Star quarterbacks Matt Stafford and Deshaun Watson are both on the trading block but they carry different price tags. Here's why some teams might opt for Stafford.
Star quarterbacks Matt Stafford and Deshaun Watson are both on the trading block but they carry different price tags. Here's why some teams might opt for Stafford.
HOUSTON — President Joe Biden's administration has deported hundreds of immigrants in its early days despite his campaign pledge to stop removing most people in the U.S. illegally at the beginning of his term. A federal judge last week ordered the Biden administration not to enforce a 100-day moratorium on deportations, but the ruling did not require the government to schedule them. In recent days, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has deported immigrants to at least three countries: 15 people to Jamaica on Thursday and 269 people to Guatemala and Honduras on Friday. More deportation flights were scheduled Monday. It’s unclear how many of those people are considered national security or public safety threats or had recently crossed the border illegally, the priority under new guidance that the Department of Homeland Security issued to enforcement agencies and that took effect Monday. Some of the people put on the flights may have been expelled — which is a quicker process than deportation — under a public health order that former President Donald Trump invoked during the coronavirus pandemic and that Biden has kept in place. In the border city of El Paso, Texas, immigration authorities on Friday deported a woman who witnessed the 2019 massacre at a Walmart that left 23 people dead. She had agreed to be a witness against the gunman and has met with the local district attorney's office, according to her lawyers. Rosa was pulled over Wednesday for a broken brake light, detained based on previous traffic warrants, then transferred to ICE, which deported her before she could reach her attorney, said Melissa Lopez, executive director of the non-profit Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, which represents her. Rosa is being identified only by her first name because she fears for her safety in Juarez, a city across the U.S.-Mexico border from El Paso that's known for violence and gang activity. Jail records confirm that Rosa was booked into the El Paso jail on Wednesday for the warrants and left Friday. ICE had issued what's known as a “detainer,” seeking to hold her on immigration violations the day she was arrested, according to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. The El Paso district attorney's office confirmed in a statement Monday that it had given Rosa's attorneys the documentation needed to request a U.S. visa for crime victims. But the statement also said Rosa “is not a victim of the Walmart shooting case.” The district attorney did not immediately respond to follow-up questions. Her lawyers say Rosa pleaded guilty in 2018 to driving under the influence and ICE later released her, underscoring that authorities under Trump previously found she wasn't a threat to the public, Lopez said. Both Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris vocally opposed the Trump administration's immigration priorities during the presidential campaign. “It’s important that President Biden and Vice-President Harris realize that despite their very clear desires about how immigrants are treated, we continue to see on a local level immigrants being mistreated and disregarded,” Lopez said. ICE said Friday that it had deported people to Jamaica and that it was in compliance with last week's court order. The agency did not respond to several requests for further comment on additional deportation flights or Rosa's case. Officials in Honduras confirmed that 131 people were on a deportation flight that landed Friday. Another flight that landed in Guatemala on Friday had 138 people, with an additional 30 people expected to arrive Monday, officials there said. The White House referred questions to the Department of Homeland Security, but a spokesman did not return requests for comment. Democratic U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas, whose district includes El Paso, said her office had flagged Rosa's case to the White House. “My concern is that ICE will continue to move quickly before the Biden administration has an opportunity to make assessments and provide further directives,” Escobar said Monday. Two legal experts say that regardless of the judge’s order on the deportation moratorium, ICE could release immigrants with deportation orders, keep people detained or otherwise delay the deportation process. “Scheduling deportations is still a matter of discretion for the agency,” said Steve Yale-Loehr, an immigration law professor at Cornell University. U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton last week granted a temporary restraining order sought by Texas that bars enforcement of a 100-day deportation moratorium that had gone into effect Jan. 22. Tipton said the Biden administration had violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act in issuing the moratorium and had not proven why a pause in deportations was necessary. Tipton on Friday said he would extend his order through Feb. 23. The Justice Department has not yet asked Tipton or a federal appeals court to block the order. The White House on Friday reissued a statement saying it believed a moratorium was “wholly appropriate," adding that "President Biden remains committed to taking immediate action to reform our immigration system to ensure it’s upholding American values while keeping our communities safe.” Biden is expected to issue a series of immigration-related executive orders Tuesday amid the expected confirmation of Alejandro Mayorkas as Homeland Security secretary. Those orders are expected to include the formation of a task force to reunify families separated during the Trump administration. ___ This version corrects that 23 people died in the El Paso massacre, not 22. ___ Associated Press journalists Will Weissert in Washington, María Verza in Mexico City, and Sonia Pérez D. in Guatemala City contributed to this report. Nomaan Merchant, The Associated Press
