Absolutely stunning time-lapse footage featuring active Aurora Borealis around the area of Inari in Lapland, Finland.
Absolutely stunning time-lapse footage featuring active Aurora Borealis around the area of Inari in Lapland, Finland.
COVID-19. Suite à une discussion avec la Santé publique et en accord avec les représentants des partis, le président de l'Assemblée nationale, François Paradis, indique que les séances des commissions parlementaires prévues pour les deux prochaines semaines seront virtuelles. Les auditions se dérouleront donc à distance pour les témoins et les députés impliqués dans les auditions publiques des projets de loi sur la modernisation du régime de santé et de sécurité du travail, l'Institut de technologie agroalimentaire du Québec et celui sur l’aide aux personnes victimes d'infractions criminelles. Les études détaillées des autres projets de loi qui étaient prévues pour les deux prochaines semaines sont quant à elles annulées. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Once upon a time, there was a girl named Sofia who loved books but was bothered by how the book collection in her school library was very … well … white. So the girl decided she'd try to write a new twist to the tale by penning something prosaic yet powerful — an application for a government grant, to be exact. Two thousand dollars later, 13-year-old Sofia Rathjen of Sherwood Park, Alta., is curating a collection of books by, and about, Black, Indigenous and people of colour. The new books are building diversity on the bookshelves of the Sherwood Heights junior high library and more tolerance and understanding among its students. "Students of colour — and all people of colour — can see their stories represented authentically and unapologetically and written by authors who understand those experiences," the Latino-Canadian teen told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM. "And non-people of colour can understand things that we go through. That way, it's not always our job to explain everything and why something is hurtful or racist." 'I just thought about how I could change that' In total, the school will get 134 books — science fiction, poetry, history, graphic novels, mythology and more — featuring authors from dozens of cultural backgrounds. Rathjen's application for Strathcona County's Community Change grant grew out of another piece of writing — a "passion project" essay about why representation matters in school libraries that she had done the year before. "The library was great, [but] I noticed that it lacked representation of people of colour and I saw the way that it affected outside of the library and outside of books," Rathjen said. "Personally, I experienced a lot of micro-aggressions, and I know people who have experienced blatant racism from people at our school. And so I just thought about how I could change that." The Grade 8 student came up with the idea to apply for the grant, then went to the teacher of her leadership class, Robin Koning, for help. Koning said he is "pleased as punch," not just at the grant being approved but at what it means for the school. "We really want to increase our Black/Indigenous/people of colour collection," he said. "Like Sofia said, we want people to realize that people from other cultures experience all kinds of discrimination, whether it's words or actions or just weird things that people say and do." The school's new "technicolour bookshelf," as Rathjen dubs it, is a powerful way to share that message. And Rathjen, said Koning, is a powerful ambassador. "For us to increase the collection of books that ... students would love to read, that's what we're about," he said. "The excitement from Sofia will make, hopefully, other students her age excited about reading." The first 39 books arrived at Rathjen's home during the at-home schooling period so, of course, she took the opportunity to read them. Books provide perspective She reviews books, too, on her Instagram account @the_technicolour_bookshelf, and happily rattled off suggestions to a CBC Radio producer who asked about titles. "OK, so Clap When You Land is by Elizabeth Acevedo. This is about two sisters who don't know that the other exists until their dad dies in a plane crash. And it's about grief and loss and also sisterhood. And it's really beautiful," she said. "And this, Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, is based off of African and African-American mythology. And it's about a boy who punches a hole in the sky into a world of folklore that he thought were only stories." Rathjen said she worked hard to find books that will appeal to people of any ethnicity, whether or not they love books as much as her. Books, she said, are the way to see the perspectives of others. "There's a metaphor [about] windows and mirrors. So books are either a window into someone else's perspective and experiences, or a mirror of your own. "And so I think that's why I love reading so much. Because you get to read about so many different stories and experiences and put yourself in the shoes of other people." The end. 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.
Ottawa's homicide unit is investigating the death of a man who was found with gunshot wounds in the city's south end early Saturday morning. According to police, the man was found in the area of Hunt Club Road and Lorry Greenberg Drive at approximately 3 a.m. He was identified Saturday afternoon as 20-year-old Mehdi El-Hajj Hassan. A section of Lorry Greenberg Drive was closed to traffic but has since re-opened. People with information are asked to contact police or can submit anonymous tips by calling Crime Stoppers.
