The Canadian government and the families of the victims of Flight 752 are still trying to get answers about why the plane was shot down and hold Iran to account.
The Canadian government and the families of the victims of Flight 752 are still trying to get answers about why the plane was shot down and hold Iran to account.
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
Short-seller Andrew Left does not usually smoke. Left, who has built a reputation by targeting companies he thinks are overvalued, is as convinced as ever that videogame retailer GameStop is a dying business whose stock price will fall sharply someday. GameStop did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
VANCOUVER — British Columbia's public safety minister says a Vancouver couple accused of flying to Yukon to get a COVID-19 vaccine is one of the most "despicable" things he's heard in a long time. Mike Farnworth says the alleged actions of former Great Canadian Gaming Corp. CEO Rodney Baker and his wife Ekaterina Baker show a "complete lack of any sort of ethical or moral compass." Tickets filed in a Whitehorse court show the 55-year-old man and his 32-year-old wife were each charged with failing to self-isolate for 14 days and failing to act in a manner consistent with their declarations upon arriving in Yukon. The allegations against them have not been proven in court and the tickets indicate the couple can challenge them. Ekaterina Baker did not immediately respond to calls and emails requesting comment while Rodney Baker did not immediately return a request for comment sent to Great Canadian Gaming, which accepted his resignation Sunday. Farnworth said the couple paid a "pretty high price," with Rodney Baker losing what the minister described as a "$10-million-a-year job." An information circular published by Great Canadian Gaming in March 2020 says Baker earned a total of about $6.7 million in compensation from the company in 2019. The tickets were issued on Thursday under Yukon's Civil Emergency Measures Act and both people face fines of $1,000, plus fees. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Bon an mal an, quand le mois de janvier s’installe dans la région de Chibougamau-Chapais, la population se prépare à une période active. C’est que, dans notre beau coin de pays, les gens aiment bouger. Les activités hivernales sont fort nombreuses de la mi-janvier jusqu’à la fin de la semaine de relâche au début du mois de mars et même au-delà. Ces activités génèrent des revenus importants pour certains commerçants. Que ces activités soient des sports mécanisés ou des sports plus physiques, à chaque fin de semaine, il y a une ou des activités. Mais, cette année, la situation sera vraiment très différente. La pandémie aura chamboulé bien des habitudes qui sont ancrées chez les Jamésiens depuis plusieurs décennies et qui apportent leur lot de visiteurs et de retombées qui ne seront pas au rendez-vous cette année. Cette perte s’ajoute à tout ce que la COVID a déjà couté en revenus à la région. Les gens de Tourisme Baie-James sont bien au fait de l’absence de cette manne. Le secteur des festivals et évènements est un pôle majeur pour l’industrie touristique. C'est un des secteurs qui est le plus durement touché actuellement avec l'annulation de la grande majorité des évènements depuis mars 2020 et pour une bonne partie de 2021. Au-delà des consignes sanitaires et du couvre-feu, les évènements et festivals ont besoin de commanditaires pour boucler leur budget. « Pour la plupart, ils sont gérés par des équipes de bénévoles et dépendent de l'appui de plusieurs partenaires qui sont, avec raison, plus réticents à donner leur appui financier et qui le demeureront encore pour une bonne partie de l'année », de mentionner le président de Tourisme Baie-James, Alexandre-Maxim Jacob. « Ce que je souhaite, c'est qu'on puisse retrouver un contexte favorable rapidement avec la campagne de vaccination qui est cours actuellement, que les partenaires répondent présent et que chaque organisation puisse récupérer un maximum de bénévoles pour repartir la machine lorsqu'elles auront le feu vert de la santé publique,» affirme M. Jacob qui siège aussi comme représentant du secteur attrait, évènement et festival. Tourisme Baie-James continue de faire des représentations afin de pouvoir soutenir ses membres et limiter les dégâts causés par la pandémie car plusieurs organisations doivent assumer des couts fixes récurrents avec un revenu quasi inexistant. Tous annulés Quand on fait un rapide tour de la situation des évènements et festivals dans la région, tous ont dû déclarer forfait. Que l’on pense aux quatre randonnées pour les motoneiges antiques, le Super Rallye minoune du Club Auto-neige de Chibougamau, le Défi polaire de Chapais et la randonnée de l’Association des minounes extrêmes de Chibougamau (AMEC) qui se fait en pleine ville et, bien entendu, le Rallye du président du Festival Folifrets, le crosscountry et toutes les autres activités qui y sont reliées lors de la semaine de relance du début mars. Le monde des sports sur glace est aussi touché, que ce soit le patinage artistique, bien sûr le hockey avec les activités du hockey mineur, le tournoi mineur et les tournois pour adultes. Les retombées de toutes ces activités ne peuvent se chiffrer au moment d’écrire ces lignes mais, surement, qu’elles se comptent en milliers de dollars. Renverser la tendance Selon les statistiques, les amateurs de loisirs et de sports d’hiver sont de plus en plus nombreux au Québec et, cette année, notre région a été une des seules au Québec à pouvoir profiter des sports hivernaux puisque le couvert de neige était presque inexistant ailleurs en province, particulièrement dans le monde de la motoneige. La situation sanitaire n’a malheureusement pas pu bénéficier à nos commerçants au maximum, mais il faut prendre la balle au bond et se préparer pour attirer les visiteurs dans les années à venir. Les données des retombées touristiques en hiver pour le Nord-du-Québec ne sont pas disponibles sur les sites gouvernementaux mais, quand on regarde la tendance au Québec, on remarque une augmentation de la fréquentation du tourisme hivernal en provenance du reste de notre province. Dans les mois à venir, le Québec aura le gout de se réinventer tout en encourageant les gens d’ici. Quand ce sera possible, nous aurons une chance incroyable de vendre la plus belle région du Québec : la nôtre.René Martel, Initiative de journalisme local, La Sentinelle
At age 29, Martavis Bryant believes he still has plenty of football left in him. The former NFL star signed with the Toronto Argonauts on Monday through the 2022 season, following multiple suspensions for substance abuse violations. Out of football since 2018, the six-foot-four, 210-pound former Clemson receiver is anxious to resume his pro career in Canada. "It's just a new start for me, a new beginning," Bryant said during a telephone interview. "I still have a lot of ball in me. "I still want to play and still have a lot left on the table." Bryant spent five seasons in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2014-17) and Oakland Raiders (2018), registering 145 catches for 2,183 yards and 17 TDs in 44 career games. But he was also suspended several times for violating the league's substance abuse policy. NFL.com reported in July multiple teams had expressed interest in Bryant but that he hadn't applied for reinstatement after receiving an indefinite suspension in 2018 while with Oakland. He hasn't played in the league since that ban. Bryant was suspended for the 2016 season for multiple violations of the league's substance abuse policy. He also received a four-game ban in 2015 for violating the policy. According to multiple media reports, the NFL suspended Bryant for marijuana use but since he’s not longer under contract with a team south of the border he was free to sign with Toronto. Also, marijuana is not on the league's prohibited list so Bryant isn't penalized under the CFL/CFLPA drug policy. "People learn from their mistakes," Bryant said. "I was younger and I know people say that all the time but at the end of the day it's about maturing, owning up to what went wrong and just changing it. "I'm good now. I don't even worry about it." Neither is Argos rookie head coach Ryan Dinwiddie. "I believe he's matured and got past all that stuff," he said. "We're moving forward with him." Bryant isn't the first high-profile player to come with the Argos after issues south of the border. In the early part of the century, when current general manager Michael (Pinball) Clemons was head coach, the team brought in receivers Robert Baker, R. Jay Soward and Andre Rison and running back Ricky Williams following suspensions or brushes with the law. The Argos also signed former Buffalo Bills running back Karlos Williams last year after multiple substance-abuse suspensions. Bryant isn't concerned that he hasn't played football since 2018. "I still know how to play the game," he said. "People just don't know what I've been doing. "I've been training, I've been working out, I've been running. I've been staying active the last two years. I'm super excited to get back into this." But not only will Bryant be playing football in a different country, he'll also have to adjust to a different game. The CFL plans to resume play in 2021 after cancelling the '20 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bryant expects to bend the ear of Argos defensive back Shaquille Richardson, a former teammate with Pittsburgh and Oakland. "It's a new challenge for me," Bryant said. "It's a different game compared to the (NFL) but I'm sure the game speed is pretty much the same. "I'm going to sit down with and talk with (Richardson) and I'm going to learn a few things from him. I'm going to get accustomed to it pretty well, I'm not really worried about it, I'm just super excited." Dinwiddie likes the potential mismatches a receiver like Bryant can create on the field. "I think the wider field will allow him to get more isolated and give him more room to take advantage of his skillset," Dinwiddie said. Dinwiddie plans on having Bryant initially lining up as a wide receiver. But he'd also like to use him as a slotback once Bryant becomes more acclimated with Canadian football. "I think early on most American rookies, if it fits, I try to put them outside because it's easier for them to transition to the CFL game," Dinwiddie said. "But we'd like to put him in the slot, too, to see if we can't get him on different DBs and move him around some so they can't always know exactly where he lines up. "He wants to play football and at the highest level he can, which is here. I think he's eager to prove he's still got a lot left in the tank." But Bryant said emphatically he's not coming to Toronto only with an eye on a return to the NFL "One step at a time," he said. "'I'm ready to get out there and just take it one step at a time and do what I've got to do to bring excitement to the city and play great for my teammates and show I'm dependable. "I'm coming up there to continue to love what I do, which is to play the game of football and have fun doing it. I've watched some (CFL) games . . . but I still have a lot of learning to do." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press
TUNIS, Tunisia — Hundreds of Tunisians protested out outside their country's heavily guarded parliament Tuesday as lawmakers prepared to vote late into the night on a new government after a week of youth protests and riots over poverty and a lack of jobs that left one young demonstrator dead and hundreds jailed. Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi announced a government reshuffle last week in the midst of the unrest. He promised Tuesday that the new team would concentrate on deep reforms to create jobs and improve living conditions in the North African country, which has been mired in economic crisis deepened by the coronavirus pandemic. But four of his 11 proposed new Cabinet members are facing investigations or suspicions of corruption, which threatens to further undermine Tunisians’ faith in a leadership accused of failing to live up to the promises of the country’s democratic revolution 10 years ago that unleashed the Arab Spring. Security was so tight in the streets around the parliament building that several lawmakers were unable to access the grounds, according to independent parliamentary deputy Mabrouk Korchid. Security forces drove arriving demonstrators back some 500 metres (yards) from the vicinity of the building. More than two dozen human rights organizations and other groups marched Tuesday afternoon through central Tunis to the parliament building to demand the release of hundreds of people who were arrested in this month’s unrest and to denounce repressive measures by police. A protester in his 20s died in a hospital Monday, becoming the first apparent fatality amid the unrest. The young man's death produced a new outpouring of anger in his hometown of Sbeitla that the army was sent in to quell. His family said he was hit in the head by a tear gas canister during a protest, the state news agency reported. The Interior Ministry said an investigation has been opened. During the parliamentary debate on the new Cabinet, legislator Ali Hermassi denounced the failure of four successive governments to improve the economy, noting that unemployment has risen, as has inflation, while investment has fallen. He also deplored the handling of the recent protests. “The country needs political and social stability to emerge from the crisis,” he said. The head of one faction, Souhair Maghzaoui, told the prime minister: “If you intend to return to police repression, you are deluding yourself,” referring to heavy-handed tactics under the authoritarian regime thrown out by Tunisia’s 2010-2011 uprising. Meanwhile, President Kais Saied insisted the government reshuffle is unconstitutional because the prime minister didn’t follow the procedures for informing the president first. “The Presidency of the Republic is not a mailbox that signs decrees and organizes oath-taking ceremonies,” Saied said during a security council meeting. He also questioned the wisdom of naming the four proposed ministers who are suspected of conflict of interest or embezzlement. I-Watch, the Tunisian arm of anti-corruption group Transparency International, sent a letter to lawmakers urging them not to approve the four proposed ministers. The president also criticized the reduction of the number of women in the new government from six to four. “Women are not cosmetic powder” but crucial players in the government, he argued. The confidence vote was scheduled for the end of the day, with lawmakers voting on the new members of the government one-by-one. Bouazza Ben Bouazza, The Associated Press
The Leaders in Equality Award of Distinction (LEAD) Program is a new initiative that supports students who are engaged in reducing gender discrimination or in fields of study where their gender is typically underrepresented. A total of $225,000 in scholarships and awards is available through this program, allowing 90 students to receive $2500 each. The LEAD program consolidates two streams of funding; the Women in STEM Award stream and the Persons Case Scholarship stream. The purpose of tying these two funding streams into one program is to streamline the application process and reduce the amount of “red tape.” The Women in STEM Award is open to women under 30 years of age who are studying science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Up to 40 awards of $2500 are available under this funding stream. The Persons Case Scholarship is open to anyone pursuing a field of study to advance gender equality. Up to 50 awards of $2500 are available under this funding stream. The application deadline for the LEAD Program is February 21, 2021. According to the LEAD program website, eligible applicants for either stream of the LEAD program must be: 1) A Canadian citizen, Permanent Resident or Protected Person (visa students are not eligible) 2) An Alberta resident, and to be considered an Alberta resident one of the following conditions must apply: a) One parent or legal guardian has maintained permanent residence in Alberta for at least 12 consecutive months immediately prior to commencing post-secondary studies, or b) Alberta is the last place the student has lived for six consecutive months immediately prior to commencing post-secondary studies, or c) The student’s spouse/partner has maintained permanent residence in Alberta for six consecutive months prior to the person attending post-secondary Eligible applicants for the Women in STEM Award: 1) Identify as a woman studying in STEM 2) Must be 30 years or younger by March 31, 2021 3) Must be a registered (full or part-time) student in an approved Alberta post-secondary institution Eligible applicants for the Persons Case Scholarship: 1) Can be any gender 2) Can be any age 3) Must have student status: a) undergraduates must be a registered (full or part-time) student in an approved Alberta post-secondary institution b) graduates must be an Alberta resident (as described above) and be registered (full or part-time) in a graduate program in Alberta or elsewhere The LEAD Program website also states that Indigenous students, racialized students and students living with a disability are strongly encouraged to apply. More information on the LEAD Program and the application process can be found at https://www.alberta.ca/leaders-in-equality-award-of-distinction-lead-program.aspx. Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
Saskatchewan saw its deadliest day of the pandemic, with a record-high 14 fatalities reported on Tuesday. The previous record came on Jan. 21, when 13 people died after being diagnosed with the virus. The province has now reported 268 COVID-related deaths since the pandemic came to the province. Of those, 115 deaths have happened in 2021. One of the newly reported deaths Tuesday was a person was in their 40s who lived in the north central zone. Two people were in their 50s, with one from the Regina area and the other from the Saskatoon zone. Another two people were in their 60s from the Saskatoon zone. Three people were in their 70s and were from the Regina, Saskatoon and southeast zones. Six people were in their 80s and lived in the far northwest, north central, Regina, southeast and Saskatoon zones. New cases The province also reported 232 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total provincial caseload so far to 22,646. Here's where the new cases are: Far northwest: 23. Far north central: three. Far northeast: four. Northwest: 45. North central: 31. Northeast: seven. Saskatoon zone: 47. Central west: three. Central east: four. Regina zone: 46. South central: two. Southeast: six. There are 11 cases with pending locations. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 254, or 20.7 new cases per 100,000 people. The province says a total of 19,729 known cases have recovered from the virus, an increase of 839 since Monday. Of the province's total cases, 2,665 are considered active. There are 208 people with COVID-19 in hospital, 33 of whom are in the ICU. The province processed 2,160 COVID-19 tests on Monday. Public health measures extended The province is not implementing any new health measures to contain the spread of the virus, but it is extending the measures that currently are in place. The public health order will remain in effect until Feb. 19. They were set to expire on Jan. 29. The measures include a province-wide mask mandate, outdoor gatherings limited to 10 people maximum, while private indoor gatherings are limited to immediate households only. Visits to long-term care and personal care homes remain suspended except for compassionate reasons. Additionally, no alcohol sales are permitted after 10 p.m. in licensed establishments and sports remains suspended. A full list of current measures is available here. 3 businesses fined for not following public health order The government of Saskatchewan says enforcement of public health orders will continue to ensure businesses and events are brought into compliance as quickly as possible. On Tuesday, three businesses were fined under the Public Health Act. Crackers and the Crazy Cactus in Saskatoon and Stats Cocktails and Dreams in Regina have each been fined $14,000 each. Vaccine update The province administered 362 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, bringing the total number of vaccines administered in Saskatchewan to 34,080. The doses were administered in the following areas: Saskatoon: 241. Far North West: 22. North East: 23. North West: 66. Central East: 10. As of Tuesday, the province says it has administered 104 per cent of the number of doses it has officially received, with the overage due to efficiencies in drawing extra doses from vials.
Southgate staff reports and budgets for a few years have been forecasting municipal investment to make stores on the west side of Proton St. North accessible, and also to create an open event space. Council recently gave staff the go-ahead to apply for a grant from OMAFRA rural economic development to support a project. CAO Dave Milliner was not optimistic about the application succeeding, saying that RED is not overly supportive of capital projects. He included a map showing the middle of Proton Street closed off to create space in the centre of the block to address accessibility. This would also tie in to creating space for events. A traffic loop into the parking lot would allow for through traffic. The vision portrayed in the sketch is in “very early stages,” he said adding that the township would have to engage with the community. With the new building coming on Proton Street, he said the proposal “starts a conversation about what downtown should look like in five or 10 years. Coun. Martin Shipston said the township should get the business people involved. He said parking is a big issue, although he didn’t think much would be lost. Mr. Milliner said that the township owns most of the new medical centre parking lot, which could be an option. Council raised the fact that there were concept drawings done by Joan Burt Architect in 2010. The CAO agreed that if people were interested they could dig those back out. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
With British star Chris Froome and Ottawa's Michael Woods leading the way this year, Canadian-born co-owner Sylvan Adams has big plans for the Israel Start-Up Nation team. And they go well beyond mere success in the cycling world. In convincing the Giro d'Italia to start the 2018 race with three stages in Israel, the 62-year-old from Montreal showcased his adopted country. "The entire country was on display, for three glorious days … Basically we had hundred of millions of first-time visitors to Israel, via their TV screens, seeing it in an unvarnished way" Adams said. Staging the start of the race in Israel reportedly cost millions, with Adams stepping up to help make it happen. After emigrating to Israel with his wife in late 2015 following a successful career as president and CEO of Iberville Developments, a large real-estate company, Adams had business cards printed up with the title "Self-appointed ambassador at large for Israel.” "And I decided I'm going to devote this chapter of my life to promoting my new country, my adopted country, using sporting and other cultural activities to show what I call the true face of Israel," Adams said in an interview from Spain where his team was in pre-season training. For Adams, Israel is a country open, tolerant, diverse and fiercely democratic. '"And of course we're a safe country. People don't realize it because of the news cycle," he said. "My projects are kind of trying to show the rest of the world this normal Israel." "I'm not blaming the journalists. Good news doesn't sell," he added with a laugh. Adams is spreading his largesse. He helped build a velodrome in Tel Aviv and donated some $39 million for a new emergency care wing at a Tel Aviv hospital. He has also created the Sylvan Adams Sports Institute (SASI) at Tel Aviv University, a facility dedicated to sports science that has partnered with Montreal's McGill University. There is also the Sylvan Adams commuter cycling path network in Tel Aviv. In addition to being co-owner of Israel Start-Up Nation, Adams is also team CEO. He negotiated the deals to bring Woods and Froome into the fold. "I'm very actively involved in the team. It does take up a significant amount of my time," said Adams. Asked if anyone makes money from pro cycling, Adams chuckles. "Not me, that's for sure," he said. "If somebody does, it can't be big money … You'll not get rich in the sport of cycling, sadly. And for me it's quite the opposite. I've put a lot of my of my own personal funds into the bike team. And I'm hoping with success, we'll bring on some more commercial sponsorships." By having Israel rather than a sponsor in the team name, he knows he is missing out on a major source of sponsorship. But he pledges that Israel will always be front and centre. Still, that doesn't stop him from hoping the Israeli government ups its current support of the team. Right now, he gets "very small sponsorship" from the Israeli ministry of tourism. While Adams' cycling team had moments to savour in 2020 — British rider Alex Dowsett won Stage 8 of the Giro while Ireland's Dan Martin took Stage 3 of the Spanish Vuelta (Woods won Stage 7 with his former team) — Adams is looking for significant improvements this season. That's because his team didn't get its WorldTour licence until the last day possible before the 2020 season, buying it from the Katusha-Alpecin team. In essence, last year's squad was built as a lower-tier Pro Continental team. "We had some good riders certainly — Andre Greipel and Dan Martin — so we were a fair team," said Adams. "But this year we're a real WorldTour team. We built the roster because we know we are in the WorldTour. And we built the roster with certain goals in mind. "We're a vastly improved team and we hope to make some noise this season." Adams goes back with Woods, whom he first heard about from Montreal's Paulo Saldanha, now Israel Start-Up Nation's performance manager. A former Ironman triathlete, Saldanha runs a string of training studios under the PowerWatts name. Saldanha was working with another rider, who tipped him off to Woods' potential in 2013. A former elite distance runner, Woods had switched to cycling after a string of foot injuries — breaking his foot for the final time in the fall of 2011. Adams had worked with Saldanha before, telling him to keep him posted if he came across a promising prospect who needed some financial help. They had tried it a few times without much success. Then came Woods. "I get a call from Paulo and he says 'Sylvan, I've just tested this guy and he's the best athlete I've ever tested from an endurance sport, natural physical gifts perspective.'" Adams provided the help anonymously until Saldanha eventually introduced him to Woods, who had been working as a bank teller as well as weekends in a bike shop, as his benefactor. Older than most aspiring pros, Woods was not that attractive a prospect for some. "If it wasn't for Paulo and Sylvan, I wouldn't be a pro cyclist," Woods said. "They took a big chance on me and helped me out when I first started." Adams' message to Woods was simple. You have a job any time with my team, but best you wait until it reaches the top echelon. "The rest is history," said Adams. "He climbed through the ranks at various level of the sport." In September 2019, Adams went to the UCI Road World Cycling Championships in Harrogate, England. As member of the Canadian camp, he rode with the team on their reconnaissance ride before the race. He reiterated his job offer. A year later, Woods opted to leave the Education First Pro Cycling team to join Adams in 2021. Adams is no stranger to digging into his pocket for cycling, backing the Canadian-based SpiderTech team — run by former Canadian star rider Steve Bauer — that eventually ceased operations in 2012. After moving to Israel, he had a chance to get back into the sport by buying into a team that was then called the Israel Cycling Academy. "Instead of being a small player like I was in SpiderTech, well I became the biggest player," he said. "It's worked out really well. I think the team is a great ambassador for the country." Other Canadians on the Israeli team include Ottawa's Alex Cataford, and Montreal's Guillaume Boivin and James Piccoli. There are three other Canadians on the team's developmental squad and more on the team staff including the chief mechanic. "There's a lot of Canadian content on our team … And I'm eager to have our team seen not only as Israel's team but also as Canada's team," said Adams. "I'm here for Canada," he added. But the marquee addition in 2021 is Froome, a four-time Tour de France winner who came over from Team Ineos. "One of the reasons I'm excited about having Chris Froome and having a much better team is everybody pays attention to the winner," Adams said. "So it brings us more positive attention and I'm all for it." Woods also points to the addition of South Africa's Daryl Impey, a two-time winner of the Tour Down Under, and Belgian's Sep Vanmarcke. "We've got a really strong roster," said Woods. "I think we've certainly going to be one of the top teams this year." An avid cyclist who took up the sport at age 41, Adams' masters' resume includes six Canadian titles, four Pan American gold medals, four Maccabiah Games gold medals, two World Championships titles and the Israeli championship. "He's larger than life in many ways. A great guy," said Woods. "Sylvan has done a lot for cycling in Canada. Most of the time in a quiet way," added Quebec's Hugo Houle, who rides for the Astana-Premier Tech team. "But he's definitely a big big helper. I have a lot of respect for what he's doing now with Israel Start-Up Nation. The team's getting really big and really great." Adams remains connected to Canada with one of his kids in Vancouver and another in Montreal. Two others are based in Los Angeles. --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
A group of doctors and advocates are calling on Ontario Premier Doug Ford to address what they call a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in long-term care homes by bringing the military back for support and embarking on hiring and training drives.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is set to announce a wide-ranging moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on U.S. lands, as his administration moves quickly to reverse Trump administration policies on energy and the environment and address climate change. Two people with knowledge of Biden’s plans outlined the proposed moratorium, which will be announced Wednesday. They asked not to be identified because the plan has not been made been public; some details remain in flux. The move follows a 60-day suspension of new drilling permits for U.S. lands and waters announced last week and follows Biden’s campaign pledge to halt new drilling on federal lands and end the leasing of publicly owned energy reserves as part of his plan to address climate change. The moratorium is intended to allow time for officials to review the impact of oil and gas drilling on the environment and climate. Environmental groups hailed the expected moratorium as the kind of bold, urgent action needed to slow climate change. “The fossil fuel industry has inflicted tremendous damage on the planet. The administration’s review, if done correctly, will show that filthy fracking and drilling must end for good, everywhere,'' said Kierán Suckling, executive director at the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group that has pushed for the drilling pause. Oil industry groups slammed the move, saying Biden had already eliminated thousands of oil and gas jobs by killing the Keystone XL oil pipeline on his first day in office. "This is just the start. It will get worse,'' said Brook Simmons, president of the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma. "Meanwhile, the laws of physics, chemistry and supply and demand remain in effect. Oil and natural gas prices are going up, and so will home heating bills, consumer prices and fuel costs.'' Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, which represents oil and gas drillers in Western states, said the expected executive order is intended to delay drilling on federal lands to the point where it is no longer viable. "The environmental left is leading the agenda at the White House when it comes to energy and environment issues,'' she said, noting that the moratorium would be felt most acutely in Western states such as Utah, Wyoming and North Dakota. Biden lost all three states to former President Donald Trump. The drilling moratorium is among several climate-related actions Biden will announce Wednesday. He also is likely to direct officials to conserve 30% of the country’s lands and ocean waters in the next 10 years, initiate a series of regulatory actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and issue a memorandum that elevates climate change to a national security priority. He also is expected to direct all U.S. agencies to use science and evidence-based decision-making in federal rule-making and announce a U.S.-hosted climate leaders summit on Earth Day, April 22. The conservation plan would set aside millions of acres for recreation, wildlife and climate efforts by 2030, part of Biden’s campaign pledge for a $2 trillion program to slow global warming. Under Trump, federal agencies prioritized energy development and eased environmental rules to speed up drilling permits as part of the Republican’s goal to boost fossil fuel production. Trump consistently downplayed the dangers of climate change, which Biden, a Democrat, has made a top priority. On his first day in office last Wednesday, Biden signed a series of executive orders that underscored his different approach — rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, revoking approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada and telling agencies to immediately review dozens of Trump-era rules on science, the environment and public health. A 60-day suspension order at the Interior Department did not limit existing oil and gas operations under valid leases, meaning activity would not come to a sudden halt on the millions of acres of lands in the West and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico where much drilling is concentrated. The moratorium also is unlikely to affect existing leases. Its effect could be further blunted by companies that stockpiled enough drilling permits in Trump’s final months to allow them to keep pumping oil and gas for years. The pause in drilling is limited to federal lands and does not affect drilling on private lands, which is largely regulated by states. Oil and gas extracted from public lands and waters account for about a quarter of annual U.S. production. Extracting and burning those fuels generates the equivalent of almost 550 million tons (500 million metric tons) of greenhouse gases annually, the U.S. Geological Survey said in a 2018 study. Under Trump, Interior officials approved almost 1,400 permits on federal lands, primarily in Wyoming and New Mexico, over a three-month period that included the election, according to an Associated Press analysis of government data. Those permits, which remain valid, will allow companies to continue drilling for years, potentially undercutting Biden’s climate agenda. The leasing moratorium could present a political dilemma for Biden in New Mexico, a Democratic-leaning state that has experienced a boom in oil production in recent years, much of it on federal land. Biden's choice to lead the Interior Department, which oversees oil and gas leasing on public lands, is New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland. If confirmed, she would be the first Native American to lead the agency that oversees relations with nearly 600 federally-recognized tribes. Haaland, whose confirmation hearing has been delayed until next month, already faces backlash from some Republicans who say expected cutbacks in oil production under Biden would hurt her home state. Tiernan Sittenfeld, a top official with the League of Conservation Voters, called that criticism off-base. “The reality is we need to transition to 100% clean energy” in order to address climate change, she said Tuesday. "The clean energy economy in New Mexico is thriving,'' Sittenfeld added, citing gains in renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. The Biden administration has pledged to spend billions to assist in the transition away from fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal, and Biden has said creating thousands of clean-energy jobs is a top priority. Matthew Daly, The Associated Press
Police say speed was a factor in a fatal crash on Six Nations of the Grand River on Thursday. A man driving a Kia Forte north on Tuscarora Road around 5:45 p.m. was killed after his speeding vehicle slammed into a pickup truck that had just cleared the four-way stop at Third Line. Witnesses called 911 after the crash, in which police said one of the vehicles rolled over. A woman in the pickup truck needed medical attention for her injuries. Police said they were children in the truck at the time of the crash. The OPP’s collision reconstruction team helped with the Six Nations Police investigation of the crash, which caused major damage to both vehicles and prompted the roads to the closed for some hours. Police say the victim’s family has been notified. No details about the driver were shared publicly. J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
REGINA — Saskatchewan's social services minister says the province will soon end the practice of social workers or health professionals informing government officials when a baby is born to a mother deemed high risk.Lori Carr says the government heard from First Nations groups who wanted to see an end to so-called birth alerts.The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and other advocates have criticized the alerts as leading to high numbers of Indigenous newborns being separated from their mothers and taken into government care. The final report from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls called on governments and child-welfare agencies to end the practice.The Saskatchewan government says 53 of 76 alerts issued last year involved Indigenous women.Carr says the practice is to end Feb. 1 and the ministry will work with community groups to support expectant mothers and ensure hospital staff contact these groups if there are concerns. "We'll just make sure that mother is in contact with their right community-based organization to get the best help at that point in time," she said Tuesday. "As we move forward, it's just honestly working so closely with those community-based organizations and our health-care professionals to ensure that nobody does fall through the cracks and that they get the right service at the right time."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2020 Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Companies that want in on a new federal loan program will have to show sharp revenue declines during the pandemic and that they have already applied for other business aid. The new loans, from the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP), will open for applications on Monday and is on top of existing loan programs targeting small businesses. Loans will start at between $25,000 and $1 million for a single business depending on the size of the operation, and run up to $6.25 million for companies with multiple locations like a chain of hotels or restaurants. Details made public Tuesday say rates will be set at four per cent across the board, terms will be up to 10 years, with up to a 12-month postponement of principal payments at the start of the loan. But to get the money, companies will have show a year-over-year revenue drop of 50 per cent or more over three months, not necessarily consecutive, in the eight months before filing an application. Companies will also have to show that they at least applied for either the federal wage or rent subsidies. The federally backed loan can be used for rent, utilities and help with payroll, among other costs, to keep operations running through public health restrictions, but can't be used to pay or refinance existing loans. Small Business Minister Mary Ng says the funding isn't targeted to any one sector, but available to any business that meets the eligibility criteria. "So whether it is your favourite neighbourhood restaurant, that bed and breakfast, a local movie theatre, or even a franchise restaurant or hotel, businesses that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 will now have the support that they need to keep moving forward," Ng said by video during a midday press conference. The head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is welcoming the launch of the new program to provide fresh financing to troubled companies. But Dan Kelly also says in a tweet that the government must consider making part of the loan forgivable, like an existing aid program, because "more loans are not the answer to the mountain of debt small firms are facing." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
CALGARY — Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe says backup goaltender Jack Campbell will be out "weeks" with a leg injury. Campbell was hurt late in Toronto's 3-2 win at Calgary on Sunday when Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk landed on him in a goal-mouth scrum. Campbell has a 2-0-0 record with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage so far this season. Michael Hutchinson has been pencilled in to back up starter Frederik Andersen for the Leafs, who were set to finish a two-game series with Calgary on Tuesday night. The Maple Leafs lost goaltender Aaron Dell to the waiver wire last week. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Within hours of being inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States, President Joseph R. Biden effectively cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline project (KXL) with an executive order. Section six of the "Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis" revoked the existing Presidential permit that had allowed for the construction, connection, operation, and maintenance of the pipeline on the border between Canada and the United States. President Biden's decision to cancel the pipeline followed through on one of his campaign promises leading up to the November 3 Presidential election. The move to cancel this massive energy project is a stunning blow to Alberta's already beleaguered oil and gas sector. In the days since this decision, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has been calling for Canada's federal government to take concrete measures to protect the country's economic interests, including the possibility of economic retaliation against the United States. With the announcement of the pipeline's cancellation, TC Energy (the company that is building the pipeline) says that about 1,000 construction workers in Alberta and the US have been, or will be, laid off. Last year the Alberta government under Jason Kenney made a considerable investment in the KXL, to the tune of $1.5 billion in equity and up to $6 billion in loan guarantees. Critics of this deal have called it short-sighted in light of the already existing uncertainties at the time about the project's future. The Alberta NDP, the official opposition party, has called for a Public Accounts Committee meeting to request that the UCP government release the full risk analysis and all of the financial documents related to the KXL deal. The UCP has previously refused to release these details. It seems highly unlikely that the United States government will reverse the decision to cancel the KXL, and unfortunately Canada does not appear to have much in the lines of options to change their minds. The full impact of this decision still remains to be seen. Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
WARSAW, Poland — A Polish man who has been at the centre of an international life-support dispute has died at a British hospital, officials said. The middle-aged man, identified only as R.S., was repeatedly put on and off life support treatment during weeks of wrangling at British and European courts over whether continuing the treatment was in his best interests. Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk told reporters Tuesday evening that the man died. He said Poland’s authorities have been taking every effort to save his life. Poland’s government took steps last week to bring him to the country for specialized treatment. The man, a British resident for years, was hospitalized in a coma in Plymouth, England, on Nov. 6 after suffering cardiac arrest. Doctors said his brain had been severely and permanently damaged. The man’s wife and children said he should be allowed to die, but his mother, sisters and niece argued that the man’s Roman Catholic faith meant he wouldn’t have wanted his life terminated. Polish news agency PAP said Tuesday it has been informed by family members that the man died after his condition deteriorated Monday night. The Associated Press
A bail hearing for a man who was wanted by police for about eight months was adjourned again in North Battleford Provincial Court. The show cause hearing for Johnathan Swiftwolfe, 24, on Jan. 25 was adjourned to Jan. 28. Swiftwolfe was wanted on 35 charges, including assault, uttering threats, weapons-related offences, and flight from police. While police were searching for him in 2020, they issued a media release saying they were concerned about the safety of Moosomin First Nation residents while Swiftwolfe was at large. He was located after several RCMP detachments worked together to find him. When police arrested him on Highway 40 near Sweet Grass First Nation on Dec. 6, 2020, they found a loaded firearm in the vehicle that was within his reach. Cassandra Fox, 24, was with Swiftwolfe and also arrested. At the time, she was wanted on warrants for assault with a weapon and failure to comply with a release order. She was scheduled to enter a plea and election in North Battleford Provincial Court on Jan. 6, 2021, but failed to appear and a warrant for her arrest was issued. The charges against Swiftwolfe and Fox haven’t been proven in court. Moosomin First Nation is about 22 kilometres north of North Battleford. Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
From a clog-dancing world champion to a Cuban shark hunter, the people who live in the world's many Prestons have some interesting tales to tell. And a performance arts group in the U.K. is on a mission to collect them all. Preston Calling — a project to unite people who call Preston home and help keep the loneliness of the pandemic at bay — was launched last year by Derelict, a non-profit arts organization based in Preston, Lancashire. "Now that we've been able to connect with people all over the world, it's made people feel much more included in the world and it's giving people much more hope," project co-ordinator Philip Sykes told CBC Radio's Information Morning. "It's been a bit of a hopeless time, I have to say, for us anyway in the U.K." When his group had to shelve many of its projects last year, it decided to turn to the telephone instead. "We liked the idea of calling someone," Sykes said. "You know, we could say, 'Hello, this is Preston' and they could say 'Hello, we're Preston, too.'" So far, Preston Calling has found 60 villages, towns and cities that share the name, most in English-speaking Commonwealth countries, including the Prestons in Nova Scotia. The historic Black communities on the outskirts of Halifax are made up of neighbouring North Preston, East Preston and Cherry Brook. "I thought it was the most cool thing in the world, like, I thought maybe there might have been a couple of other Prestons … but I had no idea there were 60," said Tara Taylor, a playwright from East Preston who contributed to the project. She shared some of her favourite memories and spaces from her hometown, which have been collected on the group's website. "My favourite place out here is our river next to the church and we actually — way back in the day — used to baptize people in the river," Taylor said. The popular story that the Prestons were named after Rev. Richard Preston, who escaped slavery in the U.S. and became a leader in the African Nova Scotian community, isn't actually true, Taylor said. "He actually came here in search of his mother and it was already called Preston, so he took the name on as Preston," she said. "So we commonly think that it was named after him for coming here, but it's actually the opposite way around." Taylor is now trying to find out more information about the name Preston and where it came from. In addition to the submissions from Preston residents that are compiled online, Preston Calling is also releasing a podcast with conversations with people from around the world. So far Sykes has met a store owner in Preston, Kentucky, who used to be the world's clog-dancing champion and performed in venues in the U.K. and U.S. He also met a woman from Preston, Cuba with a very impressive grandfather. "She's actually got my favourite story, which is that there was a particularly troublesome shark in Preston, Cuba, called Don Pepe and her grandfather was actually able to track it down and caught the shark — so some really, really amazing stories," said Sykes. For Taylor, reflecting on what she loves about her hometown has her feeling a special bond with all the other Prestons out there. "I want a tour," she said. "I want to go visit all of them and I want us to all bring the beautiful sights from each one of our towns." MORE TOP STORIES