China's embassy in the Philippines has denounced the United States for "creating chaos" in Asia, after a visiting White House envoy backed countries in disputes with China and accused Beijing of using military pressure to further its interests. During a trip to Manila on Monday, national security adviser Robert O'Brien underscored the U.S. commitment to Taiwan and told the Philippines and Vietnam, countries both locked in maritime rows with China, that "we've got your back". "It shows that his visit to this region is not to promote regional peace and stability, but to create chaos in the region in order to seek selfish interests of the U.S.," the embassy said in a statement issued late Monday.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday vowed to defend the democratic island's sovereignty with the construction of a new fleet of domestically-developed submarines, a key project supported by the United States to counter neighbouring China. Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has been for years working to revamp its submarine force, some of which date back to World War Two, and is no match for China's fleet, which includes vessels capable of launching nuclear weapons. At a ceremony to mark the start of construction of a new submarine fleet in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, Tsai called the move a "historic milestone" for Taiwan's defensive capabilities after overcoming "various challenges and doubts".
Salt that crystallizes with sharp edges is the killer ingredient in the development of a reusable mask because any COVID-19 droplets that land on it would be quickly destroyed, says a researcher who is being recognized for her innovation.Ilaria Rubino, a recent PhD graduate from the department of chemical and materials engineering at the University of Alberta, said a mostly salt and water solution that coats the first or middle layer of the mask would dissolve droplets before they can penetrate the face covering.As the liquid from the droplets evaporates, the salt crystals grow back as spiky weapons, damaging the bacteria or virus within five minutes, Rubino said."We know that after the pathogens are collected in the mask, they can survive. Our goal was to develop a technology that is able to inactivate the pathogens upon contact so that we can make the mask as effective as possible."Rubino, who collaborated with a researcher at Georgia State University in Atlanta to advance the project she started five years ago, was recognized Tuesday with an innovation award from Mitacs. The Canadian not-for-profit organization receives funding from the federal government, most provinces and Yukon to honour researchers from academic institutions.The reusable, non-washable mask is made of a type of polypropylene, a plastic used in surgical masks, and could be safely worn and handled multiple times without being decontaminated, Rubino said.The idea is to replace surgical masks often worn by health-care workers who must dispose of them in a few hours, she said, adding the technology could potentially be used for N-95 respirators.The salt-coated mask is expected to be available commercially next year after regulatory approval. It could also be used to stop the spread of other infectious illnesses, such as influenza, Rubino said.Dr. Catherine Clase, an epidemiologist and associate professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, said the "exciting" technology would have multiple benefits.Clase, who is a member of the Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials in the engineering department at McMaster, said there wasn't much research in personal protective equipment when Rubino began her work."It's going to decrease the footprint for making and distributing and then disposing of every mask," she said, adding that the mask could also address any supply issues.The Public Health Agency of Canada recently recommended homemade masks consist of at least three layers, with a middle, removable layer constructed from a non-woven, washable polypropylene fabric to improve filtration.Conor Ruzycki, an aerosol scientist in the University of Alberta's mechanical engineering department, said Rubino's innovation adds to more recent research on masks as COVID-19 cases rise and shortages of face coverings in the health-care system could again become a problem.Ruzycki, who works in a lab to evaluate infiltration efficiencies of different materials for masks and respirators, is also a member of a physician-led Alberta group Masks4Canada, which is calling for stricter pandemic measures, including a provincewide policy on mandatory masks.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
High school students defy pandemic, discover joys of voice acting while making animated film version of 'Romeo & Juliet' after original plans to stage a traditional performance this fall were scuttled by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis (Nov. 24)
Grand River watershed — The Grand River Conservation Authority held an emergency board meeting this week to discuss the province’s proposed changes for conservation authorities and to plan its response. “I’m asking us to be as thoughtful as possible about what is non-negotiable going forward,” Grand River Conservation Authority Chair Helen Jowett said to open the discussion. In its summary, the staff report detailing the changes expressed the significance of the planned changes: “If enacted, some changes will significantly impact the role of a conservation authority board to establish programs and services. “As well, the proposed amendments will enable Regulations that will either limit or completely change the role of conservation authorities to protect Ontario’s environment and ensure people and property are safe from natural hazards.” The most impactful proposed change is to mandate that only municipal councillors will be allowed to sit on a conservation authority board, and that board members’ fiduciary duty must be to their individual municipalities rather than to the conservation authority, according to Samantha Lawson, the Chief Administrative Officer for the Grand River Conservation Authority. Lawson and Jowett both feel this will put individual interests of municipalities above the watershed as a whole. “We work together to look after the entire watershed because water knows no boundaries. And it works for us,” says Jowett. “We are concerned that it could undermine that watershed approach, which is very successful currently.” Other changes introduced in schedule six of Bill 229 — the Protect Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures) — include: allowing the province to intervene in the conservation authority permitting process at any time and make any decisions with or without use of watershed-level science remove or limit a conservation authority’s ability to appeal decisions to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal and remove a conservation authority’s (not yet proclaimed) ability to give a stop work order in the case of harmful activity. Staff at the Grand River Conservation Authority feel the proposed changes will limit any meaningful authority, and interfere with the watershed approach. The Grand River Conservation Authority board voted to approve the report prepared by staff. A cover letter summarizing the conservation authority’s stance will be added. Together these will be sent to the Premier, Ministers of Environment, Conservation and Parks, Natural Resources, Municipal housing and Affairs and Finance, watershed MPPs, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the Rural Ontario Municipal Association and circulated to watershed municipalities. The entire staff report can be viewed on the conservation authority’s website.Leah Gerber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Waterloo Region Record
The staff tested positive last week and Maxwell was checked for the virus on Nov. 18 using a rapid test which was negative, the prosecutors said in a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan. Maxwell was placed in quarantine at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn for 14 days, said the letter. Maxwell has not shown any symptoms of COVID-19 and will be tested again at the end of her two-week quarantine.
