Scientists are trying to figure out what caused a massive landslide in a remote area of B.C. They fear that if climate change was the reason, there will be more.
Scientists are trying to figure out what caused a massive landslide in a remote area of B.C. They fear that if climate change was the reason, there will be more.
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
At today’s press conference from the Legislative Building in Regina, Premier Moe and Dr. Shahab expressed their condolences not only to the families of the fourteen individuals who were reported to have passed today, but also to those reported since last week. Over the past week 46 residents of the province have passed away due to COVID-19. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 254. This continues the downward trend of the past week and although it is slow it is a positive result. The highest seven-day average was posted on January 12 at 321 and another seven-day average of 320 recorded on January 15. Further evaluation of the provincial trends has led Premier Moe to extend the current public health order which came into effect December 17th. Current measures will now remain in effect for a further three weeks until February 19, 2021. It is hoped that the three-week extension will prevent a spike in cases that might result from Valentine’s Day and the Family Day statutory holiday which happens on February 15th this year. Dr. Shahab added that the three-week window will take us to the February school break which may also provide a respite in transmissions. Public health officials will continue to monitor COVID-19 transmission trends throughout this period and make new recommendations prior to the expiration of these measures. Although Manitoba has enacted a 14-day quarantine period for those who travel intra-provincially, this is seen as an unnecessary move by Saskatchewan since we have a number of people who work across the borders of both Alberta and Manitoba and restrictions of that sort will severely impact those people. As long as individuals who must travel to other provinces for work follow all the necessary precautions, there should be no need to follow Manitoba. Dr. Shahab reminded all that non-essential travel is not recommended. As well the Premier has called for an increase in enforcement measures. Enforcement of public health orders is permitted under The Public Health Act, 1994. With that Public health inspectors will be supported in their efforts to ticket violators quickly, to ensure that businesses and events are brought into compliance as quickly as possible in addition to the enforcement efforts that have been undertaken by police agencies throughout the province. The Premier also stated that they will continue to release the names of those businesses who have been fined for non-compliance. Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
TORONTO — Canada's main stock index suffered its worst drop of the year on a broad-based decline led by the energy and technology sectors. The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 126.61 points to 17,779.41. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 22.96 points at 30,937.04. The S&P 500 index was down 5.74 points at 3,849.62, while the Nasdaq composite was down 9.93 points at 13,626.06. The Canadian dollar traded for 78.73 cents US compared with 78.51 cents US on Monday. The March crude oil contract was down 16 cents at US$52.61 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was up 3.8 cents at nearly US$2.64 per mmBTU. The February gold contract was down US$4.30 at US$1,850.90 an ounce and the March copper contract was down a penny at US$3.62 a pound. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Tuesday rescinded a Trump-era memo that established a “zero tolerance” enforcement policy for migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, which resulted in thousands of family separations. Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued the new memo to federal prosecutors across the nation, saying the department would return to its longstanding previous policy and instructing prosecutors to act on the merits of individual cases. “Consistent with this longstanding principle of making individualized assessments in criminal cases, I am rescinding — effective immediately — the policy directive,” Wilkinson wrote. Wilkinson said the department’s principles have “long emphasized that decisions about bringing criminal charges should involve not only a determination that a federal offence has been committed and that the admissible evidence will probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction, but should also take into account other individualized factors, including personal circumstances and criminal history, the seriousness of the offence, and the probable sentence or other consequences that would result from a conviction.” The “zero tolerance” policy meant that any adult caught crossing the border illegally would be prosecuted for illegal entry. Because children cannot be jailed with their family members, families were separated and children were taken into custody by Health and Human Services, which manages unaccompanied children at the border. While the rescinding of “zero tolerance” is in part symbolic, it undoes the Trump administration’s massively unpopular policy responsible for the separation of more than 5,500 children from their parents at the U.S-Mexico border. Most families have not been prosecuted under zero tolerance since 2018, when the separations were halted, though separations have continued on a smaller scale. Practically, the ending of the policy will affect mostly single men who have entered the country illegally. “While policies may change, our mission always remains the same: to seek justice under the law," Wilkinson wrote in the memo. President Joe Biden has issued an executive order to undo some of Trump’s restrictive policies, but the previous administration has so altered the immigration landscape that it will take quite a while to untangle all the major changes. Some of the parents separated from their children were deported. Advocates for the families have called on Biden to allow those families to reunite in the United States. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, along with Trump and other top leaders in his administration, were bent on curbing immigration. The “zero tolerance” policy was one of several increasingly restrictive policies aimed at discouraging migrants from coming to the Southern border. Trump’s administration also vastly reduced the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. and all but halted asylum at the border, through a combination of executive orders and regulation changes. The policy was a disaster; there was no system created to reunite children with their families. A report from the Justice Department’s inspector general, released earlier this month, found that the policy led to a $227 million funding shortfall. Children suffered lasting emotional damage from the separations and the policy was criticized as grossly inhumane by world leaders. The policy began April 6, 2018, under an executive order that was issued without warning to other federal agencies that would have to manage the policy, including the U.S. Marshals Service and Health and Human Services. It was halted June 20, 2018. A federal judge ordered the families to be reunited and is still working to do so. The watchdog report also found that Sessions and other top officials knew the children would be separated under the policy and encouraged it. Justice officials ignored concerns from staff about the rollout and did not bother to set up a system to track families in order to reunite them. Some children are still separated. ___ Follow Balsamo and Long on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 and https://twitter.com/ctlong1. Michael Balsamo And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
Ojibway Park will be closed to the public from Wednesday to Friday for trail maintenance. The temporary closure will give staff time to replenish mulch on the trails, which will help maintain the safety of the paths for users, said the City of Windsor in a news release Tuesday. The maintenance is needed during the winter months when the ground is frozen and wildlife are hibernating, the city said. In the meantime, the city said there are other city-owned natural areas to explore including Black Oak Heritage Park, Tallgrass Prairie Heritage Park, Spring Garden Natural Area, Oakwood Natural Area, South Cameron Natural Area and Little River Corridor. More from CBC Windsor
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats are preparing to push ahead quickly on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package even if it means using procedural tools to pass the legislation on their own, leaving Republicans behind. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told senators to be ready to vote as soon as next week on a budget reconciliation package that would lay the groundwork for swift passage. Coming so soon in Biden's administration, the action provides a first test of Republican opposition to the White House priorities as well as to the new president's promise of a “unity” agenda. “The work must move forward, preferably with our Republican colleagues, but without them if we must," Schumer said after a private meeting of Democratic senators. "Time is of the essence to address this crisis. We're keeping all options open on the table.” Unwilling to wait for Republicans who argue Biden's price tag is too high and his priorities too wide-ranging, Democrats are flexing their newfound power as they take control of the Senate alongside the House and White House. It is the first time in a decade the party has held the full sweep of power in Washington, and Democrats say they have no time to waste trying to broker compromises with Republicans that may, or may not, happen. They have watched Republicans use similar procedural tools to advance their priorities, most recently the Trump administration’s GOP tax cuts. The fast-moving events days into the new majority on Capitol Hill come as the White House continued meeting privately with groups of Republican and Democratic lawmakers in hopes of striking a bipartisan agreement. Biden's COVID-19 aid package includes money for vaccine distribution, school reopenings and $1,400 direct payments to households and gradually boosts the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years. The next steps remain highly fluid. The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus of more than 50 House lawmakers met virtually Tuesday with top administration officials on the virus aid and economic recovery package. A White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the virtual conversation with the caucus, said there was agreement on the scope of the challenges facing the country and the need for additional relief. Biden and other members of his team intend to continue making their case to lawmakers about the need to act with urgency. Separately, the dozen senators who emerged from a lengthy private meeting with the White House on Sunday evening are talking on their own about trying to craft a more targeted bill. The bipartisan group of senators assembled privately again Monday evening. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters earlier Tuesday that Biden is still looking to negotiate on an aid package, while emphasizing that several components of the existing aid will lapse in March. “He laid out his big package, his big vision of what it should look like, and people are giving their feedback,” Psaki said. "He’s happy to have those discussions and fully expects it’s not going to look exactly the same on the other end.” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who led a bipartisan effort for the last $900 billion relief package, is working again with the senators on crafting an alternative package that she has said would be more focused on money for vaccine distribution and tailored economic assistance to the neediest Americans. Collins said Tuesday that the White House made good on its commitment to deliver a more detailed accounting of the proposed expenditure. But she said the group is still waiting for data on how much funding remains unallocated from past relief measures that, by her tally, totals a whopping $1.8 trillion still unspent. Congress has approved some $4 trillion in emergency aid since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year, a stunning outlay and the largest rescue package in the nation's history. Senators from both parties who joined the White House call over the weekend agreed the priority needs to be standing up the country's faltering vaccine distribution system. With the death toll climbing, and new strains of the virus threatening more trouble ahead, ensuring vaccinations appears to be crucial to stemming the COVID-19 crisis. Several senators from both parties also said they want the $1,400 direct checks to be more targeted to those in need. They also want an accounting of what remains from previously approved aid bills. But Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and the incoming Budget Committee chair, said he is already working on the budget package for next week and expanding it to include Biden's proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years. Raising the wage is a long-running Democratic priority that would essentially double the current $7.25 hourly wage set the last time the party was in control in the Obama administration. Advocates say the pay raise would boost millions of full-time workers from poverty. “There is a consensus,” Sanders told reporters at the Capitol. “If Republicans are not prepared to come on board, that’s fine. We’re not going to wait. We’re going forward soon and aggressively.” Lisa Mascaro And Josh Boak, The Associated Press
A more contagious strain of COVID-19 may be spreading rapidly through the Simcoe-Muskoka region, public health officials said Tuesday after testing showed 99 more people likely had a variant of the virus. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit said most of the cases are linked to an outbreak at a Barrie, Ont., long-term care home that has killed 46 people and infected more than 200. A variant of the virus first identified in the U.K. has already been found in several cases there. But two of the 99 variant cases have no known link, including a staff member who is part of a small outbreak at the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, in Penetanguishene, Ont. The other person was not connected to any known outbreak. Further test results, expected in the coming days, will identify the specific variant that has been found in the 99 cases. Officials believe it is likely the U.K. variant. But the fact that nearly 100 cases of a variant were found -- with some not connected to any known outbreak -- suggests a different strain of COVID-19 is likely spreading in the community, said Dr. Charles Gardner, the region's top doctor. "If it isn’t readily spreading in our community now, it may very well do so in the near future," he said. "It’s really, really important that people take that to heart and behave accordingly." Tuesday's figures on the variant came from an ongoing study by Public Health Ontario that’s screening all positive COVID-19 tests from Jan. 20 for three new "variants of concern" for a provincewide snapshot of their prevalence. The current numbers might be the "tip of the iceberg" in Simcoe-Muskoka, Gardner said. Gardner said it was also concerning that 42 close contacts of those working at the Barrie long-term care home, Roberta Place, have been infected COVID-19. He said he believes everyone in the Roberta Place outbreak has the U.K. variant and noted that the facility's outbreak currently accounts for 42 per cent of all outbreak-related deaths recorded in the local health unit during the pandemic. "That one outbreak alone has had a major impact locally on the total mortality figure that we’ve had," he said. "Clearly tragic." Gardner also said that one person infected in another long-term care home outbreak in Bradford, Ont., south of Barrie, had one of the three "variants of concern," with further tests underway to confirm which one. The infected person at Bradford Valley Care Community had been in contact with another individual who tested positive for the U.K. variant. Public health officials in Simcoe-Muskoka said they would be prioritizing long-term care home residents in Barrie and Bradford for COVID-19 vaccinations going forward, given the increased risk of infection from the new variant that's considered more transmissible. Public Health Ontario is in the process of ramping up screening to find cases of the new strains labelled "variants of concern," which first emerged in the U.K., Brazil and South Africa. Officials said Monday that a clearer picture of where the variants are in Ontario would come in the next few days. Only the U.K. variant had been detected in Ontario as of Monday, with cases confirmed in Toronto, Ottawa, York, Durham, Peel, Simcoe, Middlesex-London and the Kingston area. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
DENVER — The Vatican has cleared a retired U.S. bishop of multiple allegations he sexually abused minors and teenagers, rejecting lay experts' determination that a half-dozen claims were credible and instead slapping him on the wrist for what it called “flagrant" imprudent behaviour. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith exonerated retired Cheyenne, Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart of seven accusations of abuse and determined that five others couldn’t be proven “with moral certitude.” Two other cases involving boys who were 16 and 17 couldn’t be prosecuted because the Catholic Church didn’t consider them minors at the time of the alleged abuse, the diocese reported Monday. A 13th allegation wasn’t addressed in the decree. Hart, 89, had long maintained his innocence and denied all allegations of misconduct. His attorney, Thomas Jubin, said multiple allegations against Hart were “specious,” with some based on second- and third-hand information, and with some accusers emphasizing that Hart didn't physically touch them. “Despite this, Bishop Hart asks me to convey that he continues to pray for all involved in this case so that they may find peace and healing. He now asks, and I ask, too, that he may now be afforded peace in the twilight of this life as he prepares to meet his God in the next,” Jubin said in a statement. The Vatican decision clearly disappointed Hart’s successor, Bishop Steven Biegler, who stressed that the Vatican’s findings didn’t mean Hart was innocent, just that the Holy See determined that the high burden of proof hadn’t been met. “Today, I want the survivors to know that I support and believe you” Biegler said in a statement. “I understand that this announcement will not bring closure to the survivors, their family members, Bishop Hart and all those affected.” It also disappointed Darrel Hunter, who said he and his two brothers were abused by Hart after he was assigned to worked at Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Kansas City near their home in the 1950s. Hunter, 73, of Prairie Village, Kan., said he did not expect the Vatican to punish Hart but he was concerned about how it treated those who came forward to say they had been abused. He said he did not understand how Vatican officials could discount their allegations, particularly because many alleged victims live hundreds of miles apart and did not have any connection besides Hart. He said he had not heard of any victims being interviewed as part of the Vatican’s investigation, which made the “moral certitude” conclusion like a slap in the face to victims. “It’s like they said ’We’re not going to talk to you but we’re pretty sure what you’re saying didn’t happen,” said Hunter. In Cheyenne, Biegler has previously stood by the findings of his review board, which determined a half-dozen claims were credible. And his diocesan statement noted the qualifications of its members: “law enforcement; school administration; a doctor of psychology; a pediatrician; a psychotherapist, who treats sexually abused children; and a judge, who was a criminal prosecutor for 13 years involving crimes against children, primarily child sexual abuse.” On the other hand, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, or CDF, relies on the judgment of priests and bishop canon lawyers, and ultimately the pope. The Vatican for decades has been criticized by victims’ groups for giving bishops a pass when they have been accused of sexual abuse themselves or of covering it up. A few exceptions have been made in recent years, most famously in the case of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked after the CDF determined he had abused minors as well as adults, including during confession — essentially the same allegations against Hart. As a result, the sentence showed the arbitrary nature of Vatican’s canonical sex abuse deliberations and judgments, which aren't public. Hart’s previous diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph reached court settlements years ago with at least 10 victims. But Wyoming criminal prosecutors also decided last year not to proceed with charging Hart. Anne Barrett Doyle, of the online resource BishopAccountability.org, said the Vatican ruling was “heartbreaking and disgraceful" and showed that church law is biased in favour of priests and bishops. “Defenders of canon law might point to the punishment of ex-cardinal McCarrick as evidence that the system works. But for every McCarrick, there are five Harts: bishops who retain their titles and pensions in the face of multiple allegations," she said in an email, adding that the ruling calls into question Pope Francis' vow to hold bishops accountable. In its decree, the CDF rebuked Hart “for his flagrant lack of prudence as a priest and bishop for being alone with minors in his private residence and on various trips which could have been potential occasions endangering the ‘obligation to observe continence’ and that would ‘give rise to scandal among the faithful,'” the diocese said. Hart was also rebuked for failing to observe previous Vatican restrictions prohibiting him from having contact with minors and seminarians and from participating in public engagements, the diocese said, adding that those restrictions remain in place. Jubin, Hart's lawyer, criticized Biegler for what he said was “grandstanding” and trying to disregard due process by trying to convict Hart in the “court of public opinion.” The Associated Press has learned that the CDF had tasked the investigation into Hart to Indianapolis Bishop Charles Thompson, who made headlines in 2019 when he ordered two Catholic high schools to fire teachers in same-sex marriages. After one Jesuit school refused, the Vatican temporarily suspended Thompson's order rescinding the school's Catholic recognition. The CDF under its current leadership seems to follow recommendations from local bishops who investigate sex crimes, while it used to take a more proactive role in sanctioning and defrocking accused clerics. Hart was a priest in Kansas City, Missouri, for 21 years before moving to Wyoming, where he served as auxiliary and then full bishop from 1976 until his retirement in 2001. The first known allegations against Hart dated to the early 1960s and were made in the late 1980s. At least six men came forward in the past few years to say Hart abused them in Wyoming. ___ Winfield reported from Rome. Associated Press writer Margaret Stafford in Liberty, Mo. also contributed to this report. Nicole Winfield And Colleen Slevin, The Associated Press
PRAGUE, Czech Republic — Jozef Venglos, a Slovak coach who was the first manager born outside Britain and Ireland to take charge of a top-tier club in England, has died. He was 84. Slovakia’s soccer association said Venglos died Tuesday surrounded by his family. No details about the cause of death were given. The association described him as “the greatest personality of Slovak soccer.” Venglos was a respected, experienced coach when he arrived in Birmingham in 1990 to take charge of Aston Villa in the first division for what was the toughest job of his illustrious career. “You have to have a joy from football, even as manager,” Venglos told The Associated Press in a 2016 interview at his house in the Slovak capital of Bratislava. “There’s a specific feature of English football, that it’s inspirational in all aspects: for the managers, players and of course fans.” The Premier League has since had a number of star-studded coaches from overseas, such as Juergen Klopp at Liverpool, Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and Tottenham, and Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. Venglos, who was not a household name in Britain when he arrived, became the “First One.” “It was a surprise to me,” Venglos said. “But also an appreciation of what I had done. It was a well-managed and controlled club.” When Venglos was introduced as the Villa manager, the media at the news conference remained silent when they were asked: “Hands up those of you who know this man.” Prior to his job at Villa, Venglos’ biggest successes came in international football. He was an assistant coach to Vaclav Jezek when Czechoslovakia won the European Championship in 1976. Four years later, he was in sole charge as he led his national team to third place at Euro 1980. At the 1990 World Cup, he led the team to the quarterfinals. After his spell in England, Venglos moved to Fenerbahce in Turkey and later to Celtic in Scotland. The coach with a degree in physical education and known as Dr. Jo — or the Doctor — also led the national teams of Australia, Malaysia, Oman and Slovakia. In 1995, he became the president of the European Coaches Union and led European and World select teams on several occasions. In his homeland, he was named the coach of the 20th century. Coming from behind the Iron Curtain just a year after it collapsed, Venglos’ appointment by Villa chairman Doug Ellis looked revolutionary. Taking over from Graham Taylor, Venglos was ready and eager to move the team from the traditional English physical style and apply new methods, starting with a more passing approach, pre-match warmups and new diets. Venglos had playmaker David Platt, but many in his squad didn’t seem ready to adopt the changes he was making. And with expectations high and the media critical, the coach himself had a hard time adapting. No bitter memories, though. “The players were true professionals,” Venglos said. “I would say there was a mutual respect between us and that kept us moving forward. I think we understood each other. And that’s important that the team follows the coach, respects him, and the results follow. The results are key, in any country.” At times, it worked, namely in a 2-0 victory at Villa Park over Inter Milan in the UEFA Cup. But victories were not as frequent as hoped. Villa ended the season in 17th place, a significant drop from the second-place finish the previous season. Venglos developed high blood pressure during the season and continued to face criticism from the media, finally resigning despite an offer from Ellis to continue. Ron Atkinson replaced him. “I learned a lot,” said Venglos, who closely followed the results of the team after his departure. “I watch Aston Villa. I feel joy when things go well for the club.” In 2016, Venglos said he would never forget Alex Ferguson’s gesture when Villa played Manchester United for the first time. “Alex Ferguson came to welcome me and said, ‘If you need anything, don’t hesitate to call me, I’m happy to help,’” Venglos said. “It was a sign of real professionalism and attitude to football.” In 2014, Venglos received the highest honour by FIFA, the Order of Merit, for the development of the game. He is survived by his wife Eva and his sons, Jozef and Juraj. “Mr. Venglos, we will never forget you,” the association said. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Karel Janicek, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he remains confident in Canada's vaccine supplies despite threats from Europe that it might impose export controls on vaccines produced on that continent. Speaking to reporters outside his Ottawa residence Tuesday morning, Trudeau said the situation in Europe is worrisome but he is "very confident" Canada is going to get all the COVID-19 vaccine doses promised by the end of March. And despite the sharp decline in deliveries of a vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech this month, he said Canada will still vaccinate all Canadians who want shots by the end of September. "We will continue to work closely with Europe to ensure that we are sourcing, that we are receiving the vaccines that we have signed for, that we are due," Trudeau said. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video statement posted to Twitter Tuesday that Europe will set up a "vaccine export transparency mechanism" so Europe knows exactly how many doses are being produced in the world's largest trading bloc and where they are being shipped. "Europe invested billions to help develop the world‘s first COVID-19 vaccines to create a truly global common good," she said. "And now the companies must deliver." Europe is also getting smaller shipments from Pfizer than promised, because the company temporarily slowed production at its plant in Belgium so it can be expanded. AstraZeneca has also warned Europe its first shipments of vaccine will be smaller than expected because of production problems. But Europe, which invested more than C$4 billion in vaccine development, is demanding the companies fulfil their contracts on time. "Europe is determined to contribute to this global common good but it also means business," said von der Leyen. International Trade Minister Mary Ng said she had spoken to her European counterpart, Valdis Dombrovskis, about the situation and will keep working with Europe to keep the supply chain open. "There is not a restriction on the export of vaccines to Canada," Ng said in question period. Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner accused Ng of playing games with her response, noting the issue isn't that there is an export ban now, but that Europe is threatening to impose one. With all of Canada's current vaccine doses coming from Europe, "that's a concern," Rempel Garner said. "If the Europeans ban exports of vaccines, what's Plan B for Canada?" she asked. Both Pfizer and Moderna are making doses of their vaccine in the U.S. and in Europe, but all U.S.-made doses are currently only shipped within the U.S. Former U.S. president Donald Trump invoked the Defence Production Act last year to prevent export of personal protection equipment. He then signed an executive order in December demanding U.S.