Beaver crunching away as heavy snow falls on the pond.
Beaver crunching away as heavy snow falls on the pond.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince, an Israeli official said on Monday, in what would be the first publicly confirmed visit there by an Israeli leader as the countries close ranks against Iran. Earlier, Israeli media said Netanyahu had secretly flown on Sunday to Neom, on the Red Sea, for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Reports of the meeting between the crown prince and Netanyahu were denied by Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
Premier Dennis King has announced that P.E.I. is "suspending our participation in the Atlantic bubble," meaning those arriving on the Island from the other Atlantic provinces will now have to self-isolate for 14 days.The announcement was made during an unscheduled COVID-19 briefing Monday morning, after a weekend rise in cases in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.King said that starting 12:01 a.m. Tuesday — just after midnight Monday — P.E.I. is suspending all non-essential travel to and from Prince Edward Island for two weeks."This is an extra layer of caution," said King, who spoke on Sunday with his fellow Atlantic premiers. "It is our hope that we can break the transmission chain."He said there could be some flexibility for Islanders who are outside the province now trying to return, given the short notice.King said his government will re-evaluate the situation after the two-week period ends on Dec. 7.King's announcement came on the heels of word from Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey that he too "has made the tough decision to make a circuit break. People arriving from within the Atlantic bubble will have to self-isolate for 14 days." The new rules go into effect on Wednesday in Newfoundland and Labrador. Since July 3, residents of the four Atlantic provinces have been able to travel relatively freely across each other's borders without quarantining. That freedom ends with Monday's pair of announcements — at least for now. King said he hopes P.E.I.'s departure from the bubble is temporary, adding that when it was announced back in June, the goal was to eventually expand it to include people from other parts of Canada where community spread was low or non-existent. One new case confirmedAfter King spoke about P.E.I.'s new rules, Dr. Heather Morrison confirmed one new case of COVID-19 on the Island, a woman in her 40s who travelled from outside the Atlantic bubble.That person is self-isolating and contact tracing is underway. > It's actually likely that P.E.I. will have cases. — Dr. Heather Morrison"Over the last number of days, it has become apparent that our neighbours in Atlantic Canada, especially Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, are experiencing a second wave," said Morrison. "It's actually likely that P.E.I. will have cases."I'm concerned it may already be here with some people."Return to applying for entryMorrison said those coming to the province from the other three Atlantic provinces will now once again need to apply for entry and students who return to P.E.I. will need to self-isolate for two weeks.Any staff working in long-term care who leave the Island will not be eligible to work-isolate upon returning. In a news release issued late Monday, Morrison added: "Out of an abundance of caution, partners in care who have returned from out-of-province travel in the last week must not visit their loved one in long-term care or community care until they have been in PEI for 14 days."People may continue to travel off-Island for medical appointments, and compassionate and custody-related travel can continue. But there will no longer be any interprovincial sports tournaments. "I urge all Islanders to keep their social circles small," said Morrison. "We know that COVID-19 moves as we move."For anyone who has returned from Nova Scotia or New Brunswick in the past week, Morrison said contacts should be limited, testing should be arranged if symptoms appear, and a mask should be worn at all times — including when in the presence of other people outdoors.Students can attend schoolAs for children who are returning from those provinces, Morrison said while they can continue to go to school, they should not attend functions like sports events or birthday parties. "The changes announced today are not forever, just for the time being.… Together, we can do it," she said. On the Island, Morrison is reminding Islanders to stay home if they are sick and to continue following public health guidelines. Putting these new travel restrictions in place should allow people to continue to being able to go out fairly freely and shop locally leading up to Christmas, she added."This is our hope: that we can maintain things as best we can within this province. But certainly it's going to be a challenge," said Morrison.In a subsequent interview with CBC: News Compass host Louise Martin, King wouldn't rule out further restrictions if necessary to keep Islanders safe."I think we always have to look at the what-ifs, and we're prepared to make the decisions we need to make," he said."I hope today's decision indicates to Islanders how serious we are."More from CBC P.E.I.
NORTH HURON – The Howson Dam spillway will be tested for stability to provide information to North Huron council that will ensure the structure’s safety, before any more plans are put in place regarding the dam. A report was submitted to council on Nov. 16 by Jamie McCarthy, director of public works, that included a proposal from Chant Limited to test the spillway, “a passage for surplus water from a dam or reservoir,” according to the Oxford Canadian Dictionary. This testing is to confirm the suitability of the existing concrete for rehabilitation and provide information regarding the dam’s safety if it were to be left in place. After decades of discussion, studies, and proposals, councillors recognize the need to move forward with some form of decision. Even though the money to do yet another study seems redundant, they passed the motion to accept the proposal. In a recorded vote, which passed 5–2, council authorized the first of two phases in the proposal at a total of $46,860 (exclusive of taxes). It will revisit phase two at a later date, once they have some answers from Chant Limited. According to the report, Chant Limited was the only company that submitted a bid for the Howson Dam Request for Proposal (RFP). Chant Limited’s submission was complete and provided costing for Phase One and Two. Phase One is the core sampling, testing, and reporting to North Huron council on the findings. Phase Two is the development of detailed estimates for all costs associated with removing the bridge and rehabilitation of the Howson Dam spillways. Their bid is as follows: A. Phase One – Concrete Spillway Testing - $46,860 B. Phase Two – Project Estimate (AACE Class 3) - $47,835 This engineering will be funded from the existing Howson Bridge Reserve Fund, which has a balance of $93,759. If through Phase One, core sampling and testing provide the outcome that triggers Phase Two, there will be a shortfall of $936. The outcome of Phase One will provide the information necessary for council to begin fundraising to rehabilitate the dam or to assure that the dam can stay in place as it is, safely.Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
The grief and lessons, five years after I lost my brother.
