US Surgeon General Jerome Adams says there are reactions to all medications and the reactions to the coronavirus vaccinations are normal. Adams visited a hospital in Chicago as Illinois rolled out the vaccine on Tuesday. (Dec. 23)
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams says there are reactions to all medications and the reactions to the coronavirus vaccinations are normal. Adams visited a hospital in Chicago as Illinois rolled out the vaccine on Tuesday. (Dec. 23)
The A-list is back. How A-list? Try Lady Gaga and J. Lo. Inauguration officials announced on Thursday that the glittery duo would appear in person on Jan. 20, with Gaga singing the national anthem as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, and Jennifer Lopez giving a musical performance. Foo Fighters, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen will offer remote performances, and Eva Longoria and and Kerry Washington will introduce segments of the event. Later that day, Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute primetime TV special celebrating Biden’s inauguration. Other performers include Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Ant Clemons. Despite a raging pandemic that is forcing most inaugural events online, it was a sign that Hollywood was back and eager to embrace the new president-elect four years after many big names stayed away from the inauguration of President Donald Trump, hugely unpopular in Hollywood. The question: How would the star wattage play across the country as Biden seeks to unite a bruised nation? Eric Dezenhall, a Washington crisis management consultant and former Reagan administration official, predicted reaction would fall “along tribal lines.” “I think it all comes down to the reinforcement of pre-existing beliefs,” Dezenhall said. “If you’re a Biden supporter, it’s nice to see Lady Gaga perform.” But, he added, “what rallied Trump supporters was the notion of an uber-elite that had nothing to do at all with them and that they couldn’t relate to.” Presidential historian Tevi Troy quipped that the starry Gaga-J. Lo lineup was not A-list, but D-list — "for Democratic.” "When Democrats win you get the more standard celebrities,” said Troy, author of “What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House.” “With Republicans you tend to get country music stars and race-car drivers." Referring to Lady Gaga’s outspoken support for the Biden-Harris ticket, he said he was nostalgic for the days when celebrities were not so political. “Call me a hopeless romantic, but I liked the old days when Bob Hope or Frank Sinatra would come to these events and they were not overtly political,” he said. Still, he said, Biden’s unity message won’t be derailed. “In the end, I don’t think having Lady Gaga or J. Lo is all that divisive,” he said. Attendance at the inauguration will be severely limited, due to both the pandemic and fears of continued violence, following last week’s storming of the Capitol. Outside the official events, one of the more prominent galas each inauguration is The Creative Coalition's quadrennial ball, a benefit for arts education. This year, the ball is entirely virtual. But it is star-studded nonetheless: The event, which will involve food being delivered simultaneously to attendees in multiple cities, will boast celebrity hosts including Jason Alexander, David Arquette, Matt Bomer, Christopher Jackson, Ted Danson, Lea DeLaria, Keegan Michael-Key, Chrissy Metz, Mandy Patinkin and many others. Robin Bronk, CEO of the non-partisan arts advocacy group, said she's been deluged with celebrities eager to participate in some way. The event typically brings in anywhere from $500,000 to $2.5 million, and this year the arts community is struggling like never before. Bronk noted that planning has been a challenge, given not only the recent political upheaval in the country but also the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic. Given all that, did a celebration make sense? “I was thinking about this when we were trying to phrase the invitation,” Bronk said. “Do we celebrate? This is the most serious time of our lives.” But, she said, especially at a time when the arts community is suffering, it’s crucial to shine a spotlight and recognize that “the right to bear arts is not a red or blue issue. One of the reasons we have this ball is that we have to ensure the arts are not forgotten." The Presidential Inaugural Committee also announced Thursday that the invocation will be given by the Rev. Leo O’Donovan, a former Georgetown University president, and the Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Andrea Hall, a firefighter from Georgia. There will be a poetry reading from Amanda Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate, and the benediction will be given by Rev. Silvester Beaman of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware. On the same platform, Biden sat in 2013 behind pop star Beyoncé as she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at President Barack Obama's second inauguration. James Taylor sang “America the Beautiful,” and Kelly Clarkson sang “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.” At Trump’s inauguration in 2017, the anthem was performed by 16-year-old singer Jackie Evancho. A number of top artists declined the opportunity to perform at the festivities, and one Broadway star, Jennifer Holliday, even said she’d received death threats before she pulled out of her planned appearance. There was indeed star power in 2017, but most of it was centred at the Women’s March on Washington, where attendees included Madonna, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson, Cher, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Emma Watson and many others. This year, signs are that Obama-era celebrities are returning. Dezenhall said that in the end, it's logical for organizers to go with the biggest talent. “Lady Gaga is as big as you can get, and she is very talented,” he said. “If I were being inaugurated and I could have Lady Gaga, I would take it.” Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
COVID-19. La Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ) demeure vivement préoccupée par l'état des entreprises québécoises et s'inquiète pour la survie de plusieurs. Elle accueille tout de même favorablement l'ouverture du gouvernement pour maintenir certaines activités économiques tout en rappelant qu'une aide financière directe plus importante que ce qui a été annoncé par le passé devrait être prévue. «Les Québécois sont fatigués. La situation actuelle est extrêmement difficile pour de trop nombreux secteurs économiques et les annonces d'aujourd'hui sont un autre coup dur pour des milliers d'entrepreneurs. Nous reconnaissons toutefois que les décisions du gouvernement visent à maintenir le plus d'activités économiques possible sans nuire aux efforts pour lutter contre le virus, notamment pour le secteur manufacturier et celui de la construction. Les entrepreneurs québécois ont fait d'énormes efforts pour rendre les lieux de travail les plus sécuritaires possible. Voici leur chance d'en faire la démonstration», souligne Charles Milliard, président-directeur général de la FCCQ pour qui le gouvernement doit maintenant plancher sur deux priorités nationales : maximiser la distribution et l'administration des vaccins et s'assurer que les aides de soutien aux entreprises soient les plus directes et les plus efficaces possible. «Le gouvernement doit présenter et exécuter rapidement un plan de vaccination cohérent et efficace. En plus de pouvoir compter sur les professionnels de la santé, il devrait aussi prêter rapidement l'oreille aux offres d'aide du secteur privé pour accélérer la vaccination de la population», indique-t-il. Par ailleurs, pour couvrir un maximum d'entreprises ayant besoin d'une aide financière pour survivre, l'enveloppe globale devrait être augmentée et la notion d'aide directe devrait être privilégiée selon le réseau de 130 chambres de commerce et 1 100 membres corporatifs. «Le surendettement des entreprises était déjà une réalité bien présente qui sera aggravée par ces fermetures prolongées de plusieurs entreprises. La situation est exceptionnelle et impose des mesures exceptionnelles comme le couvre-feu, mais nos entreprises n'ont plus la capacité de s'endetter davantage et le gouvernement doit en tenir compte», précise Charles Milliard. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
A local area plan is in the works for a 460-square-kilometre regions near Łu Zil Män—known in English as Fish Lake—west of Whitehorse. Much of the area is comprised of Kwanlin Dun First Nation settlement lands. The First Nation and the Yukon government are partnering to come up with a vision meant to designate certain uses for certain lands, and identify areas for growth. KDFN land resource planner Roy Neilson said the plan has been a priority for the First Nation for many years. "What we're hearing from Kwanlin Dun citizens is they're very concerned that lands and waters in the Fish Lake area are not being respected," he said. Neilson said activity in the area is increasing and KDFN citizens are concerned. "Some of those activities can have detrimental effects on the landscape by disturbing fish and wildlife and habitat," he said. "There are also a number of important cultural sites and heritage sites in the area that can potentially be disturbed from these types of activities if they're taking place in an unmanaged way." First area to undergo new planning process of KDFN's Lands Act Fish Lake is the first area to undergo the planning process laid out in KDFN's Lands Act, which took effect last October. A joint news release from the Yukon government and First Nation says KDFN has a "large amount" of settlement land in the area. The Ta'an Kwächän Council also has a parcel of land within the plan boundary. Indigenous use of the area dates back as much as 8,000 years. Michelle Sicotte, a community land use planning manager with the Yukon government, said the plan will be an advisory document and, ideally, zoning regulations will follow. Sicotte said the local area planning process will involve looking at the issues and coming up with options. "Basically, the steering committee and the government will work together to really understand what the issues are in the area and come up with options and eventually draw up the plan." The two governments are recruiting members for a steering committee until Feb. 15. The aim is to finish the plan within two years.
A house fire in Burk’s Falls closed Highway 520 in both directions on Thursday, Jan. 14 while region fire departments responded to the call. The fire started at approximately 11 a.m., according to Burk’s Falls fire Chief Dave McNay. As of 1:41 p.m., asked if the fire was under control, McNay replied that operations had not given that information nor the cause of the fire. At 4:19 p.m., the Ministry of Transportation announced the highway had reopened to traffic. “I can’t tell you much until we get inside to investigate,” McNay said, adding that there were five fire departments on the scene. “I’m appreciative of our neighbours’ support.” There were two people living inside of the house and both were home at the time of the fire. Paul Watson lived there with his roommate and said it all happened so fast. “My buddy was lying down in his room watching TV and I saw the smoke coming from downstairs,” said Watson. “I went to check it out — it was in the room by the furnace room, it was in the floor already and up above — it caught fast.” “By the time I got upstairs again, you couldn’t even see in the house because of the smoke.” Behind Watson, the house was still smouldering, but he said that he and his roommate were OK. “We lost our cat, I think,” he said, sadly. “We had her for three or four years.” Asked if he had a place to stay for the night, Watson replied that they were still trying to figure that out and had been in contact with a crisis management service. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Divers found parts of the cockpit voice recorder on Friday as more personnel joined the search for wreckage and victims from an Indonesian plane that crashed last weekend in the Java Sea with 62 people on board. The aerial search for the crashed Sriwijaya Air jet was being expanded as well, said National Search and Rescue Agency mission co-ordinator Rasman, who uses one name. More than 4,000 search and rescue personnel are supported by 14 airplanes, 62 ships and 21 inflatable boats. They are using an underwater metal detector and remotely operated vehicle to search for human remains, the cockpit voice recorder and more wreckage. Divers narrowed the search for the cockpit voice recorder after finding some of its parts. “We have found the casing, the beacon and the CVR batteries. We need to search for the memory unit,” the commander of the navy's First Fleet Command, Abdul Rasyid, said Friday. “We hope it will be not far from them,” he said. Investigators have downloaded information from the plane's flight data recorder, which was recovered earlier this week. “There are 330 parameters and everything is in good condition. We are learning about it now,” said Soerjanto Tjahjono, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Committee. Families of those on board have been providing DNA samples to help identify them. National Police spokesperson Rusdi Hartono said 12 of the 62 victims had been identified as of Thursday, including a flight attendant and an off-duty pilot. The committee has said the crew did not declare an emergency or report any technical problems before the plane plunged into the sea minutes after taking off from Jakarta in heavy rain. They said it broke apart upon impact with the water, ruling out a midair explosion, because the debris field is concentrated and engine parts indicate it was running until impact. The 26-year-old Boeing 737-500 was out of service for almost nine months last year because of flight cutbacks caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The airline and Indonesian officials say it underwent inspections, including for possible engine corrosion that could have developed during the layoff, before it resumed commercial flying in December. Indonesia’s aviation industry grew quickly after the nation’s economy was opened following the fall of dictator Suharto in the late 1990s. Safety concerns led the United States and the European Union to ban Indonesian carriers for years, but the bans have since been lifted due to better compliance with international aviation standards. Edna Tarigan And Fadlan Syam, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped nine of her most trusted allies in the House to argue the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Democrats, all of whom are lawyers and many of whom have deep experience investigating the president, face the arduous task of convincing skeptical Senate Republicans to convict Trump. A single article of impeachment — for “incitement of insurrection” — was approved by the House on Wednesday, one week after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. At the time, lawmakers were counting the votes that cemented Trump’s election defeat. As members of the House who were in the Capitol when it was attacked — several hiding under seats as rioters beat on the doors of the chamber — the Democrats are also witnesses to what they charge is a crime. So are the Senate jurors. “This is a case where the jurors were also victims, and so whether it was those who voted in the House last night or those in the Senate who will have to weigh in on this, you don’t have to tell anyone who was in the building twice what it was like to be terrorized,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the managers. It is unclear when the trial will start. Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate. It could be as soon as next week, on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office. The managers plan to argue at trial that Trump incited the riot, delaying the congressional certification of the electoral vote count by inciting an angry mob to harm members of Congress. Some of the rioters were recorded saying they wanted to find Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the count. Others had zip ties that could be used as handcuffs hanging on their clothes. “The American people witnessed that,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., one of the managers. “That amounts to high crimes and misdemeanours.” None of the impeachment managers argued the case in Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when the Senate acquitted the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House impeached Trump in 2019 after he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden’s family while withholding military aid to the country. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, another manager, says the nine prosecutors plan to present a serious case and “finish the job” that the House started. A look at Pelosi’s prosecution team in Trump’s historic second impeachment: REP. JAMIE RASKIN, MARYLAND Pelosi appointed Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee, as lead manager. In a week of dramatic events and stories, Raskin’s stands out: The day before the Capitol riots, Raskin buried his 25-year-old son, Tommy, after he killed himself on New Year’s Eve. “You would be hard pressed to find a more beloved figure in the Congress” than Raskin, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was the lead manager during Trump’s first trial. He worked closely with Raskin on that impeachment investigation. “I know that part of what gives him strength to take on this burden that he now carries is knowing that this is something that would be enormously meaningful to his son.” REP. DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO DeGette, who is serving her 13th term representing Denver, is a former civil rights attorney and one of Pelosi’s go-to allies. The speaker picked her to preside over the House during the first impeachment vote in 2019. DeGette said Pelosi trusted her to do it because she is “able to to control the passions on the floor.” She says she was surprised when Pelosi called to offer her the prosecutorial position but quickly accepted. “The monstrosity of this offence is not lost on anybody,” she says. REP. DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence and public defender, is in his sixth term in Congress and is a senior member of the Judiciary panel. He was heavily involved in Trump’s first impeachment and was one of three original authors of the article that the House approved on Wednesday. He and California Rep. Ted Lieu began writing the article together, in hiding, as the rioters were still ransacking the Capitol. He tweeted out a draft the next morning, writing that “I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.” REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels, where he has been an outspoken critic of Trump's handling of Russia. He was a litigator in private practice before he was elected to the Texas legislature and came to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. Julian Castro ran in the Democratic primary for president last year. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA Swalwell also serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels and was deeply involved in congressional probes of Trump’s Russian ties. A former prosecutor, he briefly ran for president in 2019. “The case that I think resonates the most with the American people and hopefully the Senate is that our American president incited our fellow citizens to attack our Capitol on a day where we were counting electoral votes, and that this was not a spontaneous call to action by the president at the rally,” Swalwell said. REP. TED LIEU, CALIFORNIA Lieu, who authored the article of impeachment with Cicilline and Raskin, is on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs panels. The Los Angeles-area lawmaker is a former active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force and military prosecutor. “We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic,” he said. DEL. STACEY PLASKETT, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Because she represents a U.S. territory, not a state, Plaskett does not have voting rights and was not able to cast a vote for impeachment. But she will bring her legal experience as a former district attorney in New York and senior counsel at the Justice Department — and as one of Raskin's former law students. “As an African American, as a woman, seeing individuals storming our most sacred place of democracy, wearing anti-Semitic, racist, neo-Nazi, white supremacy logos on their bodies and wreaking the most vile and hateful things left not just those people of colour who were in the room traumatized, but so many people of colour around this country," she said Friday. REP. JOE NEGUSE, COLORADO Neguse, in his second term, is a rising star in the Democratic caucus who was elected to Pelosi’s leadership team his freshman year in Congress. A former litigator, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee and consulted with Raskin, Cicilline and Lieu as they drafted the article the day of the attack. At 36, he will be the youngest impeachment manager in history, according to his office. “This armed mob did not storm the Capitol on any given day, they did so during the most solemn of proceedings that the United States Congress is engaged in,” Neguse said Thursday. “Clearly the attack was done to stop us from finishing our work.” REP. MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA Like Neguse, Dean was first elected when Democrats recaptured the House in 2018. She is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is a former lawyer and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She says she hopes the prosecutors can convince the Senate and the American people “to mark this moment" with a conviction. “I think I bring to it just the simple fact that I’m a citizen, that I’m a mom and I’m a grandma," Dean said. "And I want my children, my grandchildren, to remember what we did here.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
The companies behind the White Rose offshore oil project are taking the Newfoundland and Labrador government to court, saying they have overpaid royalties. Husky Oil Operations and Suncor Energy are seeking a ruling from a judge that their interpretation of the regulations is correct, and would apply to "all past, current and future royalties payable" for White Rose. The application does not specify an exact amount being sought by the oil companies. However, affidavits from Husky and Suncor officials contend that they overpaid more than $32 million, in total, from 2014 through 2017. Those amounts apply to both the original White Rose field, and the White Rose expansion. In a nutshell, the oil companies say the intent of the royalty regulations is for them to pay the greater of two royalty levels in a certain period, but not both. They say that is sometimes happening, even though it's not the way the system is supposed to work. Husky spokeswoman Colleen McConnell said that is the unintended result of an "an anomaly" in the royalty regulations. "We have been working to address this with the province over the past three years; however, it remains unresolved," McConnell said in an email to CBC News. "As a result, we have referred it to court for a decision, which is a mechanism is available to the parties to resolve matters in dispute." The province had not yet filed any documents in reply as of midweek, and the Energy Department declined comment, saying it would be inappropriate to do so while the case is before the courts. Similar issues with Terra Nova settled in the past In court documents, Husky and Suncor pointed to past disputes involving similar issues with the Terra Nova oilfield. The owners of Terra Nova filed court actions in 2010 and again in 2015 over comparable concerns about royalty calculations. Both cases were settled before a judge could issue a final ruling. The second dispute was resolved by both sides essentially deciding to split the difference. The White Rose case is due to be called at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in early February. Husky is the operator of White Rose, owning a 72.5-per-cent share, with Suncor holding the remaining 27.5 per cent. Husky owns 68.875 per cent of the White Rose expansion. Suncor has 26.125 per cent, with Newfoundland and Labrador taxpayers holding the remaining five per cent through a Crown-owned corporation. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The Township of Seguin and the other six municipalities that make up west Parry Sound have signed off on a letter, dated Dec. 1, to Ontario’s minister of the environment, conservation and parks. The letter states that they would like the ministry to reconsider the transition of the blue box from 2025 to 2024. What exactly is the blue box transition program? The Blue Box Transition program is being legislated by the Province of Ontario and means the responsibility of collecting and processing recyclable products will be on the manufacturers who make the items. What that means is the duty of recycling is being shifted to the manufacturers who produce the material rather than society. Will this effect how I put out my recycling? The government says there shouldn’t be any change of service. You may have to go to a different location to drop off your recycling, if rural, or you may have a new company that picks up your curbside blue box materials. When is this supposed to come into effect? For the municipalities that make up west Parry Sound — Parry Sound, Archipelago, Seguin, McKellar, McDougall, Carling and Whitestone — the change is supposed to come into effect in 2025; however, all seven municipalities have signed a letter to Minister Jeff Yurek requesting the transition take place in 2024. Why? The District of Muskoka is transitioning in 2024 and, currently, the west Parry Sound municipalities process blue box materials in Bracebridge. They are concerned about issues that may happen if the transition happens at a different time than Muskoka. Another concern is the fact the Greater Toronto Area is transitioning in 2023 and the expanded list of recyclables there will differ from what is offered in west Parry Sound for a time. Residents who migrate north for the summer may expect to recycle the same list of items, which may cause contamination in waste systems. Will this transition raise my taxes? Once the producers and manufacturers take over the recycling process, it’s going to save the taxpayers; however, prices for products may go up to pay for the manufacturers’ cost of processing the recycling. The Township of Seguin said at its Jan. 11 council meeting that the mayors from the seven municipalities would follow up on the letter once a response was received. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
A Summerside councillor is pushing for permanent measures to stop speeders on one problematic street in the city. Coun. Greg Campbell says he continually hears concerns about drivers speeding down Craig Avenue, behind the County Fair Mall. He worries a major 170-unit housing development going up nearby will make the street busier, and the problem worse. "There certainly has to be something done to look after this," said Campbell, who raised his concerns with Summerside City Council this week. "There's a lot of young families with pets and children, and they're a little nervous." Study confirmed problem The city carried out a speed study on the street in September. Over a two-day period, 20 per cent of vehicles were recorded driving at least 20 km/h over the speed limit. While the posted speed limit is 40 km/h, the average car drove 53 km/h. Campbell said he's flagged the problem with city police in the past, and temporary fixes like increased patrols helped "for a month or two." He'd like a more permanent solution, such as installing speed bumps, or turning Craig Avenue into a one-way street. Campbell said he'd also like to see sidewalks installed. ""There's a beautiful trailer park here, and a lot of people walk now," he said. "So my real wish would be they put a sidewalk along here to get them up off the road." According to Campbell, Summerside City Council plans to have a further discussion, before voting on any potential solutions. More from CBC P.E.I.
The first person to die as a result of COVID-19 in the Saskatchewan Penitentiary has been identified by family as 53-year-old Eugene Francis. His younger sister, Konzter Gregorie, confirmed his identity to CBC via email after he was reported to have died in an outside hospital from COVID-19-related complications on Jan. 8. Gregorie said her brother was originally from La La Biche, Alta., but had lived in Edmonton since the '90s. People who knew him, posting on Facebook after his death, used his nickname, Magoo. Laugh, love for family won't be forgotten Gregorie said in a text message his memory will live on. "I'll never forget the sound of his laugh," she said. "And he was always very protective about the ones he loved." She said his health deteriorated quickly. "He called and said he had COVID-19 and next thing he was gone, passed away," she said via text, noting it all happened in a "couple of days." Francis' COVID-19 death is the first recorded at the federal facility in Prince Albert and the fourth of an inmate who contracted the virus in a federal prison. Gregorie said the death has been "very emotional" for her and her family, as they hate to think of their brother passing away, "basically alone, with no family." "I pray that no body else has to go through this kind of heartache," she said. Numbers released earlier this week indicate progress is being made on the Saskatchewan Penitentiary outbreak, as active cases continue to fall. As of Jan. 12, Correctional Service Canada data indicates 213 of the 244 cases recorded in the facility — roughly 87 per cent — have recovered, with only 31 listed as active. Saskatchewan is still leading the country when it comes to active COVID-19 cases in federal prisons, followed by Manitoba with 24 cases and Alberta with seven active cases. The Prince Albert outbreak has been extremely difficult for the families of those inside. They say supports and resources are lacking. "I hate it. I hate that my husband's there," said Amber Slippery. She said her husband, Conrad Slippery, contracted COVID-19 in the prison and that the last few weeks have been extremely difficult. Conrad suffered from extreme fatigue as a result of the virus and could hardly leave his cell, she said. She said that while he's sounding better now, the outbreak has been a struggle for her and their two kids. "They're really scared for him," she said. Amber, who works in the health-care sector, said her husband is at high risk due to diabetes. She said he's told her he's had trouble accessing cleaning supplies. Her worries peaked this weekend when Francis's death was reported. "I just never want my husband to die in there too," she said. Amber said her son is also taking the outbreak hard, as the youngster regularly talks to his dad on the phone, a comfort that's become more scarce with outbreak procedures in place. "[My son] cries quite a bit, because he's used to his dad phoning all the time," she said. "The fact that his dad can't call home all the time, and when he can get to call, they're either sleeping or they're at school, so he's really not talking to his kids now and that's affecting them big time." Desperation taking form Bronson Gordon, an inmate at the facility, claims some are getting so desperate to see outbreak procedures ended they are trying to get others infected using what he called a "virus bomb." He said a virus bomb is when an inmate who has tested positive for COVID-19 will cough and sneeze on a piece of property, like a magazine or an article of clothing, and then pass it along to someone else on the range in hope of exposing others. Bronson, who claims he was targeted by a "virus bomb," said the practice started after a guard inside the facility told inmates the only way they'll be able to lift the outbreak procedures is if active cases fall to zero. Bronson said many of those inside are in vulnerable, fragile states as a result of the lock down and are desperate for it to end. "You've got a lot of people who are sitting in here with extreme f--king mental health issues due to this f--cking lockdown," he said. No other sources with knowledge of life in the facility that CBC has spoken to have said they have heard of virus bombs. CSC investigating remarks CBC Saskatchewan requested an interview with a representative from the Saskatchewan Penitentiary about COVID-19 handling at the facility, including allegations of "virus bombs," but Correctional Services Canada (CSC) provided a written statement instead. The statement said CSC takes the allegations outlined by Gordon seriously and will be looking into it. "With regard to remarks to inappropriate staff comments, CSC employees are expected to act according to the highest legal and ethical standards, and are subject to the rules of professional conduct and code of discipline," CSC said. "CSC does not tolerate any breach of its policies and all allegations are thoroughly investigated regardless of the source." The statement said the safety of its employees, offenders and the public remains CSC's "top priority." It also said that while the facility has modified routines, it is not locked down, as lock-down only happens when there is "a clear and substantial danger to safety and security of an institution, staff members, inmates, or to the public." "Given the close living environment, positive inmates and close contacts are medically isolating in their cells. During the isolation period, inmates have access to health care staff as well as institutional staff," the statement said. "Staff and Public Health will determine when it is safe to adjust Saskatchewan Penitentiary's modified routine and allow inmates to have access to standard routines and services again." COVID adds pressure to already-tense environment Pierre Hawkins, public legal counsel for the John Howard Society of Saskatchewan, which advocates for prisoner rights in Canada, said isolation is mentally taxing on inmates to begin with and those stresses are magnified during a global pandemic. "There's no doubt that COVID-19 in the correctional context increases tension among inmates, between inmates and corrections officers and in the facility generally," he said. "We have a population here that disproportionately suffers, not only from mental health issues, but also from a physical vulnerability to complications from the virus. "So you can understand why, that while on lock down with very few things to do, that people just sort of sit and worry and tensions, understandably, build a little bit." Hawkins said he's also heard reports of cleaning supplies being in short supply at the facility, but didn't have specifics. He said it's unfortunate the outbreak at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary was able to spread so quickly, saying he thought the federal government would have been better prepared to handle the situation after dealing with outbreaks at other facilities earlier in the pandemic. "We like to think that lessons would have been learned, that could have been applied at Saskatchewan Penitentiary, I'm not sure that has happened in this case." Back inside the facility, Gordon said he was recently moved to the maximum security portion of the prison, where he says conditions are better. He said he's not trying to cause trouble at the federal penitentiary, but wants to bring attention and hopefully positive change to a situation he feels is inhumane. "All we talked about was: 'F--k, wouldn't it be good to like just go outside and just breathe in fresh air," he said. "All we get is this circulated air and we're stuck in our cell for 23 and a half hours a day."
Iran's Revolutionary Guards fired "abundant" surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and tested locally manufactured new drones in a military exercise on Friday, state television reported. The drill, which it said was overseen by Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami in the central desert region, came in the waning days of high tensions with U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration. "Also, an abundant number of a new generation of ballistic missiles were fired at selected targets, inflicting deadly blows to the hypothetical enemy bases."
Firefighter Morrison was able to break a path through the ice out to the dog while safely secured by ropes. Just before he got to the dog, it gave out a crying type howl and as soon as he grabbed it, it went completely limp from exhaustion. Video credit Alpena City Firefighters
It was a decision parent Katerina Gamlin never wanted to make: continue struggling to care for her young daughter Kassie or hand her over to a government-funded care centre for at least a year. The 13-year-old suffers from multiple neurological disabilities, including autism and requires constant supervision. Last year, she went into psychosis and was hospitalized. "Our child is so complex, there's not just one person that can come along and care for her," said Gamlin. The family has been desperate for respite services, which give short-term relief to primary caregivers. But in B.C., those are in short supply, and many that were available have been put on hold because of the pandemic. It puts a heavy burden on parents like Gamlin, with few prospects of relief. "You're emotionally exhausted, you feel like you're not a good parent, that you're not doing everything you can. I hate to admit it, but at some point, you question whether you love the person you take care of," said Gamlin. The lack of respite services in B.C. has advocates sounding the alarm over the emotional and physical toll on parents, many of whom are burned out while also grappling with the economic and social challenges brought on by the pandemic. For some, it means making the hard decision to give up their children. Respite removed Gamlin says once her daughter was discharged from the hospital following her psychosis early last year, the Nanaimo-based family was provided with three-days-a-week respite services in a fully staffed group home. "We were starting to get some rest," said Gamlin. "I can't tell you how fabulous that was. That was the first time in her life that I was hopeful that things were going to be OK." But after three months, the Ministry of Children and Family Development pulled the services from them. Gamlin says she was told that children already in government care were taking priority. According to the ministry, the pandemic prompted MCFD to make service adjustments in April 2020 to "prioritize vulnerable youth and children and youth with support needs." Gamlin said she advocated for the services to be reinstated for nearly a year but with no success. Whether it was writing to ministries, social workers or politicians, she says she would run into brick walls and closed doors. Two months ago, after Cassie was hospitalized again, Gamlin made the decision to sign a special needs agreement with MCFD, which means her daughter now lives in a ministry-funded care centre about an hour-and-a-half away. The agreement lasts for one year, and Gamlin retains guardianship. "I'm thankful every day because she's in a place that is amazing," said Gamlin. "[But] I often get frustrated thinking about how it would be if we did have the respite that we so desperately needed." Care crisis Behaviour analyst Jemana Elsharkawi works with special needs children and says she's witnessed first-hand the toll the lack of services has had on families, which has been compounded by the pandemic. "Many parents have lost their jobs, it's very, very difficult," said Elsharkawi. "We're really in a crisis." She penned a letter to the MCFD last April calling for more funding for respite for families amid the pandemic, citing a noticeable uptick of parents coming to rely on specialists like her as a lifeline. "We didn't have enough services prior to the pandemic, and now as things have exacerbated, with families and their children desperately needing more support, what we're seeing is a lot more 911 phone calls ... the toll on the mental health of the families is incalculable," she said. A ministry spokesperson said B.C. has seen an increase in the number of homes "resuming respite care services since November." "We aren't yet back to pre-pandemic levels, but we are trending in that direction," read the statement. For parents that have already made big sacrifices, a return to "pre-pandemic levels" won't be enough. "The system seems really flawed in why are we not preventing burnout, why are we not preventing children going into care, if there were respite beds," said Gamlin.
Yukoners have more options for where they can go for outside medical treatment as well as higher daily subsidies under new rules that went into effect on Jan. 1. The territorial government had committed last year to raising the subsidies from $75 per day to $150. It was one of the recommendations in last spring's wide-ranging Putting People First, a report by an independent expert panel that conducted a comprehensive review of health and social services in Yukon. At a briefing Thursday morning, officials went over the new rules. Affordability Along with doubling the daily rate for multi-day medical travellers, they can now claim the subsidy for the first day of travel. Outpatient escorts receive $75 per day, inpatient escorts $150 per day and same-day travellers and their escorts $75. Affordability was a major issue raised during a public consultation in 2019 when officials heard that Yukoners are often left paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for medical travel. "The cost of accommodation, meals, and local transportation, combined with lost wages, is much more than $75 per day," a report on the consultation said. It says people were even refusing to travel for medical care because of the cost. Under the previous rules people could generally only be sent for medical treatment to Vancouver, Calgary or Edmonton. Their doctors can now ask for them to be sent anywhere in Canada where the treatment is available. That would let people request travel to cities where they have close family members. "That is one of the guiding principles where people can actually go where they have family, where it's less cost for them," said Marguerite Fenske, acting director of insured health and hearing services with Health and Social Services. "But we also know that being close to your families will provide those additional supports that you really require," she said. The government eliminated rural travel subsidies for people who live close to Whitehorse and were able to claim money for medical appointments in the city. Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost says the government will also be opening a new unit to provide support to people going on medical travel by coordinating travel arrangements, answering questions and other support. "What happens when they come out of a small community and are not familiar with that type of interaction, where do they go? What do they do? They needed a point contact and this will allow for that," said Frost.
The Township of Perry held a special meeting on Jan. 13 to address the use of the outdoor rinks and parks during the provincial stay-at-home order. While the outdoor rinks could remain open under increased restrictions, the township decided to close both rinks as well as the parks. “We understand with the order we could have (the rinks) open but the spirit of the (resolution) was stay at home,” said Beth Morton, clerk-administrator for the township. Ontario announced on Jan. 12 the province would head into another state of emergency as of 12:01 a.m. Jan. 13. The province is further restricting the limit of outdoor gatherings from 10 people to a maximum of five with limited exceptions. The wearing of masks or face coverings is now recommended for the outdoors when you can’t physically distance more than two metres. Prior to the Jan. 12 announcement, people could use outdoor rinks during the provincewide lockdown with guidelines in place for a maximum of 10 people, wearing a face mask or covering, no hockey and maintaining two-metres distancing. However, Morton said people weren’t adhering to the previous guidelines. “We’re having a lot of increased enforcement,” she said, which is why council decided to close the rinks and parks. “People aren’t willing to wear masks, they’re not willing to follow restrictions and guidelines that are in place, and so we’ve had no alternative but to close (the rinks).” The resolution comes into effect on Jan. 14. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
CANBERRA, Australia — A pigeon that Australia declared a biosecurity risk has received a reprieve after a U.S. bird organization declared its identifying leg band was fake. The band suggested the bird found in a Melbourne backyard on Dec. 26 was a racing pigeon that had left the U.S. state of Oregon, 13,000 kilometres (8,000 miles) away, two months earlier. On that basis, Australian authorities on Thursday said they considered the bird a disease risk and planned to kill it. But Deone Roberts, sport development manager for the Oklahoma-based American Racing Pigeon Union, said on Friday the band was fake. The band number belongs to a blue bar pigeon in the United States which is not the bird pictured in Australia, she said. “The bird band in Australia is counterfeit and not traceable,” Roberts said. “They do not need to kill him.” Australia's Agriculture Department, which is responsible for biosecurity, agreed that the pigeon dubbed Joe, after U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, was wearing a “fraudulent copy” leg band. “Following an investigation, the department has concluded that Joe the Pigeon is highly likely to be Australian and does not present a biosecurity risk,” it said in a statement. The department said it will take no further action. Acting Australian Prime Minister Michael McCormack had earlier said there would be no mercy if the pigeon was from the United States. “If Joe has come in a way that has not met our strict biosecurity measures, then bad luck Joe, either fly home or face the consequences,” McCormack said. Martin Foley, health minister for Victoria state where Joe is living, had called for the federal government to spare the bird even if it posed a disease risk. “I would urge the Commonwealth’s quarantine officials to show a little bit of compassion,” Foley said. Andy Meddick, a Victorian lawmaker for the minor Animal Justice Party, called for a “pigeon pardon for Joe.” “Should the federal government allow Joe to live, I am happy to seek assurances that he is not a flight risk,” Meddick said. Melbourne resident Kevin Celli-Bird, who found the emaciated bird in his backyard, was surprised by the change of nationality but pleased that the bird he named Joe would not be destroyed. “I thought this is just a feel-good story and now you guys want to put this pigeon away and I thought it’s not on, you know, you can’t do that, there has got to be other options,” Celli-Bird said of the threat to euthanize. Celli-Bird had contacted the American Racing Pigeon Union to find the bird’s owner based on the number on the leg band. The bands have both a number and a symbol, but Celli-Bird didn’t remember the symbol and said he can no longer catch the bird since it has recovered from its initial weakness. The bird with the genuine leg band had disappeared from a 560-kilometre (350-mile) race in Oregon on Oct. 29, Crooked River Challenge owner Lucas Cramer said. That bird did not have a racing record that would make it valuable enough to steal its identity, he said. “That bird didn’t finish the race series, it didn’t make any money and so its worthless, really,” Cramer said. He said it was possible a pigeon could cross the Pacific on a ship from Oregon to Australia. “In reality, it could potentially happen, but this isn’t the same pigeon. It’s not even a racing pigeon,” Cramer said. The bird spends every day in the backyard, sometimes with a native dove on a pergola. “I might have to change him to Aussie Joe, but he’s just the same pigeon,” Celli-Bird said. Lars Scott, a carer at Pigeon Rescue Melbourne, a bird welfare group, said pigeons with American leg bands were not uncommon around the city. A number of Melbourne breeders bought them online and used them for their own record keeping, Scott said. Australian quarantine authorities are notoriously strict. In 2015, the government threatened to euthanize two Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, after they were smuggled into the country by Hollywood star Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard. Faced with a 50-hour deadline to leave Australia, the dogs made it out in a chartered jet. Rod McGuirk, The Associated Press
When a U.S. appeals court declared that Florida could make it harder for convicted felons to vote - a ruling decried by civil rights activists - the impact of President Donald Trump's conservative judicial appointments was plain to see. The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was divided 6-4 in the September ruling, with five Trump appointees in the majority. The dissenting 11th Circuit judges were all Democratic appointees.
ENVIRONNEMENT. La MRC de la Haute-Yamaska a déposé son bilan de mi-parcours 2019 du Plan directeur de l’eau 2017-2021. Ce plan d’évaluation et d’intervention lancé en 2017 est financé par le Fonds vert. Il a été voté il y a treize ans par le conseil des maires de la MRC. Près de 1,24 M$ seront investis entre 2017 et 2021 dans les huit municipalités du territoire. De ce budget, 200 000 $ ont été dépensés en 2019. «La MRC a activement poursuivi son engagement en matière environnementale, par la mise en œuvre d’actions concrètes pour la santé des lacs et des cours d’eau en Haute-Yamaska. Autant en matière de protection des bandes riveraines, de mise à niveau des installations septiques, de lutte à la pollution ou de contrôle de l’érosion, voire de conservation volontaire des milieux naturels», précise Valérie-Anne Bachand, inspectrice en environnement et chef de projet pour le Plan directeur de l’eau. «Ça contribue à atténuer les impacts des changements climatiques sur les milieux hydriques.» La MRC a été productive. Elle affirme avoir pu compléter près de 92 % des 60 interventions qu’elle souhaitait mener en 2019 dans le cadre de son Plan directeur de l’eau (PDE) 2017-2021 — Pour des lacs et des cours d’eau en santé en Haute-Yamaska. Selon son dernier bilan, plus de 81 % des bandes riveraines du territoire sont aujourd’hui conformes, même si 350 avis d’infraction ont été envoyés aux nouveaux propriétaires riverains au printemps 2019. Par ailleurs, de nombreux efforts ont été déployés pour sensibiliser les propriétaires à la pollution, à l’érosion et à la végétalisation des berges. Plus de 1 600 arbustes ont été distribués. La MRC a aussi versé 25 000 $ à l’OBV Yamaska pour soutenir le projet collectif d’amélioration de la qualité de l’eau en milieu agricole du bassin versant du lac Boivin. La MRC en a profité pour procéder à la caractérisation et à la mise à niveau des installations septiques de la région. Près de 88 % des installations non conformes répertoriées depuis 2010, ont été corrigées ou sont en voie de l’être. «C’est un très bon bilan considérant ce que ça représente comme coûts pour les propriétaires.» Des centaines d’hectares protégés Un projet triennal mené avec la collaboration de la Fondation SÉTHY a permis «entre 2017 et 2019 de signer 55 ententes visant la conservation volontaire de 865 hectares en Haute-Yamaska» et «55 hectares d’écosystèmes à haute valeur écologique seront aussi protégés à perpétuité grâce à la négociation d’ententes de conservation légale entre la Fondation SÉTHY et des propriétaires privés.» Près de 35 000 $ ont été accordés à la Fondation SÉTHY dans le cadre de ce projet de conservation des milieux naturels. La qualité de l’eau est considérée comme généralement bonne, selon les analyses réalisées dans 92 % des 24 stations d’échantillonnage des eaux de surface du territoire, notamment en ce qui a trait à la présence de coliformes fécaux « à l’exception de deux stations dont la qualité de l’eau est ressortie mauvaise ou douteuse (en amont et en aval de la station d’épuration de la Ville de Granby)», écrit-on dans ce rapport. Ceci ne veut pas dire pour autant que Granby ne répond pas aux normes en la matière, précise Valérie-Anne Bachand. «Concernant les résultats du programme d’échantillonnage (dont des coliformes fécaux), le temps généralement plus sec, lors des prélèvements de 2019, pourrait avoir contribué à réduire le taux de dilution de certaines sources d’apports ponctuels (dont les rejets d’eaux usées municipales)», explique Mme Bachand. Une mise à niveau prochaine de la station d’épuration de Granby devrait permettre d’améliorer ces chiffres. Sinon, la quantité de phosphore présent dans l’eau s’améliore. Mais environ 70 % des stations sont encore affectées par une concentration élevée en phosphore total (qualité mauvaise ou douteuse). «On poursuit la mise en œuvre du Plan d’action. Lutter contre la pollution diffuse, l’érosion des berges et protéger les milieux humides figure en tête de liste des priorités de la MRC. «C’est un beau plan d’action qu’on a devant nous», conclut Valérie-Anne Bachand, chef de projet pour le Plan directeur de l’eau, pour la MRC de la Haute-Yamaska. Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
Atlanta rapper YFN Lucci is accused of being the driver in a gang-related drive-by shooting that left one man dead and another wounded, authorities said. The 29-year-old rapper turned himself in Wednesday, a day after Atlanta police announced murder charges against Lucci, whose real name is Rayshawn Bennett. Police said Bennett and other “gang members” drove through rival gang territory on Dec. 10 and two people inside the car opened fire, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported citing an arrest warrant. The rivals returned fire, hitting James Adams, 28, in the head, police said. Adams was “manually ejected” from the car and police later found his body lying in the road. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Later that day, Kevin Wright, 32, arrived at a fire station with a gunshot wound to his abdomen. He survived. Police said Ra’von Boyd, 23, was also in the vehicle during the shooting. Boyd and a 17-year-old juvenile were charged in the incident and were both arrested in Miami. A warrant was put out for Bennett's arrest Tuesday, charging him with murder, aggravated assault, participating in criminal street gang activity and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Before he surrendered to authorities Wednesday night, he released his latest music video on his Twitter and Instagram pages. Bennett's attorney Drew Findling said a “review of the initial evidence” provided “no basis for any criminal charges.” Lucci is best known for his 2016 song “Key to the Streets” featuring the Atlanta-area-based rap group Migos. The Associated Press
BRACEBRIDGE, Ont. — A boil water advisory has been lifted for an Ontario cottage country town affected by a water main break. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit says lab tests have confirmed the water in Bracebridge, Ont., is now safe to drink. The order lifted Thursday had been issued Jan. 10. The health unit says residents should run cold water for five minutes to ensure it’s running clean.Larger users like restaurants, hospitals and schools may have to run water for longer to ensure it isn't cloudy. People are also advised to replace water filters, drain water heaters, dispose of ice made after Jan. 10 and clean any appliances connected to the water.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press