Residents were given proper notice of a vote to remove Fort Simpson's liquor purchasing restrictions, according to N.W.T. finance minister Caroline Wawzonek. MLA for Nahendeh Shane Thompson – also a minister – posted to Facebook on Monday regarding concerns constituents had raised about the plebiscite held on November 12. Specifically, the post related to concerns about how much public notice was provided leading up to the vote and how to contact the official in charge of it. Residents ultimately voted overwhelmingly in favour of lifting alcohol restrictions in the community. Of 730 eligible voters, 240 cast a ballot and 175 of those were in favour of removing restrictions. The Department of Finance, which oversees liquor regulations in the N.W.T., is now in the process of implementing the result, which may take several weeks. Thompson's post relayed a message he had received from Wawzonek addressing concerns. “Based on all of the information I have received to date, I am confident in the integrity of the plebiscite held in the village of Fort Simpson,” Wawzonek's message to Thompson reads. Wawzonek states some residents who attend school away from Fort Simpson believe they did not receive adequate notice of the plebiscite. She concludes, however, that there was sufficient notice within the village, on Facebook, and through the media in the weeks and months before the vote. She adds returning officer Tammie Cazon fulfilled her duties in the Local Authorities Elections Act by providing public notice of the plebiscite, including details on how and where to vote. Wawzonek says Cazon met legislative requirements by posting public notices in five locations – the bank, the Northern store, the Unity store, the Nahanni Inn and Pandaville restaurant. “It is not the responsibility of the returning officer to locate and notify every resident of the community who may not be currently living in the community. That would be an impossible task," Wawzonek writes. "Voters bear some of the responsibility for informing themselves about how to exercise their democratic right to vote.” The final concern regards the returning officer’s email address and confusion about how to reach Cazon. Wawzonek again asserts faith in the process, saying her department confirmed with Cazon only one email address was distributed for voters to use. Proxy voting was an option in the plebiscite but, according to Wawzonek, Cazon did not receive any emails related to proxy voting. The community of Fort Simpson requested the plebiscite after a petition with more than 150 signatures from residents was turned in to the village council late last year, asking for action to try to remove the restrictions. Restrictions are set to be lifted in the coming weeks, though an exact date has not been set. Once the regulations are changed and restrictions lifted, the village is still bound to pandemic-related alcohol restrictions, which limit customers to a maximum of $200 per day at any liquor store in the territory and six mickeys (375-ml bottles) of spirits in a 24-hour period.Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Miss Vickie's Canada says some of its potato chips that were part of a recall in Eastern Canada earlier this month due to possible glass contamination were inadvertently shipped west. The company says the chips were only shipped to retail customers in Alberta, Brandon, Man., and Moose Jaw, Sask, and that it's working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to co-ordinate a voluntary recall. It says 630 bags are involved, and they have very specific "guaranteed fresh" dates and "manufacturing codes." Consumers who have purchased the chips should not eat them and are urged to throw them out or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. At the beginning of November, Miss Vickie's recalled some chips sold online and in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada due to what it said was "isolated reports of the presence of a small piece of glass found at the bottom of the bag." The CFIA says on its website there have been reported injuries associated with the products. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020. The Canadian Press
B.C.'s health-care workers are pleading with the public to heed health orders while bracing for difficult working conditions as COVID-19 cases in the province continue to rise.On Monday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced there were another 1,933 cases of COVID-19 over the last three days and 17 more deaths.This comes just over two weeks after restrictions were initially put in place in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health authorities, and a few days after those restrictions were extended to cover the entire province. Christine Sorensen, president of the B.C. Nurses' Union, says nurses are frustrated when they see people continue to gather in groups and not follow the guidelines because that increases transmission and puts additional pressure on the health-care system."It puts greater demands on the staff that also fairly tired, looking for a bit of a rest and a break and really not seeing anything coming in the next few months, particularly with the holiday season coming and people wanting to mix and mingle with their friends and family," Sorensen said. Dr. Kathleen Ross, the president of Doctors of B.C., says the prospect of burnout is looming closer for many front line health-care workers. "Many of us are afraid to go home for fear of infecting our loved ones and many more of us drop our clothes at the door and run to the shower before we even greet our family," said Ross. "We're adjusting to the new normal ... but of course we cannot expect that surge capacity to last forever."And both Ross and Sorensen point out it is not just front line health-care workers shouldering the burden, but additional staff like cleaning crews and maintenance workers who keep the whole health-care system operational."There are lots of unsung heroes in the system, not just in the emergency rooms where there are doctors and nurses taking care of our most acutely ill," Sorensen said. Sorensen says she worries the spike in cases could escalate to point where essential health-care workers are kept on the job even if they've been exposed."[I'm] very concerned [about that]. Nurses are dedicated and they do want to continue working, but if we get enough nurses exposed or sick, we won't have enough nurses to deliver healthcare," she said. Ross says this is a crucial moment."If everyone does their part, if we all step forward and follow the public health guidelines as they have been laid out, then we'll get there. But we have to do it all together."
