Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince, an Israeli official said on Monday, in what would be the first publicly confirmed visit there by an Israeli leader as the countries close ranks against Iran. Earlier, Israeli media said Netanyahu had secretly flown on Sunday to Neom, on the Red Sea, for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Reports of the meeting between the crown prince and Netanyahu were denied by Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
A retired curator has come forward to explain how five headstones went missing from a Maugerville cemetery and wound up at Kings Landing Historical Settlement. Darrel Butler, the former chief curator of Kings Landing, said if he hadn't taken them, the stones would have met a very different fate. "If we hadn't, we wouldn't be talking today because there wouldn't have been any tombstones saved," said Butler. The controversy surrounding the stones comes after a family member, looking for his ancestors headstones, found them in an unlikely place: More than 40 kilometres away at Kings Landing. Darrel Butler said he got a call in the 1990s from someone in Maugerville. The owner of the Miles family farm had recently passed away and his surviving son, who had flown in from BC, invited him to scout out the farm for notable items from New Brunswick's farming past. "In that period of time, it was important for us, for Kings Landing to get artifacts, so that we could build a collection that historians in the future would be able to use for study and research," said Butler. Farm equipment made in the early 1800's in Saint John was the obvious choice for the collection. But Mr. Miles directed Butlers attention to the five gravestones. "He explained that his brother, who he said was a priest, about 20 years before this had gone to the old family cemetery," said Butler. "He found the family cemetery all grown over and was really worried about preserving any sense of identity." So, the priest moved the stones to a barn where they sat for decades until the surviving son convinced Butler to take them. "He said nobody's interested in them in my family, I've got to go back to British Columbia," recalled Butler. "He said the best I can do is use them as lawn ornaments on my front yard... ...which my wife won't let me do." Butler said the plan was to break them up and throw them away. So Butler said the Kings Landing collections committee mulled over the idea of saving the tombstones. He says relocating them wasn't controversial at the time, but it was still a sensitive topic.After several discussions, Kings Landing accepted the tombstones in part to save them from being destroyed, but also because it was clear they had been crafted in New Brunswick and had marked the tomb of Loyalists. The fact that no one could relocate the original cemetery also factored into the decision. The stones were then placed on consecrated ground next to the Anglican church at Kings Landing."In our perspective, we saved Loyalist artifacts," said Butler. "And they were important." "If we didn't preserve them, they'd be gone," said Butler. "So that's why we did it."Butler said now that there's another branch of family descendants willing to take care and maintain the stones, they should be returned to mark their original grave sites.According to Kings Landing chief executive officer Mary Baruth, staff are still looking into the acquisition of the tombstones. They plan on contacting the family who want to have them back.
U.S. stocks closed higher in a choppy session on Monday as hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine lifted economically sensitive sectors such as energy and industrials, but a pullback in megacap shares curbed gains on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. Energy shares got a boost from another gain in oil prices, which have risen on anticipation a vaccine will help demand recover. "As they move out of those growth names, it's still this continued move into larger cyclical, value names which is why you see the Dow performing so well and the Nasdaq under some pressure."
The Saskatchewan Health Authority has sent out a warning to anyone who visited Original Joe's Restaurant and Bar in Prince Albert, Sask., earlier this month.The authority says people who visited the restaurant from Nov. 12-16 are asked to self-isolate for 14 days and arrange for testing.The alert, which was issued Sunday, made it clear that parents and children were both asked to isolate.The restaurant posted on its Facebook page that it had closed its doors on Saturday after one of its workers tested positive. The post said the restaurant would be re-opening after given the green light from the health authority.While alerts like this were once commonplace, the health authority announced last week it would no longer be publishing the long list of possible COVID-19 transmission locations, as the virus was now everywhere in the province.The authority said it would now only notify the public if all contacts could not be notified within a 48-hour period and if there was an increased risk to the public.The notice reminded everyone that people could develop symptoms from two to 14 days after being exposed to COVID-19.Anyone who was at the restaurant is asked to call HealthLine 811 or a doctor and nurse practitioner and apply for testing.
The Atlantic bubble is no more.Both Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I are exiting the Atlantic bubble for at least two weeks as COVID-19 cases rise in parts of the region.Newfoundland Premier Andrew Furey said the province will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in the other Atlantic provinces to see if the two-week break needs to be extended. Travel to and from Newfoundland and Labrador will only be for essential reasons, he said."The Atlantic Bubble has been a source of pride ... but the situation has changed," Furey said at a news conference.P.E.I. Premier Dennis King delivered a similar message during a nearly simultaneous news conference, saying his government would re-evaluate over the next two weeks.King said the changing epidemiology in the region was concerning, "and it forces us to use what I believe are the tools in our limited toolbox to do everything we can to avoid an outbreak here in P.E.I."He said that given the province's small size, it wouldn't take much for its health-care system to become overwhelmed.Atlantic bubble established July 3Newfoundland's heightened travel restrictions will come into effect on Wednesday, and P.E.I.'s come into effect Monday at midnight.Since July 3, residents