Beautiful day in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario watching the water sparkle in the bright sunshine.
Beautiful day in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario watching the water sparkle in the bright sunshine.
WASHINGTON — The federal government recognized President-elect Joe Biden as the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election on Monday, formally starting the transition of power after President Donald Trump spent weeks testing the boundaries of American democracy. He relented after suffering yet more legal and procedural defeats in his seemingly futile effort to overturn the election with baseless claims of fraud.Trump still refused to concede and vowed to continue to fight in court after General Services Administrator Emily Murphy gave the green light for Biden to co-ordinate with federal agencies ahead of his Jan. 20 inauguration. But Trump did tweet that he was directing his team to co-operate on the transition.Monday’s fast-moving series of events seemed to let much of the air out of Trump’s frantic efforts to undermine the will of the people in what has amounted to a weekslong stress test for American democracy. But Trump’s attempts to foment a crisis of confidence in the political system and the fairness of U.S. elections haven’t ended and are likely to persist well beyond his lame-duck presidency.Murphy, explaining her decision, cited "recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.”She acted after Michigan on Monday certified Biden’s victory in the battleground state, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday seeking to prevent certification in that state.It also comes as an increasing number of Republicans were publicly acknowledging Biden’s victory, after weeks of tolerating Trump’s baseless claims of fraud. The president had grown increasingly frustrated with the flailing tactics of his legal team.In recent days, senior Trump aides including chief of staff Mark Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipollone had also encouraged him to allow the transition to begin, telling the president he didn’t need to concede but could no longer justify withholding support to the Biden transition.Yohannes Abraham, executive director of the Biden transition, said the decision “is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”Murphy, a Trump appointee, has faced bipartisan criticism for failing to begin the transition process sooner, preventing Biden’s team from working with career agency officials on plans for his administration. The delay denied Biden access to highly classified national security briefings and hindered his team's ability to begin drawing up its own plans to respond to the raging coronavirus pandemic.Murphy insisted she acted on her own.“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official—including those who work at the White House or GSA—with regard to the substance or timing of my decision,” she wrote in a letter to Biden.Trump tweeted moments after Murphy's decision: “We will keep up the good fight and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”Max Stier, president and CEO of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, criticized the delay but said Biden’s team would be able to overcome it.“Unfortunately, every day lost to the delayed ascertainment was a missed opportunity for the outgoing administration to help President-elect Joe Biden prepare to meet our country’s greatest challenges," he said. "The good news is that the president-elect and his team are the most prepared and best equipped of any incoming administration in recent memory.”Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the GSA action “is probably the closest thing to a concession that President Trump could issue.? Noting that the nation “faces multiple crises that demand an orderly transition,? Schumer urged Democrats and Republicans to “unite together for a smooth and peaceful transition that will benefit America.?Murphy’s action came just 90 minutes after Michigan election officials certified Biden’s 154,000-vote victory in the state. The Board of State Canvassers, which has two Republicans and two Democrats, confirmed the results on a 3-0 vote with one GOP abstention. Trump and his allies had hoped to block the vote to allow time for an audit of ballots in Wayne County, where Trump has claimed without evidence that he was the victim of fraud. Biden crushed the president by more than 330,000 votes there.Some Trump allies had expressed hope that state lawmakers could intervene in selecting Republican electors in states that do not certify. That long-shot bid is no longer possible in Michigan.“The people of Michigan have spoken. President-elect Biden won the State of Michigan by more than 154,000 votes, and he will be our next president on January 20th,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said, adding it’s “time to put this election behind us.”Trump was increasingly frustrated by his legal team, led by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose erratic public performances drew bipartisan mockery in recent weeks. Still, the legal challenges were expected to continue, as Trump seeks to keep his supporters on his side and keep his options open for opportuntities post-presidency.In Pennsylvania on Saturday, a conservative Republican judge shot down the Trump campaign’s biggest legal effort in the state with a scathing ruling that questioned why he was supposed to disenfranchise 7 million voters with no evidence to back their claims and an inept legal argument at best.But the lawyers still hope to block the state’s certification, quickly appealing to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, which ordered lawyers to file a brief Monday but did not agree to hear oral arguments.The campaign, in its filings, asked for urgent consideration so it could challenge the state election results before they are certified next month. If not, they will seek to decertify them, the filings said.Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes.Pennsylvania county election boards voted Monday, the state deadline, on whether to certify election results to the Department of State. The boards in two populous counties split along party lines, with majority Democrats in both places voting to certify. After all counties have sent certified results to Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, she must then tabulate, compute and canvass votes for all races. The law requires her to perform that task quickly but does not set a specific deadline.In Wisconsin, a recount in the state’s two largest liberal counties moved into its fourth day, with election officials in Milwaukee County complaining that Trump observers were slowing down the process with frequent challenges. Trump’s hope of reversing Biden’s victory there depends on disqualifying thousands of absentee ballots —- including the in-person absentee ballot cast by one of Trump’s own campaign attorneys in Dane County.___Associated Press writers Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia, Jonathan Lemire in New York, Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pa., Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta and John Flesher in Traverse City, Mich., contributed to this report.Zeke Miller, David Eggert And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
LONDON — Drugmaker AstraZeneca said Monday that late-stage trials showed its COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective, buoying the prospects of a relatively cheap, easy-to-store product that may become the vaccine of choice for the developing world.The results are based on an interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. No hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were reported in those receiving the vaccine.AstraZeneca is the third major drug company to report late-stage data for a potential COVID-19 vaccine as the world waits for scientific breakthroughs that will end a pandemic that has pummeled the world economy and led to 1.4 million deaths. But unlike the others, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doesn’t have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it easier to distribute, especially in developing countries.“I think these are really exciting results,” Dr. Andrew Pollard, chief investigator for the trial, said at a news conference. “Because the vaccine can be stored at fridge temperatures, it can be distributed around the world using the normal immunization distribution system. And so our goal … to make sure that we have a vaccine that was accessible everywhere, I think we’ve actually managed to do that.”The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in one of the dosing regimens tested; it was less effective in another. Earlier this month, rival drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna reported preliminary results from late-stage trials showing their vaccines were almost 95% effective.While the AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at 2 degrees to 8 degrees Celsius (36 degrees to 46 degrees Fahrenheit), the Pfizer and Moderna products must be stored at temperatures approaching minus-70 degrees Celsius (minus-94 Fahrenheit).The AstraZeneca vaccine is also cheaper.AstraZeneca, which has pledged it won’t make a profit on the vaccine during the pandemic, has reached agreements with governments and international health organizations that put its cost at about $2.50 a dose. Pfizer’s vaccine costs about $20, while Moderna’s is $15 to $25, based on agreements the companies have struck to supply their vaccines to the U.S. government.All three vaccines must be approved by regulators before they can be widely distributed.AstraZeneca applied for approval of its vaccine candidate in Canada on Oct. 1, under a special process that is allowing Health Canada to review COVID-19 vaccines for use at the same time as the vaccines are finishing their final clinical trials. Pfizer and Moderna have also applied for the rolling-review process.Canada signed a deal with AstraZeneca at the end of September to secure 20 million doses of the highly touted vaccine. The federal government has not said when those doses would be available to Canadians, but they can't be distributed here until Health Canada gives the vaccine the green light for use.Oxford researchers and AstraZeneca stressed they weren’t competing with other projects and said multiple vaccines would be needed to reach enough of the world’s population to end the pandemic.“We need to be able to make a lot of vaccine for the world quickly, and it’s best if we can do it with different technologies so that if one technology runs into a roadblock, then we’ve got alternatives, we've got diversity,'' professor Sarah Gilbert, a leader of the Oxford team, told The Associated Press. “Diversity is going to be good here, but also in terms of manufacturing, we don’t want to run out of raw materials.”AstraZeneca said it will immediately apply for early approval of the vaccine where possible, and it will seek an emergency use listing from the World Health Organization, so it can make the vaccine available in low-income countries.The AstraZeneca trial looked at two different dosing regimens. A half-dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose at least one month later was 90% effective. Another approach, giving patients two full doses one month apart, was 62% effective.That means that, overall, when both ways of dosing are considered, the vaccine showed an efficacy rate of 70%.Gilbert said researchers aren't sure why giving a half-dose followed by a larger dose was more effective, and they plan to investigate further. But the answer is probably related to providing exactly the right amount of vaccine to get the best response, she said.“It's the Goldilocks amount that you want, I think, not too little and not too much. Too much could give you a poor quality response as well ...,'' she said. "I’m glad that we looked at more than one dose because it turns out to be really important.”The vaccine uses a weakened version of a common cold virus that is combined with genetic material for the characteristic spike protein of the virus that causes COVID-19. After vaccination, the spike protein primes the immune system to attack the virus if it later infects the body.Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said the finding that a smaller initial dose is more effective than a larger one is good news because it may reduce costs and mean more people can be vaccinated with a given supply of the vaccine.“The report that an initial half-dose is better than a full dose seems counterintuitive for those of us thinking of vaccines as normal drugs: With drugs, we expect that higher doses have bigger effects, and more side-effects,” he said. “But the immune system does not work like that.”The results reported Monday come from trials in the U.K. and Brazil that involved 23,000 people. Of those, 11,636 people received the vaccine — while the rest got a placebo.Overall, there were 131 cases of COVID-19. Details on how many people in the various groups became ill weren’t released Monday, but researchers said they will be published in the next 24 hours.Late-stage trials of the vaccine are also underway in the U.S., Japan, Russia, South Africa, Kenya and Latin America, with further trials planned for other European and Asian countries.Researchers said they expect to add the half dose-full dose regimen to the U.S. trial in a “matter of weeks.’’ Before doing so they must discuss the changes with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.The AstraZeneca trials were paused earlier this year after a participant in the U.K. study reported a rare neurological illness. While the trials were quickly restarted in most countries after investigators determined the condition wasn’t related to the vaccine, the FDA delayed the U.S. study for more than a month before it was allowed to resume.AstraZeneca has been ramping up manufacturing capacity, so it can supply hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine starting in January, Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said earlier this month.Soriot said Monday that the Oxford vaccine’s simpler supply chain and AstraZeneca’s commitment to provide it on a non-profit basis during the pandemic mean it will be affordable and available to people around the world.“This vaccine’s efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency,’’ Soriot said.British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he felt “a great sense of relief” at the news from AstraZeneca.Britain has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine, and the government says several million doses can be produced before the end of the year if it is approved by regulators.Just months ago, “the idea that by November we would have three vaccines, all of which have got high effectiveness … I would have given my eye teeth for,” Hancock said.From the beginning of their collaboration with AstraZeneca, Oxford scientists have demanded that the vaccine be made available equitably to everyone in the world so rich countries can't corner the market as has happened during previous pandemics.Leaders of the world's most powerful nations on Sunday agreed to work together to ensure “affordable and equitable access" to COVID-19 drugs, tests and vaccines.“If we don’t have the vaccine available in many, many countries, and we just protect a small number of them, then we can’t go back to normal because the virus is going to keep coming back and causing problems again," Gilbert said. “No one is safe until we’re all safe.”___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakDanica Kirka And Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Jets have hired Dave Lowry as an assistant coach.The 55-year-old from Sudbury, Ont., joins the Jets after spending the 2019-20 season as head coach of the Western Hockey League's Brandon Wheat Kings. He led the club to a 35-22-6 record and the Wheat Kings had clinched a playoff berth before the season ended March 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.Lowry most recently worked in the NHL as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Kings from 2017-19. Previously, we was an assistant coach in Calgary from 2009-12.Lowry has also been a head coach of Calgary and Victoria in the WHL.Lowry's son Adam is a forward with the Jets, whose 2019-20 season came to an end after a 3-1 loss to Calgary in a playoff qualifying series in Edmonton.Dave Lowry won a gold medal as an assistant coach for Canada at the 2015 world junior championship before serving as head coach for in 2016, when the Canadians lost to Finland in the quarterfinals. He also served as an assistant coach for the WHL all-stars in the CHL Canada/Russia Series in 2012-13 and the head coach for their entries in 2014-15 and 2015-16.As a player, Lowry was drafted by the Canucks in the sixth round (110th overall) in the 1983 NHL draft and went on to play 19 seasons for Vancouver, St. Louis, Florida, San Jose, and Calgary. He recorded 351 points (164 goals, 187 assists) and 1,191 penalty minutes over 1,084 career regular-season games."Dave brings a tremendous amount of experience to our coaching staff in a variety of different areas," Jets head coach Paul Maurice said in a release. "His success working with young players in their development can't be denied as he had an excellent season last year in Brandon and has coached the country's top junior players. He has worked in all aspects of special teams during his time as an NHL assistant coach. "We're very excited to bring Dave on board and join our staff." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.The Canadian Press
The Nova Scotia Health Authority has stopped hospital visits in the central zone amid rising case numbers and community spread of COVID-19 in the Halifax area.The restrictions include NSHA facilities in Halifax Regional Municipality, Eastern Shore and West Hants. However, up to two people will still be allowed in to support patients at the end of life, in palliative care, women in labour, and children under 18 who are admitted.There are also circumstances where one person is allowed to help a patient. They include children in outpatients and those who have physical, intellectual, cognitive and emotional conditions. NSHA also says people coming for an early labour assessment can also bring one person with them. Caught off guardThe pause on most hospital visits in the central zone was announced on Twitter Friday night, hours after a public briefing with Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, catching some families off guard. Tim Houston, the leader of the provincial Progressive Conservative party, criticized the way people were informed, and said it should have been announced at the briefing. "There has to be a plan in place to ensure that families know what is happening to their loved one in hospital," he said in a news release. "I understand the restrictions for safety, but if families can't visit, they need a point of contact."On Monday, NSHA apologized to patients and their families for the timing. "This is a very difficult time for everyone and we acknowledge that the sudden change came as a surprise," it said in a statement. "Based on advice and a recommendation from our clinical teams, we felt it was important to act quickly. Our priority is keeping COVID-19 out of our hospitals, which, as we've seen in other areas of Canada and around the world, can have serious implications."The health authority said it will continue to monitor case numbers and more changes may be made in the future. MORE TOP STORIES
A former chief of Siksika Nation and Blackfoot leader, Isapo-muxika, is one of several historical figures under consideration to be featured on the Bank of Canada’s new $5 bill. Eight shortlisted candidates are being considered for the new note selected from a list of 600 eligible nominees from a six-week public consultation process that ended March 11, 2020. Over 45,000 Canadians participated in the process. Isapo-muxika or Sahpo Muxika, known more commonly as Crowfoot, was born circa 1830 near Belly River, Alta. and died April 25, 1890 near Blackfoot Crossing. Crowfoot was a leader of the Blackfoot Confederacy and known for his judicious use of diplomacy, and for being an advocate for peace between Indigenous nations and with settlers. He was instrumental in the Treaty 7 negotiations, and in preventing the Blackfoot Confederacy from participating in the North-West Resistance of 1885. Later in life, he also fostered peace with neighbouring Indigenous peoples. Others shortlisted for the $5 bill include Pitseolak Ashoona, Robertine Barry (“Françoise”), Binaaswi (Francis Pegahmagabow), Won Alexander Cumyow, Terry Fox, Lotta Hitschmanova, and Onondeyoh (Frederick Ogilvie Loft). The list will be submitted for consideration to the Minister of Finance. Each candidate will be judged on enacting positive change, being a national icon, universality (impacting Canada, reflecting values), uniqueness, and relevancy. The selected candidate will be announced in early 2021.Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
WASHINGTON — The General Services Administration ascertained Monday that President-elect Joe Biden is the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election, clearing the way for the start of the transition from President Donald Trump’s administration and allowing Biden to co-ordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over on Jan. 20.Trump, who had refused to concede the election, said in a tweet that he is directing his team to co-operate on the transition but is vowing to keep up the fight.Administrator Emily Murphy made the determination after Trump efforts to subvert the vote failed across battleground states, citing, “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.” Michigan certified Biden’s victory Monday, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday seeking to prevent certification in that state.Yohannes Abraham, the executive director of the Biden transition, said in a statement that the decision “is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track.”He added: “In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies.”Murphy, a Trump appointee, had faced bipartisan criticism for failing to begin the transition process sooner, preventing Biden’s team from working with career agency officials on plans for his administration, including in critical national security and public health areas.“Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official—including those who work at the White House or GSA—with regard to the substance or timing of my decision,” Murphy wrote in a letter to Biden.Trump tweeted shortly after her letter was made public: “We will keep up the good fight and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”Pressure had been mounting on Murphy as an increasing number of Republicans, national security experts and business leaders said it was time for that process to move forward.Retiring Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, who has repeatedly called for the transition to begin, released a new statement Monday saying that Trump should “put the country first” and help Biden’s administration succeed.“When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do,” Alexander said.Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio on Monday called for Murphy to release money and staffing needed for the transition. Portman, a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, also said Biden should receive high-level briefings on national security and the coronavirus vaccine distribution plan.Alexander and Portman, who have both aligned themselves with Trump, joined a growing number of Republican officials who in recent days have urged Trump to begin the transition immediately. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., also urged a smooth transition, saying in a statement Monday that “at some point, the 2020 election must end.”Meanwhile, more than 160 business leaders asked Murphy to immediately acknowledge Biden as president-elect and begin the transition to a new administration. “Withholding resources and vital information from an incoming administration puts the public and economic health and security of America at risk,? the business leaders said in an open letter to Murphy.Separately, more than 100 Republican former national security officials — including former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte — said in a statement that Trump’s refusal to concede and allow for an orderly transition “constitutes a serious threat” to America’s democratic process. The officials signing the letter worked under four Republican presidents, including Trump.The statement called on “Republican leaders — especially those in Congress — to publicly demand that President Trump cease his anti-democratic assault on the integrity of the presidential election.”Trump had publicly refused to accept defeat and launched a series of losing court battles across the country making baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and seeking to overturn the election results.Murphy missed a deadline on Monday set by House Democrats to brief lawmakers about the delay in beginning the transition, which is usually a routine step between the election and the inauguration. A spokeswoman for the GSA said that a deputy administrator would instead hold two separate briefings for House and Senate committees on Nov. 30.In response, the Democratic chairs of four committees and subcommittees said they could reschedule the meeting for Tuesday, but no later.“We cannot wait yet another week to obtain basic information about your refusal to make the ascertainment determination,” the Democrats said in a letter to Murphy. “Every additional day that is wasted is a day that the safety, health, and well-being of the American people is imperiled as the incoming Biden-Harris administration is blocked from fully preparing for the coronavirus pandemic, our nation’s dire economic crisis, and our national security.”Portman said it was “only prudent” for GSA to begin the transition process immediately.“Donald Trump is our president until Jan. 20, 2021, but in the likely event that Joe Biden becomes our next president, it is in the national interest that the transition is seamless and that America is ready on Day One of a new administration for the challenges we face,? Portman wrote in an op-ed calling for the transition to begin.Murphy's ascertainment will free up money for the transition and clear the way for Biden’s team to begin placing transition personnel at federal agencies. Trump administration officials had said they would not give Biden the classified presidential daily briefing on intelligence matters until the GSA makes the ascertainment official.“Now that GSA Administrator Emily Murphy has fulfilled her duty and ascertained the election results, the formal presidential transition can begin in full force,” said Max Stier, president and CEO of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service. “Unfortunately, every day lost to the delayed ascertainment was a missed opportunity for the outgoing administration to help President-elect Joe Biden prepare to meet our country’s greatest challenges. The good news is that the president-elect and his team are the most prepared and best equipped of any incoming administration in recent memory.”Among those signing the letter from business leaders were Jon Gray, president of the Blackstone private equity firm; Robert Bakish, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Inc.; Henry Kravis, the co-chief executive of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., another private equity giant; David Solomon, CEO at Goldman Sachs; and George H. Walker, CEO of the investment firm Neuberger Berman and a second cousin to former President George W. Bush.Matthew Daly, Zeke Miller And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
While Christmas is still a month away, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health is starting his wish list. Dr. David Colby wishes for residents of Chatham-Kent to remain safe and healthy throughout the holidays. He is not ruling out gatherings altogether. In fact, he is considering people to consider alternative ways to celebrate the holidays. Colby feels gatherings should not be cancelled altogether and encourages residents to celebrate with members in their social bubble only. He said limiting the number of people in gatherings this holiday season is the only way to defeat COVID-19. “This is not the year to congregate with people,” said Colby. “Until we get a vaccine that’s going to bring this pandemic to its knees, I’m really worried about the social aspects of the holiday season coming up. I think we really need to think about just interacting with our household and a small number of our most cherished people.” Throughout the pandemic, Colby’s message has remained the same: the only way the province will go back to some sense of normalcy is if an effective vaccine is able to be administered widely to the population. He echoed the message once more. “I don’t think we’re going to see any kind of normal Christmas in 2020,” said Colby. “But nothing else has been normal in 2020 either.” Additionally, Colby encourages residents to utilize technology and call their loved ones via video calling. While meeting with loved ones on Dec. 25 is amongst the more “normal Christmas” options, Colby also recommended that another approach could be to postpone any big Christmas celebrations until it’s safe to do so. “This is something that is cherished by so many that it’s not something that we want to lose,” said Colby. “But we have to be safe, and we have to protect the vulnerable people in our society.” Colby has been working to control the spread of the virus within the community for the past eight months. However, Chatham-Kent most recently has been hit with outbreaks at local restaurants and a school, leading to the transition to “Yellow Protect”. This is one tier higher than the lowest Green-Prevent level the municipality was initially placed in when the framework was recently developed. Chatham-Kent had no reported COVID-19 cases on Friday, according to the health unit, but there were still 32 active cases in the municipality, including some linked to restaurants and schools. Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health, Dr. David Colby, said, “We were moved into yellow because of our numbers of positive cases relative to our population – five recent outbreaks – and our percentage of positive tests.”Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
Pandémie oblige, le Double défi des deux Mario se fera à distance, cette année. Alors que Mario Cantin et Mario Bilodeau ont décidé de faire le tour du lac Saint-Jean en ski, parcourant 200 kilomètres en 10 jours du 5 au 14 février 2021, ils invitent les participants à se lancer un défi personnel tout en amassant des fonds pour les jeunes atteints du cancer. « On ne peut pas amener du monde avec nous, alors on va partir ensemble pour faire le tour du lac », lance d’emblée Mario Bilodeau, le fondateur du Double défi des deux Mario. Cette année, le défi servira de point d’ancrage, et de modèle, pour inciter les gens à se lancer un défi personnel, renchérit Mario Cantin, vice-président ventes et distribution pour Banque Nationale assurances. « En ski, en raquette, à pied, on invite les gens à se lancer un défi physique à la hauteur de leurs capacités », dit-il. Ce défi peut se faire de manière individuelle ou en groupe, sur une journée ou même pendant 10 jours, alors que les deux Mario parcourront le Piekouagami entre le 5 et le 14 février. Ces derniers suggèrent aux participants de tenter de repousser leurs limites, question de sortir de leur zone de confort. « Un gros volet du Double défi, c’est le défi que chacun accomplit à l’intérieur de soi », remarque Mario Cantin. « Les gens peuvent voir ça comme une pratique avant de venir participer au Double défi en 2022 », ajoute Mario Bilodeau. Par exemple, un bon défi pourrait être de franchir 200 km en 10 jours, seul ou en équipe, donnent-ils en exemple. Un défi en boîte Dès qu’un participant s’inscrira au Double défi, il recevra un kit d’aventurier en boîte qui lui sera livré par la poste, un concept développé l’hiver dernier pour remplacer une expédition au Nunavik. La boîte inclura notamment des trucs d’entraînement, des capsules et des outils pour la préparation financière, « tout ce qu’il faut pour qu’ils puissent préparer et réussir leur défi », explique Mario Bilodeau. Les deux Mario feront le tour du lac Saint-Jean cet hiver, parcourant une distance de 200 km en 10 jours en autonomie complète. Ça sera un moyen d’inspirer les gens à réaliser leur propre défi à la maison. COURTOISIE, ADRÉNAFILM Chaque participant aura aussi la mission d’amasser 500 dollars dans le cadre de cet événement, qui sert de collecte de fonds pour les expéditions thérapeutiques réalisées par la fondation Sur la pointe des pieds. Pour une première fois, plusieurs prix seront offerts aux participants, dont des traîneaux et un kit d’aventurier, sous la forme d’un tirage. Chaque tranche de 100 dollars en excédent qui sera amassé donnera un coupon de participation. Rio Tinto sera partenaire du Double défi pour une quatrième année consécutive avec une aide financière de 25 000 dollars. Mais ce n’est qu’une partie du soutien apporté à l’événement, car Stéphane Larouche, directeur des opérations Énergie Électrique et Programme de stabilisation des berges du lac Saint-Jean, compte recruter 50 personnes au sein de son équipe pour accomplir le défi à la maison, ce qui permettrait d’amasser un autre 25 000 dollars. « Rio Tinto veut faire une différence pour des jeunes qui ont été atteints d’un cancer et pour sensibiliser nos employés à la cause en leur permettant de vivre une expérience humaine unique et de s’impliquer sur le plan personnel, dit-il. Je suis heureux de participer à nouveau au défi pour permettre d’offrir des expériences inoubliables à ces jeunes, et ce, malgré la pandémie. » Même si les participants ne pourront pas vivre l’expérience de dormir une nuit sur les glaces du lac Saint-Jean, Mario Cantin estime qu’il sera possible de rejoindre une autre clientèle, en mobilisant des gens qui n’étaient pas prêts pour une si grande aventure, mais qui souhaitent tout de même s’impliquer pour aider les jeunes. COURTOISIE, ADRÉNAFILM La pandémie de COVID-19 amène son lot de difficultés. « C’est “tough” ce qu’on vit en ce moment, mais ce n’est rien par rapport à ce que les jeunes atteints du cancer doivent passer à travers », ajoute ce dernier. Les aventures thérapeutiques leur permettent de développer de nouvelles aptitudes et de réaliser des choses qu’ils se croyaient incapables de faire auparavant. Ils deviennent alors plus résilients et mieux équipés pour faire face aux défis quotidiens, estime Mario Bilodeau. « Et c’est justement cette résilience dont nous aurons besoin pour passer à travers cette pandémie. On veut continuer à offrir des petits miracles aux jeunes et à leur famille et pour y arriver », dit-il, espérant qu’un maximum de participants s’inscrira au Double défi en boîte. \+ DES BESOINS ÉNORMES POUR LES JEUNES ATTEINTS DE CANCER Depuis plus de 20 ans, la fondation Sur la pointe des pieds réalise des expéditions thérapeutiques pour aider les jeunes atteints du cancer à se dépasser. Pendant la pandémie, les expéditions sur le terrain ont été remplacées par des « défis en boîte » envoyés aux participants par la poste. L’équipe travaille d’arrache-pied pour développer un nouveau concept qui permettra d’accueillir des jeunes à l’été 2021, tout en respectant les mesures sanitaires. « Les jeunes ont besoin de nous plus que jamais », soutient Jean-Charles Fortin, le directeur général de la fondation. D’emblée, les jeunes atteints du cancer vivent une détresse profonde, dit-il, et cette détresse est exacerbée lors d’une situation anxiogène comme on le vit en cette période de pandémie. COURTOISIE, ADRÉNAFILM « C’est stressant quand tes traitements sont repoussés et que tu sais que le cancer continue de progresser, remarque Jean-Charles Fortin. Et pour ceux qui ont commencé les traitements, ils se retrouvent avec un système immunitaire affaibli pendant une pandémie, ce qui n’est pas plus encourageant. » « On se devait d’adapter nos collectes de fonds pour continuer à offrir des aventures thérapeutiques », conclut-il, ajoutant que la formule par la poste n’impose aucune limite de participants.Guillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) logged 40 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, while marking 57 more cases resolved, lowering the number of known active cases in the city to 347.Both that number and the rolling average of new cases have returned to levels unseen since mid-September.OPH also reported the death of another resident at a long-term care home where an outbreak has been declared, bringing the city's death toll to 367.More than sixty per cent of the city's latest cases are people under the age of 40.A total of 8,212 Ottawa residents have now tested positive for COVID-19. The vast majority of those cases — 7,498 — are considered resolved.In the Outaouais, which has about one-third of Ottawa's population, 48 more people have tested positive for COVID-19. The region is now averaging 39 new cases a day.More than 85 per cent of the cases in western Quebec are in Gatineau, currently a red zone on the province's pandemic scale. With 42 patients curently in hospital, the Outaouais is outpacing Ottawa in that category as well. Thirty patients are currently being treated for COVID-19 in Ottawa hospitals, including two in intensive care.An outbreak is over at École élémentaire catholique des Pionniers, leaving active outbreaks at four schools, nine long-term care homes and one hospital in Ottawa.Elsewhere, an outbreak at École secondaire publique L'Héritage in Cornwall, Ont., has also ended, the last COVID-19 outbreak at an eastern Ontario school outside Ottawa.Colour by numbersAmong the key indicators that could allow Ottawa to move from orange to yellow on Ontario's pandemic scale: * The per-capita rate of COVID-19 sits at 24.6, just below the orange zone threshold of 25. * The test positivity rate is 1.8 per cent; the yellow zone threshold is 1.2 per cent.The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has moved from orange to the less severe yellow, while the health unit covering the Kingston, Ont., area went from green to yellow.The rest of eastern Ontario is green, the lowest level on the province's pandemic scale.
This friendship between a little boy and his Shiba Inu is the sweetest thing you'll see all day. Enjoy!
RCMP are looking to speak to a woman who allegedly assaulted an employee of Skaha Lake Liquor Store in Penticton after he had asked her to wear a mask. Penticton RCMP say they responded to a report of an assault at the Skaha Lake Liquor Store on Nov. 21, 2020 at 1:48 p.m. In a post on social media, Skaha Lake Liquor store alleges (with video) that a woman entered the store without a mask and when asked to put one on, she damaged the employee’s cellular phone and spit at the employee. The woman who was wearing a black and pink coloured jacket is described by RCMP as: “It’s extremely troubling an employee who was only following the provincial health orders, was subject to an assault of this nature,” said Sgt. Jason Bayda, Media Relations Officer for the Penticton South Okanagan RCMP. “Spitting at someone is a concern anytime, let alone in the midst of a pandemic.” RCMP are aware of the security footage of the woman making the rounds on social media, and police say they “would like to first provide her an opportunity to come forward and speak to investigators about the matter.” The post on Skaha Lake Liquor Store’s Facebook page also alleges the woman made “racial comments” towards the employee. Penticton RCMP are asking the woman or anyone else who may have information into this matter to call them at 250-492-4300 or to remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle
NAIROBI, Kenya — Ethiopia’s government is again warning residents of the besieged capital of the embattled Tigray region as the clock ticks on a 72-hour ultimatum before a military assault, saying “anything can happen.”Senior official Redwan Hussein told reporters Monday that the Tigray regional leaders are “hiding out in a densely populated city; the slightest strike would end up losing lives.”Human rights groups and others were alarmed over the weekend when Ethiopia’s military warned civilians in the Tigray capital, Mekele, that there would be “no mercy” if they don’t “save themselves” before the offensive to flush out defiant regional leaders. Amnesty International warns that deliberately attacking civilians and civilian objects “is prohibited under international humanitarian law and constitutes war crimes.”Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister, issued a 72-hour ultimatum Sunday for the leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF, to surrender.Redwan said that Mekele, a city of around 500,000 people, is now encircled at a distance of about 50 kilometres (30 miles), and with rougher terrain left behind “what remains is the plain land, easier for tanks.”He added, “by providing a brute fact, it is letting people to understand the reality and make the right choice.” Ethiopia’s government is urging Mekele residents to separate themselves from the TPLF leaders in time.Cara Anna, The Associated Press
ROME — Pope Francis is supporting demands for racial justice in the wake of the U.S. police killing of George Floyd and is blasting COVID-19 skeptics and media organizations that spread their conspiracies in a new book penned during the Vatican’s coronavirus lockdown.In “Let Us Dream,” Francis also criticizes populist politicians who whip up rallies in ways reminiscent of the 1930s, and the hypocrisy of “rigid” conservative Catholics who support them. But he also criticizes the forceful downing of historic statues during protests for racial equality this year as a misguided attempt to “purify the past.”The 150-page book, due out Dec. 1, was ghost-written by Francis’ English-language biographer, Austen Ivereigh, and at times the prose and emphasis seems almost more Ivereigh’s than Francis.’ That's somewhat intentional — Ivereigh said Monday he hopes a more colloquial English-speaking pope will resonate with English-speaking readers and believers.At its core, “Let Us Dream” aims to outline Francis’ vision of a more economically and environmentally just post-coronavirus world where the poor, the elderly and weak aren’t left on the margins and the wealthy aren’t consumed only with profits.But it also offers new personal insights into the 83-year-old Argentine pope and his sense of humour.At one point, Francis reveals that after he offered in 2012 to retire as archbishop of Buenos Aires when he turned 75, he planned to finally finish the thesis he never completed on the 20th-century German intellectual, Romano Guardini.“But in March 2013, I was transferred to another diocese,” he deadpans. Francis was elected pope, and bishop of Rome, on March 13, 2013.The publisher said the book was the first written by a pope during a major world crisis and Ivereigh said it was done as a response to the coronavirus and the lockdown. For Francis, the pandemic offers an unprecedented opportunity to imagine and plan for a more socially just world.At times, it seems he is directing that message squarely at the United States, as Donald Trump's administration winds down four years of “America first” policies that excluded migrants from Muslim countries and diminished U.S. reliance on multilateral diplomacy. Without identifying the U.S. or Trump by name, Francis singles out Christian-majority countries where nationalist-populist leaders seek to defend Christianity from perceived enemies.“Today, listening to some of the populist leaders we now have, I am reminded of the 1930s, when some democracies collapsed into dictatorships seemingly overnight,” Francis wrote. “We see it happening again now in rallies where populist leaders excite and harangue crowds, channeling their resentments and hatreds against imagined enemies to distract from the real problems.”People fall prey to such rhetoric out of fear, not true religious conviction, he wrote. Such “superficially religious people vote for populists to protect their religious identity, unconcerned that fear and hatred of the other cannot be reconciled with the Gospel.”Francis addressed the killing of Floyd, a Black man whose death at the knee of a white policeman set off protests this year across the United States. Referring to Floyd by name, Francis said: “Abuse is a gross violation of human dignity that we cannot allow and which we must continue to struggle against.”But he warned that protests can be manipulated and decried the attempt to erase history by downing statues of U.S. Confederate leaders. A better way, he said, is to debate the past through dialogue.“Amputating history can make us lose our memory, which is one of the few remedies we have against repeating the mistakes of the past,” he wrote.Turning to the pandemic, Francis blasted people who protested anti-virus restrictions “as if measures that governments must impose for the good of their people constitute some kind of political assault on autonomy or personal freedom!”He accused some in the church and Catholic media of being part of the problem.“You’ll never find such people protesting the death of George Floyd, or joining a demonstration because there are shantytowns where children lack water or education,” he wrote. “They turned into a cultural battle what was in truth an effort to ensure the protection of life.”He praised journalists who reported on how the pandemic was affecting the poorest. But he took a broad swipe at unnamed media organizations that “used this crisis to persuade people that foreigners are to blame, that the coronavirus is little more than a little bout of flu, and that restrictions necessary for people's protection amount to an unjust demand of an interfering state."“There are politicians who peddle these narratives for their own gain," he writes. “But they could not succeed without some media creating and spreading them."In urging the world to use the pandemic as an opportunity for a reset, Francis offers “three COVID-19” moments, or personal crises of his own life, that gave him the chance to stop, think and change course.The first was the respiratory infection that nearly killed him when he was 21 and in his second year at the Buenos Aires diocesan seminary. After being saved, Francis decided to join the Jesuit religious order.“I have a sense of how people with the coronavirus feel as they struggle to breathe on ventilators,” Francis wrote.The second COVID-19 moment was when he moved to Germany in 1986 to work on his thesis and felt such loneliness and isolation he moved back to Argentina without finishing it.The third occurred during the nearly two years he spent in exile in Cordoba, northern Argentina, as penance for his authoritarian-laced reign as head of the Jesuit order in the country.“I’m sure I did a few good things, but I could be very harsh. In Cordoba, they made me pay and they were right to do so,” he wrote.But he also revealed that while in Cordoba he read a 37-volume “History of the Popes.”“Once you know that papal history, there’s not that much that goes on in the Vatican Curia and the church today that can shock you,” he wrote.Francis repeated his call for a universal basic income, for welcoming migrants and for what he calls the three L’s that everyone needs: land, lodging and labour.“We need to set goals for our business sector that — without denying its importance — look beyond shareholder value to other kinds of values that save us all: community, nature and meaningful work," he writes.___Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakNicole Winfield, The Associated Press
Instead of offering one or more options, some companies are turning health insurance shopping over to employees. A federal rule change last year stoked this new approach. It allows employers to reimburse workers for coverage they bought without paying a tax penalty. The concept sends employees to individual insurance markets where they can find more choices for coverage. It also protects employers from huge annual cost spikes. But it’s a big change for workers who are used to having their employer give them benefit choices every year. This new approach — known as an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement or ICHRA — started with coverage plans for this year. More workers will likely see them offered this fall during their company’s annual sign-up window for 2021 coverage. Benefits experts say the idea is drawing interest from employers, but they expect the option to grow slowly over the next few years. “We are seeing much more cautious adoption of it," said Alan Silver, senior director of health and benefits for the consulting firm Willis Towers Watson. Here's how it works: Employees pick a plan that works best for them, sometimes with help from an outside company hired by their employer. Then the employer reimburses them, at least partially, for the cost. Benefits consultants say the accounts can be attractive to companies that have been hammered by insurance costs or want to offer benefits to attract new employees but haven’t been able to afford them. Element Designs, with about 65 employees, switched earlier this year. The Charlotte, North Carolina, custom door maker was facing a 60% price hike for its old coverage plan. That would have followed a 50% increase from the year before. The company couldn’t absorb those hikes. But human resources manager Kymberlee Hernandez said they also couldn’t tell employees in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, “Hey guys, by the way, we’re not going to have health care this year.” “This was definitely a good alternative for us,” she said. The company is reimbursing employees $500 per month for their coverage and another $300 if they have dependents. Employee Olivia Banks found the new approach daunting at first. But a company hired by her employer, Take Command Health, helped Banks figure out which plans would include her doctors and what sort of expenses she could handle. “The benefit on the other side is a plan that’s tailored more towards you,” said the account manager. The federal government estimates that once employers get used to the new rule, more than 11 million workers and family members will get insurance this way. That’s a relatively small slice of the market for employer-sponsored health insurance, which covered about 157 million people last year, according to the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation. HealthSherpa, a company that helps people find coverage in the insurance marketplaces, said it is working with more than 50 employers to start the coverage switch between this month and January. Separately, it also is helping individuals with ICHRAs find coverage through an app it debuted in July. The coronavirus pandemic has strained some employer budgets and made them start thinking about insurance alternatives, HealthSherpa co-founder Cat Perez said. “It’s definitely picked up as the pandemic has played on,” she said. Like with most insurance plans, shoppers will have to read the fine print when they search individual coverage markets. A plan that seems like a bargain could require customers to pay several thousand dollars in deductibles before most coverage starts or deal with much bigger prescription bills than they are used to. “You’re definitely going to reach into your pocket more,” said Katherine Hempstead, a health care researcher with the non-profit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The new option is expected to grow first with small businesses and in places where employers think the insurance market offers enough coverage choices. Beth Carter’s marketing agency, Clariant Creative, adopted the approach earlier this year because more typical employer-sponsored health insurance was both unaffordable and an administrative headache. “Finding the right coverage was just ridiculously painful,” said Carter, whose Naperville, Illinois, business has only six full-time employees. New employee Sara Schleicher was drawn to the idea. Previous employers had high-deductible plans that would have exposed her to big medical bills. The 29-year-old marketing specialist wanted something with more protection partially because she likes to ride motorcycles. She wound up with a low-deductible plan. “I feel better knowing that I have insurance even if I don’t need to use it that often,” the St. Augustine, Florida, resident said. “This really has given me access to options that I might not necessarily have had otherwise.” ___ Follow Tom Murphy on Twitter: @thpmurphy ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Tom Murphy, The Associated Press
The CP Holiday Train is a tradition that many hold dear in Medicine Hat. This year, the train is going to have a different look compared to previous iterations. Canadian Pacific is holding a virtual concert this year, so people can still take live music in while not crowding outside with hundreds of others. “Unfortunately because of COVID-19, we had to make the choice to hold the train virtual this year,” said CP spokesperson Salem Woodrow. “The spirit will continue with the Holiday Train at Home Concert.” The concert will launch at 6 p.m. on Dec. 12 on the Canadian Pacific Facebook page. “Even though it’s not in-person, we’re happy to bring the train to communities this year,” said Woodrow. The concert will be headlined by Canadian rock band, The Trews and singer Serena Ryder. Jojo Mason, Logan Staats and Kelly Prescott will also be performing. As is tradition, people will be encouraged to donate to their local food bank as part of the Holiday Train experience. “We know it’s been a hard year for everyone, but we encourage people to donate as best they can this year, and to be as generous as they’re able to be,” said Woodrow. Canadian Pacific will be making donations to food banks in all municipalities that the train usually stops in. The Holiday Train has been around for 22 years, and has stopped all around North America. In its first 21 years, the train has raised more than $17 million and has collected nearly five million pounds of food for food banks. People can find CP on social media platforms by searching for Canadian Pacific.Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
En construisant 24 logements, une halte-garderie, un espace communautaire et un centre d’escalade intérieur à Roberval, la Corporation de développement des premiers peuples souhaite offrir de l’hébergement à prix modique pour les familles autochtones, mais aussi un milieu de vie où la culture et la langue font partie du quotidien. Le projet de 6 millions de dollars est en attente d’une réponse de la Société d’habitation du Québec (SHQ). Avec les deux incendies qui ont ravagé des immeubles à loyer modique à Roberval au cours de la dernière année, les appartements bon marché sont rares, souligne Mélanie Boivin, directrice générale du Centre d’amitié autochtone du Lac-Saint-Jean (CAALSJ). Et lorsqu’il y a des logements disponibles, ils sont trop petits pour accueillir de grandes familles, comme c’est souvent le cas chez les familles autochtones, ajoute cette dernière. Elle cite en exemple le cas d’une mère de six enfants, monoparentale, qui vit avec sa mère... dans un trois et demi. Plusieurs autres familles sont dans la même situation, car la population autochtone représentait déjà près de 10 % de la population à Roberval en 2015, soit 965 personnes, selon les données de Statistique Canada. Avec la croissance de la population autochtone en milieu urbain, ce nombre doit être plus grand aujourd’hui, estime Mélanie Boivin, qui remarque que la majorité est d’origine atikamekw. En travaillant constamment avec la clientèle autochtone, le Centre d’amitié a voulu trouver une solution durable au manque d’hébergement. Il y a près de deux ans, l’organisation a donc fait l’achat d’un terrain, au coin de l’avenue Sainte-Angèle et de la rue Scott, un investissement de 140 000 $. Le plan : construire un milieu de vie pour les familles autochtones à Roberval, tout en revitalisant un secteur qui en a bien besoin. Pour développer un projet d’hébergement, le CAALSJ a créé la Corporation de développement des premiers peuples (CDPP), en 2020, en partenariat avec le Conseil de la nation atikamekw et le Centre d’amitié autochtone de Saguenay. Et c’est cette corporation qui a soumis une demande de financement de 6 M $ à la SHQ. Dénommé Mishtik, ce qui veut dire « arbre » en innu et en atikamekw, le projet vise à construire un bâtiment de 24 logements, dont 12 unités de trois chambres, six unités de quatre chambres, trois unités de deux chambres et trois autres de cinq chambres. Au-delà d’offrir des appartements assez grands, le projet vise aussi à offrir du répit aux parents en mettant sur pied une halte-garderie. COURTOISIE Un espace communautaire permettra aussi aux résidants de se rassembler et de s’impliquer dans des activités sociales. « Ça permettra de créer un des rares milieux de vie hors des réserves où il sera possible de parler l’atikamekw ou le nehlueun, remarque Mélanie Boivin. Ce projet sera culturellement sécurisant et on compte y rattacher une entreprise d’économie sociale pour offrir des opportunités de développement des compétences et savoirs aux locataires. » Sabin Côté, maire de Roberval, a été impliqué dans le projet depuis ses débuts et il le voit d’un très bon oeil. « C’est un projet structurant qui permettra de créer un milieu de vie enrichissant », estime le premier magistrat. L’investissement de 6 M $ permettrait de revitaliser le secteur centre-ville, dit-il. Centre de transformation sociale Pour bien soutenir les familles qui occuperont le bâtiment, un centre de transformation sociale sera également mis sur pied, un projet de 150 000 $ financé par la Société canadienne d’hypothèque et de logement (SCHL). Ce service, similaire à ce qui est offert dans un Office municipal d’habitation (OMH), offrira notamment de l’aide à la gestion du budget. « Ce sera un service complémentaire qui permettra de soutenir les familles », explique Mélanie Boivin. L’escalade comme pont entre les nations Le futur bâtiment sera aussi un point de rencontre entre les cultures, car une structure d’escalade intérieure y sera aménagée. « On veut mettre le paquet », souligne Jean-François Gill, un instructeur d’escalade innu qui a participé au développement de ce projet. COURTOISIE Dans un premier temps, des structures sur blocs, où les gens peuvent pratiquer leur technique sans harnais au-dessus d’un gros matelas, seront installées. Un mur d’escalade sera aussi aménagé sur toute la hauteur de l’édifice de trois étages. « Je pense que c’est un projet qui a le potentiel d’unir les peuples par le sport », remarque Jean-François Gill. Ce dernier estime qu’une telle infrastructure permettra de faire bouger les jeunes. « J’ai découvert une passion avec l’escalade, et ça m’a donné le feu de vouloir clencher quelque chose de nouveau, confie-t-il. Malgré mon trouble de l’attention, l’escalade m’a permis de canaliser mon énergie et de trouver la concentration supplémentaire pour atteindre mes buts. » Avec le projet Mishtik, le formateur souhaite pouvoir partager sa passion au plus grand nombre et faire croître l’escalade dans la région. Il a d’ailleurs déjà ciblé des secteurs pour développer des voies d’escalade extérieures à Val-Jalbert et près de Dolbeau-Mistassini. À l’heure actuelle, le projet est dans les mains de la SHQ. Pour accélérer le processus, Mélanie Boivin a communiqué directement avec le bureau de la ministre des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation, Andrée Laforest. « C’est inhumain, ce que certaines familles autochtones doivent vivre en ce moment », conclut-elle, espérant que le projet reçoive le financement le plus tôt possible.Guillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Provincial police escorted the body of one of their fellow officers home from Toronto to Manitoulin Island today.The provincial police union said two OPP cruisers accompanied the hearse carrying Constable Marc Hovingh, an officer killed in the line of duty last week.The procession left a Toronto funeral home at noon and drove more than five hours to Little Current on Ontario's Manitoulin Island.Watch the procession streamed by OPP on TwitterAccording to the Special Investigations Unit, Hovingh and Gary Brohman were both killed Thursday after exchanging gunfire.Hovingh, 52, was one of the officers who responded to a call regarding an "unwanted man" on a property in Gore Bay, Ont.Ontario's police watchdog says both Hovingh and Brohman died in hospital. Autopsies for both were done in Toronto.Brohman, 60, was identified by Ontario's police watchdog, as a resident of Gore Bay.More stories from CBC Sudbury
WASHINGTON — A firearms-toting congresswoman-elect who owns a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, has already asked Capitol Police about carrying her weapon on Capitol grounds, her office has acknowledged. If she does so, she apparently won't be alone.The practice is allowed for lawmakers, with some limitations, under decades-old congressional regulations. The public is barred from carrying weapons in the Capitol, its grounds and office buildings.Republican Lauren Boebert, 33, was elected this month from a conservative western Colorado district after gaining notice as a brash pro-gun activist who straps a Glock pistol to her hip. In an upset last June, she defeated five-term Rep. Scott Tipton for the GOP nomination, in part by claiming he wasn't an ardent enough backer of President Donald Trump.Boebert asked Capitol Police officials about carrying her weapon when she and other House freshmen taking office in January were in town recently for orientation programs, according to two congressional officials. Both people — a Democrat and a Republican — spoke on condition of anonymity to describe her request.Aides to Boebert, who Trump endorsed as “a fighter" who will “never bow down to the establishment in Congress," did not make her available for an interview.“This was a private discussion and inquiry about what the rules are, and as a result the Congresswoman-Elect won’t be going on the record,” Boebert aide Laura Carno said in an email last week.The inquiries by Boebert, who runs Shooters Grill, come as guns remain a passionate issue for both parties, fueled by images of demonstrations by armed Trump supporters, conservative pushes to ease state gun restrictions and recent years' mass shootings.Even so, prospects for significantly changing federal gun laws seem scant as a new, narrowly divided Congress takes office in January alongside President-elect Joe Biden.Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki did not respond to a reporter’s questions about the department’s communications with Boebert and the number of lawmakers who carry firearms.The agency's officials did not answer directly when Democrats on the House Committee on Administration asked in 2018 how many lawmakers carry firearms in the Capitol. The officials said in a written response that they've “been made aware” of inquiries about carrying weapons.“There is no standing requirement” that lawmakers notify them when they carry a firearm in the Capitol, the officials wrote. Regulations require safe storage of weapons, but “that responsibility resides with the Member,” they said.A 1967 regulation says no federal or District of Columbia laws restricting firearms “shall prohibit any Member of Congress from maintaining firearms within the confines of his office" or “from transporting within Capitol grounds firearms unloaded and securely wrapped."Lawmakers may not bring weapons into the House chamber and other nearby areas, the regulations say, according to a letter Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., wrote in 2018. Aides can carry lawmakers’ weapons for them on the Capitol complex, he wrote.In his letter to House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, Huffman summarized the regulations after being briefed on them by Irving. An opponent of letting members of Congress carry guns on Capitol grounds, Huffman abandoned a 2018 effort to halt the practice due to colleagues' strong opposition and said in an interview that he wouldn't try again this year due to continued resistance.Huffman said the loophole for lawmakers, adopted after a summer of racial unrest in American cities, is outdated and risky.He said members and their staffs carry firearms around the Capitol “all the time,” though he mentioned no names. He said lawmakers keep guns in their publicly accessible offices, though building entry has been limited due to COVID-19.“Members could have a loaded AK47 sitting on their desk and no one would ever do anything about it," Huffman said.He also said with lawmakers exempted from passing through screening devices throughout the Capitol campus, “no one checks” to make sure they're not bringing guns onto the House floor.Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., chairman of the House Second Amendment Caucus, justified letting lawmakers carry weapons. He cited the 2017 shooting spree when a gunman wounded Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and four other people as they practiced baseball in nearby Alexandria, Virginia.“As soon as you leave the Capitol property, you are a target," Massie said.Also supporting Boebert is Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., like Boebert a hard-right conservative with a penchant for attracting publicity. Greene like Boebert has expressed support for QAnon conspiracy theories, though both have tried distancing themselves from the unfounded beliefs.“Not only do I support members of Congress carrying a firearm, I believe every American has that right." Greene said in a statement. “I will work every day to end ALL gun free zones.”Police periodically arrest people caught trying to bring firearms into the Capitol and its buildings.In 1999, Corey Lewandowski — then a congressional aide and later a manager of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign — was arrested when what court records called a loaded pistol was found in a laundry bag he was bringing into a House office building. Misdemeanor charges were dismissed.The Capitol Police protect the complex with over 2,300 officers and civilian employees, according to its website. Its officers routinely arrest people caught trying to carry weapons at the Capitol.The regulations letting lawmakers carry guns was written by the Capitol Police Board, which consists of four of Congress' top law enforcement and administrative officials.Alan Fram, The Associated Press
TORONTO – The Government of Canada has launched a new initiative to modernize its radioactive waste policy. Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan launched the inclusive engagement process on Nov. 16. and asked the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) to lead the process. A press release from NWMO said all of Canada’s low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste is “safely managed today in interim storage.” An integrated strategy will ensure the material continues to be managed in accordance with international best practices over the longer-term. Building on previous work, the NWMO says this strategy represents a next step to identify and address any gaps in radioactive waste management planning while looking further into the future. “This is important work, and we look forward to lending our expertise to make informed and practical recommendations to the Canadian government on a more comprehensive radioactive waste management strategy for low- and intermediate-level waste,” said Laurie Swami, president and CEO of the NWMO. “I want to thank Minister O’Regan for entrusting us to lead this process.” The Government of Canada will engage interested Canadians, including Indigenous peoples, waste producers, owners, and other government levels. Their objective is to elaborate on the existing policy to provide greater leadership on radioactive waste management and ensure that they continue to meet international best practices. A letter sent to Swami by O’Regan said, “I am requesting the NWMO to lead this dialogue and to develop Canada’s Integrated Strategy for radioactive waste for my review and consideration. I believe that the NWMO is uniquely positioned to lead this work as a leader in used nuclear fuel management and public engagement.” O’Regan said the integrated strategy should build on the plan developed by NWMO for the long-term management of Canada’s nuclear fuel waste. The strategy, he said, should include: • A description of the current waste management situation in Canada in terms of current and future volumes, taking into account potential small modular reactor waste, characteristics, locations, and ownership of the waste. • An update on current plans and progress in advancing long-term management and disposal solutions for Canada’s wastes as well as the gaps that must be addressed. • Conceptual approaches for dealing with our current and future radioactive waste inventory, including technical options for long-term management or disposal of the various waste types and options for the number of long-term waste management facilities in Canada. • Considerations regarding the staging, integration, establishment, and operation of long-term waste management facilities. O’Regan stressed the importance that the NWMO carry out this important task in a manner that is open, transparent, and inclusive. He added that it must be built on a solid foundation of trust, integrity, and respect for all Canadians. “The dialogue should not detract from the NWMO’s current mandate to implement Canada’s plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel, known as Adaptive Phased Management. That mandate is clear, and your progress to date is commendable,” O’Regan said. “This work needs to continue to progress in an effective and efficient manner. I would also emphasize that this dialogue and the resulting Integrated Strategy are not intended to replace other projects currently in progress.” Karine Glenn, strategic project director for the NWMO, said that the organization looks forward to the process. “For more than 50 years, Canadian nuclear technology has been in our lives – powering our homes, making life-saving medical treatments, and bringing safe food to our tables,” said Glenn. “I look forward to this being a process of informed, balanced dialogue about what we must do to ensure that people and the environment are protected from the remaining hazards of this material long after we are gone.” More details regarding the process will be shared in the coming weeks. Interested individuals and organizations will have various ways to participate while respecting public health directives related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Interested parties are invited to sign up for updates at nwmo.ca/radwasteplanning.Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Bruce, the fiberglass shark made from the “Jaws” mould, is ready for his close-up. The 1,208 pound, 25-foot-long, 45-year-old shark, famous for being difficult to work with on the set of Steven Spielberg’s classic thriller, on Friday was hoisted up in the air above the main escalator of the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles where he will greet guests for the foreseeable future. And this time, he co-operated.It is the culmination of years of planning, including a seven-month restoration by special effects and makeup artist Greg Nicotero. The shark is expected to be a major draw for the museum, which plans to open its doors to the public on April 30, 2021.Super fans know that the “Jaws” crew started calling the shark Bruce after Spielberg’s lawyer Bruce Ramer. They’ll also know that the Bruce that will greet guests in the museum wasn’t technically in “Jaws.” He's a replica and it’s the last of his kind. The three mechanical Great Whites designed by art director Joe Alves were destroyed when production wrapped. But once the film proved to be a box office phenomenon, a fourth shark was made from the original mould. For 15 years he hung at Universal Studios Hollywood as a photo opportunity for visitors until he wound up at the Sun Valley junkyard he would call home for the next 25. Nathan Adlan, who inherited his father’s junkyard business, donated him to the museum in 2016.But Bruce wasn’t quite camera ready. A quarter century in the California sun, plus all the years of being re-painted at Universal had taken its toll on the poor creature, who badly needed care and attention. Nicotero, who has worked on “Day of the Dead” and “The Walking Dead,” said he got into the business because of “Jaws” and volunteered for the task of bringing him back to life.“One of the great things about being the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is that we have access to Academy members in all craft areas of the industry,” said Academy Museum Director Bill Kramer. “We can call on our members and other members of the film industry who have either worked on the film that the artifact is from or know enough about the provenance and work that had been done to help us restore it. We’re in an incredibly privileged position.”Restoration was one thing, but loading Bruce into the museum proved to be another ordeal. Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano made sure to account for large-scale objects in his restoration of the Saban Building, which was originally the May Company department store. But Bruce is their biggest piece to date and everyone soon realized that he wouldn't be able to get into the building with his fins attached.Last week Bruce was transported from a storage facility on a 70-foot flatbed to the museum at Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard where engineers, construction workers and art handlers removed two panels of glass three stories up to get him into the building. Once inside with fins reattached and a final touching up, Bruce was hooked onto five cables, each of which could hold his weight if any were to fail, and hoisted up on a truss by remote control to get into position in the building’s “spine” where he faces East and is visible from Fairfax.Shraddha Aryal, Vice-President of Exhibition Design and Production, described the years of painstakingly detailed modeling and work that went in to preparing for this moment, including full scale mock-ups and light tests to ensure that all of Bruce’s 116 teeth would be visible to tourists.Seeing him lifted into the building was “such an exciting moment,” she said.Kramer said they expect Bruce to be a huge draw for visitors, which is why he’ll be hanging in a public area where people can see him without having to pay for a museum ticket. Almost a half century after Bruce made generations of kids and adults scared to get in the water, he's now beckoning film lovers into a museum.“We plan on having Bruce greet our visitors for as long as we can keep him up there,” Kramer said. “It’s a free space and a free moment for our visitors to bring delight and hopefully inspire them to learn more about the movies, the history of visual effects and how this prop was made.”Curious visitors can come and check out the massive great white, the restaurant and the Spielberg Family Gallery to see a 10-minute film on the history of cinema before even committing to purchasing a ticket.There will also be a public programming series on conservation and restoration drawing on items from the collection that have been restored including the ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz,” the Aries-1B from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the extra-terrestrial from “Alien” and, of course, Bruce.“There are so many stories that can take you places just through this one object,” Kramer said.___Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahrLindsey Bahr, The Associated Press