A B.C. surgeon who called his preteen patient a "loose woman" during an appointment has been fined and reprimanded by his professional regulator.Dr. Bruce Taro Yoneda, an orthopedic surgeon based in Victoria, has admitted that he "engaged in unprofessional conduct by using sexualized language during a surgical consult," according to a public notice posted Friday by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.Yoneda also acknowledged telling the same young patient he would give her a "lube job," and admitted he did not give her a full explanation before he began questioning her about her menstrual cycle.The college's inquiry committee, which investigates complaints against doctors, "was critical of the registrant's admitted conduct and concluded that his use of inappropriate language displayed a lack of insight," the notice says.As part of a consent agreement with the college, Yoneda has been fined $7,500, received a formal reprimand and has had his registration as a doctor transferred to "conditional" status. He's also agreed to take courses in clinical communication and professionalism.
An opposition lawmaker called on Tuesday for Malaysia to outlaw online hate speech, accusing authorities of downplaying the gravity of an issue highlighted by a Reuters investigation into abuse on Facebook of Rohingya refugees and undocumented migrants. Citing the Reuters report on rising xenophobia online in Malaysia in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, lawmaker Chan Foong Hin asked the Communications and Multimedia Ministry last week to state its plans to combat such hate speech.
WASHINGTON — Janet Yellen is in line for another top economic policy job — just in time to confront yet another crisis.Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden's apparent choice for treasury secretary, served on the Federal Reserve's policymaking committee during the 2008-2009 financial crisis that nearly toppled the banking system.She became Fed chair in 2014 when the economy was still recovering from the devastating Great Recession. In the late 1990s, she was President Bill Clinton's top economic adviser during the Asian financial crisis.And now, according to a person familiar with Biden's transition plans, she has been chosen to lead Treasury with the economy in the grip of a surging viral epidemic. The spike in virus cases is intensifying pressure on companies and individuals, with fear growing that the economy could suffer a “double-dip” recession as states and cities reimpose restrictions on businesses.Yet many longtime observers of the U.S. economy see Yellen as ideally suited for the role.“She is extraordinarily talented,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at auditing firm Grant Thornton. “She is the right person at this challenging time. She has worked every crisis."If confirmed, Yellen would become the first woman to lead the Treasury Department in its nearly 232 years. She would inherit an economy with still-high unemployment, escalating threats to small businesses and signs that consumers are retrenching as the worsening pandemic restricts or discourages spending.Most economists say that the distribution of an effective vaccine will likely reinvigorate growth next year. Yet they warn that any sustained recovery will also hinge on whether Congress can agree soon on a sizable aid package to carry the economy through what Biden has said will be a “dark winter” with the pandemic still out of control.Negotiations on additional government spending, though, have been stuck in Congress for months.Yellen has favoured further stimulus, including more money for state and local governments, which she has said need “substantial support” to avoid further job cuts. Rescue aid for states has been a major sticking point in congressional negotiations.Nathan Sheets, chief economist at PGIM Fixed Income and a former senior Fed and Treasury official, said that Yellen could effectively use the “bully pulpit” during what are likely to be difficult negotiations with Senate Republicans."Yellen," Sheets said, “has a unique ability ... to communicate about economics and economic policies in terms that resonate with individuals.”She will also have the opportunity to work with Fed Chair Jerome Powell, with whom Yellen enjoys a close relationship after having worked together at the Fed, to restart several emergency lending programs. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week that the programs will expire, as scheduled, at the end of this year — a decision that critics warn will unnecessarily hamstring the Fed.Powell objected to the Treasury's move, though he agreed to return money that Congress had authorized to backstop the lending.The most likely credit programs to be renewed, economists say, would be one that supported states and cities and a second, the Main Street Lending program, that targeted small and mid-sized businesses.Neither program has made very many loans. But just the understanding that those backstops existed lent confidence to the financial markets. Economists say Yellen could allow Powell to offer more generous terms to increase the programs' use.The 74-year-old Yellen, long a path-breaking figure in the male-dominated economics field, was the first woman to serve as Fed chair, from 2014 to 2018.“She is an icon,” said Stephanie Aaronson, a vice-president at the Brookings Institution and a former top economist at the Fed. “Having a female chair meant a lot to a lot of people.”Yellen was known as a highly prepared, sometimes demanding but down-to-earth manager who was popular with the Fed's staff.