These two massive male elephants have a little wrestling match to see who is the boss. You can see the size of them when comparing to the SUV in the background. They are massive!
These two massive male elephants have a little wrestling match to see who is the boss. You can see the size of them when comparing to the SUV in the background. They are massive!
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin Wednesday warning of the lingering potential for violence from people motivated by antigovernment sentiment after President Joe Biden's election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks. The department did not cite any specific plots, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration. It is not uncommon for the federal government to warn local law enforcement through bulletins about the prospect for violence tied to a particular event or date, such as July 4. But this particular bulletin, issued through the department’s National Terrorism Advisory System, is notable because it effectively places the Biden administration into the politically charged debate over how to describe or characterize acts motivated by political ideology, and suggests it regards violence like the kind that overwhelmed the Capitol as akin to terrorism. The bulletin is an indication that national security officials see a connective thread between different episodes of violence in the last year motivated by anti-government grievances, including over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results and police use of force. The document singles out crimes motivated by racial or ethnic hatred, such as the 2019 rampage targeting Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, as well as the threat posed by extremists motivated by foreign terror groups. A DHS statement that accompanied the bulletin noted the potential for violence from “a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors.” “Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin said. The alert comes at a tense time following the riot at the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the presidential election. Authorities are concerned that extremists may attack other symbols of government or people whose political views they oppose. “The domestic terrorism attack on our Capitol earlier this month shined a light on a threat that has been right in front of our faces for years,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “I am glad to see that DHS fully recognizes the threat posed by violent, right-wing extremists and is taking efforts to communicate that threat to the American people.” The alert was issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske. Biden’s nominee for the Cabinet post, Alejandro Mayorkas, has not been confirmed by the Senate. Two former homeland security secretaries, Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano, called on the Senate to confirm Mayorkas so he can start working with the FBI and other agencies and deal with the threat posed by domestic extremists, among other issues. Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, said attacks by far-right, domestic extremists are not new but that deaths attributed to them in recent years in the U.S. have exceeded those linked to jihadists such as al-Qaida. “We have to be candid and face what the real risk is,” he said in a conference call with reporters. Federal authorities have charged more than 150 people in the Capitol siege, including some with links to right-wing extremist groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers. The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against 43-year Ian Rogers, a California man found with five pipe bombs during a search of his business this month who had a sticker associated with the Three Percenters on his vehicle. His lawyer told his hometown newspaper, The Napa Valley Register, that he is a “very well-respected small business owner, father, and family man” who does not belong to any violent organizations. Ben Fox And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
THESSALONIKI, Greece — Former Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa signed with Greek club PAOK Thessaloniki on Wednesday. The club, which won the Greek title in 2019 for the first time since the mid-1980s, said the Japan international signed an 18-month contract. Kagawa has scored 31 goals in 97 appearances as an attacking midfielder for Japan and was a regular for the national team at the 2014 and 2018 World Cup tournaments. PAOK is currently in fourth place in the 14-team Greek league with 36 points. Olympiakos leads with 48 points. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
The Lakeland District for Sports, Culture, and Recreation are encouraging people to get their vote on for their Wonderful Winter Spot Contest taking place on Facebook. Sixteen local winter hot spots have been chosen by Lakeland District staff as well through local municipal governments nominating their favourites, said Julia Frigault, youth consultant with Lakeland District for Sport, Culture, and Recreation. Frigault got the idea from a fellow Lakeland youth consultant when they planned out a Sweet Summer Swimming Contest for their area. Frigault got a bracket together to promote the winter fun taking place across the Lakeland district. Voting has been taking place over Facebook, which has allowed Lakeland to successfully engage with both voters and communities to promote these fun winter spots, Frigault said. “It's really helpful that we are able to tag a community’s recreation pages, or just their town, village, or city page. It automatically notifies them that they are in fact being mentioned.” Four brackets have been developed to choose the best hills, ice fishing spots, trails, and outdoor ice services across the district. While rounds of voting have already taken place, here is the full list of Saskatchewan hot spots that graced the Lakeland bracket. Those with a (W) are moving on to the next round of voting taking place the last week in January: Visit the Lakeland District’s Facebook page to cast your vote and see how your favourite winter fun spots are doing. Quarter-finals to be posted for the last week of January with semi-finals and finals coming the week after. Including winning bragging rights as Lakeland’s Wonderful Winter Spot of 2021, the bracket winner will also be given a reason to celebrate with a surprise grand prize, Frigault said. With 2020 being difficult on northeastern communities, Frigault said they are happy to give communities reach to celebrate something positive. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Waywayseecappo First Nation members will go to the polls Feb. 23, with 37 of those members vying for a seat on council and one member challenging current Chief Murray Clearsky. In 2019, Waywayseecappo had a registered population of 2,818 people, with 1,604 living on reserve. Jeremy Shingoose, Clearsky’s challenger, is running on a platform of transparency, accountability and putting community members first, according to a post on a community Facebook page. "Everywhere life takes me, I always tell people I am an Anishinaabe from Waywayseecappo and that it is the greatest place on Earth. This is not an exaggeration. I believe in a community that is an innovator, a pioneer, and a nation that others look up to in every aspect of life," Shingoose wrote. "I am well versed and educated in many aspects of Indigenous life because of this I will be able to represent our community on a national level, a corporate level, and a community level. I’m fuelled by passion, with lots of great ideas and practical experience, it would be an honour to serve the people of Waywayseecappo — the greatest place on Earth." Clearsky, who has been Waywayseecappo’s leader for 32 years, said his record speaks for itself. "From what I’ve done for the community, if they want to continue succeeding, I guess I’m the guy," said Clearsky. "Everything that we do have ever since I became chief, it’s been established." Until four years ago, elections at the reserve were held every two years, as per the Indian Act. The reserve now follows the First Nations Election Act, which mandates four-year terms. Clearsky, who has never been acclaimed, has seen challengers in each election and recalls one close call quite a few years go. Normally, debates are held, but Clearsky said that won’t happen at this election because of the pandemic. Current councillors are Mel Wabash, Anthony Longclaws, Tim Cloud, Travis Cloud, Joe Gambler and Chantel Wilson — all of whom are running for re-election. The remaining 31 members running for council are as follows: Ashley Brandon, Brad Brandon, Dean Brandon, Laura Brandon, Carolyn Clearsky, Chrystella (Stella) Clearsky, Eileen Clearsky, Mark Clearsky, Bernalda (Peanut) Cloud, Christopher AJ Cook, James Cote, Hugh Hill, Brennan Huntinghawk, Kenneth Huntinghawk, Brenna Ironstand, Tyrene Jandrew, Roderik Keewatincappo, Carla Ledoux-Huntinghawk, Sidney Longclaws, Lisa Makwebak, Eric Mentuck Jr., Grace Mentuck, Quentin Mentuck, Paul Mentuck Jr., Graham Procure, Huston S. Shingoose, Merle Shingoose, Myles Shingoose, Richard Shingoose, Norbert Tanner and Nathan Twovoice. Clearsky said 37 people running for six council seats is not unusual — he recalls 34 at the last election. Sometimes that number has dipped down into the 20s. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
Regional Librarian for Kings County Grace Dawson, , has noticed shifts in trends, looking back on 2020. “The big trend which is reflected in the numbers is this year’s rise in digital and electronic resource use,” Ms Dawson said. She added this is likely because of COVID-19 and the related shutdowns. Islanders used 49,200 more electronic resources in 2020 compared to 2019. That’s a jump from 179,527 uses to 228,759. On the flip side, new memberships to Island libraries and physical book loans were down this year. Libraries offered 4,163 new library cards in 2019 but only 2,033 in 2020. They also loaned 300,652 physical books in 2020 compared to 471,380 in 2019. Physical items could not be borrowed from libraries between mid-March and early June 2020 when the facilities closed their doors to the public. In June, library services started to gradually reopen with some locations offering curb-side pickup. Eventually all 26 locations reopened and welcomed browsing. But libraries reverted back to curb-side pickup during the December COVID-19 circuit breaker when restrictions were heightened again for Islanders. Despite these interruptions, overall, borrowed library materials increased this year from 819,987 in 2019 to 980,800 iitems borrowed in 2020. Ms Dawson said the growing use of non-traditional library materials such as musical instruments, telescopes, snowshoes, etc increased. These types of items have been available through the province’s libraries since 2018. “I think their popularity reflects the evolution of libraries as a provider of a broad range of materials and items to the entire community,” Ms Dawson said. “Libraries have always been inclusive spaces that provide information and access to all individuals but now we are seeing the public wants information and resources in a wide variety of formats.” The following is a breakdown of non-traditional items loaned this year: • Musical instruments: 2,781 • TCAP Fitness passes (available at Montague Library): 995 • Radon detectors: 165 • Telescopes: 403 • Snowshoes: 731 • Museum passes checked out (July & August 2020): 143 • Books delivered through Library’s Early Learning and Child Care Centre Book Delivery Service (which was started in July 2020): 3,799 • Books delivered through Library’s Community Care Book Delivery Service : 2,671 Ms Dawson said it’s worth noting that it has been difficult to draw conclusive trends from this year’s data given the restrictions libraries have faced due to the pandemic. Krystal Dionne, a branch technician with the Montague Rotary Library, says it has been fun to see the joy kids and adults get out of borrowing less traditional items from the library such as musical instruments. Rachel Collier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic
Saskatchewan’s top doctor spoke for the first time following a rally outside of his family home over the weekend.
Anglers on P.E.I. are being given a chance to fish for perch through the ice this year, in an experiment to see if a regular fishery is viable. The licence is free, but you have to apply and report all you catch. Because the perch are coastal, the province is partnering with Fisheries and Oceans Canada on the project. David Richards, owner of Richards Bait and Tackle in Alberton, is one of the Islanders who has one of the new licences. "It's a little struggle to find them because we've never had a nice winter fishery up here for perch before," Richards told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier. He and his sons got organized in advance of the fishery, heading out on the ice, drilling some holes and scouting with a GoPro camera to see where the fish were. He said it was pretty exciting to spot some, but the fish turned out to be smarter than they thought. "Lo and behold the perch were not where we thought they'd be. They swim," he said. But Richards said he and his family, three generations worth, are still having a good time out on the ice. It doesn't take much in the way of gear, he said, just an ice auger and an ice-fishing pole. He said his own family is spoiled, with a gas-powered auger, an ice-fishing tent and propane heaters. "You don't need all that stuff. You can just get there with your bucket and your auger, a little bit of bait. It's a little cooler but it's still nice to enjoy the great outdoors," said Richards. Finding another reason to get his grandchildren outside has been particularly nice during the pandemic, when kids have been even more tempted than usual to sit at home in front of a screen. More from CBC P.E.I.
On Jan. 15, Bruce Power hosted a one-hour, live, virtual COVID-19 update, open to the general public. James Scongack, executive-vice president of corporate affairs & operational services at Bruce Power, served as narrator, opening the session with an acknowledgement on how challenging the pandemic has been for the community, province, the country and the world. He stressed the importance of factual information and gave a shout out to local media for covering the event. Scongack reminded listeners of the availability of the app Grey Bruce Huron Strong, or www.greybrucehuronstrong.com – a joint initiative between the Ontario Nuclear Innovation Institute and NPX Innovation. The app, with more than 8,000 residents involved, gives access to contests, fitness challenges, mindfulness activities, opportunities to help seniors, upcoming events and fundraisers. It will continue to be a communication platform as vaccination information becomes available. The app also promotes buying local in this community. Scongack’s remarks were followed by the introduction of president and CEO, Mike Rencheck. Rencheck extended his thanks to front line medical workers, front line workers in grocery stores and essential services, teachers and all the workers at Bruce Power for “keeping the lights on” and continuing to produce vitally essential medical isotopes. He also thanked everyone who has been supporting local business and local charities. He said these times are an “all hands on deck moment” and when we pull together, we will be strong. Rencheck was followed by Huron Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson and MPP for Bruce Grey Owen Sound, Bill Walker. Thompson, who told viewers “we are strong”, also mentioned that small businesses should apply for the recently launched small business grant. She also said small business can tap into all federal and provincial programs available to them by visiting www.reliefwithinreach.ca. Walker extended his thanks to everyone abiding by health guidelines and asked everyone to “hold on to the hope”. Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce chief medical officer of health and CEO, was the last to appear during the session. Dr. Arra said pandemics only happen every 100 years and residents should continue to “stay the course” as they have for the last 10 months. He addressed the lockdown and stay-at-home order, offering thoughts on the benefits of the order and what each of us can do on an individual level. The order is necessary, “indispensable”, to save lives. Residents can action this by staying home unless you really have to go out to get food or go to the pharmacy. He acknowledged this is “painful” but to remember that this is saving lives. Dr. Arra said if you look at the situation in Grey Bruce, it remains “relatively favourable.” The two-week surge following the holidays seems to have passed and the number of cases per day has been falling. The doctor addressed the return of students to in-class learning on Jan. 25, saying they were ready to go back but with restrictions, including abiding by the stay-at-home order after the end of the school day. Talking about the vaccine, Dr. Arra said all pandemics end and the vaccine will make this happen sooner. His “prescription for success” continues to be the three Ws – washing hands frequently, wearing a mask correctly and watching our distance. Finally, Dr. Arra brought up the “be calm, be kind” mantra that he often mentions. He says the pandemic is a “hardship and people are in pain,” whether it is a small business, people staying home or not able to hug a loved one. He said in the middle of a hardship, it is very easy to point a finger at others and blame them. It is the pandemic that is the hardship. “We need … to remind everyone around us, this is not going to end tomorrow,” said Dr. Arra. “It’s going to end in a few weeks and a few months and we need to stay that course.” Dr. Arra then fielded a number of questions submitted by the public, covering topics including vaccines. Dr. Arra said the vaccine will change the course of the pandemic. The vaccines sent so far were administered to patients, staff and caregivers in long term care homes on the same day they were received. Plans for administering the vaccine began in August 2020, The vaccine will be administered depending on which vaccine is received, a traditional distribution plan (using the Moderna vaccine), through the health unit, primary care family health teams, long term care, hospitals and usually pharmacies. A separate plan for administering the Pfizer vaccine, which is less flexible with its mobility, will be distributed through mass-immunization clinics, or hubs. These hubs could be at the recovery centres, which are already set up. Dr. Arra also said the acceptance rate for the vaccine in Grey Bruce is high, above the provincial average. Final questions included information on the safety of children returning to school, what happens after a positive test and how is contact tracing conducted. Dr. Arra finished his comments by saying that we can remind ourselves that what we are doing and the sacrifices we are making is saving lives. We should stay home, and connect following the recommendations with helping others. “We are creatures of habit” and creating habits that help us through the lockdown is positive. Tammy Lindsay, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
La communication dans le contexte de la transition socioécologique sera au coeur d’un colloque organisé jeudi par les étudiantes en éco-conseil de l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC). L’événement, sous le thème « Ensemble vers l’action: comment parler de la transition ? », aura lieu en mode virtuel de 8h30 à 12h30. Le colloque proposera deux conférences, suivies d’une table ronde et d’une activité participative. Les quatre étudiantes au Diplôme d’études supérieures spécialisées en éco-conseil souhaitent ainsi réfléchir à la façon dont la communication peut être un « propulseur pour le changement ». « En tant que futures éco-conseillères, nous sommes des actrices de changements, a souligné l’étudiante Elizabeth Perron en conférence de presse virtuelle, mardi, en compagnie de sa collègue Mathilde Sauvé Gagnon. Nous allons être formées pour outiller les organisations à atteindre leur transition, donc nous devons avoir des outils de communication efficaces. » La pandémie de COVID-19 a aussi influencé les étudiantes dans le choix de cette thématique, alors que parler de transition dans ce contexte représente selon elles un nouveau défi. « On développe une nouvelle façon de faire », a indiqué Mathilde Sauvé Gagnon. Catherine Lemay-Belisle, représentante de l’Association professionnelle des éco-conseillers du Québec, a pour sa part mentionné que la communication est la compétence la plus utilisée par les éco-conseillers, selon les membres de l’organisation. Conférences et invités Oumar Kane, professeur en communication sociale et publique de l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), offrira la première conférence de l’événement, consacrée à l’apport mutuel que peuvent avoir la communication et l’écologie. Rémi Toupin, doctorant en science, technologie et société à l’UQAM, entretiendra ensuite les participants au sujet de la communication de la recherche sur les enjeux écologiques dans un contexte numérique. Cinq acteurs prendront ensuite part à une table ronde pour discuter de leurs stratégies de communication. Alice-Anne Simard, directrice générale de Nature Québec, Adrien Guibert-Barthez, co-porte-parole de la Coalition fjord, ainsi que la députée Ruba Ghazal, porte-parole de Québec solidaire en matière d’environnement, y prendront part. Marie-Michèle Doyon, fondatrice du forum Le Peuplier, et Sophie Delfa, professeure-chercheuse en communication à l’UQAC et membre du comité de démarrage du Grand dialogue régional sur la transition, y participeront également. L’enjeu des stratégies de communication déployées par certains de ces acteurs mobilisés contre le projet d’exportation de gaz naturel à Saguenay de GNL Québec ne fera pas partie des sujets sur la table. « Non, on ne risque pas de parler de GNL, a indiqué Elizabeth Perron. Sauf que peut-être que ça se peut qu’il y ait des invités qui en parlent dans leurs questions plus personnelles ; sûrement des messages qui ont été plus difficiles à passer, quelles stratégies de communication ils ont utilisées pour que ça fonctionne, mais on ne va pas nécessairement dans l’enjeu du GNL. » Les organisatrices ont reçu jusqu’à maintenant 76 inscriptions en ligne à l’événement gratuit. Les étudiantes organisent également un rallye à Saguenay en prévision du colloque, dont les détails ont été publiés sur la page Facebook Éco-conseil UQAC.Myriam Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An emergency order mandating the use of masks in response to the coronavirus pandemic could be turned into city code by the Anchorage Assembly. Assembly members were expected to introduce ordinances Tuesday that could change mayoral emergency orders into local law, including a requirement for masks to be worn within indoor public places, Anchorage Daily News reported. A mask ordinance would move the matter out of the control of the mayor’s office, regardless of whether the measure has the mayor’s support. A new mayor is expected to be chosen during the April 6 election and take office July 1. Assembly members will wait until a future meeting to vote on ordinances proposed Tuesday. While there has been opposition, surveys of Anchorage residents by the University of Alaska Anchorage throughout 2020 found widespread acceptance of mask use to slow the spread of the virus. More than 80% of respondents in November reported wearing masks “most or all of the time when not at home.” The figure increased to 90% in December. A statewide survey in November found a majority of Alaska residents support wearing masks. Acting Assembly Vice Chair John Weddleton said the mask ordinance proposal and three others regarding mayoral emergency orders are steps toward addressing authority issues that have arisen during the pandemic. Weddleton said he has heard from many residents who are concerned about the amount of power in the mayor’s office. The assembly earlier this month extended to April a declaration giving Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson the authority to enact emergency orders in response to the pandemic. It is "unusual to have a mayor say, ‘Let it be so,’ and there’s a law,” said Weddleton, a sponsor of the mask ordinance proposal. Assembly member Jamie Allard said she opposes putting the mask order into city code. “People have shown they’re willing to wear a mask, and some don’t. And I think that’s an individual decision,” Allard said. “I do not agree with people being legally made to cover their faces.” For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The Associated Press
Five years ago, when Bill Pike attended the first meeting of a “100people” group in Hamilton, organized by his sons Jeremy and Nathan, it is unlikely he imagined he would find himself leading a similar group in Bruce County, or the huge impact the group would have on the local not-for-profit groups. 100peoplewhoshare is a community driven, third-party fundraising organization, with groups springing up across the province. It invites members to gather three or four times each year and donate $100 each meeting to a chosen charity. The gathering takes only an hour, but has an enormous impact on the charity that is awarded the donation. Pike refers to the organization as “the ever-ready local charity that keeps on giving.” Pike says that back in 2016, his sons invited him to attend the first meeting of their fledgling group. He was so taken with the story of one of the presenting charities, Camp Erin, that he voted for it to receive the donation. He described feeling as he drove home that “it was the best $100 I ever spent.” Shortly after attending the Hamilton meeting, his sons challenged him to start a similar group in Bruce County. So in January of 2017, Pike and his wife Sharon began sharing their vision and canvassing for members. At the inaugural meeting of 100peoplewhoshare Bruce County in April, 2017 even they were surprised by the support and interest shown by the public. Eighty-two people came out, and Pike said he was “blown away” by the response. At that meeting, Bruce County’s Women’s House received $8,700. Since then, the group has continued to meet three times each year, and has just celebrated its fourth successful year. The organization uses a simple selection process when choosing a recipient for the donation. Any member can nominate a charity to participate. The charity must be able to provide tax receipts, offer service to the local community and a representative must commit to coming to meetings prepared to give a five-minute presentation describing what the donation will be used for. At the meeting, three of the nominated charities are randomly selected to give a presentation. One of those three charities receives the donation, which is based on the votes from members. Past recipients include Huron Shores Hospice, the Kincardine hospital auxiliary and Big Brothers and Sisters. Once a charity is selected to receive the donation, they are not eligible to participate for three years. Since its first meeting in 2017, the group has raised more than $130,000., 100 per cent of which goes directly to the chosen charity. “Our goal is to, and has been for four years, to make a local, financial impact,” said Pike. Since the pandemic broke in early 2020, the organization has adapted its meetings to a virtual format, in order to ensure the safety of all members and presenters. The 2021 meetings are scheduled for April 26, July 26 and Oct. 25. The April meeting will be run via Zoom, and Pike has his fingers crossed that by July the group will be able to gather in some fashion. He says part of the appeal of the group is the excitement and connection members feel with the community and the charities they learn about. “We are feeling even more need for our work with COVID, which has been disastrous for charities,” said Pike. “The entire country is suffering. Now more than ever is our time to help people locally.” Anyone interested in learning more about 100peoplewhoshare Bruce County can email Pike at firstname.lastname@example.org find the group on Facebook. New members are always welcome. Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
Autant les fonctionnaires francophones qu’anglophones sont mal à l’aise d’utiliser le français dans les milieux de travail où le bilinguisme est requis. Comment s’en sortir ?
NAIROBI, Kenya — The United States says all soldiers from Eritrea should leave Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region “immediately.” A State Department spokesperson in an email to The Associated Press late Tuesday cited “credible reports of looting, sexual violence, assaults in refugee camps and other human rights abuses." "There is also evidence of Eritrean soldiers forcibly returning Eritrean refugees from Tigray to Eritrea,” the spokesperson said. The statement reflects new pressure by the Biden administration on the government of Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous country with 114 million people and the anchor of the Horn of Africa, and other combatants as the deadly fighting in Tigray nears the three-month mark. The AP this week cited witnesses who fled the Tigray region as saying Eritrean soldiers were looting, going house-to-house killing young men and even acting as local authorities. The Eritreans have been fighting on the side of Ethiopian forces as they pursue the fugitive leaders of the Tigray region, though Ethiopia’s government has denied their presence. The U.S. stance has shifted dramatically from the early days of the conflict when the Trump administration praised Eritrea for its “restraint.” The new U.S. statement calls for an independent and transparent investigation into alleged abuses. “It remains unclear how many Eritrean soldiers are in Tigray, or precisely where,” it says. It was not immediately clear whether the U.S. has addressed its demand directly to Eritrean officials. And the office of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed did not immediately respond to questions. Witnesses have estimated that the Eritrean soldiers number in the thousands. Eritrean officials have not responded to questions. The information minister for Eritrea, one of the world’s most secretive countries, this week tweeted that “the rabid defamation campaign against Eritrea is on the rise again.“ The U.S. also seeks an immediate stop to the fighting in Tigray and “full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access” to the region, which remains largely cut off from the outside world, with Ethiopian forces often accompanying aid. “We are gravely concerned by credible reports that hundreds of thousands of people may starve to death if urgent humanitarian assistance is not mobilized immediately,” the statement says. The United Nations in its latest humanitarian update said it is receiving reports of “rising hunger” in Tigray and cited a “dire lack of access to food” since many farmers in the largely agricultural region missed the harvest because of the fighting, and as “critical staff” to scale up the humanitarian response can't access the region. Transport, electricity, banking and other links “have yet to be restored in much of the region,” the U.N. said, and 78% of hospitals remain nonfunctional. “Our concern is that what we don’t know could be even more disturbing," U.N. children's agency chief Henrietta Fore said in a statement Wednesday. "For 12 weeks, the international humanitarian community has had very limited access to conflict-affected populations across most of Tigray.” Vaccinations have stopped across the region, Fore added. The U.S. statement added that “dialogue is essential between the government and Tigrayans.” Ethiopia's government has rejected dialogue with the former Tigray leaders, seeing them as illegitimate, and has appointed an interim administration. The former Tigray leaders, in turn, objected to Ethiopia delaying a national election last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and considered Abiy's mandate over. Cara Anna, The Associated Press
BERLIN — A German classical music foundation says it has found the rightful heirs of a Jewish woman who was forced by the Nazis to sell two scores by composer Franz Liszt before being deported to a concentration camp. Klassik Stiftung Weimar said Wednesday that researchers were able to trace relatives of Emma Frankenbacher living in Argentina, where her daughter and son-in-law had fled Nazi persecution in the 1930s. Frankenberger, who died at 67 in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, sold the two handwritten manuscripts to a Liszt museum in 1937 for 150 Reichsmark (about $370 at the time). Such transactions are usually considered forced sales, as Jews had no other option to but to agree to often very low prices. The foundation said it has now reached an agreement with the heirs to buy the scores for the museum. It didn't disclose the purchase price. The Associated Press
THE LATEST: B.C. recorded 485 new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths on Wednesday. There are currently 4,299active cases in B.C., including 303 people in hospital, 74 in the ICU. 124,365 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., 4,160 of which were second doses. Premier John Horgan promised COVID-19 rule-breakers he will "come down on you like a ton of bricks." But B.C. won't follow Manitoba's lead in implementing mandatory quarantine for out-of-province visitors. B.C. has detected six cases of the variant from the U.K. and three cases from South Africa. The province will not be receiving new doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines next week. Second doses of the vaccine will now be administered 42 days after the first, instead of 35, in order to vaccinate as many vulnerable people as possible. On Wednesday, health officials announced 485 new cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix issued a written statement saying there are now 4,299 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Of those, 303 people are in hospital, including 74 in intensive care. To date, B.C. has confirmed 65,719 cases of COVID-19, including 1,172 people who have died. Wednesday's update also included a new outbreak at Glenwood Seniors Community in Agassiz and another at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre. Premier John Horgan held his weekly COVID-19 briefing earlier Wednesday, promising those who are flouting public health orders and advice that officials will "come down on you like a ton of bricks." He also spoke at length about two Vancouverites accused of chartering a plane to a remote Yukon community and posing as motel employees to get early access to the Moderna vaccine. The premier said that behaviour is "un-Canadian" and said British Columbians all feel "contempt" for them. But Horgan did not announce any new enforcement measures on Wednesday, and said B.C. will not follow Manitoba's lead and bring in mandatory 14-day quarantines for people visiting from out of province. Vaccine status So far, 124,365 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given out in B.C., including 4,160 second doses. Henry has said that over the weekend the province received further updates on future shipments of vaccinations — and that B.C. will not be receiving new doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines over the next two weeks. As a result of the shortage, second doses of the vaccine will be delayed until 42 days after the first, rather than 35, in order to provide protection to a greater number of people. The last update from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control confirmed six cases of the variant first reported in the U.K. and three cases of the variant first seen in South Africa. Henry said all cases of the variant from the U.K. are travel-related, but none of the variants first detected in South Africa have been linked to travel. The province has ramped up screening for the faster-spreading coronavirus variants of concern. Interior clusters grow Meanwhile, more COVID-19 cases have been linked to community clusters related to social gatherings and Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna. Interior Health says 46 new cases linked to a cluster first identified Jan. 20 in the Williams Lake area have been identified. Thirteen staff at Cariboo Memorial Hospital have also tested positive, but Interior Health says the hospital is safe to visit for appointments or emergency care. An additional 11 cases have been linked to a community cluster at Big White Ski Resort, bringing the total number of cases there to 225. New travel measures coming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that new pandemic measures for travel are coming and Canadians should cancel any travel plans. Trudeau said that even though existing travel control measures have been effective in keeping the number of infections low, more effort will be needed going forward. "Obviously, extremely low is still not zero and one case is too many if we're importing, particularly considering the variants out there," Trudeau said. Trudeau also sought to reassure Canadians that vaccine shots will continue to arrive even as the European Union threatens protectionist measures to limit the export of doses abroad. He said he received assurances this morning from Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, that that company will meet its promised delivery timelines — 230,400 doses are slated to arrive next week. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 10 p.m. PT on Monday, Canada had reported 757,448 cases of COVID-19, and 19,238 total deaths. Canada's COVID-19 situational awareness dashboard was not updated on Tuesday. A total of 62,447 cases are considered active. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Common symptoms include: Fever. Cough. Tiredness. Shortness of breath. Loss of taste or smell. Headache. But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. What should I do if I feel sick? Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911. What can I do to protect myself? Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. Keep your distance from people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces. More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
P.E.I. has its first-ever chief physician recruiter, appointed as part of a joint project between the province and the Medical Society of P.E.I. Dr. Megan Miller, who has been a palliative care physician and clinical associate at the Cancer Treatment Centre in Charlottetown since 2013, was announced in the new position Wednesday morning. "This is actually a first-of-its-kind recruitment model in Canada," Miller told CBC News. "We really feel it's going to put P.E.I. on the map for creating a more innovative way to think about recruiting physicians." The need is pressing. P.E.I.'s patient registry site currently shows 15,300 people are waiting for the services of a family doctor, though nearly 300 of those do have a doctor but want to switch to a different one. Miller said the province currently has about 23 vacancies, including in family medicine, anesthetics, psychiatry, emergency medicine, gastroenterology and microbiology. The province reports it has recently been recruiting about 20 doctors a year. There were 18 in 2019 and 20 in 2020. Eight have committed to come so far in 2021, with discussion underway with a dozen more. Part of larger change The medical society entered into a contract in November with the Department of Health and Wellness to implement a "physicians recruiting physicians" model for the province. The society said hiring a chief physician recruiter was its first commitment as part of this contract. Miller said her appointment is part of giving doctors more of a role in recruiting new medical staff for the Island. She will be the lead contact for prospective physicians looking to practise medicine on P.E.I., and will help them establish themselves. Miller describes her role as "supporting them after they've come here, so they see success and they learn what we have learned, which is that P.E.I. is a really wonderful province and a really wonderful place to live and work and raise a family." She will also work closely with P.E.I. physicians to help recruit new doctors to their communities and specialties, as well as in determining what the needs are, and staying on top of any upcoming vacancies. Miller was appointed to a two-year term, and starts in her new role on Feb. 16. More from CBC P.E.I.
A new digital campaign is looking to flood social media sites with accurate, science-informed content about COVID-19. Misinformation and conspiracy theories have plagued the online discussion around COVID-19 since the pandemic began. But that misinformation has shifted in the past 10 months, says Timothy Caulfield, Canada research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta. Canadians are becoming more polarized, and ideology and personal identity have become bigger factors in COVID-19 misinformation. "You see anti-vaxxers using language like choice and liberty and freedom in order to get people into their community. And then all of a sudden, this misinformation becomes an ideological flag," Caulfield said on CBC's Radio Active on Monday. To combat inaccurate messages, Caulfield along with a national coalition of scientists, researchers and health experts came together to kick start #ScienceUpFirst, a new campaign aimed at amplifying accurate scientific information about COVID-19. The campaign's goal is to spread reliable, science-informed content about the pandemic on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and encourage Canadians to share the posts. The group behind the campaign wants to respond to the rise they're seeing in misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding things like COVID-19 transmission, government responses and, most urgently, vaccines. Caulfield said it can be difficult to change the mind of 'hardcore deniers' of scientific sources, but he thinks there's a large population the campaign can reach. "It's not going to fix everything, and we're talking about moving the needle. But when you're talking about something as problematic and as important as the spread of misinformation, moving the needle matters," Caulfield said. The misinformation being spread online has been classified as an infodemic by the World Health Organization. The harm of misinformation to public health was also noted on Tuesday by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health. Hinshaw said she wants to promote up-to-date content reviewed by experts in epidemiology, infectious diseases and public health. "I want to encourage all Albertans to be thoughtful and appropriately critical of what you see on social media or any other platform," Hinshaw said. "Take a moment to assess the accuracy and consider the source of any information you read before you believe it or pass it along." Carrie Bourassa, a member of the campaign's steering committee, has been working against misinformation for months. Bourassa, the scientific director of the CIHR Institute of Indigenous People's Health, has developed fact sheets with her team for Indigenous communities about COVID-19 since the pandemic began, translated into different Indigenous languages. The hesitancy some in Indigenous communities have about the COVID-19 vaccines is understandable, Bourassa said, because some communities have historically been hurt by scientific misinformation and experimentation. "It means that as scientists we have to work even harder to gain that trust. Particularly [with] people that have generations of terrible experiences," said Bourassa, who's also a professor of community health and epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan. Her team just finished a fact sheet about vaccines explaining that the vaccine won't alter your DNA, won't give people autism, hasn't been rushed, and that it will prevent disease and improve health outcomes. Her team's overall goal is to continue to highlight scientific expertise and the best evidence available "I don't think anyone wants to pressure anyone, I don't think that will do any good. But to at least provide the best information that we possibly can so that people at least will give pause, feel comfortable, think it over and hopefully know they at least have the best information," Bourassa said.
BRUSSELS — The European Union’s executive body warned the Polish government Wednesday that it has a month to address long-standing concerns about laws that Brussels fears undermine the independence of Supreme Court judges or Poland faces possible legal action. The European Commission considers Poland in violation of EU law for allowing the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court to make decisions which have a direct impact on judges and the way they do their jobs. It says the chamber's independence and impartiality are not guaranteed. The commission warned that it “may refer the case” to the European Court of Justice, Europe’s top court, unless Poland takes action to fix the problem and replies to Brussels’ concerns in time. A series of legislative acts approved in late 2019 governs the way Poland's justice system operates. The laws entered force in February of last year. The European Commission started infringement proceedings against the government in Warsaw in April, and took further steps in October and December. The EU is concerned about cases involving the lifting of judges’ immunity to bring criminal proceedings against them, moves to temporarily suspend them and to cut their salaries. The Supreme Court disciplinary chamber can also rule on labour law, social security and the retirement of judges. The European Commission, which supervises the way EU laws are applied in the 27 member countries, said “the mere prospect for judges of having to face proceedings before a body whose independence is not guaranteed creates a ‘chilling effect’ for judges and can affect their own independence.” In November, the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court Disciplinary Chamber suspended Judge Igor Tuleya and cut his salary by 25%. Tuleya, who has been critical of the changes to the justice system, has become the symbol of the struggle for judicial independence in Poland. Tuleya’s immunity was also waived, allowing prosecutors to press charges against him, for having let the media hear the verdict in a politically sensitive trial. He's the third judge critical of Justice Ministry policy who has been suspended by the chamber, which is largely composed of government loyalists. Poland’s largest association of judges, IUSTITIA, has condemned the decisions. The EU commission's case is part of a long-running row between Brussels and the nationalist governments in Poland and Hungary over concerns that they are undermining democratic standards and the rule of law in the world's biggest trading bloc. The Associated Press
Getting back to a campaign promise delayed by COVID-19, the provincial government is accepting public input in a process to choose a model for an elected school board. “I think it’s really important because schools are hubs of the community. We need to make sure communities have a voice,” PEI’s Education Minister, Brad Trivers, said. Government is considering a hybrid model of elected and appointed board members. This could address issues with the previous elected model. The last elected English School Board was chosen in 2008 when the Island had three school boards: Eastern, Western and the French Language Board. At that time, every three years, Islanders had the opportunity to vote for a candidate to represent their school zone. There were 11 zones in the eastern district, nine in the western district and the French Language School Board had their own electoral system. The French board hasn’t stopped its electoral process. Brian Deveau of Souris was one of the last elected board members to represent zone 4 in eastern PEI when it was dissolved. As conversations and decisions about closing 11 schools became heated and eventually nine schools closed due to dwindling enrollment, the Eastern School Board grew less and less functional. Decisions on a variety of important policies, such as rezoning schools stalled. “It wasn’t working,” said Mr Deveau who saw representatives fighting tooth and nail to protect specific interests of their zone at the expense of what might be best for a larger school system picture. Mr Deveau said some members didn’t have the experience or qualifications that would lend well to effective policy or progressive visions of education for Island students. “You might be popular or respected in the community but not know what’s best for the education system and students and teachers,” he said. In 2012 the majority Liberal government passed legislation authorizing the Minister of Education to dismiss school board members. After offering the board some time to prove they could become functional and move forward with making important decisions, then Education Minister Doug Currie dismissed the entire board. In its place Mr Currie appointed three people to take on the duties of the board. Since then, boards of the Eastern and Western School Districts, which eventually merged into the Island-wide Public Schools Branch, have been appointed by the government. Mr Deveau doesn’t particularly like the idea of the minister or government of the day appointing board members because this could lessen an opportunity for back-and-forth accountability between the government and the board. Mr Deveau suspects an elected board could allow for past flaws to come roaring back. “It might be a better idea, as long as it’s done by an independent board or group, to appoint people with experience and knowledge that can lead the school board down the road,” he said. Mr Trivers said the topics Mr Deveau touched on are challenges that will have to be faced while stakeholders, Islanders, and the government decide the composition of an elected board. In consulting with the Home and School Federation and the PEI Teachers’ Federation, Mr Trivers said the concept of a hybrid model surfaced. In this type of model, Mr Trivers said, communities could elect a representative for each Family of Schools while other board positions could be appointed by stakeholder groups like the PEI Teachers’ Federation. “I think that’s a really good concept and it’s something we’re going to consult about and see what everybody thinks,” Mr Trivers said. Heather Mullen of Mount Stewart, president of the Home and School Federation, said she very much supports moving back to including elected members on the board. She also agrees, a hybrid model might work best. “It’s important perhaps to have appointed seats on the board to represent voices we don’t often hear at Home and School or when you get into elections,” she said. “How do you have the newcomers of PEI and the needs of those students represented? How do you have the Mi’kmaq community represented on the school board?” A hybrid model of sorts could be the solution. Voter turnout is another challenge Mr Trivers hopes to work through. In the last school board election, seven of nine representatives in the Western School District were declared by acclamation as were five of 11 in the Eastern School District. No more than 540 people voted in any particular zone and some competitive zones saw voter turnout to be just over 200. Mr Trivers said some ideas under consideration to increase voter turnout include online voting, voting locations in schools and holding elections in line with the provincial election. Elections PEI has not confirmed how, or if, all these methods would be possible or pragmatic but Mr Trivers says if these are options Islanders want, he expects the options can be sorted out. Islanders are invited to fill out a survey and take advantage of other opportunities to consult about model options and ways to increase voter turnout until March 11. With that information Mr Trivers and his team will draft legislation, consult further with stakeholders about amendments then bring an act to the floor of the legislature hopefully by spring 2022. The survey can be found on the province’s website. Rachel Collier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic
GUYSBOROUGH – Last week (Jan. 21) the government relaunched its Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) online portal, https://iaprequest.novascotia.ca . The reboot became necessary after a data breach discovered in April of 2018 on the previous website resulted in a shutdown of the site, a return to mail-in request forms and the creation of a website where the public could only access previously completed requests. The security breach and the length of time it has taken to restart the system is only one of many issues facing access to information in Nova Scotia. The Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) is quick to highlight two more: the timeliness of request fulfillment and lack of willingness to provide information by both business and other levels of government. At the regular MODG council meeting on Jan. 20, council was informed that a letter they sent to the Nova Scotia Department of Environment, in regard to the future of a contaminated site that belongs to Irving Oil Ltd. in Guysborough, was met with a response advising the municipality to file a FOIPOP request. To say that council was not satisfied with that answer would be an understatement. Warden Vernon Pitts said the response was “unacceptable.” Pitts, in a media interview, went on to outline the lack of success the MODG has had with similar requests. “The municipality made a FOIPOP request a number of years ago in regard to TDR, Tire Derived Aggregate. We FOIPOPed for information from the Province of Nova Scotia because we thought that that contract was awarded illegally—was our opinion at that time -- and the only way we could find out was to have an actual look at the contract. It took us five years to obtain that information and almost all of it was blacked out, so the information was absolutely useless,” he explained. It isn’t only the MODG that has gotten a lacklustre response to a recent FOIPOP request. The PC Party of Nova Scotia has run up against the FOIPOP wall in recent months in regard to a request they submitted to obtain the results for air quality testing in public schools. No information was made available. In a release issued on Jan. 18, PC Education Critic and Dartmouth East MLA Tim Halman said, “I worry that the only reason for the Liberals to withhold the schools’ air quality reviews from the public is that they are embarrassed by the results … If that is the case, then swift action is needed urgently.” The PC release also stated, “On January 7, after the Liberal Cabinet meeting, Education Minister Zach Churchill confirmed that data from school ventilation reviews was being tracked and kept, but dodged questions about actually releasing that information.” Tricia Ralph, Nova Scotia's Information and Privacy Commissioner, told The Journal in a Jan. 22 interview that while she could not speak directly to either of these cases, the office encouraged open access to information. “As a general principal we encourage the ideas of open government and open data,” said Ralph, “but the legislation doesn’t require it. So, it is possible for one government to say to another ‘You have to file a FOIPOP request.’ … I don’t know how common it is, but I suspect it isn’t terribly uncommon. But it is not the only way; government is not restricted or bound by legislation to only reply in the form of a FOIPOP request. They could do it another way. They could just give it out.” More information about how to request information under FOIPOP is available online at https://oipc.novascotia.ca/faq. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal