Poptart the cat has a bad habit of jumping on the kitchen counter. Will the tinfoil stop this? Wait till the end and see! @poptartthecatdog
Poptart the cat has a bad habit of jumping on the kitchen counter. Will the tinfoil stop this? Wait till the end and see! @poptartthecatdog
BERLIN — A court in Berlin heard Tuesday how witnesses alerted police after seeing a man dump a wig, clothes and a bicycle in a river last year, allowing officers to swiftly arrest the suspect in an alleged Russia-ordered political assassination.Testimony by the two men is central to the trial of the man German authorities have identified as Vadim Krasikov, a 55-year-old Russian citizen whose alleged killing of a Georgian man in broad daylight in downtown Berlin has fueled frictions between Germany and Russia.German prosecutors allege there is ample evidence indicating Russian officials ordered the killing of Zelimkhan “Tornike” Khangoshvili, who had fled to Germany with his family. Russia has accused Khangoshvili of killing scores of people during fighting in the Caucasus, but denied being behind his slaying.German news agency dpa reported that the two witnesses told the Berlin regional court they became suspicious when they saw the suspect disappear into bushes by the banks of the Spree River on Aug. 23, 2019. They moved to a bridge to get a better view and called police.When the suspect emerged from the bushes, his dark locks were gone and he was wearing completely different clothes, the witnesses testified.The suspect appeared to realize that he was being watched by the men, turning around to look at them repeatedly, but he was apprehended by police before he could flee on an electric scooter.No pleas are entered in the German trial system, and the defendant made only a short statement at the start of the trial, saying that he had been misidentified.The Associated Press
Penetanguishene council could approve an interim 2021 property tax levy this week. Staff is bringing forward the request at Wednesday's meeting and recommending that council approve a temporary tax levy, which can be paid in two installments, one at the end of February and the other at the end of April. The report does not specify the levy amount but it does state that the sum cannot exceed 50% of the total amount of taxes for municipal and school purposes levied on the property in the previous year. The move, says the report, will help with cash management and provide tax revenues in February and April, whereas the final tax levy will provide revenues in July and September. Also on the committee of the whole agenda is a staff report on the extension of the sidewalk on the west side of Peel Street, between Main Street and Simcoe Street, to enable a sidewalk snowplow to remove the snow from that area. The costs associated with the extension of the sidewalk would be approximately $15,000. The extension would also mean existing parking signs within this area will be removed and relocated with pavement markings will be added to define the new sidewalk and parking area. There is sufficient width within this one-way section of Peel Street to accommodate the expansion. Council will also be looking at amendments to the bylaw that governs its contract with the Penetanguishene Curling Club, which has requested some changes to the agreement. The current terms require that the club to provide the town with audited financial statements on an annual basis. As a cost savings measure, the club has requested that the town reconsider that requirement and change it to a review engagement. Staff are supporting the amendment and want to include wording that reflects expanded town use of the facility during the summer. Currently the clause details town use of the facility with reference to day-camp operations. The language will be changed to reflect use of the facility for town programming in general, as opposed to being specific to day-camp use. The committee of the whole meeting begins immediately after the regular council meeting at 7 p.m. and can be viewed online via the town's YouTube channel.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
They may be one of Hollywood’s most beloved couples, but Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn have never felt the pressure to use that unmatched chemistry for the big screen time and time again. Since 1987's “Overboard," they’ve received hundreds of opportunities to reunite in a film. Although none seemed quite right until another longtime, A-list pair landed at their feet: Santa and Mrs. Claus. The film is “The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two,” a sequel to the 2018 Netflix picture that introduced Russell as a Santa who's more superhero-meets-Elvis speedracing his sled than jolly old Saint Nick sitting by a fire. At the urging of Chris Columbus, who produced the first, Hawn appeared as Mrs. Claus in a cameo at the end. “When Goldie appeared on screen, she brought the house down,” said Columbus, who stepped up to direct this one. “We knew we had to do the next one with Goldie, if she would do it, if she would have us.” It debuts on Netflix on Wednesday right in time for Thanksgiving. And, unsurprisingly, the Clauses have never looked better. This wasn’t some slapdash, stunt Christmas cash grab, either. It was born of a genuine love of the holiday and became a deeply personal endeavour for all three. Christmas was big in the Russell and Columbus houses growing up. Columbus even said he was downright obsessed, although he hated the aluminum tree that his mother used. He had previously set “Gremlins,” which he wrote, and “Home Alone” at Christmastime, but both of those were kind of horror films in different ways — one a horror comedy and the other a horrific situation. In his mind, he’d never made a real Christmas movie, most of which he considers pretty bad. This was chance to unapologetically lean into the yuletide spirit. He and Russell worked on the script for months going deep into character questions about where Santa comes from, how he met Mrs. Claus, how long have they been together and what is their relationship like. Russell even composed a 200-page “bible” as backstory. “Kurt approached this like any actor approaching a great role, which is rare for Santa Claus, if we’re being honest. It's only been played well a couple of times," Columbus said. “And this is the great one right here.” That seriousness extended to Mrs. Claus, who they crafted into a pillar of strength and love. Hawn wanted to ensure that she did more than bake cookies too. “There was no Mrs. Claus we could really identify with. She was a character that was iconic for no other reason than she was the wife of Santa,” Hawn said. “I thought, I don’t want to be the one that continues to bring him his slippers. I mean, it’s just not the way women are today.” She was tempted to bring her classic playfulness to the role, but Columbus encouraged her to make this Mrs. Claus a little more grounded. Hawn, who just turned 75 this weekend, is deeply sincere when she says she loves this film and this character. In fact, she took a souvenir from set and plans to hang it in her Aspen house, which she said she’s redoing to make it look like Santa’s Village. Russell can't help but think of his late father Bing Russell, who loved Christmas deeply and helped make the holiday a major event in their household. “I dedicate these to my dad,” Russell said. He’s also excited that their six grandchildren will be able to watch the film and maybe even earn some bragging rights among their peers. “I like the idea that there’s a period of time when those kids can go to school and say, well, my grandmother and grandfather are Mrs. Claus and Santa,” Russell said, beaming. “OK, so top that!” Each film in the Hawn and Russell oeuvre has come at distinctly different phases for the couple. On 1968’s “The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band” they were strangers, on 1984’s “Swing Shift,” they were falling in love and on 1987’s “Overboard” they were becoming a family. Over three decades later, Hawn reflected on where they are now. “This is an interesting phase because there is so much love and history and all the ups and downs of a relationship, and now we’re looking at our grandchildren and these are sort of the special years. And we are looking at fun things to do together, whereas before we were more pulled away by different things,” Hawn said. “It’s a time of friendship, really. I mean, there’s love, but also friendship is very important as you get older: The trust in each other, supporting each other, being there for each other and feeling the safety and the security of that relationship that you’ve worked with and within and all that for close to 40 years.” —- Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
In Pennsylvania, if you’re having friends over to socialize, you’re supposed to wear a mask — and so are your friends. That’s the rule, but Barb Chestnut has no intention of following it.“No one is going to tell me what I can or not do in my own home,” said Chestnut, 60, of Shippensburg. “They do not pay my bills and they are not going to tell me what to do.”As governors and mayors grapple with an out-of-control pandemic, they are ratcheting up mask mandates and imposing restrictions on small indoor gatherings, which have been blamed for accelerating the spread of the coronavirus. But while such measures carry the weight of law, they are, in practical terms, unenforceable, and officials are banking on voluntary compliance instead.Good luck with that.While many are undoubtedly heeding public health advice — downsizing Thanksgiving plans, avoiding get-togethers, wearing masks when they’re around people who don't live with them — it's inevitable that a segment of the population will blow off new state and local restrictions and socialize anyway. Experts say that could put greater stress on overburdened hospitals and lead to an even bigger spike in sickness and death over the holidays.“When this started in early March, we weren’t staring at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we didn’t have the disease reservoir that we have. And that, to me, is the biggest concern in the next few weeks,” said Dr. David Rubin, the director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He called the risk of a Thanksgiving spike “extremely high.”“I think you’re seeing a lot of resistance here," Rubin said. "I can’t speculate on what people are going to do, but I can say that to the degree that there isn’t a collective buy-in here, it sort of blunts the impact of the measures themselves.”The nation is averaging 172,000 new virus cases per day, nearly doubling since the end of October, according to Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations, deaths and the testing positivity rate are also up sharply as the nation approaches Thanksgiving.In response, elected officials are imposing restrictions that, with some exceptions, fall short of the broad-based stay-at-home orders and business shutdowns seen in the spring.Utah and Vermont have banned all social gatherings. So have local governments in Philadelphia and Dane County, Wisconsin. In Kentucky, no more than eight people from two households are permitted to get together; in Oregon, the gathering limit is six. California has imposed an overnight curfew. More states are requiring masks, including those with GOP governors who have long resisted them. The nation’s top health officials are pleading with Americans to avoid Thanksgiving travel.There’s some evidence the holiday will be quieter.Tamika Hickson, who co-owns a party rental business in Philadelphia, said Thanksgiving was a bust even before her city moved to prohibit indoor gatherings of any size."Nobody’s calling," Hickson said. "A lot of people lost a lot of loved ones, so they’re not playing with this. And I don’t blame them.”AAA projects Thanksgiving travel will fall by at least 10%, which would be the steepest one-year plunge since the Great Recession in 2008. But that still means tens of millions of people on the road. On social media, people defiantly talk about their Thanksgiving plans, arguing that nothing will stop them from seeing friends and family.More than 1 million people thronged U.S. airports on Sunday, according to the Transportation Security Administration — the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic.Dr. Debra Bogen, the health director for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which includes Pittsburgh, said that too many have been ignoring public health guidance and that the result has been unchecked spread of the virus.“For the past few weeks, I’ve asked people to follow the rules, curtail gatherings and parties, stay home except for essentials, and wear masks. I’m done asking,” Bogen said at a news conference, her frustration palpable. She announced a stay-at-home advisory that she said would turn into an order if people didn’t comply.Some people are underestimating the risk to themselves and their friends and families, said Baruch Fischhoff, a Carnegie Mellon University psychologist who has written about COVID-19 risk analysis and communications. Others doubt what health officials are telling them about the virus. And still others are simply irresponsible.Fischhoff said the lack of a cohesive national pandemic strategy; patchwork and seemingly arbitrary restrictions at the state and local level; and ineffective, politicized and contradictory public health messaging have sown confusion and mistrust.“It has been a colossal, tragic failure of leadership from the very beginning that we didn’t find the common ground in which we were working to protect the weakest among us. And once you’ve lost that co-ordination, you’re scrambling to get it back and that’s the tragic mess that we’re in now,” he said.In York County, Pennsylvania, 51-year-old retail worker Kori Jess tested positive for the virus last week. Long a mask skeptic, her personal experience with COVID-19 has changed her opinion — to a point. She said it’s appropriate to wear a mask when circumstances warrant, but she still doesn’t like the idea of government mandating them.“I’m so torn,” Jess said. “I like that people are fighting for their freedoms, but I understand why people are wearing masks.”In upstate New York, some sheriffs say they have no intention of enforcing Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent mandate barring private gatherings of more than 10 people.“There is no need to hide cars and sneak around during your attempt to gather with family. We are not going to exhaust our limited resources obtaining search warrants and counting the turkey eaters in your house,” Madison County Sheriff Todd Hood said in a Facebook post. He encouraged people in the largely rural area to use common sense to keep themselves safe.Kim Collins is among those planning a slimmed-down Thanksgiving. In a typical year, Collins would have as many as 20 people at her home in South Orange, New Jersey. This year, her extended family is staying put. “My husband’s having a hard time with the fact that his mom, who’s on her own, won’t be here,” she said.But Collins wasn’t optimistic that others would be so careful. She said plenty of people are going through “mental gymnastics” to justify their holiday get-togethers. “I think that a lot of people aren’t great at the honour system,” she said. ___Associated Press reporters Deepti Hajela in New York City and Michael Hill in Albany, New York, contributed to this story.Michael Rubinkam, The Associated Press
The Daily Show host and comedian Trevor Noah has been tapped to host the 2021 Grammy Awards.The Recording Academy made the announcement hours before the nominees for the upcoming show are revealed. It would mark Noah's first time hosting the Grammys, which are currently scheduled to be held Jan. 31.Earlier this year, Noah competed for his first Grammy Award: The 36-year-old Emmy winner was nominated for best comedy album with Son of Patricia, but lost to Dave Chappelle."Despite the fact that I am extremely disappointed that the GRAMMYs have refused to have me sing or be nominated for best pop album, I am thrilled to be hosting this auspicious event," Noah said in a statement."I think as a one-time GRAMMY nominee, I am the best person to provide a shoulder to all the amazing artists who do not win on the night because I too know the pain of not winning the award! (This is a metaphorical shoulder, I'm not trying to catch Corona). See you at the 63rd GRAMMYs!"Harvey Mason Jr., interim president and CEO of the Recording Academy, said: "With a knack for keeping viewers engaged and entertained, Trevor is the perfect choice to lead us through what's sure to be an incredible evening full of music, unforgettable moments, unity and inspiration. He is a dynamic host, comedian and personality, and we're thrilled to welcome him to the Grammy stage as host of Music's Biggest Night for the first time."Alicia Keys was the most recent Grammys host. Past hosts include James Corden and LL Cool J.
The parents of a 19-year-old Briton killed in a road accident in 2019 lost their court battle with the British government on Tuesday over whether the wife of U.S. official involved in the crash had diplomatic immunity from criminal prosecution. Harry Dunn's family have said Anne Sacoolas was driving on the wrong side of the road when she crashed with the teenager, who was riding a motor-bike, near an air force base in central England which is used by the U.S. military. Dunn's parents Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn challenged British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police in London's High Court over the determination that Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity at the time of his death.
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam talks to The National’s Andrew Chang about the holiday season and getting to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A public meeting about the Ottawa police budget Monday was overtaken by criticism of the weekend arrest of protesters calling for justice for Black, Indigenous and racialized communities in Ottawa.Almost 100 people signed up to speak to the Ottawa Police Services Board about the 2021 police budget.Nearly all of the registered speakers called for the police budget to be frozen and for the proposed $13.2 million increase for the upcoming year to be reallocated to social services.Several people, some who were at this weekend's protest encampment at Laurier Avenue and Nicholas Street, condemned the early morning arrests of demonstrators — even accusing police Chief Peter Sloly of deception when he described the early morning arrests as having involved ample warning and no injuries.Twelve people were charged with mischief.Ifrah Yusuf, co-chair of the Justice for Abdirahman coalition, said the space created by protesters calling for an end to systemic racism was "destroyed" by police after protesters were told they would not be arrested."They have caused deep harm, trauma and have set the relationship back many years in the space of one night by way of a reckless and violent decision," she said. WATCH | Early-morning police raid timed with safety in mind, chief says:Robin Browne, co-founder of 613-819 Black Hub, said the disruption of the protest after an agreement to meet with city officials was one factor that led the group to reconsider its conditional endorsement of the 2021 budget."That the police went ahead and removed the protesters just hours before the meeting is an act of bad faith," Browne said."Charging 12 protesters with mischief contradicts the [police service's] frequent claim that they want to 'improve community relations' as it seems more like an intimidation tactic."Browne said the group is also concerned with the slow pace of other priorities such as improving the police's mental health response and hiring of racialized officers.Handling of ceremonial objectsThere was particular anger over the treatment of sacred medicines and ceremonial objects belonging to Indigenous participants in the protest.Victoria Marchand, an Anishinaabe from Kitigan Zibi who participated in the protest, said protesters were given just 10 minutes of warning before arrests began."Not only did we just wake up but we had tents, drums, medicines, and what happened to those? There were no warnings. The care the board talks about for our confiscated ceremonial objects is a complete and utter lie," Marchand said.She said the ceremonial objects and medicines had to be recovered from a municipal yard on Hurdman Road, some left under a tarp.Sloly acknowledged Monday that "mistakes were made" in the handling of those objects, though in his opening remarks he said efforts were made to reach Indigenous organizations for advice on the proper handling of ceremonial objects.He said the police need to improve how they handle similar situations.Vote planned TuesdayThe meeting lasted about eight hours, with several tense exchanges.Coun. Diane Deans, the board's chair, cut some public delegations short when she said they were veering away from the budget or included possible criminal allegations that police could not answer during a city meeting.This led to pushback from several speakers who accused Deans of censorship and denying the experience of people who experienced alleged wrongdoing at the hands of police. The meeting concluded with a recess and will reconvene for a vote Tuesday. Some board members, including Deans, have said they will support the proposed budget.
When Canadian trade negotiators begin talks with the United Kingdom next year on a permanent bilateral trade deal, their hands could be tied when it comes to offering any future dairy, egg or poultry concessions — if Parliament passes a new private member's bill that saw its first hour of debate on Tuesday.Bloc Québécois MP Louis Plamondon's legislation, Bill C-216, would amend the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act to state that the minister "must not make any commitment ... by future trade treaty or agreement" that would increase the tariff rate quota (TRQ) applicable to dairy products, poultry or eggs, or reduce the tariff applicable to those goods when they are imported in excess of that quota.Canada protects its agriculture supply management system for these commodities by carefully controlling access to its domestic market. Only small quantities of imports are allowed under strict international quotas — TRQs — with high tariffs keeping any extra imports above and beyond these quotas from being cost-competitive.But the three major trade deals implemented by the Liberal government over the last four years — the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with 10 other Pacific Rim markets and, most recently, the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (the new NAFTA) — all offered new access to Canada's domestic market, among other concessions required to land these deals."Something very important for milk and egg and poultry production is given away as a token and nothing comes back for those producers, so we say in the law that this should not happen anymore," Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet told CBC News last week."[The Liberal government says,] 'Oh, we will will compensate you. And you know what? They don't."No word on NAFTA compensationA few weeks before the 2019 general election, Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced compensation for dairy farmers to cover their anticipated losses from CETA and CPTPP, which were already both in effect at the time. That financial assistance rolled out last winter.Help has also been pledged to compensate for the even larger concessions in the new NAFTA but nothing further has been announced. American farmers got access to a greater share of Canada's starting July 1 — and the new NAFTA also dictates how dairy ingredients can be priced and slapped strict export limits on sensitive global commodities like skim milk powder and baby formula.Blanchet slammed Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland for taking so long to present her fall economic update and said her spending plan must include the NAFTA compensation farmers anxiously anticipate."This money is owed, is expected [and] is terribly late," he said.Freeland announced Monday that she'll present her update on Nov. 30.Bill could block British demandsIf Plamondon's legislation garners enough support to pass in this Parliament before the next election, the first trade negotiation it could affect is talks between Canada and the United Kingdom to reach a permanent, comprehensive deal to liberalize their bilateral trade post-Brexit.On Saturday, prime ministers and trade ministers from both sides announced they'd reached agreement on a transitional deal to offer continuity for businesses by continuing most of the terms of the CETA past Jan.1, when it was otherwise set to expire because the U.K. is no longer an EU member.The government won't release details of exactly what's in that transitional agreement until the legal text is ready, which usually takes another two to four weeks. But Doug Forsyth, Canada's lead negotiator in the talks, confirmed previously that the British were seeking additional tariff-free access to Canada's cheese market."I want to be very clear that there is no new market access for cheese here in this transition agreement," International Trade Minister Mary Ng told CBC News at Saturday's announcement.But yesterday at the Commons trade committee, Ng's parliamentary secretary, Rachel Bendayan, said that language in the transitional deal commits both sides to returning to the table to reach what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a "bespoke" bilateral deal by 2024.That means the British could make another play to get more U.K. cheeses into Canada."By 2024, Canada will have transferred 18 per cent of its domestic dairy production to dairy farmers in other countries ... that will displace our domestic products on the grocery shelves," said Pierre Lampron, the president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, in a statement sent to CBC News last weekend. "Another concession as part of a trade agreement with the U.K. would have been dramatic for the industry."Officials had told us there would be no further concessions, and they followed through, but we must remain vigilant as this is a provisional agreement."Vote unclearBased on remarks made during Tuesday's first hour of debate, it appears Conservative MPs may not support this bill, but a party spokesperson has yet to comment on it or confirm how the Official Opposition will vote.In an email to CBC News, party spokesperson Melanie Richer said New Democrats agree with the Bloc that compensation has been slow to roll out, adding that "the Liberals added insult to injury by bringing CUSMA into effect several weeks earlier than promised, robbing Canadian dairy farmers of a full year to prepare for the change in their local markets.""New Democrats have consistently decried the damage done to Canada's dairy sector in successive trade deals and we have said we would not do the same," Richer said. "This bill would add legal force to that position."Youmy Han, a spokesperson for Trade Minister Ng, said the government is still studying the bill and would not say how Liberal MPs might vote."We have been clear: our government will not grant any further market access in our supply-managed sectors in any future trade negotiation," Han said.MPs will vote on the bill at second reading after its second hour of debate, expected later this winter.
Students at the University of Calgary are fighting to expand the school's African studies program.For more than two decades, only two African studies courses have been available at the U of C, and for the past decade they've been taught by just one professor. Students say they hope an expansion of the program would mean more classes and more teachers. Prof. Caesar Apentiik said it would make him very proud to see the program finally expanded. "The university is trying to decolonize its curriculum, and decolonizing its curriculum means bringing into focus studies like African studies," he said. "This fits well with the university's strategic plan of trying to internationalize our students' degrees to give them a global perspective, and Africa is an important part of that discussion."Student advocates looking to help the program grow are now applying for $300,000 through the Quality Money program — a partnership between the Students' Union (SU) and the university — which gives the campus community an opportunity to bring forward ideas to enhance the overall student experience. "Each year, the SU is provided with approximately $1.67 million from the UCalgary board of governors to invest in these projects. Through this unique program, students have a direct say in how a portion of their tuition is spent," said students' union president Frank Finley in a written statement to CBC News."Since 2004, over $26,000,000 has been awarded to more than 260 Quality Money initiatives that range from physical space upgrades to the creation of expanded academic and professional opportunities for students."Second year student Prudence Iticka with Black People United is one of the students behind the application to expand the African studies program.Iticka said she became passionate about making this change after she inquired about getting a minor in African studies. "When I went to look at the course offerings, I realized that there are only two courses offered in African studies every academic year," she said. "I reached out to the only professor in the department and I asked him, 'how does one actually major when there are so few courses available within this program?'"Iticka said she was told that the way the program is now, that option simply isn't available."When I found that out, I started reaching out to other students within U of C to find out what we can do. How can we rally behind this program not only to save it, but also to expand it so that students can minor?" she said."Because right now you can't, really. You have to go to another school if you're seeking a minor in African studies because the course offerings here are just mediocre."As an educator, Apentiik said it's been difficult telling students they can't major or minor in African studies, despite their interest."I will say that the saddest moment is to see your student struggling when they have genuine interest in a regional area and they can't minor in it," he said. "We anticipate that if we are able to achieve what we're trying to do now, it means that we'll have enough courses within the program and students can be assured that they will have enough courses if they make a decision to minor." The expansion of the program is also something the U of C's African-Caribbean Student Association (ACSA) would like to see. "By using the Quality Money application, we're able to hire more black professors to teach more African studies courses. That's something that the African Caribbean Student Association has been pushing alongside multiple other organizations on campus," said co-president Ganiyat Sadiq.With their application due on Friday, Sadiq said student advocates are collecting all evidence of community support for the expansion of the African studies program. "We have to get a lot of student support and community support just to show the university administration that it is something that is wanted on campus, too," she said. Sadiq said a petition organized by ACSA has already garnered more than 1,000 signatures of support. "We were able to show that there are over a thousand students that do want to have Africana studies courses and who do want to take those courses and would potentially want a minor in that degree. That's a primary thing we've been doing."Iticka said the existing African studies courses offered at the U of C are already very popular. "They're constantly wait-listed. The enrolment is incredibly healthy for those two courses," she said. Iticka said offering more African studies courses isn't just something that students are showing they want, but also something she believes will have a big impact on the greater Calgary community. "If we truly seek to develop the next generation of leaders, we have to give them a global perspective. This education is so necessary and we don't want people to think that we're doing this for African students," she said. "Everybody benefits from learning about Africa. We want people to understand that, you know, this is so much bigger than just the university." Iticka said that since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May, the U of C has made a lot of statements about anti-racism but she hasn't seen a lot of concrete steps to make change at the school."For now, we've just seen that it's a lot of lip service that is being paid to dismantling structural racism and tackling racism and discrimination, but there is actually nothing that is being done so far," she said. "We believe that you can actually tackle racism and undo its harm through education, because a lot of the unconscious bias and the stereotypes that a lot of people have about Black people comes from the fact they know nothing about Black people, about Black history, about African history," she said."We can combat this unconscious bias. We can combat these stereotypes with proper education about African people, where they come from, what is their contribution to humanity [and by] seeing Black professors and having black professors in their life."In a written statement to CBC News, the U of C's faculty of arts said that while it is too early to know what the outcome of the Students' Union process for selecting Quality Money recipients will be, the faculty is supportive of the student-led application for Quality Money funds to expand course offerings in African studies."The faculty has committed to providing some additional funds, in the event of a successful application, and in order to hire an instructor of African studies for the next three years," said Richard Sigurdson, dean of the faculty of arts.The funding amount from the faculty will be determined following the decision by the Students' Union about the application, as they may choose to offer partial funding or the full amount requested.Recipients of Quality Money will be informed in April 2021. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
The public is waiting to see what Premier Scott Moe and chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab will do to control the spread of the virus.The answer could come at a Wednesday afternoon news conference, where a COVID-19 update is expected. The news conference was originally scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, but was postponed until 3 p.m. CST the next day.For the past two weeks, Moe has heard concerns about the implications of locking down versus continuing with smaller interventions.On Saturday, Moe said in a radio interview he was against the NDP proposal of a three-week "circuit breaker" which would close non-essential businesses and move restaurants to take out or delivery only.Moe called the approach "disastrous.""That's why we are looking at every other lever that we have…available to us to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and try to minimize, in every way that we can, the impact on our small businesses," said Moe. Two weeks ago, Moe said business restrictions were not under consideration.Days later, 442 doctors called for several interventions, which included targeted closure of businesses or areas in the community that have played a role in COVID-19 transmissions and regional shutdowns where outbreaks are ongoing.Moe said he preferred a slowdown to a lockdown."We're going to do everything we can to ensure that they're going to be able to make it through this without a circuit breaker, without a shutdown or without a lockdown," Moe said Saturday after the province recorded an all-time high of 439 new cases.On Monday, the government announced Moe was self-isolating after a potential exposure at Prince Albert restaurant Original Joe's on November 15. 'Little by little measures, not enough' says economistAcross Canada, several provinces are grappling with the decision to shutdown certain areas in response to spiking cases and hospitalizations.On Monday, Saskatchewan's seven-day average was an all-time high of 219 new cases. The province recorded a daily high for deaths with 4, hospitalizations, 106 and active cases 2,864.University of Calgary economics professor Aidan Hollis said Alberta, like Saskatchewan has introduced so-called "targeted measures" to slow down the spread of the virus rather than lockdown or shut down certain parts of the economy.For example, both provinces recently announced a restaurant and bar curfew of 11 p.m."I think we've reached the point certainly here in Alberta, and it's my understanding also in Saskatchewan where if you just let it continue, then we're going to be forced to have that shut down anyway. And it could be worse and longer, plus we will have increased mortality, plus increased hospital expenses," he said. "The little by little measures are clearly not enough.""If the spread of infections continues unabated, then it's clear what's going to happen and the hospitals would be overwhelmed. There would be so many COVID cases they could not be treated properly. And other people who need medical care would also be at risk."Hollis said at that point either provincial government would be forced to impose "Draconian" measures of closing retail, restaurants, gyms and even high schools.He said a "circuit breaker" which is a short-term lockdown is "beneficial" for both COVID-19 prevention and the economy. He said that option potentially prevents a more serious widespread lockdown when the health system is "overwhelmed.""It's not a case of can we protect the economy by compromising people's health a little bit? It doesn't work like that.""It doesn't make sense to be able to think you can run an economy successfully if people know that they are at great risk of getting sick," Hollis said.Hollis said the government needs to target places where people are in close contact for an extended period of time.He said if the restaurants and bars are closed, retail stores may follow as has been the case in Toronto and Manitoba with some exceptions."Then all the business goes to Amazon, every retail store is wondering what happened to their most profitable month of the year."Hollis said in that case people have to be prepared to pay more in taxes to support those affected by their business closing temporarily."I do want to say that I recognize that as a person who has a steady job that is going to be paid whether or not things are shut down, I'm in a privileged position and I feel that, the solution to this is that all of us have to be prepared to pay our taxes to support the people who are put out of work because of a shutdown." Hollis said people face a "terrible dilemma" of choosing to make money or protect themselves from the virus."Many people are now being put in the terrible dilemma of having to choose to keep their business open so they can make money or else voluntarily closing it in order to protect themselves and their staff."Hollis said governments will be judged on how they handled their pandemic response. He pointed to jurisdictions like New Zealand, Melbourne, Australia and Taiwan which have been able to keep COVID-19 low or flatten a spiking curve."Everyone's looking at South Dakota and saying they have just done a terrible job. And I don't think that we want to be like South Dakota. It's not about keeping the economy open because that's not what's happened anyway."As of Monday, South Dakota had recorded 819 COVID-19-related deaths, with a population of 884,000.Saskatchewan has recorded 37 deaths with a population of 1.17 million.'There is no right answer'Jason Childs an associate professor of economics at the University of Regina said the issue facing governments is not versus health or someone's business or someone's life.He said it comes down to "taking one set of risks and weighing them against another set of risks.""If we don't lockdown there are going to be more people exposed and at risk of dying from COVID. If we do lockdown we are going to see increased deaths due to addiction backsliding, family breakdown, suicides likely to rise and some of that impact is going to come via the reduction in economic activity."Childs said a decrease in economic activity equals a decrease in well-being."There is no right answer here no matter what we do people are going to die," Childs said.Childs called the decision a "worst-case scenario" of cost-benefit analysis because of the stakes."What is the threshhold of lives lost where you go yes that is worth it. I have no idea what the answer is obviously at some point you say yes it's worth it. I don't know where that line is and I'm really glad I don't have to draw it."Last week, Premier Moe said the province lost 70,000 jobs earlier in the pandemic and gained 55,000 back. He said the net loss of 15,000 would balloon to "tens of thousands" if there was another lockdown.Childs said that estimate is "plausible.""I don't know how many (businesses) would survive another two to three-month lockdown."Childs said lockdowns should be done exceedingly reluctantly and exceedingly carefully, or else you risk an uncooperative public."If you get active resistance to public health measures, it's over."Childs said there is a "finite" capacity for compliance."It's a resource that can't be exhausted."As for the need for a lockdown Childs said, "I think we're getting close."What's yours? CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
After a two-week controversy that sparked a petition, protest and several arrests in connection with threats against local elected officials, the city of Longueuil is ditching its plan to capture and put down 15 deer.Mayor Sylvie Parent says the city will work with the province's forestry, fauna and parks ministry to find a safe location for the animals.In a written statement issued Monday night, Parent said the city had no choice but to scrap the plan, despite having gotten the approval from the province's experts and "a large consensus within the scientific community", "The threat posed today by certain people in order to harm, or even thwart the implementation of the deer population's cull in Michel-Chartrand park forces us to consider another option."The city had originally said euthanizing the 15 deer — about half of the park's population — was necessary to preserve vegetation in the area.In the last week, Longueuil police have arrested three men in connection with threats allegedly issued against the city's mayor. According to police, none of the men live in the Longueuil area.Parent hopes to have the deer moved within weeks, pending instructions from the ministry on where and how to undertake the relocation.Earlier this month, Anaïs Gasse, a biologist with the province's forestry, fauna and parks ministry claimed many of the deer would die within days if relocated, due to how difficult it would be to adapt to new surroundings.
JUNEAU, Alaska — A judge has ruled that the federal government was correct in allowing a southeast Alaska tribe to organize an out-of-season hunt because of the coronavirus pandemic.Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy's administration sued to block future hunts, arguing that permitting a special moose and deer hunt this summer was overreach by federal authorities, CoastAlaska reported Monday.District Court Judge Sharon Gleason denied a preliminary injunction that would have prevented special hunts in the future.The Organized Village of Kake petitioned the Federal Subsistence Board for permission to hunt five deer and two moose out of season and distribute the meat within the community.The federally recognized tribe on Kupreanof Island, south of Juneau, said it was alarmed by the low supply and high price of fresh meat that followed the outbreak of COVID-19.The hunt was approved in June, but Alaska filed a lawsuit alleging federal officials illegally preempted the state’s rights to manage wildlife.Alaska Assistant Attorney General Cheryl Brooking said there are narrow reasons for federal jurisdiction to supersede state management.“When Alaska became a state, one of the main drivers of statehood was to get control over fish and game management because the feds were making a mess of it,” Brooking said. “But since statehood, the state has been the manager of fish and game.”Brooking argued in court filings that the food security issue was never proven and that the federal government exceeded its authority.Gleason's ruling last week said federal officials took conservation and public safety concerns into account when they reached the decision to allow the hunt.State wildlife managers also did not respond when federal officials reached out to them, Gleason wrote.The lawsuit will proceed as both sides file arguments ahead of a final ruling.Kake Tribal President Joel Jackson said Alaska Natives never voluntarily ceded hunting and fishing rights on their traditional homelands and that he considers the matter an issue of tribal sovereignty.“Of course, if we’re in a real bad situation, I wouldn’t hesitate to get a hunting party together, go out and get what we need,” Jackson said. “But I want to stay within the law.”For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.The Associated Press
Stratégie Carrière mise sur la régionalisation de l’immigration et tente de convaincre des familles montréalaises de s’établir dans la région. L’objectif: combler les besoins en main-d’œuvre des entreprises locales, mais aussi de lutter contre la dévitalisation de cette région où la moyenne d’âge est l’une des plus élevées au Québec. Stratégie Carrière vient, en ce sens, de recevoir une aide de près de 120 000 $ sur trois ans du ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI). L’initiative n’est ni nouvelle ni unique ; nombre de régions québécoises tentent le coup. À Trois-Rivières comme ailleurs, les efforts semblent peu à peu produire des résultats. Stratégie Carrière convainc, chaque année, une quinzaine de familles immigrantes de s’établir en Mauricie avec, à la clé, un emploi gardé au chaud. Beaucoup viennent de France, du continent africain et de l’Amérique latine, précise Luce Ricard, chargée de projet — régionalisation chez Stratégie Carrière. « Ils finissent toujours par trouver un emploi. Malgré la pandémie, il y a des secteurs qui ont le vent dans les voiles, comme le domaine du textile, de la désinfection des locaux par pulvérisateur et dans le domaine de la santé et de l’éducation. On réussit à placer nos candidats et à leur trouver un salaire parfois plus attrayant que celui de la PCU, récemment rebaptisé», indique Luce Ricard. Convaincre les familles Pour convaincre des familles immigrantes établies à Montréal d’accorder leur faveur aux régions, Stratégie Carrière entretient des liens serrés avec quatre organismes de la métropole. Parmi eux, Carrefour Blé, Promis, Collectif, et Alpa. L’organisation trifluvienne collabore aussi en Mauricie avec le Service d’accueil des nouveaux arrivants et la Ville de Trois-Rivières. La pandémie est toutefois venue brouiller les projets de Stratégie Carrière. La directrice de l’organisme constate que les nouveaux arrivants sont souvent ceux qui perdent leur emploi en premier. «Par contre, il y a certains secteurs qui sont encore pénurie de main-d’œuvre et ça nous permet de les replacer rapidement », assure Annie Jean. Il est clair que la pandémie aura joué les trouble-fêtes, à plus d’un titre. Les salons de l’emploi sont à proscrire, les déplacements déconseillés, les rencontres en personne aussi. L’organisme devra nul doute revoir ses objectifs à la baisse. « Dans le contexte actuel, c’est un peu une boule de cristal. On essaie d’extrapoler en fonction de nos références antérieures, mais il est difficile de savoir comment va réagir le marché du travail et comment va s’articuler la reprise économique. On est un peu dans l’œil du cyclone. Quand on va en émerger, on sera en mesure de mieux diriger nos efforts, explique Annie Jean. Le ministère comprend bien la situation .» Pour l’heure, Stratégie Carrière demeure donc en mode veille, mais continue de vanter les mérites de la région et de ses entreprises. « On fait valoir le fait que c’est une ville à échelle humaine, qu’il y a de grands espaces, un atout non négligeable en ces temps de COVID-19. Il y a une vitalité économique, tout le réseau scolaire et une qualité de vie. On est en train de semer. C’est un travail de long terme. Quand les gens viennent ici, ils se rendent compte qu’ils y gagnent », conclut Mme Jean.Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
Despite a drop in the number of farms across Canada, female representation among farmers has actually increased, according to data collected in the 2016 Census of Agriculture by Statistics Canada. In fact, female representation in agriculture has been on the rise since the First World War. When facing an agricultural labour shortage, the Ontario government initiated the Farm Service Corps and recruited women to replace the ranks of men who were shipped off to war. In 1918, 2,400 "Farmerettes" (as the women were known) harvested fruit in Niagara. In 1996, women represented 25.3 per cent of Canadian farmers. Two decades later, in 2016, that percentage rose to sit at 28.7, accounting for 77,830 farmers. However, numbers tell of a more dismal story once you zoom into Niagara Region where the representation of female farmers has actually been falling dramatically since 2006. Back then, there were 1,035 female farm operators to just 795 a decade later — a decrease of 23.19 per cent. In the face of increasing female representation across Canada yet decreasing female representation on a local scale, Niagara This Week is profiling three Niagara women in agriculture in its three-part WomenInAg series that launches Nov. 23 and runs over three consecutive days. The WomenInAg series addresses both the challenges and successes of women getting their hands dirty with cultivation, raising livestock and turning grapes into wine — all from the female perspective. On Monday, you'll get to read about Britney Condotta of Cultivate Niagara, who found her way into agriculture by wanting to grow the food for a restaurant she originally started at Honsberger Estate Winery in Jordan Station. Then, on Tuesday, Juliet Orazietti of Linc Farm takes you into the pasture in Niagara-on-the-Lake while she navigates the challenges of breaking into farming as a young woman without land of her own — yet. Finally, on Wednesday, Sue-Ann Staff of Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery in Jordan talks about being a businesswomen and the hard work it requires to be successful in the wine industry. At the beginning of this year, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) surveyed its members and found that 67 per cent of female farmers reported having been disrespected because of their gender, whereas only two per cent of male farmers indicated the same. Peggy Brekveld, an OFA vice-president and an advocate for women in agriculture, says even in modern times, there are still gender barriers such as those facing women with dual roles of family caretaker and farmer. “I think the fact that we are talking about it means that people are noticing, and that makes a difference,” she said. Getting women into agriculture, she says, is a case of presenting role models and encouraging agriculture as a way of life with plenty of opportunities. “I think a lot of it though comes down to having examples of women who are farming,” she said.Jordan Snobelen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara this Week
The city of Moncton is asking residents not to treat parks like decoration stores.Dan Hicks, the director of parks and leisure operations for the city, said he's aware of incidents in two local parks where residents have been cutting pine branches and taking them home.One incident happened at Centennial Park. And Hicks said someone witnessed branches being cut in Irishtown Nature Park, and alerted the city.Irishtown Nature Park is one of Canada's largest urban parks and is designated as a nature park, meaning the land is permanently set-aside for the enjoyment of residents but also for the conservation of biological diversity.While some may think it's harmless, Hicks says it's stealing."It's theft, it's destruction of property, it's not your property you shouldn't take it home so that's the first thing." Hicks said."The second thing is these are nature areas, these parks are for everyone, they're the lungs of the city and overall we'd like to see these small trees eventually become big trees and be contributors to our ecosystems so that's why these spaces are here and protected."Hicks said cutting branches can damage the ecosystem."Each one of these trees has a function. They're here to provide ecological benefits and services to the park and ultimately to the citizens and the four legged citizens that also use them for food and shelter and everything else." he said.Hicks said the pandemic is making it hard for many people as the holiday season approaches, but he says there are alternatives to cutting branches off trees in a park."We all want to celebrate the festive season and it's a difficult year for that for sure but there are a lot of really good local sustainably produced festive decor products that people can find in their local area. You don't have to go far, we're in New Brunswick." he said.Hicks said people can also apply for a permit to harvest wreath tips and branch materials on Crown land through the provincial Natural Resources Department. The fee is $20 and the landowner's permission is required.If someone is caught cutting branches in a park, Hicks said the RCMP can be called and charges could be laid.He said if anyone sees this happening, they should report it to the city.Hicks said the parks are there for everyone's enjoyment, not "just for your living room."
There’s cheer and laughter as community members trim the trio of Christmas trees on the stage in Brighton’s Memorial Park one recent chilly November evening. With the frosty branches, sparkling lights and shiny ornaments, the setting will provide a picturesque backdrop when Santa Claus comes to town next month. It’s also giving downtown Brighton a festive feel. From hosting Old St. Nick, to launching a new shop local incentive to introducing a holiday decorating contest, the Municipality of Brighton, the Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA) and others are kicking off the holiday season. Uniting each of these initiatives is the theme of supporting the Brighton business community as much as possible – whether it’s warming up with a hot chocolate, stopping by to wave to Santa or finding the perfect gifts. Ben Hagerman, Brighton’s economic development and communications manager, is hopeful a new initiative, made possible through a Bay of Quinte Tourism sponsorship, will kick-start local holiday shopping. “It’s a little bit of out-of-the-box thinking,” Hagerman said. Shoppers spend $200 on holiday gifts at Brighton businesses and submit a photo of their receipts that total $200 or more to the municipality and the first 11 people to do so will each receive five free garbage bag tags, which are valued at $4 each. “Basically, you get back 10 per cent (of the $200 spent), which is kind of nice.” The incentive kicks off this week. “We’d really like it to be gift-oriented,” Hagerman noted. Instead of leaving Brighton or shopping from big retailers online, he’s optimistic that this will entice people to spend their holiday dollars here. “It’s about using the businesses and services we have locally to complete your Christmas shopping list as best as you can. I’d like to see people go into local restaurants and buy gift cards for people. I’d like to see people utilizing our wonderful boutiques in our downtown core whether it’s ladies’ wear, shoes or books. We’ve also got a great selection of retail up in the industrial park. There’s so much to offer…by shopping right where you live,” Hagerman said. As the owner of a Brighton-based business, Sheryl Delorme said the experience of shopping local can’t be matched. “The personalized approach, better customer service, the one-on-one connection that is created is worth its weight in gold,” said Delorme, Special Effects Lifestyle Boutique’s artist, designer and redesign specialist. “When you get to know the person behind the business, you appreciate their passion, their motivation and desire to create something truly exclusive. The investment far outreaches the product or service that you may have purchased. These solitary businesses also invest back into their community by sponsoring many local initiatives and events -- in the neighbourhood of about 48 per cent is returned back to the very place you call home,” she said. “This movement of supporting small business creates a certain flavour, a kinship that can only be created by offering your heart and soul to the cause. This is not a get-rich quick scheme or a one-shot deal, it's a commitment to create something real, something lasting for the neighbourhood that you reside in.” To get residents into the festive spirit, Brighton also launched a holiday decorating contest Nov. 20, which runs through to Dec. 14. Business owners and homeowners are encouraged to decorate their storefronts and homes and share photos of their displays for a chance to win pre-paid VISA gift cards to use at local businesses. There will be a total of 30 winners – 15 from the urban area and 15 from rural parts of the municipality. The DBIA and the municipality have each donated 15 $100 gift cards intended for use in the downtown core. Upload a photo to the municipality’s website Winners will be chosen through a random draw. Finally, to engage Brighton’s children in holiday fun, Santa Claus is slated to stop by Memorial Park on Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. “I think this year, more than ever, Santa in Brighton will bring a sense of normalcy to our younger citizens,” said Sarah Hilwerda, chair of the DBIA. “Even a wave and wink from the fella in the red suit will do just fine for the time-being. Physical distancing protocols will of course be in place but it’s the best we can do. A lot of folks aren’t in a position to take their kids shopping to the big box stores or the mall this year, so our downtown will provide a safe place to see Santa,” Hilwerda said. She reminded youngsters to be sure to bring their letters for St. Nick. Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Northumberland News
A Fort St. John, B.C. man is earning praise for driving an American family in need from northern B.C. to the Alaskan border near Beaver Creek, Yukon.The roughly 1,700-kilometre trip up the Alaska Highway in winter didn't deter him from volunteering to help out, said Gary Bath.Bath said he noticed an online plea for help last week from an American woman driving to Alaska who was overwhelmed by the winter driving conditions and couldn't drive any farther."I didn't care how far it was, I just knew they needed help and they had a few short days to hit the border before they were going to get in trouble, so," Bath said, referring to the four-to-six day period Americans are given by Canada to drive from the lower 48 states to Alaska.He said the stranded woman, Lynn Marchessault, is a former member of the U.S. military and was driving herself and her two children to Alaska to join her husband, a current member of the military.Bath is a Canadian Ranger, and he said that was an added incentive for him to get involved.Marchessault said she had never driven in snow before when she and her two children left Georgia to drive north.She was driving a pickup and towing a large U-Haul trailer. As soon as she hit snowy roads she began having trouble with traction on hills.Marchessault believed the tires on the truck were rated all-weather, but shortly after leaving Fort St. John a woman told her they were actually summer tires and helped Marchessault find a set of studded winter tires.Marchessault continued on, but the driving stress was too much and she pulled over at a highway lodge for temporary workers at Pink Mountain, B.C.The staff there let her and her two children stay the night while she went online to see if she could find somebody to take over. Her husband would not be allowed to come to their aid because of COVID-19 restrictions.Bath and his wife Selena showed up with extra winter clothing for the Marchessaults and Gary volunteered to drive them in their vehicle to the American border."I had to make the hard choice — were my children safer in my own hands in these conditions, or in the hands of a kind stranger who was willing to get us to where we needed to be, safely," said Marchessault.Bath said the trip was mostly uneventful and they reached the Alaskan border on Thursday where Marchessault's husband was waiting.He said they all wore face masks the entire time they were in the vehicle.While they were on the road, Bath's friends, his provincial MLA and strangers were working to find a way to get him back home. An RCMP officer in Beaver Creek gave him a ride from the American border back to Beaver Creek and found him a ride to Whitehorse. Donations from the public paid for Bath's airfare from Whitehorse to Fort St. John.'Forever grateful'Bath is downplaying his good deed, but said he was struck by the kindness he was shown by various people, including women working at the highway lodge at Pink Mountain and the motor inn at Beaver Creek.Marchessault has similar comments."We are forever grateful to Gary and I'm thankful to his wife for bringing him up and loaning him out. I met her that morning when she drove him up to the inn. And so we just had a good time," she said.She said she hopes they can all meet up again when her family eventually moves back south.Marchessault said Canadian drivers were also kind toward her on several occasions."There's a lot of road rage in my life, especially in America, but there were several times where I was driving pretty slow and I never experienced not one, not one interaction of road rage or anything," she said.
WESTWOOD, Mass. — “Parting is such sweet sorrow” — especially for a theatre troupe hoping to stage a live performance of “Romeo & Juliet” in the middle of a pandemic that has closed schools and required social distancing. The solution, at least for high school students in the Boston suburb of Westwood? Make a movie version instead. This fall, the Westwood Stage cast has been recording themselves reciting lines from William Shakespeare's timeless story of star-crossed lovers. The audio tracks will then be set to images from a graphic novel version of the play. Producing an animated film meant students didn’t have to worry about memorizing lines, costume changes or many of the other things that go into a live theatrical performance. But it was still an interesting challenge to focus almost completely on their voice work, said Lucy Vitali, a 16-year-old junior who plays Juliet. “This was definitely a good one to do Shakespeare for,” agreed Ryan Kaplan, a 15-year-old sophomore who plays the friar. “The focus is much more on the words and the terminology, which is what Shakespeare is all about.” For Cassidy Hall, a 17-year-old senior who plays the nurse, the chance to remain active in theatre, even in a modest way, has been a welcome dose of normalcy. She’s among the students who have opted to study at home rather than attend in-person classes this year, so her interaction with peers has been limited. “It’s something I really look forward to,” she said. “Just to be able to rehearse with everyone.” Cast members said there was never any doubt they’d find a way to perform this fall. After all, their musical production of “The Addams Family” last spring was cancelled following its opening night performance because the state shuttered schools, businesses and many other institutions for weeks during the initial wave of the virus. Jim Howard, the school’s drama teacher, said he turned to the animated film idea after it became clear that performing the play live wouldn’t be possible under the state’s current guidelines, which require 6 feet (two meters) of separation between performers. “How do you do Romeo and Juliet at 6 feet?” he said. “It’s a love story. They dance. There’s fighting. There’s a lot of physical interaction.” Howard said he found an illustrated version of the play by Classical Comics, a British imprint, while searching online, and the creators readily agreed to let the students use the images for their project. Over the last few months, the cast has spent three days a week rehearsing their lines and getting acclimated to the quirks of the Bard's English before laying down audio tracks in the school’s closet-sized, soundproof music rehearsal rooms. They wrapped up recording last week, but not before a small setback: The school was forced to close for in-person classes recently after some students — none in the cast — contracted COVID-19. Howard said he’ll now send the best of the audio tracks to a technician who will merge them with the comic book images. He expects the finished product will run about an hour long and be ready sometime next month. Since a proper premiere isn’t possible under pandemic restrictions, the cast of 20 is planning to gather in the school’s auditorium for a viewing. The film will also be posted on the troupe's website, where Howard hopes it can replicate some of the joy and community of live theatre. “There's a great opportunity, at a time that is so difficult, to have some pride in our town and smile a little,” he said. “Because we all need that. Even if it's behind our masks." ___ “One Good Thing” is a series that highlights individuals whose actions provide glimmers of joy in hard times — stories of people who find a way to make a difference, no matter how small. Read the collection of stories at https://apnews.com/hub/one-good-thing. Philip Marcelo, The Associated Press
HOUSTON — The U.S. government has agreed temporarily not to deport detained immigrant women who have alleged being abused by a rural Georgia gynecologist, according to court papers filed Tuesday.In a motion that must still be approved by a federal judge, the Justice Department and lawyers for several of the women agreed that immigration authorities would not carry out any deportations until mid-January.Dozens of women have alleged that they were mistreated by Dr. Mahendra Amin, a gynecologist who was seeing patients from the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. The Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general is investigating as well. Amin has denied any wrongdoing through his lawyer.Several women say they have faced retaliation by immigration authorities for coming forward. One woman has said that hours after she spoke to investigators, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement notified her that it had lifted a hold on her deportation. Another woman was taken to an airport to be placed on a deportation flight before her lawyers could intervene.The agreement filed in court Tuesday proposes that no deportations would take place until at least mid-January for women who have “substantially similar factual allegations.”Elora Mukherjee, a Columbia University law professor working with several of the women, said the agreement gives the women "a measure of protection for trying to expose the abuses there.”“ICE and others at Irwin thought they could silence these women,” she said. “They thought they could act with impunity and nothing would ever happen. But the women have organized and had the audacity to speak out.”ICE said Tuesday that it “complies with all binding court orders.” The agency has previously denied allegations that it tried to deport women to silence them, saying in a written statement: “Any implication that ICE is attempting to impede the investigation by conducting removals of those being interviewed is completely false.”Scott Grubman, a lawyer for Amin, did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.The allegations were originally revealed by a whistleblower complaint. Further investigations have found several examples of Amin performing surgeries on women who later said they didn't consent to the procedures or didn't fully understand them.Grubman has denied any wrongdoing by the doctor and previously described Amin as a “highly respected physician who has dedicated his adult life to treating a high-risk, underserved population in rural Georgia.”Nomaan Merchant, The Associated Press