“I have never met anyone who has worked for or with Janet who has an unkind word to say about her," said Claudia Sahm, a former Fed economist. "She is the kind of person who uplifts her staff.”Under Yellen's tenure, the central bank began a seminal shift of its policy focus away from fighting inflation, which has been quiescent for decades, to trying to maximize employment, the second of its two mandates. That process culminated this summer when Powell announced that the Fed planned to keep rates ultra-low for a time even after inflation has topped the central bank's 2% annual target level, rather than raising rates pre-emptively.As Fed chair, Yellen won praise for her attention to disadvantaged groups, including the long-term unemployed, at a time when financial inequalities were widening across the economy. She made numerous visits to employment training centres to spotlight the need for training programs to equip people for good jobs.During the 2008-2009 financial crisis, transcripts of the Fed's meetings show that Yellen was more prescient than most other Fed officials about the potential for a deep recession and weak recovery afterward.Yellen is well-known on Capitol Hill after years of testifying as Fed chair to Senate committees about the economy and interest rate policy. During those years, she frequently clashed with Republican lawmakers who accused her of keeping rates too low for too long after the 2008 financial crisis. Some of them charged that Yellen and her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, had elevated the risk of runaway inflation and asset bubbles that could destabilize financial markets.None of those fears came to pass. On the contrary, under Bernanke and Yellen — and later, under Powell — the Fed's more difficult challenge became raising inflation merely to the Fed's annual 2% target level. It has yet to do so consistently.Yellen, a Democrat, had served only one four-year term as Fed chair when President Donald Trump decided to replace her with Powell, a Republican, despite Yellen’s desire to serve another term. That move broke a four-decade tradition of presidents allowing Fed chairs to serve at least two terms even if they had first been nominated by a president of the opposing party.After leaving the Fed, Yellen became a distinguished fellow in residence at the liberal Brookings Institution in Washington, signalling her continuing interest in financial policymaking.When she stepped down from the Fed in early 2018, Shawn Sebastian, co-director of the Fed-Up coalition, a collection of progressive groups, called Yellen's departure “a loss for working people across the country." He hailed her efforts to take on “economic inequality, racial disparities in the economy, the role of women in the workplace and the need for more diversity at the Fed.”Yet some progressives have also criticized Yellen for the Fed's December 2015 decision to raise its benchmark rate from near zero, where it had been pegged since late 2008 in the midst of the financial crisis. That rate hike, which caused a sharp increase in the value of the dollar, contributed to a slowdown in U.S. economic growth in 2016 and is now seen by many economists as having been premature.Yellen is married to George Akerlof, a Nobel Prize-winning economist whom she met in a Fed cafeteria in 1977. They have one son, Robert, who is an economics professor.___AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.Christopher Rugaber And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Jasper freestyle skier Gage Leblanc is one of 10 athletes soon to hit television screens across North America. Leblanc is being featured in the second season of All-Round Champion, where 10 of the best athletes in the continent get together to compete in each other's respective sports. On the show, the young athletes from Canada and the U.S. take turns coaching each other in their respective sports including luge, figure skating, ice climbing, dog mushing, and ski jumping. The athlete who earns the most points is crowned All-Round Champion at the end of the series. Leblanc said he had a blast being part of the show. "The cool thing was I got to coach freestyle mogul skiing with an Olympic athlete," he said. Leblanc wasn't allowed to reveal that person's identity due to pre-airing confidentiality rules. It all started when Leblanc got a message on Instagram from show organizers in September of 2019, who sent him a link to apply to be in the series. After doing some research he felt comfortable with the company and sent in a video explaining why he should be on the show. He said, "I said I was a very competitive athlete, still am a competitive athlete and would love to have this experience of being on the show, meeting all the athletes and competing at that level against all the other athletes." Leblanc is 15 and has been skiing for 12 or 13 years of his life. He was on the alpine race team at the age of five and his focus and intensity have taken him far. Judges liked the first video Leblanc sent in, and asked for another with Leblanc describing what separated him from other athletes and where he was in his competition. The third step in his application was a 20-minute FaceTime interview with one of the cast workers - the same person who messaged him on Instagram. Then it was a waiting game. "I was pretty nervous, waiting to hear either way what was going on," Leblanc said. On Nov. 15, 2019, Leblanc had just finished a day at school when he got an answer. "I got an email confirming I was chosen to be on All-Round Champion," he said. Aside from a few close friends, Leblanc had to keep his exciting news to himself. Part of the preparation for the series was a biography about the teenager. A film crew came to Jasper for a day and Leblanc was filmed at Marmot Basin to give viewers more information about who he is, his sport and where he trains. Then Leblanc waited some more. About a month and a half later he got an email that filming started on Jan. 12 and preparations were made so he could keep up with schoolwork while he was away. He and his mom, Beth, flew to the filming location near Toronto, where he stayed for the next 10 weeks by himself. "It was pretty hard to be away from family and friends," he said. The All-Round Champion athletes stayed in a huge mansion with a fireplace, recliners and TVs. A typical day started anytime between 4:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., depending on what sport was being filmed. The den parents did their best to ensure the athletes got a minimum of eight hours of sleep, but, “It didn't happen all the time," Leblanc laughed. "We made our own breakfast, but our lunch and dinner were made for us," Leblanc said. "There were a lot of different things, a variety of food. "A pretty quick one was a peanut butter and banana sandwich, water and milk." After a day of filming the group returned to the house for supper. "It was pretty draining," Leblanc said. For reasons of confidentiality, he wasn't allowed to share more details. In February, Leblanc's mom, dad Chris and brother Cache flew out to join him for Family Day weekend. Filming of the 11 episodes was completed in March. Leblanc flew home on Mar. 13, narrowly missing the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. "We're so lucky he was able to have that experience," Beth said. The 11-episode season of All-Round Champion premieres in Canada on TVO on Jan. 6. Each show is 60 minutes long. The series was produced by Canadian entertainment production company, marblemedia. Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
The town council of Moosomin will have someone new sit in on their regular meetings. Victor Santos Junior who is a grade 11 student at McNaughton High School, will be representing the interests of the town’s youth at the regular town council meeting as Moosomins first youth councillor. “It is just a voice for the school. It is a voice for the students to make sure the students are heard right. If something is wrong or if there is something we feel needs to be done, then I can step up a be a voice for them. I think the school sometimes gets over looked, some things could be improved on and I feel the school could really benefit from this,” said Santos. On hearing that he had won the seat by acclamation, Santos was pleasantly surprised. “It was a big surprise to me. They called me down to the office one day and they said the first person they were thinking about is me,” said Santos. He hopes to use his new position to be a good representative of the town’s youth. “I see it not just as a leadership position, but also as a messenger. I will be representing the school most of all. They are the priority. The issues that they have. If students can come and talk to me and then I can step up and address these issues, that is how I see this position, a messenger,” said Santos. Santos is honest about the fact that municipal politics is not something that is discussed much amongst the teens at McNaughton School. “I think sometimes students don’t pay a lot of attention to local politics. Students are worried about passing classes and getting into good schools,” said Santos. This is, however, a good chance to teach the importance of local politics. “It definitely needs to be taught that is for sure. If you are part of this community then you have to get involved in this stuff and you should know what is going on. Students definitely need to be informed about what is going on,” said Santos. Santos feels that this is a good step towards getting students interested in how the municipality works. “I honestly think that seeing a face like me on council might get them more interested. I think then they might want to get a little more involved, and that is what I hope to do, get everybody else involved and do their part,” said Santos. Santos says he sees the position as an opportunity to learn a lot more about the community and is coming to it with an open mind and a desire to serve his community. “Honestly, I just see this as a chance to get involved and give back to the community. “If I can voice my opinion and help make this a better town, that is honestly the end goal here,” said Santos. Santos also makes it clear that he will not be speaking in meetings until he has listened to the demographic he will be representing. “First I will talk to the school. I can’t just voice my opinions I have to listen to school first. Seeing what their issues are, asking if they have any concerns at all,” said Santos. Originally from Honduras, Victor came to Moosomin with his family. After fleeing from violence in Honduras, the Santos family was on the verge of being deported from Canada a few years ago. The community of Moosomin rallied around them, and the federal government granted the family a visa extension after significant outcry from the community, and the family are now in Canada permanently. Principal voices his support Jeff St. Onge, McNaughton High School’s principal, was pleased to see Santos in the role. “What we initially wanted to do is have an election, but at the end of the day (due to COVID-19), it was just too difficult to pull off an election under the rules. So, we reached out to a number of students that we thought would be really good candidates, and Victor had the greatest enthusiasm and he let his name stand and that is how he was selected,” said St. Onge. “He carries himself so well. He looks you in the eye and he listens and he can carry a conversation. He will be a great representative of the youth in this town,” said St. Onge. St. Onge sees the role of representative as one of great importance. “I hope that we have a representative who is able to express the ideas of the students in our school and provide input into the direction the town takes,” said St. Onge. The idea was first introduced at the beginning of 2020. “I would say that it started in about February of this year. Councillor Murray Gray came and talked to Vice Principal Sherrie Meredith and myself. He was very interested in this and we really enjoyed the idea. Then the year just faded away and then it popped up again and thankfully it did. The initial idea happened seven months ago and then it got dusted off and resurrected,” said St. Onge. Although the first student representative got his seat through acclamation, the hope is that future candidates get sent to council after being elected. “Right now, Victor is in grade 11 and as soon as he graduates we are hoping to have an election. By then our kids will be far more familiar with what the position means and I would imagine we will have a lot more candidates,” said St. Onge. Some of the issues that affect students are as mundane as signage. “Surprisingly, some of the issues are as mundane as school signs. Kids are driving really fast past our schools and we have students come in and say ‘a car went ripping by really fast’, so that just comes down to local signage. There you have an example of a real world issue that happened last week and the week before,” said St. Onge. Recreation also seems like something that Santos can help speak to when it comes to the youth. “Our kids are involved in athletics within the community. Be it playing ball or curling or bowling and usually they are at the rink, so he will be able to be a liaison between the students and the town on those issues,” said St. Onge. “Our kids are shoppers they purchase things and though that is more chamber of commerce, but as soon as you start dealing with the town, you are dealing with the chamber of commerce as well. All of a sudden you are dealing with the really big picture and it is all coming together. That is the part that I am excited for,” said St. Onge. St. Onge does have some advice for the new youth councillor on the Moosomin town council. “Usually my advice to people who move into new positions like this is to move into it, sit, listen, watch. When you get your legs under you, then contribute,” said St. Onge. The principal also has some advice for the council itself: “Ask him and include him.” Idea was brainchild of Councillor Murray Gray The idea of bringing a youth representative on to town council was the brain child of councillor Murray Gray after he came back from a Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) convention held in February. “When I was at SUMA, we had a breakout session talking about inclusion and shoulder tapping and getting different points of view to your council and that really struck me as a good way to engage our youth and find out what they are thinking. After that I brought it up to council and everybody was in favour and we have been working on making it happen since about February of this year,” said Gray. The official motion for bringing on a youth representative was passed at the regular town council meeting held on Wednesday. “It was passed. He has been appointed as our junior councillor. He will be able to attend the first meeting in November,” said Gray. The idea is that a youth representative to council can help keep Moosomin looking forward. “Some of the decisions that we make effect people along way down in the future. The future of any community is their youth so it is nice to know that we are engaging them to see what they are thinking, especially when it could be something that will affect the community 20 or 30 years down the road,” said Gray. Gray feels this appointment could have been good on a few issues in the recent past. “There have been several things that we have talked about where I wish I could have asked the youth about over the last few years. When we talked about how full the school is or when we talk about our recreation facilities and what we need and just an opinion from the youth about what they think is important in this community to make them stay here after they are done school,” said Gray. From jobs to entertainment and recreation, Gray thinks a young perspective can be useful. Gray is sure that Santos will be a good fit. “I’ve met him a few times. He is very confident he is well spoken and it seems to me that he is a perfect fit,” said Gray. As a first term councillor, Gray has some advice for the new youth representative. “(He should) engage with the students he goes to school with just like I would engage with a tax payer. If he engages with his fellow students and gets the lay of the land about what they are thinking, then he will be able to represent them. I would recommend he get out there and talk to some of the students and get their opinion,” said Gray. Victor van der Merwe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
NEW YORK — Ghislaine Maxwell, the one-time girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein, is in quarantine at a New York City federal lockup after a staff member there tested positive for the coronavirus, prosecutors said Monday.In a letter to a judge, prosecutors said Maxwell, 58, was put in isolation last Wednesday as a precaution even though she tested negative. The staff member who tested positive works in the area of the Brooklyn jail where Maxwell is housed, prosecutors said.They said Maxwell is not exhibiting symptoms and will be tested again at the conclusion of the two-week quarantine.The government said she will not be able to meet with her lawyers during quarantine as she prepares for a July trial on charges alleging she recruited three teenage girls for Epstein to abuse in the 1990s. But she will be able to continue to review trial materials 13 hours a day, more than any other inmate, prosecutors wrote.Maxwell has been held without bail since her July arrest. Epstein died by suicide in a Manhattan federal lockup in August 2019 as he awaited a sex trafficking trial.An email message seeking comment was sent to Maxwell's lawyers.The Associated Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):6:15 p.m.There have been 17 deaths in British Columbia over three days due to COVID-19 and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says most of the victims were seniors in long-term or assisted care.There have been 1,933 new cases since Friday, with 1,304 of them diagnosed in the Fraser Health region.There are 60 active outbreaks in health-care facilities, including 54 long-term care or assisted-living sites and six hospitals or acute-care facilities.Henry says it's now the most challenging time of COVID-19 and everyone is feeling the strain.\---4:10 p.m.Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is self-isolating due to a possible exposure to COVID-19.A spokesman for Moe's office says the potential exposure happened on Nov. 15 in the Prince Albert area.Jim Billington says the premier is not experiencing symptoms but was tested today out of an abundance of caution.He says Moe is to work remotely from his home in Shellbrook until Sunday.The province announced 235 new cases today and four new deaths.\---2:55 p.m.Nova Scotia is reporting 11 new cases of COVID-19 today.The province says the new cases were identified on Sunday in the Central Zone, bringing its total active case count up to 51.Eight of the infections are connected to previously reported cases, while three are still under investigation.Officials say the recent rise in cases has led to stricter rules for metro Halifax Regional Municipality and parts of Hants County which go into effect today.\---2:10 p.m.New Brunswick is reporting one new death and 15 new cases of COVID-19.The new death brings the provincial fatality total to seven.The province currently has 89 active cases of novel coronavirus and has registered 445 total cases and 349 recoveries.Premier Blaine Higgs says there are no changes planned at this point around the Atlantic bubble despite the temporary withdrawal of Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island.\---1:40 p.m.COVID-19 cases in Yukon have jumped to 38, 14 more infections than just a week ago.Territorial health officer Dr. Brendan Hanley says two of the new cases involve children under nine years old and at least one of those infected is over 60.Yukon increased restrictions last week as infection rates jumped in jurisdictions around it, requiring all but critical services workers to self-isolate for two weeks when they enter the territory.Hanley says community transmission has not yet been ruled out in some of the latest cases.\---1:40 p.m.Manitoba health officials are reporting a record-high 543 new COVID-19 cases. Chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin says there are some positive signs, however. He says the average number of contacts per case is dropping, which could slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Manitoba brought in strict measures last week that limit store openings and public gatherings.\---11:40 a.m.Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 and its first case confirmed in a school.In a press conference today, officials announced one of the new cases is a student at the elementary school in Deer Lake, in western Newfoundland.The student’s infection is connected to a cluster of cases in the area.Officials say the other case is also in western Newfoundland, but is related to travel and is not connected to the ongoing cluster.\---11:20 a.m.Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King has announced his province will be temporarily withdrawing from the Atlantic bubble for a two-week period starting tomorrow.He says it's a necessary step because of a spike in COVID-19 cases in the other three Atlantic provinces.King says all non-essential travel to and from the Island will be suspended until December 7th, at which time the situation will be re-evaluated.The Island reported one new case of COVID 19 today.\---11:10 a.m.Quebec is reporting 1,164 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including three that occurred in the past 24 hours.Health officials say today that hospitalizations decreased by eight, to 634, and 98 patients were in intensive care, a drop of five.The province says 1,282 more people recovered from COVID-19, for a total of 115,367 recoveries.Quebec has reported 133,206 COVID-19 infections and 6,842 deaths linked to the virus since the start of the pandemic.\---10:45 a.m.Ontario is reporting 1,589 new cases of COVID-19 today, and 19 new deaths due to the virus.Health Minister Christine Elliott says 535 in Peel Region, 336 cases are in Toronto, and 205 cases in York Region.The province says it has conducted 37,471 tests since the last daily report.In total, 507 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 156 in intensive care.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden’s pick to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a low-key, veteran foreign service officer, reflects the president-elect's intent to return to a more traditional role at the world body as well as offer an olive branch to a beleaguered diplomatic corps.If confirmed by the Senate, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, would be neither the first African American nor the first woman, nor even the first African American woman, to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. But she’s a groundbreaking diplomat nonetheless. Thomas-Greenfield joined the State Department more than three decades ago, when Black women were even more of a rarity in the U.S. diplomatic corps than they are today.That makes her the most experienced diplomat of the six people named by Biden for top national security positions on Monday. Her tenure at the State Department rivals that of previous U.N. ambassadors like Richard Holbrooke, John Negroponte and Thomas Pickering, all of them white men.Thomas-Greenfield's background positions her well to carry out Biden’s goal of returning the United States to a role as a leading force at the world body, after four years of an administration that has had little use for multilateralism or international organizations.“My mother taught me to lead with the power of kindness and compassion to make the world a better place,” she said in a tweet Monday. “I’ve carried that lesson with me throughout my career in Foreign Service – and, if confirmed, will do the same as Ambassador to the United Nations.”Biden's office announced on Monday his intent to Thomas-Greenfield, who currently heads his transition team for the State Department, and for the job to retain its Cabinet-level rank.She is a 35-year veteran of the State Department who served as ambassador to Liberia, director general of the foreign service and top diplomat for Africa before being forced out during the early months of the Trump administration.While she won’t be the first African American to serve as America’s U.N. envoy — Andrew Young, who held the job during President Jimmy Carter’s administration, holds that distinction — Thomas-Greenfield’s selection is a signal to Biden supporters that his diversity message and plan to elevate career diplomats is not just lip service.Biden also named two white men, Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, to top positions in his administration — respectively, secretary of state and national security adviser, and so Thomas-Greenfield's appointment will offer a balance. Susan Rice, who was also under consideration to be secretary of state, was the first African American woman to hold the U.N. post, but she was not a career foreign service officer, though she held a senior State Department position in President Bill Clinton’s administration.Other than secretary of state, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is often the most high-profile foreign policy portfolio in a presidential administration. The influence of these ambassadors has waxed and waned depending on the nature of the president and secretary of state, but Democratic administrations have traditionally leaned more heavily on them than Republicans have.Thomas-Greenfield's immediate predecessors — all women — highlight that dichotomy: Rice, Samantha Power, Nikki Haley and Kelly Craft.When then-President-elect Barack Obama named Rice to the job after being elected in 2008 and announced that the position would return to the Cabinet after eight years during George W. Bush's administration, he did so at the same time as announcing that his Democratic primary rival, Hillary Clinton, would be his secretary of state.At the U.N., Rice was clearly influential in the Obama administration, and Power followed suit after she replaced Rice when Rice was named national security adviser, retaining Cabinet rank. Haley, the former South Carolina governor, won some plaudits during Trump's early years in office but was dogged by persistent reports of clashes with the president's first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. Craft, by contrast, has played a far less-high profile role since taking over the U.N. job.Even before the transition made it public, Thomas-Greenfield’s expected nomination, along with that of Blinken's, was hailed by a number of former Democratic foreign policy appointees.Thomas-Greenfield “is a valued colleague and veteran diplomat who will restore US leadership and co-operation at the UN,” said former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, for whose consulting company, Albright Stonebridge, the nominee now works.“This will be a phenomenal team,” said Power. “(They) bring decency, professionalism, judgment, and decades of foreign policy experience to these essential jobs. And America will be SO well served."Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
EDMONTON — The winning ticket for a record-breaking 50/50 raffle held by the CFL's EE Football Team has been claimed.The team said in a release Monday that John Groff of Edmonton is taking home the winner's prize of $495,900 for the draw, which was held in honour of former EE Football Team and Edmonton Oilers locker-room attendant Joey Moss. The draw, which closed at $991,800 on Sunday, broke a record set by the team during a July 2017 game against the Ottawa Redblacks where $871,839 was raised.The remainder of the pot, minus administration fees, will go toward the Joey Moss Memorial Fund created by the Winnifred Stewart Association, a group that empowers people with disabilities. Moss, who was born with Down syndrome, passed away at the age of 57 this past October. No cause of death was given. He first became an attendant with the Oilers in 1984 before joining the Edmonton Football Team two years later, holding both positions for over 30 years. Moss was a favourite in Edmonton among fans and players. He was later given a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for his contributions and achievements in 2012 and was later inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — An Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the BC Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. Maxwell Johnson's complaint says both he and his 12-year-old granddaughter were detained last December by Vancouver police officers when they tried to open an account at the Bank of Montreal using their Indigenous status cards. His complaint alleges that the bank called 911 over an identification issue because they are Indigenous, while it accuses the police of racial profiling that led to their detention and the use of handcuffs. Johnson released details of the human rights complaint in a news release issued on the website of the Heiltsuk First Nation. He and his granddaughter are members of the First Nation in Bella Bella. He said in an interview on Monday that the incident has led to a resurgence in his panic and anxiety attacks. "It's affected me quite a bit," Johnson said. "When this happened to us, my anxiety just went through the roof. I started counselling again. It's affected my motivation, my thought process, quite a bit of stuff." Johnson is seeking compensation and wants a public apology from the Vancouver Police Board, the police department and the bank. Const. Tania Visintin of the Vancouver Police Department said in a statement that the circumstances are regrettable and that the actions of the responding officers are being investigated by the Office of Police Complaints Commissioner. The department is also reviewing its policy for future situations with a report to be submitted to the police board, she said. The Bank of Montreal said in a statement that it "deeply regrets the situation that took place in Vancouver in December 2019 involving Mr. Johnson and his granddaughter." The bank apologized again and said it was "humbled and honoured" to be invited by the Heiltsuk Nation to participate in a healing ceremony for the Johnson family in Bella Bella. Since then, it has established an Indigenous advisory council and conducted cultural training for bank staff. "We continue to seek ways to ensure we are doing better for our Indigenous customers," the statement says. Johnson questioned the actions of police, particularly why officers placed him and his granddaughter in handcuffs if they were only being detained. "It was so hard when we were detained. We had to prove who we were and where we came from," he said. "It gets so tiring trying to prove who you are as a First Nations person." Marilyn Slett, the chief councillor of the Heiltsuk First Nation, said her community wants to see changes in the way the Bank of Montreal and the Vancouver Police Department handle Indigenous issues. "We're a long ways away from reconciliation when these types of things happen to our people when they're trying to open up a bank account," she said in an interview. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020. Nick Wells, The Canadian Press
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro was forced to defend an absent Premier Jason Kenney in the legislature Monday for his silence about the surge in COVID-19 cases. Kenney was forced into quarantine two weeks ago after he was exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19. The premier has been silent since his last public appearance via teleconference on Nov. 12. A spokesperson said his isolation period ended Monday. In the past 10 days, Alberta's case numbers have set new records. On Nov. 12, there were 860 new and 8,305 active cases. Alberta Health reported 1,549 new and 13,166 active cases on Monday. Rachel Notley, leader of Alberta's Official Opposition NDP, asked in Monday's question period about Kenney's absence, noting 73 Albertans have died due to COVID-19 over the last 10 days. "That's 73 families who have suffered unimaginable loss, yet the premier is not to be heard, not even to share his condolences," Notley said. "In the meantime, our cases have exploded, our health system is on the brink, and our economy is in jeopardy. Why haven't we heard from him?" Notley said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, has been left to report case numbers on her own. The NDP said Kenney made time for an online appearance via Zoom on Saturday with the Canada India Foundation. In response, Shandro said the NDP was being ridiculous. "This is, again, how the NDP continue to politicize the pandemic response, continue to politicize COVID," he said. "They know that the premier is in self-isolation, and they know that after he's done isolation, of course, he's going to be able to return to being able to participate in the press conferences that are held with Dr. Deena Hinshaw." The priorities implementation committee of cabinet met on Monday. Hinshaw said at a news conference beforehand that she would attend the meeting and make recommendations about possible next steps. The government last announced restrictions on Nov. 12, which critics said didn't go far enough. Restaurants and bars had to start closing at 11 p.m. and group fitness classes and team sports were suspended for at least two weeks.