Canada's best-known weather-predicting groundhogs called for an early spring today as they delivered their annual forecasts over video due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though one was missing in action. Nova Scotia's most famous groundhog, Shubenacadie Sam, was the first to make his prediction, hesitantly emerging from his pint-sized barn and apparently failing to see his shadow. In Val d'Espoir on Quebec's Gaspe peninsula, Fred La Marmotte was also reluctant to leave his miniature cabin. When the rodent did finally emerge, his handler held him to his ear and said he had predicted an early spring. In Wiarton, Ont., the community's famous albino groundhog, Wiarton Willie, was nowhere to be seen as officials called an early spring after throwing a fur hat into the air -- a move they said hearkens back to the tradition's first edition more than 60 years ago. The message was delivered by Mayor Janice Jackson in a pre-recorded video. According to folklore, if a groundhog doesn't see his shadow on Groundhog Day, spring-like weather will soon arrive. However, if the pug-nosed critter spots his shadow, winter will drag on. Folklorists say the Groundhog Day ritual may have something to do with Feb. 2 landing midway between winter solstice and spring equinox, but no one knows for sure. In medieval Europe, farmers believed that if hedgehogs emerged from their burrows to catch insects, that was a sure sign of an early spring. However, when Europeans settled in eastern North America, the groundhog was substituted for the hedgehog. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Il existe un engouement énorme pour le biochar partout sur la planète, à l’heure actuelle, car le produit renouvelable et d’origine naturelle laisse entrevoir des rendements accrus en agriculture, des potentiels pour le rétablissement des sols pauvres, ainsi que plusieurs utilisations dans le domaine de la filtration. Les tests en serre réalisés par Agrinova laissent entrevoir des rendements accrus de 10 à 15 % et une réduction des coûts de 10 à 20 %. Même si plusieurs études ont démontré les bienfaits du biochar, il reste encore beaucoup de recherches à faire pour préciser quel type d’essence de bois doit être utilisée selon les résultats recherchés. Pour une utilisation commerciale, il faut aussi trouver quelle est la taille optimale des résidus de bois, lesquels peuvent être sous la forme de sciure, de copeaux de différentes tailles, de granules ou autre, et le volume à appliquer pour obtenir les résultats souhaités. Après avoir fait plusieurs tests de caractérisation, Agrinova estime avoir une recette assez solide. « On a pu constater une hausse des rendements de 10 à 15 % », souligne Régis Pilote, le responsable scientifique du projet chez Agrinova. En plus de hausser les rendements, l’utilisation du biochar permet de faire des économies de fertilisants. « Avec sa surface poreuse, le biochar agit comme une éponge qui retient les nutriments, qui agit comme un engrais à libération lente », dit-il, avant d’ajouter qu’un kilogramme de biochar peut emprisonner 5 à 6 kilogrammes en eau. Selon les calculs d’Agrinova, le biochar permettrait une réduction des coûts de 10 à 20 %. À LIRE AUSSI Avec sa surface poreuse, le biochar contient beaucoup de microhabitats qui permettent d’héberger des microbes, des bactéries, des champignons et la microflore, ajoute Régis Pilote. « Ça permet de stimuler la vie et c’est bon pour la plante », dit-il, avant d’ajouter que le biochar apporte aussi des nutriments comme l’azote, le phosphore et le potassium. Dans le cadre des tests horticoles d’Agrinova, les biochars ont été produits avec du peuplier faux-tremble et du bouleau blanc, deux espèces de la région. « On veut valoriser la biomasse forestière de la région pour trouver des débouchés », ajoute l’expert. Les essences de bois, les traitements et la taille des résidus peuvent produire des propriétés différentes. « On peut produire du biochar à la carte, selon les propriétés recherchées », souligne Régis Pilote. Un projet de recherche a aussi été développé pour enrichir le terreau utilisé pour produire des plants forestiers avec du biochar d’épinette noire. « Ça permet de fixer du carbone dans le sol pour plusieurs années », ajoute ce dernier. L’utilisation de biochar sur de grandes surfaces apparaît coûteuse, à l’heure actuelle, mais son utilisation pourrait être efficace pour réhabiliter des sols détériorés par l’érosion et le compactage, dit-il. Des tests sont aussi en cours pour utiliser le biochar comme capteur d’odeur. De plus, des débouchés pourraient aussi être développés dans le domaine de la filtration de l’eau et de l’air. Et avez-vous remarqué tous les dentifrices qui contiennent désormais du charbon sur les tablettes des pharmacies ? C’est le signe que le secteur des cosmétiques souhaite aussi valoriser les bienfaits du biochar. La grande aventure du biochar ne fait que commencer dans la région. Guillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
LONDON — A report commissioned by the British government is urging a radical transformation in the way that countries around the world assess the state of their economies by elevating the natural world as a key element in their economic planning. The review of the economics of biodiversity by Professor Partha Dasgupta concludes that nature needs to become as valued as traditional gauges of economic wealth such as profits in the future. In the 600-page review that was commissioned in 2019 by Britain's Treasury, the University of Cambridge economist warned that current economic growth and prosperity have “come at a devastating cost to nature." He said declines in biodiversity and the environment’s ability to provide food, clean water and air are “fueling extreme risk and uncertainty for our economies and well-being." The coronavirus pandemic and the associated economic calamity is just one illustration, he said, of what can happen when habitats are destroyed and species exploited. “Nature is more than a mere economic good,” he said. “Nature nurtures and nourishes us, so we will think of assets as durable entities that not only have use value, but may also have intrinsic worth.” Dasgupta called on the world to ensure demands on nature do not exceed sustainable supplies, by changing food production and consumption, investing in natural solutions such as restoring forests and protecting natural habitats. He said co-ordinated action now would in the long-run be less costly and would also help tackle other issues such as climate change and poverty, Additionally, he pointed to a need to move away from using gross domestic product, or GDP, as a measure of economic success toward one that accounts for the benefits of investing in natural assets such as forests, soils and oceans. “As a measure of economic activity, GDP is indispensable in short-run macroeconomic analysis and management, but it is wholly unsuitable for appraising investment projects and identifying sustainable development,” he said. Responding to the report, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the coming year is “critical” in efforts to stop and reverse declining biodiversity. He said that the U.K., which is this year president of the Group of Seven leading economies and hosting the 26th global U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties, is “going to make sure the natural world stays right at the top of the global agenda.” Countries are also due to meet in China later this year to agree new efforts to tackle biodiversity declines. In a foreword to the report, naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough said economics was a discipline that shapes decisions of the “utmost consequence” and the review put biodiversity at its core. He noted that humans, together with the livestock reared for consumption, constitute 96% of the mass of all mammals on the planet, with the rest — from elephants to monkeys — accounting for just 4%. He also pointed to the fact that 70% of all birds alive are poultry, mostly chickens for human consumption. “We are destroying biodiversity, the very characteristic that until recently enabled the natural world to flourish so abundantly,” he said. He said the report “shows us how, by bringing economics and ecology together, we can help save the natural world at what may be the last minute — and in doing so, save ourselves.” Pan Pylas, The Associated Press
With hedge funds at the center of market drama for the second time in less than 12 months, the GameStop saga is likely to expedite a regulatory review of the ever-larger role non-bank firms play in the financial markets, regulatory experts said. Scrutiny of the non-bank financial sector was already expected to be high on newly appointed Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's agenda after hedge fund de-leveraging contributed toward turmoil in the U.S. Treasuries market in March 2020. But the sector is likely to garner much closer attention after a retail buying frenzy in GameStop and other stocks burned several hedge funds that had bet against the companies and led retail brokerages to restrict trading in the affected stocks.
WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy met late Tuesday with hard-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene as Republicans wrestled over how to handle a bipartisan outcry over her embrace of outlandish conspiracy theories, including suggestions that mass shootings at the nation's schools were staged. Aides to McCarthy and Greene offered no immediate comment after the two spent around 90 minutes together in his Capitol office. Their session came as the GOP faced unrest from opposing ends of the Republican spectrum over Greene and Rep. Liz Cheney, who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump. The strife underscores GOP fissures as the party seeks a path forward without Trump in the White House. Without action by Republicans, Democrats were threatening to force an embarrassing House vote Wednesday on removing Greene, R-Ga., from her assigned committees. She had been named to the education committee, a decision that drew harsh criticism because of her suggestions that school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, and Parkland, Florida, could be hoaxes. The House GOP Steering Committee, a leadership-dominated body that makes committee assignments for the party, also met late Tuesday. On social media, Greene has also expressed racist views and supported for calls for violence against Democratic politicians, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. McCarthy, R-Calif., has stopped short of criticizing the first-term congresswoman, who was dubbed a “future Republican Star” by Trump last summer and has remained a firm Trump supporter. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and others have boosted pressure this week on the House GOP to act. In a statement that didn't use Greene's name, he called her “loony lies” a “cancer” on the GOP. It was the latest indication of his concerns about letting the GOP’s most pro-Trump, hardest-right factions gain too much sway in the party. In addition, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who’s been trying to combat the GOP’s pro-Trump wing, said he favoured removing Greene from her committees, saying Republicans must “take a stand to disavow” her. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, a Trump critic and the GOP 2012 presidential nominee, said Tuesday that Republicans must “separate ourselves from the people that are the wacky weeds.” On the GOP's furthest right wing, lawmakers were itching to oust Cheney, a traditional conservative and daughter of former Vice-President Dick Cheney, from her post as the No. 3 House Republican after she voted to impeach Trump last month. McConnell praised Cheney, R-Wyo., as “a leader with deep convictions and courage,” but House GOP lawmakers planned to meet privately Wednesday to decide her political fate. The looming decisions over Cheney and Greene represent a moment of reckoning for a party struggling with its future. Two weeks after Trump left office, House Republicans are effectively deciding whether to prioritize the former president’s norm-shattering behaviour and conspiracy theories and retain the loyalty of his voters over more establishment conservative values. “At the very moment that Joe Biden is lurching to the left is the moment that the Republican Party is lurching out of existence,” GOP pollster Frank Luntz said of the new Democratic president, who is preparing to try muscling a mammoth COVID-19 relief package through the narrowly divided Congress. “We can either become a fringe party that never wins elections or rebuild the big tent party of Reagan," Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, one of the few elected Republicans who routinely rebuked Trump, said in a written statement. Without mentioning Cheney or Greene, he added, “I urge congressional Republicans to make the right choice.” But pro-Trump forces in and out of Washington remain powerful. John Fredericks, who led Trump’s Virginia campaigns in 2016 and 2020, warned that there would be party primaries against Cheney defenders. “We’ve got millions and millions of woke, motivated, America-first Trump voters that believe in the movement,” Fredericks said. “If you’re going to keep Liz Cheney in leadership, there’s no party.” Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., a leader of the effort to oust Cheney, says he has enough support to succeed. “She's brought this on herself,” Rosendale said. He said Cheney, who was joined by only nine other Republicans in backing impeachment, was wrong to not forewarn colleagues about her decision. Republicans have said that GOP members would unite against a Democratic move to remove Greene from her committee assignments and that such an effort would help Greene cast herself as a victim of partisan Democrats. As if to illustrate that point, Greene herself tweeted fundraising appeals Tuesday that said, “With your support, the Democrat mob can’t cancel me,” beneath a picture of herself standing with Trump. But Democrats said they think some Republicans will support ousting Green from committees and that a House vote will make McCarthy look weak and further erode GOP support among moderate suburban voters. The handling of Greene and Cheney presented a tricky balancing act for McCarthy. Penalizing Cheney for what McConnell called a “vote of conscience” on impeachment would be awkward without also punishing Greene. Action against either risked angering the GOP's numerous Trump supporters or its more traditional conservative backers. “You can’t do the normal political song and dance and appease this side slightly and appease that side slightly,” said former Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., who lost a 2018 party primary after clashing with Trump. “The whole nature of the Trump phenomenon is there is no appeasement.” McCarthy has said he supports Cheney but also has “concerns,” leaving his stance on her unclear. ___ Peoples reported from New York. AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report from Washington. Alan Fram, Steve Peoples And Brian Slodysko, The Associated Press
The P.E.I. government has made the changes in law required to allow pharmacists to provide vaccinations that can protect Islanders against COVID-19. Traditional storm days have changed on P.E.I. now that more people have the tools to work remotely. The executive director of the Community Association of Long Term Care on P.E.I. says members are frustrated by the lack of clarity around compensation from the province for expenses incurred because of COVID-19 public health guidelines. Dr. Heather Morrison's regular COVID-19 briefing was cancelled due to the storm. On Monday, two new cases of COVID-19 were reported. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases reported on P.E.I. is 113, with five active. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. New Brunswick reported 25 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. There are now 267 active cases in the province, including three cases of a coronavirus variant. One new case was reported in Nova Scotia, bringing its total active cases to 10. Also in the news Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
Adolphus “A.J.” Augier has resigned from his position as a Fort Simpson councillor, the village council heard as it met on Monday evening. Mayor Sean Whelly said Augier resigned with immediate effect on January 26. Augier had joined the council in May 2020, replacing Kirby Groat after Groat's own resignation. “I knew the councillor did not have issues with the council itself. It’s just in order for him to take advantage of another opportunity, he had to basically resign his position,” Whelly told council of Augier’s departure. Augier is the third Fort Simpson councillor to resign this term, following Groat and Mike Rowe. Council considered three options to fill the vacancy: offer the seat to the unsuccessful candidate with the next-highest number of votes from 2018's election – which is how Augier and Councillor Randy Sibbeston were selected – or either host a by-election or leave the seat empty. Whelly said filling the position could take at least a month. He felt getting a new person up to speed on the budget and other proceedings may be difficult, and the individual may not be able to make an “effective contribution” to matters at hand. “The option of going down the list becomes less and less viable as you get further down it, I suppose,” he said. “There’s also the question of if it’s worth somebody’s time to come on so late in the game to council, to have to learn everything.” Council decided to leave the seat vacant, as the village has an election due in the coming months. “Having received a resignation from Councillor Adolphus Augier on January 26, 2021, the seat will remain vacant in consideration for the time left of the term of the existing council,” Whelly wrote as a motion for council, which subsequently passed unanimously. “I would like to thank Councillor Augier for the time and commitment he did make, and the contributions he made during his time as a councillor.” Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
The Almaguin regional fire department has been in discussion and recently the regional training has come to the forefront of attention. The regional agreement includes the Perry, Magnetawan, McMurrich/Monteith, Kearney, Ryerson, Armour and Burk’s Falls fire departments. So, let’s look at some key points of the “regional fire department.” Why is the regional fire training program important? The regional approach to training is important because it means all of the officers are trained at the same pace. If there’s a new recruit, they can go to a different fire hall to get their training and start out fresh working with other recruits. Another key point of the regional training is co-ordination when fire departments get on site. By training together, they know what each firefighter is capable of doing, what their duty should be, their ranking and level of training. What is the difference between mutual aid and automatic aid? The five fire departments have been using mutual automatic aid since 2016. What that means is if there is a fire or other incident in the Township of Perry, the Perry fire department knows that Burk’s Falls, McMurrich/Monteith and Kearney are on the way. With mutual aid, the responding fire department must get to the incident first and then call in to a dispatch in North Bay and request assistance. Will a “regional fire department” mean local fire stations will be shut down? No. Each department will stay in its municipality and be operated by its respective council and fire chief. What does “equipment sharing” mean? Equipment sharing means that the individual fire departments buy equipment that meets the region’s needs and it also means the standardization of equipment, so everyone is using the same type of equipment. For example, the southern Almaguin fire departments do water rescues and have bought equipment together to save each department the cost of buying that equipment individually. There are two watercrafts designated for ice water rescues, with one in Kearney and the other in Magnetawan. What about if someone in Perry needs to be rescued from ice or water? Even if the watercraft was housed in Perry, the Perry fire department would need backup from Kearney or Magnetawan to use the equipment so it would still be there just as fast. Does this mean that there is cost sharing between each municipality? No. Purchases are still done through the respective councils and not through the region. The idea of working under a regional system is to ensure that all the fire departments have required training and equipment needed to be able to work together with one another. While it’s still not official, the five southern Almaguin fire departments already describe their operations as regional. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
The City of Whitehorse's department of parks and trails is seeking to "encourage and legitimize," the use of e-bikes, by recommending a bylaw which would welcome them onto all city cycling trails. It would also consider most e-bikes as bicycles when it comes to use on roads. Last week, department staff presented a draft of a proposed bylaw to city council and senior management. The department cites the city's transport survey as having found majority support for allowing e-bikes alongside regular bicycles on all city trails. E-bikes are electrically powered bicycles that still have pedals but also contain a rechargeable battery. Whitehorse retailers said last summer that sales of e-bikes were surging, as has been the case across Canada. The city's draft bylaw comes a few months after the Yukon government first offered a subsidy on e-bikes with the aim to promote the technology as an alternative to automotive commuting and to help fight climate change. Meagan Wilson is projects and trails coordinator for the city. She says e-bikes do have a place in the city's transit plan, but says there has been a lack of clarity as to the relatively new technology. "As it stands right now they're considered motorized vehicles. This [bylaw] would encourage people, and legitimize their use," she said. Some limits considered on more powerful models The proposed bylaw would set some limits, however those would not affect most riders. Transport Canada currently defines e-bikes as having a maximum engine power of 500 watts and sets a top speed for assistance at 32 km/h — meaning the engine cannot run when the bike reaches or exceeds that speed. According to the draft bylaw, the City of Whitehorse would share this definition and relegate anything more powerful to certain trails designed for motorized vehicles, in a similar way that all-terrain vehicles are regulated. Bicycle retailers in Whitehorse currently sell only e-bikes which do not exceed Transport Canada's definition, and therefore would be allowed on roads and trails. Some motorsport retailers in Whitehorse do sell electric motorcycles which do not have pedals and whose engine power exceeds 500 watts. These would not be considered bicycles under the bylaw. Wilson says that category of vehicle can create a safety risk on trails given their higher speed. She also cites potential environmental damage such as tires creating ruts in the city's unpaved cycling trails. Fines for operating a restricted e-bike in a non-permitted area would be set at $100 by the city. Cycling advocate welcomes move Brian Pincott, executive director of Velo Canada Bikes, a national advocacy group for Canadian cyclists, agrees with banning higher-powered e-bikes from designated cycling trails. "They're not common and quite frankly nobody wants them on the trails. You talk to the mountain bike guys and [e-bikes] chew up the trails like you wouldn't believe," he said. As more e-bikes are sold, Pincott says more municipalities should be encouraging their use and clarifying rules. He thinks Whitehorse's proposed bylaw is moving in the right direction. "It removes barriers that some people experience riding a bike. It opens up the possibilities to more and more people. People who are older get access to exploring their communities and getting around with an electric bike that they just wouldn't have with a non-assisted bike," he said. The proposed city bylaw would also require helmets, brakes and lights on all e-bikes, and limit certain modifications such as homemade ways to boost power or circumvent maximum speed limiters. The proposal doesn't mean a bylaw will be adopted. A final version of the bylaw would still require a vote from city council in the spring.
A rare proposal in British Columbia to freeze the amount of money given to a local police department was quickly scuttled by New Westminster after its police board said it didn't approve of the idea. New Westminster council voted 5-2 on Monday evening to accept the city's police board argument they could not hold its budget at the same $30.8 million figure as 2020, due to increases in collective wages and targeted funds toward PPE and naloxone. Council originally voted 4-3 in December to ask the police board to freeze its budget and modify its request for a $1.7 million increase for 2021. In its response, the police board said it is committed to police reform, including a review on deployment of weapons and the implementation of a diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism framework. But the board rejected the idea of changing the budget. "The police board certainly respected the intent of the letter, but did have some challenges making the budgetary cuts that were asked," said New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Coté, who chairs the police board. "I think they want to be a partner … we've kind of recognized it's easy to pass a motion, but a lot more difficult to engage in this important and difficult work [of reform]." The motion was the part of the city's discussions for its overall 2021 budget, and a final proposal will now be created by staff. 'Justice always has to wait' The original request to freeze the budget was championed by Coun. Nadine Nakagawa, who was one of two councillors voting against Monday's motion. "We need to push for change in whatever way we can, and for me, that is not voting for a budget that is upholding the status quo," she said. Last summer saw protests across North America against anti-Black racism and police brutality, along with campaigns to defund police departments and increase spending on separate initiatives for mental health and addiction issues. The B.C. government is in the early stages of a review of the Police Act, but Nakagawa argued it was important for council to act instead of further waiting and consultation. "There has been report after report … and it seems to me like justice always has to wait. We have to wait for one more public engagement opportunity, or one more inquiry by politicians to do something." To date in B.C., only the City of Vancouver has attempted to freeze overall police expenditures for 2021, with no municipality proposing a reduction. Vancouver's police board has not yet formally responded. If a dispute over funding between a police board and city council cannot be internally resolved, it falls on the province to adjudicate. Coun. Patrick Johnstone said that while he supports many of Nakagawa's aims of police reform, he was skeptical of what would happen if the disagreement escalated. "I know we could dispute this, I know we could take this to Victoria, but I think we're pretty sure what's going to happen if we take that to Victoria," he said. "I think we'd end up in a dispute mechanism that would get us back to where we are today."
Regina's Heritage Community Association is applying to the city for a new community centre and community garden. The centre would be in the Municipal Justice Building at 1770 Halifax St, if the association can get support from the city's executive committee and planning commission on Wednesday. "We're really excited about this project," Shayna Stock, the association executive director said. "It could be a really great hub for our community, a place where people can come and access programming or just hang out and gather." The Municipal Justice Building was recently declared a municipal heritage site because of its history. It was built in 1930, was home to the Regina Police Service from 1931 to 1978 and was part of the Regina Riot. The association is requesting to rezone the building for a new community centre. The area doesn't have a centre, so the association's programming is either limited or held outside the area, Stock said. "It provides more opportunities for people to get to know their neighbours, which helps ultimately create a safer neighborhood in the long run," Stock said. "And it's a lot easier to build those relationships when there's a facility in which to do so." The association said the building would be renovated and the historical elements preserved. An addition on the building is not a part of the heritage designation and would be demolished for a new gymnasium and multipurpose room. The building would also be shared as a part of the Regina Police Service's campus, a previously planned partnership that the association became concerned about after last summer's Black Lives Matters protests. Stock said there was some trepidation at the start, and the association was vocal on social media about its hesitancy. After raising their concerns and working closely with city staff and police, Stock said they are looking forward to the project. "They've done all that they can to make sure the space is really separate, so that there's minimal-to-no overlap between RPS staff using their facility on the third floor and community members using the community area," Stock said. Regina police staff will be able to schedule the multipurpose rooms for training but because it's booked in advance, there can still be that separation, she said. This will hopefully help people who don't feel safe around police feel more comfortable, Stock said. Community garden to help combat local food insecurity The association is also applying for a community garden that would be beside their current home at the Old #1 Firehall. The space is currently a rock-landscaped area. Stock said the pandemic has amplified pre-existing food insecurity issues in the community. As a result, the association started a 'free little pantry' program and is applying for the garden. She said it's something they've been working toward for years. "Lots of people don't have regular access to quality, nutritious food. So it's an issue that lots of people are struggling with. The community garden will help to solve it a little bit," Stock said. "We've struggled to find the right location, the right funding situation. But we're excited that we seem to have all the pieces finally falling into place for 2021." The project is funded by the City of Regina's community investment grants program for food security. If approved, Stock hopes it will have several raised garden beds. The raised planters would be accessible by people in wheelchairs or who require a walker and cannot bend down to the ground. "We're hoping to grow vegetables, medicine and also just some decorative flowers and edible plants," Stock said. "We're hoping it will be a place for people to gather during the day.... Just generally a welcoming place that's accessible and educational and safe for people to hang out in during the day." Anyone could drop by and do some weeding at any time as well, and there would be some programing about growing the vegetables, harvesting them and how to cook with them in the kitchen, she said. City administration is recommending the land be leased to the association until May 31, 2027, then it can be reviewed. City administration said the association has indicated the garden would be temporary, as the planned renovations at the Municipal Justice Building include a community garden area. However, the association could apply to keep both sites if there's the demand.
Former high school principal Robin McGrath has been acquitted of four counts of assault and one count of uttering threats toward children in a K-7 school in Conception Bay South. Judge David Orr dismissed the charges Tuesday morning in provincial court in St. John's. Over the course of McGrath's trial, witnesses raised 13 different allegations against McGrath, involving the 2017-18 school year. The Crown accused McGrath of assaulting four children with special needs, including stepping on a child's hand, dousing another child with water until they vomited and dragging a child from their car into the school. The names of children, teachers and the school cannot be named due to a publication ban. Witnesses told stories of fear and toxicity in the school, while McGrath denied all allegations against him. In Orr's decision, he said the failure of witnesses to report the alleged assaults as they occurred was a key issue in the trial, as a complaint had not been heard since June 2018. The trial also put several staff members in alleged conflict with each other, which led to conflicting descriptions of some events. Orr said it was difficult to assess credibility and reliability in the case. During the trial, defence lawyer Tom Johnson told the court McGrath was protected by Section 43 of the Criminal Code, which states that every school teacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force to correct a pupil or child under his care, if the force doesn't exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances. Orr said he was satisfied the section applied in the case, as the Crown would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the force was excessive. Verdict 'long time coming', McGrath's lawyer says Following the decision, Johnson told reporters the verdict came as welcome news. "It's a long time coming. We expected this verdict, to be honest," Johnson said. "Obviously we're relieved we got a verdict that we expected.… It's 970-odd days approximately since Mr. McGrath left the school, so it's been a very tough time on the family. I'm sure he's very relieved." Johnson said the trial proved the importance of a fair trial and experienced judges in the justice system, saying the concerns Orr had over credibility were echoed by his team on multiple occasions. WATCH | Lawyer Tom Johnson speaks with reporters following the dismissal of charges against Robin McGrath: "The judge's reasons must speak for themselves," he said. "There was serious credibility and reliability concerns raised during this trial, and thankfully the court recognized them in the dismissal of every charge. "Had the public been able to hear what went on in that courtroom from top to bottom, they would have expected this outcome just like we did." He called on the public to put themselves in the shoes of his client's family in a difficult time. "There's a lot on the line for the Robin McGraths of the world. They get vilified publicly, and now we see that 900 and some-odd days later, the dismissal of all the charges," he said. "The evidence is what ruled. "It's time for the public to recognize, as they're sitting watching the news, that if it was them who was accused … or their son or their daughter or their loved one, they would want to be presumed innocent until the matter was dealt with. Why is it that we have such a hard time gathering that thought when we don't know the person? It's disappointing.… This has been an ongoing problem for a long time." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
NEW YORK — The White House speechwriter who helped President Barack Obama work on his response to the Charleston church massacre in June 2015 has a book deal. Cody Keenan's memoir is set around the time a white supremacist murdered nine Black parishioners in South Carolina. “Grace: A President, His Speechwriter, and Ten Days in the Battle for America” will be published in Fall 2022, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media announced Tuesday. Kennan will note that the Charleston tragedy was soon followed by other historic events. Within days, protesters called for the removal of the Confederate flag that had long flown on Statehouse grounds in Columbia, a demand met that July. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court announced two historic decisions, ruling that same-sex marriage was protected under the Constitution and upholding much of Obama's Affordable Care Act. The book's title refers to a theme of Obama's response to Charleston and to one of the most emotional moments of his presidency: his singing of “Amazing Grace” during his eulogy at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church for one of the victims, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney. "'Grace' started with a string of tweets on the second anniversary of that week,” Keenan said in a statement issued through the Houghton Mifflin imprint Sugar23 Books. “At first, all I wanted to do was tell a story to show what this country can be at its best and what writing with Barack Obama is actually like when the stakes are highest. The years since have only added context to how those 10 days help make sense of the broader sweep of American progress and backlash, this clash of two fundamentally opposing visions of America — and this feels like the right time to finally sit down and write it all up.” Keenan began working with Obama in 2007, when the future president was a first-term senator from Illinois. Keenan served as deputy director of speechwriting during Obama's first term and as director during Obama's second term. Other presidential addresses he worked on included Obama's eulogy for Sen. Edward Kennedy in 2009 and his 2015 speech marking the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday," when state troopers in Selma, Alabama, beat and teargassed civil rights marchers. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
FRANKFURT — The European economy shrank 0.7% in the last three months of 2020 as businesses were hit by a new round of lockdowns aimed at containing a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic. The quarterly drop in the official figure released Tuesday was not as sharp as experts had feared. But that couldn't erase a gloomier outlook for this year: the 19 countries that use the euro are forecast to lag China and the U.S. in bouncing back from the worst of the pandemic. Tuesday's figures from statistics agency Eurostat underscored a rollercoaster year of freakish economic data, with a plunge of 11.7% in the second quarter, the biggest since statistics started in 1995, followed by a rebound of 12.4% in the third quarter in late summer. The winter wave of coronavirus infections has meant new restrictions on travel and business activity, although companies in some sectors such as manufacturing have been better able to adjust than services businesses such as hotels and restaurants. The German economy, Europe's biggest, grew by a scant 0.1% in the fourth quarter while France saw a smaller than expected drop of 1.3%. Overall, economists had expected a drop in the eurozone of as much as 2.5%. For the year, the eurozone shrank 6.8%. The figures arrive amid disenchantment and finger-pointing over the slow pace of vaccine rollouts in the European Union, while the U.K., which has left the EU, started earlier and has vaccinated people at a faster pace. “While the eurozone GDP data were better than what we were expecting only a week ago, the short-term prospects for the European economy remain clouded by a challenging health situation in several countries and an underwhelming start of the vaccination roll-out,” said Nicola Nobile, lead eurozone economist at Oxford Economics. The restrictions on everything from hair salons to pubs has not improved the mood either, despite the resulting dip in infections. Leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel warn it's too early to ease up given the newer, more contagious variants. Meanwhile, pressure is growing on people like Renee Gorgoglione, a restaurant owner who was among about 1,000 people protesting against lockdown restrictions in Spanish vacation destination Palma de Mallorca over the weekend. “We shouldn’t be paying taxes when we are closed,” she said. "We can’t pay if we don’t have any income. I can’t pay the social security for my employees if I don’t have any income and from our government I have no help.” The eurozone is expected to reach 2019 levels of economic output only in 2022, say officials from the European Central Bank. That contrasts with China, which has already regained the pre-pandemic level of output, and with the U.S., where Congressional budget experts foresee a rebound to 2019 levels by the middle of this year. The International Monetary Fund last month cut its forecast for eurozone growth this year to 4.2% from 5.2% IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said there were multiple factors explaining why Europe lags. European governments restricted activity more sharply to save lives; several European countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy are heavily dependent on tourism, which has been ravaged by the pandemic, and Europe has a large share of small and medium size businesses that have had tougher going than larger firms. Pointing to the fiscal stimulus package in the U.S., Erik Nielsen, the chief economist for the UniCredit Group bank, called for “an acceleration of fiscal effort” in Europe. He said that could include more government borrowing and spending, taking advantage of very low interest rates. The current data leave no doubt that “the eurozone will be the last major economy to return to pre-pandemic levels,” he said. “Beyond the potential health consequences, slow vaccination progress can force countries to maintain tight lockdowns for longer, thus delaying the start of the economic rebound,” said Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg bank. “In addition, we have to watch the potential political consequences. ” Schmieding said a perception that the EU is not handling the crisis well could undermine national governments and “nourish EU-sceptic sentiment in parts of the EU electorate." David McHugh, The Associated Press
Les membres de la Chambre de commerce et d’industrie du Bassin de Chambly (CCIBC) se sont virtuellement réunis pour un remue-méninges collectif, vendredi dernier, afin de faire émerger des idées de relance. « Le brainstorm collectif, c’est un remue-méninges pour sortir des idées et rappeler que beaucoup d’aides sont offertes », souligne le président de la CCIBC, Sébastion Dion. « La difficulté, c’est de s’y retrouver, car parfois, le fait de bénéficier d’une quelconque aide financière nous empêchera d’en recevoir une autre. C’est ce que l’on veut démêler et valider auprès de nos membres, pour qu’ils soient au courant de l’aide à laquelle ils ont droit. » Il confie qu’au sein des commerces non essentiels et des restaurants, il n’y a « malheureusement pas encore de lueur d’espoir. Certains sont pessimistes, ou se demandent s’il faudra attendre jusqu’en avril ou en mai pour rouvrir. On parle de relance, mais pour l’instant, on est tous sur pause. Quand la relance commencera, on veut être prêts ». Bien que les secteurs du commerce de détail alimentaire et du commerce en ligne s’en sortent très bien, « la situation des restaurants et des bars est honnêtement très préoccupante. Les commerces de la rue Bourgogne sont le cœur de la ville; on ne souhaite pas y voir les locaux vacants se multiplier ». Alors que de plus en plus de membres manifestent leur désir de prendre le virage numérique, la CCIBC tente de les soutenir en ce sens. « Certains commerçants m’appellent pour connaître le meilleur logiciel. La rencontre a aussi pour but de les exposer aux idées et aux propositions de gens qui ont de l’expérience avec le commerce en ligne et qui ont pris ce virage depuis plusieurs années. Des pistes de solution en seront identifiées. » La CCIBC entend aussi offrir des formations, en partenariat avec divers collaborateurs et plateformes, pour faciliter cette transition vers le numérique. « Malgré que les temps soient excessivement difficiles depuis bientôt un an, il y a toujours cette forte volonté de s’entraider au sein des membres », assure M. Dion. Chloé-Anne Touma, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Journal de Chambly
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Verity Pharmaceuticals and Serum Institute of India (SII) have applied to distribute SII's licensed version of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine in Canada, potentially easing shortages as European manufacturing sites struggle to meet global demand. AstraZeneca Canada had filed a rolling application for its vaccine with Health Canada in October, but online records show Canada's Verity Pharmaceuticals and SII on Jan. 23 filed a separate application to sell the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University researchers. SII, the world's biggest vaccine maker, has capacity to produce roughly 2.4 million doses per day at its campus in Pune, western India.
If you were hoping for an early spring, you're in luck! Wiarton Willie predicted an early spring this year, in what organizers called a "live(ish)" video sent a few minutes before the traditional prediction time. This year's Groundhog Day forecast was officially announced at 8:07 a.m. from Wiarton, Ont. but this time, it was online with no live crowds or fireworks. Marking the 65th year of the tradition, the South Peninsula Mayor Janice Jackson who acted as Willie's interpreter, announced the prediction. But the community's famous albino groundhog, Wiarton Willie, was nowhere to be seen. "It's an early spring," announced Jackson after throwing a fur hat into the air — a move they said hearkens back to the tradition's first edition more than 60 years ago. "The committee decided to pay tribute to the first prediction (which did not include a groundhog, only a fur hat) because it was the 65th anniversary this year and we were not able to host a live event due to COVID," the town's deputy clerk said in an email. The video had special appearances from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford to mark the annual tradition celebrated by the province. Willie is the successor to the original Wiarton Willy who died in 2018. Earlier this morning, Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia and Quebec's Fred La Marmotte both predicted an early spring. Watch Willie's 2021 prediction here:
Anna Nyarady travels to the United States every three weeks to participate in a clinical trial that's helped her become cancer free. She and other cancer patients would like to be exempt from Canada's quarantine rules, like some essential workers, as travelling for life-saving medical treatment is essential.