It’s been just over a year since Nalcor Energy impounded the reservoir at Muskrat Falls. How much methylmercury that would release into the water downstream and subsequently the impact it would have on the food chain in central Labrador has been the topic of much debate over the years, and that debate is still going on. Ryan Calder, an assistant professor of environmental health and policy in the department of population health science at Virginia Tech, and the lead author of the 2016 Harvard paper "Future Impacts of Hydroelectric Power Development on Methylmercury Exposures of Canadian Indigenous Communities," took to social media recently to express his concern over the methylmercury readings for the first year following impoundment. Calder said the increased levels showing at a station downstream from Muskrat Falls, N5, are more in line with what his group at Harvard estimated, and exceed the projections made on behalf of Nalcor Energy. He said he wishes they were wrong in their predictions, but based on what he’s seen so far it doesn’t appear to be so. “Nalcor and the government of Newfoundland claimed that there was no possibility for risk to people or the environment, spent years claiming up and down there was nothing to worry about, and now monitoring is coming out showing that the peak levels are still increasing and are within the range that was forecasted,” he said. Data from the last four years available online shows that the recorded levels in the water exceeded the Nalcor predicted peak of 0.1 namograms per litre a couple times in the last year and does show an increased overall level of methylmercury. Calder said it’s common for levels to increase in the first year after impoundment and stay higher for a few years before levelling off, but any increase corresponds to an increase in risk. “It’s known that when you flood a reservoir there are increased methylmercury levels. Nalcor doesn't deny that creation of the reservoir accelerates the production of methylmercury. They accept that there are impacts on water, they accept that people eat the fish, but they don’t accept there’s any risk to the people and that’s logically inconsistent.” It’s too early at this point to assess any risk to people, he said, and that would require more data on methylmercury in fish, which has not been released yet for 2019, but increased methylmercury levels in the water are the first signal. When asked by SaltWire Network about the levels, Nalcor Energy said the measured values in water are very similar to those predicted and are within safe limits. James McCarthy, senior associate biologist with Wood, the firm that handles the monitoring for Nalcor, said he doesn’t see anything in the levels that would cause concern from a human health perspective. “Ultimately, it’s the fish concentration that matters, that’s the interaction with people. Even though water is an early indication it’s really the fish that matter most to people. We just finished the sampling for 2019, so that’s a full year of flooding, but had three years of head pond formation, and we’ve seen nothing really in the fish.” McCarthy said the increased levels are in line with projections made for Nalcor in 2018, which did differ from lower predictions in previous years, and so far everything appears to be on track. The Department of Environment, Climate Change and Municipalities told SaltWire Network methylmercury levels are below the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) guidelines for aquatic life and at no time have levels presented a risk to public health.Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
The Petit Noel art exhibit and sale features a variety of work by local and area painters, photographers, potters and artisans at the Callander Bay Heritage Museum & Alex Dufresne Gallery. “We have over 30 people participating and the show is a great snapshot of the various artistic talents we have here in Northeastern Ontario,” states a museum notice. There will not be an opening reception and numbers are restricted as per COVID-19 safety restrictions but visitors welcome Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. “Please wear your mask, respect social distancing, and do not visit if you are not feeling well.”Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
BROCKTON – The Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund allocation for Brockton has been decreasing over the past several years. Brockton received $2,380,000 in 2012; by 2017, that had decreased to $1,607,100. Brockton was notified that the 2021 allocation will decrease by $48,500 from 2020’s $1,536,600 to $1,488,100. The municipality relies on the OMPF grant to provide government services. Small, rural municipalities don’t have the large tax base that cities do. Coun. Steve Adams suggested drafting a letter to express concern over the decrease. Coun. Dean Leifso wondered if other municipalities in the area were getting the same decrease. Mayor Chris Peabody regarded the information as “mixed” news – both good and bad. It’s a bit of a drop. But he also noted Brockton has received a number of grants from “this government” and credited MPP Lisa Thompson for working on behalf of her constituents. Peabody said Leifso’s idea was a good one. “Let’s do some research.”Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
MEMBERTOU — Membertou Lanes held a job fair Thursday to fast-track the reopening of the bowling alley, which has been closed since mid-March. The reopening was delayed because of major changes, and community members like Justin Gould are hoping to work again. “I’ve been off work for a while since COVID, because I was laid off and I have just been looking for a job ever since,” said the 19-year-old. “Once I heard of the job fair at Membertou Lanes, I thought it was a good opportunity for me.” He was laid off from his job at the Membertou Youth Centre and was hoping to land a position as a lane technician or dishwasher at Membertou Lanes. Gould was hoping to land a job to pay some bills. He said the safety measures at the job fair were organized and professional. “They did a really good job here and I’m looking forward to them opening,” said Gould. Job-seekers were required to wear a mask, sanitize upon entering the building and had to provide contact information and had their temperatures checked. They were then seated in a socially distanced waiting room before meeting with one of five interviewers. The bowling alley was hiring customer service representatives, hosts, bartenders, servers, cooks, dishwashers, janitors and lane technicians. Silas Baccouche was also laid off when the Membetou Youth Centre closed to the public. The 18-year-old hoped to hear good news. “I just hope I get hired,” said Baccouche. He said he hasn’t faced many hardships because of the layoffs but still wanted to work. Baccouche was hopeful all who attended could land employment. Recently hired general manager Marcel Cote says he hopes to hire 25-30 people. And the public should expect a lot of changes to Membertou Lanes. Membertou Lanes is adding a sports bar and more kid-friendly additions like a slushy machine and concessions. Cote said they’ll also be dropping the prices. The bowling alley at its launch will be reservation only to ensure proper spacing and contact tracing, they’ll also have dedicated cleaning staff for high touch areas, signage to ensure social distancing and hand sanitizer. Cote spent 25 years in the food and beverage industry and hopes with a complete rebranding the business can flourish even under the COVID-19 restrictions. He believes people are still looking to have fun in these uncertain times, but they need to be reassured they’re safe. And Membertou Lanes is hoping to meet those needs. “The challenge is we’re changing almost everything we did before,” said Cote. He also added that the candlestick replacement parts company they were working with folded because of the pandemic, which only added to the delays. Cote hopes to hire quickly to begin training soon. “I need everyone to understand and be patient with us,” said Cote. He said he hopes to reopen by December. -30-Oscar Baker III, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cape Breton Post