WASHINGTON — When Joe Biden takes the oath of office Wednesday outside a wounded U.S. Capitol, he will begin reshaping the office of the presidency itself as he sets out to lead a bitterly divided nation struggling with a devastating pandemic and an insurrection meant to stop his ascension to power. Biden had campaigned as a rebuke to President Donald Trump, a singular figure whose political power was fueled by discord and grievance. The Democrat framed his election as one to “heal the soul” of the nation and repair the presidency, restoring the White House image as a symbol of stability and credibility. In ways big and small, Biden will look to change the office he will soon inhabit. Incendiary tweets are out, wonky policy briefings are in. Biden, as much an institutionalist as Trump has been a disruptor, will look to change the tone and priorities of the office. “It really is about restoring some dignity to the office, about picking truth over lies, unity over division,” Biden said soon after he launched his campaign. “It’s about who we are.” The White House is about 2 miles up Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol, where broken windows, heavy fortifications and hundreds of National Guard members provide a visible reminder of the power of a president’s words. Trump's supporters left a Jan. 6 rally by the president near the White House to commit violence in his name at the Capitol, laying siege to the citadel of democracy and underscoring the herculean task Biden faces in trying to heal the nation’s searing divisions. Few presidents have taken on the job having thought more about the mark he wants to make on it than Biden. He has spent more than 40 years in Washington and captured the White House after two previous failed attempts. He frequently praises his former boss, President Barack Obama, as an example of how to lead during crisis. “Biden’s main task is going to be need to be to reestablish the symbol of the White House to the world as a place of integrity and good governance. Because right now everything is in disarray,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian and professor at Rice University. “But Biden is uniquely situated to do this, his whole life has been spent in Washington and he spent eight years watching the job up close.” The changes will be sweeping, starting with the president's approach to the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed nearly 400,000 American lives. The sharp break from Trump won’t just come in federal policy, but in personal conduct. Trump flouted the virus, his staff largely eschewing masks in the warren of cramped West Wing offices while the president hosted “superspreader” events at the White House and on the road. Biden’s team is considering having many staffers work from home; those who do enter the building will wear masks. Biden has already been vaccinated, something Trump, who got the virus last fall, has chosen not to do despite suggestions that it would set an example for the nation. Biden’s approach to the day-to-day responsibilities of the office will also be a break from his predecessor. For one, Twitter won't be a principal source of news. Trump’s trail of tweets has roiled the capital for four years. Across Washington, phones would buzz with alerts anytime the president used his most potent political weapon to attack Democrats and keep Republicans in line. Biden’s tweets tend to be bland news releases and policy details with the occasional “Here’s the deal, folks” thrown in for good measure. Allied lawmakers are unlikely to have to pretend not to have seen the latest posting in order to avoid commenting on it. Biden has said he wants Americans to view the president as a role model again; no more coarse and demeaning language or racist, divisive rhetoric. His team has promised to restore daily news briefings and the president-elect does not refer to the press as “the enemy of the people.” But it remains to be seen whether he will be as accessible as Trump, who until his postelection hibernation, took more questions from reporters than any of his recent predecessors. While Trump filled out much of his Cabinet and White House staff with relatives, political neophytes and newcomers to government, Biden has turned to seasoned hands, bringing in Obama administration veterans and career officials. Policy papers will be back in vogue and governing by cable chyron likely out. Trump was mostly indifferent to the machinations of Congress, at times appearing to be an observer of his own administration. Biden, a longtime senator who will have Democratic control of both houses, is positioned to use the weight of his office to push an ambitious legislative agenda. His team will be tested, though, by the tumult at home: a virus that is killing more than 4,000 people a day, a sluggish vaccination distribution program, a worsening economy and contention over the upcoming second impeachment trial for Trump. Biden also has as much work ahead repairing the image of the presidency overseas as he does on American shores. Trump repositioned the United States in the world, pulling the U.S. out of a number of multilateral trade deals and climate agreements in favour of a more insular foreign policy. His ever-shifting beliefs and moods strained relations with some of the nation’s oldest allies, including much of Western Europe. As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, Trump fostered competition, not co-operation, on research and vaccine development. Trump also abandoned the tradition role the president plays in shining a light on human rights abuses around the world. Biden, who spent years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and had a vast foreign policy portfolio as vice-president, has pledged a course correction. He has promised to repair alliances, rejoin the Paris climate treaty and the World Health Organization and said he would shore up U.S. national security by first addressing health, economic and political crises at home. Offering the White House as a symbol of stability to global capitals won’t be easy for Biden as Trump’s shadow looms. “He has a structural problem and needs to make the U.S. seem more reliable. We’re diminished in stature and less predictable,” said Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations. He noted that even after Biden’s win, the European Union bolstered ties to China with a new investment treaty. “Everyone around the world is hedging, they have no idea if Biden’s a one-term president or what could come after him,” Haass said. “There is a fear across the world that Trump or Trumpism could return in four years.” ___ Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press
The Brazilian jungle state of Amazonas received more emergency supplies of oxygen and respirators on Saturday, as the military and neighboring Venezuela scrambled to alleviate an unfolding humanitarian crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Air Force also said it had evacuated 12 patients from hospitals in the state capital Manaus to the northern city of Sao Luis overnight, with hospitals at breaking point with no oxygen supplies and overflowing intensive care wards. Mass graves were dug in Manaus during the first wave of the pandemic last year.
Esterhazy town council met on December 16, 2020, at 6:30 P.M. for its regularly scheduled council meeting with all council members present. After reviewing the agenda and minutes of the last meeting the council moved on to review the financials, beginning with the trial balance. Councillor Bot made a motion to accept the financials which was carried. Carrying on, the council heard the administrative reports, before Esterhazy Town Foreman Gord Meyer gave his report next, informing the council of what the maintenance staff has been doing the last two weeks. A planning and development report was given by Acting Administrator Thorley. Regarding Bylaw 769-20, Councillor Nickel made a motion for the first reading of Bylaw 769-20 which was carried. A request to remove some Elm trees was made by a property owner. Councillor Petracek made a motion to remove the Elm trees at the property owner's expense; motion carried. A recreation report was then given by Brenda Redman. She informed the council that skating ice around the campground has been put in by the town at the campground with positive feedback from the public. The Dana Antal Arena is booked up until Christmas. Esterhazy Flour Mill tenders are coming in and will close soon. A $49,000 grant was received from the Provincial Government Heritage. The ‘Light the Night’ contest is going well. A fire report was next to be reviewed by the council, followed by the water report. Acting Administrator Mike Thorley gave his administration report and requested the council to hire an auditor for the 2020 year. Councillor Flick made the motion to accept which was carried. Landfill hours changes for holidays were discussed and Councillor Petracek made a motion to be open for shorter hours for the holidays; motion carried. The council motioned to pay C. Duncan Construction for excavation work; motion carried. Landfill equipment is fixed and the town has paid the deductible. Councillor Petracek made a motion to accept the administration reports. Under old business, the landfill pole shed was discussed and it was recommended to accept Vince Pisak’s tender. Councillor Rowland made a motion to accept which was carried. Under new business, the 2021 council meeting dates were discussed. Councillor Flick made a motion to accept the list which was prepared for the councillors; motion carried. 2021-21 Council Committee recommendations were reviewed prior to Councillor Roland making a motion to accept the committee recommendations as presented to the councillors; motion carried. The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency was next to be discussed, as well as Service Canada’s request to rent office space from the town. Councillor Petracek made a motion to accept which was carried. Municipalities of Saskatchewan requested a membership renewal and Councillor Nickel made a motion to pay the membership fees; the motion carried. East Central Transportation Committee requested a council member to attend a meeting on January 13, 2021. The commissionaire’s agreement was discussed. Councillor Bot made a motion to sign the agreement continuing with the way it has gone; motion carried. Federation of Canadian Municipalities was next to be discussed as membership is due. Councillor Pfiefer made a motion to pay the membership fees; the motion carried. Municipalities of Saskatchewan virtual convention was discussed next. Councillor Nickel made a motion to register Mayor Forster as well as possibly others motion carried. The Noble Construction airport hangar was next to be discussed. A motion was made to accept the sale of the hangar and then review the lease with the new owners; motion carried. The council then reviewed the correspondence received over the previous two weeks. After a short discussion, Councillor Nickel made a motion to file the correspondence which was carried. Councillor Flick made a motion to adjourn the meeting which was carried. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
Toronto Mayor John Tory has congratulated Nick Mantas on winning the Ward 22 Scarborough-Agincourt byelection. Preliminary results show Mantas won a narrow victory Friday night to replace former Toronto city councillor Jim Karygiannis in Ward 22. Tory said the byelection happened at a crucial time for the city. "As mayor, it is my job to work with every member of city council," Tory said in a statement. "I look forward to working with councillor-elect Mantas on the issues that are important to him and the residents of Ward 22. "This is a crucial time for our city as we continue to face the challenge of COVID-19. I know councillor-elect mantas is committed to helping our efforts as a city government to confront this virus and make the residents and businesses of Scarborough-Agincourt get through these extremely tough times," Tory added. Tory said he also looks forward to working with Mantas on the prudent management of the city's finances and on the maintenance of strong partnerships with the other governments. He thanked voters who cast their ballot in the byelection either by mail or in person. "Your commitment to making sure your voice is heard as part of our democratic process is so important and has helped make sure Ward 22 will continue to be represented at Toronto City Hall," he said. Mantas, who was the former chief of staff to Karygiannis, was considered one of the more high-profile candidates among the 28 running in the byelection for Scarborough-Agincourt. According to the city's unofficial results, Mantas had a total of 3,261 votes with all 41 polls reporting. He won by a margin of just 223 votes over his nearest rival, Manna Wong, who garnered 3,038 votes. The results are deemed unofficial until the city clerk can declare a winner, according to a tweet from Toronto Elections. Karygiannis was removed as city councillor in September 2020 due to a campaign spending violation in the 2018 municipal election.
The second batch of Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine arrived in Argentina on Saturday, allowing the South American country to apply the second part of the two-dose program aimed at inoculating front-line health workers. More doses are expected to arrive in Argentina later this month and in February. Paraguay this week became the eighth country outside Russia to approve the Sputnik V vaccine, developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute.
Brazil's government will not seek to bar Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from 5G network auctions slated for June this year, newspaper Estado de S. Paulo reported on Saturday, citing government and industry sources. Financial costs potentially worth billions of dollars and the exit of ally President Donald Trump from the White House are forcing President Jair Bolsonaro to backtrack on his opposition to Huawei bidding to provide the next generation cellular network for carriers in Brazil, the paper said.
'Significant growth' in the Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) could help keep taxes down while increasing the cash available for the town to spend in 2021. TBM will be finalizing its 2021 budget in early February, which currently proposes a 1.3 per cent tax rate increase. “The actual tax levy is increasing by 5.2 per cent. However, because we've seen significant growth, we are going to receive an extra $635,988 in tax revenue. So, the end result is that there's a 1.3 per cent tax rate increase,” stated Ruth Prince, director of finance and IT for TBM. “The town has been in a very fortunate position.” The proposed budget outlines an average residential property tax bill of $5,466 based on an assessment of $620,000. Of the $5,466, 17.4 per cent or $949 would be filtered to the education tax; 41.3 per cent or $2,256 is allocated to Grey County and $2,256 or 41.4 per cent remains in TBM. Assessments for 2021 have been frozen at the 2020 assessment rate level in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “So, what does that mean for an average town tax bill? If your assessment is that $620,000, you may see the town portion increased [from 2020] by $31,” Prince said. In the proposed budget, the town’s capital budget totals $23.6 million with 13 per cent of the funding coming from development charges and the remaining funds being drawn from long-term debt, property owners and reserves. Capital projects outlined for 2021 include the Camperdown Wastewater Extension, upgrades to Jozo Weider Boulevard, replacement of two bridges, as well as replacing an aerial pumper in the fire department's fleet. “We are being prudent, but we are trying to do a lot,” stated TBM Mayor, Alar Soever. TBM has outlined four studies that are expected to be completed in 2021 – the town’s density/intensification study, the Leisure Activity Plan, a compensation review and the Fire Master Plan. Town staff and council have also suggested additions to the base budget, including several new staff positions: an administrative assistant to committees; a communications assistant; a communications coordinator; a fire prevention inspector; an additional landfill operator; a contract building inspector; permit and inspection assistant; lot development technologist; and a development reviewer. In addition, TBM has outlined plans to pursue the creation of a dog park in Craigleith, installation of EV charging stations, adding a parks vehicle to its fleet and has also diverted funds into the communications department for additional advertising. The base budget additions total $917,550, with $496,680 being drawn from taxation. Four departments in TBM – water, wastewater, harbour and building departments – are funded through user fees, not taxation. “In terms of water and wastewater rates, there is no change to the water consumption, but there is a two per cent proposed increase to the wastewater consumption charge, and that would see an increase of approximately $6 a year,” Prince said. The draft budget also proposes several changes to the fee structure at the Thornbury Harbour, including a $2-per-foot increase to the Seasonal Mooring fees. Town staff have been actively working on the draft budget since June and TBM council held budget deliberation meetings on Dec. 2, 7 and 9, as well as a public meeting on Jan. 11. Comments received at the public meeting included concerns around the Camperdown Wastewater Extension project, affordability for seniors on a fixed income, and housing concerns. “Young families are effectively being precluded from living in the area as they simply cannot afford to live here. Home prices [are] rising at an alarming rate and [there is] alack of housing inventory available,” stated Katie Bell, in a letter to council. “The town deferred 2020 tax bill payment by one month in an effort to help residents meet the payment indicating the council acknowledges the difficult economic environment. Now, instead of continued support to the constituents, council will introduce a tax hike,” Bell continued. The Blue Mountain Ratepayers Association (BMRA), which has its own budget review committee, performed an analysis of the TBM draft budget and presented a deputation to TBM council on Dec. 8. In its deputation to council, the BMRA applauded the town for their continued efforts in remaining fiscally responsible while addressing the needs of the community through the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the group drew some concerns around the town’s ability to complete capital projects in a timely manner. “Depreciation is greater than new capital builds and has been for some time,” stated Brian Harkness, chair of BMRA's budget review committee in the deputation to council. The BMRA is also continuing its efforts in trying to find justification in the large percentage of tax dollars that is allocated to the county, in comparison to other lower-tier municipalities in the region. “BMRA is concerned about the increasing amount of municipal tax assessment dollars directed to the county and not available for the town to spend on needed capital projects, such as a modern community centre,” Harkness continued. Currently, 41.3 per cent of the tax dollars collected from TBM residents is allocated to Grey County. In 2020, the average TBM resident paid $2,268 in tax dollars to Grey County, which is the highest paid by any resident of all nine Grey County municipalities. The Municipality of Grey Highlands held the second-highest contribution rate in 2020, contributing, on average, $1,483 per resident. Comments from the public meeting will be presented to council in a staff report on Jan. 26, where council members will take one final look at the proposed draft budget. “We're now at 1.37 [per cent increase], but we're going to be meeting to fine tune things once a public meeting where everybody will have a chance to provide some more comments,” Soever said, adding that council members hope to reduce expenditures further to reach a zero per cent tax increase. The budget bylaw will appear before council for final approval on Feb. 8. Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
