Canadian respirologist Dr. Samir Gupta explains the latest COVID-19 mask recommendations and demonstrates simple hacks to make yours more effective.
Canadian respirologist Dr. Samir Gupta explains the latest COVID-19 mask recommendations and demonstrates simple hacks to make yours more effective.
Hello, royal watchers. This is a special edition of The Royal Fascinator, your dose of royal news and analysis. Reading this online? Sign up here to get this delivered to your inbox. The revelations just kept coming Sunday night as Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, gave Oprah Winfrey — and a worldwide television audience — their view on why they had to leave the upper echelons of the Royal Family. The reasons were many, but amid all they had to say, there was one statement that stood out and seems particularly serious for the House of Windsor: Meghan's declaration that a senior member of the Royal Family had worries about the colour of the skin of their first child before he was born. In an interview Monday on CBS This Morning, Winfrey said Harry told her neither Queen Elizabeth nor Prince Philip were part of conversations about Archie's skin colour. "I think it's very damaging — the idea that a senior member of the Royal Family had expressed concern about what Archie might look like," Carolyn Harris, a Toronto-based royal author and historian, said in an interview late Sunday night. Meghan told Winfrey the concern had been relayed to her by Harry, and when questioned further on it, Harry refused to offer more specifics, saying it's a "conversation I'm never going to share." And that, Harris suggests, speaks to the seriousness of the matter. "It's very clear that Harry didn't want to go into details feeling that it would be too damaging for the monarchy." WATCH | Royal Family expressed concerns about son's skin colour, Meghan tells Oprah: It will take time to digest the impact of all that Harry and Meghan had to say to Winfrey. But some early comments in the British media this morning suggest Harry and Meghan's account will have a profound impact. "They have revealed the terrible strains inside the palace. They have drawn a picture of unfeeling individuals lost in an uncaring institution. They have spoken of racism within the Royal Family. This was a devastating interview," the BBC's royal correspondent, Jonny Dymond, wrote in an online analysis. "But Harry describing his brother and father as 'trapped,' and Meghan revealing that she repeatedly sought help within the palace only to be rebuffed is a body blow to the institution." 'A damning allegation' The Guardian reported that Harry and Meghan telling Winfrey of conversations in the Royal Family about Archie's skin colour is "a damning allegation that will send shockwaves through the institution and send relations with the palace to a new low." Many themes and issues developed over the two-hour broadcast, which sprinkled lighter moments — they're expecting a girl, they have rescue chickens and Archie, age almost two, has taken to telling people to "drive safe" — with much more serious concerns, including the lack of support they say they received, particularly as Meghan had suicidal thoughts. WATCH | Meghan had suicidal thoughts during royal life: "A theme that emerges again and again, and it's something that Harry explicitly states in the interview, is the Royal Family being concerned with the opinion of the tabloid press," said Harris. "This may very well have influenced decisions not to speak out about the way Meghan was being treated and that may have influenced some other decisions as well." One of those might be the question of security, something that was of considerable concern to the couple when they learned royal support for it would be withdrawn. "The Royal Family has frequently in the past received bad press regarding minor members ... receiving security,"said Harris. 'Negative headlines' "There were a lot of negative headlines regarding Beatrice and Eugenie continuing to receive security and their father's [Prince Andrew's] insistence they receive security despite being comparatively minor members of the Royal Family who do not undertake public engagements representing the Queen." There was also a sense out of Sunday's interview that issues that troubled the Royal Family in the past may still be a worry now. "Even in the 21st century after all of the problems that the Royal Family encountered in the 1990s with the breakdowns in the marriages of Prince Charles and Prince Andrew … there still doesn't seem to be a consistent means of mentoring new members of the Royal Family," said Harris. Meghan said she had to Google the lyrics for God Save the Queen, and was filled in at the last minute about having to curtsy to Elizabeth just before meeting her for the first time. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, pose for a picture at a Buckingham Palace reception following the final Queen's Young Leaders Awards ceremony in London on June 26, 2018. Both Meghan and Harry spoke warmly of the Queen during the interview Sunday night.(John Stillwell/Reuters) Throughout the interview, Harry and Meghan repeatedly expressed respect and admiration for the Queen, if not for how the Royal Family as an institution operates. But there is considerable murkiness around just who may be responsible for some of the more serious issues they raised. "We know they respect the Queen and have a good personal relationship with the Queen. We know that Meghan had a conflict with Kate but says Kate apologized and Meghan forgave her and she doesn't think Kate's a bad person," said Harris. Lacking 'specific details' "But when it comes to who made racist comments about Archie's appearance or who was dismissive directly of Meghan's mental health, [on] that we don't have specific details." High-profile royal interviews such as this — particularly one by Harry's mother Diana, in 1995 — have a track record of not turning out as the royal interviewees may have intended, and it remains to be seen the lasting impact of this one. Harris sees parallels with Diana's interview, as she "spoke frankly" about a lack of support from the family, and felt that she had been let down by Prince Charles. Meghan spoke with Winfrey before they were joined by Harry.(Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese/Reuters) Harry talked of hoping to repair his relationship with his father — "I will always love him but there's a lot of hurt that happened" — but said he felt really let down, and noted a time when his father wasn't taking his calls. Harris expects the interview will prompt further critical scrutiny of Charles, and Harry's older brother Prince William. The relationship with William has already been under intense scrutiny, and is clearly still a delicate matter for Harry, who hesitated noticeably before responding as Winfrey pressed him on it. "Time heals all things, hopefully," Harry said. How Buckingham Palace responds to all this remains to be seen. Generally, the public approach in matters such as this is silence, and a determination to be seen as carrying on with regular duties. Whether a member of the family might make a more informal comment — say in response to a question from someone at a public event — also remains to be seen. WATCH | Meghan says Royal Family failed to protect her and Prince Harry: But from what did emerge Sunday evening, there is a sense that whatever efforts the House of Windsor has made to put a more modern face on the monarchy, they appear not to have yielded the fruit that might have been hoped. "There's been some elements of modernization, but it's very clear that the institution has difficulty adapting to the needs of individuals who marry into the Royal Family," said Harris. "It's clear that Meghan came away from her experiences feeling that she was not supported or mentored in her new role." Sign up here to have The Royal Fascinator newsletter land in your inbox every other Friday. I'm always happy to hear from you. Send your ideas, comments, feedback and notes to firstname.lastname@example.org. Problems with the newsletter? Please let me know about any typos, errors or glitches.
Janet Perry isn't dependent on supermarkets or industrial operations for her maple fix; she's been tapping trees in her own backyard and boiling down that experience into memories for years. "We can even enjoy [the maple syrup] all year round," Perry told CBC Radio's In Town And Out. "It brings back the memories and the joys of what we did." She said her fondness for the sugary treat dates back to a childhood spent on her family's farm. Now, after a few trips to the local hardware store, and with jars on hand, she taps trees at her home in Manotick. For those thinking of attempting their own do-it-yourself sugar bush, Perry suggests drilling the spigot approximately two to three centimetres into the tree. The angle of the spigot is also important, she said. Keep it pointed slightly upwards. Boil it down or drink it straight After collecting the sap – with one of her trees bringing in more than a litre of the sticky substance – she and her husband use a propane cooker to begin the outside boiling process. They then finish boiling it inside, using the "spoon test" to know when the sap hits the magical temperature and is ready to be turned into syrup. "Take up your sap with a spoon, you pour it off, and it should start to become viscous and drip slowly off," she said. Perry said she doesn't limit herself to finished maple products. "My grandkids love to drink just the sap straight," she said. "You just need a cup." As a science teacher at Frederick Banting Alternative High School in Stittsville, Perry incorporates tree tapping in the classroom and enjoys teaching her own grandchildren about the delights of tapping trees. It's a way to get outdoors, she said, adding she finds even the smell of boiling sap enough to improve her mood — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. "My spirits would jump like 10 notches. Just incredible."
In Japan, convenience is king and getting tested for COVID-19 can be highly inconvenient. Part of solution, as it is for a range of daily necessities in Tokyo, has become the humble vending machine. Eager to conserve manpower and hospital resources, the government conducts just 40,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests a day, a quarter of its capacity, restricting them to people who are quite symptomatic or have had a high chance of being infected.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday March 8, 2021. There are 886,574 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 886,574 confirmed cases (30,268 active, 834,067 resolved, 22,239 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,489 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 79.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 18,880 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,697. There were 26 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 245 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 35. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 58.52 per 100,000 people. There have been 25,159,921 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,006 confirmed cases (91 active, 909 resolved, six deaths). There was one new case Sunday. The rate of active cases is 17.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 19 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 201,814 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 141 confirmed cases (26 active, 115 resolved, zero deaths). There were two new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 16.29 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of nine new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 112,416 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,659 confirmed cases (29 active, 1,565 resolved, 65 deaths). There were two new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 2.96 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 18 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 366,679 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,455 confirmed cases (36 active, 1,391 resolved, 28 deaths). There were two new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.61 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 25 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 242,695 tests completed. _ Quebec: 292,631 confirmed cases (7,100 active, 275,059 resolved, 10,472 deaths). There were 707 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 82.8 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,891 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 699. There were seven new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 79 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 122.13 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,452,036 tests completed. _ Ontario: 308,296 confirmed cases (10,389 active, 290,840 resolved, 7,067 deaths). There were 1,299 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 70.51 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,480 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,069. There were 15 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 87 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.96 per 100,000 people. There have been 11,205,314 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 32,225 confirmed cases (1,130 active, 30,188 resolved, 907 deaths). There were 56 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 81.93 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 366 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 52. There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 12 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.76 per 100,000 people. There have been 541,269 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 29,709 confirmed cases (1,517 active, 27,794 resolved, 398 deaths). There were 116 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 128.7 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,062 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 152. There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 13 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 33.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 590,938 tests completed. _ Alberta: 135,837 confirmed cases (4,949 active, 128,974 resolved, 1,914 deaths). There were 300 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 111.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,333 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 333. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 43.28 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,445,307 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 83,107 confirmed cases (4,975 active, 76,752 resolved, 1,380 deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 96.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,653 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 379. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 25 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.07 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.81 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,969,444 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,232 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (one active, 41 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 2.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,849 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 381 confirmed cases (25 active, 355 resolved, one deaths). There were four new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 63.53 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 24 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,852 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 8, 2021. The Canadian Press
Le ministère de la Forêt, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) prévoit des coupes de plus de 20 000 hectares, en bordure de la rivière Péribonka, pour récolter le bois infesté par la tordeuse des bourgeons de l’épinette. Or, le Comité de sauvegarde de la rivière Péribonka (CSRP) est indigné de voir que de telles coupes sont envisagées dans un secteur où un projet d’aire protégée est porté par un comité citoyen depuis une décennie, d’autant plus qu’une proportion de la récolte se fera sur des massifs forestiers auparavant protégés pour le caribou forestier. En décembre dernier, le gouvernement Legault a atteint son objectif de protéger 17 % du territoire. Le gouvernement a choisi, en grande majorité, des territoires situés dans le nord, délaissant 83 projets d’aires protégées proposés par les communautés, dont celui sur la rivière Péribonka. Avant que le gouvernement n’en fasse l’annonce, la porte-parole du CSRP, Ève Tremblay, avait écrit à François Legault pour lui faire part de l’importance du projet d’aire protégée sur la rivière Péribonka. Le 18 décembre, une journée après que le gouvernement ait annoncé l’atteinte de 17 % de protection du territoire, Marie-Ève Verreault, conseillère politique au cabinet du ministre de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC), a répondu à Ève Tremblay. « D’entrée de jeu, je tiens à saluer les efforts que votre comité a déployés à l’égard de ce projet ainsi que l’intérêt qu’il porte à la protection de ce territoire. Je souligne la grande valeur écologique de ces écosystèmes et souhaite vous confirmer que votre projet a fait l’objet, cet automne, d’une analyse gouvernementale avancée. Malheureusement, celui-ci n’a pas été retenu […] Cela étant, je tiens à vous préciser que le gouvernement poursuivra ses efforts pour protéger les milieux naturels du Québec et désigner de nouvelles aires protégées. D’ailleurs, il réfléchit déjà à définir de nouvelles cibles en la matière qui guideront nos travaux dans les années à venir. Le projet de la rivière Péribonka s’inscrira assurément dans cette nouvelle démarche. » Quelques semaines plus tard, le ministère de la Forêt, de la Faune et des Parcs faisait l’annonce d’une consultation concernant le plan d’aménagement forestier intégré opérationnel, dans lequel des coupes de plus de 20 000 hectares sont prévues en bordure de la rivière Péribonka. Le projet d’aire protégé de la rivière Péribonka couvre un couloir visuel de 80 kilomètres de longueur avec une largeur d’environ 1,5 km sur chaque rive. Quatre secteurs de récolte toucheraient à cette zone, mais une bonne partie de la récolte se fera à l’extérieur du projet d’aire protégée. Signe de la valeur écologique du secteur, Produits forestiers Résolu et Rémabec avaient désigné l’endroit comme étant une forêt à haute valeur de conservation, en 2011, dans le cadre d’un projet pour maintenir leur certification FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). Certains des secteurs visés par la récolte étaient d’ailleurs des blocs de protection pour le caribou forestier. Les deux industriels forestiers ont depuis perdu leur certification FSC, misant plutôt sur la certification SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative). Selon Ève Tremblay, ces coupes viendront défigurer le paysage et limiteront le potentiel de futurs aménagements récréotouristiques. Plusieurs millions de dollars ont déjà été investis dans le secteur, dit-elle, notamment pour la construction de la passerelle du 49e parallèle, qui passe près du secteur de la Baie-des-Gardes, où une zone de récolte est prévue. Le ministère souhaite récolter le bois affecté par la tordeuse des bourgeons de l’épinette, qui s’attaque en premier lieu aux sapins. Selon Ève Tremblay, la rivière Péribonka crée un microclimat qui favorise le feuillu, et cette dernière se demande pourquoi le ministère justifie un projet de récolte avec la tordeuse. D’anciens massifs protégés Deux des secteurs de récolte se trouvent sur des massifs qui étaient protégés pour l’habitat du caribou forestier. En décembre 2019, le ministre Pierre Dufour avait accepté de rouvrir la récolte sur trois massifs forestiers, pour un total de 46 000 hectares, où il n’y avait pas d’indice de présence des caribous. Cette décision a été prise avant les inventaires réalisés à l’hiver 2020, puis en 2021, moment où le MFFP a intégré ces secteurs à son plan d’aménagement forestier intégré tactique (PAFIT). Pour l’instant, les zones de récolte sont à l’étape de consultation avec la population. À cette étape, le MFFP présente des zones plus grandes que les coupes réelles, afin de faire ressortir les craintes de tous les utilisateurs et d’intégrer les commentaires dans la planification fine de la récolte. Malgré une demande d’entrevue faite le 11 février au MFFP, il a été impossible d’obtenir des précisions sur les coupes prévues, notamment pour confirmer l’absence de caribous dans le secteur. Le député péquiste de Jonquière, Sylvain Gaudreault, est entré en contact avec Ève Tremblay pour réitérer son soutien au projet. Ce dernier compte envoyer ses commentaires dans le cadre de la consultation publique, tenue de manière virtuelle jusqu’au 6 mars, pour exprimer son désaccord avec la récolte dans ce secteur. « Je comprends mal comment le MELCC peut dire qu’il poursuivra ses efforts pour la création d’une aire protégée, et que le MFFP annonce des coupes quelques semaines plus tard », a-t-il remarqué. Difficile de convaincre tout le monde Le projet d’aire protégée de la rivière Péribonka est devenu un projet porté par le MELCC en 2017. Comme le veut la procédure, le MELCC a soumis le projet pour analyse au MFFP et au ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles (MERN). Le MERN a rapidement approuvé le projet, mais le MFFP est resté muet. À la table de gestion intégrée des ressources et du territoire, la Direction de la gestion des forêts du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean a récemment admis avoir accepté le projet, qui aurait été par la suite refusé par le MFFP. « La procrastination exercée par le MFFP au niveau régional, en ne donnant pas les avis demandés sur les projets d’aires protégées particuliers, a réussi à saboter le dossier régional des aires protégées au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean », estime Louis Bélanger, ingénieur forestier et responsable de la commission Forêt à Nature Québec. Au lieu de choisir le projet de la rivière Péribonka, le gouvernement a plutôt choisi de protéger un milieu humide près de la rivière Belley, un secteur qui était notamment proposé par l’industrie en 2011 pour maintenir la certification FSC. « Après analyse de tous les projets ayant fait l’objet de concertation régionale, il s’est avéré qu’au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, le projet de la rivière Belley permettait une meilleure conciliation des intérêts environnementaux, sociaux, culturels et économiques », a commenté le MELCC par courriel. Guillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Windsor city council has approved the final design for a parkette in Olde Walkerville. The parkette will be located at the corner of Devonshire Road and Riverside Drive and feature a bronze statue of Hiram Walker. The statue depicts Hiram Walker in a walking pose atop six whiskey barrels. He has blueprints under his arm and he's headed into Walkerville to build the town. "Normally, you see Hiram Walker depicted as an older fellow. I wanted him to be young and youthful, more, in his 50s when he was just getting out, developing Walkerville," said sculptor Mark Williams, who created the eight-foot statue two years ago. The bronze statue of Hiram Walker will be the centre piece of the new parkette.(Mark Williams) It took the city that length of time to find the right location and then negotiate with the Hiram Walker distillery for the small parcel of land. It will act as a cornerstone of the city's planned distillery district. "Having him be kind of a key piece in this gateway into old Walkerville is a really good fit," said Heidi Baillargeon, manager of parks development. Baillargeon said the design by architectural firm Brook McIlroy also features cobblestone paving, benches, lighting, landscaping and some decorative granite retaining walls with planters. The statue is currently in storage awaiting the completion of the parkette. The corner of Devonshire Road and Riverside Drive is where the parkette will be located.(Dale Molnar/CBC) Chris Edwards, publisher of Walkerville Publishing says Walker was a humble man who would probably be a little uncomfortable with the honour, but Edwards says it will be a real asset to the area. "I think it brings a lot of attention to Walkerville.It should certainly, once COVID settles down and people sort of get back to normal, should drive a lot of traffic ... People will want to see it." Even though in real life Hiram Walker was only about five feet tall or so Williams made the statue eight feet tall on purpose to reflect how much larger than life Walker was. "When you think of everything he's done ... Walker farms that used to be out there and all the trains all the way through the county. So, yeah, he was pretty big for a little guy," said Williams laughing. Now that council has approved the project, it will be tendered out — with the $1,174,432 parkette expected to be finished by July, just in time for Walker's birthday.
North Shore Rescue, Canada's most famous — and busiest — volunteer search and rescue team, pulls off about 130 operations every year in the popular hiking and skiing mountains immediately north of Vancouver. Increasingly, women are joining the ranks of the mostly male squad, bringing their expertise to the difficult and dangerous work of saving the lives of those lost or injured in the backcountry. Kayla Brolly, one of seven women currently on the 45-person team, joined NSR eight years ago. "I do this work because it is immensely rewarding," said Brolly, who is a nurse. "You feel a great sense of relief when you locate a subject ... then you move forward to the extraction and you know that you're able to try and get this person home to their families. And you just feel pretty proud of your team, too, because this work isn't easy." Surya Carmichael has volunteered with North Shore Rescue for four years.(Camille Vernet/Radio Canada) The demands of the job are not for the unfit or faint of heart. NSR is called out to a wide range of missions, from complex helicopter rescues in steep and snowy terrain, to searches for missing children and older people. And while it's true the majority of volunteers have historically been men, Brolly says women have proven themselves equally capable. "I think the physicality of the work for myself hasn't been impacted by the fact that I'm a woman — like at all. I've never struggled with any of the tasks I've been assigned and I don't think that's a barrier at all for women in this type of work," she said. Surya Carmichael said she immediately felt at home when she joined NSR four years ago. "The team has been very welcoming to women," she said. "There's a diversity — diversity of genders, but also of passions, experiences and ethnicity, which brings different ideas and it's better for the team." Brolly and Carmichael work on a nighttime ropes training maneuver.(Camille Vernet/Radio Canada) NSR members put in countless hours of training to keep their skills sharp, always looking for ways to mitigate the risk to themselves while doing their utmost to complete a successful rescue. Brolly says the work demands a combination of hard and soft skills, which she and her female teammates have in large supply. "I think the women bring a special element: very creative problem-solving, lots of experience with multitasking and just excellent skills. They come in with unbelievable mountaineering skills, navigation skills, rope rescue, all these different domains, and then we get to learn from each other," she said. Volunteering with NSR can take a toll on one's personal life in all sorts of ways — Brolly jokes that her financial planner hates her. Brolly, front, is featured in the Knowledge Network documentary series Search and Rescue: North Shore, giving viewers a glimpse into some of the harrowing rescues pulled off by the team. (Search and Rescue North Shore Facebook) But inevitably, the satisfaction of serving on the highly respected team has a way of outshining the negatives. "My favourite thing about search and rescue is the camaraderie," said Brolly. "When you do these pretty dangerous things in pretty tough places and go through tough situations, you create a lot of bonds."
First lady Jill Biden says nearly two dozen women the State Department is honouring for their courage made an “intentional decision” to persist and demand justice despite their fear. The 21 women being recognized Monday with the department's International Women of Courage Award include seven from Afghanistan who are receiving posthumous honours. The first lady says that the women's stories make it easy to think of them as “mythical heroes or angels among us” but that they're also humans who want to enjoy life's simple pleasures. “Some ofthese women have spent their lives fighting for their cause. Others are just starting out on a journey they didn’t ask for,” Biden says in remarks prepared for the ceremony, which were obtained by The Associated Press. “Some were called to service, and some couldn’t escape it,” Biden says. “They are fighting for their own lives and for their children. Theywant to right the wrongs of our past, tobuild a brighter future for everyone. Theyaren’timmune to fear. No one is.” Biden says that in the course of ordinarylives, each of the women made “an extraordinarychoice.” “You see, courage isn’t really found,” Biden says. "It doesn’t conjure away our doubts. It’s an intentional decision made.” The ceremony is being held virtually and not at the State Department because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 14 living awardees are from Belarus, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, Iran, Myanmar, Nepal, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Venezuela. “These womenmade an extraordinary choice, to persist, to demand justice, to believe that, despite the obstacles and fear they faced, there is a future worth fighting for," Biden says. Monday is International Women's Day. Touching on the past year, the first lady says the pandemic shows “how the things that connect us — our love for family and friends, our hope that we will be together soon — transcend language and distance.” She says that diplomacy, “at its best, is a recognition of this connection” and that the United States, under President Joe Biden's leadership, will support women around the world. “We will make the choice to lead, to be bold and to lift up the women and girls everywhere who light our way,” Biden says in her prepared remarks. “For 15 years, we have honoured women around the world who have made the extraordinary choice to fight for something bigger than themselves.” “Today, we recommit to being worthy of that courage, to understanding that our lives are tied together in immeasurable and powerful ways and to choosing, every day, to honour that connection,” she says. “We will stand with you as we build a brighter future for us all.” Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Mar. 8 ... What we are watching in Canada ... OTTAWA - Canada is set to receive more than 900-thousand COVID-19 vaccine doses this week as pharmaceutical companies ramp up deliveries to make good on their contractual obligations by the end of the month. The Public Health Agency of Canada says the country will receive nearly 445-thousand shots from Pfizer-BioNTech, the same number as last week. The two pharmaceutical companies had promised to deliver four-million doses by the end of March, but recently upped that commitment to 5.5-million shots. Major-General Dany Fortin, the military officer overseeing the national vaccine rollout, says Canada will also receive 465-thousand shots from Moderna this week. Moderna is stepping up its delivery schedule from once every three weeks to once every two and is promising to deliver 2 million doses by the end of March. The government is not expecting any deliveries of the recently approved vaccines from AstraZeneca-Oxford or Johnson and Johnson until next month. --- Also this ... OTTAWA - A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there's still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. The poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with women far more likely than men to say equality remains elusive in a host of fields. Overall, 63 per cent of respondents to the poll, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, said equality between men and women has not been achieved. A majority said equality has definitely or "to some extent" been achieved at home, in social settings, in the media, at work, in sciences and in politics, while just 44 per cent said the same of sports. However, male respondents were far more likely than women, by as much as 20 percentage points, to say equality has been achieved in those areas. --- What we are watching in the U.S. ... LOS ANGELES — Oprah Winfrey's wide-ranging interview with Meghan and Harry produced several revelations, from Meghan saying she experienced suicidal thoughts, to Prince Harry saying he felt “trapped” in royal life and the couple revealing that they're expecting a daughter. The two described painful palace discussions about the colour of their son’s skin, losing royal protection and the intense pressures that led the Duchess of Sussex to contemplate suicide. Meghan, who is biracial, told Winfrey there were discussions among the royal family about how dark her son's skin would be. Both she and Prince Harry were critical of the royal family and those who work for them, but both refused to criticize Queen Elizabeth II. Meghan said the queen has “always been wonderful to me.” The interview special aired on CBS last night and will be shown today in Britain. --- And this ... MINNEAPOLIS — The fate of a former Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck as the Black man said he couldn’t breathe will be decided by 12 residents of Hennepin County who will be picked after extensive grilling about their views. Jury selection begins today in the trial of Derek Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death, which ignited global protests. Picking a jury is expected to take at least three weeks, as prosecutors and defence attorneys try to weed out potential candidates who may have biases. Legal experts say the key will be finding jurors who can put aside their opinions and decide the case based on the evidence. --- What we are watching in the rest of the world ... BAGHDAD - Pope Francis today wrapped up his historic whirlwind tour of Iraq that sought to bring hope to the country's marginalized Christian minority with a message of coexistence, forgiveness and peace. The pontiff and his travelling delegation were seen off with a farewell ceremony at the Baghdad airport, from where he left for Rome following a four-day papal visit that has covered five provinces across Iraq. At every turn of his trip, Francis urged Iraqis to embrace diversity — from Najaf in the south, where he held a historic face-to-face meeting with powerful Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, to Nineveh to the north, where he met with Christian victims of the Islamic State group's terror and heard their testimonies of survival. His visit witnessed scenes unimaginable in war-ravaged Iraq just a few years ago. --- Also this ... TANGON - Myanmar security forces continue to clamp down on anti-coup protesters today, firing tear gas to break up a crowd of around 1,000 people who were demonstrating in the capital, Naypyitaw. The protesters deployed fire extinguishers to create a smoke screen as they fled from authorities. Meanwhile, thousands of protesters marching in Mandalay, the country's second-largest city, dispersed on their own amid fears that soldiers and police were planning to use force to break up their demonstration. Large-scale protests have occurred daily across many cities and towns in Myanmar since the country's military seized power in the Feb. 1 coup, and security forces have responded with ever greater use of lethal force and mass arrests. On Sunday, police occupied hospitals and universities and reportedly arrested hundreds of people involved in protesting the military takeover. --- In entertainment ... TORONTO - House music producer Jayda G knows a thing or two about good timing, but she didn’t predict her first Grammy nomination would happen so soon. The Grand Forks, B.C.-raised DJ says she figured it might take 10 years before her name would be listed among the nominees. But this year her piano-fuelled ode to classic house, titled “Both of Us,” competes for best dance recording. It’s an achievement that comes after the DJ left behind a career in environmental toxicology to pursue making club beats. She says she made the unusual leap after realizing that if she didn’t do it now, she might not ever. “Both of Us” is up against some of the industry’s biggest names, including Diplo, Disclosure and Montreal-raised Kaytranada. The Grammy will be handed out during Sunday’s pre-broadcast ceremony, which streams online. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 8, 2021 The Canadian Press
Humans have degraded or destroyed roughly two-thirds of the world's original tropical rainforest cover, new data reveals – raising alarm that a key natural buffer against climate change is quickly vanishing. The forest loss is also a major contributor of climate-warming emissions, with the dense tropical forest vegetation representing the largest living reservoir of carbon. Logging and land conversion, mainly for agriculture, have wiped out 34% of the world's original old-growth tropical rainforests, and degraded another 30%, leaving them more vulnerable to fire and future destruction, according to an analysis by the non-profit Rainforest Foundation Norway.
For Tendai Dongo, the stress and anxiety was just too much at times. A project manager at a digital education company based in Calgary, she has spent much of the pandemic balancing her job with the needs of her young daughters. With her husband's insurance job requiring him to be out of the house frequently, the majority of the child-care responsibilities fell to her. Everything came to a head in December. "I felt that I had to quit," said Tendai Dongo, who works at Xpan Interactive Ltd. "I had to choose … a full-time career or my mental health." The mother of two girls aged five and eight years old told her employer that working full-time from home while parenting was causing her a lot of stress and anxiety. "I was just going to throw in the towel. I did not have any other opportunity out there waiting for me," said Dongo. But the chaos of watching employees juggle school closures, virtual learning, quarantines and their jobs could lead to more empathetic workplaces. Some companies, including Dongo's, are thinking creatively about how to build more flexible work arrangements for their employees. A year into the pandemic, parents are feeling the effects of being tugged in all directions — particularly women. An online survey of 1,001 working Canadians conducted between Feb. 9 and 15 by ADP Canada and Leger found half of working mothers (50 per cent) reported experiencing high stress levels due to balancing child-care obligations and work, compared to 40 per cent of working fathers. Data released by Statistics Canada also shows pandemic job losses are disproportionately affecting women. In January, for example, the employment decline for woman was more than double that of men, with 73,000 fewer women working that month compared to 33,500 fewer men. The numbers also showed the decline in employment was pronounced among mothers whose youngest child was between the ages of six and 12. Their employment rate fell 2.9 percentage points, compared to a drop of 0.9 percentage points for all working adults. 'It's really, really impossibly hard' For Danielle Ellenor, working a full-time job as an account associate for a printing company that offered little flexibility while she was home with her young children was too overwhelming. "It takes a huge toll on your mental health, on your kid's mental health," said Ellenor, an Ottawa mother of two girls aged six and seven. "It's really, really impossibly hard." Her partner has been working from home too, but his management job in software sales has him in virtual meetings most of the day. Ottawa mother of two Danielle Ellenor quit her job in December for a more flexible career.(Mathieu Thériault/CBC) In December, knowing that more school closures were coming, Ellenor left the company she had been with for almost 10 years to focus on her kids and transition to a more flexible career in real estate. "It's a gamble that I decided to make," said Ellenor. There's concern that many other women may drop out of the workforce permanently. 'We could lose an entire class of future leaders' McKinsey & Company conducted an online survey of more than 40,000 workers across Canada and the United States between June and August 2020. The survey found that one in four women were contemplating downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce. "We would lose an entire class of future leaders and in some cases existing leaders, because it spans all the way to the highest levels of organizations," said Alexis Krivkovich, a senior partner at the global consulting firm. But amidst the crisis comes opportunity, she said. Some companies are finding creative ways to retain their employees, such as flexible time-off schedules, re-imagining performance management and thinking differently about working hours. "We need more of that creative thinking now to make sure that the one in four women who are saying, 'I'm not sure I can make it through this moment' come out the other side," Krivkovich said. Letting employees chart their own paths Vancouver-based software company Bananatag has embraced flexibility during the pandemic by coming up with a "choose your own adventure" schedule for its 130 employees. "We are quite flexible on location, preferred work style, preferred hours," said Agata Zasada, vice-president of people and culture at Bananatag. Agata Zasada, vice-president of people and culture at Vancouver-based Bananatag, says the company's 'choose your own adventure' schedule has kept all of their staff employed over the course of the pandemic (Dillon Hodgin/CBC) With about 50 per cent of their workforce made up of women and many parents on staff, the company wanted to remove a level of uncertainty for all of its employees. "We haven't lost anyone through the pandemic due to not being able to be flexible enough," said Zasada. Post-pandemic Bananatag will continue to let employees choose their own schedules. The company also plans to become even more flexible by entertaining the idea of job sharing and becoming more project-based. Carly Holm, founder and CEO of Holm & Company, a human resources company, is hopeful that some good will come out of this challenging year. "We've proven that we can be flexible and still be successful and be productive and that nine-to-five is irrelevant," said Holm. "It is completely arbitrary and doesn't work for a lot of people." Holm's firm offers HR services for small to medium-sized businesses. She says results of her client's employee engagement surveys show that employees are happier when given flexibility, and that companies offering it are performing better. "The companies that encourage that and have kind of that flexible, remote work, they're going to be the ones that are going to retain the people, retain women," said Holm. COVID ... has catapulted institutional mindsets around flexible work into the future - Jennifer Hargreaves, founder of Tellent When Dongo, the project manager in Calgary, told her boss she couldn't mentally handle being a full-time employee and a mother right now, her workplace took action. Instead of letting her quit, Xpan Interactive came up with a solution that she says is working well. The company dropped her workload from eight clients to one and reduced her to part-time flexible hours. She now works when she wants and when she can. Dongo's salary has also been reduced. She admits she and her husband have had to start dipping into their savings, but she appreciates that her company came up with a solution that allows her to stay in the workforce. "I still have that sense of purpose that I am still continuing in my career," said Dongo. Creating your own flexibility Since 2016, Jennifer Hargreaves has been an advocate for more flexibility and has successfully placed women in flexible higher paying jobs through her virtual networking platform. "One of the benefits … of COVID is that it has catapulted institutional mindsets around flexible work into the future," said Hargreaves, founder of Tellent, a network that provides women with access to flexible job opportunities. Jennifer Hargreaves, founder of networking platform Tellent, says the need for flexible work among her members has skyrocketed.(Submitted by Jennifer Hargreaves) Among her 10,000 members, she says the need for flexible work has skyrocketed. The first step in finding that flexible job, according to Hargreaves, starts with your current employer. She encourages women to approach their companies, as Dongo did, to see if they can draw up new arrangements. "There's no better time like right now to negotiate what you want because everything's up in the air," Hargreaves said. "Employers are starting from scratch and they're trying to figure out what this looks like as well."
TORONTO — A group including all four of Ontario's main teachers unions is urging the provincial government to offer free menstrual products in all publicly funded schools. The group, led by the Toronto Youth Cabinet, made the call in an open letter to Education Minister Stephen Lecce on Monday. It says some Ontario school boards -- such as the Toronto District School Board and the Waterloo Region District School Board -- have taken action on their own, but the group is calling for the province to expand that to all 72 of Ontario's boards. The group notes that British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island offer free menstrual products to all students. The letter says menstrual products are a necessity, not a luxury. It says a lack of access to period products can lead to students missing school and work. "Every woman, girl, trans man and gender non-binary person should be able to focus on their education and be active participants without having to worry about inadequate access to tampons, pads, and other menstrual products," the letter reads. The group, which also includes the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Ontario Student Trustees Association, is calling on the province to fully fund the initiative and ensure it's in place by the end of 2021. "These products must not only be free of charge, but be provided in ways that also protect privacy, are barrier free and easily accessible, are consistent in delivery and availability, and are non-stigmatizing," the letter reads. A spokeswoman for Lecce said the ministry knows that a lack of access to period products "creates significant stress in students' lives," particularly in lower income communities. "We remain open and committed to finding innovative solutions to help girls and young women access menstrual products and support their social-emotional well-being," Caitlin Clark wrote in an email. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2021. The Canadian Press
Dozens of Canadian Muslims joined a virtual conference this weekend, organized by Green Ummah, a new grassroots community group in Windsor that launched last year, aimed to encourage the Muslim community to become more environmentally conscious. The two-day weekend event offered participants the opportunity "to start the conversation about what we as Muslims can do to engage with the environment and help build a healthier planet," said Mariam Rajabali, a board member for the group. She said the conference was success and up to 50 people showed up and engaged in the sessions. "There's so many people that we heard from in our networking sessions that said 'we do these things at home and we feel alone. We don't get an opportunity to really voice this with our family and friends.' And this is a space where they can share ideas ... whether it's taking reusable grocery bags to the grocery store, leaving them in your car before you get there, or ... using cleaner cleaning supplies so that they're not polluting the earth," she said. One of the agenda items up for discussion was how the Muslim community can build an allyship with the Indigenous community. Rajabali says the conference was success and up to 50 people showed up and engaged in the sessions. This is a screengrab of the panel discussion on Sunday.(Tahmina Aziz/CBC) "It's our responsibility to look to them and ask the questions that we need to ask and support them in their initiatives," Rajabali explained. "They've been looking after this earth for far longer than we, as youth, have just started doing and really relying on that guidance and supporting them in their initiatives," she said. She said the pandemic set the group back in some of the initiatives it had planned, but the organizers are working on events all aimed to educate, provide resources and make knowledge accessible to the wider Muslim community. One of the events they hope to launch in September is a "curriculum project" targeting youth. "In order for us to make it sustainable change, we need to start looking at people at a young age, and we need to start building some of these behaviours and patterns within our everyday life. So we're hoping that by influencing the younger generation, we can get more people on board with the environmental movement," Rajabali said. She said the conference also allowed an opportunity for people to connect and brainstorm ways to be more environmentally friendly. She hopes they take what they've learned and apply it in their local communities. "We're hoping that by bringing all these people together that we can have a successful Ramadan campaign, that we can encourage our mosques to take the next step to be greener, that we can encourage our local community spaces to be greener as well," she said. Small changes make a big difference, says Rajabali Rajabali said one big takeaway she had from the conference that she wants to share with others is the large impact small changes can make. "It's the small things that we're finding that are making the bigger difference. People talk about planning a year from now, two years from now. What we want to get across to people is changing the little things that you're doing today," she said. "Instead of, you know, putting your leftovers in a Styrofoam container, consider putting it in a reusable Tupperware. Doing things that you can do within the next hour is much more sustainable as a practice if you do it over time rather than trying to plan for the next 10 years."
WASHINGTON — With President Joe Biden on the verge of his first big legislative victory, a key moderate Democrat says he's open to changing Senate rules that could allow for more party-line votes to push through other parts of the White House’s agenda such as voting rights. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin stressed Sunday that he wants to keep the procedural hurdle known as the filibuster, saying major legislation should always have significant input from the minority party. But he noted there are other ways to change the rules that now effectively require 60 votes for most legislation. One example: the “talking filibuster,” which requires senators to slow a bill by holding the floor, but then grants an “up or down” simple majority vote if they give up. “The filibuster should be painful, it really should be painful and we’ve made it more comfortable over the years,” Manchin said. “Maybe it has to be more painful.” “If you want to make it a little bit more painful, make him stand there and talk,” Manchin added. “I’m willing to look at any way we can, but I’m not willing to take away the involvement of the minority.” Democrats are beginning to look to their next legislative priorities after an early signature win for Biden on Saturday, with the Senate approving a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan on a party-line 50-49 vote. Final passage is expected Tuesday in the House if leaders can hold the support of progressives frustrated that the Senate narrowed unemployment benefits and stripped out an increase of the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Over the weekend, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, representing around 100 House liberals, called the Senate’s weakening of some provisions “bad policy and bad politics." But Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., also characterized the changes as “relatively minor concessions” and emphasized the bill retained its “core bold, progressive elements.” Biden says he would sign the measure immediately if the House passed it. The legislation would allow many Americans to receive $1,400 in direct checks from the government this month. “Lessons learned: If we have unity, we can do big things,” a jubilant Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told The Associated Press in an interview after Saturday's vote. Still, the Democrats’ approach required a last-minute call from Biden to Manchin to secure his vote after he raised late resistance to the breadth of unemployment benefits. That immediately raised questions about the path ahead in a partisan environment where few, if any, Republicans are expected to back planks of the president’s agenda. Democrats used a fast-track budget process known as reconciliation to approve Biden’s top priority without Republican support, a strategy that succeeded despite the reservations of some moderates. But work in the coming months on other issues such as voting rights and immigration could prove more difficult. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pledged that Senate Republicans would block passage of a sweeping House-passed bill on voting rights. The measure, known as HR 1, would restrict partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, strike down hurdles to voting and bring transparency to the campaign finance system. It would serve as a counterweight to voting rights restrictions advancing in Republican-controlled statehouses across the country in the wake of Donald Trump’s repeated false claims about a “stolen” election. “Not one Republican is going to vote for HR 1 because it’s a federal takeover of elections, it sets up a system where there is no real voter security or verification,” Graham said. “It is a liberal wish list in terms of how you vote.” The Senate is divided 50-50, but Democrats control the chamber because Vice-President Kamala Harris can cast the tie-breaking vote. With 60 votes effectively needed on most legislation, Democrats must win the support of at least some Republicans to pass Biden’s agenda. When asked about the voting rights bill, Manchin on Sunday left the door open to supporting some kind of a workaround to allow for passage based on a simple majority, suggesting he could support “reconciliation” if he was satisfied that Republicans had the ability to provide input. But it was unclear how that would work as voting rights are not budget-related and would not qualify for the reconciliation process. “I’m not going to go there until my Republican friends have the ability to have their say also,” Manchin said. On Sunday, the anti-filibuster advocacy group “Fix Our Senate” praised Manchin’s comments as a viable way to get past “pure partisan obstruction" in the Senate. “Sen. Manchin just saw Senate Republicans unanimously oppose a wildly popular and desperately-needed COVID relief bill that only passed because it couldn’t be filibustered, so it’s encouraging to hear him express openness to reforms to ensure that voting rights and other critical bills can’t be blocked by a purely obstructionist minority,” the group said in a statement. Manchin spoke on NBC's “Meet the Press,” “Fox News Sunday,” CNN's “State of the Union” and ABC's “This Week,” and Graham appeared on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures." ___ Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report. Hope Yen, The Associated Press
Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker Xpeng Inc said on Monday its net loss in the fourth quarter of last year narrowed 42% from the same period in 2019, as EV sales increased in the world's biggest car market. New York-listed Xpeng, which sells mainly in China and competes with Tesla Inc and Nio Inc, said its net loss attributable to ordinary shareholders was 787.4 million yuan ($120.7 million) for the quarter, compared with 1,354.6 million yuan a year earlier. In the final three months last year, revenue jumped 346% year-on-year to 2.85 billion yuan.
BANGKOK — Prosecutors in Thailand charged 18 pro-democracy activists with sedition on Monday, while lodging additional charges of insulting the monarchy against three of them. The sedition charges, which carry a maximum penalty of up to seven years in prison, stem from an antigovernment rally in September, though details on the alleged offences were not immediately clear. The three charged with violating the lese majeste law, which outlaws criticism of senior members of the royal family, are Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, Jatupat Boonpattararaksa and Panupong Jadnok. Thai authorities have stepped up their legal offensive against those involved in a student-led protest movement that is pushing for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and his government to step down, the constitution to be amended to make it more democratic and the monarchy to be reformed to make it more accountable. The latter demand is the most radical and controversial because the monarchy has rarely faced any public scrutiny and is considered by many to be an untouchable pillar of Thai identity. Those found guilty of violating the law against criticizing or insulting key royals face up to 15 years in prison per offence. The protest movement has struck a chord with many Thais but alienated others, especially royalists shocked at its criticisms of the monarchy. The movement began to lose steam late last year amid differences among its factions, and because of a resurgence of the coronavirus in Thailand. Prosecutors last month charged four protest leaders with lese majeste and they were denied bail. Jatupat, who was imprisoned for violating the lese majeste law in 2017, said that if he and the other activists charged Monday are unable to post bail they will keep fighting from jail. “The movement outside will surely continue no matter what happens,” he said. Jatupat on Sunday completed a nearly 250-kilometre (155-mile) walk from Thailand's northeast to Bangkok's Democracy Monument. Along the way, he campaigned and talked to people about ousting Prayuth, amending the constitution and abolishing the lese majeste law. According to the group Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, at least 382 people, including 13 minors, have been charged in connection with the protests, which picked up momentum last summer. At least 60 of those people have been charged with lese majeste. ___ Associated Press writer Bill Bredesen contributed to this report. Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul, The Associated Press
Ontario pharmacists start a COVID-19 vaccine program this week at 330 locations to provide the AstraZeneca vaccine to customers aged 60 to 64 as lockdown restrictions ease in two major regions.
Haut-Madawaska's newest families have arrived after a long journey from Togo. The rural community in northwestern New Brunswick welcomed 43 new residents from the west African nation this weekend. The newcomers stepped off a plane in Moncton late Saturday night, before travelling by bus to an Edmundston hotel. After two weeks in self-isolation, they'll begin moving into their new apartments. Mayor Jean-Pierre Ouellet said the aging community is excited to welcome the 13 families and help them settle in. He's briefly spoken to some of the new families over the phone. "They're a little bit stressed but they're very happy to move to our area," he said. "For them it's a real challenge and they're ready to accept that challenge." Ouellet said the newcomers were recruited to work at one of the region's largest employers, the Nadeau Poultry Farm Ltd. The company travelled to Togo to find and interview prospective employees before the start of the pandemic. The rural community — with a declining population of about 3,700 — has seen more than 100 newcomers arrive in the past two years. It's located about 20 kilometres southwest of Edmundston. More jobs than people Haut-Madawaska's declining population has created challenges for large employers in the area. The area is home to three poultry processing companies, a buckwheat flour plant, and several facilities that manufacture cedar shingles and other wood products. Saint-François-de-Madawaska, one of the villages within the municipality, is referred to as the province's "chicken capital." Jean-Pierre Ouellet is the mayor of Haut-Madawaska, a rural community in northwestern New Brunswick.(Bernard LeBel/Radio-Canada) Ouellet said young people are leaving to study or find different employment opportunities, then parents follow to be closer to their children. "We have more jobs available than we have people available to fill those jobs," he said. The City of Edmundston and Haut-Madawaska were chosen by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for a three-year pilot project. The region is trying to develop a model for integration and retention for minority francophone communities. A representative for Nadeau Poultry travelled to Togo before the start of the pandemic to recruit employees. (Bernard LeBel/Radio-Canada) "They want to make sure that by recruiting young families that this population growth helps to keep our school open," Ouellet said. "And it will ensure the sustainability of our community." Nadeau Poultry, where some of the Togo newcomers were hired, has about 300 employees. The plant has up to 30 newcomers. A focus on families Haut-Madawska's goal is to improve newcomer retention. Ouellet said many immigrants have come to work for the companies in the region in the past and decided to leave for larger Canadian cities after a few years. But they were mostly hiring single people. Newcomers each brought two suitcases with them. So the community rallied together and collected household goods to help families start their new lives.(Submitted by Jean-Pierre Ouellet) Now, recruitment efforts are targeting families. "When the children will be in school, when they have friends, when they have a role to play in the community, it will be harder for the families … to go live in Quebec, Montreal, Toronto," Ouellet said. The families were supposed to arrive in Canada about six months ago, but the COVID-19 pandemic postponed their resettlement. Residents gathering donations Newcomers could only bring two suitcases on their more than 7,000 km journey between continents. So the town stepped in to help. Donations for the newcomers' apartments quickly filled the basement of a local church. Hundreds of items now await the newest residents of Haut-Madawaska once they begin moving into their apartments. "We have no more place to stock them," he said. "The community's contribution was just incredible." The mayor said people in the community are accepting of the change. "It just brings another point of view and it brings a cultural diversity in our area," he said.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A Harvard University professor has ignited an international uproar and faces mounting scrutiny for alleging that Korean women who were kept as sex slaves in wartime Japan had actually chosen to work as prostitutes. In a recent academic paper, J. Mark Ramseyer rejected a wide body of research finding that Japan’s so-called “comfort women” were forced to work at military brothels during World War II. Ramseyer instead argued that the women willingly entered into contracts as sex workers. His paper has intensified a political dispute between Japan, whose leaders deny that the women were coerced, and South Korea, which has long pressed Japan to provide apologies and compensation to women who have shared accounts of rape and abuse. Decades of research has explored the abuses inflicted on comfort women from Korea and other nations previously occupied by Japan. In the 1990s, women began sharing accounts detailing how they were taken to comfort stations and forced to provide sexual services for the Japanese military. Hundreds of scholars have signed letters condemning Ramseyer's article, which united North and South Korea in sparking outrage. Last Tuesday, North Korea’s state-run DPRK Today published an article calling Ramseyer a “repulsive money grubber” and a “pseudo scholar.” Ramseyer, a professor of Japanese legal studies at Harvard Law School, declined to comment. Ramseyer’s article, titled “Contracting for sex in the Pacific War,” was published online in December and was scheduled to appear in the March issue of the International Review of Law and Economics. The issue has been suspended, however, and the journal issued an “expression of concern” saying the piece is under investigation. Most alarming to historians is what they say is a lack of evidence in the paper: Scholars at Harvard and other institutions have combed though Ramseyer's sources and say there is no historical evidence of the contracts he describes. In a statement calling for the article to be retracted, Harvard historians Andrew Gordon and Carter Eckert said Ramseyer “has not consulted a single actual contract” dealing with comfort women. “We do not see how Ramseyer can make credible claims, in extremely emphatic wording, about contracts he has not read,” they wrote. Alexis Dudden, a historian of modern Japan and Korea at the University of Connecticut, called the article a “total fabrication” that disregards decades of research. Although some have invoked academic freedom to defend Ramseyer, Dudden counters that the article “does not meet the requirements of academic integrity.” “These are assertions out of thin air,” she said. “It’s very clear from his writing and his sources that he has never seen a contract.” More than 1,000 economists have signed a separate letter condemning the article, saying it misuses economic theory “as a cover to legitimize horrific atrocities.” A separate group of historians of Japan issued a 30-page article explaining why the article should be retracted “on grounds of academic misconduct.” At Harvard, hundreds of students signed a petition demanding an apology from Ramseyer and a university response to the complaints against him. Harvard Law School declined to comment. A United Nations report from 1996 concluded that the comfort women were sex slaves taken through “violence and outright coercion.” A statement from Japan in 1993 acknowledged that women were taken “against their own will,” although the nation’s leaders later denied it. Tensions flared again in January when a South Korean court ruled that the Japanese government must give 100 million won ($90,000) to each of 12 women who sued in 2013 over their wartime sufferings. Japan insists all wartime compensation issues were settled under a 1965 treaty normalizing relations with South Korea. In South Korea, activists have denounced Ramseyer and called for his resignation from Harvard. Chung Young-ai, South Korea’s minister of gender equality and family, expressed dismay over the article last week. “There is an attempt to distort (the facts about) the Japanese military’s ‘comfort women’ issue and tarnish the honours and dignity of victims,” Chung said, according to comments provided by her ministry. Lee Yong-soo, a 92-year-old South Korean and survivor, described Ramseyer’s assertion as “ludicrous” and demanded he apologize. An influential activist, Lee is campaigning for South Korea and Japan to settle their decadeslong impasse by seeking judgment from the International Court of Justice. When asked about Ramseyer last Wednesday, Lee said: “That professor should be dragged to (the ICJ) too.” The controversy, amplified by its source at an Ivy League university, has yielded new scrutiny of Ramseyer's other work. In response to new concerns raised by scholars, The European Journal of Law and Economics added an editor's note saying it's investigating a recent piece by Ramseyer — this one studying Koreans living in early 20th century Japan. Cambridge University Press said a forthcoming book chapter by Ramseyer is “being revised by the author after consultation between the author and the editors of the book.” Ramseyer repeated his claims about comfort women in a submission to a Japanese news site in January. In it, he alleged the women entered into contracts similar to those used under a separate, licensed system of prostitution in Japan. He rejected accounts of forced labour as “pure fiction,” saying the Japanese army “did not dragoon Korean women to work in its brothels.” “Expressing sympathy to elderly women who have had a rough life is fine,” he wrote. “Paying money to an ally in order to rebuild a stable relationship is fine. But the claims about enslaved Korean comfort women are historically untrue.” Opponents counter that many of the women were so young they would have been unable to consent to sex even if there was evidence of contracts. “We're really talking about 15-year-olds,” said Dudden, at the University of Connecticut. “This article further victimizes the very few number of survivors by asserting claims that even the author knows cannot be substantiated.” ___ Associated Press writers Hyung-jin Kim and Kim Tong-hyung contributed from Seoul. Collin Binkley, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — It’s sleepy by Donald Trump’s standards, but the former president's century-old estate in New York's Westchester County could end up being one of his bigger legal nightmares. Seven Springs, a 213-acre swath of nature surrounding a Georgian-style mansion, is a subject of two state investigations: a criminal probe by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and a civil inquiry by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Both investigations focus on whether Trump manipulated the property's value to reap greater tax benefits from an environmental conservation arrangement he made at the end of 2015, while running for president. Purchased by Trump in 1995 for $7.5 million, Seven Springs drew renewed scrutiny as he prepared to leave office and was on the cusp of losing legal protections he had as president. Vance issued new subpoenas in mid-December, and a judge ordered evidence to be turned over to James' office nine days after Trump departed Washington. Other Trump legal woes, such as inquiries into his attempts to influence election officials and payments made on his behalf to women alleging affairs, have dominated the headlines. But former Manhattan prosecutor Duncan Levin said white-collar investigators go wherever the paper trail leads. “While a tax issue related to a conservation arrangement might not be as sexy as a hush-money payment, prosecutors are likely to focus on any violation of law that they find,” Levin said. “Remember, the authorities got Al Capone on tax evasion.” Seven Springs is an outlier in a Trump real estate portfolio filled with glossy high-rises and gold-plated amenities. It is listed on his website as a family retreat, although Trump hasn’t been there in more than four years. At the heart of the estate is the mansion built as a summer getaway in 1919 by Eugene Meyer, who went on to become Federal Reserve chairman and owner of The Washington Post. In 2006, while pushing a plan to build luxury homes on the property, Trump floated the idea that he and his family were going to move into the mansion, but that never happened. Brand new, the 28,322-square-foot dwelling featured more than a dozen bedrooms, an indoor swimming pool, a bowling alley and a tennis court. Meyer's daughter, the late Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, was married at Seven Springs in 1940. In her memoir “Personal History,” Graham described ambivalent emotions about going there, writing: “The older I got, the more I disliked the loneliness of the farm, but in my childhood days, it was, as I wrote my father when I was 10, ‘a great old Place.’” At one point, Meyer owned about 700 acres. A philanthropic foundation established by him and his wife, Agnes, gifted 247 acres to the Nature Conservancy and the remaining land and buildings that made up Seven Springs to Yale University in 1973, after Agnes Meyer's death. The estate changed hands again when the foundation took it back from Yale and operated a conference centre there before passing the real estate holdings to Rockefeller University, which eventually sold it to Trump. Trump paid about $2.25 million under the list price for Seven Springs, acquiring the land as part of an effort to jumpstart his fortunes after a series of failures in the early 1990s, including casino bankruptcies and the sale of his money-losing Trump Shuttle airline. Trump envisioned transforming it into his first championship-calibre golf course, with an exclusive clientele and lofty membership fees. He hired an architecture firm to plot fairways and greens but abandoned the effort when residents voiced concerns that lawn chemicals would contaminate neighbouring Byram Lake, a local source of drinking water. Trump’s then tried building houses. He proposed putting up 46 single-family homes, and after that plan also met community opposition, 15 mansion-sized dwellings which he described in 2004 as “super-high-end residential, the likes of which has never been seen on the East Coast.” The project was held up by years of litigation and no homes were ever built. In 2009, Trump made a splash by allowing Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to pitch his Bedouin-style tent on the Seven Springs property north of New York City because he had no other place to stay for a U.N. visit. Trump initially suggested he didn’t know Gaddafi was involved, but later conceded he “made a lot of money” renting the land to the Libyan leader. Local officials halted work on the tent and Gaddafi never stayed there. His development plans dashed, Trump opted for a strategy that would allow him to keep the property but reduce his taxes. He granted an easement to a conservation land trust to preserve 158 acres (60 hectares) of meadows and mature forest. Trump received a $21 million income tax deduction, equal to the value of the conserved land, according to property and court records. The amount was based on a professional appraisal that valued the full Seven Springs property at $56.5 million as of Dec. 1, 2015. That was a much higher amount that the evaluation by local government assessors, who said the entire estate was worth $20 million. Michael Colangelo, a lawyer in the New York attorney general's office, outlined the central question involving the Seven Springs easement at a hearing last year regarding a dispute over evidence. “If the value of the easement was improperly inflated, who obtained the benefit from that improper inflation and in what amounts?” Colangelo said. “It goes without saying that the attorney general needs to see the records that would reflect the value of that deduction, as it flowed up to intermediate entities, and ultimately to Mr. Trump, personally.” A message seeking comment was left with Trump’s spokesperson. In the past, the Republican ex-president has decried the investigations as part of a “witch hunt.” Seven Springs caught investigators’ attention after Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen told a congressional committee in 2019 that Trump had a habit of manipulating property values — inflating them in some cases and minimizing them in others to gain favourable loan terms and tax benefits. Cohen testified that Trump had financial statements saying Seven Springs was worth $291 million as of 2012. He gave copies of three of Trump's financial statements to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform during his testimony. Cohen said the statements, from 2011, 2012 and 2013, were ones Trump gave to his main lender, Deutsche Bank, to inquire about a loan to buy the NFL's Buffalo Bills and to Forbes magazine to substantiate his claim to a place on its list of the world's wealthiest people. Trump, on his annual financial disclosure forms while president, said the property was worth between $25 million and $50 million. New York's attorney general was first to act. James issued subpoenas to commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield for records relating to its assessment work on Trump’s behalf; to law firms that worked on the Seven Springs project; and to Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, for records relating to its annual financial statements and the conservation easement. James also subpoenaed zoning and planning records in 2019 from the three towns Seven Springs spans. Vance followed with his own subpoenas in December. One town clerk said investigators were given “boxes and boxes of documents” in response. They included tax statements, surveying maps, environmental studies and planning board meeting minutes. James’ investigators have interviewed Trump’s son, Eric Trump, an executive vice-president at the Trump Organization and the president of the limited liability company through which it owns Seven Springs; Trump’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg; and lawyers Trump hired for the Seven Springs project who specialize in land-use and federal tax controversies. The investigators have yet to determine whether any law was broken. Vance, who like James is a Democrat, hasn’t disclosed much about his criminal probe, in part because of grand jury secrecy rules. The district attorney's office has said in court papers that it is focusing on public reports of “extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.” Documents filed in connection with the criminal investigation — buoyed by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month granting Vance access to Trump’s tax records — have listed Seven Springs among possible targets. Along with the mansion, Seven Springs has a Tudor-style home once owned by ketchup magnate H.J. Heinz, and smaller carriage houses that Trump’s adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, have said served as “home base” when they visited the estate to hike and ride ATVs. During his presidency, Trump himself opted for higher-profile properties like his Bedminster, New Jersey golf course and his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, where he’s been living since leaving the White House. The New York Times reported last year that Trump’s tax records showed he classified the estate not as a personal residence but an investment property, enabling him to write off more than $2 million in property taxes since 2014. ___ Follow Michael Sisak on Twitter at twitter.com/mikesisak Michael R. Sisak, The Associated Press