Confused between lockdowns and stay-at-home orders? Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti breaks down the latest COVID-19 headlines on The Morning Show.
Confused between lockdowns and stay-at-home orders? Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti breaks down the latest COVID-19 headlines on The Morning Show.
WASHINGTON — Three new senators were sworn into office after President Joe Biden's inauguration, securing the majority for Democrats in the Senate and across a unified government to tackle the new president's agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges. In a first vote, the Senate confirmed Biden's nominee for director of national intelligence, Avril Haines late Wednesday, overcoming Republican opposition to approve his first Cabinet member. It's traditionally a show of good faith on Inauguration Day to confirm at least some nominees for a new president’s administration. On Thursday, the new Senate majority leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he hoped Biden's nominees for the departments of Defence, Homeland Security, State and Treasury could also be swiftly confirmed. “To leave these seats vacant does a disservice to America,” Schumer said at the Capitol. Schumer introduced all six new Democratic senators — the “majority makers” — who he said represent an “expanding Democratic majority." Four are from the West and two from the South. They are a diverse group bringing several firsts to the Senate, along with Schumer's rise as the first Jewish majority leader of the Senate. The three who joined on Wednesday — Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Alex Padilla of California — took the oath of office from Kamala Harris, a former California senator who is first woman to be vice-president, and the first Black woman and Asian-American to hold that office. Warnock, a pastor from the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s church in Atlanta, is the first Black senator from Georgia. Ossoff, a former congressional aide and investigative journalist, is Jewish and also the now youngest member of the Senate, at 33. They won run-off elections in Georgia this month, defeating two Republicans, to lock the majority for Democrats. Padilla, a the son of immigrants from Mexico, becomes his state's first Latino senator, tapped by California’s governor to finish the remainder of Harris’ term. They join a Senate narrowly split 50-50 between the parties, but giving Democrats the majority with Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote. “Today, America is turning over a new leaf. We are turning the page on the last four years, we’re going to reunite the country, defeat COVID-19, rush economic relief to the people,” Ossoff told reporters earlier at the Capitol. “That’s what they sent us here to do.” Taken together, their arrival gives Democrats for the first time in a decade control of the Senate, the House and the White House, as Biden faces the unparalleled challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout, and the nation's painful political divisions from the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by a mob loyal to Donald Trump. Congress is being called on to consider Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion COVID recovery package, to distribute vaccines and shore up an economy as more than 400,000 Americans have died from the virus. At the same time, the Senate is about to launch an impeachment trial of Trump, charged by the House of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol as rioters tried to interrupt the Electoral College tally and overturn Biden’s election. The Senate will need to confirm other Biden Cabinet nominees. Yet as Washington looks to turn the page from Trump to the Biden administration, Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is not relinquishing power without a fight. Haines' nomination was temporarily blocked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., as he sought information about the CIA's enhanced interrogation program. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is holding back the Homeland Security nominee, Alejandro Mayorkas, over Biden's proposed immigration changes. McConnell is refusing to enter a power-sharing agreement with Senate Democrats unless they meet his demands, chiefly to preserve the Senate filibuster — the procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. At her first White House briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s desire to have his Cabinet confirmed and in place is “front and centre for the president,” and she said he was hoping to have his national security nominees in place Thursday or Friday. Psaki said the president will be “quite involved” in negotiations over the COVID relief package, but left the details of the upcoming impeachment trial to Congress. The Senate can “multitask,” she said. That’s a tall order for a Senate under normal circumstances, but even more so now in the post-Trump era, with Republicans badly split between their loyalties to the defeated president and wealthy donors who are distancing themselves from Republicans who back Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is expected to soon transmit to the Senate the House-passed article of impeachment against Trump, charged with incitement of insurrection, a step that will launch the Senate impeachment trial. Meantime, the power-sharing talks between Schumer and McConnell have hit a stalemate. It’s an arcane fight McConnell has inserted into what has traditionally been a more routine organizing resolution over committee assignments and staffing resources, but a power play by the outgoing Republican leader grabbing at tools that can be used to block Biden’s agenda. Progressive and liberal Democrats are eager to do away with the filibuster to more quickly advance Biden’s priorities, but not all rank-and-file Senate Democrats are on board. Schumer has not agreed to any changes but McConnell is taking no chances. For now, it will take unanimous consent among senators to toggle between conducting votes on legislative business and serving as jurors in the impeachment trial. The House last week impeached Trump for having sent the mob to the Capitol to “fight like hell” during the tally of Electoral College votes to overturn Biden’s election. __ Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report. ___ This story has been updated to correct that Sen. Tom Cotton represents Arkansas, not Oklahoma. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
ORANGEVILLE, Ont. — A senior staff member at an Ontario hospital has retired after a relative was vaccinated against COVID-19 at a clinic intended for health-care workers. Headwaters Health Care Centre in Orangeville, Ont., has apologized for what it’s calling an isolated incident on Jan. 14. The centre won’t name the individual beyond the title “staff director,” citing privacy reasons. The CEO says the employee's relative was at the hospital for another reason and was vaccinated during a break in scheduled appointments. Kim Delahunt calls it one person's “failure in sound decision-making,” and that health-care leaders must be held to a higher standard. Delahunt says the individual decided to retire after the incident, adding that the hospital is “deeply sorry.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
A cold chain break during the transportation of a COVID-19 vaccine recently is causing Central Health to make changes to its procedures. The break occurred earlier this month when 160 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were being transported from the distribution centre in Gander to the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre in Grand Falls-Windsor. The break came when the Pfizer vaccine, which must be kept at a temperature between –60 C and –80 C, went to a temperature that was between two and eight degrees outside what is recommended. Central Health has made changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again. “What we do when a situation like this happens, or any situation that happens, we follow a continuous quality improvement approach,” said Joanne Pelley, vice-president of integrated health and chief nursing executive with Central Health. “With that, we would review all processes that occurred and look at anything that we need to do differently.” One of those changes is to have the shipments of the vaccine transported on the day of the clinic instead of the day before. In the days that followed the break, there were no transportation issues and they were able to deliver vaccines to priority health-care workers. “We’ve reviewed the process, we’ve implemented new approaches and we certainly do not want this to happen again,” said Pelley. Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the province's chief medical officer of health, said the vaccine is transported with a specialized temperature recorder in each box, which indicated the doses had been above that for 15 minutes. “It’s my understanding that it has to do with just the way that the shipping container was conditioned — and the TempTale, the temperature recording device that we use — were conditioned prior to being placed in the … shipping container, and so that can sometimes result in a higher reading,” Fitzgerald said Wednesday. While there was no damage to the vaccine, it became paramount that those doses be administered as quickly as possible. Because of this, officials with Central Health pulled their health-care teams together and quickly started assessing the situation, while determining the best choice of action. None of the doses went to waste, and were delivered to the people who needed them in the six hours when they had to be delivered. “Central looked at this and tried to determine what the reason for that cold chain break was, and to the best of my knowledge at this point, they have figured that out and they have put safeguards in place to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” said Fitzgerald. — With files from Peter Jackson Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
While Municipalities of Saskatchewan President Gordon Barnhart remains out of province on vacation, members of the organization said they are still in the dark about his plans to return. Barnhart did comment on his vacation to Hawaii with his wife for a Jan. 19 story written by Gary Horseman, a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with the Four-Town Journal. The Journal covers Saltcoats, the town where Barnhart is the mayor. “For the last nine years, Naomi and I have spent Christmas and January in Maui. This year, with COVID-19, we took extra precautions to ensure that our health and the health of those around us would be safe,” Barnhart told the Journal. “Before leaving for our vacation, I discussed with the Saltcoats council and administration how we could keep in contact while away. While in Maui, we both have been keeping up with work by email and phone, FaceTime and Zoom. As mayor of Saltcoats, I am in touch with councillors and administration on a daily basis. Arrangements have been made for me to fulfill my administrative duties by distance and I have been able to chair council meetings by Zoom. I take my role as mayor very seriously and believe I have been able to fulfill my duties to the best of my ability while still taking a holiday with my wife,” Barnhart continued. The fact that Barnhart has been taking precautions while travelling is great, said Naicam Mayor Rodger Hayward, Municipalities of Saskatchewan’s vice-president of towns, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that elected officials like Barnhart should be taking public health orders to not travel seriously. “As municipal leaders, we have a duty to lead by example, following all public health measures, orders and advisories. The premier has asked everyone to not do unnecessary travel and especially out-of-country travel,” he said. In Barnhart’s comments to the Four-Town Journal, he really didn’t address that key issue, Hayward said. While Municipalities of Saskatchewan is busy preparing for their upcoming virtual convention, Hayward said he is sure the president’s travel will be part of the conversation. “It'll be a little different because it's a virtual convention and it’s our very first one, so we'll see how it goes. But I'm sure it'll be a topic there. The office of president and the rest of the executive is up for election this year, as well.” Barnhart has not been in contact with Hayward as of Jan. 20. Hayward said he was in contact with only one other board member of Municipalities of Saskatchewan to give the same information that was given to the Four-Town Journal. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Timmins' Indigenous Advisory Committee is moving ahead with taking Indigenous relations training. At the virtual committee meeting Wednesday, members voted in favour of taking training offered by Bob Joseph, the author of 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act and the founder of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. The committee’s interim chair Kristin Murray said it’s more of a self-guided training that can be entered in groups of up to 30 people and that can be completed at an individual pace. The previously suggested training, The San’yas: Indigenous Cultural Safety (ICS) Training Program, was off the table because some elements of the training weren’t always offered, Murray said. “Not all of our staff could jump on board and get that training at once, which was the downside,” said Murray. During the committee’s last meeting in December, members agreed to take a training program before deciding whether they want to recommend the training for city employees. “There’s racism in the city. Even before we do all this training ourselves, we have to try get out there and try to educate the public,” committee member Irene Camillo said during Wednesday’s meeting. Stacey Vincent Cress of Waubetek Business Development Corporation, who attended the meeting as a guest, said taking online training shouldn’t be “a tick box exercise”. “Something is better than nothing," he said. "However, if we’re going to have some Indigenous awareness and competency training … if you’re going to train 500 members of the community plus the committee, plus the general population, you need to be able to sit and speak with some people on some of the issues that you can’t get from a computer program.” Murray noted the discussions about taking the training have been going on for two years, and there has also been a discussion about taking localized training. “But that’s going to take time. By the time we put these things together, it will be years, it will be after our term as a committee,” she said. “Some of these training opportunities are not click-through, you have to be able to engage.” If approved by council, this will be the first cultural awareness training for city employees since the Ontario Human Rights Commission's visit to Timmins in 2018. Murray said the hope would be to have the members complete the training by the next committee meeting in March. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
From a global perspective, there was nothing unique about the recent raid on the U.S. Capitol. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have backed military coups around the world for decades.
