worried that members of right-wing extremist groups and militias, like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, would descend on Washington to spark violence, the law enforcement officials said. Some of the extremist groups are known to recruit former military personnel and train extensively and have frequented anti-government and political protests. In addition to the thousands of National Guard troops, hundreds of law enforcement officers from agencies around the country were also brought into Washington. The increased security is likely to remain in the nation's capital for at least a few more days. Ben Fox, Colleen Long And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Despite an array of challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency responsible for stocking B.C.’s lakes with freshwater fish successfully completed its mission for 2020, ensuring a smooth transition for the recreational fishery going into the new year. The importance of the achievement by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC (FFSBC) is heightened this year with a 20 per cent spike in new licence holders expecting the most from this outdoor pursuit. “It was a huge feat, because this past year was unique given the pandemic,” Andrew Wilson, president of FFSBC said. “We had to develop new protocols, new procedures to ensure we were compliant with the the provincial health officer and WorkSafe BC, and that meant a bit of a rethink on how we were able to culture the fish and deliver them. But at the end of the day we were able to do that. We never got to the place where we thought it wasn’t going to happen.” FFSBC is solely responsible for stocking B.C.’s freshwater lakes on behalf of the provincial government. Throughout 2020 the society stocked 5.63 million rainbow trout, coastal cutthroat trout, eastern brook trout and kokanee into 662 lakes across the province. More than 311,000 steelhead smolts were also raised and released into six rivers in the Lower Mainland, and four rivers on Vancouver Island. The society’s Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery also released 15,306 anadromous coastal cutthroat trout into the Oyster and Quinsam rivers on Vancouver Island. Wilson said once new procedures were in place, operations moved smoothly. He credits the participation of BC Parks, BC Rec Sites and Trails, and BC Hydro to develop workable plans for accessing the bodies of water. Without the completion of the program, Wilson said anglers would have experienced immediate impacts. “At the beginning of the year there were so many unknowns … particularly with the government having to walk that fine line of trying to look after British Columbians while also encouraging them to get outside to stay healthy.” The annual provincial recreational stocking program is funded through the sale of B.C. freshwater fishing licences. In the early stages of the pandemic the society was concerned about deep financial losses in 2020, as many in the tourism sector experienced, but the government’s encouragement for residents get outdoors resulted in a 20 per cent uptake in new freshwater fishing licences sales to B.C. residents. The 16-20-year old category saw the largest gains of 64 per cent. “That 20 per cent increase in resident anglers pretty much offset the 94 per cent decrease in international anglers,” Wilson said. “It is big news. People are getting out and engaging with their backyard, getting out on the water in a really healthy pursuit.” Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View
CALGARY — A Crown prosecutor says he will be seeking an adult sentence for an accused teen if he is convicted in a Calgary police officer's death. Doug Taylor made the comment at the start of a bail hearing Tuesday for the 18-year-old. The accused was 17 when he was charged earlier this month with first-degree murder in the death of Sgt. Andrew Harnett, so cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The officer was hit and dragged while attempting to stop an SUV with plates that didn't match on New Year's Eve. Paramedics and fellow officers tried to revive him, but he died in hospital nearly an hour later. Police allege the youth was driving the vehicle and a 19-year-old, who also faces a charge of first-degree murder, was a passenger. "I, of course on behalf of the attorney general, have just filed a notice of intention by the attorney general to apply for an adult sentence," Taylor told court. An adult sentence for a young offender convicted of first-degree murder is life in prison with no parole eligibility for 10 years. Taylor said the Crown is also opposing the young man's release from custody. The co-accused in the case, Amir Abdulrahman is to appear in court Feb. 4. His lawyer, Balfour Der, has said he intends to seek bail on Feb. 12. Court documents indicate that, at the time Harnett was killed, Adbulrahman was wanted on outstanding warrants on several charges, including assault and failing to appear in court. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021 — Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
GEORGETOWN – Holland College's president recalls a time when he struggled to find a job because for every job there was a surplus of workers trying to get it. "I can tell you without any degree of uncertainty that that is not the case anymore," Alexander (Sandy) MacDonald said. These days, industries such as early childhood care, resident care and correctional policing need workers, but either there aren't enough available or there are barriers keeping people from attaining the necessary skills, he said. "I can't think of a single industry on P.E.I. that isn't short on labour." MacDonald is hopeful that the college's new strategic plan will help to counter this with its four guiding principles, which he outlined during a presentation at Kings Playhouse in Georgetown on Jan. 12. The principles are innovative and flexible programming, support and inclusion, environmental leadership and corporate innovation. "Our budget (will be) framed around these four things," he said. The college has already adapted some of its programs around the first principle. Last year, the college's early childhood care program partnered with workplaces so students could start the program and learn the basics, then jump into work while still enrolled in the two-year program. Similarly, students pursuing a Red Seal apprenticeship would normally have to take time off work to attend the college's programming, which could be a deterrent for students who have to prioritize a steady income. Moving forward, Red Seal students will be able to continue working while taking part in virtual education. "(Now) they're earning and learning at the same time," MacDonald said. "It's not that there's anything new in the content, it's just in how we deliver it." As well, the college's bioscience program has partnered with UPEI via a joint program that mixes the college's expertise in applied learning with the university's focus on theory. In addition, an entry-level cook position was added to the college's culinary program as many restaurants don't need a fully-trained chef, MacDonald said. The second principle is about better supporting the college's diverse student base, such as people of ethnicity, people with learning disabilities or people with past traumas or addictions. About $300,000 has been set aside toward one day constructing a student support centre. "We have four counsellors now," MacDonald said. "We probably should have eight." The third principle pertains to responding responsibly to the impacts of climate change, such as by reviewing all programs to see about using greener techniques or by reassessing the possibility of including a transit pass in student union fees. As well, the college recently submitted a report to government outlining a potential centre that would act as a headquarters for P.E.I.'s 24 watershed groups, MacDonald said. The fourth principle, which involves the intent to invest in effective partnerships, opportunities and technologies, has proven challenging. That’s because it requires the college to change or restructure how it operates, such as by framing its budget around the four principals. "Because we want to make sure we're spending every nickel as efficiently as possible," he said. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95 Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
SAN FRANCISCO — The number of western monarch butterflies wintering along the California coast has plummeted precipitously to a record low, putting the orange-and-black insects closer to extinction, researchers announced Tuesday. An annual winter count by the Xerces Society recorded fewer than 2,000 butterflies, a massive decline from the tens of thousands tallied in recent years and the millions that clustered in trees from Northern California's Marin County to San Diego County in the south in the 1980s. Western monarch butterflies head south from the Pacific Northwest to California each winter, returning to the same places and even the same trees, where they cluster to keep warm. The monarchs generally arrive in California at the beginning of November and spread across the country once warmer weather arrives in March. On the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, another monarch population travels from southern Canada and the northeastern United States across thousands of miles to spend the winter in central Mexico. Scientists estimate the monarch population in the eastern U.S. has fallen about 80% since the mid-1990s, but the drop-off in the western U.S. has been even steeper. The Xerces Society, a non-profit environmental organization that focuses on the conservation of invertebrates, recorded about 29,000 butterflies in its annual survey last winter. That was not much different than the tally the winter before, when an all-time low of 27,000 monarchs were counted. But the count this year is dismal. At iconic monarch wintering sites in the city of Pacific Grove, volunteers didn’t see a single butterfly this winter. Other well-known locations, such as Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove and Natural Bridges State Park, only hosted a few hundred butterflies, researchers said. “These sites normally host thousands of butterflies, and their absence this year was heartbreaking for volunteers and visitors flocking to these locales hoping to catch a glimpse of the awe-inspiring clusters of monarch butterflies,” said Sarina Jepsen, director of endangered species at the Xerces Society. Scientists say the butterflies are at critically low levels in western states because of destruction to their milkweed habitat along their migratory route as housing expands into their territory and use of pesticides and herbicides increases. Researchers also have noted the effect of climate change. Along with farming, climate change is one of the main drivers of the monarch’s threatened extinction, disrupting an annual 3,000-mile (4,828-kilometre) migration synched to springtime and the blossoming of wildflowers. Massive wildfires throughout the U.S. West last year may have influenced their breeding and migration, researchers said. A 2017 study by Washington State University researchers predicted that if the monarch population dropped below 30,000, the species would likely go extinct in the next few decades if nothing is done to save them. Monarch butterflies lack state and federal legal protection to keep their habitat from being destroyed or degraded. In December, federal officials declared the monarch butterfly “a candidate” for threatened or endangered status but said no action would be taken for several years because of the many other species awaiting that designation. The Xerces Society said it will keep pursuing protection for the monarch and work with a wide variety of partners “to implement science-based conservation actions urgently needed to help the iconic and beloved western monarch butterfly migration.” People can help the colorful insects by planting early-blooming flowers and milkweed to fuel migrating monarchs on their paths to other states, the Xerces Society said. Olga R. Rodriguez, The Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska — The Alaska Senate organized a Republican majority as the new legislative session got underway Tuesday, with Soldotna Republican Peter Micciche elected Senate president. Micciche told reporters plans for the majority were made official Tuesday, ahead of the session's start. He said the majority would include all 13 Republican members. Committee assignments were expected to be announced later in the day. His election as Senate president was held by voice vote, with no one dissenting. Senate Democratic Leader Tom Begich, in a statement, said Democrats had “many conversations with Republican members of the Senate, but unfortunately, some of those members will not put party politics aside in favour of working with Democrats in a bipartisan fashion for an Alaska agenda that seeks to help all of us recover from the difficulties of this past year.” He did not specify which members he was referring to. The House has not yet organized a majority. The first day of a new Legislature is typically one of pomp, but Tuesday's start was muted amid COVID-19 concerns. Becky Bohrer, The Associated Press
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia joined other provinces Tuesday in having to rapidly recast its plans to provide Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this month and next. Provincial officials initially provided an estimate that it would have 13,500 fewer doses than expected over the next six weeks. However, by mid-afternoon, chief medical officer Dr. Robert Strang said that with Ottawa's announcement that Pfizer was shipping no vaccine next week, plans were underway to cope with a "substantive reduction in the weeks ahead." The province had forecast, as of midday on Tuesday, that due to the slowdown it would receive only 16,575 doses of the vaccine from Pfizer's Belgium plant by the end of the month and 28,275 in February. An official later confirmed Nova Scotia would no longer be receiving the 975 doses of vaccine it had expected next week. The federal government has said it's expected that the shipments will ramp back up after the company has made changes to its production facility in Belgium. Nova Scotia public health officials say it is among the best positioned jurisdictions in the country to cope with the vaccine delays due to its low case counts of the illness. As of Tuesday morning, the province has just 22 active cases, with four new cases of COVID-19 detected on Monday. Asked about the Pfizer announcement's impact, Strang said the news was still fresh. "We'll be able to talk in more detail in the next few days about what our vaccine supply will mean for the next few weeks," he said. However, Premier Stephen McNeil said the closure of a production line to allow for the increased production rate in the near future is "short-term pain for what we believe will be long-term gain." "The lack of shipment will be made up in the following month and the next six months for sure." The premier said the province will meanwhile focus on setting up vaccination sites in every region of the province. "When Pfizer starts ramping up, or a new vaccine gets permitted by Health Canada, we (will) have a system that allows us to ramp up vaccinations very quickly across our province," he said. The province had hoped to provide 78,750 vaccinations in March and then have a mass rollout of 333,333 doses in April at clinics in pharmacies and doctors offices. Over the next month, the first wave of shots will go to health workers and long-term care staff and residents, along with a pilot project for African Nova Scotian and First Nations communities. Special care homes for people with intellectual and physical disabilities will also have vaccinations for staff and residents. The second phase, happening over the next 60 days, will include a pilot project for community clinics for residents over 80 years old in Halifax and Truro, more vaccinations of health workers and special care facilities and a pilot project for delivering vaccines at pharmacies. The 90-day plan is to have mass immunization clinics established in all communities with cold storage locations. As of Monday evening, about 2,200 Nova Scotians had received both vaccine doses, and 8,520 total doses had been administered from the province's supply of 23,000 doses. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press
The United States swore in its 46th President on Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended their inauguration in Washington, D.C. with a slew of distinguished guests, but few onlookers as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a need for social distancing.Several past presidents were in attendance, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., however the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not attend. Trump flew to his golf club in Florida earlier in the day. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence did attend the ceremony with his wife.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
Hamilton police is looking for a man they say is wanted in three provinces for fraud. Police say the 50-year-old man is wanted in Montreal, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Quebec City and "has a long history of presenting himself using other names, living an assumed life, and committing frauds against unsuspecting victims in the GTA and throughout the country." Police say the man is 5'6" and 174 pounds with grey hair, glasses and a medium build. Mark Dupuis faces three fraud charges and a charge for breaching probation. Police say he may also refer to himself as Richard Sestak, Mark Richards, Peter Adamcova and Anthony Simms. They add the suspect was last seen in Toronto and if he's spotted, police should be called immediately.
Specific details about workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 are not made public in most of Canada. Toronto is starting to make the information available, arguing that transparency increases accountability, but others wonder whether ‘naming and shaming’ does more harm than good.
A new OPP detachment has opened its doors in Moosonee. The $20-million facility has 11 holding cells, closed-circuit television technology (CCTV), a modern infrastructure design to meet technological requirements and other security features, according to a Ministry of the Solicitor General news release Located at 16 Butcher Rd., the approximately 18,000-square-foot facility is a satellite station that is a part of the OPP James Bay Detachment. "This modern, new workspace allows our Moosonee detachment members to enhance their policing services and support to many vast, remote communities and First Nations territories that present significant land and air accessibility challenges," OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said in the news release. "This important modernization project demonstrates the commitment we share with our government to preserve public safety and uphold the law." The new building is accessible and was designed to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Standard, which recognizes buildings with reduced environmental impacts, according to the government announcement. It was built as part of the $182-million OPP Modernization - Phase 2 project. Announced in 2018, the modernization project replaced nine aging OPP facilities across the province. All nine detachments were built by Bird Capital OMP Project Co Inc. The initiative was delivered by Infrastructure Ontario through its public-private partnership (P3) model. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
FREDERICTON — More than half of New Brunswick will move to the red level of the province's COVID-19 recovery plan at midnight tonight. Health officials are reporting 31 new cases of COVID-19 in the province today and one additional death. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell says the death of a person in their 80s at the Parkland Saint John long-term care facility brings to 13 the number of COVID-related deaths in the province. There are currently 316 active cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick. At the red level, gyms, salons and recreational facilities must close, and restaurants can only offer takeout or delivery. Premier Blaine Higgs says the province will consider imposing a lockdown with more stringent measures if the latest restrictions don't limit the spread of the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
BOSTON — A Massachusetts-based political scientist and author is accused of secretly working for the government of Iran while lobbying U.S. officials on issues like nuclear policy, federal authorities said Tuesday. Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi was arrested by FBI agents at his home in Watertown, Massachusetts, on Monday, officials said. He is charged in New York City federal court with acting and conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of Iran. Afrasiabi, an Iranian citizen and a lawful permanent resident of the United States, was expected to appear in court later Tuesday. An email seeking comment was sent to his attorney. Authorities said that Afrasiabi has been paid by Iranian diplomats assigned to the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations in New York City since at least 2007, while making TV appearances, writing articles and lobbying U.S. officials to support the Iranian government's agenda. In 2009, Afrasiabi helped an unidentified congressman draft a letter to President Barack Obama about U.S. and Iranian nuclear negotiations, according to court documents. He never disclosed that he was working for Iran, officials said. After the U.S. military airstrike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Afrasiabi told Iran’s foreign minister and permanent representative to the United Nations that Iran should “end all inspections and end all information on Iran’s nuclear activities pending a (United Nations Security Council) condemnation of (the United States’) illegal crime,'" according to court documents. Assistant Attorney General John Demers said Afrasiabi meanwhile portrayed himself "to Congress, journalists and the American public as a neutral and objective expert on Iran." “Mr. Afrasiabi never disclosed to a Congressman, journalists or others who hold roles of influence in our country that he was being paid by the Iranian government to paint an untruthfully positive picture of the nation," William Sweeney, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI's New York Field Office, said in a statement. Alanna Durkin Richer, The Associated Press
FORT ERIE, Ont. — Police are investigating after the bodies of two women were found inside a house in Fort Erie, Ont. Niagara Police say they received a call early Monday morning about a disturbance that possibly involved a firearm. They say officers found the bodies when they arrived at the house. Homicide and forensic units have taken over the investigation. A portion of a regional roadway was shut for most of Tuesday as police asked people to stay clear of the area. Investigators want anyone with information to contact them. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Dozens of peer support workers on the front lines of Vancouver's overdose crisis are about to be unionized in a move aimed at formally recognizing the role they play in saving lives. Andrew Ledger, president of CUPE Local 1004, says the workers voted 100 per cent in favour of joining the union last March. But he says certification has been delayed by several factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic and a challenge to certification filed by the employer, PHS Community Services Society. PHS Community Services did not immediately respond to an interview request. Ledger says the Labour Relations Board of British Columbia is expected to issue its official certification this week, affecting about 40 workers. Peer workers at overdose prevention sites, needle depots and other harm reduction services are employees with experiences similar to those they serve. Ledger says some have worked for decades without benefits like paid vacation or the ability to collectively negotiate higher wages. "It's access to benefits, it's acknowledgment of their service, it will establish seniority for these workers, it's job protection. It's all the same rights and benefits that their co-workers receive," Ledger says. "Those are really important for all workers and I think it's long overdue that these long-serving peer employees receive the same benefits." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. The Canadian Press