COVID-19. Récemment, le premier ministre François Legault a annoncé que les restaurants, les salles de spectacles et les salles d'entraînement situés en zone rouge resteront fermés jusqu'au 11 janvier prochain. Le gouvernement a par la même occasion autorisé les rassemblements familiaux pour quelques jours durant la période des Fêtes. Pourtant, les restaurants auraient pu représenter des lieux sécuritaires pour des réunions en famille, étant donné les nombreux investissements sur le plan sanitaire revendique la Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ). «C'est un coup extrêmement dur pour plusieurs entreprises, non seulement sur leurs finances, mais aussi sur leur moral. Nous comprenons que les chiffres actuels des cas de COVID-19 ne permettent pas un retour à la normale complet, mais les entreprises en restauration ont investi des sommes importantes pour l'aménagement de leurs espaces selon les meilleures normes sanitaires. Les rassemblements en nombre limité dans ces établissements auraient pu se faire sans compromettre la santé publique», souligne Charles Milliard, président-directeur général de la FCCQ. «La communauté d'affaires, autant dans les villes qu'en région, pousse un cri du cœur devant la crainte de voir plusieurs commerces disparaître en raison de cette nouvelle fermeture prolongée. Les entreprises ont suivi toutes les consignes depuis le tout début de la pandémie. Elles ont fermé une première fois, ont investi pour adapter leur commerce, ont refermé temporairement et maintenant, on repousse encore une fois leur réouverture. On ne peut rester insensible à la réalité que ces entreprises rencontrent. Tout en demeurant vigilant sur les pratiques de santé publique, selon nous, le gouvernement devrait préparer le terrain à la réouverture des restaurants, et envoyer des signaux en ce sens aux entrepreneurs en restauration ainsi qu'à la population», ajoute Charles Milliard qui a des demandes pour le gouvernement. Les voici: «Il y a environ 21 000 établissements en restauration au Québec qui sont dans l'incertitude. Il y a des réalités régionales différentes et des solutions mur à mur sont difficilement envisageables. On comprend le défi pour le gouvernement du Québec de répondre à ces préoccupations. Seulement, il serait nécessaire qu'il envoie des signaux positifs à cette industrie, pour une reprise à court terme. Il faut travailler dès maintenant à un scénario de reprise des opérations en restauration au 11 janvier 2021, avec un nombre restreint en salle à manger, car un report au-delà de cette date aurait des conséquences encore plus dévastatrices sur l'industrie», conclut Charles Milliard. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
NEW YORK — Taylor Swift won her third consecutive artist of the year prize at the American Music Awards, but she missed the show for a good reason: She said she's busy re-recording her early music after her catalogue was sold.In a video that aired during Sunday's awards show, the pop star said “the reason I’m not there tonight is I’m actually re-recording all of my old music in the studio where we originally recorded it. So it’s been amazing. And I can’t wait for you to hear it."Last year music manager Scooter Braun — who manages Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande — announced that his Ithaca Holdings company had acquired Big Machine Label Group, the home to Swift’s first six albums. This month Braun said he has sold the master rights to Swift’s first six albums to an investment company; Swift acknowledged the sale on social media and said she would not work with the new buyers because Braun was still involved.Instead, she headed back to the studio.Swift beat out Bieber, Post Malone and Roddy Ricch to win the top award. She also won favourite music video and favourite pop/rock female artist, winning three honours and tying Bieber, Dan + Shay and the Weeknd for most wins Sunday.The Weeknd lost artist of the year, but he still kicked off his all-star week as a big winner: Days before he’s expected to land multiple Grammy nominations, he won favourite soul/R&B male artist, favourite soul/R&B album for “After Hours" and favourite soul/R&B song for “Heartless” two days before the 2021 Grammy nominations are announced.“The last time I received this award it was given to me by the late, great Prince," he said after winning favourite soul/R&B album. “And, you know, he’s the reason I get to constantly challenge the genre of R&B and yeah, I’d like to dedicate this to him."The Weeknd didn’t break character throughout the three-hour show with his gauze-wrapped face, which matched the vibe of his recent album and music videos where he appears blooded and bruised. He accepted his awards and performed with his face wrapped in gauze.Kenny G joined the Weeknd for his performance, playing the sax in downtown Los Angeles as the Weeknd walked across a bridge singing “In Your Eyes.” He finished the performance singing “Save Your Tears.”The Weeknd was one of several artists who appeared live at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles for the fan-voted awards show. Others recently taped their performances because of the coronavirus pandemic, though host Taraji P. Henson — who appeared live from the venue — said the few audience members sitting in the mezzanine practiced social distancing, wore masks and were tested for the virus.Henson joked that A-list celebrities were in the audience, including Beyoncé, though cardboard cut-out of the singer, Jay-Z and other stars appeared in seats.But a good number of chart-toppers were in the building. Breakthrough singer-rapper Doja Cat performed and won new artist of the year and favourite soul/R&B female artist. Grammy-winning country duo Dan + Shay beautifully performed “I Should Probably Go to Bed” and won favourite country duo or group, collaboration of the year and favourite country song for “10,000 Hours," the latter two shared with Bieber. And Megan Thee Stallion — won favourite rap/hip-hop songs for “WAP" with Cardi B — performed “Body" from her recently released debut album “Good News."Bieber and Shawn Mendes kicked off the AMAs with a pre-taped performance of their new duet “Monster," marking the first time they performed the song together. It began with a stripped-down Bieber singing his recent hit “Lonely," with songwriter-producer Benny Blanco on piano, and “Holy," where background dancers wearing masks joined him.Mendes, strumming his guitar, then appeared for “Monster," which featured the twentysomethings singing lyrics about about fame and growing up as celebrities who attracted massive public attention. Mendes later sang his song “Wonder" during the show, which aired on ABC.Katy Perry, in her first performance since giving birth to her first child, gave a strong performance of the emotional and hopeful song “Only Love,” which featured a surprise guest appearance from Darius Rucker, who sang and played guitar. With flaming red lights glaring behind her, Billie Eilish sang her new song “Therefore I Am,” as her brother-songwriter-producer Finneas backed her on guitar. Jennifer Lopez and Maluma teamed up to perform their new songs “Pa’ Ti” and “Lonely” from the film “Marry Me,” which both of them star in, while Dua Lipa — who won favourite pop/rock song — floated in the air during her performance of “Levitating.”24kGoldn and Iann Dior — who currently have the country's No. 1 song with the smash hit “Mood," also performed. The multi-genre track is the rare song that has reached No. 1 on both the rap and rock charts.Other performers included BTS, Lewis Capaldi, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Baby, Bell Biv DeVoe and Nelly, who performed hits from his diamond-certified debut album “Country Grammar," which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.This year the AMAs, which typically awards one Latin honour, launched more categories in the genre. Becky G — who burst on the music scene in 2014 with the pop hit “Shower" but has recently had success singing in Spanish and launching hits on the Latin charts — won favourite Latin female artist.She used her speech to honour immigrant families.“I proudly wave both flags, Mexican and American. And like many, many children and grandchildren of immigrants, no matter where they’re from, we have learned from the ones before us what sacrifice and hard work looks like," she said. “And I dedicate this award to all of our immigrant workers in this pandemic; the students and immigrant families. It’s because of my family, my abuelitos, that I stand here today."Nominees for the AMAs were based on streaming, album and digital sales, radio airplay and social activity, and reflect the time period of Sept. 27, 2019, through Sept. 24, 2020.Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
Wuhan, the Chinese city that was ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic, went into lockdown on Jan. 23. Life has returned to nearly normal 10 months later, but residents there still remember the harsh conditions.
The Atlantic bubble is no more.Both Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I are exiting the Atlantic bubble for at least two weeks as COVID-19 cases rise in parts of the region.Newfoundland Premier Andrew Furey said the province will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the other Atlantic provinces to see if the two-week break needs to be extended. Travel to and from Newfoundland and Labrador will only be for essential reasons, he said."The Atlantic Bubble has been a source of pride ... but the situation has changed," Furey said at a news conference.P.E.I. Premier Dennis King delivered a similar message during a nearly simultaneous news conference, saying his government would re-evaluate over the next two weeks.King said the changing epidemiology in the region was concerning, "and it forces us to use what I believe are the tools in our limited toolbox to do everything we can to avoid an outbreak here in P.E.I."He said that given the province's small size, it wouldn't take much for its health-care system to become overwhelmed.Atlantic bubble established July 3Newfoundland's heightened travel restrictions will come into effect on Wednesday, and P.E.I.'s come into effect Monday at midnight.Since July 3, residents of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I and Newfoundland and Labrador were able to travel relatively freely across each other's borders without quarantining.COVID-19 case numbers in all the Atlantic provinces were low throughout the summer and fall, but that began to change last week in parts of the region.New Brunswick tightened restrictions in Moncton and Saint John last week as cases rose, and the province reported its highest ever single-day case count on Saturday with 23 new cases. As of Monday, that province had a total of 89 active cases. Nova Scotia also started recording a spike in cases last week and public health confirmed there is community spread, with most transmission happening in the Halifax area. As of Monday's reporting, the province had a total of 51 known active cases.Newfoundland and Labrador is currently reporting 23 active cases — including two new cases announced Monday — and P.E.I has two, with the latest one reported at Monday's news conference.No plans to burst N.S.-N.B. bubbleIn a news conference Monday afternoon, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said the change will not affect New Brunswick's rules.He said he and the other Atlantic premiers held a teleconference last night when they discussed the decision."We certainly understand the situation that Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I. are in, and their concerns with our current situation in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia," he said.Still, Higgs said he and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil have decided not to burst the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick bubble for now.He said most cases in Nova Scotia are in the Halifax region. He said there has been a focus on testing there, and people in the Halifax area are being encouraged to not travel outside of the region.WATCH | P.E.I. and N.L. to exit Atlantic bubble for at least 2 weeks:Higgs said enforcing an isolation requirement for Nova Scotia would not be a good use of resources."We want to keep our resources deployed along our northern borders between New Brunswick and Quebec, and to enhance our activity along the border between Maine and New Brunswick," he said."We're aligned in containing this in Nova Scotia and in New Brunswick independently, and I think we're best served to ensure that we each follow our own protocols."He said any New Brunswickers travelling to P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador, including for work, should contact the government in the two provinces to see how the changes will affect them.Higgs also said the change does not affect New Brunswickers coming home after working in P.E.I. or Newfoundland and Labrador.While the New Brunswick-Nova Scotia border remains open, Higgs still urged New Brunswickers to avoid non-essential travel. That message was also in a news release from the Council of Atlantic Premiers on Monday morning, which advised caution while travelling within the Atlantic bubble.The office of Premier Stephen McNeil confirmed Monday that travellers from all other Atlantic provinces can still enter Nova Scotia without quarantining. MORE TOP STORIES
The 74th annual Lions Children’s Christmas Telethon is going ahead despite not being able to host live acts. Canadore College’s media arts students are compiling highlights of the past three events to produce a four-hour virtual broadcast Sunday, Dec. 5 from 4 to 8 p.m. “We suspect there will be a lot more families in need,” said Gary Verge, telethon committee chairman. He’s with the Bonfield Lions but the fundraiser involves 11 clubs, including Mattawa, Callander, Powassan, Trout Creek, Sundridge, South River, Burk’s Falls, Kearney, Arnstein and Restoule. “We could use $30,000,” Verge said of their target to receive from pledges and donations to buy turkeys, hams and gifts for kids for close to 400 families overall. Each club also adds in boxes of food to go with the initial basket “to help make it last a few meals.” In Bonfield for example, he said about 20 families each year get a little extra support heading into a holiday season that often strains already thin household budgets. Usually, the long-standing telethon runs nine hours lives with artists corralled in line as the performances are rotate through the stages, something that couldn’t be done this year due to COVID-19 pandemic health protocols. “We’re also trying to put together some Christmas entertainment featuring local talent,” Verge said of the dual mandate of igniting the spirit of the season. “But all those acts hanging around up at the college is not a good idea this year.” It’s also “excellent experience” for the Canadore students, he said, hoping they can return to the live show next year. The 2020 telethon can be seen on YourTV Channels 12 and 700, through the www.lionschildrenstelethon.com website; www.canadoretv.com or listen on Country 600 CKAT Radio. To donate, call 705-472-4420 or 1-844-888-4420. You can also make a pledge online or use PayPal at www.lionschldrenstelethon.com 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
BEIJING — Chinese authorities are testing millions of people, imposing lockdowns and shutting down schools after multiple locally transmitted coronavirus cases were discovered in three cities across the country last week.As temperatures drop, widescale measures are being enacted in Tianjin, Shanghai and Manzhouli, even though the number of new cases remains low compared to the United States and other countries that are seeing new waves of infections.Experts and government officials have warned that the chance of the virus spreading will be greater in cold weather. Recent flareups have shown that there is still a risk of the virus returning, despite being largely controlled within China.On Monday, the National Health Commission reported two new locally transmitted cases in Shanghai over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total to seven since Friday. China has recorded 86,442 cases overall and 4,634 deaths since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.The two latest cases confirmed in Shanghai were close contacts of another airport worker who was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier in November. On Sunday night, the city's Pudong International airport decided to test its workers, collecting 17,719 samples through the early hours of Monday morning. Plans call for testing others in surrounding communities if further cases are detected.Videos on social media purportedly from workers showed what appeared to be chaotic scenes at the airport as they were given last-minute orders to get tested. In the videos, people are seen standing in large groups pushing back and forth against officials in hazmat suits.Shanghai has been more selective with mass testing, targeting people associated with a particular place, such as the airport or the hospital where someone who has tested positive had worked, rather than an entire district.In Tianjin, health workers have collected more than 2.2 million samples for testing from residents in the Binhai new district, after five locally transmitted cases were discovered there last week.In Manzhouli, a city of more than 200,000 people, local health authorities are testing all residents after two cases were reported on Saturday. They also shut down all schools and public venues and banned public gatherings such as banquets.China has resorted to its heavy, top-down approach each time new cases of local transmission are found — shutting down schools and hospitals, locking down residential communities and entire neighbourhoods, and testing millions.Tianjin authorities shut down a kindergarten and moved all the teachers, family and students to a centralized quarantine space. They also sealed the residential compound where the five cases were found.China's approach to controlling the pandemic has been criticized for being draconian. It locked down the city of Wuhan, where cases were first reported, for more than two months to contain the virus, with the local government shutting down all traffic and confining residents to their homes. Domestically, however, China has called its strategy “clear to zero” and has boasted of its success.“In the entire world, only China has the ability to get to zero. Other countries don’t have this ability," Zeng Guang, the chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a webinar hosted by Chinese media in September. "It’s not just getting to zero, even for them to control the first wave of the epidemic is hard.”“‘Clearing to zero’ is actually the most economically effective way to do epidemic prevention. If you don’t do that, then this problem will get more troublesome,” he said. "Use a heavier hand, and get to zero, then people will feel reassured.”___AP researcher Chen Si in Shanghai contributed to this report.The Associated Press
JERUSALEM — Israeli media reported Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Saudi Arabia for a clandestine meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which would mark the first known encounter between senior Israeli and Saudi officials. The reported meeting was the latest move by the Trump Administration to promote normalized ties between Israel and the broader Arab world and reflected the shared concern of all three nations about Iran. The Israeli news site Walla, followed quickly by other Hebrew-language media, cited an unnamed Israeli official as saying that Netanyahu and Yossi Cohen, head of Israel's Mossad spy agency, flew to the Saudi city of Neom on Sunday, where they met with the crown prince. The prince was there for talks with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. People travelling with Pompeo declined comment. Netanyahu, in a meeting with his Likud Party, also declined to explicitly confirm the visit. “I have not addressed such things for years and I will not start with that now. For years I have spared no effort to strengthen Israel and expand the circle of peace,” he said. The Saudi foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, denied on Twitter that the meeting took place. “No such meeting occurred. The only officials present were American and Saudi,” he wrote. He did not elaborate. The flight-tracking website FlightRadar24.com showed a Gulfstream IV private jet took off from Tel Aviv on Sunday night and flew south along the edge of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula before turning toward Neom and landing. The flight took off from Neom over three hours later and followed the same route back to Tel Aviv. Pompeo, who was in Israel last week, travelled with a small group of American reporters on his trip throughout the Mideast, but left them at the Neom airport when he went into his visit with the crown prince. While Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates have reached deals under the Trump administration to normalize ties with Israel, Saudi Arabia so far has remained out of reach. The Trump administration, as well as Netanyahu, would love to add the Saudis to that list before it leaves office in January. In Sudan, a military official said an Israeli delegation was in the country on Monday to discuss the normalization efforts. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the visit with the media. King Salman long has supported the Palestinians in their effort to secure an independent state as a condition for recognizing Israel. However, analysts and insiders suggest his 35-year-old son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, likely is more open to the idea of normalizing relations without major progress in the moribund peace process. Israel and Saudi Arabia have a shared interest in countering archrival Iran, and they have welcomed the Trump administration's pressure campaign on the Iranians, which included withdrawing from the international nuclear deal with Iran and imposing tough economic sanctions on the Tehran government. The reported meeting puts even more pressure on Iran ahead of an incoming Biden administration that has signalled a potential willingness to return to the 2015 nuclear deal. “I think there's a message to Iran. Look, there's a front against you. There's two months to go to the new administration. Beware. We are on the same page,” said Yoel Guzansky, a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, a prestigious Israeli think-tank . In an apparent message to President-elect Joe Biden, Netanyahu said in a speech Sunday evening, shortly before the reported trip to Saudi Arabia: “We must not return to the previous nuclear deal." In the same speech, Netanyahu also praised “trailblazing Arab leaders who understand the benefits of peace" and predicted “we will see other states that widen the circle of peace.” In another possible reference to the Saudi meeting, a Netanyahu aide, Topaz Luk, accused Netanyahu's rival and coalition partner, Defence Minister Benny Gantz, of “playing politics at the same time that the prime minister is making peace.” Gantz on Sunday launched an investigation into Israel's purchase of German submarines — a scandal that has turned several close Netanyahu confidants into criminal suspects. Netanyahu himself is not a suspect. The reported visit Sunday night to Neom, still a largely undeveloped desert region alongside the north end of the Red Sea, also reflected Prince Mohammed's ambitions. It brought two world leaders to Neom, which he hopes will become a futuristic, skyline-studded Saudi version of Dubai that will offer the kingdom jobs and cement a future beyond its vast crude oil reserves. It also would reframe a rule so far colored by the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and the kingdom’s grinding war in Yemen. It was unclear where the three men met, though the Saudi royal family has massive mansions along the turquoise waters of the Red Sea, with a major golf course. Netanyahu has long signalled back-channel relations with the Saudis, though the nations have never officially confirmed a meeting between their leaders. But Saudi Arabia appears to have given its blessing to the decisions of its Gulf neighbours, the UAE and Bahrain, to establish ties with Israel. The kingdom approved the use of Saudi airspace for Israeli flights to the UAE. Bahrain normalizing ties also suggest at least a Saudi acquiescence to the idea, as the island kingdom relies on Riyadh. ___ Associated Press writers Josef Federman in Jerusalem, Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed. Ilan Ben Zion, The Associated Press
Here’s a collection of 2020 holiday albums reviewed by The Associated Press. ____________ Carrie Underwood, “My Gift” (Capitol Nashville) Carrie Underwood takes fans to church with her first holiday album “The Gift,” a set of hymns and traditional Christmas classics that invoke the spiritual and religious themes of the season. Underwood’s interpretations of songs like “Silent Night” and “O Holy Night” are simply produced with lush strings, allowing her to showcase her vibrato as she soars to the top of her range. You could imagine yourself in a pew, head bowed as you listened to her sing “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” and all would be missing is a children’s choir and the smell of incense. But while Underwood could probably sing the Bible and sound great, the album’s more interesting tracks are original songs, including “Let There Be Peace,” a song she co-wrote where she’s backed by a choir on a rousing R&B gospel track. On one of the album’s 11 tracks, Underwood is joined on “Little Drummer Boy” by her 5-year-old son Isaiah, whose singing about “pah-wump-pah-pah-pump” and “dwums” is adorably cute, but it borders on saccharine. But the best song is her duet with John Legend on an original called “Hallelujah,” which Legend co-wrote. These two Grammy winners push each other to new and impressive heights as they raise their voices to the heavens. More of that please. — Kristin M. Hall ____________ Dolly Parton, “A Holly, Jolly Christmas” (Butterfly Records) Leave it to Dolly Parton to know just how to brighten up pandemic blues with a full dose of cheery holiday nostalgia. Her first Christmas album in 30 years sounds like it could have been made decades ago — even if she recorded it masked, gloved and appropriately socially distanced this past summer. Despite touches of pop culture — Jimmy Fallon and Miley Cyrus are among her duet partners — the feeling is more Sinatra and Nat King Cole. The first track, “Holly Jolly Christmas,” sets the tone with a “ding, dong, ding” choral opening, honky-tonk undertones and Dolly’s folksy banter. “All I Want for Christmas Is You” delivers a flirty duet with Fallon as the two playfully trade gushy confessions and Parton teases at the end: “Oh, you sexy boy.” Several tunes are Parton originals, including “Christmas on the Square,” also the title of her new Netflix holiday musical. It’s a delightfully hokey offering, a vision of friends and families gathering for singing, dancing, snowball fights and other nostalgic fare. That may all be off the table this holiday season, but Parton at least gives us a welcome taste. — Lindsey Tanner ____________ Meghan Trainor, “A Very Trainor Christmas” (Epic) Put down that eggnog and go to Spotify right now: The winner of the best Christmas album of 2020 is clearly Meghan Trainor. The 18-track “A Very Trainor Christmas” is a marvel, a multi-textured triumph led by Trainor’s warm, retro and soulful voice — perfect for a holiday album. It boasts six excellent originals alongside smart covers of such songs as “Last Christmas” by Wham! and a ukulele-led “Winter Wonderland.” Trainor has somehow infused new energy and verve to old chestnuts. Her ‘60s-meets-2020 “Sleigh Ride” is like hearing a new song and her “Silent Night” is churchlike, respectfully glorious. Trainor has her family join her for some songs — cousins and her dad — and Earth, Wind & Fire stop by to help on an old-school, propulsive funky “Holidays.” (Seth MacFarlane is the album’s only odd note, taking himself far too seriously in a version of “White Christmas”). Of the clutch of new songs, there’s the gloriously funky-EDM “I Believe in Santa,” the trop-pop “Naughty List,” the sad violin ballad “Christmas Got Me Blue” and the gleeful “Christmas Party.” America, rejoice: We just got a great early Christmas present. — Mark Kennedy ____________ Leslie Odom, Jr., “The Christmas Album” (S-Curve/BMG) What is one thing you can count on when a Broadway star creates a holiday album? The vocals will not disappoint. Tony and Grammy winner Leslie Odom, Jr. has delivered a vibrant melting pot of holiday classics and original songs with “The Christmas Album.” Odom’s voice lends itself well to multi-genre music, making him an ideal candidate to bring forth some holiday cheer. From his jazzy rendition of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” to the pop-forward “Last Christmas,” his album is — simply put — easy listening. Among the traditional yuletide tunes, Odom’s personally penned songs hold their own. “Snow” is a cold weather earworm, while “Winter Song” finds Odom’s smooth falsetto complimented by Cynthia Erivo’s sultry pipes. While most of his holiday covers are close in sound to their predecessors, the “Hamilton" star brings a unique South African influence to “Little Drummer Boy” with the help of the Mzansi Youth Choir and strips down the New Year’s Eve classic “Auld Lang Syne” to create tenderness. Not exclusively limited to Christmas songs, Odom delivers a brilliant, intimate performance of “Ma’oz Tzur,” accompanied by his wife, Nicolette Robinson, and a piano. “The Christmas Album” celebrates diversity and comfort in a year when both are sorely needed. — Ragan Clark ____________ Jamie Cullum, “The Pianoman at Christmas” (Blue Note) The title is misleading, because Jamie Cullum is more of a big band crooner than piano player on this set of 10 tunes he wrote in lockdown this spring. The arrangements are pandemic-defying, with 57 musicians by Cullum’s count, and they make “The Pianoman at Christmas” swing and soar. Horns and string orchestra trade off and blend beautifully, providing a broad canvas for Cullum to explore a range of holiday moods. Included are two tunes each about Santa, Christmas lights and the holiday blues. There’s also a cuddle song, and the topical, timely opener “It’s Christmas,” where a merry Cullum sings, “Shove your petty differences right up the chimney, please.” All of the songs are secular. “Don’t care about a saviour,” Cullum sings on the title cut. “Just want to hold onto you.” A few lyrics could have benefited from more time in the workshop. “The Jolly Fat Man” is jazzy fun, but Cullum tries unsuccessfully to rhyme hat with dispatch and relax with back. Nonetheless, he captures the spirit of the season. More than once Cullum belts a long note, and it’s easy to visualize him, head back and arms outstretched, happy to embrace the end of this awful year. — Steven Wine ____________ Tori Kelly, “A Tori Kelly Christmas" (Capitol/Schoolboy) Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds is easily one of the greatest music producers and songwriters of all time. So him in the producer’s chair plus Grammy-winning vocalist Tori Kelly in the vocal booth equals STUNNING, SENSATIONAL, EXTRAORDINARY and PHENOMENAL. Kelly is a top notch performer throughout “A Tori Kelly Christmas,” which features traditional classics like “Silent Night,” “O Holy Night” and “Joy to the World,” where her vocals will instantly transport you to a church that people not only attend to praise and worship, but to also hear beautiful and exquisite music. Even the original tracks are cute and pleasant, including “Gift That Keeps on Giving” and “25th,” where Kelly sings sweet lyrics like “no more silent nights/I’ll be by your side” and “got nothing on my list/don’t you know my only wish is to hold you on the 25th?” She closes the album with an excellent and clean cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and it is so good we’re sure Cohen is smiling from above with his approval. — Mesfin Fekadu ____________ Goo Goo Dolls, “It’s Christmas All Over” (Warner) It’s hard to write a Christmas song and it’s doubly hard writing about a bad kid on Christmas, but Goo Goo Dolls have done it. The rockabilly “You Ain’t Getting Nothin’” is an unexpected and super step on the band’s solid first holiday record, “It’s Christmas All Over.” “You picked Santa’s pocket/And you stole his reindeer/You’re only 8 years old/I caught you drinking beer,” frontman John Rzeznik sings about someone who should be getting coal in their stocking. It’s one of two originals — and one reworking — on a 10-track album filled with jazzy covers of iconic holiday songs such as “Let It Snow” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The title comes from a Tom Petty tune, which is respectfully covered. The other original is “This Is Christmas,” which has that beautiful melancholy the Goo Goo Dolls are known for. It earns its right to be a holiday classic of its own. The reworked song is “Better Days,” a wistful ode to peace from the band's 2006 album “Let Love In.” Here, it has been rebuilt with a child’s voice (the daughter of Jimmy McGorman, the band’s longtime collaborator). It’s powerfully affecting — revealing strong songwriting topped by a delicate voice. — Mark Kennedy ____________ Keedron Bryant, “The Best Time of Year" (Warner) Passionate is Keedron Bryant’s forte. At just 12 years old, he turned heads with his fiery plea “I Just Wanna Live,” a song about being a young Black man in America. Written by his mother Johnnetta Bryant after she watched the painful death of George Floyd, the song helped Bryant inspire and connect with people around the world. It even landed him a record deal. He’s 13 now and has released a Christmas EP that features a passionate and mature vocal performance from the budding superstar. Bryant tackles Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” and adds his own wonderful spin to the song. And he and his sister, Aiyanna Bryant, are epic on their soulful version of Boyz II Men and Brian McKnight’s holiday classic, “Let It Snow.” The four-song EP closes with the original track “This Year,” an upbeat adventure promising that 2021 will be better than 2020 — a message we all need to hear, especially from the youth. After all — the children are our future. — Mesfin Fekadu ____________ Davy Jones, “It’s Christmas Time Once More” (Not Too Late Records) Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without reindeers, turtle doves, a partridge — and a Monkee. “It’s Christmas Time Once More,” a reimagined collection of traditional holiday songs from The Monkees’ late frontman Davy Jones, is a welcome and warm addition to the season. His gentle and expressive voice often got overshadowed by the goofy goings-on in his made-for-TV rock band. Here it is centre stage. Jones tackles songs like “Silver Bells” and “Silent Night” with English-accented aplomb. For a jazzy “White Christmas,” his voice is joined by his youngest daughter, singer-songwriter Annabel Jones, in a pretty duet that hits all the right notes. The songs have some miles on them. They were originally released in 1991 on cassette then on CD in 1997 and released again in 2005 as “Christmas Jones.” Producer Chip Douglas has given them new arrangements and added background vocals from former Monkees bandmate Micky Dolenz and his sister, Coco Dolenz. Douglas leans into rockabilly with “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and banjo with “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” One of the two bonus tracks is an original recording of Jones singing “White Christmas” with Douglas on guitar, recorded in 1967 in Douglas’ home in L.A.’s famed Laurel Canyon. It is wistful and blissed out. — Mark Kennedy Associated Press, The Associated Press
The Kamistiatusset (Kami) project in Labrador west has entered another phase of its long saga. The iron ore project was put back into limbo earlier this year when the owners, Alderon Iron Ore, defaulted on a $14-million loan and went into receivership. Now, Australia-based Champion Iron Ltd., the operators of the nearby Bloom Lake project just across the border in Quebec, has picked up the gauntlet on the sizable iron deposit in the Labrador Trough. Champion was the successful bidder on the project to the tune of $34 million, which also covers the cost of Alderon’s secured debt. The deal was approved by the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador this week. Labrador West MHA Jordan Brown said he wants to sit down and have some talks about where the project is going and assurances from government the resources will benefit Labradorians. Alderon had always touted a potential $1-billion project in Kami, with 300-400 local jobs projected. Brown said he wants to make sure that work stays on the Labrador side of the border and that the benefits of the resource goes to this province. “A lot of people hope and want the project to go ahead, and be a mine that uses a local workforce, minimizes fly-in fly-out operation, things like that. I just want to make sure this resource benefits Labradorians as the resource is in Labrador.” Brown said he wants to have that conversation with Champion, and make sure those concerns are front of mind as they proceed. Michael Marcotte, vice-president of investor relations with Champion, told SaltWire they’re very excited about the possibility of the project but don’t know where it will go until they complete a feasibility study. “We’ll have to look into a standalone project to some extent, see how we can benefit the infrastructure we currently have, but the way it will be structured and the scale, it’s too early to say,” he said. Marcotte said the company has hired people to start a study, work on that for several months, and then come back to the local communities and see what the potential plan would look like. But at this point it’s to early say how or if the project will proceed. He said Bloom Lake is a great anchor for Champion, with an expansion announced to that project last week, and they think Kami is positioning the company for another phase of growth. As part of the purchase, Champion will get an additional eight million tonnes annually of port capacity in Sept-Isles, Que., where they currently send the iron ore concentrate from Bloom Lake. Marcotte said they won’t have the extra capacity at Bloom Lake to integrate the iron ore from the Kami project so that will be something they will be studying. The Kami project has had a couple of near starts over the years, one as recently as 2019. Alderon had announced it hoped to start construction in 2020 but was unable to secure funding, citing the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, and lost the project and assets to Sprott Lending Corp. The project then went up for sale. Champion also picked up Bloom Lake at a time when the project seemed unlikely to be profitable, buying it from Cliffs Québec Iron Mining ULC for $10.5 million in 2016. Marcotte said it shows that they have a track record of exceeding expectations. “We think we have a secret sauce and the recipe is working at Bloom,” he said. “We’re excited to bring our know how to the region and hopefully have a benefit to the region.” Altius Minerals has had its hand in the Kami project pretty much since it began. The Newfoundland based company did the initial drilling program that identified the Kami site in 2008 and later sold it to Alderon, holding a 37.3 per cent equity holding in the company at the time of its demise. Altius is receiving 600,000 shares in Champion as part of the current deal and expects to receive a portion of the cash Champion paid for the project once the details are worked out. “In some ways it’s bittersweet,” Altius CEO Brian Dalton said when asked about the deal. “It’s tough to attract that kind of capital with a junior mining company so I was disappointed Alderon wasn’t able to get across the line.” He said timing was against Alderon, but he has a lot of faith in Champion and people shouldn’t underestimate their ambition or their ability to execute. Dalton said he wouldn’t expect to see any major changes to the scope of the project, since Alderon already had a lot of the permitting and approvals in place and a major change of the scope would mean starting a lot of processes over.Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
Janet Langdon and Roxanne Walsh-Seabright have always held a special place for their hometown of Gander. As first-generation Ganderites, the pair know the town has a unique place in provincial history and culture. “We love our town,” said Walsh-Seabright. When Langdon returned to the area in 2015 upon her retirement after living at various stops on the mainland, she and Walsh-Seabright started talking about ways they could showcase their beloved hometown. As many a Newfoundlander will tell you, you can live wherever you want, but nothing will ever replace the place you grew up. “It’s in your blood,” said Langdon. “It is a special place. It holds onto your identity.” Then, they got the idea to showcase Gander and its uniqueness through clothes. Langdon had studied textile design and has always had a love for fashion design, while Walsh-Seabright studied interior design. They both shared a love for design and being creative so it was only natural they settle on an outlet that would allow them to explore that side of themselves a bit more. They found that outlet with their Newfoundland Dog Company clothing line. “We’re both creative at heart,” said Walsh-Seabright. They also get some help from family members. Langdon’s partner has offered up designs for products while others model them. The Newfoundland Dog Company got its start in the wake of the popularity of the smash Broadway musical “Come From Away.” With its depiction of what Gander and the area did for the people stranded during the Sept. 9, 2001, terrorist attacks, the show captured the attention and imagination of the world. Its popularity undoubtedly meant that the region was going to see an influx of tourism as people sought to see the place and the people that helped so many during a trying time. That fact was not lost on either Langdon or Walsh-Seabright. They sought to offer unique tourism products that highlighted some of the unique parts of their hometown. After some back-and-forth, they decided on a clothing line that would showcase the history of Gander and eventually, the surrounding area. It was launched on June 04, 2017. “It is very exciting because Gander has such a unique history,” said Langdon. Even the name Newfoundland Dog is partly a referral to a piece of the town’s history. During the Second World War, there was a Newfoundland dog named Gander who was awarded the Dickin Medal, an animal’s Victoria Cross, for his heroics during the war. The other half of the Newfoundland Dog Company's name refers Humber, the Newfoundland dog that was a big part of Langdon's family growing up. A mixture of short-sleeve and long-sleeve shirts, they have a number of different designs, from the propeller of a plane to the ‘Welcome to Gander’ sign at the Gander International Airport. There is one item featuring the likeness of the town’s mascot, Commander Gander, as well as an outline of the town in the 1970s One of their latest creations is an ode to Sidetracks, a bar in town that welcomed some high-profile acts during its day. The last couple of years has seen the line expand to ball caps, toques, mitten, throw pillows and dog bandanas. “It is basically what surrounds us,” said Walsh-Seabright. “What is unique to us that is different from anyone else.” Like other companies, the Newfoundland Dog Company has been slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A mostly online venture, they’re starting to see things start to come around and have several pop-up sales scheduled for Nov. 28, Dec.5, Dec. 12 and Dec. 19 in Gander. “We’re excited for the popups and introducing some new things,” said Walsh-Seabright. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
GENEVA — A panel of human rights experts working with the United Nations said Monday that former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn was wrongly detained in Japan and has urged “compensation” for him from the Japanese government.The Japanese government denounced the report as a “totally unacceptable” viewpoint that will change nothing in the country's legal process.In its opinion published Monday, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Ghosn’s arrest in Japan in late 2018 and early 2019 was “arbitrary” and called on Japan’s government to “take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of Mr. Ghosn without delay.” A determination of whether detention is arbitrary is based on various criteria, including international norms of justice.While Ghosn is no longer in Japan, having fled in a dramatic operation that drew headlines worldwide, the opinion could weigh on minds in courtrooms in the country and beyond. It could affect, for example, the possible extradition of two Americans, Michael Taylor and his son Peter, whom Japanese prosecutors say helped the executive sneak out of Japan.Ghosn, a 66-year-old with French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, led Japanese automaker Nissan for two decades, rescuing it from near-bankruptcy. He was arrested in November 2018 on charges of breach of trust, in misusing company assets for personal gain, and violating securities laws in not fully disclosing his compensation. He denies wrongdoing.In December, he fled Japan to Lebanon while out on bail awaiting trial, meaning his case will not go on in Japan. Interpol has issued a wanted notice but his extradition from Lebanon is unlikely.The five-member working group, which is made up of independent experts, called on Japan to ensure a “full and independent investigation” of Ghosn’s detention, and asked the government “to take appropriate measures against those responsible for the violation of his rights.”The working group said that “the appropriate remedy would be to accord Mr. Ghosn an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations."The opinions of the working group are not binding on countries but aim to hold them up to their own human rights commitments. Among its past rulings involved the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who was likewise deemed to have had his human rights violated.The panel, which is independent from the United Nations, noted a string of allegations from Ghosn and his representatives, such as that he was subjected to solitary confinement and long interrogations at day or night, and denied access to court pleadings. His team claimed that interrogations of Ghosn were aimed to extract a confession.Japan’s system has been repeatedly criticized by human rights advocates. The panel cited previous concerns about Japan’s so-called “daiyo kangoku” system of detention and interrogation that relies heavily on confessions and could expose detainees to torture, ill-treatment and coercion.Japan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the government had applied “appropriate procedures” in the case, and it could not provide full information to the working group before a trial had begun. For that reason, the ministry added, it would be inappropriate for the working group to make a decision on the Ghosn case “based on limited information and biased allegations” from him and his team.“The opinion is totally unacceptable, and is not legally binding,” the ministry statement said. It also warned that the opinion could set a dangerous precedent, and “encourage those who would stand criminal trial to entertain the idea that flight can be justified and prevent the realization of justice and the proper functioning of the criminal justice system in each country.”"Japan can by no means accept the opinion of the Working Group regarding the case of the defendant Carlos Ghosn," it added.Ghosn lawyer Jessica Finelle welcomed the “brave” decision by the panel and said its members had been “hard on the Japanese legal system” and the way that Japanese authorities treated Mr. Ghosn, "specifically, violating numerous times his presumption of innocence, presenting him as guilty, orchestrating two of his arrests with the media...”Ghosn was “very happy” and “relieved” about the opinion, she said."He is somehow is getting back his dignity because he’s been humiliated during this time that he was held in Japan,” she said.Ghosn has accused Nissan and Japanese officials of conspiring to bring him down to block a fuller integration of Nissan with its French alliance partner Renault SA of France.Ghosn's lawyers filed a petition with the working group in March last year, appealing to its role to look into cases in which governments are alleged to have wrongly detained individuals under agreed international human rights conventions.Its members declined to speak to reporters about the opinion, the U.N. human rights office said.____Jeffrey Schaeffer reported from Paris.Jamey Keaten And Jeffrey Schaeffer, The Associated Press
There could be a stand-off at a Whitehorse construction site this week over the issue of outside workers.A contractor building a downtown mixed-use apartment building for the Challenge Disability Resource Group plans to bring in workers from Manitoba.Under a Yukon government program the workers will self-isolate while they're on the job. Rob Babcock, who works as a site supervisor for a Whitehorse electrical sub-contractor at the Challenge building, said he's sceptical the outside workers and local crews will be able to completely avoid each other on the project."You know, from my perspective, I just don't see how having people on site with us accounts as self isolation," Babcock said."It goes against everything that we've been doing and I don't know how it's fair if I were to leave the territory to come back. I would have to self isolate, not work for 14 days."The outside workers are coming from Manitoba, a COVID-19 hotspot, he said, and he wonders who will enforce their self-isolation on the job and during their off hours.He said other contractors have told him they won't stay on the site if the Manitobans show up."I myself have told my boss that I will probably do the same, and I imagine most of my guys will also follow me on that, you know, the risk is too much," Babcock said.The executive director of Challenge, Jillian Hardie, said she's confident the self-isolation plan can protect the workers."We're all responsible during this pandemic for ourselves. So with these crews that are coming in on the alternative self-isolation plan, they are responsible to maintain this plan," Hardie said.She said they will not be working in the same areas of the building and will have their own lunchroom and washroom.The out-of-town workers will wear armbands to identify themselves, she said.Hardie said the local sub-contractors also have the right to work elsewhere for the two week self-isolation period.The contractor, Edmonton-based Johnston Builders, asked the Yukon government for permission to use the alternative self-isolation plan at the site and it was approved by Community Services Minister John Streicker, she said.Streicker was questioned by Yukon NDP leader MLA Kate White about that decision in the legislature Thursday."Can the minister explain why he would allow a company to bring in workers from Manitoba with the highest Covid[-19] rate per capita in the country to fly into Whitehorse to work on a construction project?" White asked.Streicker said there have been about 400 applications in Yukon so far this year for the alternative self-isolation plan, but not all have been approved."They can apply for an alternative self-isolation, indicating that they self-isolate, but they can do so on the job site if they prove and can carry that out in such a way as to keep it safe and separate," Streicker said.The government gets an opinion from the chief medical officer of health before the plans are approved, he added.