If you’re slicing into a sizzling steak for dinner tonight, or getting a spoonful of lamb stew, then you have a farmer and butcher to thank. They are the silent, often underappreciated heroes of the food industry, and they are facing massive challenges amid the pandemic. “We feel that people don’t understand us,” said Craig McLaughlin, owner of a medium-sized beef farm in Renfrew County. “It would be so helpful if people understand what we are up against,” echoed Angie Hoysted, co-owner of Valley Custom Cutting, a provincial free-standing meat plant and full-service butcher shop in Smiths Falls. So what exactly are they up against? Bill Dobson, who owns an organic beef farm in Smiths Falls, said one of the biggest challenges local producers have is a lack of infrastructure for processing. “There’s not enough abattoirs (slaughterhouse for livestock),” Dobson said. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) website listed a total of 115 abattoirs in the province, and 360 free-standing meat processing plants (FSMP). FSMPs do not slaughter animals. They conduct further processing activities such as the aging, boning, cutting, slicing, smoking, curing and fermenting of meat. Once the animal carcass has been brought back from the abattoirs, the challenge is that there aren’t enough butchers (or FSMPs) to cut and process the meat. “There’s just not enough people getting into that business. We have to encourage (the) government to open up spaces in community colleges and encourage people to go into that field,” Dobson said. Hoysted’s husband Dan was head butcher at an abattoir when it closed unexpectedly. The beef producers in the area – who knew him and trusted his skills – expressed their need for a reliable butcher, so Dan and Angie opened a shop in 2016. Hoysted said farmers invest two years of raising and taking care of livestock, so they’re not just “going take it to a random butcher to cut it. You don’t get a good yield, the cuts you want or your packages professionally done.” Not only do farmers book months in advance for an abattoir, they also have to schedule for butchers, typically a six-month wait. “Once the pandemic hit, spaces booked up at the abattoir. I used to be able to book slaughter space in a month or two; now it’s at least six months,” said Tyler Armstrong, a sheep farmer who owns Pinnacle Haven Farm in Renfrew. “Now I book before the lamb’s even born,” Armstrong said, adding that this issue is not unique to this area – it’s an Ontario-wide issue. McLaughlin said this poses a huge problem: “If I have cattle ready (for the abattoir), and they have no place to go, you have to maintain them. You can’t put them in a storage locker. They require daily care and (it) costs me more.” Another challenge is labour shortage. If a farmer or a butcher gets sick, there’s not a ready source of labour they can avail themselves of quickly. “You might find an able body, but they’ve never worked with livestock before, or trained in specific skills to operate specific equipment,” McLaughlin said. “If we got sick, we have to go home, and everything in our cooler will be garbage by the time we reopen,” Hoysted said about the meat products they sell. “We’re one of the youngest people owning a provincial processing plant in this part of Ontario. Everyone else is older. What’s going to happen in five to 10 years when they retire? You’re going to have a major, major issue,” Hoysted said. Yona Harvey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Smiths Falls Record News
The body of an unknown man was discovered Friday afternoon along a shoreline in southwest Nova Scotia — an area that has several recent missing persons cases. Nova Scotia RCMP are working with the provincial medical examiner to identify the remains and determine the cause of death. In a news release Saturday morning, RCMP say a man found the body near the water's edge around 1:30 p.m. Friday and called 911. The discovery happened near Central Grove on Long Island. At the time of the body's discovery, seven men were missing in that part of the province in three recent, separate cases. Five crew members of the scallop dragger Chief William Saulis have been missing since their vessel sank in the Bay of Fundy last month, 20-year-old Zachary Lefave was last seen walking home from a party in Yarmouth County on New Year's Eve, and the search for 69-year-old Kenneth Surette, who was last seen canoeing in Yarmouth County last weekend, was just turned into a missing persons case on Wednesday. "The outcome is dependent on the identification, and that could take a while," said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Andrew Joyce in an interview. "So for us to speculate as to which one of the missing or somebody else would not be wise for us to do or helpful to anybody." Still, Joyce said RCMP notified family members of all the recently missing men about the discovery. Less than 24 hours later, another body was found in the water off Yarmouth County — that of Surette, the missing canoeist. MORE TOP STORIES
BERLIN — The German soccer federation is investigating whether Union Berlin player Florian Hübner used a xenophobic slur against Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Nadiem Amiri when the Bundesliga teams played Friday. The federation said Saturday that there was a “suspicion” that Hübner racially insulted Amiri, whose parents are from Afghanistan, at the end of Union’s 1-0 win. “We will take on this initial suspicion and initiate appropriate investigations at the start of the new week,” said Anton Nachreiner, chairman of the federation’s control committee. “For the first step, we will write to everyone involved and ask them to comment. We will also evaluate the available material up to then.” Nachreiner said the federation “fundamentally does not tolerate any racism or discrimination.” Friday’s game ended with Amiri angrily approaching Hübner and pointing his finger in the Union defender’s face after the final whistle. Amiri also had heated words with other Union players. Union coach Urs Fischer tried without success to console the furious midfielder. Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah told broadcaster DAZN that Amiri was abused by an opponent who used a racially charged term referring to the Germany midfielder’s Afghan background. “It doesn’t belong on the football pitch, no matter how emotional things get,” Tah said. “It’s the most bitter part of the evening. I hope there are consequences.” Amiri said Saturday that he accepted an apology from the player involved. “He came to me in the changing room after the game,” Amiri told Leverkusen’s website. “There were ugly words on the pitch said in the heat of the moment that he’s very sorry for. He credibly assured me of that and therefore the matter is now settled for me.” Neither Amiri nor Tah referred to the Union player by name. Fischer missed the incident. “I heard there were words on the pitch that have no place on the pitch,” Fischer said after the game, before calling for an investigation. Union welcomed the federation’s investigation. “Union Berlin completely distances itself from racism and discrimination in football and in our society. To be clear: it’s not acceptable in any form,” the club said on Twitter. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press
Denmark on Saturday found its first case of a more contagious coronavirus variant from South Africa, and saw a rise in the number of infections with the highly transmissible B117 variant first identified in Britain, health authorities said. The Nordic country extended a lockdown for three weeks on Wednesday in a bid to curtail the spread of the new variant from Britain, which authorities expect to be the dominant one by mid-February. Denmark has become a front-runner in monitoring coronavirus mutations by running most positive tests through genome sequencing analysis.
WASHINGTON — The public won’t see President Donald Trump’s White House records for years, but there’s growing concern the collection won’t be complete, leaving a hole in the history of one of America’s most tumultuous presidencies. Trump has been cavalier about the law requiring that records be preserved. He has a habit of ripping up documents before tossing them out, forcing White House records workers to spend hours taping them back together. “They told him to stop doing it. He didn’t want to stop,” said Solomon Lartey, a former White House records analyst. He said the first document he taped back together was a letter from Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., about a government shutdown. The president also confiscated an interpreter’s notes after Trump had a chat with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Trump scolded his White House counsel for taking notes at a meeting during the Russia investigation by former special counsel Robert Mueller. Top executive branch officials had to be reminded more than once not to conduct official business on private email or text messaging systems and to preserve it if they did. And now, Trump's baseless claim of widespread voter fraud, which postponed for weeks an acknowledgement of President-elect Joe Biden's victory, is delaying the transfer of documents to the National Archives and Records Administration, further heightening concern about the integrity of the records. “Historians are likely to suffer from far more holes than has been the norm,” said Richard Immerman at the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. In the Trump White House, "not only has record-keeping not been a priority, but we have multiple examples of it seeking to conceal or destroy that record.” Lack of a complete record might also hinder any ongoing investigations of Trump, from his impeachment trial and other prospective federal inquiries to investigations in the state of New York. But even with requests by lawmakers and lawsuits by government transparency groups, there is an acknowledgment that noncompliance with the Presidential Records Act carries little consequence for Trump. In tossing out one suit last year, U.S. Circuit Judge David Tatel wrote that courts cannot “micromanage the president’s day-to-day compliance.” The Presidential Records Act states that a president cannot destroy records until he seeks the advice of the national archivist and notifies Congress. But the law doesn’t require him to heed the archivist's advice. It doesn't prevent the president from going ahead and destroying records. Most presidential records today are electronic. Records experts estimate that automatic backup computer systems capture a vast majority of the records, but cannot capture records that a White House chooses not to create or log into those systems. THE MOVE Moving a president’s trail of paper and electronic records is a laborious task. President Barack Obama left about 30 million pages of paper documents and some 250 terabytes of electronic records, including the equivalent of about 1.5 billion pages of emails. The records of past presidents are important because they can help a current president craft new policies and prevent mistakes from being repeated. “Presidential records tell our nation’s story from a unique perspective and are essential to an incoming administration in making informed decisions,” said Lee White, director of the National Coalition for History. “They are equally vital to historians." When Trump lost the November election, records staffers were in position to transfer electronic records, pack up the paper ones and move them to the National Archives by Jan. 20, as required by law. But Trump’s reluctance to concede has meant they will miss the deadline. “Necessary funding from the (White House) Office of Management and Budget was delayed for many weeks after the election, which has caused delays in arranging for the transfer of the Trump presidential records into the National Archives' custody,” the National Archives said in a statement to The Associated Press. “Even though the transfer of these records will not be completed until after Jan. 20, the National Archives will assume legal custody of them on Jan. 20 in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.” The White House did not respond to a request for comment about preserving Trump's records. One person familiar with the transition said guidance typically emailed to executive branch employees explaining how to turn in equipment and pack up their offices was sent out in December, but quickly rescinded because Trump insisted on contesting the election. With little guidance, some staffers in the White House started quietly calling records workers to find out what to do. Departing employees are instructed to create a list of folders in each box and make a spreadsheet to give the National Archives a way to track and retrieve the information for the incoming Biden team. The process gets more complex with classified material. The Biden administration can request to see Trump records immediately, but the law says the public must wait five years before submitting Freedom of Information Act requests. Even then, Trump — like other presidents before him — is invoking specific restrictions to public access of his records for up to 12 years. Six restrictions outlined in the law include national security, confidential business information, confidential communications between the president and his advisers or among his advisers and personal information. RECORD-KEEPING PRACTICES Around Trump's first impeachment and on other sensitive issues, some normal workflow practices were bypassed, a second person familiar with the process said. Apparently worried about leaks, higher-ups and White House lawyers became more involved in deciding which materials were catalogued and scanned into White House computer networks where they are automatically saved, this person said. The individuals, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss inner workings at the White House, said that if uncatalogued materials ended up in an office safe, for instance, they would at least be temporarily preserved. But if they were never catalogued in the first place, staffers would not know they existed, making such materials untraceable. White House staff quickly learned about Trump's disregard for documents as they witnessed him tearing them up and discarding them. “My director came up to me and said, ‘You have to tape these together,'” said Lartey, the former records analyst. Lartey said someone in the White House chief of staff's office told the president that the documents were considered presidential records and needed to be preserved by law. Lartey said about 10 records staffers ended up on Scotch tape duty at different times, starting with Trump’s first days in the White House through at least mid-2018. Trump's staff also engaged in questionable practices by using private emails and messaging apps. Former White House counsel Don McGahn in February 2017 sent a memo that instructed employees not to use nonofficial text messaging apps or private email accounts. If they did, he said, they had to take screenshots of the material and copy it into official email accounts, which are preserved. He sent the memo back out in September 2017. “It's an open question to me about how serious or conscientious any of those people have been about moving them over,” said Tom Blanton, who directs the National Security Archive at George Washington University, which was founded in 1985 to combat government secrecy. Trump was criticized for confiscating the notes of an interpreter who was with him in 2017 when the president talked with Putin in Hamburg, Germany. Lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to obtain the notes of another interpreter who was with Trump in 2018 when he met with Putin in Helsinki, Finland. It's unclear whether the two presidents talked about Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Many people suspected the subject did come up because at a news conference afterward, Trump said he believed Putin when Putin denied Russian interference despite U.S. intelligence agencies finding the opposite. Several weeks ago, the National Security Archive, two historical associations and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington sued to prevent the Trump White House from destroying any electronic communications or records sent or received on nonofficial accounts, such as personal email or WhatsApp. They also alleged that the White House has already likely destroyed presidential materials. The court refused to issue a temporary restraining order after government lawyers told the judge that they had instructed the White House to notify all employees to preserve all electronic communications in their original format until the suit was settled. “I believe we will find that there’s going to be a huge hole in the historical record of this president because I think there’s probably been serious noncompliance of the Presidential Records Act," said Anne Weismann, one of the lawyers representing the groups in their suit. "I don’t think President Trump cares about his record and what it says. I think he probably cares, though, about what it might say about his criminal culpability.” Trump faces several legal challenges when he leaves the White House. There are two New York state inquiries into whether he misled tax authorities, banks or business partners. Also, two women alleging he sexually assaulted them are suing him. DESTROYING OR SAVING HISTORY Presidential records were considered a president's personal property until the Watergate scandal under President Richard Nixon prompted Congress in 1978 to pass the Presidential Records Act over worry that Nixon would destroy White House tape recordings that led to his resignation. After that, presidential records were no longer considered personal property but the property of the American people — if they are preserved. Lawmakers have introduced legislation to require audits of White House record-keeping and compliance with the law. “The American public should not have to wait until a president has left office to learn of problems with that president’s record-keeping practices," Weismann said. Deb Riechmann, The Associated Press
January is typically when the holiday lights and Christmas trees begin to come down, as the festive season ends. However, Michael Fabijan, an Inuvik, N.W.T., resident of 33 years, is keeping his unique Christmas tree up to continue to spread some cheer. What was once a blank white wall that separated his living room and kitchen is now donned with a hand-painted tree decked in ornaments crafted by family friends. Fabijan came up with the idea to paint the tree there, and enlisted friends to help spruce it up. "Going away all the time, you never have to decorate for Christmas because you are going to someone else's house. But now I'm here, so I have to decorate," said Fabijan. "And that's where this came from." I'm surrounded by a great crowd of people. - Michael Fabijan Like many, Fabijan spent his Christmas away from family, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 66-year-old said that although this is one of the first holidays he's stayed in Inuvik, the tree ended up bringing a lot of joy and a smile to his face. Every night for about three weeks, four close families in Inuvik would come on different nights to Fabijan's home and spend time decorating the tree with him. "I asked everyone to paint their names somewhere on the board," said Fabijan. Cecile Bleakney, a family friend of Fabijan's, said he is like family, and decorating the tree was like a little celebration every night. "I was amazed about the talent that went in there," she said. "[Almost] everything is handmade… very heartfelt." Sometimes just his friends' kids would come over and paint or add something unique to the tree. A couple of the ornaments feature photos of Fabijan with the children when they were younger. The only two ornaments that aren't handmade are one Fabijan has from childhood, and another he has from his mom. Tree wall may be preserved for future holidays Bleakney and Fabijan have been friends for about 27 years. Bleakney said she felt like the Christmas tree was a great way to bring Fabijan's Inuvik family together. "Because of COVID, the group of us can't all get together," she said. "So that was our way and his way of getting together and spending time with Michael." Fabijan said it helped make the holidays special. "I'm lucky to have friends that will do this. I can't believe it. Everyone I know here that are close friends put something on this tree," said Fabijan. "I'm surrounded by a great crowd of people and the tree is hilarious…. It's just a good family tree," he added. "This made my Christmas and it motivated me." He said he also documented the progress of the tree for family members down south. Fabijan said he always intended to renovate and tear down the wall where the Christmas tree is now painted. But instead, he's decided to try to find a way to keep the wall and bring it out during the holidays. "It's gonna be hard to take down," he said. "To me, it's bringing my local family together at Christmas."
Thousands of genomic sequences have been identified from the original strain of the novel coronavirus. Depending on the rate of transmission and efforts to curb infections, the variant will either die out or dominate. Crystal Goomansingh explains how researchers are tracking the virus as it evolves.
ÉDUCATION. Dans la foulée des nouvelles restrictions sanitaires annoncées par le gouvernement du Québec, la ministre de l'Enseignement supérieur, Danielle McCann, confirme le maintien des mesures déjà en place depuis l'automne dans la plupart des établissements d'enseignement supérieur. Cette décision vise à éviter la propagation du virus sur les différents campus et à assurer la sécurité des étudiants et du personnel. «Au cours des derniers mois, les étudiantes et étudiants ainsi que tout le personnel des réseaux de l'enseignement supérieur ont fait preuve d'une résilience exceptionnelle et exemplaire. Il faut le souligner, les mesures sanitaires mises en place pour freiner l'élan du virus dans nos établissements ont grandement affecté le quotidien des étudiants. Je sais que c'est encore un effort important que nous leur demandons, mais je compte sur la mobilisation de tous les acteurs des cégeps, collèges privés et universités pour que la prochaine session se déroule avec succès», souligne Danielle McCann, ministre de l'Enseignement supérieur. Pour la session d'hiver, il a donc été demandé aux cégeps, collèges privés et universités d'offrir un maximum d'activités d'enseignement à distance à leur communauté étudiante respective. Les étudiants dont la présence est essentielle à l'acquisition ou à l'évaluation des connaissances pourront se rendre physiquement sur le campus. En ce sens, les stages ainsi que les activités de recherche et de laboratoire seront maintenus. Les bibliothèques demeureront ouvertes uniquement pour permettre l'utilisation du comptoir de prêts et des espaces de travail individuels. Les services de soutien psychologiques sur le campus demeureront également accessibles. Notons que le couvre-feu devra être observé sur tous les campus du Québec. Par contre, les étudiants et le personnel qui doivent recevoir ou offrir des services éducatifs dans une école reconnue pourront le faire s'ils sont en mesure de fournir une pièce justificative comme une carte étudiante valide, une copie de l'horaire, une confirmation d'inscription ou une lettre de l'employeur. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
At least five people have died at a nursing home in Italy from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, local media and officials said on Saturday. Seven people, including two health workers, are being treated in hospital for symptoms related to carbon monoxide poisoning, the ANSA news agency said. "It's a tragedy," Interior Ministry Undersecretary Carlo Sibilia wrote in a Facebook post.
Despite the massive snowfall of last year's Snowmageddon, this winter has been remarkably snow-free in much of Newfoundland. While that may not be of much concern for shovel-weary residents, for the province's ski hill operators, this season's lack of snow has been both a challenge and an opportunity. "We have about 18 snow-guns blaring away with snow on the hill as best we can, and as fast as we can," Pierre Mirault, general manager of White Hills Resort in Clarenville, said earlier this week. "We're trying our best; just Mother Nature definitely isn't cooperating." Mirault says he and his team have been busy taking advantage of any opportunity they can to make some snow for the unusually green season, but to do so they need temperature and humidity to be on their side. "It's a step-by-step process, and it isn't just flicking the switch," said Mirault. "The rewards are there, but it takes quite a bit of time." While fluctuating temperatures leave only small windows of opportunity to make snow, the best way to preserve what they can isn't to cover the hills, Mirault said, but to stockpile it. "We don't make the snow and spread it around, because if we do that we lose it all," he said. "So we make big piles." With some piles reaching 15-20 feet tall, it's the same changing temperatures which help to protect the piles from melting completely. "We just need height, then quantity and depth, and then it freezes over the top of it," says Mirault, "and basically it gives it a little layer of protection so that it doesn't melt as quickly." Unseasonal conditions on Newfoundland's west coast Mirault and the White Hills Resort aren't the only ones on the island contenting with the lack of white. At Marble Moutain Resort in Steady Brook, officials tweeted Friday that they hope the forecast holds so that snow guns can be turned on in the coming week. Meanwhile, Mac Turner, president of the Pasadena Ski and Nature Park, says that the unseasonal conditions have allowed his team to spruce up their trails. Through the provincial government Community Enhancement and Employment program, Turner says they've been able to push back thirty years of brush and overgrowth. "Widening out our trails from what we originally were 30 years ago—a lot are overgrown with overhanging branches, and trees have encroached on the trail— so we're just going back to what it was." Despite nearly 20 kilometers of trail to prune, the lack of snow has helped his small team make quick work of it without the difficulties of obscured debris and falling snow. What that means for skiers, says Turner, is that when the snow does come they'll be able to enjoy wider, safer runs. "They're not going to have the overhangs," says Turner, "because as the snow builds up you're getting closer and closer to the branches, and sometimes you really have to duck." For Mirault, he says that despite the lack of snow compared to last year, the community support has been encouraging, with plenty of local sponsorship. "These are local businesses who support the hill, and it's been a great year for season passes and the sponsorships," he says. "Now we want to provide a product in order to capitalize on that, and so everybody's in a win-win situation." For a self-styled optimist like Mirault, he believes a late start doesn't necessarily mean a bad season. "We'll definitely have a good winter: February, March, we're going to go right into April as long as we can, so there's still three good months of a ski season ahead of us." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador