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WASHINGTON — The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection. At least five supporters facing federal charges have suggested they were taking orders from the then-president when they marched on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 to challenge the certification of Joe Biden's election win. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. It's the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office. “I feel like I was basically following my president. I was following what we were called to do. He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there," Jenna Ryan, a Texas real estate agent who posted a photo on Twitter of herself flashing a peace sign next to a broken Capitol window, told a Dallas-Fort Worth TV station. Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man photographed on the dais in the Senate who was shirtless and wore face paint and a furry hat with horns, has similarly pointed a finger at Trump. Chansley called the FBI the day after the insurrection and told agents he travelled “at the request of the president that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021,” authorities wrote in court papers. Chanley’s lawyer unsuccessfully lobbied for a pardon for his client before Trump's term ended, saying Chansley “felt like he was answering the call of our president.” Authorities say that while up on the dais in the Senate chamber, Chansley wrote a threatening note to then-Vice-President Mike Pence that said: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” Trump is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office. The charge this time is “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” His impeachment lawyer, Butch Bowers, did not respond to call for comment. Opening arguments in the trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the storming of the Capitol say a full reckoning is necessary before the country — and the Congress — can move on. For weeks, Trump rallied his supporters against the election outcome and urged them to come to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to rage against Biden's win. Trump spoke to the crowd near the White House shortly before they marched along Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill. “We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,” Trump said. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.” Later he said: “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He told supporters to walk to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically” make your voices heard. Trump has taken no responsibility for his part in fomenting the violence, saying days after the attack: “People thought that what I said was totally appropriate.” Unlike a criminal trial, where there are strict rules about what is and isn’t evidence, the Senate can consider anything it wishes. And if they can show that Trump’s words made a real impact, all the better, and scholars expect it in the trial. "Bringing in those people's statements is part of proving that it would be at a minimum reasonable for a rational person to expect that if you said and did the things that Trump said and did, then they would be understood in precisely the way these people understood them," said Frank Bowman, a constitutional law expert and law professor at University of Missouri. A retired firefighter from Pennsylvania told a friend that that he travelled to Washington with a group of people and the group listened to Trump's speech and then “followed the President’s instructions” and went to the Capitol, an agent wrote in court papers. That man, Robert Sanford, is accused of throwing a fire extinguisher that hit three Capitol Police officers. Another man, Robert Bauer of Kentucky, told FBI agents that “he marched to the U.S. Capitol because President Trump said to do so,” authorities wrote. His cousin, Edward Hemenway, from Virginia, told the FBI that he and Bauer headed toward the Capitol after Trump said “something about taking Pennsylvania Avenue." More than 130 people as of Friday were facing federal charges; prosecutors have promised that more cases — and more serious charges — are coming. Most of those arrested so far are accused of crimes like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct, but prosecutors this week filed conspiracy charges against three self-described members of a paramilitary group who authorities say plotted the attack. A special group of prosecutors is examining whether to bring sedition charges, which carry up to 20 years in prison, against any of the rioters. Two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict. And while many Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky— have condemned Trump's words, it remains unclear how many would vote to convict him. “While the statements of those people kind of bolsters the House manager's case, I think that President Trump has benefited from a Republican Party that has not been willing to look at evidence,” said Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law who testified before the House Judiciary Committee during Trump's first impeachment hearings in 2019. “They stood by him for the entire first impeachment proceeding, thinking that the phone call with the president of the Ukraine was perfect and I’m sure they will think that was a perfect speech too. There is nothing yet to suggest that they would think otherwise," Gerhardt said. ____ Richer reported from Boston. Alanna Durkin Richer And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — It's taken only days for Democrats gauging how far President Joe Biden's bold immigration proposal can go in Congress to acknowledge that if anything emerges, it will likely be significantly more modest. As they brace to tackle a politically flammable issue that's resisted major congressional action since the 1980s, Democrats are using words like “aspirational” to describe Biden's plan and “herculean” to express the effort they'll need to prevail. A cautious note came from the White House on Friday when press secretary Jen Psaki said the new administration views Biden's plan as a “first step” it hopes will be “the basis" of discussions in Congress. Democrats' measured tones underscore the fragile road they face on a paramount issue for their minority voters, progressives and activists. Immigration proponents advocating an all-out fight say Democrats' new hold on the White House and Congress provides a major edge, but they concede they may have to accept less than total victory. Paving a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally, the centerpiece of Biden's plan, is “the stake at the summit of the mountain,” Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigration group America’s Voice, said in an interview. He said proponents may have to accept “stepping stones" along the way. The citizenship process in Biden's plan would take as little as three years for some people, eight years for others. It would make it easier for certain workers to stay in the U.S. temporarily or permanently, provide development aid to Central American nations in hopes of reducing immigration and move toward bolstering border screening technology. No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin of Illinois said in an interview this week that the likeliest package to emerge would start with creating a path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers. They are over 1 million immigrants who’ve lived in the U.S. most of their lives after being brought here illegally as children. Over 600,000 of them have temporary permission to live in the U.S. under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Former President Barack Obama created that program administratively, and Durbin and others want to protect it by enacting it into law. Durbin, who called Biden's plan “aspirational,” said he'll push for as many other elements as possible, including more visas for agricultural workers and others. “We understand the political reality of a 50-50 Senate, that any changes in immigration will require co-operation between the parties,” said Durbin, who is on track to become Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. He said Senate legislation likely “will not reach the same levels” as Biden’s proposal. The Senate is split evenly between the two parties, with Vice-President Kamala Harris tipping the chamber to Democrats with her tie-breaking vote. Even so, passing major legislation requires 60 votes to overcome filibusters, or endless procedural delays. That means 10 Republicans must join all 50 Democrats to enact an immigration measure, a tall order. “Passing immigration reform through the Senate, particularly, is a herculean task,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who will also play a lead role in the battle. He said Democrats “will get it done” but the effort will require negotiation. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who's worked with Democrats on past immigration efforts, said “comprehensive immigration is going to be a tough sale” this year. “I think the space in a 50-50 Senate will be some kind of DACA deal,” he said. Illustrating the bargaining ahead, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate who’s sought earlier immigration compromises, praised parts of Biden's plan but said she wants changes including more visas for the foreign workers her state's tourism industry uses heavily. Democrats' hurdles are formidable. They have razor-thin majorities in a House and Senate where Republican support for easing immigration restrictions is usually scant. Acrid partisan relationships were intensified by former President Donald Trump's clamourous tenure. Biden will have to spend plenty of political capital and time on earlier, higher priority bills battling the pandemic and bolstering the economy, leaving his future clout uncertain. Democrats also must resolve tactical differences. Sharry said immigration groups prefer Democrats push for the strongest possible bill without concessions to Republicans' demands like boosting border security spending. He said hopes for a bipartisan breakthrough are “a fool’s errand” because the GOP has largely opposed immigration overhauls for so long. But prevailing without GOP votes would mean virtual unanimity among congressional Democrats, a huge challenge. It would also mean Democrats would have to eliminate the Senate filibuster, which they may not have the votes to do, or concoct other procedural routes around the 60-vote hurdle. “I'm going to start negotiating" with Republicans, said Durbin. He said a bipartisan bill would be better “if we can do it" because it would improve chances for passage. Democrats already face attacks from Republicans, eyeing next year's elections, on an issue that helped power Trump's 2016 victory by fortifying his support from many white voters. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Biden’s proposal would “prioritize help for illegal immigrants and not our fellow citizens.” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who heads the Senate Republican campaign committee, said the measure would hurt “hard-working Americans and the millions of immigrants working their way through the legal immigration process." Democrats say such allegations are false but say it's difficult to compose crisp, sound-bite responses on the complex issue. It requires having “an adult conversation” with voters, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said in an interview. “Yeah, this is about people, but it's about the economy" too, said Spanberger, a moderate from a district where farms and technology firms hire many immigrants. “In central Virginia, we rely on immigration. And you may not like that, but we do." Alan Fram, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Quebec is reporting 1,685 new COVID-19 cases Saturday as daily counts continue to decline. The province is also reporting 76 new deaths attributed to COVID-19, for a total of 9,437. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped by 43 to 1,383. The drop in case numbers comes after the Quebec government implemented an 8 p.m. curfew province-wide on Jan. 9. Premier Francois Legault attributed the decline to the curfew, but has said hospitals are too full to lift the new restrictions as scheduled on Feb. 8. As of Saturday, at least 225,245 people in Quebec have recovered from COVID-19. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
SOUTHAMPTON, England — Defending-champion Arsenal was eliminated from FA Cup competition following a 1-0 fourth-round loss Satuday to Southampton. Adding insult to injury was the defeat came the result of Gabriel's own goal. His decision to try to block a shot from Kyle Walker-Peters proved costly for Arsenal. Right-back Walker-Peters was allowed plenty of space to overlap the Arsenal defence, but his shot looked to be heading narrowly wide of the far post before Gabriel's failed attempt deflected the ball off the post and in. It was the first goal Arsenal had conceded since Dec. 26 after five consecutive shutouts. "I’m very disappointed because we wanted to continue in the competition, we had a dream to do it again like last year and the dream today is over,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said. "I am as well disappointed with the way we conceded the goal in an area where we know we shouldn’t be doing that. "At the same time, I cannot fault the effort of the players, how they tried and how they went to get a goal in the second half.” Arsenal has won the FA Cup a record 14 times and Arteta before kickoff called it “our favourite competition.” Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored both of the team's goals in the 2-1 win over Chelsea in last year's final, but he wasn't available Saturday due to what Arteta called “a personal matter.” Arteta said he couldn't yet predict when Aubameyang might return. Southampton moves on to a fifth-round game away at Wolverhampton, which beat sixth-tier Chorley on Friday. Premier League clubs Manchester City, Brighton, West Ham and Sheffield United are all in action later Saturday against lower-league teams. There is also a rescheduled Premier League game between Aston Villa and Newcastle. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
The Moose Hide Campaign is gearing up for its tenth anniversary with an upcoming livestream and set of virtual workshops. Founded in 2011 by a then 16-year-old Raven Lacerte and her father Paul, the campaign has now distributed more than two million squares of moose hide pins, representative of the commitments made during the campaign’s decade-long effort to end violence towards women and children. While out on a hunting trip near the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia, called as such because of the many women who have gone missing or have been murdered along that 725-km stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, the father-daughter duo began thinking of the White Ribbon Campaign. Co-founded by former federal New Democratic Party leader, the now late Jack Layton, the White Ribbon Campaign was sparked in response to the hate and violence that led to the shooting deaths of 14 women and others injured at École Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989. “As we were talking about it, this moment of inspiration came to us,” Raven said. “We thought that moose hide would be something that men and boys would feel connected to with a hunter-gatherer, warrior feel to it,” she said, and that in turn could help raise awareness about the issue of violence toward women and children in the Indigenous community. Paul Lacerte had been at a conference in Vancouver focused on ending such violence when he recognized how few men were engaged by the issue. Of the hundreds of attendees, Lacerte noticed less than five men taking a true interest. “Women were doing all of it, the advocacy, the support, bearing the burden of the trauma and the healing,” Raven said. “We’ve been learning and growing over the years, as you can probably imagine as a 16-year-old and her dad just trying to sort it all out,” Raven said of the Moose Hide Campaign’s development over the years. “When we started, our idea was that ‘men need to end violence towards women and children’, with a special focus on Indigenous women and children,” Raven said. “As visibly Indigenous people, we know that the likelihood of something bad happening to me is much higher than other people. My dad really wanted to do that work to ensure that myself and my sisters could live lives free from violence.” Men and boys soon became engaged in the campaign, which includes a fast for one day as part of a call to action, which tests and deepens an individual’s personal commitment to honour and protect the woman and children in their lives. There was also a strong interest from other participants across the gender spectrum. “Immediately, women and gender non-binary folks were asking what their role could be in this movement,” Raven said. “It’s an awareness campaign. We invite everyone to wear the moose hide pin and fast with us, and continue these really important conversations.” “We’re still targeting men and boys specifically, but in the same breath saying that this campaign is for everyone. We need all of us to work together to end violence against women and children.” Raven also emphasized a greater integration of trans people and members of the greater LGBTQ2S+ community, with a goal of bringing an end to all gender-based and domestic violence. An event planned for Feb. 11 will run from 8:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Pacific Time. The intention is “To remember those we have lost. To share our stories and struggles. To grow closer through the experience of fasting and ceremony. To motivate one another with all we have managed to achieve,” reads the Moose Hide Campaign website. Forced online due to restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event offers the opportunity for attendees to hear from keynote speakers, the campaign’s founders, Elders and to participate in ceremony. February 11 is also the day people will undergo the traditional fast, which offers the opportunity for humility, healing and a signal that those taking part are serious about making change. Raven emphasized the importance of signing up through the campaign website to register for the day’s events, order a set of pins, learn healthy fasting techniques, and tips on organizing local Moose Hide Campaign events. There is also an option to order non-leather pins for those interested. Lacerte emphasized that the moose hides come from a variety of sources that are sent to a tannery, including donations from hunters who otherwise would have left the hides in the bush. “No moose are killed solely for the purpose of the campaign,” Raven said. The campaign encourages participants to wear the hide pins year-round. “Moose are iconically Canadian,” she said. “We wanted to offer a bit of the beauty and love and healing energy of the land as part of this movement. This is not just something you can throw in the garbage. We want you to wear it with pride.” Windspeaker.com By Adam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) President Natan Obed took part in a virtual panel Friday afternoon that discussed mental health in diverse communities. The hour-long event was moderated by Dr. Jane Philpott, former federal minister of Health and later minister of Indigenous Services Canada, and now dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University. The panel was held in conjunction with the Bell Let’s Talk awareness initiative on mental health. Philpott stated on the livestream there were nearly 1,000 viewers registered for the event. The four-person panel also included Dr. Myrna Lashley, assistant professor in the department of Psychiatry at McGill University, Dr. Kenneth Fung, staff psychiatrist and clinical director of the Asian Initiative in Mental Health Program at Toronto Western Hospital, and Asante Haughton, a Toronto-based public speaker and human rights activist discussing mental health and its connectedness to racism. Each of the panelists discussed how mental and physical health challenges have been illuminated in various Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities across Canada throughout the pandemic, as well as long-term existing social determinants of health. “[Mental health] is an area near and dear to my heart,” Obed said in his opening remarks. Obed has served as president of ITK since 2015 In relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, Obed discussed some of the difficulties faced by the approximately 65,000 Inuit living primarily in 51 northern communities. “We know the realities we face in our communities,” he said, stating that “52 per cent of our homes are overcrowded.” He said a lot of the public health messages towards social distancing and keeping a small circle of close contacts can be a challenge with a high number of multi-generational homes. “People who want to do the right thing feel distressed that have no possible way to do it,” Obed said. Obed’s talk covered the correlation between the suicide epidemic in northern communities and the increased influence of the federal government in northern lives, including the history of residential schools and the resulting traumas that occurred within that system. “Inuit did not have an elevated suicide rate prior to the 1970s,” Obed said. “Suicide exists in every known society… but you can’t help but link the imposition of governmental control in our community [with the rising suicide rates]. These systems of government control are inherently racist and need to be actively anti-racist.” Obed added that having a self-determined government structure provides a level of mental health support. “But it doesn’t solve all of our challenges… We’re still dealing with the consequences of colonization in action,” Obed said. “We need a mix of Inuit and clinical mental health support.” Due to a lack of health resources in their communities, some Inuit have been forced to travel to southern centres in order to receive basic health care. Obed discussed the added fear that can exist from this travel during the pandemic, highlighted by patients who have contracted COVID-19 in the south, and in some instances passing away there. Obed also talked about the high rates of tuberculosis in Inuit communities and stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has many similarities. “We’re very familiar with respiratory illnesses.” There is a goal of 2030 to have tuberculosis eradicated within the Inuit community. Despite the many challenges he spoke about, Obed did also indicated there is hope within ITK’s population network. “We are very fortunate that we are on the priority list in terms of the vaccine,” with the first dose of Moderna vaccines having been distributed now in some Inuit communities. “It’s great to have that connection with the federal government and provinces and territories that recognize the very huge risks our communities face.” Obed also discussed the importance of directing people towards professional resources if they are having personal mental health struggles. “We can get stuck sometimes in feeling the inertia of not knowing how to move forward, but there is help. There are people you can talk to,” Obed said. “I don’t necessarily have the answers. I am not a mental health specialist. But often I can recommend a place to go.” Obed also touched on the mental health aspects of something he said he always felt would happen but wasn’t sure when it would—the removal of Indigenous mascots and logos in major North American professional sports, including football teams in Washington and Edmonton, and the planned removal of Cleveland’s baseball nickname in the 2022 season. “These were always racist. They always had a negative health impact,” he said. “[These name changes] are amazing lurches forward. For all of the awful things we’ve been through, I am hopeful because of what was accomplished.” Windspeaker.com By Adam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Hundreds of people marched in central Tunis on Saturday against inequality and police brutality, in defiance of a ban on demonstrations and as security forces tried to block off the city's main central avenue. Protesters chanted "the people want the fall of the regime" - a chant popularised during the so-call Arab Spring a decade ago - and held up banners and slogans decrying the security response to more than a week of demonstrations and nightly clashes between youths and police in cities across Tunisia. The protests, 10 years after a popular revolt against autocratic rule introduced democracy in Tunisia, represent the biggest bout of political unrest in several years, with police detaining hundreds of people.
HONOLULU — People following a violent movement that promotes a second U.S. civil war or the breakdown of modern society have been showing up at recent protests across the nation armed and wearing tactical gear. But the anti-government “boogaloo” movement has adopted an unlikely public and online symbol: the so-called Hawaiian shirt. The often brightly colored, island-themed garment, known in Hawaii as an aloha shirt, is to people across the world synonymous with a laid back lifestyle. But in Hawaii, it has an association with aloha — the Native Hawaiian spirit of love, compassion and mercy. The shirts are being worn by militant followers of the boogaloo philosophy — the antithesis of aloha — at demonstrations about coronavirus lockdowns, racial injustice and, most recently, the presidential election. Boogaloo is a loosely affiliated far-right movement that includes a variety of extremist factions and political views. The name is a reference to a slang term for a sequel -- in this case, a second civil war. “You have everyone from neo-Nazis and white nationalists to libertarians,” said Cassie Miller, a senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups in the U.S. "And while ideologically there might be some differentiation among people who identify with the movement, what unites them is their interest in having complete access to firearms and the belief that the country is heading towards a civil war.” Miller said those who follow boogaloo, sometimes referred to as “Boogaloo Bois,” believe that "people need to rise up against the government, which they see as tyrannical and essentially irredeemable, and that the only solution to righting what they see as their perceived grievances is to overthrow the state.” Those adhering to the philosophy often target law enforcement, Miller said, because the police are the most accessible symbol of the government at public gatherings. People affiliated with the movement have been linked to real-world violence, including a string of domestic terrorism plots. The movement has also been promoted by white supremacists, but many supporters insist they’re not truly advocating for violence. Attempts by The Associated Press to reach people associated with the movement were unsuccessful. “If you look at their online spaces, their rhetoric is extremely violent," Miller said. "A lot of it is kind of under this veneer of irony and humour, but there’s something very real to all of it.” When social media sites began banning the use of the word “boogaloo” and those associated with the movement, followers started using different terms to mask their online identities and intentions. “They’ll adopt a slogan that sounds benign in order to evade scrutiny, in order to evade bans. And so with the boogaloo, what you got is sort of variations of that term showing up in online spaces," Miller said. “One of them was ‘big luau,’ and that is then what led to using Hawaiian imagery and then the Hawaiian shirts.” Miller added that she doesn't believe “they’re really thinking about the meaning of the symbols that they’re using.” "For them, it’s a reference to show that they’re in the know that they’re part of this culture, that they can identify each other at public gatherings like this. And I think that’s really how it functions. It is creating kind of a sense of camaraderie.” But to those who live in Hawaii, especially Native Hawaiians, the aloha spirit attached to the commercialized patterns on the shirts has deeper meaning. “The aloha shirt is one thing but aloha itself is another, and the principles of aloha are deeply rooted in our culture,” said Kealoha Pisciotta, a Native Hawaiian activist who has led peaceful protests against the building of a telescope on a Hawaii peak indigenous people consider sacred. “The principles of aloha are based on love, peace, harmony, truth.” "It creates the space for compassion to come into our heart, rather than the contrary of that, which would be hate, loathing, anti-Semitism, you know, racism,” Pisciotta said. Many Native Hawaiians share a sense of frustration with U.S. and state government because of the way the Hawaiian Kingdom was overthrown. They have long fought against the exploitation and commercialization of their land by large corporations and government entities, but in a mostly peaceful way. “Hawaiians are facing desecration of our burials ... of our sacred places. But it’s in our choice of how we want to respond and address the powers that be," Pisciotta added. "If you want the end result to be based in peace, then you have to move in peace and move in aloha.” "Aloha is about also reducing suffering, reducing, deescalating anger,” she added. "It’s human to become angry, it's human to feel frustrated. It’s human to want to lash out. But but it’s also human to find compassion.” Dale Hope, whose parents owned a garment factory in Honolulu that he went on to run and create quality aloha shirts with an eye toward detailed and authentic Hawaiian imagery, said the imagery being used at protests among extremists is misguided. “I don’t think they really understand the value and the meaning of what these shirts represent,” he said. “I think they’re an easy way for them to stand out in the crowd and to get a lot of attention. But I don’t I don’t think they have a clue as to what the meaning and the virtues of aloha are with love and compassion and sharing.” Hope wrote the book “The Aloha Shirt" about the early days of the textile industry in Hawaii and the meaning behind the aloha symbolism. Aloha shirts first emerged in Hawaii in the 1930s and became accepted business wear locally in the 1960s. They often feature island motifs such as native plants, ocean waves and other scenes that play a prominent role in Native Hawaiian legends and hula chants. Some also show Chinese calligraphy or Japanese carp, reflecting the many cultures that have shaped modern Hawaii. Hope said some designers in Hawaii go out and chant and ask Hawaiian gods for respect before they begin the process of making the symbols on the shirts. “We’ve always tried to do things with respect and honour, whatever the subject is that we’re trying to portray on a piece of textile," Hope said. “I think the aloha shirt is a representation of your passion and your love for this wonderful place that we call home. Hawaii is a unique, wonderful group of islands out in the middle of the Pacific." Caleb Jones, The Associated Press
A 64-year-old woman is dead after a three-vehicle crash south of Lloydminster on Thursday, Maidstone RCMP say. Officers were called around 7 p.m. CST about the accident on Highway 17 near Lone Rock, Sask., roughly 25 kilometres south of Lloydminster. They determined a crash occurred between two vans, both southbound. The first van then crashed with a northbound semi, police say. The 64-year-old woman, who was a passenger in one of the vans, was taken to hospital, where she died. Police did not provide any information other than her age and where she was from. The drivers of the semi and the other van reported no injuries. RCMP said alcohol was not believed to be a factor in the crash. An RCMP collision reconstructionist from Prince Albert was on scene, the police news release said, and would investigate the crash with Maidstone RCMP.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The developer of the Pebble Mine in Alaska has filed an appeal with the Army Corps of Engineers that asks the agency to reconsider the developer's application to build a gold mine upstream from Bristol Bay. The Army Corps of Engineers rejected Pebble Limited Partnership's application in November on the grounds that the mine would not comply with the Clean Water Act. The proposed mine was to be built on state land, but dredging and filling in federal waters and wetlands requires a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska Public Media reported. Pebble CEO John Shively said the Corps' decision was rushed and came only days after the company filed its final document. Opponents to the proposed mine have said the project would pose a threat to important salmon spawning streams and could ruin the area's sport and commercial fisheries. Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy had announced two weeks ago that the state would appeal the permit rejection. Dunleavy said the decision endangers the state’s right to develop its own resources. The Associated Press
Yulia Navalnaya was taking part in a protest to demand the release of her husband when she was taken into a police vehicle.
The owner of a Regina care home where 43 COVID-19-infected residents died says the outbreak there is finally over after two months. But at a Saskatoon Extendicare home still dealing with an outbreak, staffers are not properly using personal protective equipment at all times, according to two employees. They agreed to speak to CBC News on the condition of confidentiality. "All it takes is one single staff member making one mistake to infect a resident and have that resident later pass away," said a male worker at Extendicare Preston in Saskatoon. In an emailed statement, Extendicare spokesperson Laura Gallant said workers are doing everything possible to follow all provincial and local health directives. "Our team audits PPE practices regularly to make sure everyone is following best practice protocol," she said. "We conduct on-the-spot training to ensure staff know what to do." Health officials declared an outbreak at Preston on Dec. 10. The facility, which is operated by Extendicare under a contract with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, has 82 beds, about 78 of which were occupied at the start of the outbreak, a female worker said. As of Wednesday, 33 residents were infected with COVID-19 after six others recovered, according to a note to workers that day. Thirteen staff members were positive for the illness, while two had recovered. Three residents who were infected have died, Gallant said. Eating in the hallway "Some co-workers, and I've witnessed it firsthand, are not using PPE properly," the male worker said. One staff member entered a COVID-positive resident's room wearing PPE, left to grab a water bottle from a staff break room, and then went back inside the resident's room with the same PPE, he said. In the last week, employees have taken masks off inside residents' rooms because they were hot, or ate food in hallways instead of the designated "green rooms" for staff, the female worker said. "[They're] touching their masks or faces with gloved hands that have touched residents who are COVID-19 positive," she said. Some staffers were wearing ill-fitting respirators because they were not supplied N95 respirators, even though air filters have been installed in parts of the home, she added. "They have the HEPA filter machines in certain rooms. People are just like, 'If they're cleaning the air, then why aren't they giving us N95s?" she said. Extendicare found problems with the air ventilation during the outbreak at its Parkside home in Regina, stoking fears about a similar problem at Preston, she said. In the note to workers on Wednesday — which also stressed the importance of properly using PPE — Extendicare senior administrator Jason Carson said Saskatchewan Health Authority guidelines only require workers to wear N95 masks when carrying out certain tasks, such as intubating a resident. "The home continues to have an ample supply of PPE for all staff," Gallant said. "The SHA has determined that N95 masks are not required for all homes in outbreak and has confirmed that the existing PPE complement in use at the home is compliant with provincial direction." Carson's note also addressed the "air scrubbers." "We are not sure it will help but we are taking the extra step to help keep our [COVID-19] negative residents negative," Carson wrote. "It removes air pollution, surface contaminants, odours and dust. It provides a cleaner, healthier and more efficient air within your home." 'I would call it lazy' Many Extendicare Preston employees have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — which the workers CBC spoke with say may be providing a false sense of security. Thirty employees and 52 residents had been vaccinated as of Friday, according to Extendicare. "I had a sneaking suspicion that people would start slacking because of getting the vaccine," the female worker said. According to Health Canada, for the vaccine to work best, people need to receive two doses. Clinical trials have found it also takes time for bodies to react — meaning people aren't protected immediately after getting a shot. The male Preston worker said he believes some co-workers are being "sloppy" with PPE because they don't know better. "I would call it lazy," the female worker said of what she's observed. Gallant said managers conduct daily walk-arounds to demonstrate PPE best practices and provide guidance to any employees with questions. "The SHA has been on site regularly to support our team and review infection prevention and control practices and PPE use," she said. When the Saskatchewan Health Authority took over day-to-day operations at the Regina Parkside home as the outbreak there reached its apex in early December, CEO Scott Livingstone said part of the reason for the move was to ensure "the PPE is there and being used appropriately to care for the patients." Asked a week later why the Parkside outbreak grew so bad — at its worst, more than three-quarters of the home's 200 original residents became infected — Livingstone said some things needed to be put in place at Parkside, including "infection control practices up to the SHA standard [and] the additional PPE." The authority had "heightened our measure for N95 usage" at Parkside, it told CBC News that same week. The SHA has not taken over operations at Preston as it did at Parkside. No active cases at Parkside Regina Extendicare operates three other care homes in the province, including a Moose Jaw home where an outbreak was declared on Nov. 12. It has since been declared over. In an update to family members of Parkside residents on Thursday, Extendicare said Regina's medical health officer had declared the outbreak over, "now that the standard 28-day period has passed after the onset of the last COVID-19 positive resident case that had the potential to contribute to transmission at the home." That outbreak had been declared on Nov. 20. Extendicare's five Saskatchewan homes are the only long-term care centres in the province operated by a private company under contract to the SHA, according to the health authority.
WASHINGTON — Inside the White House, President Joe Biden presided over a focused launch of his administration, using his first days in office to break sharply with his predecessor while signing executive orders meant as a showy display of action to address the historic challenges he inherited. But outside the gates at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., there were signs everywhere that those crises are as deep and intractable as ever. The coronavirus pandemic surges, the economy teeters and Republicans in Congress have signalled objections to many of Biden’s plans. Biden is looking to jump-start his first 100 days in office with action and symbolism to reassure a divided and weary public that help is in the offing. He also knows that what a president can do on his own is limited so he is calling for Congress to act while he is being candid with Americans that dark days are ahead. “The crisis is not getting better. It’s deepening,” Biden said Friday about the impact of pandemic. “A lot of America is hurting. The virus is surging. Families are going hungry. People are at risk of being evicted again. Job losses are mounting. We need to act.” “The bottom line is this: We’re in a national emergency. We need to act like we’re in a national emergency,” he said. Biden’s first moments as president were meant to steady American democracy itself. He took the oath just before noon Wednesday in front of a Capitol that still bore scars from the insurrection that took place precisely two weeks earlier and was aimed at stopping Biden’s ascension to power. The violence underscored the fragile nature of the peaceful transfer of power and led to the historic second impeachment of Donald Trump. Biden resisted calls to move the inauguration to a more secure indoor setting. He was intent on preserving the usual inauguration trappings as a signal that normalcy could be achieved even though there were signs everywhere that things were far from normal: a military presence that resembled a war zone, guests on the dais wearing masks, a National Mall filled with 200,000 American flags standing in for the American people who were asked to stay away because of the pandemic. Biden was plain-spoken and direct about the confluence of crises the nation faces. More than 410,000 Americans have lost their lives to the pandemic, millions are out of work and the aftershocks of a summer reckoning with racial justice are still felt. “You can hear this collective sigh of relief that Trump is gone, but we have no time for a sigh of relief because of the cascading crises,” said Eddie Glaude Jr., chair of the department of African American studies at Princeton University. “We don’t want to assume that the election of Biden solves everything. The scale of the problems is immense and the question for us is do we respond at scale.” The changes within the White House have been swift. After Trump’s departure, his final staffers cleared out and a deep clean began. The White House had been the site of multiple COVID-19 outbreaks and, in a physical manifestation of a new approach to the virus, plastic shields were placed on desks and scores of new staffers were told to work from home. New pictures were hung on the West Wing walls and the Oval Office received a fast makeover. Gone were a painting of Andrew Jackson and the Diet Coke button of the desk; in came images of Robert Kennedy and Cesar Chavez. But the most important symbol, the clearest break from the previous administration, came from the president himself. When Biden sat down at the Resolute Desk to sign his first batch of his executive orders on Wednesday, he was wearing a mask. Trump had resisted wearing one, putting one on only occasionally and instead turning mask-wearing into a polarizing political issue Biden urged all Americans to wear a mask for the next 100 days and used his platform to model the same behaviour, one of several ways he tried to change the tone of the presidency in his first few days. Daily press briefings returned, absent the accusations of “fake news” that marked only sporadic briefings in the Trump era. Biden held a virtual swearing-in for hundreds of White House staffers, telling them to treat each other with respect or they would dismissed, a marked change from the contentious, rivalry-driven Trump West Wing. Calls to the leaders of Canada and Mexico were made without drama. The executive actions Biden signed during the week were a mix of concrete and symbolic actions meant to undo the heart of Trump’s legacy. Biden halted construction of the border wall, rejoined the World Health Organization and the Paris climate accord and bolstered the means for production for vaccines. But the might of the executive actions pales in comparison to the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that he requested from Congress. Biden has not ruled out asking Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to push it through by tactics requiring only Democratic support. But the president, who spent decades in the Senate, hoped to persuade Republicans to support the measure. “Leaning on executive action makes sense at the start, you can get things going and show momentum right away without waiting for Congress,” said Robert Gibbs, former press secretary for President Barack Obama. “But this is going take a while. Like it was for us in 2009, change doesn’t come overnight." "Everything he inherited is likely to get worse before we see improvement,” Gibbs saidtinued. “One thing you learn on January 20th is that you suddenly own all of it.” Just two Cabinet nominees were confirmed by week's end, to the frustration of the White House. But with the Friday night announcement that Trump’s impeachment trial will not begin until the week of Feb. 8, Biden aides were optimistic that the Senate would confirm more before then. The trial looms as an unwelcome distraction for the Biden team. But while Trump will shadow the White House, Biden aides have noted that the former president commands far less attention now that his Twitter account is gone. They have expressed confidence that the Senate can balance the impeachment proceedings with both Cabinet confirmations and consideration of the COVID-19 relief bill. Biden has made clear that steering the nation through the pandemic will be his signature task and some Republicans believe that Trump’s implosion could create an opening to work across the aisle on a relief deal. “There is a very narrow permission structure for congressional Republicans who want to move past the Trump era and want to establish their own political identities,” said Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist who was a senior adviser on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. Romney is now a Utah senator. “There is an old saying: ‘Make the main thing the main thing.’ And the Biden White House knows that’s the main thing,” Madden said. “If they can improve the pandemic response in the next 100 days, then they can move on to other priorities, they’ll have the capital for legislative fights. But they need to get it right.” ___ Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press
Après 4 jours sans nouvelle infection de COVID-19 sur la Côte-Nord, le bilan de ce samedi 23 janvier fait mention de 3 cas supplémentaires, ainsi que 4 guérisons de plus. Ce sont 2 cas de plus dans la MRC de Sept-Rivières, et 1 dans Manicouagan. Il y a 11 cas actifs et 1 hospitalisation. Situation sur la Côte-Nord NOTE : Confinement du Québec et instauration d’un couvre-feu entre 20 h et 5 h pour la période du 9 janvier au 8 février 2021 : Restez à la maison et consultez la page Confinement du Québec pour connaître les détails. Vous pouvez aussi consulter toute l’information sur la COVID‑19.*En date du 23 janvier 2021 – 11 h Nombre de cas confirmés : 339 (+3) Répartition par MRC : Basse-Côte-Nord : 6 Caniapiscau : 7 Haute-Côte-Nord : 26 Manicouagan : 105 (+1) Minganie : 17 Sept-Rivières : 178 (+2)Cas guéris : 325 (+4) Décès : 3 Cas actifs : 11 (-1) Cas actifs provenant d’une autre région : 0 Hospitalisation en cours : 1 Éclosions en cours : Milieu de travail (Haute-Côte-Nord) : Moins de 5 cas Éclosions terminées récemment : Résidence privée pour aînés (Manicouagan) Milieu de travail (Sept-Rivières) Milieu de garde (Sept-Rivières)Karine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
Ottawa-based company Spartan Bioscience has received Health Canada approval for its made-in-Canada rapid COVID-19 test, authorizing the sale of the device. "Spartan's test is the first truly mobile, rapid PCR test for COVID-19 for the Canadian market," a news release from the company states. "The Spartan COVID-19 system offers the speed and ease of use of a rapid test, while using the technology of lab-based COVID-19 testing solutions." Health Canada originally provided regulatory approval for the company's device in April 2020 — with the federal government ordering 40,000 tests monthly. At the time, the portable test was being called a "game changer" by health officials because it could deliver on-location results within 60 minutes. The federal agency restricted the device to research use in May, however, after finding problems with the test that made it unreliable. Approval was granted on Friday after the company conducted clinical trials based on a new device design, Health Canada spokesperson Natalie Mohamed told CBC News in an email. "The Spartan Bioscience test is a point-of-care molecular test," Mohamed wrote. "This new device meets Health Canada's requirements for safety and effectiveness." WATCH | Health Canada approves Canadian-made rapid COVID-19 testing system: New swab, upgrades to chemistry kit Dr. James Spiegelman, a co-founder of the company who also practises internal medicine at Humber River Regional Hospital in Toronto, said the problems stemmed from the efficacy of the swabs used to collect tissue samples, not the machine itself. Spartan originally used a proprietary cheek swab that it developed for other DNA diagnostics, he said, but it became clear that the swab wasn't collecting enough genetic material to produce consistent, reliable results. The company now uses standard nasopharyngeal swabs to collect tissue from the nose. "We found that that provides the best sample for increased sensitivity of the test," Spiegelman said. Spiegelman said the company also made improvements to the sample processing kit so that it no longer needs to be shipped and stored at frozen temperatures but can be stored at room temperature. With the Spartan test, a trained health-care professional swabs the nose of the person being tested, places the swab into a processing kit that generates a chain reaction and then puts that kit into the cube-shaped device, which takes about 50 minutes to analyze and produce results. Spiegelman said the test could be used to provide quick and accurate COVID-19 diagnostics everywhere from hospitals and workplaces to pharmacies and remote communities. "I think [Spartan's rapid test] will really help alleviate and give us a tool in our toolbox to reduce the spread of COVID-19," he said. Rapid tests already in use across Canada Rapid diagnostic tests are already in use in many settings across Canada to test for COVID-19, including in homeless shelters, long-term care homes and remote communities. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday that the federal government had distributed more than 14 million to the provinces and territories. "Hopefully we see these integrated into work environments, especially work environments where we know they're at greater risk for outbreaks," said infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch, who is also a member of the Ontario COVID-19 vaccine task force. "I think you could think about certainly integrating them into certain schools or certain school settings, rural, remote, underserviced locations. There's a lot of places where rapid tests would be extremely helpful." Spartan Bioscience CEO Roger Eacock said the company currently has the manufacturing capacity to produce 60,000 of the tests per week, but the company plans to ramp that up to 200,000 per week in the future. Eacock said the company already has deals with the federal government and several provinces, as well as some airlines and resource companies, and that shipments are expected to begin in the coming week.
Two airlines serving Saskatchewan's north have announced they're consolidating their operations under a new name. West Wind Aviation and Transwest Air will consolidate under one air operating certificate, and will rebrand as Rise Air. The consolidation is "going to allow us to survive," Stephen Smith, president and CEO of the West Wind Group of Companies, said in an interview with CBC. "There is no question that COVID-19 put a lot of strain [on us] because a lot of people canceled meetings, which we would provide flights for. The people stop traveling out of northern communities." The slowdown of the uranium market and mines shutting down also had an effect, he said, with operations down by about 50 per cent. Transwest Air was already a wholly owned subsidiary of West Wind Aviation, after being purchased by the company in 2016, according to the Transwest website. Until now, however, West Wind Aviation and Transwest Air each had their own operating certificates, said Smith. "There's a duplication of people in one company to have two operating certificates," he said. "The new cost structure will allow us to not only survive but hopefully look to potentially grow in the future." According to Smith, the business is now right-sized for the marketplace. "The employees that we have now are fine, in terms of we don't have to consider reducing anymore." Ticket prices won't be affected: CEO The rebranding process will start within the next few weeks, once the regulatory requirements have been completed, the carriers said in a media release. Ticket prices won't be affected by the consolidation, Smith said, and the number of aircraft will remain the same. The company picked Rise Air as its new name after receiving 140 different recommendations from employees, said Smith. Another staff member submitted a sketch for the new logo. "Because we're bringing together two different companies that both have their own cultures and histories, we wanted something new and fresh but also wanted to preserve the legacy of both organizations," he said in a media release. Until the rebranding process is completed, people will see three different logos, he said. "We are OK with being patient during this process." West Wind Aviation, which is First Nations and employee-owned, operates from bases in Saskatoon and La Ronge, and has satellite locations in northern Saskatchewan, according to the company's website. The West Wind Group of Companies owns Snowbird Aviation Services, Northern Shield Helicopters, and Transwest Air, soon doing business as Rise Air, said Smith.
Area healthcare services were top of mind at Mono Council’s meeting last Tuesday (Jan. 12).The President/CEO of Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston, Jody Levac delivered a presentation to Council about the hospital’s new expansion and the impact it will have on both the facility and roughly 200 Mono residents who use it instead of Headwaters Health Care Centre.Long a staple of both Alliston and the surrounding area, Stevenson Memorial has been struggling with its size compared to its growing patient load and is thrilled to announce the new expansion. Opening in January of this year, will be a new Level 2 ICU at the hospital, with four ICU beds initially and a fifth to come later. In addition to providing care for patients with advanced care needs, close to home, the facility will house respiratory therapists – a new area of care at SMH. The trauma room, originally built in 1964, in the Emergency Department, is being reno-vated and updated, with new flooring, paint, lighting, fixtures and glass door entrance that can be turned opaque, for patient pri-vacy. All this is being done, while waiting for the much needed redevelopment.The hospital stepped up when COVID-19 struck, opening an assessment centre in the parking lot, which is now operated on an appointment-only system, doing thousands of swabs to date. The clinic has since been converted to a two car at a time heated and winterized drive-through facility. SMH is working on establishing an Influenza Like Illness (ILI) Clinic to assess patients.The hospital is working to submit a Stage 2 submission to the Ministry of Health for the proposed redevelopment. The submission will see a total of 47 beds in the redeveloped hospital. The next step in the process will be to secure the local share of funding for the proj-ect, $30 million over the next 18-24 months. The proposed revitalized Hospital will see a new two story wrap around addition, which encompasses the existing hospital in its design. Also included in that design is a new trauma centre with an indoor ambu-lance bay that can house four ambulances.In his wrap up, Dr. Levac expressed his appreciation for the support that SMH has received from both Mono residents and busi-nesses, and added that he hopes Council can afford to help out with fundraising for the new development. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
Democrats plan to move quickly on one of the first bills of the new Congress, citing the need for federal election standards and other reforms to shore up the foundations of American democracy after a tumultuous post-election period and deadly riot at the Capitol. States have long had disparate and contradictory rules for running elections. But the 2020 election, which featured pandemic-related changes to ease voting and then a flood of lawsuits by former President Donald Trump and his allies, underscored the differences from state to state: Mail-in ballots due on Election Day or just postmarked by then? Absentee voting allowed for all or just voters with an excuse? Same-day or advance-only registration? Democrats, asserting constitutional authority to set the time, place and manner of federal elections, want national rules they say would make voting more uniform, accessible and fair across the nation. The bill would mandate early voting, same-day registration and other long-sought reforms that Republicans reject as federal overreach. “We have just literally seen an attack on our own democracy,” said U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, referring to the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol. “I cannot think of a more timely moment to start moving on democracy reform.” The legislation first introduced two years ago, known as the For the People Act, also would give independent commissions the job of drawing congressional districts, require political groups to disclose high-dollar donors, create reporting requirements for online political ads and, in a rearview nod at Trump, obligate presidents to disclose their tax returns. Republican opposition was fierce during the last session. At the time, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., labeled it the “Democrat Politician Protection Act” and said in an op-ed that Democrats were seeking to “change the rules of American politics to benefit one party.” While Democrats control Congress for the first time in a decade, the measure's fate depends on whether enough Republicans can be persuaded to reconsider a bill they have repeatedly rejected. If not, Democrats could decide it's time to take the extraordinary and difficult step of eliminating the Senate filibuster, a procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. Advocates say the bill is the most consequential piece of voting legislation since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. House Democrats vowed two years ago to make the bill a priority, and they reintroduced it this month as H.R. 1, underscoring its importance to the party. “People just want to be able to cast their vote without it being an ordeal,” said Rep. John Sarbanes, a Democrat from Maryland who is the lead sponsor of the House bill. “It’s crazy in America that you still have to navigate an obstacle course to get to the ballot box.” Current plans would have the full House take up the bill as soon as the first week of February. The Senate Rules Committee would then consider a companion bill introduced in the Senate, and a tie vote there could allow it to move out of committee and to the floor as early as next month, said Klobuchar, who is expected to become the committee’s next chair. A quick vote would be remarkable considering the Senate also is likely to be juggling Trump’s impeachment trial, confirmation of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet choices and another round of coronavirus relief. While states have long had different voting procedures, the November 2020 election highlighted how the variability could be used to sow doubt about the outcome. The bill’s supporters, which include national voting and civil rights organizations, cited dozens of pre-election lawsuits that challenged procedural rules, such as whether ballots postmarked on Election Day should count. They also pointed to the post-election litigation Trump and his allies filed to try to get millions of legitimately cast ballots tossed out. Many of those lawsuits targeted election changes intended to make voting easier. That included a Pennsylvania law the state’s Republican-led legislature passed before the pandemic to make absentee ballots available to all registered voters upon request. Government and election officials repeatedly have described the election as the most secure in U.S. history. Even former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, a Trump ally, said before leaving his post that there was no evidence of widespread fraud that would overturn the result. “The strategy of lying about voter fraud, delegitimizing the election outcome and trying to suppress votes has been unmasked for the illegitimate attack on our democracy that it is, and I think that it opens a lot more doors to real conversations about how to fix our voting system and root out this cancer,” said Wendy Weiser, head of the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy institute. Along with the election reform bill, the House two years ago introduced a related bill, now known as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in honour of the late civil rights activist and congressman. House Democrats are expected to reintroduce it soon after it had similarly stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate. That bill would restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that had triggered federal scrutiny of election changes in certain states and counties. A 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling set aside the method used to identify jurisdictions subject to the provision, known as preclearance, which was used to protect voting rights in places with a history of discrimination. In general, state election officials have been wary of federal voting requirements. But those serving in states led by Democrats have been more open and want to ensure Congress provides money to help them make system upgrades, which the bill does. “If you still believe in what we all learned in high school government class, that democracy works best when as many eligible people participate, these are commonsense reforms,” said Sen. Alex Padilla, a Democrat who oversaw California’s elections before being appointed to the seat formerly held by Vice-President Kamala Harris. But Republican officials like Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill remain opposed. Merrill said the federal government’s role is limited and that states must be allowed to innovate and implement their own voting rules. “Those decisions are best left up to the states, and I think the states are the ones that should determine what course of action they should take,” Merrill said, noting that Alabama has increased voter registration and participation without implementing early voting. “To just say that everything needs to be uniform, that’s not the United States of America,” Merrill said. In the Senate, a key question will be whether there is enough Republican support for elements of the voting reform bill to persuade Democrats to break off certain parts of it into smaller legislation. For now, Democrats say they want a floor vote on the full package. Edward B. Foley, an election law expert at Ohio State University, said Democrats should consider narrow reforms that could gain bipartisan support, cautioning that moving too quickly on a broad bill runs the risk of putting off Republicans. “It would seem to me at this moment in American history, a precarious moment, the right instinct should be a kind of bipartisanship to rebuild common ground as opposed to ‘Our side won, your side lost and we are off to the races,’” Foley said. ___ Cassidy reported from Atlanta. Christina A. Cassidy, The Associated Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 11 a.m. Ontario is reporting 2,359 new cases of COVID-19 today and 52 more deaths related to the virus. The numbers mark a slight decline from the 2,662 cases recorded a day ago. Meanwhile the province says it plans to expand an inspection blitz of big-box stores to ensure they're complying with protocols meant to curb the spread of COVID-19. The Ministry of Labour says inspection efforts focused on the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas last weekend, but will concentrate on Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham Regions over the next two days. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
You may have seen their bus, full of power tools, motoring around Yellowknife, hosting workshops and helping people build things. Now Makerspace YK is working on creating a permanent home as it moves into the location that used to be the After 8 Pub. The non-profit organization is working with the building's landlord to renovate the space into a public workshop, and open later this year in spring or summer. Makerspace YK will provide people with access to the workshop and its equipment to build things, for a nominal fee. "[People] can use [the shop] to do all sorts of different kinds of art or construction ... that they might not [normally] be able to do," said Julian Morse, the executive director of Makerspace YK. It's also hoping to partner with another organization to get additional equipment such as TNT machines, which are programmable and allow people to make much more intricate objects that they would be able to with their hands. The workshop will also have 3-D printing. 'I just found out I really liked it' Twelve-year-old Leah Covey is looking forward to Makerspace YK's new permanent space. Two years ago, she was invited to build a sawhorse. "I just found out that I really liked it," she says. She also worked on a few picnic tables and experimented with melted copper. "I also got to use a whole bunch of other power tools," she says. She's hoping that in the new space, she'll be able to create things that she can sell on Facebook. "I would really like to make some, like, pretty useful objects ... just blanket holders and like a fancy bookshelf and like shelves," she said. Grow the knowledge economy Morse is hoping the workshop will become so popular, Makerspace YK will outgrow the space. "The hope is to make it really successful," he says. Morse was hired three weeks ago and took the job because he sees this as an opportunity to grow the knowledge economy in the N.W.T. "It helps grow the skill sets in the community," he says. "I think it'll help introduce people to trades in a way that they may not have been able to check it out in other ways."