WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Roger Mandle, an internationally renowned art scholar and the former longtime president of the Rhode Island School of Design, has died, RISD said Tuesday. He was 79.Mandle died over the weekend, the school said in a statement, without elaborating. A cause of death was not given.Mandle served as president of RISD from 1993 to 2008. He was credited with helping modernize the school, one of America's most prestigious four-year art colleges, and quadrupling its endowment to over $400 million. He previously served as deputy director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.A former member of the National Council on the Arts appointed by former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, Mandle helped shape and guide the U.S. art and design agenda.“My mission, my vision, is to contribute to our humanity and quality of life and to make Providence and the Rhode Island School of Design a globally recognized centre of art, design and right-brained thinking,” he once said.From 2008 to 2012, Mandle was executive director of the Qatar Museums Authority, overseeing more than a dozen museums, including the Museum of Islamic Art, the Qatar Natural History Museum and the National Museum of Qatar.Later, he launched a consulting firm dedicated to assisting museums and universities in strategic planning, board and senior staff development and mentoring, and advice during important transitions.He was a former director of the Toledo Museum of Art, a former associate director of the Minneapolis Institute of Art and a member of the Ohio Arts Council.“The American arts and higher education communities have lost a giant," Democratic U.S. Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island said in a statement, calling Mandle “an extraordinary man and a great civic leader.”“His influence on generations of artists and others whose lives were made better through the arts will live on,” RISD President Rosanne Somerson said in a statement.Mandle is survived by his wife, the abstract painter and acclaimed mixed media artist Gayle Wells Mandle; son Luke Mandle; daughter Julia Mandle; and five grandchildren.Funeral arrangements were incomplete Tuesday.William J. Kole, The Associated Press
L'Institut Tshakapesh a annoncé qu'en collaboration avec les écoles membres de l'organisation, elle allait de l'avant avec le virage numérique. Cette démarche est notamment accélérée par les circonstances actuelles qui découlent de la pandémie et elle fait partie du plan d'action du ministère de l'Éducation qui a pour objectif d'outiller numériquement les élèves innus pour favoriser leur réussite éducative. Ainsi, l'Institut mettra en branle une série de mesures pour effectuer ce virage numérique. En ce moment, des iPad acquis par l'organisme au printemps sont distribués dans les écoles membres. Selon l'Institut, cet outil permettra de : « valoriser les méthodes d’enseignement innovantes qui favoriseront des apprentissages chez tous les élèves tant en classe qu’à la maison.» Les écoles membres auront aussi accès à la suite Microsoft Office 365. L’Institut Tshakapesh est convaincu de mettre en place des mesures des conditions gagnantes qui contribueront à la réussite des élèves. « C’est avec fierté que l’Institut Tshakapesh contribue à la transmission des savoirs traditionnels et contemporains. Nous encourageons les écoles à profiter du virage numérique pour adapter et intégrer des outils qui serviront à l’apprentissage de l’Innu-aimun et de l’Innu-aitun », affirme Alexandre McKenzie, président de l’Institut Tshakapesh. De son côté, la directrice générale de l'Institut, Marjolaine Tshernish, tient à souligner le rôle des directions d'écoles dans le virage numérique. Elle explique : « Ces dernières ont mobilisé leur équipe-école dans l'intégration de ces nouveaux outils pour soutenir les méthodes d'enseignement innovantes. Un modèle à promouvoir qui met de l'avant l'inclusion et la réussite des élèves innus et qui permettra des interventions adéquates auprès des enfants les plus à risque. » Formation L’Institut Tshakapesh offre aussi un plan de formation et de soutien pour s'assurer que ce virage numérique se passe dans les meilleures circonstances. Il y aura donc des formations autant pour les professeurs, les élèves et les parents pour que tous soient en mesure de bien maîtriser les nouveaux outils technologiques. D'ailleurs, l'Institut souligne l’apport de partenaires comme Écoles branchées, Apple et les ressources spécialisées de l'organisme qui ont partagé leurs compétences et leur expertise pour rendre possible ce projet. Les communautés membres de l'Institut Tshakapesh sont Uashat mak Mani-utenam, Ekuanitshit, Essipit, Matimekush, Nutashkuan, Unamen shipu et Pakua Shipu.Vincent Berrouard, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nord-Côtier
The Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences recently awarded scholarships to 32 students at three Maritime universities in support of the growing bioscience sector.A recent study by the alliance found about 2,000 Islanders working in the sector, and that there was a need for more."There is definitely a labour challenge in the sector, in particular on P.E.I.," said alliance executive director Christopher Gillis."The biosector here has seen unprecedented growth."The recipients of the $5,000 scholarships are second-year students in co-op programs at UPEI, Acadia and Université de Moncton.Bioscience has become an important sector of the P.E.I. economy, said Gillis. There is a high demand currently for production and manufacturing technicians. About 65 per cent of positions advertised recently are in this area, he said. The industry is also looking for quality control analysts and research scientists.The Canadian Alliance for Skills and Training in Life Sciences is a partnership between industry, governments and post-secondary institutions, which came together to ensure that the industry has the talent pool it needs to grow into the future.Funding for the scholarships came from the federal government, including ACOA, and the provincial government on P.E.I.More from CBC P.E.I.
The final decision lies with the Ministry of Health, but Grey Bruce Health Services has made its recommendation for the contractor for the new Markdale hospital. That name has not been released. The call for tenders from pre-qualified bidders was earlier this summer, and the bids have been reviewed locally. The Ministry of Health is expected to approve the bid within a few months, when the name will be made public. Site preparation should begin this spring, a press release from GBHS said. “We are checking off the milestones for this project, and getting ready to transition from the years of planning to physically building our new hospital,” said Gary Sims, GBHS President and CEO. Teams are working through the transition plans to co-ordinate the two-year project. The $70 million build will be about 68,000 sq. ft. with inpatient beds, a palliative care bed, 24/7 emergency care, lab and diagnostic imaging, as well as outpatient services. Two ambulance bays will be housed at the hospital. The community in the central and south Grey area was deeply involved in the project from the time of the public fundraising campaign in 2004. The hospital will replace an aging existing facility. Over more than 15 years since then, advocacy by locals including MPP Bill Walker has supported the new build, which is now close to seeing shovels in the ground. GBHS operates six hospitals in the Grey Bruce region. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
Two battleground states, Wisconsin and Arizona, certified their presidential election results in favour of Joe Biden, even as President Donald Trump's legal team continued to dispute the results.Biden’s victory in Wisconsin was certified Monday following a partial recount that only added to his 20,600-vote margin over Trump, who has promised to file a lawsuit seeking to undo the results.Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, signed a certificate that completed the process after the canvass report showing Biden as the winner following the recount was approved by the chairwoman of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission. Evers’ signature was required by law and is typically a procedural step that receives little attention.“Today I carried out my duty to certify the November 3rd election,” Evers said in a statement. “I want to thank our clerks, election administrators, and poll workers across our state for working tirelessly to ensure we had a safe, fair, and efficient election. Thank you for all your good work.”The action Monday now starts a five-day deadline for Trump to file a lawsuit, which he promised would come no later than Tuesday. Trump is mounting a longshot attempt to overturn the results by disqualifying as many as 238,000 ballots. Trump’s attorneys have alleged without evidence that there was widespread fraud and illegal activity.Biden’s campaign has said the recount showed that Biden won Wisconsin decisively and there was no fraud. Even if Trump were successful in Wisconsin, the state’s 10 Electoral College votes would not be enough to undo Biden’s overall victory as states around the country certify results.Earlier Monday, Arizona officials certified Biden’s narrow victory in that state.Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey both vouched for the integrity of the election before signing off on the results.“We do elections well here in Arizona. The system is strong,” Ducey said.He did not directly address Trump’s claims of irregularities but said the state pulled off a successful election with a mix of in-person and mail voting despite the pandemic.Hobbs said Arizona voters should know that the election “was conducted with transparency, accuracy and fairness in accordance with Arizona’s laws and election procedures, despite numerous unfounded claims to the contrary.”Biden is only the second Democrat in 70 years to win Arizona. In the final tally, he beat Trump by 10,457 votes, or 0.3% of the nearly 3.4 million ballots cast.Even as Hobbs, Ducey, the state attorney general and chief justice of the state Supreme Court certified the election results, Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis met in a Phoenix hotel ballroom a few miles away to lay out claims of irregularities in the vote count in Arizona and elsewhere. But they did not provide evidence of widespread fraud.“The officials certifying have made no effort to find out the truth, which to me, gives the state Legislature the perfect reason to take over the conduct of this election because it’s being conducted irresponsibly and unfairly,” Giuliani said.Nine Republican state lawmakers attended the meeting. They had requested permission to hold a formal legislative hearing at the Capitol but were denied by the Republican House speaker and Senate president.Trump berated Ducey on Twitter Monday night, asking, “Why is he rushing to put a Democrat in office, especially when so many horrible things concerning voter fraud are being revealed at the hearing going on right now.”Elections challenges brought by the Trump campaign or his backers in key battleground states have largely been unsuccessful as Trump continues to allege voter fraud while refusing to concede.There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.___Bauer reported from Madison, Wis.; Cooper and Tang reported from Phoenix.Scott Bauer, Jonathan J. Cooper And Terry Tang, The Associated Press
SILVER SPRING, Md. — U.S. construction spending jumped 1.3% in October, the fifth straight monthly increase, again on the strength of single-family home building.The October gain follows a strong upward revision to 0.5% in September, from a previous estimate of a 0.3% gain, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. It's the largest increase since a 2.8% jump in January, before the coronavirus pandemic all but shuttered the U.S. economy. Spending in October was stronger than economists had expected.Single-family home building has been a consistent bright spot for months as a lack of new homes has pushed builders to ramp up projects. Single-family home construction rose 5.6% in October, helping to boost a 2.9% increase in total private residential construction for the month.Nonresidential private construction fell 0.7%, with the category that includes hotels and other lodging falling 3.1%.Spending on government construction projects increased 1% after generally lagging for months, possibly due to budget restraints by state and local governments as the pandemic wiped out large amounts of tax revenue. Construction of roads, schools and public safety projects all increased.During the first ten months of 2020, construction spending is up 4.3% over the same period last year.Matt Ott, The Associated Press
Premier Doug Ford was noticeably absent from the province's daily news conference on Tuesday after his office announced shortly after noon that he had an "unexpected, but non-COVID-related, non-urgent medical appointment that will prevent him from participating."The news conference went ahead at pharmaceutical distribution company McKesson's warehouse with Minister of Health Christine Elliott leading along with retired general Rick Hillier, chair of Ontario's vaccine distribution task force, and others.Questions about Ontario's vaccine rollout were front and centre at Tuesday's news conference.Few specifics were on offer, but Elliott did say that vaccines will not be mandatory for healthcare workers. Asked if they would be required to take the vaccine, Elliott replied that the premier has made it clear that he wants vaccinations to be voluntary.Asked who might be first in line for vaccinations, Elliott said that's something the province is currently discussing with its taskforce, but that vulnerable populations and frontline workers are among the priorities. As for who comprises that taskforce, Elliott said it does include a bioethicist, and that the names of the members should be able to be released in a "short while."Ontario reported another 1,707 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as the number of patients with the illness being treated in intensive care units climbed to 193.The new cases include a record 727 in Toronto — the most ever on a single day for the city — as well as 373 in Peel Region and 169 in York Region.The new infections push the seven-day average of daily cases to 1,670, also a new record high.Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were: * Durham Region: 72 * Waterloo Region: 61 * Hamilton: 58 * Halton Region: 47 * Windsor-Essex: 47 * Simcoe Muskoka: 36 * Ottawa: 34 * Niagara Region: 15 * Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 13 * Grey Bruce: 12(Note: All of the figures used for new cases in this story are found on the Ontario health ministry's COVID-19 dashboard or in its daily epidemiologic summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit because local units report figures at different times.)Also included in today's new cases are 299 that are school-related: 253 students and 46 staff members. Some 737 of Ontario's 4,828 publicly-funded schools, or about 15.3 per cent, currently have at least one case of COVID-19, while seven schools are currently closed because of the illness.There are now 14,524 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 provincewide, the most at any point since the outbreak began in late January. The new high comes as Ontario's network of labs processed 34,640 test samples for the novel coronavirus and reported a test positivity rate of 5.1 per cent. Another 34,000 tests were added to the queue to be completed.Meanwhile, an internal Critical Care Services Ontario report shared with CBC Toronto shows 26 more people with confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus were moved into intensive care in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 193. Just four days ago, 151 patients were in ICUs. Public health officials have identified 150 as the threshold for when scheduled surgeries and procedures need to be postponed or cancelled. The province's report today states that only 185 patients are in intensive care. The discrepancy between the figures is due to the timeframe used in the provincial data, which typically reflects numbers from the previous day. The Critical Care Services Ontario figure for ICU admissions is more current.Further, a total of 645 people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are in Ontario hospitals, while 112 are on ventilators.Seven additional COVID-19-linked deaths were reported today, bringing the official toll to 3,663.Of those seven people, three were in their 90s, three were in their 80s and one was in their 60s. Six of the deaths are tied to institutional outbreaks, such as long-term care settings.
CALGARY — Suncor Energy Inc. is forecasting higher spending and production in 2021 based on benchmark U.S. oil prices staying near their current levels of around US$45 per barrel.It says it predicts daily oil and gas production between 740,000 and 780,000 barrels of oil equivalent in 2021, an increase of about 10 per cent compared with this year driven by higher bitumen output from its oilsands operations.It expects capital spending of between $3.8 billion and $4.5 billion, including sustaining capital of $2.9 billion to $3.4 billion, an increase of about nine per cent over 2020's expected spending of $3.6 billion to $4.0 billion.The Calgary-based company forecasts refinery throughput of 415,000 to 445,000 barrels per day based on a utilization rate of between 90 and 96 per cent.Suncor says it expects to repay between $500 million and $1 billion of debt and will introduce a $500-million share repurchase program.In reports, analysts said the guidance was in line with what they were expecting.Credit Suisse analyst Manav Gupta pointed out that Suncor cut capital and operating spending earlier this year and lowered its dividend payments."Suncor almost broke even in the third quarter of 2020, and now is getting ready to pay down portion of the debt it took on to navigate the crisis," he added.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:SU)The Canadian Press
Council members told staff to keep the blended tax rate for 2021 low – with requests ranging from zero to “two or three” percent. As it presented by staff, the draft budget contained a three percent increase in the Southgate levy for capital projects, which would likely be a two percent in the blended tax rate. CAO Dave Milliner asked council for direction at the end of the special meeting on the proposed capital budget held on Tuesday, Nov. 24. Coun. Michael Sherson said his ideal would be to give residents a zero increase this year. Coun. Barbara Dobreen said she didn’t want to see township reserves depleted to keep the increase “artificially low.” She suggested a 1.5 percent increase – “keep it under two (percent) for sure.” Deputy-Mayor Brian Milne asked if the 2020 impact of growth was known. The more building in the township, the more property owners to share the burden of the tax levy. Treasurer Liam Gott said it would be a few weeks before he had final figures but he expected 2020 added about $159,000 in taxation dollars based on the value of building permits issued (lower than the $280,000 projected). The deputy-mayor said that while a zero increase is desirable – “I don’t think that it’s reasonable or even responsible.” “Our costs are going up,” he said, naming fuel, hydro, insurance and payroll. Given that, he said he’d like to see something around 2.5 to 3 percent. At that point, the treasurer asked whether councillors were talking about the increase for local use or the overall or “blended” increase that includes taxes Southgate collects and passes on to the county and the school boards. At this stage in the budget process, council has seen and discussed capital costs, with the operating budget still to be seen. Coun. Martin Shipston said that a 2.5 to three percent increase would be reasonable, and not leave residents paying more down the road to make up for a lower increase in 2021. Coun. Jason Rice said he would like to see a zero increase. Coun. Dobreen had mentioned the Cost of Living increase for employees, which would be based on the inflation rate of 0.7 percent. Coun. Rice said that maybe for one year, township employees could do without the COLA increase. ”I’m not going against them (staff) – they do a fantastic job,” he said. “It’s this year, this specific year – this pandemic we’re dealing with,” he said. “It’s not our money in this time of need,” he said. He said many Southgate residents never get a Cost of Living increase. Deputy-Mayor Milne said perhaps this was the year to pull back on COLA or “step” increases based on performance and years served. He said that council needs to see the operating budget estimates to make its final decision. To achieve zero would take cuts to services, he said. “What services are we going to cut back on?” “Fuel, hydro, insurance – other expenses like that we have no control over and we have to pay." Coun. Rice asked the CAO for his reaction. Mr. Milliner replied, “if I didn’t hear a comment from council like that I would be surprised.” He did speak in defence of merit or “step” pay increase, adding that he himself is not affected by that policy. Mayor John Woodbury said that council had to balance the need for restraint in the present moment with the risk of postponing needed changes and mortgaging the future. “Overall, two to three percent is acceptable,” he said.M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
Germany, France and Britain urged the Trump administration in late October to reconsider broad, new sanctions against Iran’s banks, arguing that the move would deter legitimate humanitarian trade and hurt the allies’ common interests, diplomatic correspondence shows. Germany’s Bundesbank also kept a multi-billion-euro deposit facility open for Iranian banks, including two that faced fresh U.S. sanctions, giving Tehran a much-needed banking lifeline at a time its access to the global financial system was largely cut off, according to central bank data and interviews with bankers, Western diplomats and officials. The behind-the-scenes pushback to Washington and the extent of Germany’s support to Iranian trade in the face of U.S. sanctions have not been previously reported, and shed new light on the divergent approaches to Iran taken by President Donald Trump and the U.S. allies.
Weather is getting cooler and beards are getting bushier as some Canadian men look to add an extra layer of warmth to their faces this winter.Others, motivated by lockdown measures and extended work-from-home terms, may view this as a perfect time to see how unruly those whiskers can get before a trim is needed.But as long as mask-wearing is encouraged amid the COVID-19 pandemic, should they worry about facial hair interfering with the effectiveness of face coverings?Some experts say men should shave their beards in order to obtain the best mask fit, but others say it depends how long the stubble gets, and if their job requires a tighter-fitting respirator.The CDC has an infographic on facial hair and N-95s on its website, outlining styles that are safe, including handlebar mustaches and soul patches. Other looks — like extended goatees, muttonchops and Van Dykes — cross the seal of the mask and need to go. Dr. Christopher Labos, a Montreal-based physician, says that advice is fine for health-care workers, but when it comes to regular cloth masks, breaking a seal isn't as much of a concern."If it's covering your mouth and nose, it's doing what it's supposed to do," he said. "Whether there's a gap on the side isn't really here or there because there's always a gap." Dr. Jane Wang, a clinical instructor at UBC who has studied face masks extensively, disagrees.Wang's recent research suggests men with beards experience more leakage — droplets expelling through gaps in the mask — than those without. Leaky areas of masks are most prominent around the nose, chin and the cheeks, and pleated masks tend to leak more than other styles.Having facial hair jutting out of a mask increases that leakage zone, she said. So the most effective way to ensure a cloth mask fits around the face is to remove the beard."Having more leaks decreases the filtration," Wang said, adding that research on mask fit and leaks date back to the 1990s. "So the air we breathe will go through the leak and not the filter of the mask."Dr. Lisa Bryski, an emergency-room physician in Winnipeg, has seen many colleagues shave off their beards in order to properly wear masks in the health-care field. While a cloth covering doesn't provide the same level of protection as an N-95, Bryski suggests men outside front-line work settings might want to pick up the razor too."It's a personal choice, but anything you do to increase your own protection and protection of others is appropriate in these times," she said. "Where shaving is not an option, keeping the beard groomed and trimmed may reduce the amount of hair and help with mask seal."Bryski acknowledged that for some men, like those in the Sikh community, beards may be an integral part of religious identity.Sukhmeet Sachal, a second-year medical student at UBC, recognized that and is offering a solution. Sachal is part of a group that has been handing out modified face masks to Sikh men at gurdwaras, or places of assembly and worship. The masks, made by volunteers, wrap around beards and tie over turbans, offering Sikh men a better alternative than a regular face mask they could buy at a store.Sachal said he got the idea when he walked into a gurdwara with his father and saw hardly anyone wearing a mask. While he says there may have been a combination of reasons for that, the beards played a part."We heard from people directly that there were no masks available for them," Sachal said. "When they went to the store, they didn't find any."Sachal says hair, whether it's on your face or head, is seen in Sikhism as a gift from God. Turbans are wrapped around hair to protect it, and most Sikh men refrain from cutting their hair or shaving their beards."That's why these masks are important," Sachal said. "They allow people to practise their religion while being safe."Colin Furness, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, looks at beards as a "variable" in how well a mask fits, but "not a determiner."A mask can be ill-fitting whether you have a beard or not, he explained. And while the length of facial hair will impact fit further, he says mask-wearing is only one safety precaution we should be practising."I don't think beards should be demonized, because it's not just about wearing a mask," he said. "You're also maintaining physical distance, you're also not doing large crowds... "It's when you start thinking that masks protect you completely that beards become more risky."Wang says those keeping their beards should still wear face masks."It'll be less effective, but it's better than nothing," she said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
Si la voiture électrique est bien partie pour devenir le moyen de locomotion du futur proche, être un « électromobiliste » n’est toutefois pas une sinécure dans l’Est-du-Québec en 2020. Nicolas Falcimaigne en sait quelque chose : propriétaire d’une Chevrolet Spark 2015, soit un des véhicules les plus abordables sur le marché, il dispose d’une autonomie qui ne dépasse pas les 100 km. Lorsqu’il est en déplacement, ce résident de Trois-Pistoles est donc dépendant des bornes de recharge éparpillées sur le territoire, plus précisément des bornes rapides qui lui permettent de recharger sa batterie en une vingtaine de minutes (contre plusieurs heures pour les bornes classiques). Or, il lui arrive régulièrement de tomber sur une borne qui ne fonctionne pas bien, ce qui a des conséquences importantes pour lui : « Depuis trois ans, ça m’est arrivé plusieurs fois, même en hiver, de devoir passer une soirée à Rimouski avec les enfants, voire d’y dormir, parce que la borne rapide était défectueuse… » En ce mois de novembre, l’unique borne rapide de Rimouski a même eu un problème pendant plus d’une semaine : elle fonctionnait à débit réduit. « Il a fallu une heure à ma conjointe pour charger sa Nissan Leaf de 15 à 89 %, contre 20 minutes normalement », explique M. Falcimaigne. Face à ces impondérables, difficile de planifier des déplacements sur de longues distances. « Les bornes rapides, c’est pour les trajets interurbains, rappelle celui qui est aussi propriétaire du Caveau des Trois Pistoles. Les bornes lentes, c’est pour quand on reste dans sa propre ville : on se branche pendant qu’on se promène ou qu’on va au magasin, juste pour entretenir la charge. » M. Falcimaigne regrette que le grand public ne fasse pas la différence entre ces deux types de bornes, ce qui mène parfois à des incompréhensions. « À Trois-Pistoles, il y a eu des travaux à la station-service où se situe la borne rapide, ce qui a bloqué son accès. J’ai parlé au contracteur, il m’a répondu d’aller à la borne de l’aréna (qui n’est pas rapide). Il ne comprenait pas que la borne rapide représente une étape indispensable d’un trajet. » La plupart des propriétaires de voiture électrique ne peuvent pas se permettre d’en sauter une, étant donné la faible autonomie dont ils disposent. Doubler les prises Mais la contrariété majeure pour les électromobilistes est l’absence de redondance de bornes de recharge rapide dans l’Est-du-Québec. En d’autres termes, il y a la plupart du temps la place pour brancher une seule voiture. Si elle est prise par quelqu’un d’autre, il faut attendre patiemment son tour, parfois plus d’une heure s’il s’agit d’un véhicule à grande autonomie. Hydro-Québec est en train d’installer des bornes rapides doubles dans six sites du Bas-Saint-Laurent (Saint-Pascal, Rivière-du-Loup, Le Bic, Rimouski, Pohénégamook et Causapscal) et trois de Gaspésie (Cap-Chat, Rivière-au-Renard et Carleton-sur-Mer, en plus d’une borne simple à Murdochville). Ces stations qui font partie du réseau Circuit électrique devraient toutes être opérationnelles d’ici février, dit le porte-parole Louis-Olivier Batty. « Dans notre stratégie de déploiement, c’est clair qu’on favorise une distance de 50 à 80 km entre chaque station de recharge », précise-t-il. Deux bornes rapides ont aussi été inaugurées à Mont-Joli. Cet été, l’achalandage des bornes rapides a augmenté de 53 % au Bas-Saint-Laurent et en Gaspésie, contre 40 % pour l’ensemble du Québec. Ces nouvelles zones de recharge sont donc bienvenues. Reste que certaines zones seront encore mal desservies : par exemple, entre Cap-Chat et Rivière-au-Renard (presque 200 km), on ne trouvera que des bornes simples – à Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Mont-Louis et Grande-Vallée. Louis-Olivier Batty conseille aux électromobilistes d’utiliser le planificateur de trajet du Circuit électrique, qui permet d’optimiser ses arrêts et ses recharges en fonction de l’achalandage des bornes, pour gagner du temps. Mieux localiser les bornes Si le réseau va finir par se compléter, la localisation de certaines bornes fait cependant sourciller Nicolas Falcimaigne. Par exemple, les deux qui vont être inaugurées à Rimouski sont situées dans une station-service en face du parc Beauséjour, alors que « la nouvelle tendance, c’est de les mettre près de l’autoroute, et non pas dans des centres-villes. Ce n’est pas du tourisme qu’on fait, on se déplace! » Le choix des sites se fait en considérant plusieurs paramètres, répond Louis-Olivier Batty. « On veut que ce soit le plus près des axes routiers, pour ne pas que les gens aient à faire un grand détour, mais on veut aussi qu’il y ait des services à côté. » Des ententes doivent être prises avec des commerçants, qui réservent une place de stationnement et permettent aux électromobilistes l’accès aux toilettes. Mais là encore, il y a loin de la coupe aux lèvres : toujours à Rimouski, à la borne rapide située près de l’accueil touristique, on n’a pas accès à des toilettes dès que ce dernier est fermé. « Plusieurs bornes sont mal situées, surtout pour le soir, confirme un autre propriétaire de véhicule électrique de Trois-Pistoles, Éric Dubois. Il y a clairement un enjeu d’urbanisme. Le choix des lieux où sont installées les bornes devrait revenir aux municipalités. » En attendant, des acteurs privés ont bien compris qu’il y avait beaucoup à gagner en fournissant de l’électricité : IGA va installer une centaine de bornes électriques rapides devant ses magasins, dont quatre dans l’Est-du-Québec.Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
Les propriétaires de véhicules maniaques de propreté, même en hiver, disposent maintenant d’un nouveau service à L’Anse-Saint-Jean, avec l’ouverture de Lave-auto CG, au 166 route 170, tout près de l’épicerie Bonichoix. Le couple formé de Pierre-Luc Côté et Audrey Gagné a décidé d’investir l’été dernier dans la construction d’un nouveau garage commercial afin d’offrir aux citoyens du Bas-Saguenay la possibilité de nettoyer leur véhicule en libre-service ou encore avec l’aide d’un professionnel attitré pour le lavage intérieur et extérieur, explique en entrevue Audrey Gagné, copropriétaire du commerce. « Il y a déjà eu un service de lave-auto, mais depuis quelques années, ç’a disparu, puisque la personne qui l’opérait a décidé d’arrêter. Il y a beaucoup de véhicules au Bas-Saguenay pour utiliser ce type de service », explique Mme Gagné. C’est avec ce potentiel de marché que M. Côté et Mme Gagné ont fait construire, sur le terrain adjacent à leur résidence, un imposant garage de 28 pieds par 40 pieds sur dalle de béton. Selon l’offre de Lave-auto CG, un propriétaire d’auto ou de camionnette a la possibilité de nettoyer lui-même son véhicule en réservant une période de deux heures pour accomplir la tâche. Le tarif inclut les produits de nettoyage, l’utilisation d’équipements comme une laveuse à pression, balayeuse, la disponibilité d’eau chaude, des seaux, brosses, linges d’essuyage, etc. Le tout dans le confort d’un bâtiment chauffé. La formule libre-service est disponible sur réservation 24 heures à l’avance, en raison des obligations de la Santé publique, les lundis, mercredis et vendredis, parmi l’une des cinq plages horaires, ainsi que le samedi à 8h et 10h30. Mme Gagné ajoute que la formule professionnelle est disponible sur réservation 72 heures à l’avance, selon quatre types de lavage. « Pour l’offre de ce service, on a embauché Richard Rousseau, de Rivière-Éternité, qui était capitaine du bateau-mouche. L’été dernier, il n’a pu travailler en raison de la COVID-19 », affirme Mme Gagné. Relève À en juger par leur dynamisme, le couple Gagné-Côté est en voie de constituer une partie de la relève d’affaires au Bas-Saguenay. En entrevue, M. Côté explique que l’investissement de 80 000 $ pour le garage ne constitue par l’unique motivation pour aller de l’avant. L’an dernier, il a acquis une route de distribution de pain et de produits laitiers opérée autrefois par Sylvain Dallaire, qui dessert tout le Bas-Saguenay entre Petit-Saguenay et Laterrière. Depuis cette acquisition, M. Côté a négocié la distribution des produits Vachon. Quotidiennement, il doit livrer ses victuailles dans 45 commerces du secteur, de sorte que le garage utilisé pour abriter son camion peut être utilisé et rentabilisé en cumulant les vocations de garage et de lave-auto. S’ajoute à la liste le fait que Pierre-Luc Côté et Audrey Gagné ont acquis la majorité des parts du restaurant L’Est Anse Ciel. « J’ai acheté les parts de mon beau-père Antonin Côté, dernièrement. Je suis propriétaire avec Pierre-Luc ainsi qu’avec Caroline Martel, Bruno-Pierre Houde et Jean-Éric Lavoie », explique Mme Gagné. La pandémie actuelle limite les heures d’ouverture du restaurant, sauf que l’établissement continue d’opérer à certaines heures avec le service de nourriture prête à emporter. L’ambition des entrepreneurs ne s’arrête pas là puisque M. Côté envisage également de lancer une entreprise de réparation et de remplacement de pare-brise mobile chez les clients au printemps prochain.Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
When Nikita Toms hears a knock on the front door of her King’s Point home, there are a couple of things it could mean. The first is that it could be the courier dropping off a Christmas gift. The second thing it could be is another courier delivering a piece of her four-year-old daughter Peyton’s Make-A-Wish bedroom makeover. Sometimes, the courier shows up with a mixture of both. When that happens, Nikita is always sure to separate gifts from makeover items. Either way, they’re both equally welcomed by the youngest Toms. “It’s exciting to her,” said Nikita. Pieces for the bedroom renovation have been coming for the past month. The makeover includes a new bedroom set, the repainting of walls with a giant rainbow — Peyton’s aunt and uncle are painting her room — and a host of other upgrades to reflect her love of unicorns and rainbows. Make-A-Wish Canada breaks wishes down into three categories. There are travel wishes, celebrity wishes and item wishes. With the COVID-19 pandemic still going strong, the travel and celebrity wish categories became impossible to fulfill. Some of the children making those wishes chose to wait until they could travel again to make them happen, while others switched their wishes to item wishes. “Some of the wishes have been reimagined,” said Dave Walsh, development co-ordinator with Make-A-Wish Canada in St. John’s. The pandemic meant a shift in the way Make-A-Wish Canada does things. Normally, the foundation would have a team that would assemble and makeover a gift like Peyton’s. However, for safety reasons, the foundation has been sending the items to the family and having them assemble it themselves. “We’ve been forced to do things at a distance,” said Walsh. Make-A-Wish Canada is fulfilling three other wishes in addition to Peyton’s in the province. The other three are all video game-related. All are currently receiving pieces of their gifts. “It’s kind of nice, too,” said Walsh. “They feel like Christmas wishes.” Peyton was one of those who decided to reimagine her wish. A big Disney fan, she had originally wished to visit Disneyland, but that wasn’t possible under current conditions. With travel a no-go, the young girl gave it some thought and decided she wanted a bedroom makeover with an emphasis on two things in particular. “She wanted anything to do with rainbows and unicorns,” said Nikita. Peyton finished two years of chemotherapy to shrink a benign tumour on her jaw that was the size of a baseball in February 2018. Then, her parents Nikita and Jake, marvelled at her strength as she did three chemo sessions a month and 72 treatments over the two years. “She was a lot stronger than we were,” said Nikita. Seeing the bedroom slowly come together with the help of the family has been great for her parents. And, obviously, for Peyton. As pieces of the room continue to trickle in, the family hopes to have everything assembled in the next couple of weeks. “(Peyton) well deserves it,” said Nikita. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
In this video, I demonstrate how I make a human bust cake. But not just any human bust cake, this one is a #SelfieCake!
A 45-year-old Saskatchewan man is facing impaired driving charges following a two-vehicle crash south of Fort Saskatchewan that killed two Alberta teenagers and left a third seriously injured. In a news release, Fort Saskatchewan RCMP stated that the accused was impaired on Sept. 17 when the pickup truck he was driving collided head-on with an SUV on Highway 21 near Township Road 542. The accident happened at about 9 p.m.Two of the three teenagers in the SUV — Kai Peters, 16, and Alexandra Ollington, 17, both of Sherwood Park — died at the scene.The third, 15-year-old Morgan Maltby, remains in hospital with "life-altering" injuries. Her family in Fort Saskatchewan is "hopeful that rehabilitation can be started soon in order for her to gain mobility," RCMP said in the Tuesday news release.Following the crash, officers launched an immediate investigation into the driver, stated the news release.The "complex investigation" included a collision analyst and forensic reconstructionist at the scene, witness evidence and a laboratory analysis of the driver's blood alcohol content. The accused — a resident of Caronport in southern Saskatchewan — is charged with operation of a motor vehicle while impaired causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.He is also charged with operation of a motor vehicle while impaired causing bodily harm and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm. "The families of the three victims of this crash expressed their relief that this investigation has led to charge," Cpl. Devon Lafreniere said in a statement. "Waiting for this news has been hard on the families, and while they understand that the ongoing criminal process will continue to be challenging, it is finally a step forward."The RCMP with Victim Services Unit will continue to support the families through their long road ahead."
While COVID-19 numbers in the Prairie Mountain Health region remain at a plateau, as with the rest of the province, two deaths were reported Monday linked to the Fairview Personal Care Home. That brings the region’s pandemic-related death toll to 16. A spokesperson with Prairie Mountain Health reported that there are 26 residents who have tested COVID positive at Fairview, as well as 12 staff. Six deaths are now associated with the Fairview outbreak. As well, two schools in the Brandon School Division announced over the weekend there are cases of COVID-19 — Vincent Massey High School and J.R. Reid School. The public letter related to J.R. Reid School does not contain the usual line, "The infection was not believed to be acquired at school." Nevertheless, the province’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, continues to maintain there isn’t "much transmission in schools." Because Roussin has never divulged statistics, The Brandon Sun followed up with a question to Manitoba Health. We asked for those numbers, but they were not available by deadline. Meanwhile, Roussin is telling Manitobans to obey public health orders to bring fatality numbers down. Saturday’s daily provincial bulletin announced the death of a child under the age of 10, and Monday saw two deaths also unrelated to the elderly — a man in his 30s and a woman in her 40s, both from the Winnipeg health region. "We continue to announce many deaths every day. Today, again into the double digits. I think we all know that we can’t continue along these lines. We have to bring these numbers down," Roussin said. Roussin acknowledged the restrictions the province has instituted are hard. "We’ve heard from a number of Manitobans that they want these restrictions lifted. Again, it’s not a matter of wanting these restrictions. I don’t think anyone wants these restrictions in place," he said. "It’s what the consequences of lifting them ... the consequence of lifting these restrictions right now is a much longer page of Manitobans that we lose with this virus, overwhelming of our health-care system, more strain on our health-care workers." He said while all Manitobans don’t want the restrictions, none want the consequences. Manitoba numbers appear to have reached a plateau, with daily numbers lingering between 300 to 400 for days. These numbers indicate the worst-case scenario — with no restrictions and no buy-in by Manitobans – won’t come to pass. Modelling predicted the province could reach a peak of 1,000 COVID-positive cases per day by Dec. 6. So far, it seems that model won’t become reality, but Roussin said it’s not enough to plateau. The numbers still need to come down. Contacts still need to be kept to only essential contacts.Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
It’s been a different year for Gander Fire Rescue. Normally, members’ calendar would be filled with things like handing out Halloween candy to children at the hospital or opening the fire hall for tours. However, things like that were scuttled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the fire department was hoping to do something this year. With that in mind, some members of the department came up with the idea of collecting winter clothing for children. “We just thought we were going to get jackets and stuff, but people were asking if they could donate certain items and we said, ‘Certainly, go ahead,’” said Addison Quilty, Gander Fire Rescue’s assistant deputy fire chief. The department’s goal was to collect the same number of winter clothing as there are fire hydrants in Gander. That set their aim at 427 pieces of clothing. They didn’t care if it was mittens, gloves, toques, jackets or boots, as long as the department was able to get what they aimed for. It turns out they got all of those things in abundance — they’ve collected 432 pieces of clothing. “We’ve been really impressed,” said Quilty. “We’re still getting things now.” The pandemic has changed the way organizations handle donated items, and Gander Fire Rescue is no different. The department put a pair of bins outside the fire hall and once an item was placed in the bin, it stayed there for 24 hours. When it entered the building, the clothing was cleaned again. In the next little while, the department will start bagging up what they’ve collected and delivered it to the Salvation Army. From there, the church’s community and family services division in Gander will distribute the items where they are needed. “The Salvation Army is certainly very grateful for that kind of partnership with us, to be able to provide that kind of practical donation to help people for the cold winter months,” said Maj. Rene Loveless, public relations and development secretary with the provincial Salvation Army. “That's fabulous.” Loveless said he was impressed with the number of items the Gander fire department collected in a short period. Ensuring children have adequate clothes for the winter months, which can be harsh at times in central Newfoundland, was at the heart of the Gander Fire Rescue clothing drive. To see that effort to help children was something that stood out for Loveless. “It’s a beautiful thing, really,” said Loveless. The department isn’t done collecting clothing just yet. They’ve set a deadline of Dec. 6 and then they will stop collecting. In the meantime, their final number could be even higher by the time they call it off next week. “People are still not afraid to help others out,” said Quilty. “It is a good thing to see.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
Ten fishermen out of Shippagan, N.B., were testing ropeless trap technology during the spring crab fishery that is designed to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales.A recent report from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts found that fishing gear entanglements were the leading cause of right whale deaths from 2010 to 2015. There are only about 360 right whales remaining in the world.The report recommended ropeless gear as a solution. Standard gear connects traps on the bottom to a buoy on the surface. With ropeless gear, the ropes lie on the bottom until they are released by an acoustic signal from the fisherman, then float to the surface so the traps can be hauled.Robert Hache, director general of the Acadian Crabbers Association, said previous experiments with ropeless gear did not go well."The main issue was the reliability and user-friendly aspect of the acoustic release mechanism," said Hache.This most recent technology is working better, he said, but there are still issues. In particular, the system relies on cellular networks for locating the underwater traps, and the signals are not that strong out on the fishing grounds.Eventually, a system would also need to be set up so the Department of Fisheries and Oceans can keep track of all the traps in the water."Fishermen that have been involved with the testing and have used these devices have found it sufficiently interesting to do further experimentation," said Hache.Fishermen investedInterest in the devices is growing, Hache said.Five of the 10 fishermen this year invested their own money to buy the devices."That was a very good sign for us, because when you get these people interested in an equipment, that are willing to invest, then it means they are looking at this issue seriously," said Hache.New methods need to be found. Currently, conservation means just shutting down the fishery when whales are spotted.Ropeless traps can stay in the water, because they pose no danger to the whales.More from CBC P.E.I.