PARIS — Just like the leaves of its gilded fans, France’s storied fan-making museum could fold and vanish. The splendid Musee de l’Eventail in Paris, classed as a historical monument, is the cultural world’s latest coronavirus victim. It has until Jan. 23 to pay up over 117,000 euros ($142,000) in rent arrears — stemming mainly from losses during lockdowns, otherwise it will close. And with it will go the savoir-faire of its workshop. The studio that teaches design and restoration to a new generation of fan-makers was placed on France’s intangible heritage list last year. “It is a tragedy. I can’t believe Parisians will let a part of their heritage die. I have a problem, because I always believed there would be a miracle,” the museum's 74-year-old director, Anne Hoguet, told the AP. There may be some surprise that France, a country that famously prizes its culture, has not done more to save the museum, especially given that the French public was so eager to help other cultural sites in danger, such as its burned-out Notre Dame cathedral. It might be a question of size. Hoguet said she was “exhausted” by the fight for survival that has hit smaller institutions but spared larger ones, such as Florence’s Uffizi which re-opens this week. “Like all small museums, we had troubles before, but the health crisis has been a catastrophe," she said. Bailiffs are even threatening to seize the museum's artefacts from next Monday, numbering 2,500 original pieces — including historic fans made from turtle shell, lace and silk and adorned with diamonds and rubies. Like many of Paris' 130 museums, Hoguet said her institution — which charges just 7 euros entry and is located in the French capital’s popular 10th district — was forced to close for most of 2020 because of government virus restrictions. On top of that, money coming from the workshop’s fan restorations also evaporated because of the tightening of spending during the pandemic. “The aristocratic families who send me their fans to restore all fled to their country homes in lockdown, so I had no more commissions. They wanted to save their money.” She said she would previously have charged between 500 and 600 euros per fan to restore them to their original state using traditional materials, and she used the income from that to pay the rent. Even when the museum briefly re-opened last September, Hoguet had trouble getting the same levels of footfall as before. “Because people were preoccupied with the virus, culture and heritage got forgotten — and dangerously,” she said. Hoguet is the fourth generation in charge of what is Paris’ last original fan-making workshop. She has trained directly or indirectly five young fan-makers, whom she hopes will carry the torch of the storied craft. The making of fans, traditionally with wooden sticks and painted paper leaves, has been considered sacred in many ancient cultures. But in France, its golden age was in the French court of 18th-century Versailles, where women used fan as forms of communication to flirt expertly or to hide modestly behind. The images painted on them would often chronicle the current affairs of the world around them. To this day, they remain part of France's fashion heritage DNA, featuring elaborately in couture collections by Chanel, Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier. Hoguet's father bought the museum’s impressive collection of fans in 1960. It spans the period from the Renaissance to the 20th century, including “advertising” or “illustrated” pieces, as well as vellum, kidskin and feathered fans. She is very much an eccentric of the old school. A staff of one, she has no cohesive fundraising tool set up other than email, but her efforts to rally support since 2019 have been valiant. She says that she has been so failed by French authorities that she now has trouble sleeping. She had rallied the French Culture Ministry and been in talks with Paris City Hall, but it has, she said, made no difference. “What is the point of marking us out as intangible heritage if they will not protect us?” she asked. Paris City Hall did not immediately respond when contacted by AP. “The problem with savoir-faire, is that it can very quickly die," Hoguet said. ___ Adamson reported from Leeds, England Thomas Adamson And Michel Euler, The Associated Press
More than 14,000 students stayed home from school on Wednesday, as three more zones moved to the red level of COVID-19 recovery, attendance records show. Two schools in the Saint John region saw more than half of their student body not show up. This data does not include any high school students in two of the anglophone districts because their attendance is recorded on a period-by-period basis. Nor does it include any students at schools in one of the francophone districts, which did not respond to a request for information. The attendance records indicate only that the students were absent from school, not the reasons why. But Anglophone South School District superintendent Zoë Watson suspects the "spike" in absences that saw nearly a quarter of students across her district not attend classes "is most likely correlated to the Red Phase announcement" Tuesday. Premier Blaine Higgs announced the Moncton region, Zone 1, Saint John region, Zone 2, and Fredericton region, Zone 3, would be bumped back to the more restrictive red level from orange, as of midnight Tuesday. The Edmundston region, Zone 4, has been at the red level since midnight Sunday. Earlier that day, Education Minister Dominic Cardy announced K-12 schools will now remain open at the red level, under new guidelines. If a positive case of COVID-19 is confirmed at a school, the school will be closed for a minimum of three days to allow for contact tracing. A petition launched Monday by a mother in Oromocto, calling on the government to revert to the plan to close schools in red zones and move to online learning, has garnered more than 21,000 signatures so far. Public Health reported 21 new cases of COVID-19 In New Brunswick on Wednesday, pushing the total number of active cases in the province to 317. Two people are in hospital, including one in intensive care, and 1,953 people were self-isolating, as of Tuesday afternoon, either because they've tested positive for COVID-19 or been in close contact with a confirmed case. On Wednesday, 5,072 of the 22,282 students enrolled at the 69 schools in the Anglophone South School District, or 23 per cent, were recorded as absent, said Watson. "It is important to remember that this is 'absent,' it could be illness, it could be an appointment (medical/dental)," she said in an emailed statement. But the absenteeism rate did jump from 14 per cent the previous day. "This would be expected," said Watson, "as we have consistently seen a spike in absences, followed by a quick and steady return to normal attendance in the days following each orange phase announcement or, at the school level, notification of a confirmed case at the school." The overall district absenteeism rate Wednesday was actually lower than the 28 per cent the district saw the day following the Saint John region's first move to the orange level, she noted. The highest absenteeism is at schools in the Hampton and Saint John areas, said Watson. "Interesting to note these are the areas where there have been outbreaks." Princess Elizabeth School, which announced a positive case on Tuesday, had the district's highest absenteeism rate Wednesday at 57 per cent. That was actually down from 67 per cent the day before. Belleisle Elementary School, which had an outbreak last weekend, with one confirmed case, had the second highest absenteeism rate at 53 per cent, up from 38 per cent Tuesday. Millidgeville North School, which also had an outbreak last weekend, with one confirmed case, had 40 per cent of students absent on Wednesday, compared to 34 per cent on Tuesday. And Quispamsis Middle School, which had an outbreak on Sunday, climbed slightly to 27 per cent absent Wednesday, from 26 per cent on Tuesday Attendance has been stronger in the St. Stephen-St. George area, where there have been no outbreaks, said Watson. The absence rate at St. Stephen Elementary School on Wednesday, for example, was 14 per cent, St. Stephen Middle School, 15 per cent, and St. George Elementary School, 15 per cent. Anglophone East sees nearly 23% absent In the Anglophone East School District, nearly 23 per cent of its K-8 students — 2,521 of 11,030 — were absent Wednesday. This excludes students from Edith Cavell School and the Grade 6-8 students at Caledonia Regional High School who were home learning, the records show. The attendance of high school students is not included. "We could not pull the high school data because that is done on a period by period case," said spokesperson Stephanie Patterson. The district continues to work closely with Public Health and the Department of Education "to do our best in ensuring your safety, health, and well-being," superintendent Gregg Ingersoll said in an email to families Tuesday night after the move to red was announced. He encouraged all families to be "more diligent than ever" with wearing masks, hand-washing, and social distancing. "These actions can make a major impact on keeping our schools, children, and communities safe," he said. 18% absent in Anglophone West The absenteeism rate in the Anglophone West School District Wednesday was 18 per cent — 3,939 of 21,822. That's up about six per cent from Tuesday, "despite the enhanced safety measures," said spokesperson Jennifer Read. "We have seen a trend in decreased attendance on the first day of a new COVID-19 related announcement, for example a confirmed case in a school or an alert level change, which is then followed by a gradual increase in attendance in the following days," she said in an emailed statement. "We are hopeful that parents will continue to send their children to school and have confidence knowing that their children are in a supervised environment with strict health and safety protocols in place. "Our students and staff have done an exceptional job following directives and staying safe." Absenteeism in Anglophone North at 13% In the Anglophone North School District, 13 per cent of its K-8 students — 553 of 4,099 — didn't make it to classes Wednesday. Grades 9-12 are not included because they have attendance taken by period and not the entire day, said spokesperson Meredith Caissie. At least two of the four schools the district has in the red alert level of Zone 1, in the Rexton area, "witnessed a significant increase in absenteeism," said superintendent Mark Donovan. These include Eleanor W. Graham Middle School (40 per cent) and Rexton Elementary School (37 per cent). "This is consistent with what we have seen provincially, over the past five months, when schools and/or regions have seen spikes in COVID-19 case counts or have gone back a phase in the recovery plan," said Donovan. "It is important to remind all stakeholders that when schools are open, they are safe places for both students and staff," he said. The district will continue to work with the Department of Education and Public Health to ensure that safety remains its "highest priority," he added. 8% of Francophone South students no-shows The Francophone South School District saw an absenteeism rate of eight per cent Wednesday — 1,280 of 15325 students. That's up from six per cent on both Tuesday and Monday, before the move to red, the records show. "In these circumstances, the figures are positive and show a good level of commitment from our students and families," said superintendent Monique Boudreau. The district supports the government's decision to keep schools open at the red level, she said, noting there have been "very few" reported transmissions of COVID-19 in the province's schools and none in the district. Attending school has many benefits for students, not only in terms of learning, but also in terms of their well-being. - Monique Boudreau, Francophone South "This proves the effectiveness of health measures put in place and well respected by students and staff," Boudreau said in an emailed statement. "We understand that this transition to the Red level may be a concern for some people, but it is important to remind parents and students that schools are safe. In addition, attending school has many benefits for students, not only in terms of learning, but also in terms of their well-being." If school closures become necessary, the district will follow Public Health recommendations and do everything it can to promote successful learning at home, she added. Francophone Northeast absenteeism around 12% The absenteeism rate at schools across the Francophone Northeast School District on Wednesday was around 12 per cent, said spokesperson Ian-Guillaume DesRoches. That's about 1,050 of the 8,755 students enrolled. "It is similar to a normal absenteeism rate in the winter season," he said in an email. The rate among schools in the red-level Restigouche area ranged between 10 and 15 per cent, said DesRoches. "We aren't observing a dramatic surge like in October," he said. District general director Marc Pelletier acknowledged the government's decision to keep schools open at the red level did take the district "a bit by surprise." "We are aware that the decision was a bit last minute, but when you take into account the volatile context of the pandemic, decisions must be made to ensure the safety of all," he said in an emailed statement. The district is confident the schools are safe and that they can ensure the safety of their students and staff members due to the strict health and safety protocols in their operational plans, said Pelletier. The COVID-19 situation currently appears stable across the district, including the three schools affected over the past two weeks, he said. "We anticipate that our students who had to continue their learning from home will be coming back to the classroom next Monday." Francophone Northwest School District spokesperson Denise Laplante did not respond to a request for information.
L’application des restrictions de vente dans différents secteurs d’activité économique n’est pas observée de façon égale pendant le confinement, ce qui met en rogne certains propriétaires d’entreprises. C’est le cas au Saguenay alors que le concessionnaire du garage Lebeau vitres d’autos du boulevard Saint-Paul, à Chicoutimi, voit une partie de son chiffre d’affaires lui glisser entre les mains dans le secteur de la pose des démarreurs à distance. En entrevue, le concessionnaire Lambert Gaudreault explique qu’à la suite d’une recommandation faite par son franchiseur Belron Canada, il a cessé de procéder à l’installation de démarreurs à distance afin de respecter les directives de la Santé publique qui demandaient de s’en tenir à la fourniture de services essentiels uniquement. « Notre franchiseur nous a demandé de s’en tenir à remplacer et réparer des pare-brise et à installer des “tags” pour systèmes d’alarme », explique M. Gaudreault. À la suite des directives émises, Lambert Gaudreault a donc communiqué avec chacun de ses clients afin d’annuler les rendez-vous qui avaient été pris à partir du 11 décembre pour la pose de démarreurs à distance. Or, lors de la poursuite des opérations de son commerce, M. Gaudreault se fait dire par ses clients que d’autres commerces oeuvrant dans le secteur automobile installent des démarreurs à distance. Vérifications faites par Le Quotidien, des commerces offrent effectivement des rendez-vous pour la pose de tels systèmes, au grand découragement de M. Gaudreault. Il estime qu’il s’agit d’une situation tout à fait injuste pour ceux qui respectent la règle de s’en ternir aux activités dites essentielles. « Quand les autres ne respectent pas ça, pourquoi je devrais le respecter ? Je pense que c’est à chaque commerce de respecter les règles. Habituellement, il entre de huit à dix clients dans mon commerce. J’ai droit à seulement deux. On s’organise pour être réglementaires », affirme-t-il. Le garagiste dénonce le fait que les directives émises par le gouvernement et la Santé publique ne soient pas édictées de façon claire et précise. Il entend demander à son franchiseur d’où provient sa directive de ne pas installer de système de démarrage à distance. « Est-ce que c’est mon franchiseur qui est dans le champ ? », interroge-t-il. Il ajoute avoir fait appel aux policiers pour les informer de la situation, mais le tout s’est soldé par une simple visite de patrouilleurs, sans plus. Il déplore le flou entourant les directives gouvernementales puisqu’il estime avoir perdu l’équivalent de deux semaines de travail. « En janvier, on fait généralement de bonnes affaires. Là, ça nous coupe de 50% », conclut-il.Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
If there was proof that the snowstorm slamming into eastern Newfoundland was serious, it came Thursday afternoon when the Avalon Mall announced it was shutting down. As the first flurries fell in the St. John's area just after noon Thursday, schools and other facilities in the St. John's area began closing ahead of the incoming storm that would blast the Avalon and Bonavista peninsulas. Both regions remain under a winter storm warning, with 20 to 35 centimetres expected by Friday morning. As of 6:30 p.m., Environment Canada meteorologist Rodney Barney reported 15 centimetres at St. John's International Airport. Some backyard observations from residents — and CBC's Ashley Brauweiler — marked higher totals. The Department of Transportation said on Twitter after 6 p.m. that it took plows off the Witless Bay Line and Route 100, among other Avalon highways, due to whiteout conditions and over concerns about the safety of plow operators. A number of travel warnings are in effect for highways throughout the region as of Thursday evening. The Department of Public Safety has asked all residents to remain indoors where possible and avoid unnecessary travel. Rash of closures The storm prompted all St. John's area schools in the English school district to dismiss their students at least three hours before regular dismissal Thursday, with a decision on Friday's classes to be made at 6 a.m. the following morning. In the French school district, Ecole Rocher-du-Nord closed at noon. The City of St. John's closed its facilities at 2 p.m. ahead of the snow storm. Memorial University closed its St. John's campus buildings at noon. The College of the North Atlantic also closed its St. John's campuses and its Placentia campus. Metrobus halted service as of 5 p.m. Thursday due to the forecast. The Avalon Mall closed its doors at 3:30 p.m., adding it will provide an update Friday morning on whether or not the building will be open. Liquor stores in St. John's, Mount Pearl, Paradise, Conception Bay South, Bay Roberts, Carbonear and Placentia shut their doors at 5 p.m. Plows will be clearing major arteries throughout the night, said City of St. John's Coun. Sandy Hickman. Other streets will be cleared tomorrow as the snow tapers off, he said, adding crews and equipment were well prepared. "We are ready to roll with the full complement," he said. The city is also bringing in a 24-hour parking restriction as of 6 p.m. Thursday evening, outside of downtown and the business district. Hickman said the restriction will continue through Friday, and the city added it won't know when the restriction will be lifted until public works makes the decision. The reasoning is to allow easy and effective snow removal for equipment operators. Vehicles parked on roads during this time may be ticketed or towed, the city said, and an update will be issued when restriction is over. As for sidewalks, Hickman said new equipment with "drop spreaders" for sand and salt will continue to make way for pedestrians. "I think people will see an improvement," he said. "It won't be, likely, a small snowfall, so it will take a little longer of course." Winds are expected to gust up around 80 km/h, and in some places, like Cape Race, top 100 km/h, creating poor visibility. "It will be blizzard-like visibilities this evening and into the overnight periods, but the storm's moving through fairly quickly, so it's not going to be a long-lasting event," said Environment Canada Meteorologist Dale Foote. The storm marks the first major winter weather event for the St. John's area, with Foote calling the storm was a proper nor'easter, "a typical January storm that we'd expect in a normal year." A special weather statement is in effect for a swath of the northeast coast, central Newfoundland and Northern Peninsula, which could see between 10 to 15 centimetres of snow. On the Avalon, Boudreau said, the storm's winds and snow will ease slightly but continue overnight, but the snow should taper off by Friday morning, with gusts continuing until noon. A second weather system anticipated for Saturday probably won't materialize, as it's tracking east of Newfoundland at the moment, the meteorologists said. "If that works out, Saturday should be a nice day for the entire island," said Foote. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
MADRID — A regional election in Catalonia, initially set for next month, remains up in the air after a court took a preliminary decision Thursday against a 3-month delay ordered by the northeastern Spanish region’s government due to the surge of COVID-19. The Catalonia High Court said that, pending a final decision on the matter before Feb. 8, the election should preventively be kept for Feb. 14 instead of pushing it back to May 30. The court said arguments for its initial decision would be published Friday. The timing leaves little choice to half a dozen political parties divided along the lines of left and right, but also between support or opposition for the region's independence, other than to begin preparations for the vote. The regional Catalan government, in the hands of a separatist coalition, had argued that a delay was needed as the peak of hospital admissions in the current surge in infections would be reached just days before the planned election date. All political parties in the regional vote had agreed to the postponement except for the regional Socialists, whose candidate has the best chances of winning the vote in mid-February according to a Thursday poll by CIS, Spain’s official polling institute. The leading candidate is Salvador Illa, currently serving as the country’s health minister and in charge of the pandemic response. His candidacy was announced in late December. Catalonia's Socialist Party, which is the regional chapter of the main partner in the national ruling centre-left coalition, has not been in power in Catalonia since 2006. The CIS poll predicted the Socialists could win up to 35 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament, above the possible 33 lawmakers projected for the Republican Left pro-independence party. Illa was the preferred choice as regional chief for 22% of those quizzed, twice the popularity of his nearest competitor, Laura Borràs, of the pro-independence Together for Catalonia party, which is currently in power with the Republican Left. The centre quizzed 4,106 people by telephone between Jan. 2 and Jan-15. The poll has a margin of error of 1.6 percentage points. As elsewhere in Spain, virus contagion has surged sharply in recent weeks in the powerful northeastern region, whose capital is Barcelona. With 2,844 COVID-19 patients hospitalized as of Thursday — 621 of them in intensive care — regional authorities expect ICUs to reach a maximum expanded capacity of 900 beds occupied by coronavirus patients in the coming weeks. The region’s political situation is still heavily dominated by the jailing in 2019 of nine political figures for their role in a secession push two years earlier. The separatist movement, which is supported by roughly half the region’s 7.5 million residents, wants to create a republic in the wealthy northeast corner of Spain. Aritz Parra And CiaráN Giles, The Associated Press
The Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) have identified the victims of a double homicide in Fort Erie as two young women from Windsor and Toronto. Police say the victims are Juliana Pannunzio, 20, of Windsor, and Christina Crooks, 18, of Toronto. The information came hours after officers revealed more details about the incidents that led up to a double homicide in a Fort Erie home on the Niagara Parkway. NRPS say a group of people, some who don't live in the Niagara region, were at the home on Jan. 18. The home was a short-term rental. Someone fired a gun, and people left the house before officers arrived. Police found the two dead women in the home and say both had "obvious trauma to their bodies." Detectives are trying to identify anyone who was at the home, but the investigation is still in its infancy. Despite this, they don't believe there's an immediate threat to public safety. Police say, as they look for evidence, they will search the Niagara River with dive teams, resulting in closures between Black Creek Road and Switch Road. Police expect a presence in the area for days. "Homicide detectives are appealing to anyone who may reside or have a business in the area of the scene that has security cameras, doorbell cameras or dashboard cameras to contact them. They may have captured something that could assist the investigation," reads a release from police. Police find takeout food order at the scene Detectives said on Thursday afternoon they found a takeout food order at the scene. Inside a grey, plastic bag with "923" written on it was a white Styrofoam container with a cheeseburger, fries, chicken wings, celery, carrots and blue cheese dip. The bag also contained five ketchup packets from the brand, Sunspun. Police are looking to identify what restaurant the order came from. Detectives say they believe it was ordered on Monday, Jan. 18 or in the early morning hours of Jan. 19.
Union heads ensured Liberal Leader Andrew Furey and his team received a friendly reception in Arnold's Cove Wednesday, following a taxpayer-funded lifeline last week for the idled Come By Chance refinery. "He'll get a warm welcome," Glenn Nolan, president of Local 9316 of the United Steelworkers, said just before the Liberal bus pulled up to the union office late Wednesday afternoon. "Due to the fact that we just received money from the government, we're pretty optimistic about it," he added. The drab union boardroom was quickly filled with a crimson glow just after 4 p.m., as Furey and a squad of red-jacketed Liberals piled into the room — remaining mindful of the pandemic protocols for physical distancing. There were offers of hot coffee and cold pizza, then bantering about favourite hockey teams. Despite the cloud of economic uncertainty that has been darkening Placentia Bay for months, no one was expecting any tension. Nolan is confident that the nearly $17 million in public money announced on Friday — the same day Andrew Furey pulled the chain on a provincial general election — saved the refinery from total shutdown, and avoided a devastating blow to the provincial economy. "It would be very damaging," said Nolan. North Atlantic Refining Limited has not refined any fuels at Come By Chance since last April, when the owners, New York-based investment management firm Silverpeak, decided it was no longer viable to operate amid a pandemic and collapsing oil markets. The refinery has been in idle mode ever since, with at least two potential sales collapsing, dashing hopes that a new owner would swoop in with big plans to re-start the 130,000-barrel-per-day complex. Silverpeak had lobbied the government for months for financial help to keep the lights on at Come By Chance, rather than trying to market a mothballed refinery to potential buyers or investors, or expose sensitive processing equipment to a Newfoundland winter. Finally, amid a flurry of highly charged political announcements late last week, the Liberals declared it had reached a deal to keep the refinery in what's called warm idle mode. It came in the form of a $16.6 million grant to North Atlantic, on the condition that the company increase the workforce to 200 people — a third of the normal complement — and keep up with critical maintenance. Prior to Wednesday's meeting with Nolan, Furey defended the cash payment at a time when the province is facing a financial crisis that existed long prior to the arrival of the pandemic last winter. "We thought the best way to support the women and men who work in this industry right now is to keep this in a warm idle position, so it's perfectly positioned as oil rebounds to either restart or be sold for a high value," Furey explained. Furey skirted the question when repeatedly asked whether Silverpeak had threatened to turn out the lights unless the government opened its wallet. "We've been working with companies endlessly, and we arrived at a deal before the election," he said. Not everyone back to work: union The union says there are 153 people — a mixture of union and non-union positions — working at the site. Another 56 people will start receiving calls as early as Thursday, telling them to report for work as early as next week. Nolan said his phone has been ringing steadily, with sidelined refinery workers — many struggling to pay the bills and worried about the loss of health benefits — asking whether they'll gain from the injection of government cash. "Two hundred jobs is a great thing. Unfortunately, not everybody is going to get back," said Nolan. The government cash is expected to last until the end of June, and Furey hopes for a positive outcome by then. "We got six months now, and the pressure is on the company and other companies to come together to make a commercial deal that is ... the best value of the people of the province," he said. Meanwhile, an analyst who keeps a close watch on the North American refining industry has serious concerns about the future of Come By Chance. Marc Amons is with Wood Mackenzie, a natural resources research and consulting firm. Speaking from his office in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday, Amons said the pandemic has pinched refiners around the world. He said demand for fuels such as gasoline, jet fuel and diesel is still "well below" pre-pandemic levels, and refiners are adapting by decreasing throughput and coping with shrinking profits. What's more, he said, Silverpeak is not the only refinery owner marketing their assets to prospective buyers. "There's other refining companies looking to sell or reposition their assets. So it's likely that any buyer looking to enter the space would have a choice of assets to purchase," he said. As for the decision by the Liberals to throw cash at the refinery, Amons said that might not be such a bad idea. He said there's a strong chance that the markets will rebound later in the year as COVID-19 vaccinations increase, and demand for fuels rebound. But, he added, "as we stand here today, there is still a fair amount of reason for pessimism for the outlook." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Researchers have said around 52,000 deaths in Europe could be prevented each year if emissions are cut to WHO guidelines. View on euronews
DÜSSELDORF, Germany — The fate of one of Germany's most storied soccer clubs lies with two strikers born 18 years apart. The return to Schalke of the 37-year-old Klaas-Jan Huntelaar from Ajax is a desperate roll of the dice by a team trying to cling on to top-division status amid financial turmoil worsened by the coronavirus pandemic. Huntelaar joins up with an unexpected star in 19-year-old Californian Matthew Hoppe, who was an obscure name even to Schalke fans before a sudden breakthrough into the first team in November and five goals in his last three games. Hoppe earned last-place Schalke's first league win in nearly a year with a hat trick against Hoffenheim on Jan. 9 but his goal in a 2-1 defeat to Cologne on Wednesday showed he can't always get the points on his own. Huntelaar scored 126 goals in 240 games in his first spell with Schalke and could make his latest debut for the club against Bayern Munich on Sunday. After Bayern hammered Schalke 8-0 on the opening day of the season, it's likely to be an exercise in damage limitation for the hosts in Gelsenkirchen. Huntelaar remains a threat — he scored twice as a late substitute in his last game for Ajax — but one of the main reasons he left Schalke in 2017 was a concern that he couldn't stay fit enough for the Bundesliga. Huntelaar missed the Cologne defeat with a calf problem but said Wednesday that he hopes to be fit to take on Bayern. “There's hope that he can safely play part of the game,” said Christian Gross, Schalke's fourth coach of the season, in comments reported by the dpa agency. Relegation would be a catastrophe for Schalke, which has played in the Bundesliga every year since 1991 and until recently viewed the Champions League as its natural habitat. The pandemic cut off much-needed ticket income just as Schalke was trying to make up for years of overspending. Mounting debts mean even the process of getting a competition license for next season will be a headache. When storied clubs drop out of the Bundesliga, they're far from guaranteed to return. Hamburg, Hannover and Nuremberg are all rattling around the second tier while wealthy clubs with little history like Leipzig and Hoffenheim sit in the Bundesliga. Former champion Kaiserslautern is now a third-tier team with a 50,000-seat stadium and financial problems. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports James Ellingworth, The Associated Press
THE LATEST: Health officials have called off their regular Thursday briefing to hold a Friday-morning news conference instead. 564 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 more deaths were reported Thursday afternoon. There are currently 4,450 active cases of the coronavirus in B.C. 309 people are in hospital, with 68 in the ICU. 104,901 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., including 1,680 second doses. There is new community cluster in and around Williams Lake. There are no new outbreaks in the health-care system, but six have been declared over. On Thursday, B.C. health officials announced 564 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 more deaths. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix put the number of hospitalized patients at 309 people, 68 of whom are in intensive care. Hospitalizations are now at their lowest level since Nov. 28 A total of 1,119 people in B.C. have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Henry and Dix said a new community cluster has been detected in and around Williams Lake. There are no new outbreaks in the health-care system, and six outbreaks have been declared over. So far, 104,901 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., including 1,680 second doses. Health officials cancelled their regular COVID-19 briefing Thursday as they prepared to update the province's strategy for immunization against the virus, and the daily update was provided in a written statement instead. Henry and Dix will join a news conference Friday with Premier John Horgan and Dr. Penny Ballem, who is leading B.C.'s COVID-19 immunization rollout. The four are expected to comment on the next steps in the immunization program that has been complicated by a hiccup in vaccine supply from Pfizer-BioNTech. Nearly 31,000 doses of vaccine the province expected by Jan. 29 could be curtailed due to production issues. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 7 p.m. PT on Wednesday, Canada had reported 724,670 cases of COVID-19, and 18,462 total deaths. A total of 68,413 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.
WASHINGTON — Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, lowering claims to 900,000, still a historically high level that points to further job cuts in a raging pandemic. The Labor Department's report Thursday underscored that President Joe Biden has inherited an economy that faltered this winter as virus cases spiked, cold weather restricted dining and federal rescue aid expired. The government said that 5.1 million Americans are continuing to receive state jobless benefits, down from 5.2 million in the previous week. That signals that fewer people who are out of work are finding jobs. New viral infections have begun to slow after months of relentless increases, though they remain high and are averaging about 200,000 a day. The number of deaths in the United States from the pandemic that erupted 10 months ago has surpassed 400,000. Economists say one factor that likely increased jobless claims in the past two weeks is a government financial aid package that was signed into law in late December. Among other things, it provided a $300-a-week federal unemployment benefit on top of regular state jobless aid. The new benefit, which runs through mid-March, may be encouraging more Americans to apply for jobless benefits. Once vaccines become more widely distributed, economists expect growth to accelerate in the second half of the year as Americans unleash pent-up demand for travel, dining out and visiting movie theatres and concert halls. Such spending should, in theory, boost hiring and start to regain the nearly 10 million jobs lost to the pandemic. But for now, the economy is losing ground. Retail sales have fallen for three straight months. Restrictions on restaurants, bars and some stores, along with a reluctance of most Americans to shop, travel and eat out, have led to sharp spending cutbacks. Revenue at restaurants and bars plunged 21% in 2020. Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press
More than a week into the work stoppage at the Burleigh Falls dam project, Parks Canada has issued a statement regarding the land defenders and their rights to the land within their treaty territory. “The Government of Canada is working to advance reconciliation and renew the relationships with Indigenous Peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, collaboration, and partnership,” says David Britton, director of Ontario waterways. Kawartha Nishnawbe land defenders in Burleigh Falls blocked work on the dam project on Jan. 13 after they say they were not consulted about the project. Parks Canada did consult with Curve Lake First Nation in previous meetings, and recently at a Jan 6, 2021 online virtual meeting stated the organization did consult with Kawartha Nishnawbe in 2016. “Parks Canada has offered to meet with Kawartha Nishnawbe,” adds Britton. “Not to my knowledge has there been any consultation with Kawartha Nishnawbe in 2016 regarding the replacement of the dam,” said Nodin Webb, spokesperson for Kawartha Nishnawbe. He went on to say Parks Canada is falsely claiming they consulted with the community as a whole in 2016. “I also do not believe Parks Canada is respecting us, if anything, they’ve ignored us,” adds Webb. Parks Canada says they remain available and hope to connect in a meaningful way through this process. “Parks Canada continues to meet with Curve Lake First Nation and other Williams Treaty First Nations on the upcoming phases of work for the Burleigh Falls dam replacement project and are working together to develop fisheries monitoring and mitigation plans,” says Britton. “We are fully aware of the litigation in court and we will not comment on the issue at this time. The part of the court litigation lies with Crown Indigenous Relations Services Canada,” added Britton. Curve Lake Chief Emily Whetung issued an official statement on the blockade. “Many of our members harvest in or near Burleigh Falls Dam area, and our goal through our consultation process with Parks Canada has been to protect the impacts on the species that our members harvest,” says Chief Whetung. The statement also says while Curve Lake First Nation recognizes the complicated history of the Kawartha Nishnawbe, their relationship to the land at Burleigh Falls, and their assertion with the Federal Government and Curve Lake respect that they have an independent perspective. “The Burleigh Falls Dam is located within the recognized pre-confederation and Williams Treaties Territory and we feel a responsibility to protect the environment and species in the area as the reconstruction project moves forward.” Parks Canada says there are do not know the full cost of the stoppage, but did say there is no impact on the spawning season. Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Peterborough This Week
As Sweta Daboo frames it, Tuesday was the last day that there had never been a woman of colour in the job of vice-president of the United States. "As of yesterday there is now precedent. This will be normalized and this is something incredible to look forward to," said Daboo. Daboo is a woman of colour living on P.E.I., and the the executive director of the P.E.I. Coalition for Women in Government. "It was absolutely incredible and very surreal," she said of watching the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris on Wednesday. UPEI biology Prof. Marva Sweeney-Nixon, also woman of colour, was watching as well. "It was emotional, it was gratifying, it was just a really powerful and exciting experience," said Sweeney-Nixon. "I just sat there and thought about how powerful it was for women and for girls and for people of colour to see this. I thought about just how inspiring she is." 'Not the last' Daboo said her favourite moments of the ceremony included the poem by Amanda Gorman and the fist bump between Harris and former president Barack Obama, but it was Harris's actual taking of the oath of office that struck her the most. "I thought about a quote that she had earlier which was, 'You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.'" she said. "Watching her take this oath, and thinking of all the little girls, all the children of colour, all the youth around the world that were watching this moment happen, it was easy to believe that she would not be the last." But both Sweeney-Nixon and Daboo said this is just the beginning of a difficult road for Harris. "People are going to be watching her and expecting more from her just like they did with Barack Obama," said Sweeney-Nixon. "If you make a mistake or you stumble, oftentimes that can be used to say this is why people of this or that group should not be in positions of power," added Daboo. And, they added, the experience of Obama's presidency and what followed also showed electing someone to high office is not enough to change society. "There's a lot of change that needs to follow," said Sweeney-Nixon. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here. More from CBC P.E.I.
The N.W.T. Housing Corporation has loosened rules for seniors trying to access its housing repair programming. Changes announced on Wednesday remove the need for home insurance and formal land tenure, and the GNWT will now only assess the incomes of seniors who own their homes. “These changes will put an end to situations where seniors cannot access assistance for repairs in smaller communities and allow them to remain in their homes and communities, where they are surrounded by the support of their families and friends,” said housing minister Paulie Chinna. Previously, the territory assessed the income of all income-earners in the household. Now, only the income of the applicant and co-applicant will be considered. Home insurance and land tenure are difficult to get in some communities. From now on, all residents – including seniors – in smaller communities can access home repair programs without either. The N.W.T. Housing Corporation said it would continue to help people to get home insurance and land tenure, to ensure their homes are protected. Residents in Fort Simpson, Fort Smith, Inuvik, Hay River, Norman Wells and Yellowknife are still required to have land tenure and insurance when applying for the major stream of the Contributing Assistance for Repairs and Enhancement program. Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio