WASHINGTON — The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection. At least five supporters facing federal charges have suggested they were taking orders from the then-president when they marched on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 to challenge the certification of Joe Biden's election win. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. It's the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office. “I feel like I was basically following my president. I was following what we were called to do. He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there," Jenna Ryan, a Texas real estate agent who posted a photo on Twitter of herself flashing a peace sign next to a broken Capitol window, told a Dallas-Fort Worth TV station. Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man photographed on the dais in the Senate who was shirtless and wore face paint and a furry hat with horns, has similarly pointed a finger at Trump. Chansley called the FBI the day after the insurrection and told agents he travelled “at the request of the president that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021,” authorities wrote in court papers. Chanley’s lawyer unsuccessfully lobbied for a pardon for his client before Trump's term ended, saying Chansley “felt like he was answering the call of our president.” Authorities say that while up on the dais in the Senate chamber, Chansley wrote a threatening note to then-Vice-President Mike Pence that said: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” Trump is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office. The charge this time is “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” His impeachment lawyer, Butch Bowers, did not respond to call for comment. Opening arguments in the trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the storming of the Capitol say a full reckoning is necessary before the country — and the Congress — can move on. For weeks, Trump rallied his supporters against the election outcome and urged them to come to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to rage against Biden's win. Trump spoke to the crowd near the White House shortly before they marched along Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill. “We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,” Trump said. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.” Later he said: “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He told supporters to walk to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically” make your voices heard. Trump has taken no responsibility for his part in fomenting the violence, saying days after the attack: “People thought that what I said was totally appropriate.” Unlike a criminal trial, where there are strict rules about what is and isn’t evidence, the Senate can consider anything it wishes. And if they can show that Trump’s words made a real impact, all the better, and scholars expect it in the trial. "Bringing in those people's statements is part of proving that it would be at a minimum reasonable for a rational person to expect that if you said and did the things that Trump said and did, then they would be understood in precisely the way these people understood them," said Frank Bowman, a constitutional law expert and law professor at University of Missouri. A retired firefighter from Pennsylvania told a friend that that he travelled to Washington with a group of people and the group listened to Trump's speech and then “followed the President’s instructions” and went to the Capitol, an agent wrote in court papers. That man, Robert Sanford, is accused of throwing a fire extinguisher that hit three Capitol Police officers. Another man, Robert Bauer of Kentucky, told FBI agents that “he marched to the U.S. Capitol because President Trump said to do so,” authorities wrote. His cousin, Edward Hemenway, from Virginia, told the FBI that he and Bauer headed toward the Capitol after Trump said “something about taking Pennsylvania Avenue." More than 130 people as of Friday were facing federal charges; prosecutors have promised that more cases — and more serious charges — are coming. Most of those arrested so far are accused of crimes like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct, but prosecutors this week filed conspiracy charges against three self-described members of a paramilitary group who authorities say plotted the attack. A special group of prosecutors is examining whether to bring sedition charges, which carry up to 20 years in prison, against any of the rioters. Two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict. And while many Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky— have condemned Trump's words, it remains unclear how many would vote to convict him. “While the statements of those people kind of bolsters the House manager's case, I think that President Trump has benefited from a Republican Party that has not been willing to look at evidence,” said Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law who testified before the House Judiciary Committee during Trump's first impeachment hearings in 2019. “They stood by him for the entire first impeachment proceeding, thinking that the phone call with the president of the Ukraine was perfect and I’m sure they will think that was a perfect speech too. There is nothing yet to suggest that they would think otherwise," Gerhardt said. ____ Richer reported from Boston. Alanna Durkin Richer And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — It's taken only days for Democrats gauging how far President Joe Biden's bold immigration proposal can go in Congress to acknowledge that if anything emerges, it will likely be significantly more modest. As they brace to tackle a politically flammable issue that's resisted major congressional action since the 1980s, Democrats are using words like “aspirational” to describe Biden's plan and “herculean” to express the effort they'll need to prevail. A cautious note came from the White House on Friday when press secretary Jen Psaki said the new administration views Biden's plan as a “first step” it hopes will be “the basis" of discussions in Congress. Democrats' measured tones underscore the fragile road they face on a paramount issue for their minority voters, progressives and activists. Immigration proponents advocating an all-out fight say Democrats' new hold on the White House and Congress provides a major edge, but they concede they may have to accept less than total victory. Paving a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally, the centerpiece of Biden's plan, is “the stake at the summit of the mountain,” Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigration group America’s Voice, said in an interview. He said proponents may have to accept “stepping stones" along the way. The citizenship process in Biden's plan would take as little as three years for some people, eight years for others. It would make it easier for certain workers to stay in the U.S. temporarily or permanently, provide development aid to Central American nations in hopes of reducing immigration and move toward bolstering border screening technology. No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin of Illinois said in an interview this week that the likeliest package to emerge would start with creating a path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers. They are over 1 million immigrants who’ve lived in the U.S. most of their lives after being brought here illegally as children. Over 600,000 of them have temporary permission to live in the U.S. under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Former President Barack Obama created that program administratively, and Durbin and others want to protect it by enacting it into law. Durbin, who called Biden's plan “aspirational,” said he'll push for as many other elements as possible, including more visas for agricultural workers and others. “We understand the political reality of a 50-50 Senate, that any changes in immigration will require co-operation between the parties,” said Durbin, who is on track to become Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. He said Senate legislation likely “will not reach the same levels” as Biden’s proposal. The Senate is split evenly between the two parties, with Vice-President Kamala Harris tipping the chamber to Democrats with her tie-breaking vote. Even so, passing major legislation requires 60 votes to overcome filibusters, or endless procedural delays. That means 10 Republicans must join all 50 Democrats to enact an immigration measure, a tall order. “Passing immigration reform through the Senate, particularly, is a herculean task,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who will also play a lead role in the battle. He said Democrats “will get it done” but the effort will require negotiation. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who's worked with Democrats on past immigration efforts, said “comprehensive immigration is going to be a tough sale” this year. “I think the space in a 50-50 Senate will be some kind of DACA deal,” he said. Illustrating the bargaining ahead, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate who’s sought earlier immigration compromises, praised parts of Biden's plan but said she wants changes including more visas for the foreign workers her state's tourism industry uses heavily. Democrats' hurdles are formidable. They have razor-thin majorities in a House and Senate where Republican support for easing immigration restrictions is usually scant. Acrid partisan relationships were intensified by former President Donald Trump's clamourous tenure. Biden will have to spend plenty of political capital and time on earlier, higher priority bills battling the pandemic and bolstering the economy, leaving his future clout uncertain. Democrats also must resolve tactical differences. Sharry said immigration groups prefer Democrats push for the strongest possible bill without concessions to Republicans' demands like boosting border security spending. He said hopes for a bipartisan breakthrough are “a fool’s errand” because the GOP has largely opposed immigration overhauls for so long. But prevailing without GOP votes would mean virtual unanimity among congressional Democrats, a huge challenge. It would also mean Democrats would have to eliminate the Senate filibuster, which they may not have the votes to do, or concoct other procedural routes around the 60-vote hurdle. “I'm going to start negotiating" with Republicans, said Durbin. He said a bipartisan bill would be better “if we can do it" because it would improve chances for passage. Democrats already face attacks from Republicans, eyeing next year's elections, on an issue that helped power Trump's 2016 victory by fortifying his support from many white voters. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Biden’s proposal would “prioritize help for illegal immigrants and not our fellow citizens.” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who heads the Senate Republican campaign committee, said the measure would hurt “hard-working Americans and the millions of immigrants working their way through the legal immigration process." Democrats say such allegations are false but say it's difficult to compose crisp, sound-bite responses on the complex issue. It requires having “an adult conversation” with voters, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said in an interview. “Yeah, this is about people, but it's about the economy" too, said Spanberger, a moderate from a district where farms and technology firms hire many immigrants. “In central Virginia, we rely on immigration. And you may not like that, but we do." Alan Fram, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Quebec is reporting 1,685 new COVID-19 cases Saturday as daily counts continue to decline. The province is also reporting 76 new deaths attributed to COVID-19, for a total of 9,437. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped by 43 to 1,383. The drop in case numbers comes after the Quebec government implemented an 8 p.m. curfew province-wide on Jan. 9. Premier Francois Legault attributed the decline to the curfew, but has said hospitals are too full to lift the new restrictions as scheduled on Feb. 8. As of Saturday, at least 225,245 people in Quebec have recovered from COVID-19. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
LONDON — A major British doctors' group says the U.K. government should “urgently review” its decision to give people a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine up to 12 weeks after the first, rather than the shorter gap recommended by the manufacturer and the World Health Organization. The U.K., which has Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak, adopted the policy in order to give as many people as possible a first dose of vaccine quickly. So far almost 5.5 million people have received a shot of either a vaccine made by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech or one developed by U.K.-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University. AstraZeneca has said it believes a first dose of its vaccine offers protection after 12 weeks, but Pfizer says it has not tested the efficacy of its jab after such a long gap. The British Medical Association on Saturday urged England’s chief medical officer to “urgently review the U.K.’s current position of second doses after 12 weeks.” In a statement, the association said there was “growing concern from the medical profession regarding the delay of the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as Britain's strategy has become increasingly isolated from many other countries.” “No other nation has adopted the U.K.‘s approach,” Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the BMA council, told the BBC. He said the WHO had recommended that the second Pfizer vaccine shot could be given up to six weeks after the first but only “in exceptional circumstances.” “I do understand the trade-off and the rationale, but if that was the right thing to do then we would see other nations following suit,” Nagpaul said. Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, defended the decision as “a reasonable scientific balance on the basis of both supply and also protecting the most people.” Researchers in Britain have begun collecting blood samples from newly vaccinated people in order to study how many antibodies they are producing at different intervals, from 3 weeks to 24 months, to get an answer to the question of what timing is best for the shots. The doctors’ concerns came a day after government medical advisers said there was evidence that a new variant of the virus first identified in southeast England carries a greater risk of death than the original strain. Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said Friday “that there is evidence that there is an increased risk for those who have the new variant,” which is also more transmissible than the original virus. He said the new strain might be about 30% more deadly, but stressed that “the evidence is not yet strong” and more research is needed. Research by British scientists advising the government said although initial analyses suggested that the strain did not cause more severe disease, several more recent ones suggest it might. However, the number of deaths is relatively small, and fatality rates are affected by many things, including the care that patients get and their age and health, beyond having COVID-19. Britain has recorded 95,981 deaths among people who tested positive, the highest confirmed virus toll in Europe. The U.K. is in a lockdown to try to slow the latest surge of the virus, and the government says an end to the restrictions will not come soon. Pubs, restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues and many shops are closed, and people are required to stay largely at home. The British government is considering tightening quarantine requirements for people arriving from abroad. Already travellers must self-isolate for 10 days, but enforcement is patchy. Authorities are considering requiring arrivals to stay in quarantine hotels, a practice adopted in other countries, including Australia. “We may need to go further to protect our borders,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
Two airlines serving Saskatchewan's north have announced they're consolidating their operations under a new name. West Wind Aviation and Transwest Air will consolidate under one air operating certificate, and will rebrand as Rise Air. The consolidation is "going to allow us to survive," Stephen Smith, president and CEO of the West Wind Group of Companies, said in an interview with CBC. "There is no question that COVID-19 put a lot of strain [on us] because a lot of people canceled meetings, which we would provide flights for. The people stop traveling out of northern communities." The slowdown of the uranium market and mines shutting down also had an effect, he said, with operations down by about 50 per cent. Transwest Air was already a wholly owned subsidiary of West Wind Aviation, after being purchased by the company in 2016, according to the Transwest website. Until now, however, West Wind Aviation and Transwest Air each had their own operating certificates, said Smith. "There's a duplication of people in one company to have two operating certificates," he said. "The new cost structure will allow us to not only survive but hopefully look to potentially grow in the future." According to Smith, the business is now right-sized for the marketplace. "The employees that we have now are fine, in terms of we don't have to consider reducing anymore." Ticket prices won't be affected: CEO The rebranding process will start within the next few weeks, once the regulatory requirements have been completed, the carriers said in a media release. Ticket prices won't be affected by the consolidation, Smith said, and the number of aircraft will remain the same. The company picked Rise Air as its new name after receiving 140 different recommendations from employees, said Smith. Another staff member submitted a sketch for the new logo. "Because we're bringing together two different companies that both have their own cultures and histories, we wanted something new and fresh but also wanted to preserve the legacy of both organizations," he said in a media release. Until the rebranding process is completed, people will see three different logos, he said. "We are OK with being patient during this process." West Wind Aviation, which is First Nations and employee-owned, operates from bases in Saskatoon and La Ronge, and has satellite locations in northern Saskatchewan, according to the company's website. The West Wind Group of Companies owns Snowbird Aviation Services, Northern Shield Helicopters, and Transwest Air, soon doing business as Rise Air, said Smith.
On January 13, 2021, the Town of Esterhazy began its regularly scheduled council meeting with a pre-meeting with Mosaic before mayor Forster called the meeting to order with a quorum present. Next, the council reviewed the agenda before Councillor Rowland making a motion to approve the agenda with the additions of landfill – clean farms, regional park – appointment; motion carried. After reviewing the minutes of December 16, 2020, council meeting councillor Petracek made the motion that the minutes of the December 16, 2020, regular council meeting be adopted as presented; motion carried. With no delegations, the council moved on to review the town’s financials Trial balance – December 31, 2020, list of accounts - #29037 - #29049, $294,580.27, list of accounts - #29051 - #29111, $ 98,651.32, source deductions - #919 - #921, $34,755.11. Councillor Nickell made the motion to accept the town's financials; motion carried. Moving on the council reviewed the following administrative reports: public works report, planning/development report, community development/recreation report, fire report, water report, acting administrator report and mayor/council reports, Cathay Wagantall -MP. OLD BUSINESS The council reviewed the amendment of By-Law 796-20 - the zoning by-law before councillor Rowland made the motion to have the 2nd reading of the by-law, carried. Councillor Flick made the motion to have the 3rd and final reading of the zoning by-law - by-law 796-20; motion carried. Carrying on the council discussed the landfill – Cleanfarms before councillor bot making a motion that council approves administration to apply for the grain bag collection recycling program under clean farms Saskatchewan. Furthermore, to investigate the cost of the necessary equipment to operate; carried. NEW BUSINESS Planning & Economic Development Director MacDonald left Chambers declaring a conflict of interest in the next agenda item. Next, the council discussed the tender for Esterhazy Flour Mill renovations Councillor Rowland made the motion that the council approve and award the tender for the renovations to the Esterhazy Flour Mill from commercial sandblasting & painting in the amount of $187,000.00 plus applicable taxes; motion carried. Planning & Economic Development Director MacDonald returned to chambers. Carrying on the council discussed the Saskatchewan Lotteries grant before Councillor Bot made the motion that council approve the request from the Esterhazy cross country ski club for Saskatchewan lotteries grant funding of $1,400 to be used for equipment; motion carried. Next, the council discussed staff training before Councillor Flick made a motion that the council approval to reimburse planning & economic development director Tammy MacDonald of the LGA 206 course for the total cost of $890.10; motion carried. Moving on the council discussed the Esterhazy curling club letter, Councillor Pfeifer made the motion that the council approves the request from the Esterhazy curling club to forgive payment of rent for months of non-usage months as part of the agreement; motion carried. Councillor Rowland abstained. The Regional park appointment was next to be discussed before Councillor Nickell making the motion that the council approves the request to have Tenille Flick be appointed to the Esterhazy regional park board as a member at large; motion carried. The council reviewed the following correspondence received by the town over the last 2 weeks: Government Of Saskatchewan – Ministry Of Justice, Agricultural Producers Association Of Saskatchewan, Esterhazy Regional Park – Minutes, Maltese Fire Inspections Ltd., Saskatchewan Construction Association, Sayweather – Airport Safety Equipment, Tourism Saskatchewan – Tourism Update, Royal Canadian Legion – Military Service Recognition Book, Rcmp – Quarterly Update, Municipalities Of Saskatchewan – Annual General Meeting. Councillor Petracek made the motion that the council approves an advertisement in the Royal Canadian Legion Saskatchewan command military service recognition book of a ¼ page colour ad for the cost of $415.00; motion carried. Councillor Bot made the motion that under the local authority freedom of information and protection of privacy act, the council will be discussing legal issues and moving in-camera as committee of the whole; motion carried. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
Yulia Navalnaya was taking part in a protest to demand the release of her husband when she was taken into a police vehicle.
Democrats plan to move quickly on one of the first bills of the new Congress, citing the need for federal election standards and other reforms to shore up the foundations of American democracy after a tumultuous post-election period and deadly riot at the Capitol. States have long had disparate and contradictory rules for running elections. But the 2020 election, which featured pandemic-related changes to ease voting and then a flood of lawsuits by former President Donald Trump and his allies, underscored the differences from state to state: Mail-in ballots due on Election Day or just postmarked by then? Absentee voting allowed for all or just voters with an excuse? Same-day or advance-only registration? Democrats, asserting constitutional authority to set the time, place and manner of federal elections, want national rules they say would make voting more uniform, accessible and fair across the nation. The bill would mandate early voting, same-day registration and other long-sought reforms that Republicans reject as federal overreach. “We have just literally seen an attack on our own democracy,” said U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, referring to the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol. “I cannot think of a more timely moment to start moving on democracy reform.” The legislation first introduced two years ago, known as the For the People Act, also would give independent commissions the job of drawing congressional districts, require political groups to disclose high-dollar donors, create reporting requirements for online political ads and, in a rearview nod at Trump, obligate presidents to disclose their tax returns. Republican opposition was fierce during the last session. At the time, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., labeled it the “Democrat Politician Protection Act” and said in an op-ed that Democrats were seeking to “change the rules of American politics to benefit one party.” While Democrats control Congress for the first time in a decade, the measure's fate depends on whether enough Republicans can be persuaded to reconsider a bill they have repeatedly rejected. If not, Democrats could decide it's time to take the extraordinary and difficult step of eliminating the Senate filibuster, a procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. Advocates say the bill is the most consequential piece of voting legislation since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. House Democrats vowed two years ago to make the bill a priority, and they reintroduced it this month as H.R. 1, underscoring its importance to the party. “People just want to be able to cast their vote without it being an ordeal,” said Rep. John Sarbanes, a Democrat from Maryland who is the lead sponsor of the House bill. “It’s crazy in America that you still have to navigate an obstacle course to get to the ballot box.” Current plans would have the full House take up the bill as soon as the first week of February. The Senate Rules Committee would then consider a companion bill introduced in the Senate, and a tie vote there could allow it to move out of committee and to the floor as early as next month, said Klobuchar, who is expected to become the committee’s next chair. A quick vote would be remarkable considering the Senate also is likely to be juggling Trump’s impeachment trial, confirmation of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet choices and another round of coronavirus relief. While states have long had different voting procedures, the November 2020 election highlighted how the variability could be used to sow doubt about the outcome. The bill’s supporters, which include national voting and civil rights organizations, cited dozens of pre-election lawsuits that challenged procedural rules, such as whether ballots postmarked on Election Day should count. They also pointed to the post-election litigation Trump and his allies filed to try to get millions of legitimately cast ballots tossed out. Many of those lawsuits targeted election changes intended to make voting easier. That included a Pennsylvania law the state’s Republican-led legislature passed before the pandemic to make absentee ballots available to all registered voters upon request. Government and election officials repeatedly have described the election as the most secure in U.S. history. Even former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, a Trump ally, said before leaving his post that there was no evidence of widespread fraud that would overturn the result. “The strategy of lying about voter fraud, delegitimizing the election outcome and trying to suppress votes has been unmasked for the illegitimate attack on our democracy that it is, and I think that it opens a lot more doors to real conversations about how to fix our voting system and root out this cancer,” said Wendy Weiser, head of the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy institute. Along with the election reform bill, the House two years ago introduced a related bill, now known as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in honour of the late civil rights activist and congressman. House Democrats are expected to reintroduce it soon after it had similarly stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate. That bill would restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that had triggered federal scrutiny of election changes in certain states and counties. A 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling set aside the method used to identify jurisdictions subject to the provision, known as preclearance, which was used to protect voting rights in places with a history of discrimination. In general, state election officials have been wary of federal voting requirements. But those serving in states led by Democrats have been more open and want to ensure Congress provides money to help them make system upgrades, which the bill does. “If you still believe in what we all learned in high school government class, that democracy works best when as many eligible people participate, these are commonsense reforms,” said Sen. Alex Padilla, a Democrat who oversaw California’s elections before being appointed to the seat formerly held by Vice-President Kamala Harris. But Republican officials like Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill remain opposed. Merrill said the federal government’s role is limited and that states must be allowed to innovate and implement their own voting rules. “Those decisions are best left up to the states, and I think the states are the ones that should determine what course of action they should take,” Merrill said, noting that Alabama has increased voter registration and participation without implementing early voting. “To just say that everything needs to be uniform, that’s not the United States of America,” Merrill said. In the Senate, a key question will be whether there is enough Republican support for elements of the voting reform bill to persuade Democrats to break off certain parts of it into smaller legislation. For now, Democrats say they want a floor vote on the full package. Edward B. Foley, an election law expert at Ohio State University, said Democrats should consider narrow reforms that could gain bipartisan support, cautioning that moving too quickly on a broad bill runs the risk of putting off Republicans. “It would seem to me at this moment in American history, a precarious moment, the right instinct should be a kind of bipartisanship to rebuild common ground as opposed to ‘Our side won, your side lost and we are off to the races,’” Foley said. ___ Cassidy reported from Atlanta. Christina A. Cassidy, The Associated Press
It's not uncommon for members of Yukon's Filipino community to work two or three jobs, in order to save enough money for an annual visit to family in the Philippines. Travelling from Whitehorse to the Philippines takes 16 hours and can cost upwards of $2,500. But for many, it's not happening this year because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. "We just kind of hold our plans. We're just waiting until they open and off we go. But it's not just us — it's everybody," said Yvonne Clarke, former president of the Canadian Filipino Association of Yukon. Clarke has lived in Whitehorse since 1995. She says that like herself, many Filipinos who have come to Yukon are working in health care, and continue to during the pandemic. "A lot of us are front-liners," Clarke said. "We kind of know that we have to hunker down and not go anywhere." Social media has been the primary way Clarke has remained connected with family and friends in the Philippines. As for keeping the Filipino community connection strong here in Whitehorse, Clarke says they do what they can. "We can't go and have parties, or sing karaoke together in a house, but we always find a way to gather safely." The pandemic has created challenges, but Clarke has tried to stay positive. "I have a job. I can eat. I can afford to buy food as long as I'm working. What is there to complain?" Clarke says many Filipinos in Yukon are also supporting families back home in the Philippines. Rather than see it as an extra burden, Clarke says it's just the Filipino culture. "When you're in the Philippines, and you're one of the lucky ones to get out of the country, then you have the duty to help others who are back there," she said. 'It's like elbow-to-elbow' Clarke says she has a hard time picturing physical distancing in the Philippines. "The last time I was there, you go to a grocery store, it's like elbow-to-elbow. There's just so many people," she said. Clarke says the Philippines has been in lock down and residents can only shop at assigned times. "Every family takes turns. It's more stricter there, than here. It's understandable because there's just so many people [in the Philippines]." Clarke says there is nothing similar to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) in the Philippines. Residents there are given some basic supplies — rice, sardines, bread. "That's the subsidy that they got. It's like, wow. It's the Philippines." Clarke said. "It's a poor country. That's why we send money". Happy to be in Dawson Rommel Verdeflor is also happy to be in Yukon during the pandemic. He immigrated to Yukon from the Philippines eight years ago. He took a job offer and found himself in Dawson City, where there's a Filipino community of about 80 people. After two years, Verdeflor was granted permanent residency and was able to bring his wife and children over. "You know what, that two years is gone as soon as I saw them in Vancouver airport," Verdeflor says. "It's worth the wait." After working multiple jobs around town, Verdeflor was hired as a financial service representative at the CIBC branch in Dawson. He says he feels lucky to have his family with him in Yukon. "I was able to bring my brother. His wife and his daughter are here already," Verdeflor said. "All of my in-laws are here in Dawson too, so we don't get homesick. It's a quiet, safe place for us."
When COVID-19 first swarmed the United States, one health insurer called some customers with a question: Do you have enough to eat? Oscar Health wanted to know if people had adequate food for the next couple weeks and how they planned to stay stocked up while hunkering down at home. “We’ve seen time and again, the lack of good and nutritional food causes members to get readmitted" to hospitals, Oscar executive Ananth Lalithakumar said. Food has become a bigger focus for health insurers as they look to expand their coverage beyond just the care that happens in a doctor’s office. More plans are paying for temporary meal deliveries and some are teaching people how to cook and eat healthier foods. Benefits experts say insurers and policymakers are growing used to treating food as a form of medicine that can help patients reduce blood sugar or blood pressure levels and stay out of expensive hospitals. “People are finally getting comfortable with the idea that everybody saves money when you prevent certain things from happening or somebody’s condition from worsening,” said Andrew Shea, a senior vice-president with the online insurance broker eHealth. This push is still relatively small and happening mostly with government-funded programs like Medicaid or Medicare Advantage, the privately run versions of the government's health program for people who are 65 or older or have disabilities. But some employers that offer coverage to their workers also are growing interested. Medicaid programs in several states are testing or developing food coverage. Next year, Medicare will start testing meal program vouchers for patients with malnutrition as part of a broader look at improving care and reducing costs. Nearly 7 million people were enrolled last year in a Medicare Advantage plan that offered some sort of meal benefit, according to research from the consulting firm Avalere Health. That’s more than double the total from 2018. Insurers commonly cover temporary meal deliveries so patients have something to eat when they return from the hospital. And for several years now, many also have paid for meals tailored to patients with conditions such as diabetes. But now insurers and other bill payers are taking a more nuanced approach. This comes as the coronavirus pandemic sends millions of Americans to seek help from food banks or neighbourhood food pantries. Oscar Health, for instance, found that nearly 3 out of 10 of its Medicare Advantage customers had food supply problems at the start of the pandemic, so it arranged temporary grocery deliveries from a local store at no cost to the recipient. The Medicare Advantage specialist Humana started giving some customers with low incomes debit cards with either a $25 or $50 on them to help buy healthy food. The insurer also is testing meal deliveries in the second half of the month. That's when money from government food programs can run low. Research shows that diabetes patients wind up making more emergency room visits then, said Humana executive Dr. Andrew Renda. “It may be because they’re still taking their medications but they don’t have enough food. And so their blood sugar goes crazy and then they end up in the hospital,” he said. The Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem connected Medicare Advantage customer Kim Bischoff with a nutritionist after she asked for help losing weight. The 43-year-old Napoleon, Ohio, resident had lost more than 100 pounds about 11 years ago, but she was gaining weight again and growing frustrated. The nutritionist helped wean Bischoff from a so-called keto diet largely centred on meats and cheeses. The insurer also arranged for temporary food deliveries from a nearby Kroger so she could try healthy foods like rice noodles, almonds and dried fruits. Bischoff said she only lost a few pounds. But she was able to stop taking blood pressure and thyroid medications because her health improved after she balanced her diet. “I learned that a little bit of weight gain isn’t a huge deal, but the quality of my health is," she said. David Berwick of Somerville, Massachusetts, credits a meal delivery program with improving his blood sugar, and he wishes he could stay on it. The 64-year-old has diabetes and started the program last year at the suggestion of his doctor. The Medicaid program MassHealth covered it. Berwick said the non-profit Community Servings gave him weekly deliveries of dry cereal and premade meals for him to reheat. Those included soups and turkey meatloaf Berwick described as “absolutely delicious.” “They’re not things I would make on my own for sure,” he said. “It was a gift, it was a real privilege.” These programs typically last a few weeks or months and often focus on customers with a medical condition or low incomes who have a hard time getting nutritious food. But they aren't limited to those groups. Indianapolis-based Preventia Group is starting food deliveries for some employers that want to improve the eating habits of people covered under their health plans. People who sign up start working with a health coach to learn about nutrition. Then they can either begin short-term deliveries of meals or bulk boxes of food and recipes to try. The employer picks up the cost. It's not just about hunger or a lack of good food, said Chief Operating Officer Susan Rider. They're also educating people about what healthy, nutritious food is and how to prepare it. Researchers expect coverage of food as a form of medicine to grow as insurers and employers learn more about which programs work best. Patients with low incomes may need help first with getting access to nutritional food. People with employer-sponsored coverage might need to focus more on how to use their diet to manage diabetes or improve their overall health. A 2019 study of Massachusetts residents with similar medical conditions found that those who received meals tailored to their condition had fewer hospital admissions and generated less health care spending than those who did not. Study author Dr. Seth Berkowitz of the University of North Carolina noted that those meals are only one method for addressing food or nutrition problems. He said a lot more can be learned “about what interventions work, in what situations and for whom.” A lack of healthy food “is very clearly associated with poor health, so we know we need to do something about it,” Berkowitz said. ___ Follow Tom Murphy on Twitter: @thpmurphy ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Tom Murphy, The Associated Press
With input from the Town Engineer, Ste-phen Burnett and Director of Development and Operations Jim Moss, Treasurer Carey Holmes outlined the connecting link grant contract for the East portion of Main Street.The RFP was closed in November and four bids were received. The winning bid, which includes option 1, of the three options pro-vided, was Coco Paving at $491,609.Stephen Burnett outlined to council the total scope of the project and all three options. He explained that when the appli-cation was filed, the total scope of the work was not determined.Once this was accomplished, it was deter-mined that the curbing along the core area of Main Street did need replacement along with the road resurfacing. Behind the curb-ing, between it and the sidewalk, was an area of interlocking stone. The decision that needed to be made was as to whether or not this should be replaced, reused, or left alone, hence the aforementioned three options.The recommendation was that option 1 was the most efficient and practical, replace the interlocking stone and the curbing, along with the resurfacing of the road way.Some of the old interlocking stone could be saved and reused in the renovations to Jack Downing Park.In addition, the curbing in front of Town Hall, at the crosswalk, would be extended out so as to remove one lane of traffic and negate the use to the current barriers to pre-vent motorists from trying to pass cars wait-ing for traffic in the crosswalk.Both the new stone and the lane change are awaiting MTO approval but no issue with that is presently foreseen.Treasurer Holmes indicated that the extra costs of the new stone, which was a little over $82,000, could be taken from the Road Construction Reserve, leaving it with a bal-ance of $293,500.Once the MTO approvals are received for the optional work, the project should commence as soon as weather permits are available, assumably in early spring of 2021. Council approved the project unanimously. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
Tourisme Côte-Nord y est allé d’une idée de promotion complètement amusante, afin de continuer à promouvoir la région en temps de Covid. Ils ont lancé ce 21 janvier une campagne humoristique, sur les jeux de société. Tourisme Côte-Nord propose 20 parodies de jeux de société à saveur nord-côtière, et invite la population à partager leur campagne promotionnelle, afin de faire connaître la région, et de rigoler un peu.L’organisme mentionne que l’industrie touristique a été lourdement affectée par cette pandémie et qu’elle aura de grands besoins lors de la relance économique.Voici la toute dernière campagne réalisée par Tourisme Côte-Nord: https://www.facebook.com/613352892084693/posts/3582545271832092/?sfnsn=moKarine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
What does it take to build a nation? It takes vision, confidence and bringing together everyone in that nation as one for the betterment of that whole nation. How does a person take a nation such as Canada, back in its early beginning, and make it one nation? There were not only citizens of countries in Europe emigrating, there as well as the original residents of the nation the Indigenous, Inuit and Metis. This was the challenge faced by the first Prime Minister of Canada. Beginning in the 1870s, both the federal government and Plains Nations wanted to include schooling provisions in treaties, though for different reasons. Indigenous leaders hoped Euro-Canadian schooling would help their young to learn the skills of the newcomer society and help them make a successful transition to a world dominated by strangers. With the passage of the British North America Act in 1867 and the implementation of the Indian Act (1876), the government was required to provide Indigenous youth with an education and to assimilate them into Canadian society. The federal government supported schooling as a way to make First Nations economically self-sufficient. Their underlying objective was to decrease Indigenous dependence on public funds. The government, therefore, collaborated with Christian missionaries to encourage religious conversion and Indigenous economic self-sufficiency. This led to the development of an educational policy after 1880 that relied heavily on custodial schools. These were not the kind of schools Indigenous leaders had hoped to create. Beginning with the establishment of three industrial schools on the prairies in 1883, and through the next half-century, the federal government and churches developed a system of residential schools that stretched across much of the country. Most of the residential schools were in the four Western provinces and the territories, but there were also significant numbers in northwestern Ontario and in northern Québec. New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had no schools, apparently because the government assumed that Indigenous people there had been assimilated into Euro-Canadian culture. At its height around 1930, the residential school system totalled 80 institutions. The Roman Catholic Church operated three-fifths of the schools, the Anglican Church one-quarter and the United and Presbyterian Churches the remainder. (Before 1925, the Methodist Church also operated residential schools; however, when the United Church of Canada was formed in 1925, most of the Presbyterian and all the Methodist schools became United Church schools.) ( Canadian Encyclopedia - Residential Schools in Canada) Were the ideals of the first prime minister of Canada wrong? Was it wrong of Indigenous Leaders to want to teach their youth the skills of the newcomer to better assimilate into the new country being developed? The atrocities of the residential schools were definitely wrong. There were the atrocities of many of the boarding schools of the era such as St. Vincents and many other religious residential schools. We know our early politicians had a role to play in residential schools in Canada. Is it ok to tear down a statue commemorating a public figure who united us as one nation early in our beginning? Sir. John A Macdonald was the first Prime Minister of Canada, and served 19 years; only William Lyon Mackenzie King served longer. Among his many accomplishments, he acquired territory that made Canada the second-largest country in the world. The National Post reported a quote from 1880 where Macdonald disparaged his forebears for the awful plight of Canada’s first peoples. “We must remember that they are the original owners of the soil, of which they have been dispossessed by the covetousness or ambition of our ancestors,” Macdonald wrote in a letter proposing the creation of the Department of Indian Affairs. “At all events, the Indians have been great sufferers by the discovery of America and the transfer to it of a large white population.” While there are many who hold different beliefs regarding Sir John A. Macdonald, it is important to have discussions regarding the context and events that took place, versus performing destructive acts on historical statues. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
A 64-year-old woman is dead after a three-vehicle crash south of Lloydminster on Thursday, Maidstone RCMP say. Officers were called around 7 p.m. CST about the accident on Highway 17 near Lone Rock, Sask., roughly 25 kilometres south of Lloydminster. They determined a crash occurred between two vans, both southbound. The first van then crashed with a northbound semi, police say. The 64-year-old woman, who was a passenger in one of the vans, was taken to hospital, where she died. Police did not provide any information other than her age and where she was from. The drivers of the semi and the other van reported no injuries. RCMP said alcohol was not believed to be a factor in the crash. An RCMP collision reconstructionist from Prince Albert was on scene, the police news release said, and would investigate the crash with Maidstone RCMP.
The owner of a Regina care home where 43 COVID-19-infected residents died says the outbreak there is finally over after two months. But at a Saskatoon Extendicare home still dealing with an outbreak, staffers are not properly using personal protective equipment at all times, according to two employees. They agreed to speak to CBC News on the condition of confidentiality. "All it takes is one single staff member making one mistake to infect a resident and have that resident later pass away," said a male worker at Extendicare Preston in Saskatoon. In an emailed statement, Extendicare spokesperson Laura Gallant said workers are doing everything possible to follow all provincial and local health directives. "Our team audits PPE practices regularly to make sure everyone is following best practice protocol," she said. "We conduct on-the-spot training to ensure staff know what to do." Health officials declared an outbreak at Preston on Dec. 10. The facility, which is operated by Extendicare under a contract with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, has 82 beds, about 78 of which were occupied at the start of the outbreak, a female worker said. As of Wednesday, 33 residents were infected with COVID-19 after six others recovered, according to a note to workers that day. Thirteen staff members were positive for the illness, while two had recovered. Three residents who were infected have died, Gallant said. Eating in the hallway "Some co-workers, and I've witnessed it firsthand, are not using PPE properly," the male worker said. One staff member entered a COVID-positive resident's room wearing PPE, left to grab a water bottle from a staff break room, and then went back inside the resident's room with the same PPE, he said. In the last week, employees have taken masks off inside residents' rooms because they were hot, or ate food in hallways instead of the designated "green rooms" for staff, the female worker said. "[They're] touching their masks or faces with gloved hands that have touched residents who are COVID-19 positive," she said. Some staffers were wearing ill-fitting respirators because they were not supplied N95 respirators, even though air filters have been installed in parts of the home, she added. "They have the HEPA filter machines in certain rooms. People are just like, 'If they're cleaning the air, then why aren't they giving us N95s?" she said. Extendicare found problems with the air ventilation during the outbreak at its Parkside home in Regina, stoking fears about a similar problem at Preston, she said. In the note to workers on Wednesday — which also stressed the importance of properly using PPE — Extendicare senior administrator Jason Carson said Saskatchewan Health Authority guidelines only require workers to wear N95 masks when carrying out certain tasks, such as intubating a resident. "The home continues to have an ample supply of PPE for all staff," Gallant said. "The SHA has determined that N95 masks are not required for all homes in outbreak and has confirmed that the existing PPE complement in use at the home is compliant with provincial direction." Carson's note also addressed the "air scrubbers." "We are not sure it will help but we are taking the extra step to help keep our [COVID-19] negative residents negative," Carson wrote. "It removes air pollution, surface contaminants, odours and dust. It provides a cleaner, healthier and more efficient air within your home." 'I would call it lazy' Many Extendicare Preston employees have received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — which the workers CBC spoke with say may be providing a false sense of security. Thirty employees and 52 residents had been vaccinated as of Friday, according to Extendicare. "I had a sneaking suspicion that people would start slacking because of getting the vaccine," the female worker said. According to Health Canada, for the vaccine to work best, people need to receive two doses. Clinical trials have found it also takes time for bodies to react — meaning people aren't protected immediately after getting a shot. The male Preston worker said he believes some co-workers are being "sloppy" with PPE because they don't know better. "I would call it lazy," the female worker said of what she's observed. Gallant said managers conduct daily walk-arounds to demonstrate PPE best practices and provide guidance to any employees with questions. "The SHA has been on site regularly to support our team and review infection prevention and control practices and PPE use," she said. When the Saskatchewan Health Authority took over day-to-day operations at the Regina Parkside home as the outbreak there reached its apex in early December, CEO Scott Livingstone said part of the reason for the move was to ensure "the PPE is there and being used appropriately to care for the patients." Asked a week later why the Parkside outbreak grew so bad — at its worst, more than three-quarters of the home's 200 original residents became infected — Livingstone said some things needed to be put in place at Parkside, including "infection control practices up to the SHA standard [and] the additional PPE." The authority had "heightened our measure for N95 usage" at Parkside, it told CBC News that same week. The SHA has not taken over operations at Preston as it did at Parkside. No active cases at Parkside Regina Extendicare operates three other care homes in the province, including a Moose Jaw home where an outbreak was declared on Nov. 12. It has since been declared over. In an update to family members of Parkside residents on Thursday, Extendicare said Regina's medical health officer had declared the outbreak over, "now that the standard 28-day period has passed after the onset of the last COVID-19 positive resident case that had the potential to contribute to transmission at the home." That outbreak had been declared on Nov. 20. Extendicare's five Saskatchewan homes are the only long-term care centres in the province operated by a private company under contract to the SHA, according to the health authority.
The Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas and Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford are asking Premier Doug Ford to limit big box stores from selling non-essential items. In a letter to the premier, writing on behalf of the city’s 84 BIAs representing more than 70,000 businesses, the two state that the latest emergency orders, while important for reducing the spread of COVID-19, are harmful to small businesses. “Under the latest orders essential retailers – particularly big box stores – are able to sell non-essential items in-store, and after-hours,” the letter reads. “This puts small businesses at a disadvantage and is a public health concern as it may encourage non-essential travel.” Bradford has been on weekly calls with TABIA throughout the pandemic and says there have been a lot of grievances over emergency rules for big box stores compared to small businesses. In the letter, Bradford and John Kiru (Executive Director of TABIA) make their request. “We are asking you take urgent action by going one step further in the orders and mandating big box stores and other retailers selling essential goods to close off sections of their stores where non-essential items are displayed,” they said. They cite a similar strategy used in Manitoba. In that province’s second retail lockdown in November 2020, it chose to not allow big box stores to choose their hours of operation. The goal is fairness for small businesses, Broadview-Danforth BIA chair Albert Stortchak said, expressing what so many BIAs across Toronto are feeling. “You see the big box stores, they’re selling the same products as we are and that hurts,” he said. While explaining that small businesses have demonstrated their capability to follow COVID-19 health protocols, Stortchak goes said if small businesses are outcompeted by big box retail under the current disadvantage, it spells problems for the future of community main streets. Some vacancies have made room for other businesses to grow, such as Mary Brown’s Chicken which opened in GreekTown on the Danforth last year, but Stortchak said the risk is greatest for small, independent shops. He said it is those type of small, independent stores and their owners that make a community vibrant as compared to franchises or generic shops which are found in most neighbourhoods. “It’s going to hollow us out,” he said. “If we lose the small independents, you’re going to be going somewhere else.” The letter to Premier Ford asks to “even the playing field” and review the new public health measures to curb non-essential travel and allow for equal competition for all business operators. Ali Raza, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Beach Metro News
Après 4 jours sans nouvelle infection de COVID-19 sur la Côte-Nord, le bilan de ce samedi 23 janvier fait mention de 3 cas supplémentaires, ainsi que 4 guérisons de plus. Ce sont 2 cas de plus dans la MRC de Sept-Rivières, et 1 dans Manicouagan. Il y a 11 cas actifs et 1 hospitalisation. Situation sur la Côte-Nord NOTE : Confinement du Québec et instauration d’un couvre-feu entre 20 h et 5 h pour la période du 9 janvier au 8 février 2021 : Restez à la maison et consultez la page Confinement du Québec pour connaître les détails. Vous pouvez aussi consulter toute l’information sur la COVID‑19.*En date du 23 janvier 2021 – 11 h Nombre de cas confirmés : 339 (+3) Répartition par MRC : Basse-Côte-Nord : 6 Caniapiscau : 7 Haute-Côte-Nord : 26 Manicouagan : 105 (+1) Minganie : 17 Sept-Rivières : 178 (+2)Cas guéris : 325 (+4) Décès : 3 Cas actifs : 11 (-1) Cas actifs provenant d’une autre région : 0 Hospitalisation en cours : 1 Éclosions en cours : Milieu de travail (Haute-Côte-Nord) : Moins de 5 cas Éclosions terminées récemment : Résidence privée pour aînés (Manicouagan) Milieu de travail (Sept-Rivières) Milieu de garde (Sept-Rivières)Karine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
The Edmundston and Grand Falls region will see businesses shut down and schools close as it enters a strict lockdown at midnight on Saturday. The Zone 4 health area reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, just hours from from the beginning of tighter restrictions. Residents are urged to stay home as much as possible as case numbers continue to climb. New Brunswick confirmed 17 new cases Saturday, the day after officials announced the lockdown at a news conference. Eric Marquis, Edmundston's deputy mayor, said he expected tighter restrictions and supports the lockdown. "We knew that at one point we would have to push on the reset button and stop the spread," he said. Cases in Zone 4 have doubled four times since Jan. 6, when there were seven active cases. There are currently 135 active cases in the region, including some reported in schools, retirement homes and workplaces. Manoir Belle Vue, a special care home in Edmundston, has reported 20 cases in total as part of an outbreak. The lockdown will have similar restrictions to those rolled out provincewide at the start of the pandemic, and is expected to last at least two weeks. Most non-essential businesses will be forced to close, and schools will switch to virtual learning. Grand Falls Mayor Marcel Deschênes said he is only aware of three cases in the Grand Falls area since the start of the pandemic. "Going from red to lockdown — it's a little hard to swallow," he said. Deschênes said Grand Falls businesses have been struggling during the pandemic. "I talked to a businesswoman yesterday," he said. "She told me she had one customer come in. She has bills to pay at the end of the month. She's got employees that she has to lay off." 17 new cases The new cases reported on Saturday include: In the Moncton region (Zone 1), five new cases: an individual 19 and under. an individual 20-29. an individual 30-39. two people 50-59. In the Saint John region (Zone 2), one new case: an individual 19 and under. In the Edmundston region (Zone 4), 10 new cases: two people 20-29. an individual 40-49. two people 50-59. five people 60-69. In the Campbellton region (Zone 5), one new case: an individual 20-29. New Brunswick has confirmed 1,104 total cases of COVID-19 and 762 recoveries. There are 328 active cases. Five people are in the hospital, including three in intensive care. The province has recorded 13 deaths related to the illness. Public Health conducted 4,999 tests since Friday's update, for a total of 186,796. Most businesses will close Service New Brunswick offices in Zone 4 will be closed. Grocery stores, pharmacies, NB Liquor stores and Cannabis NB stores will remain open. Veterinary clinics can also stay open with animals dropped off at the curb. Libraries will open to allow internet access. Regulated health-care professionals, such as dentists, can continue to operate. The province said early childhood education facilities can also continue to operate, with the help of a $3 hourly wage boost for employees who work during the lockdown. Most red-phase rules, such as maintaining a single-household bubble, continue to apply. Edmundston police are conducting roadside checks to enforce compliance with single-household bubble rules throughout the weekend. Renters are also protected against evictions during the lockdown. Landlords can not begin proceedings until 10 days after the restrictions end. Marquis said Public Health informed him of transmission of COVID-19 at some businesses in the community. At least 20 cases are linked to an outbreak at the Nadeau Poultry slaughterhouse in Saint-François-de-Madawaska. Most workers at the plant come from the Edmundston and Clair region in New Brunswick, with about 25 workers coming from Quebec and two from Maine. The plant is minutes from the New Brunswick-Maine border. Dr. John Tobin, head of the family medicine department in Zone 4 for the Vitalité Health Network, said the atmosphere at the Edmundston Regional Hospital is tense. Staff are preparing space for the event people with COVID-19 need to be hospitalized. "We see comments a little bit everywhere of people who don't follow the restrictions," he said. "It worries us a lot." While the lockdown will last a minimum of two weeks, the officials will assess the situation every seven days. Marquis is urging residents to stay home and is hopeful the tighter measures will be effective. "If everybody is part of the solution, I think that we could be back, say orange or yellow, in the next couple of weeks," he said. Quebec border region wants checkpoint The mayors of the Témiscouata Regional Municipality, which borders Zone 4 to the north, are calling for further protections in response to the surge in cases in the Edmundston region. The leaders sent a letter to the Quebec provincial government on Thursday asking for the installation of a checkpoint at the border with New Brunswick to stop the spread of outbreaks. There are currently border inspection posts at the Saint-Jacques, Baker Lake, Matapédia and Campbellton points of entry into New Brunswick. But those travelling into Quebec from New Brunswick are currently not subject to screening. The letter is part of a larger effort to close off the entire Bas-Saint-Laurent region of Quebec with checkpoints. People can continue to travel across the provincial border for essential reasons, such as commuting daily for work, for medical care, to attend school, or for child custody agreements. Protester arrested near premier's home One person was arrested and several tickets handed out at a protest near the home of Premier Blaine Higgs in Quispamsis on Saturday, according to Corporal Kim Bennett of Kennebecasis Regional Police. "There have been protests there for a number of Saturdays," Bennett said. She said police were there to enforce the mandatory order early Saturday afternoon. Bennett said some tickets were handed out for infractions under the emergency measures act, but she would not give further details about the nature of the tickets or how many were handed out. In a video posted online, police can be heard issuing a ticket to a person for failing to wear a mask. The person who was arrested has since been released, Bennett said. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The developer of the Pebble Mine in Alaska has filed an appeal with the Army Corps of Engineers that asks the agency to reconsider the developer's application to build a gold mine upstream from Bristol Bay. The Army Corps of Engineers rejected Pebble Limited Partnership's application in November on the grounds that the mine would not comply with the Clean Water Act. The proposed mine was to be built on state land, but dredging and filling in federal waters and wetlands requires a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska Public Media reported. Pebble CEO John Shively said the Corps' decision was rushed and came only days after the company filed its final document. Opponents to the proposed mine have said the project would pose a threat to important salmon spawning streams and could ruin the area's sport and commercial fisheries. Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy had announced two weeks ago that the state would appeal the permit rejection. Dunleavy said the decision endangers the state’s right to develop its own resources. The Associated Press
Ontario reported 2,359 new cases of COVID-19 and 52 more deaths on Saturday. Toronto has 708 new cases, Peel Region has 422, York Region has 220, Hamilton has 107 and Ottawa has 101. A total of 1,501 people are in hospital with COVID-19, 395 in intensive care units and 299 are on ventilators. Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott said the province's network of labs completed nearly 63,500 tests in the last 24 hours. The number of people in hospital has declined by 11, the number of people in ICU has increased by 12, while the number of people on ventilators has increased by eight. A total of 5,753 people have died in Ontario of COVID-19-related reasons. Saturday's numbers were down from Friday's figures of 2,662 cases and 87 more deaths. Ontario's current daily test positivity rate is 4.5 per cent. Test positivity is defined as the number of positive tests divided by the number of total tests on a given day. There have been a total of 252,585 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario reported to date. Of this number, a total of 222,287 have been marked as resolved. There are 252 long-term care homes with active outbreaks, an increase of eight from the previous day. Of the 52 new deaths reported on Saturday, 24 are of long-term care home residents. The province reported that 11,161 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since the province's last report. A total of 276,146 doses have been administered in Ontario so far. Health unit reports death of teenaged LTC worker According to the Middlesex-London Health Unit, one of the deaths reported on Saturday is a staff person, a teenaged male, who worked in a long-term care home. "We are not able to provide any other information including the individual's exact age or the facility where they worked, as this could risk identifying them," Dan Flaherty, spokesperson for the Middlesex-London Health Unit, said in an email on Saturday. "I can also let you know that this person is the youngest with COVID-19 in London and Middlesex County to have died." The death is one of three posted to its website on Saturday. Ontario's long term care ministry said in an email to CBC Toronto that it extends its sympathies to the family and friends of the worker. "Due to sensitivities and requirements for protection of privacy for Ontarians, and for protecting Ontarians' confidential personal and health information, we cannot comment on individual cases," Rob McMahon, spokesperson for the ministry, said in an email. "We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of all long-term care staff working under challenging conditions to care for our most vulnerable during the pandemic." More than 300 officers to conduct inspections The daily case count comes as the Ontario government says it is expanding its blitz of big box store inspections to Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham Regions this weekend. The blitz started in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas last weekend. The government said it wants to ensure workers and customers at the essential businesses are properly protected from COVID-19 during the provincewide shutdown. The blitz was developed in consultation with local health units and also includes a variety of other workplaces, including retail establishments and restaurants providing take-out meals. The province's labour ministry says more than 300 offences officers, as well as local public health inspectors and municipal bylaw officers, will conduct the inspections. Corporations can now be fined $1,000, and individuals can be fined $750 or charged for failing to comply with the orders. Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says the province is confident that the majority of workplaces in Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham are following orders. "However, if we find that businesses are putting the safety of workers and customers at risk, our government will not hesitate to take immediate action," McNaughton added in a statement Saturday. "The only way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and end the provincewide shutdown is for everyone — owners, customers and staff alike — to follow the proper guidelines." Variant 1st detected in U.K. found in Barrie, Ont. care home Meanwhile, in Barrie, Ont., the local public health unit has confirmed that a variant first detected in the United Kingdom has been found in a long-term care home in the city north of Toronto. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) said genome sequencing on six COVID-19 samples, which were taken from residents and staff at the Roberta Place Long-Term Care Home, has determined that the variant present in the samples is what is known as the B.1.1.7 variant. Public health officials first declared an outbreak at the home on Jan. 8. A total of 127 residents have tested positive — that's all but two residents at the home. There have been 32 deaths. This variant is considered "highly contagious and easily transmitted," the public health unit said. "The rapid spread, high attack rate and the devastating impact on residents and staff at Roberta Place Long-Term Care Home has been heartbreaking for all," Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for SMDHU, said in a news release. "Confirmation of the variant, while expected, does not change our course of action. We remain diligent in doing everything we can to prevent further spread." On Wednesday, preliminary lab testing of six cases had identified a high likelihood that there was a COVID-19 variant of concern. The second test, a whole genome sequencing test, determined the exact COVID-19 variant, which is the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the U.K. "This variant of concern is more easily transmitted, resulting in much larger numbers of cases in a very rapid fashion," the public health unit said in the release.