-produced vaccines be prioritized for Americans only and threatened to use the act to halt vaccine exports as well. President Joe Biden has already invoked the act to push for faster production of PPE and vaccines. Though he has not specifically mentioned exports, Biden has promised 100 million Americans will be vaccinated within his first 100 days of office, making the prospects the U.S. shares any of its vaccine supply unlikely. Canada has contracts with five other vaccine makers, but only two are on the verge of approval here. AstraZeneca, which has guaranteed Canada 20 million doses, needs to finish a big U.S. trial before Health Canada decides whether to authorize it. Johnson and Johnson is to report results from its Phase 3 trial next week, one of the final things needed before Health Canada can make a decision about it. Canada is to get 10 million doses from Johnson and Johnson, but it is the one vaccine that so far is administered as only a single dose. Trudeau said AstraZeneca isn't supplying Canada from its European production lines. A spokeswoman for Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Canada will not say where the other vaccines are coming from because of the concerns about security of supplies. AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson have set up multiple production lines in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, India, Australia and Africa. Canada has no current ability to produce either those vaccines or the ones from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. It is entirely reliant on foreign production at the moment. More than 113,000 people in Canada have received two full doses of either the Moderna or BioNTech vaccine. Another 752,000 have received a single dose. But the reduction in Pfizer shipments to Canada forced most provinces to slow the pace of injections. Europe, Mexico, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia also have slowed their vaccination campaigns because of the supply limits. Trudeau said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla assured him the full shipments will resume in mid-February, and that Canada will get its contracted four million doses by the end of March. He said he spoke to Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel Tuesday morning and was promised Moderna's shipments of two million doses by March 31 are also on track. MPs were scheduled to have an emergency debate on Canada's vaccine program Tuesday night. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
Colin Ratushniak is happy to see a new batch of vaccines coming into his town of La Ronge the past week. The first batch of first dose Moderna vaccines was delivered on Jan. 8, with the newly elected mayor of La Ronge getting the vaccine himself when it first arrived. Ratushniak said he was happy to see the second round of first vaccines coming to La Ronge later in January but he is expecting more challenges coming their way. “There has to be a lot more management to make sure that the second dosages are available for those people who already did receive the first one. It's going to become a little bit more challenging to make sure that happens.” Ratushniak has full trust in the health care providers in La Ronge but that will be something to be made aware of as residents reach that 28-day second dose period. The rollout has been chaotic, he said, with eligible people only given hours of notice for when they can get the vaccine. During the Jan. 19 press conference, Saskatchewan Health Authority CEO Scott Livingstone addressed the issue of the lack of social media and cell phone usage among Saskatchewan seniors, and said they are currently using the same infrastructure as they would with getting information out about flu clinics. With the storage needs of the vaccine being a challenge in small communities, time is of the essence when administering the vaccine and the Health Authority is still working on the best ways of getting the word out to those who are eligible to receive it. “We are looking at multiple ways of having the ability to contact whether that's through social media, through newspapers, through radio advertisements, direct telephone calls to patients that are, are viewed as eligible to receive a vaccine More education is also needed with people either choosing not to be vaccinated or getting the vaccine and then believing they do not have to follow public health protocols that are still in place, Ratushniak said. “There’s this false sense of believing that once you get the vaccination that you don't have to follow any protocols, and you don't have to wear a mask anymore, you can do whatever you want. That's simply not the case until we see a 70 per cent vaccination rate.” Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Tisdale town council is looking to change their zoning bylaws after a letter was sent to the council from a resident regarding potentially putting in a secondary suite at their home. During the Jan. 25 council meeting, the council discussed the possibility of allowing these suites for additional income for property owners, said Brad Hvidston, Tisdale’s administrator. The bylaw received its first reading during the meeting with the town hosting a public meeting in March to discuss the change further and allow the public to voice any concerns that they may have. There was little discussion going into the first reading of the bylaw with councillors not having many concerns regarding secondary suites at this time, Hvidston said. February might bring even more changes to the town’s zoning bylaws, he said, as the town will be taking a deeper look at their zoning and community plans. “We're just going to be starting our first meeting consultation process here in February. So we fully expected our whole zoning bylaws going to be redone by June or July for the whole town and the RM. We're doing it as a joint regional project with them.” The last time the zoning bylaw was examined by staff and council was 2005, Hvidston said, so it is time to have that deeper look and see that zones have been adhered to and that the current zones make sense. “We've done a ton of amendments to the zoning bylaw. Even just to follow the zoning bylaw now is getting tougher and tougher because you've got to follow up on all the amendments and changes.” Out buildings, like garages, shipping containers, and sheds, is one area that the town will definitely have to take a closer look at since that part of the zoning bylaw has faced many amendments over the years, Hvidston said. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
The new Peggys Cove viewing platform will mostly replace a paved turning lane and won't be built over any important Mi'kmaw sites, the CEO of Develop Nova Scotia said Tuesday. Jennifer Angel leads the provincial Crown corporation building the platform. Angel said she listened to the protests against the platform over the weekend and understands how much people care about the area. "We're reclaiming that space for people," she told CBC Radio's Information Morning. Angel said 12,000 square feet of the deck will replace an existing paved turning circle. Another 2,000 square feet will extend beyond that, she said. "There's a portion we're calling the Nose that is cantilevered out over some of the rocks in a bit of a more dramatic experience," she said. People will still be able to walk over the rocks and paths to the lighthouse and enjoy uninterrupted views of the ocean, she said. Some of the weekend protesters complained that they hadn't been consulted. A Mi'kmaw activist said it could block access to sacred sweet grass. Angel said they've been consulting widely since 2018, including with the 40 people who live in the village. "This is the largest and deepest public engagement we've ever done," she said. "But we do think the concerns raised are authentic and are rooted in a true desire to protect the place." Angel said she's spoken to the Mi'kmaq Friendship Centre in Halifax and with the activist, and has planned a site visit with them and a botanist. "We're 99 per cent confident we're not in conflict with any sacred sites, but we're going to double check. And we will not be building a platform over a sacred Mi'kmaw site," Angel said. Angel said people can join a public webinar Thursday at 6 p.m. to learn more. 'It's what a kind society does' Paul Vienneau, an activist for people with disabilities and Halifax's accessibility consultant, said the platform will open up Peggys Cove to more people. "I've had a 30-year span where I haven't been able to take part fully in many things," said Vienneau, who uses a wheelchair. "When I hear my human rights and my right of access easily debated away, it kind of makes me feel like I don't count as a citizen." He said making the spot accessible to more people outweighs the changes to the area. "I think it's what a kind society does. I think it's what an enlightened society does," he said. "To have a safe place to sit in that air and look at all the rocks and the lighthouse and the ocean — I can't wait for that." Gerry Post, an accessibility advocate, also welcomed the changes. He praised Develop Nova Scotia for taking accessibility seriously and said they've done great work. "Before I became disabled — I use a wheelchair — I used to go frequently. Whenever visitors come from away, it's the first thing you do, right? You go to Peggys Cove and show it off and enjoy it," he said Tuesday. "Since that, I've been there once, but basically sat in the car in the parking lot. It's not a very accessible place to enjoy that wonderful space there." Post hopes the new public bathrooms will be fully accessible, including changing tables for young children and for adults who need support. "It's not a big expense when you design it in from the front end," he said. Work has not started on the platform, but it's due to open in June. MORE TOP STORIES
Police in the Northwest Territories are warning people not to use illicit drugs after two noxious substances were found in drugs seized in Yellowknife.RCMP say they seized crack cocaine, powder cocaine and tablets on Nov. 27 at a residence in the city.A Health Canada analysis of the drugs found two toxic substances not found before in the territory. Those substances are: Adinazolam, a type of tranquillizer that is listed under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act; and, 5-MeO-DBT, a psychedelic drug that is not controlled.Yellowknife RCMP Insp. Dyson Smith says he's concerned those who already use illicit drugs in the territory could be harmed by the substances.The RCMP says it's working with the government to address the potential impacts."RCMP always warn against illicit drug use, however, with the presence of two new substances in drugs seized in a Northwest Territories community, the danger of illicit drug use has increased," police said in a news release Tuesday.Dr. Andy Delli Pizzi, deputy chief public health officer, says there is concern the two substances could cause unexpected reactions or contain other contaminants like opioids."People who use street or illicit drugs should always do so with others present and have a plan to respond to an overdose. The plan should include having naloxone present and calling 911 for help with any overdose," Pizzi said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is expanding its travel restrictions to require all domestic travellers to self-isolate for 14 days after entering the province. Since last June, only people arriving from areas east of Terrace Bay in northern Ontario have been subject to the requirement. But, starting Friday, all out-of-province arrivals will be covered by the public-health measure to help fight the spread of COVID-19. "This is being done out of an abundance of caution to protect Manitobans," Premier Brian Pallister said Tuesday. The move is needed because of the growing spread of novel coronavirus variants and because of delays in vaccine supplies, he said. There will be ongoing exceptions for people travelling for essential work and medical care, and a new exemption for residents of border communities who cross into Saskatchewan or Ontario for necessities. Pallister also called on the federal government to tighten rules governing international travellers. He said a ban on non-essential trips, as suggested by Quebec Premier Francois Legault last week, should be on the table. "We believe that a total travel ban may be something the federal government needs to consider seriously," Pallister said. "I respect that the federal government has to make this call and that's why I'm not trying to be overly prescriptive with what Manitoba wants. ... I'm simply adding my voice to those of the premiers who have said, 'Make a decision on this and doing nothing is not an option.'" Pallister also revealed that he had disciplined James Teitsma, a Progressive Conservative caucus member, who travelled with his family to British Columbia in December. The vacation did not contravene any formal public-health orders, but went against advice to avoid non-essential travel. Pallister did not say what discipline Teitsma was subjected to, and Teitsma did not return requests for comment. He sits on cabinet and Legislature committees and receives extra pay as chairman of one. A recently updated list of members of the cabinet committee on economic growth no longer includes Teitsma's name. Manitoba's COVID-19 case count continued its downward trend Tuesday. Health officials reported 92 additional cases and five deaths. Numbers have been dropping since late fall, shortly after the province brought in tight restrictions on public gatherings and store openings. Some of the measures were eased on the weekend to allow small social gatherings in private homes and non-essential store openings with limited capacity. "It's trending the right way again, but we still have a number of people in hospital ... so it still is a burden on the acute-care system," said Dr. Jazz Atwal, acting deputy chief public health officer. Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew said he supports the government's expanded travel restrictions, but said the province must build up intensive care units, which are running well above pre-pandemic capacity. "Let's use this time to make the investments in our health care system so that we can withstand what's coming, potentially, as the pandemic drags on," Kinew said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
Public health regulations in the Sudbury district could be made even more restrictive than the current lockdown and stay-at-home order if a variant of the COVID-19 virus somehow increases the number of infections. The issue was discussed in an online interview hosted by Science North on Monday with Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health for the Public Health Sudbury and Districts. Staff scientist Katrina Pisani joined Sutcliffe for a 40-minute discussion on why the COVID-19 guidelines in Ontario keep changing. Pisani told the online audience the purpose of the discussion was to get a better understanding of why guidelines change and what the public needs to know about the current emergency regulations and the stay-at-home order currently in place. On Monday afternoon, the province decided to expand the order for an additional two weeks. Sutcliffe said despite some initial confusion, the order was simple and direct. "So the stay-at home order is exactly that for all Ontarians, to stay home unless it is really essential that you're not at home." She said it is intended to be as simple as possible notwithstanding some of the confusion about it. This is despite speculation and questions that people might have about every little excuse to somehow get around essential reasons for leaving home. Sutcliffe said essential reasons could include such things as picking up groceries, going to the pharmacy, getting health care or doing some essential work that cannot be done from home. "It's different from the lockdown, because the lockdown is one of the areas of the coded phases for management of COVID in our province. And so those that were in the gray or lockdown parts of our province meant that they had high rates of COVID-19 and there are specific requirements there, but not an overall stay-at-home order as we have now, really to protect our health and our health-care system as we have seen rates of the disease really increase across the province," said Sutcliffe. Pisani asked about the importance of one's mental health, because some people believe it is important to get out of the house for something like a walk around the block. Sutcliffe said it was an important point as the pandemic has left many people feeling isolated, not being able to engage with their friends or their families as they would normally. She added it has had an impact on people with addictions and risks associated with drug overdoses. Sutcliffe said the stay-at-home order does allow people to go outside for exercise. It allows you to spend time with members of your own household, but not to have more than five people when you are gathered outdoors and no gatherings indoors. Sutcliffe said from the public health perspective the order does recognize the importance of having time outdoors. She said it is understood the risk of the virus outdoors is lower, with fresh air and better ventilation by not being in an enclosed space, but it is still important to wear a face mask when one is close to others in the outdoors. When asked if the outdoor activities could be made more restrictive, Sutcliffe said that had more to do not necessarily with an increase in active COVID-19 cases, but more about the kind of virus that presents itself. "People will be aware that there are the variants of concern (VOC) or different variants; the UK Variant, the South African Variant, the Brazil Variant that we understand are more transmissible," Sutcliffe explained. It was revealed Monday afternoon that a variant of the COVID virus might have infected a Sudbury person who had been travelling. That person is now in isolation. "The big concern is, as those get more commonplace and spread in our communities, what additional public health measures might be needed to prevent transmission?" said Sutcliffe. "If something is so transmissible that it might require further restrictions outdoors then those decisions, based on science, will have to be made," she added. "But really I think that the kind of virus we are seeing and the transmissibility is a big factor in that. If we're finding that being outdoors people are still gathering together closely, then there might be additional measures and we know that's been the case in some parts of the province put in place." Pisani mentioned the situation of the North Bay Parry Sound district health unit, where it was decided earlier this month that snowmobiling, outdoor skating and tobogganing would be banned for the time being. Sutcliffe also acknowledged that the pandemic is indeed frustrating and people are having a difficult time with it. “I think we are tired of hearing that we are all in it together, but we are still all in it together. And that means Team Sudbury, or Team Northern Ontario or Team Ontario or Team World. You know we are all in this together and we need to support each other.” Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
Months-long protests in India escalated on Tuesday as thousands of farmers clashed with police in New Delhi over new laws that they say will push small farmers out of the market and let private corporations exploit them.
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin held their first phone conversation as counterparts Tuesday in a phone call that underscored troubled relations and the delicate balance between the former Cold War foes. According to the White House, Biden raised concerns about the arrest of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, Russia’s alleged involvement in a massive cyber espionage campaign and reports of Russian bounties on American troops in Afghanistan. The Kremlin, meanwhile, focused on Putin’s response to Biden’s proposal to extend the last remaining U.S.-Russia arms control treaty. While the readouts from the two capitals emphasized different elements, they both suggested that U.S-Russia relations will be guided, at least at the beginning of the Biden administration, by a desire to do no harm but also no urgency to repair existing damage. The two presidents agreed to have their teams work urgently to complete a five-year extension of the New START nuclear weapons treaty that expires next month. Former President Donald Trump's administration had withdrawn from two arms control treaties with Russia and had been prepared to let New START lapse. Unlike his immediate predecessors, including Trump who was enamoured of Putin and frequently undercut his own administration's tough stance on Russia, Biden has not held out hope for a “reset” in relations. Instead he he's indicated he wants to manage differences without necessarily resolving them or improving ties. And, with a heavy domestic agenda and looming decisions needed on Iran and China, a direct confrontation with Russia is not likely something he seeks. Although the leaders agreed to work together to extend New START before it expires on Feb. 5 and to look at other areas of potential strategic co-operation, the White House said Biden was firm on U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, while Russia is supporting separatists in the country's east. Biden also raised the SolarWinds cyberhack, which has been attributed to Russia. reports of Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan, interference in the 2020 U.S. election, the poisoning of Navalny and the weekend crackdown on Navalny's supporters. “President Biden made clear that the United States will act firmly in defence of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies,” the White House said. Biden told Putin in the phone call, first reported by The Associated Press, that the U.S, would defend itself and take action, which could include further sanctions, to ensure that Moscow does not act with impunity, officials said. Moscow had reached out last week to request the call, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly. Biden agreed, but he wanted first to prepare with his staff and speak with European allies, including the a leaders of Britain, France and Germany, which he did. Before he spoke to Putin, Biden also called NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg to pledge U.S. commitment to the decades-old alliance founded as a bulwark against Russian aggression. The Kremlin's readout of the call did not address the most contentious issues between the countries, though it said the leaders also discussed other “acute issues on the bilateral and international agenda.” It described the talk as “frank and businesslike” — often a diplomatic way of referring to tense discussions. It also said Putin congratulated Biden on becoming president and “noted that normalization of ties between Russia and the United States would serve the interests of both countries." Among the issues the Kremlin said were discussed were the coronavirus pandemic, the Iran nuclear agreement, Ukraine and issues related to trade and the economy. The call came as Putin considers the aftermath of pro-Navalny protests that took place in more than 100 Russian cities over the weekend. Biden’s team has already reacted strongly to the crackdown on the protests, in which more than 3,700 people were arrested across Russia, including more than 1,400 in Moscow. More protests are planned for the coming weekend. Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner and Putin’s best-known critic, was arrested Jan. 17 as he returned to Russia from Germany, where he had spent nearly five months recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Biden has previously condemned the use of chemical weapons. Russian authorities deny the accusations. Just from the public accounts, Biden's discussion with Putin appeared diametrically opposed to Trump's. Trump had seemed to seek Putin's approval, frequently casting doubt on Russian interference in the 2016 elections, including when he stood next to Putin at their 2018 summit in Helsinki. He also downplayed Russia’s involvement in the hack of federal government agencies last year and the allegations that Russia offered the Taliban bounties. Still, despite that conciliatory approach, Trump's administration toed a tough line against Moscow, imposing sanctions on the country, Russian companies and business leaders for issues ranging from Ukraine to energy supplies and attacks on dissidents. Biden, in his call with Putin, broke sharply with Trump by declaring that he knew that Russia attempted to interfere with both the 2016 and 2020 U.S. elections. ___ Associated Press writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report. Matthew Lee And Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press
DEER LAKE, N.L. — Police in Newfoundland and Labrador said they arrested a man with a "large quantity" of knives in a parking lot outside an election candidate's office Tuesday.A spokeswoman for Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey said his campaign has been advised he was likely the intended target."The police investigation is ongoing, but from what we know so far we’d like to thank the members of the public who stepped in to do what they could to prevent an unimaginable outcome, and all police officers who ensured the safety of the public," Furey spokeswoman Meghan McCabe said in a release Tuesday evening."This is a traumatic incident, for everyone working and volunteering in Newfoundland and Labrador’s election."In a news release, RCMP said they were notified Tuesday morning about a man behaving strangely, talking about guns and saying he was going to Deer Lake in western Newfoundland to stop the provincial election, which is set for Feb. 13. Deer Lake is in the Humber-Gros Morne electoral district, where Furey is running, though McCabe confirmed he was not there at the time of the incident.Police said they found the man driving a truck just outside of Deer Lake and tried unsuccessfully to flag him down. A high-speed chase ensued as the man drove through the town and finally stopped in a parking lot at a local business, in which a provincial election candidate maintains an office, police said. "The man was removed from the vehicle and was arrested in the parking lot. Officers located and seized a large quantity of various knives inside the vehicle," RCMP said in the release. "The truck was seized and impounded."The release did not name the candidate but McCabe said in a statement that Furey's campaign was told he was likely the target. "Our team is connecting with the leadership of the other political parties and connecting with our team members on the ground in Deer Lake to offer support," she said. She said Furey would release another statement as more details become available.Police said there is no longer a concern for public safety and that they anticipate the man will be charged with "a number of criminal and traffic offences." The investigation is ongoing, they said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Ontario must take urgent action to address the rising number of COVID-19 deaths in long-term care, a group of over 200 doctors, researchers and advocates said Tuesday, calling the situation a "humanitarian crisis." In a letter to Premier Doug Ford's government, the group said the province does not appear to have learned from deadly nursing-home outbreaks during the first wave of the pandemic, which led to almost 2,000 deaths. Instead, staffing shortages, poor infection control, and a delayed response to outbreaks continue to occur in the homes with deadly consequences, the group wrote. "Due to the Ontario government's inaction ... LTC residents are at high risk of death from COVID-19," the letter said. "In many circumstances, residents are also left without basic care, hygiene, food and water. This is a human rights violation." The group recommended a series of sweeping changes across the sector to help save lives as the pandemic continues. Among them are calls to immediately bolster staffing, legislate a minimum standard of daily care for residents, and provide unrestricted access to family caregivers with personal protective equipment. Vivian Stamatopoulos, an associate professor at Ontario Tech University specializing in family caregiving and one of the group's organizers, said the situation in long-term care is dire. "What is happening here is a humanitarian crisis," she said. "The rights of these residents ... are violated with impunity by being locked away from their loved ones in spite of the directives which supposedly gives them uninterrupted access." In addition to its recommendations, the group also wants the province to begin the process of removing for-profit long-term care providers from the sector. "Any home operator that does not comply with staffing ratios, infection control protocols, or commits any other major infraction which harms the residents should immediately and permanently lose their license and face a harsh penalty," the group said. The group also wants immediate military assistance where nursing-home staffing has "collapsed." Health Minister Christine Elliott said Tuesday that military assistance has not currently been requested, as it was last year, because many nursing home have established partnerships with local hospitals. "Hospitals are standing forward and helping the long-term care homes that are having problems, both in terms of supplying staff, as well as supplying PPE and whatever else they need," she said. Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton said the province has learned lessons from the pandemic's first wave and made changes. "The current number of resident and staff cases, as well as outbreaks, remain my top concern," she said in a statement. "We are confident that our measures, such as regular surveillance testing, universal masking, temporary pandemic pay for staff, an eight-weeks supply of PPE and emergency replenishments, strong local partnership including with hospitals and numerous emergency measures are stabilizing the sector." Provincial figures show that 3,462 long-term care residents have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, Ford called on the federal government on Tuesday to bolster travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variants. Ford said those restrictions should include mandatory testing at airports for all incoming international travellers. He also said Canada should temporarily ban direct flights from countries where new variants are detected. "For the federal government, please get mandatory testing," Ford said. "It's absolutely critical to protect our borders." A voluntary screening program at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport began Jan. 6 and has tested more than 6,800 travellers. The province said of those tests, 146 people have tested positive for COVID-19. The government said Tuesday that 1.8 per cent of all COVID-19 cases are related to international travel. As of Jan. 7, under new federal rules, air travellers coming to Canada must take a pre-arrival COVID-19 test. Dozens of flights have nonetheless arrived since that date with passengers on board who later tested positive for the novel coronavirus. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said new travel restrictions were on the way and urged all Canadians to cancel any non-essential trips they have planned in the coming weeks. What shape those new rules might take remains up for discussion, he said. "The bad choices of a few will never be allowed to put everyone else in danger," Trudeau said. Ontario reported 1,740 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 63 more deaths linked to the virus. — with files from Stephanie Levitz This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press