of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I and Newfoundland and Labrador were able to travel relatively freely across each other's borders without quarantining.COVID-19 case numbers in all the Atlantic provinces were low throughout the summer and fall, but that began to change last week in parts of the region.New Brunswick tightened restrictions in Moncton and Saint John last week as cases rose, and the province reported its highest ever single-day case count on Saturday with 23 new cases. As of Monday, that province had a total of 89 active cases. Nova Scotia also started recording a spike in cases last week and public health confirmed there is community spread, with most transmission happening in the Halifax area. As of Monday's reporting, the province had a total of 51 known active cases.Newfoundland and Labrador is currently reporting 23 active cases — including two new cases announced Monday — and P.E.I has two, with the latest one reported at Monday's news conference.No plans to burst N.S.-N.B. bubbleIn a news conference Monday afternoon, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said the change will not affect New Brunswick's rules.He said he and the other Atlantic premiers held a teleconference last night when they discussed the decision."We certainly understand the situation that Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I. are in, and their concerns with our current situation in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia," he said.Still, Higgs said he and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil have decided not to burst the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick bubble for now.He said most cases in Nova Scotia are in the Halifax region. He said there has been a focus on testing there, and people in the Halifax area are being encouraged to not travel outside of the region.WATCH | P.E.I. and N.L. to exit Atlantic bubble for at least 2 weeks:Higgs said enforcing an isolation requirement for Nova Scotia would not be a good use of resources."We want to keep our resources deployed along our northern borders between New Brunswick and Quebec, and to enhance our activity along the border between Maine and New Brunswick," he said."We're aligned in containing this in Nova Scotia and in New Brunswick independently, and I think we're best served to ensure that we each follow our own protocols."He said any New Brunswickers travelling to P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador, including for work, should contact the government in the two provinces to see how the changes will affect them.Higgs also said the change does not affect New Brunswickers coming home after working in P.E.I. or Newfoundland and Labrador.While the New Brunswick-Nova Scotia border remains open, Higgs still urged New Brunswickers to avoid non-essential travel. That message was also in a news release from the Council of Atlantic Premiers on Monday morning, which advised caution while travelling within the Atlantic bubble.The office of Premier Stephen McNeil confirmed Monday that travellers from all other Atlantic provinces can still enter Nova Scotia without quarantining. MORE TOP STORIES
NASHVILLE — For Grammy-winning international star Angelique Kidjo, her artistry and her activism inform each other because music has the power to connect beyond skin colour, language or countries.“Music has that absolutely powerful side to it that sometimes when I finish a concert, I’m like, ’Why can’t we just live like this?'” said the singer-songwriter from the West African country of Benin.That sentiment is something that Skip Marley, a third-generation musician and grandson of reggae icon Bob Marley, has grown up knowing as well.“We’re talking to the people, so it’s all colours, all religions,” said Marley. “Music is music. That’s the beauty of it. It cuts through all of those barriers or borders.”These musicians are part of an online fundraising concert on Dec. 1 called Peace Through Music: A Global Event For Social Justice, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.The Facebook Live event will also feature performances by Annie Lennox, Becky G, Brandi Carlile and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Carlos Santana, Gary Clark Jr., Mavis Staples, Ringo Starr, Run The Jewels, Sheila E, Yo-Yo Ma and more. The event will raise money for the Playing for Change Foundation, the United Nations Population Fund, Sankofa, Silkroad and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation.Kidjo, who is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, is an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and education for young women in Africa through her Batonga Foundation. Kidjo has travelled the world to encourage young people to be leaders in their own communities because she says that is the leverage needed to address systematic issues of poverty and climate change.“We’ve created a world with billions of people suffering and a minority of people are living on top of them. And if we want to live in a world of peace, we have to take care of Mother Nature and at the same time take care to get people out of poverty,” said Kidjo, from her home in Paris.For the online concert, Kidjo teamed up remotely with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Peter Gabriel to sing Gabriel's anti-apartheid anthem “Biko,” about a South African activist who was killed in detention in the 1970s. Kidjo said the song’s message directly connected to this year’s Black Lives Matter protests over police killings of Black men and women.“Racism is so linked to capitalism and we have failed to address that issue for so many, many, many years and centuries, I think from slavery all the way to today, that it becomes a cancer that is eating our societies,” said Kidjo.“Get Up, Stand Up,” a simple message that has become part of Bob Marley’s legacy to the world, was the obvious song choice for his grandson to sing for this online concert.“Wherever there is a fight, wherever there is oppression, wherever there is wrongdoing, there will always be that anthem,” said Marley, who performed with song with his mother Cedella Marley.It’s a spiritual experience to sing his grandfather’s songs, Marley said.“Those are the songs I first hear and the songs I first sing,” said Marley. “So when I’m singing it, I’m feeling my grandfather.”Kristin M. Hall, The Associated Press
Wuhan, the Chinese city that was ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic, went into lockdown on Jan. 23. Life has returned to nearly normal 10 months later, but residents there still remember the harsh conditions.
This has not a normal year for many local and provincial organizations. This includes the Municipalities of Saskatchewan, who are taking their yearly regional meetings online for this year. There are ups and downs to this format, said Gordon Barnhart, president of the Municipalities of Saskatchewan. In a normal year, each region would meet in one of their communities with Municipalities of Saskatchewan representatives also in attendance to share information and answer questions from the regional members. Having the meeting virtually and over a two span will save people travel time and expenses. With a province as large as Saskatchewan, it takes some people a lot of time to get to and from meetings, Barnhart said. There were benefits to face to face meetings, he said, and that is going to be lacking this year with members only meeting through cyberspace. “We're all humans and we form friendships. Those friendships are very important in terms of serving our municipalities, so we're missing out on that, but on the other hand, this option is better than nothing at all.” While he hopes the meetings can eventually go back to being done in person, Barnhart said he respects the work of Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, and does not want these regional meetings into times of COVID-19 spread. The realities of COVID, losses of revenue and extra cleaning costs to municipalities are topics of conversation that may come up during the meetings, Barnhart said, as well as infrastructure projects and provincial and federal funding during COVID. These additional funding opportunities have meant a boost for municipalities, he said, whether those are to help weather COVID or use funds to maintain services and facilities that would have taken a financial hit due to spending difficulties. That has been a silver lining for municipalities during the pandemic, Barnhart said. With the municipal elections wrapping up at the beginning of the month, these regional meetings will also mean new members at the individual council tables and, therefore, new representatives being elected to positions on the Municipalities of Saskatchewan board, Barnhart said. This year’s meetings will be split between two days of meetings with the north, northwest, northeast, and west central meeting on Dec. 1 and the central, east central, southwest, and southeast meeting on Dec. 2. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
The 74th annual Lions Children’s Christmas Telethon is going ahead despite not being able to host live acts. Canadore College’s media arts students are compiling highlights of the past three events to produce a four-hour virtual broadcast Sunday, Dec. 5 from 4 to 8 p.m. “We suspect there will be a lot more families in need,” said Gary Verge, telethon committee chairman. He’s with the Bonfield Lions but the fundraiser involves 11 clubs, including Mattawa, Callander, Powassan, Trout Creek, Sundridge, South River, Burk’s Falls, Kearney, Arnstein and Restoule. “We could use $30,000,” Verge said of their target to receive from pledges and donations to buy turkeys, hams and gifts for kids for close to 400 families overall. Each club also adds in boxes of food to go with the initial basket “to help make it last a few meals.” In Bonfield for example, he said about 20 families each year get a little extra support heading into a holiday season that often strains already thin household budgets. Usually, the long-standing telethon runs nine hours lives with artists corralled in line as the performances are rotate through the stages, something that couldn’t be done this year due to COVID-19 pandemic health protocols. “We’re also trying to put together some Christmas entertainment featuring local talent,” Verge said of the dual mandate of igniting the spirit of the season. “But all those acts hanging around up at the college is not a good idea this year.” It’s also “excellent experience” for the Canadore students, he said, hoping they can return to the live show next year. The 2020 telethon can be seen on YourTV Channels 12 and 700, through the www.lionschildrenstelethon.com website; www.canadoretv.com or listen on Country 600 CKAT Radio. To donate, call 705-472-4420 or 1-844-888-4420. You can also make a pledge online or use PayPal at www.lionschldrenstelethon.com Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. NoneDave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
This summer at Innisfil Beach Park was unlike any other because of the pandemic, and there might be some lessons there for the future. The Innisfil Beach Park ad hoc committee, which makes recommendations to council on park improvements, wants to see the town implement some of the methods used this summer to manage the park continue into 2021. The tow strategy, no visitor parking within one kilometre of the shoreline, and the boat launch app are among them. “This year, it was an opportunity to try out different things,” said Coun. Donna Orsatti, who chairs the committee. The pandemic required the town to do things differently to manage crowding in the interest of public safety. “It changes the way that you view everything,” she said. “Distancing and the way you use a park, the need for people to be able to walk, to get outdoors, to have space.” For James Roncone, citizen member and vice-chair of the committee, the pandemic was an opportunity to put into action ideas previously suggested, like the parking restrictions near the shoreline and the boat launch app. “We already had that in the works, so that's why they were able to launch very quickly,” he said. Looking back, Roncone said he thinks more technology and data will help the town manage the park even better. “Using technologies, you have control,” he said. “I've always said that you need to know how many people are in the park and how many parking spots you have available.” Roncone said he envisions an app where people can book their parking spot, boat launch time, and other amenities at the park. He said the committee has also asked council to look into parking technology to deal with congestion from people trying to enter the park. According to the Town of Innisfil, from the May long weekend to Sept. 20, a total of 32,514 resident vehicles were admitted to the park. Resident vehicles made up 73 per of all vehicles that attempted to enter the park during that time frame. Nicole Bowman, interim director of operations for the town, said better parking technology could help manage the park. “Is that the exact right solution for next summer? Well, that depends on what the COVID landscape looks like, but we still learned that there is a role for technology in there, in helping to provide balance at the park,” she said. One of the most effective strategies used this summer to manage the park was actually a low-tech one. “Our ‘beaches in motion’ concept was one of our biggest wins,” Bowman said. “We were able to have a safe place for people to visit.” Perhaps the biggest lesson from this summer is the importance of flexibility. “We were constantly adapting and we really learned this summer that sometimes we need to try something and then adjust and go forward again,” she said. If the pandemic continues next summer, Bowman said, the town is ready to use what it learned this year to ensure a safe place for residents. “We certainly have a playbook that's ready to open up again and pick up where we left off,” she said. Shane MacDonald, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
Premier Dennis King has announced that P.E.I. is "suspending our participation in the Atlantic bubble," meaning those arriving on the Island from the other Atlantic provinces will now have to self-isolate for 14 days.The announcement was made during an unscheduled COVID-19 briefing Monday morning, after a weekend rise in cases in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.King said that starting 12:01 a.m. Tuesday — just after midnight Monday — P.E.I. is suspending all non-essential travel to and from Prince Edward Island for two weeks."This is an extra layer of caution," said King, who spoke on Sunday with his fellow Atlantic premiers. "It is our hope that we can break the transmission chain."He said there could be some flexibility for Islanders who are outside the province now trying to return, given the short notice.King said his government will re-evaluate the situation after the two-week period ends on Dec. 7.King's announcement came on the heels of word from Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey that he too "has made the tough decision to make a circuit break. People arriving from within the Atlantic bubble will have to self-isolate for 14 days." The new rules go into effect on Wednesday in Newfoundland and Labrador. Since July 3, residents of the four Atlantic provinces have been able to travel relatively freely across each other's borders without quarantining. That freedom ends with Monday's pair of announcements — at least for now. King said he hopes P.E.I.'s departure from the bubble is temporary, adding that when it was announced back in June, the goal was to eventually expand it to include people from other parts of Canada where community spread was low or non-existent. One new case confirmedAfter King spoke about P.E.I.'s new rules, Dr. Heather Morrison confirmed one new case of COVID-19 on the Island, a woman in her 40s who travelled from outside the Atlantic bubble.That person is self-isolating and contact tracing is underway. > It's actually likely that P.E.I. will have cases. — Dr. Heather Morrison"Over the last number of days, it has become apparent that our neighbours in Atlantic Canada, especially Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, are experiencing a second wave," said Morrison. "It's actually likely that P.E.I. will have cases."I'm concerned it may already be here with some people."Return to applying for entryMorrison said those coming to the province from the other three Atlantic provinces will now once again need to apply for entry and students who return to P.E.I. will need to self-isolate for two weeks.Any staff working in long-term care who leave the Island will not be eligible to work-isolate upon returning. In a news release issued late Monday, Morrison added: "Out of an abundance of caution, partners in care who have returned from out-of-province travel in the last week must not visit their loved one in long-term care or community care until they have been in PEI for 14 days."People may continue to travel off-Island for medical appointments, and compassionate and custody-related travel can continue. But there will no longer be any interprovincial sports tournaments. "I urge all Islanders to keep their social circles small," said Morrison. "We know that COVID-19 moves as we move."For anyone who has returned from Nova Scotia or New Brunswick in the past week, Morrison said contacts should be limited, testing should be arranged if symptoms appear, and a mask should be worn at all times — including when in the presence of other people outdoors.Students can attend schoolAs for children who are returning from those provinces, Morrison said while they can continue to go to school, they should not attend functions like sports events or birthday parties. "The changes announced today are not forever, just for the time being.… Together, we can do it," she said. On the Island, Morrison is reminding Islanders to stay home if they are sick and to continue following public health guidelines. Putting these new travel restrictions in place should allow people to continue to being able to go out fairly freely and shop locally leading up to Christmas, she added."This is our hope: that we can maintain things as best we can within this province. But certainly it's going to be a challenge," said Morrison.In a subsequent interview with CBC: News Compass host Louise Martin, King wouldn't rule out further restrictions if necessary to keep Islanders safe."I think we always have to look at the what-ifs, and we're prepared to make the decisions we need to make," he said."I hope today's decision indicates to Islanders how serious we are."More from CBC P.E.I.
The Hudson's Bay Company store in Coquitlam, B.C., closed its doors to customers on Sunday after its landlord said the company had defaulted on its rent.It's the latest blow to HBC, which has operated in Canada since the late 17th century. The company has struggled to pay its bills in other parts of the country, as well.Still, the closure of store in the Coquitlam Centre Mall came as a surprise to many shoppers who arrived to pull on locked doors."Pretty shocking ... The Bay has been around since what?" said Annette Borrows.Retail analysts say the store closure is a sign of mounting revenue losses across the industry amid the pandemic."We've seen Hudson's Bay Company really trying to stay relevant, and it's tough," said David Ian Gray with retail consultancy DIG360. "And they've been struggling with that pre-COVID."In October, HBC announced plans to close its flagship store in Winnipeg in February. The company has operated out of the six-storey building at the corner of Portage and Memorial for nearly a century.At the time, the company said changes in consumer behaviour, such as shopping online, was one reason for walking away from the landmark site.Earlier this month, a judge in Ontario ordered HBC to pay half the rent owing at one of its stores after a landlord attempted to evict the retailer. The store at Hillcrest Mall in Richmond Hill, Ont., owed seven months of rent.Gray says the pandemic has accelerated HBC's financial troubles."What's happening is that retailers, in particular non-essentials, especially fashion, have just been decimated," he said."It's not Hudson's Bay Company, but all of them. We're not buying as much fashion, but also we're really restricted on closures, openings."In Coquitlam, HBC's landlord, Pensionfund Realty Limited, posted a sign on the store that said it hadn't received payment for more than a month.In a statement, HBC said it's looking for a fair solution with its landlords across North America.
These weren’t the piano lessons of my youth. Quite the opposite.Gone was the septuagenarian teacher crowding me on a piano bench at my grandmother’s house, extolling the importance of Christian hymns. “Old Rugged Cross,” “Jesus Loves Me,” “How Great Thou Art." Grandma finally accepted my resignation after a few solid years of protest.Then last spring, as the pandemic droned on, I’d lost my job, and our schools in the Boston area remained closed, I decided to start taking piano lessons again.It had been 30 years. The grand staff was a foreign language and the only key I could recognize was middle C.The first day, I propped up my phone, clicked a Zoom link for our lesson and found an energetic college student staring back at me.I’d been thinking about returning to piano for a while, but never had the free time required for learning a skill until the shutdown in March. It was rainy and frigid in New England, and I needed an antidote for the monotony of pandemic life. Some were tending sourdough starters, others binge-watched Netflix. I started piano lessons.I wasn’t the only one who chose music.NEW WAYS TO PASS TIME“I knew nothing about the ukulele community before COVID,” said Pat Adamson-Waitley, 64, of Edina, Minnesota.Adamson-Waitley had played the ukulele a handful of times, but in March, she said, “I started playing it every day.”She joined Zoom jams with other players, and bought two ukuleles and two songbooks. Summer's warm weather took her away from the ukulele a little, but she still averages 30 minutes of playing time a day.Clubs like the Twin Cities ukulele club, an informal group of about 300 people, have welcomed many people discovering music for the first time, or finding it again. Tom Ehlinger, 69, of Bloomington, Minnesota, leads the club’s weekly Zoom jams.“One thing that’s different about the Zoom jam is that it’s much easier to get to than an in-person jam,” he said. “There’s no traffic.”Since March, Ehlinger has received inquiries from people as far away as New York City wanting to join.“It brings people together solely for the purpose of doing something enjoyable,” he said.NEVER A BETTER TIMEAs for formal lessons, Andrew Geant, co-founder of Chicago-based Wyzant, an online marketplace for private tutors, said music has become one of the company’s fastest growing areas. Cello tutors in April experienced a 450 per cent increase in students and a 400 per cent rise in lessons from last year, he said. By October, the number had grown to a 4,500 per cent increase in students and a 4,730 per cent increase in lessons.The cost of online lessons is lower than in-person instruction, Geant noted. And if the student and teacher don’t match well, it’s easy to find a new instructor.“Online, you can find the right instructor because you’re no longer bound by geography,” he said.Rashida Bryant, 44, is an Atlanta-based voice instructor through Wyzant who saw her client roster double from April to June, when she had 30 students.Her students range in age from early teenagers to people in their late 60s.“Everybody has different reasons for doing it, but if you’re going to be at home, then this is a better time than any,” she said.A SENSE OF CONTROLTurning to music during bleak times has a long history, said Joy Allen, chair of Music Therapy at Berklee College of Music in Boston.“It gives us choice and control, and we don’t have a lot of that right now,” she said.Music also provides social connection, Allen said, and a link to the familiar.During lockdown, private piano lessons for Andrea Cordero Fage’s two teenage sons in Harrison, New York, stopped, but something new happened. The brothers, whose interest in music has waxed and waned over the years, “came into their own musically,” she said. “I would have never imagined it.”They started playing piano for hours a day. They researched movie soundtracks, like the one to the 2014 science fiction epic “Interstellar,” by Hans Zimmer, and learned the score on their own with the assistance of sites like YouTube.“After dinner, one would play and the other would watch. Then they’d switch,” Cordero Fage said. “I think they fed off each other, saw it as a challenge.”Studying or listening to music can harness our focus, said Melita Belgrave, associate dean and professor of music therapy at Arizona State University.Throughout the pandemic, many people have been watching concerts at home but retaining a semblance of the shared experience. The millions of people who streamed the movie version of the Broadway musical “Hamilton” is an example.“People are finding themselves drawn to the arts and crafts,” Belgrave said. “We are learning new ways to connect with each other.”I haven’t figured out whether my Zoom piano lessons will continue past the pandemic. I've gone from knowing middle C to playing cusp chords, eight-key scales and Mozart.But even if returning to regular life interrupts my lessons, piano will always be one of my best pandemic memories.Tracee M. Herbaugh, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Taylor Swift won her third consecutive artist of the year prize at the American Music Awards, but she missed the show for a good reason: She said she's busy re-recording her early music after her catalogue was sold.In a video that aired during Sunday's awards show, the pop star said “the reason I’m not there tonight is I’m actually re-recording all of my old music in the studio where we originally recorded it. So it’s been amazing. And I can’t wait for you to hear it."Last year music manager Scooter Braun — who manages Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande — announced that his Ithaca Holdings company had acquired Big Machine Label Group, the home to Swift’s first six albums. This month Braun said he has sold the master rights to Swift’s first six albums to an investment company; Swift acknowledged the sale on social media and said she would not work with the new buyers because Braun was still involved.Instead, she headed back to the studio.Swift beat out Bieber, Post Malone and Roddy Ricch to win the top award. She also won favourite music video and favourite pop/rock female artist, winning three honours and tying Bieber, Dan + Shay and the Weeknd for most wins Sunday.The Weeknd lost artist of the year, but he still kicked off his all-star week as a big winner: Days before he’s expected to land multiple Grammy nominations, he won favourite soul/R&B male artist, favourite soul/R&B album for “After Hours" and favourite soul/R&B song for “Heartless” two days before the 2021 Grammy nominations are announced.“The last time I received this award it was given to me by the late, great Prince," he said after winning favourite soul/R&B album. “And, you know, he’s the reason I get to constantly challenge the genre of R&B and yeah, I’d like to dedicate this to him."The Weeknd didn’t break character throughout the three-hour show with his gauze-wrapped face, which matched the vibe of his recent album and music videos where he appears blooded and bruised. He accepted his awards and performed with his face wrapped in gauze.Kenny G joined the Weeknd for his performance, playing the sax in downtown Los Angeles as the Weeknd walked across a bridge singing “In Your Eyes.” He finished the performance singing “Save Your Tears.”The Weeknd was one of several artists who appeared live at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles for the fan-voted awards show. Others recently taped their performances because of the coronavirus pandemic, though host Taraji P. Henson — who appeared live from the venue — said the few audience members sitting in the mezzanine practiced social distancing, wore masks and were tested for the virus.Henson joked that A-list celebrities were in the audience, including Beyoncé, though cardboard cut-out of the singer, Jay-Z and other stars appeared in seats.But a good number of chart-toppers were in the building. Breakthrough singer-rapper Doja Cat performed and won new artist of the year and favourite soul/R&B female artist. Grammy-winning country duo Dan + Shay beautifully performed “I Should Probably Go to Bed” and won favourite country duo or group, collaboration of the year and favourite country song for “10,000 Hours," the latter two shared with Bieber. And Megan Thee Stallion — won favourite rap/hip-hop songs for “WAP" with Cardi B — performed “Body" from her recently released debut album “Good News."Bieber and Shawn Mendes kicked off the AMAs with a pre-taped performance of their new duet “Monster," marking the first time they performed the song together. It began with a stripped-down Bieber singing his recent hit “Lonely," with songwriter-producer Benny Blanco on piano, and “Holy," where background dancers wearing masks joined him.Mendes, strumming his guitar, then appeared for “Monster," which featured the twentysomethings singing lyrics about about fame and growing up as celebrities who attracted massive public attention. Mendes later sang his song “Wonder" during the show, which aired on ABC.Katy Perry, in her first performance since giving birth to her first child, gave a strong performance of the emotional and hopeful song “Only Love,” which featured a surprise guest appearance from Darius Rucker, who sang and played guitar. With flaming red lights glaring behind her, Billie Eilish sang her new song “Therefore I Am,” as her brother-songwriter-producer Finneas backed her on guitar. Jennifer Lopez and Maluma teamed up to perform their new songs “Pa’ Ti” and “Lonely” from the film “Marry Me,” which both of them star in, while Dua Lipa — who won favourite pop/rock song — floated in the air during her performance of “Levitating.”24kGoldn and Iann Dior — who currently have the country's No. 1 song with the smash hit “Mood," also performed. The multi-genre track is the rare song that has reached No. 1 on both the rap and rock charts.Other performers included BTS, Lewis Capaldi, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Baby, Bell Biv DeVoe and Nelly, who performed hits from his diamond-certified debut album “Country Grammar," which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.This year the AMAs, which typically awards one Latin honour, launched more categories in the genre. Becky G — who burst on the music scene in 2014 with the pop hit “Shower" but has recently had success singing in Spanish and launching hits on the Latin charts — won favourite Latin female artist.She used her speech to honour immigrant families.“I proudly wave both flags, Mexican and American. And like many, many children and grandchildren of immigrants, no matter where they’re from, we have learned from the ones before us what sacrifice and hard work looks like," she said. “And I dedicate this award to all of our immigrant workers in this pandemic; the students and immigrant families. It’s because of my family, my abuelitos, that I stand here today."Nominees for the AMAs were based on streaming, album and digital sales, radio airplay and social activity, and reflect the time period of Sept. 27, 2019, through Sept. 24, 2020.Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
Saint-Tite – La MRC de Mékinac réagit au cri du cœur lancé dans nos pages par les relais de motoneiges qui craignent de ne pas traverser l'hiver si on leur permet seulement d'accueillir des clients pour les réchauffer, sans pouvoir ouvrir leurs salles à manger. Tous ont décrié l'impact des coûts fixes élevés comme le chauffage, la main-d'oeuvre ou le nettoyage des lieux pour expliquer les difficultés financières qu'ils anticipent. La MRC de Mékinac se dit sensible de la situation vécue par les relais de son territoire. «C’est une situation vraiment préoccupante pour notre milieu. L’industrie de la motoneige est un moteur économique très important pour notre MRC, tant au niveau des relais que des autres commerces autour. Les motoneigistes sortent souvent dans les sentiers avec le but de se rendre dans un relais, de consommer et de faire d’autres arrêts dans différents commerces. La fermeture des relais peut entrainer un ralentissement économique sur un volet beaucoup plus large» s'inquiète Nadia Moreau, directrice du service de développement économique de la MRC de Mékinac. Elle craint que l'impact financier des décisions gouvernementales ne vienne hypothéquer sérieusement le secteur jusqu'au printemps. «Nous sommes évidemment grandement conscients des enjeux de la propagation de la COVID-19. Nous tentons par tous les moyens de soutenir notre milieu pour passer à travers cette crise. Par contre, nous aimerons grandement que ce que nous pouvons favoriser localement puisse se faire chez nous. La possibilité de voir les habitués de notre région se déplacer vers une région aux conditions plus souples demeure inquiétante tant au niveau sanitaire qu’économique» ajoute Nadia Moreau. La MRC soutient que selon les commerçants, les chiffres d'affaires sont en péril de 75 à 90%.Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
La palette de couleurs est vaste pour l’artiste Lucie Cormier (Lu), 44 ans, de Saint-Camille. Que ce soit sur des visages, des ventres bombés de femmes enceintes ou bien sur des toiles, le jeu des couleurs et des textures est pour elle un joyeux terrain de jeux ! Et elle aime partager son univers capable de métamorphoser le quotidien. « Déjà, toute petite, j’étais passionnée par le dessin. Je participais à des concours scolaires, et voilà qu’aujourd’hui je donne des cours dans les écoles. Auparavant, j’ai fait mille et une choses avant de revenir à ma passion pour les arts. Puis, en 2015, j’ai lancé NOUBA, mon entreprise de maquillage artistique. Faire la nouba signifie faire la fête ! Une fête particulièrement réussie. » L’an dernier, elle a réalisé une première exposition à Val-des-Sources intitulée En coulisse. « On y retrouve plusieurs clins d’œil à ma propre vie, précise-t-elle. Une autre exposition est prévue en 2021 à la Salle du Parvis, à Sherbrooke. La peinture intuitive fait partie de ma démarche. Sans idée préconçue, je jette mes tripes sur la toile et j’explore ! » L’art qui fait du bien ! L’impact des arts et de la couleur sur le bien-être et la santé, Lucie y croit dur comme fer. L’art est un fabuleux moyen d’égayer les bleus à l’âme. La diversité des ateliers qu’elle propose suggère fortement de l’art thérapie. « Le mot thérapeute est très normé au Québec. Je n’ai aucune prétention autre que celle de partager ma passion ! Si elle me fait du bien, forcément, elle en fait aussi à d’autres. Je reçois de beaux témoignages de parents qui voient les bénéfices sur leur enfant après une séance de dessin ! Prendre le temps d’observer la peinture qui s’épanche en jouant, ça détend ! » Ses ateliers s’offrent en formule individuelle, en duo, en couple, en famille, en groupe ou parents/enfants, etc. La pandémie fait mal. « Mes ateliers dans les écoles ont été annulés. Mes revenus provenaient principalement d’eux ainsi que de ma participation à divers festivals et événements. Je répète à mes enfants de ne pas s’endetter ! Il peut y avoir des pépins. J’ai la chance de ne pas avoir de grosses dépenses. Il n’empêche que depuis l’été dernier, j’ai recommencé à travailler à mi-temps pour un organisme communautaire. Autrement, j’en profite pour créer », conclut-elle. En ces temps fort déstabilisants, il faut bien continuer à voir le monde en couleurs ! lu-nouba.weebly.com facebook.com/LucieCormierArtisteMireille Fréjeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal L'Étincelle
MEMBERTOU — Membertou Lanes held a job fair Thursday to fast-track the reopening of the bowling alley, which has been closed since mid-March. The reopening was delayed because of major changes, and community members like Justin Gould are hoping to work again. “I’ve been off work for a while since COVID, because I was laid off and I have just been looking for a job ever since,” said the 19-year-old. “Once I heard of the job fair at Membertou Lanes, I thought it was a good opportunity for me.” He was laid off from his job at the Membertou Youth Centre and was hoping to land a position as a lane technician or dishwasher at Membertou Lanes. Gould was hoping to land a job to pay some bills. He said the safety measures at the job fair were organized and professional. “They did a really good job here and I’m looking forward to them opening,” said Gould. Job-seekers were required to wear a mask, sanitize upon entering the building and had to provide contact information and had their temperatures checked. They were then seated in a socially distanced waiting room before meeting with one of five interviewers. The bowling alley was hiring customer service representatives, hosts, bartenders, servers, cooks, dishwashers, janitors and lane technicians. Silas Baccouche was also laid off when the Membetou Youth Centre closed to the public. The 18-year-old hoped to hear good news. “I just hope I get hired,” said Baccouche. He said he hasn’t faced many hardships because of the layoffs but still wanted to work. Baccouche was hopeful all who attended could land employment. Recently hired general manager Marcel Cote says he hopes to hire 25-30 people. And the public should expect a lot of changes to Membertou Lanes. Membertou Lanes is adding a sports bar and more kid-friendly additions like a slushy machine and concessions. Cote said they’ll also be dropping the prices. The bowling alley at its launch will be reservation only to ensure proper spacing and contact tracing, they’ll also have dedicated cleaning staff for high touch areas, signage to ensure social distancing and hand sanitizer. Cote spent 25 years in the food and beverage industry and hopes with a complete rebranding the business can flourish even under the COVID-19 restrictions. He believes people are still looking to have fun in these uncertain times, but they need to be reassured they’re safe. And Membertou Lanes is hoping to meet those needs. “The challenge is we’re changing almost everything we did before,” said Cote. He also added that the candlestick replacement parts company they were working with folded because of the pandemic, which only added to the delays. Cote hopes to hire quickly to begin training soon. “I need everyone to understand and be patient with us,” said Cote. He said he hopes to reopen by December. -30-Oscar Baker III, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cape Breton Post
The Petit Noel art exhibit and sale features a variety of work by local and area painters, photographers, potters and artisans at the Callander Bay Heritage Museum & Alex Dufresne Gallery. “We have over 30 people participating and the show is a great snapshot of the various artistic talents we have here in Northeastern Ontario,” states a museum notice. There will not be an opening reception and numbers are restricted as per COVID-19 safety restrictions but visitors welcome Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. “Please wear your mask, respect social distancing, and do not visit if you are not feeling well.”Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
GENEVA — A panel of human rights experts working with the United Nations said Monday that former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn was wrongly detained in Japan and has urged “compensation” for him from the Japanese government.The Japanese government denounced the report as a “totally unacceptable” viewpoint that will change nothing in the country's legal process.In its opinion published Monday, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Ghosn’s arrest in Japan in late 2018 and early 2019 was “arbitrary” and called on Japan’s government to “take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of Mr. Ghosn without delay.” A determination of whether detention is arbitrary is based on various criteria, including international norms of justice.While Ghosn is no longer in Japan, having fled in a dramatic operation that drew headlines worldwide, the opinion could weigh on minds in courtrooms in the country and beyond. It could affect, for example, the possible extradition of two Americans, Michael Taylor and his son Peter, whom Japanese prosecutors say helped the executive sneak out of Japan.Ghosn, a 66-year-old with French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, led Japanese automaker Nissan for two decades, rescuing it from near-bankruptcy. He was arrested in November 2018 on charges of breach of trust, in misusing company assets for personal gain, and violating securities laws in not fully disclosing his compensation. He denies wrongdoing.In December, he fled Japan to Lebanon while out on bail awaiting trial, meaning his case will not go on in Japan. Interpol has issued a wanted notice but his extradition from Lebanon is unlikely.The five-member working group, which is made up of independent experts, called on Japan to ensure a “full and independent investigation” of Ghosn’s detention, and asked the government “to take appropriate measures against those responsible for the violation of his rights.”The working group said that “the appropriate remedy would be to accord Mr. Ghosn an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations."The opinions of the working group are not binding on countries but aim to hold them up to their own human rights commitments. Among its past rulings involved the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who was likewise deemed to have had his human rights violated.The panel, which is independent from the United Nations, noted a string of allegations from Ghosn and his representatives, such as that he was subjected to solitary confinement and long interrogations at day or night, and denied access to court pleadings. His team claimed that interrogations of Ghosn were aimed to extract a confession.Japan’s system has been repeatedly criticized by human rights advocates. The panel cited previous concerns about Japan’s so-called “daiyo kangoku” system of detention and interrogation that relies heavily on confessions and could expose detainees to torture, ill-treatment and coercion.Japan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the government had applied “appropriate procedures” in the case, and it could not provide full information to the working group before a trial had begun. For that reason, the ministry added, it would be inappropriate for the working group to make a decision on the Ghosn case “based on limited information and biased allegations” from him and his team.“The opinion is totally unacceptable, and is not legally binding,” the ministry statement said. It also warned that the opinion could set a dangerous precedent, and “encourage those who would stand criminal trial to entertain the idea that flight can be justified and prevent the realization of justice and the proper functioning of the criminal justice system in each country.”"Japan can by no means accept the opinion of the Working Group regarding the case of the defendant Carlos Ghosn," it added.Ghosn lawyer Jessica Finelle welcomed the “brave” decision by the panel and said its members had been “hard on the Japanese legal system” and the way that Japanese authorities treated Mr. Ghosn, "specifically, violating numerous times his presumption of innocence, presenting him as guilty, orchestrating two of his arrests with the media...”Ghosn was “very happy” and “relieved” about the opinion, she said."He is somehow is getting back his dignity because he’s been humiliated during this time that he was held in Japan,” she said.Ghosn has accused Nissan and Japanese officials of conspiring to bring him down to block a fuller integration of Nissan with its French alliance partner Renault SA of France.Ghosn's lawyers filed a petition with the working group in March last year, appealing to its role to look into cases in which governments are alleged to have wrongly detained individuals under agreed international human rights conventions.Its members declined to speak to reporters about the opinion, the U.N. human rights office said.____Jeffrey Schaeffer reported from Paris.Jamey Keaten And Jeffrey Schaeffer, The Associated Press
Agriculture in Labrador has always been a bit of a hard go. While there is a huge amount of agricultural land in the region — far more than on the island portion of the province — the vast majority of it is uncleared and even getting access to some of it could take years. There is a bright side, though. In recent years, a few new farms have popped up and one is even planning to sell local beef. Food insecurity is a big issue in Labrador, with high prices and the area only producing one per cent of the food it consumes. The provincial government created a work sector plan for agriculture in the last few years and highlighted some concerns producers are having in Labrador, including the lack of an abattoir or the ability to sell large-scale commercial eggs in the region and the need for more Crown land to be made available for agriculture. On Nature’s Best Farm, Desmond Sellars has been growing produce such as carrots and potatoes in the region for about 20 years. He is a familiar face to many in Happy Valley-Goose Bay as the guy who sells vegetables in front of the courthouse, There is a huge amount of opportunity for farmers in Labrador, according to Sellars, but he feels the industry is still in its infancy stage and 'requires a lot of zeroes in your bank account.’ “Farmers here in Labrador can produce more but it always comes down to policy around agriculture. There’s no question about the soil, there’s no question about the land being able to produce, but we do not have the right policy and the right supports at the present time to support increased agriculture here in Labrador.” Things are moving in the right direction, he said, with the province recognizing the need for more locally produced food, but agriculture is a long game and that’s even more true in Labrador. It can take years to get leased land from the government, he said, and that’s just the first hurdle. Since all agricultural land in Labrador is leased, not granted, farmers don’t have access to any capital from it to go to banks, and so have to invest a lot of their own money up front. Even then, he said, the province still owns it and when a farmer retires, all the investments they made on the land can be lost. Freight costs are another barrier, he said. It costs just as much to ship things sometimes as the items themselves. That drives up his cost, which is a barrier to selling his produce to local stores. It’s cheaper for local stores in bring in food from outside the province than buy from him, he said, and that needs to be addressed. “Farmers don’t need a handout, they need a hand up,” he said. ‘If I could, for example, be able to expense freight on a subsidy basis I could compete with P.E.I., Ontario, New Brunswick, and I’d have that market, I know I would. That wouldn’t be a terrible cost to anyone, but it would be a big step for producers.” At the end of the day, he said, young people need to see that agriculture is something worthwhile to pursue and he doesn’t see a lot of that messaging out there. While farming is a long-term investment because of the large upfront capital costs, he said, it can be very profitable and there need to be more conversations around that. “The whole notion of farming as an important, viable business for this province and for people to engage in, there aren’t enough conversations around that. Farming is an underdeveloped part of this province, that’s self-evident. For that to change it requires ongoing conversations and I would argue some policy changes. “ Jim Purdy is one of the operators of Birch Lane Farm on Mud Lake Road in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, which produces a wide variety of products, from produce to live chickens and live ducks to berries and jams. Purdy highlighted some of the same issues as Sellars, especially around the impact of freight costs and getting Crown land. “Our biggest competition isn’t here, it’s in Quebec and Ontario. They can sell their product cheaper here than we can produce it for. We have to depend on the local market, loyalty, to sell our products.” Purdy said people do recognize that locally grown food tastes better, but producers need to move into larger commercial markets to be able to grow and that isn’t possible right now. Other provinces have programs to assist with that, he said, and something needs to be done in Newfoundland and Labrador. Things that aren’t issues in less remote places, he said, like getting a tractor fixed or hiring someone to clear land, can be a real barrier in Labrador. “I would say that there’s less than 200 acres of cleared agricultural land in Labrador and in some places that’s a small farm,” he said. “It’s not like you can call someone and get them to do it. We don’t have the infrastructure here for agriculture, it’s as simple as that.” He said in his opinion other provinces have done a lot more to help with agricultural production and it doesn’t seem to be a priority for the government in Newfoundland and Labrador. Much like Sellars, Purdy cites the rules around Crown land and the unwillingness of government to grant it to farmers. “They can but they won’t,” he said. “It took me a few years to get a lease and that was on land no one else wanted. Can you imagine how long it would take if someone else had wanted it? I don’t know why the process takes so long but it isn’t helping anything. If you want to farm here, you better be ready for a long investment,” he said. When asked what could be done to help the industry grow Purdy said he didn’t even know where to start, but government offering more support is a big part of it. When SaltWire Network contacted Fisheries, Forestry, and Agriculture Minister Elvis Loveless, who was given the portfolio three months ago, he said he hasn’t had a chance go to Labrador to meet with local producers yet and discuss the issues, but he’s committed to doing so. “Our goal, in terms of helping farmers, is opening up access to land,” Loveless said when asked about the concerns expressed over the inability to get granted agricultural land. “Farmers, in order to grow vegetables, or just around the culture of growing, need land, there’s no doubt. I won’t make a commitment on a timeframe, but I will commit to talking to farmers. I’m looking to get on the ground in Labrador and have those conversations with them; what are their priorities moving their industry forward in Labrador?” Loveless said in terms of issues, it’s “all on the table.” He referenced recent investments made by the provincial government in the central Labrador region for community gardens and a cold storage and packaging facility in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and said there are plans to make more agricultural land available in the region. “Having access to safe and healthy food is on everyone’s minds, and addressing those needs has never been more important than right now, especially in Labrador, where the residents rely heavily on food imported from other areas, and that’s something we’d like to change.” Tomorrow: a new beef farm is the only one of its kind in Labrador. Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram