Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
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
MONTREAL — Quebec's labour minister is threatening to impose more restrictions on the province's construction and manufacturing sectors for allegedly flouting health orders. Jean Boulet said today in a statement he's received many reports of non-compliance connected to the two sectors since the government imposed new restrictions Jan. 9. The new measures — in effect until at least Feb. 8 — require the two industries to limit operations to essential activities and to reduce the number of workers in factories and on construction sites. Quebec's new health orders also include a provincewide curfew from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m., in an attempt to reduce COVID-19 transmission and reduce the strain on the health system from rising hospitalizations. Boulet does not enumerate the violations, but says it's zero tolerance for those who don't follow the rules and is warning the government could impose additional restrictions. The Canadian Press recently contacted three construction industry associations, who all said they hadn't reduced operations since the new health order was imposed. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
An indoor amusement park in St. John's that has hosted countless birthday parties, go-karting sessions and rounds of bumper boats will soon be no more, as the owners of Axtion say the pandemic is forcing them to close their doors. Owner Ross Squires took to Facebook to announce its final day of fun at the 16,000-square-foot facility will be Sunday, and that "COVID won." "Basically, our bills are higher than what the income has been lately," Squires told CBC News on Thursday. COVID-19 pushed his business — which opened eight years ago — over the edge, he said. It started with a wounded economy due to January's snowstorm, then the lockdown caused by the global health crisis, which saw the space close entirely. Upon reopening, Axtion faced capacity restrictions, and despite regulations changing to allow more customers inside, finances didn't improve. Finally came December, and the company's "worst month yet," which in a normal year should have brought a year-end boost, Squires said. But provincial health officials stressed the importance of not holding corporate Christmas parties and keeping contacts low over the holidays in fear of causing further potential spread of COVID-19. "Everyone listened. People wanted to make sure that that didn't happen, understandably so, but it did have a major affect on our business," said Squires. Community support Hundreds of comments flooded in after Squires posted his farewell message on Facebook. Many expressed shock, sadness and disappointment. Outside of the amusement park on Thursday parents and children reeled in light of the news. "I was devastated. I was scared to tell my son because I knew how devastated he'd be. We go there often. Every couple of weeks we're here, at least," mom Melissa Dagostini said. Dagostini isn't alone. For dad Roger Lewis, the place was as much about having fun as it was about teaching his daughter to overcome fears. "We broke the news yesterday to my daughter. She's seven. She came to Axtion initially to get over her fear of heights, and she did succeed," Lewis said. "She shed a few tears yesterday afternoon when she did find out that it was closing." Many hope something can be worked out to keep the park running, with 25 staff members' jobs at stake. Squires said since his post went up on Wednesday business has been booming, and support from his customers has been steadily flowing in. "A lot of support has come in. A lot of phone calls and things like that, and the community is actually coming to bat for me, he said. As for Sunday's closure, "that may change, I can't give a final decision right now. But, things may change pretty quick," said Squires. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The deal will be largely paid through cash and Lazy Audio's management team will get post-acquisition equity-settled awards, Tencent said. The acquisition comes at a time when the music streaming site is looking to bolster its content library in order to put it behind a paywall and add more paid users.
On Agenda Middle East we speak to political commentator and best-selling author, Fareed Zakaria about the takes from his new book: 'Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World'. We also delve into what the future holds for the Middle East.View on euronews
With snowmobiles in high demand, there may be a lot of newcomers to the winter sport, which is why safety on the trails is always important. Out alone on the pristine waterfront in the McKellar area, Morely Haskim has volunteered with the Dun Ahmic Snowriders for over 30 years. He suggests that people educate themselves first by going online to mto.gov.on.ca where there is a snowmobile safety category or the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Club’s website where there are six courses someone can take online. “As far as anybody starting out, there’s the obvious things such as wearing proper gear: helmet, snowmobile suit and boots,” said Haskim. “And usually try to snowmobile with somebody else — don’t go alone.” Another important tool for snowmobiling safety is making sure to check the trails on the interactive trail map provided by the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Club’s website. “Do your own homework before you get out there,” said Haskin. “You’re in control of your own destination even though the clubs are doing the best they can to make sure all the trails are safe and open.” Safety on the trails is important because it can be life threatening and Haskim advised that snowmobilers shouldn’t be speeding. “We have a lot of families out there now with their young kids on the machine with them and if they meet a bunch of people racing it may not end up being the best situation,” he said. The speed limit on most trails is 50 km/hour. While there are risks that come with snowmobiling, Haskim says his favourite thing about it is volunteering on the trails. “I used to be a real snowmobiler,” he said with a laugh. “I would go out in big groups back years ago and have pretty much snowmobiled everywhere around our area but eventually I phased out of personally snowmobiling.” Now, he tries to get out two times a week to groom, stake or inspect trails. “I report our trail conditions to our district who then puts the condition of the trails on the interactive trail guide.” Out along the Hwy. 522 corridor, Matthew Wagenaar, who manages the popular snowmobiling Instagram page The Daily Doo with his friends, rides the Argyle Riders trails. “The place I stay is right off the C105D trail,” Wagenaar said. “A large portion of that trail is crown land. So, early in the winter season, myself and a few friends go up and try to clean up the trail by cutting up trees and getting them off the trail.” When it comes to snowmobile safety, Wagenaar said that the most important thing he would say to newcomers is to know your machine. “Snowmobiles don’t behave like most other off-road vehicles,” he said. “Get familiar with the sled by riding but riding with added caution.” However, the biggest risk, according to Wagenaar, who does a lot of backcountry riding as well, is riding over open water. “(You) could go through the ice but that can be easily taken care of by waiting until you have over eight inches of ice and also knowing where the open water is,” he said. But, echoing Haskim in McKellar, the good times are worth it. “The best part is the time spent in nature with friends — the awesome part about Port Loring is it truly is God’s country up there,” he said. “There’s nothing like waking up and seeing a fresh couple of inches of snow on the sled, heading out at dawn and watching the snow-covered trees get hit by the first sun rays.” “Though safety is important at work and at play,” he said. “We all have someone we want to go home to.” Story behind the story: With snowmobile sales through the roof and snowmobile clubs anticipating new riders on the trail, our reporter wanted to find out the best safety tips for new and seasoned sledders. So, she reached out to local club volunteers and trail enthusiasts to find out what the best practices for snowmobiling the Parry Sound and Almaguin trails were. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative., Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
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
Tanya Bogatin's once pristine home is no longer quite so organized, and she's waiting a little longer between loads of laundry, but it's no skin off her back. Her priorities have shifted now that she'll be helping her two young kids attend classes from their home in Vaughan, Ont., for another month. "Things are gonna fall to the backburner," she said. "I tell my kids, don't stress about it ... relax, relax. We're happy, we're safe, we're healthy." With online learning extended until late January across southern Ontario, and for even longer in Toronto, York, Peel, Durham and Windsor-Essex, parents like Bogatin are finding a litany of strategies to manage all their responsibilities. She said she briefly panicked when she found out her kids would be learning remotely until at least Feb. 10, but then she came up with a game plan. Each morning, she and her kids get up at around 8:20 a.m., with half an hour to spare before classes begin. Once classes start, her son -- who is in Grade 4 -- stations himself in the dining room, and her daughter -- in Grade 2 -- sets up her laptop at the desk in the toy room. Bogatin sits on the stairs between them, listening in case they call for help. At recess, she said, she bundles them up in winter gear and sends them out to play in the backyard. Right after classes end, they get to work on homework. Bogatin works part-time, and as of this week she's able to do that from home. "I'm very, very lucky that I have a very flexible job," she said, noting that she's mostly able to set her own schedule, and will sometimes retreat into her bedroom for online meetings. Her days are busy, she said, but they're "good busy." Parents are making it work, said Rachel Huot with the Ontario Parent Action Network, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's easy. "It's extremely challenging to try and support children learning remotely," she said. "Your kids are not meant to learn sitting in front of a computer screen for six hours a day." Parents who have to juggle supervising kids and working -- either in or out of the home -- are stretched even thinner, she said. "Then there's the fact that we're watching the government fail us day after day. And there's no clear end in sight," she said. Huot echoed calls from teachers' unions that are requesting broader testing of asymptomatic students, smaller class sizes and better ventilation systems in schools so that kids can safely return to the classroom. A spokeswoman for Education Minister Stephen Lecce said student safety is the government's top priority. "We know that parents want their children back in class and we firmly agree, and our commitment to deliver on that is to further enhance our safety protocols and provincewide targeted surveillance testing to ensure our students can safely go back to class," she said. The government has cited rising COVID-19 positivity rates amongst children as well as soaring daily infections for its decision to have students learn virtually for longer. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
MILAN — Italy’s fashion chamber is opening on Friday the first Milan Fashion Week that won't have VIPS populating runway front rows, as the reality of Italy's persistent resurgence of the coronavirus has forced an all-virtual format for presenting menswear previews. The National Fashion Chamber maintained a live element during the July and September fashion weeks in Milan. But after planning to stage live shows with guests during this round, Fendi, Etro and outdoor brand Kway announced their events will be livestreamed from behind closed doors. Dolce & Gabbana cancelled its runway show entirely, citing restrictions in place due to COVID-19. The other 36 participating fashion houses on the pared-down calendar -- including Zegna and Prada -- will all have digital-only presentations. “We did everything to preserve some runway shows, but the anti-COVID norms in this moment don’t allow us to have guests, and therefore, the runway shows will be closed-door,” fashion chamber president Carlo Capasa said. The organizers of Paris Fashion Week plan to hold audience-free men’s and haute couture shows later this month. Prospects for Milan's February shows of mostly womenswear previews remain unclear; the Italian government on Friday announced a new round of virus-control restrictions through Feb. 15 that extend a ban on travelling between regions. Capasa acknowledged that closed-door shows deprive fashion of some of its energy. But the pandemic, which has all but shut down global travel and closed retail stores for long periods , has made fashion houses quickly update their digital communication strategies and e-commerce platforms, he said. There is some evidence the investments are paying off, with one-quarter of online luxury sales last year to consumers who went high-end for the first-time, Capasa said. The Italian fashion chamber found that 45 million people streamed Milan Fashion Week shows in September, a number that Capasa said was beyond his wildest dreams a year ago. Still, the fashion industry is in dire financial straits. The Italian industry recorded a 25% drop in revenues to 50.5 billion euros ($61.2 billion) in 2020 compared with 2019, with exports down 22% to nearly 43 billion euros ($52.1 billion). A more drastic decline was avoided thanks to so-called “revenge shopping” in China, with eager consumers returning to luxury shopping as soon as lockdowns expired, and moves toward e-commerce and a bump in global luxury sales in October, Capasa said. In Europe, where governments have ordered new lockdowns, the market remained weakest. Capasa said the industry, one of the biggest generators of Italy's gross domestic product, is seeking a share of the government’s recovery funds to help improve innovation and to keep small artisanal businesses from failing. He said he hopes to see a gradual return to normality in fashion show calendars and travel this summer, as vaccines reduce the threat of the coronavirus. “For now, we need to do the best we can, in the moment we are living,’’ Capasa said. Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
After 11 years in the trades – from scaffolding and metal work, to her current role in concrete forming – Mulisius Joe has also become skilled at navigating the male-dominated construction industry. “I've worked with a few men who didn’t think I should be there,” she said, citing times when empty reasons were given to exclude her from contributing to a job. “It’s never said out loud but you could feel it…where you don't know if it’s racist or it’s sexist, but you know it's something.” Calls for equity among construction labourers in the GTA were made decades ago, with African-Canadian carpenters and their allies protesting the exclusion of Black workers from trades unions and construction companies in the early ‘70s. Trade union programs are now slowly helping to change that. Joe said she has seen a shift in how journeypersons, or mentors for trade apprentices, are increasingly focused on the treatment of women and visible minorities on site, and are better prepared to foster an equitable environment. These changes make her hopeful the industry will develop a similar awareness around issues of discrimination and equity, especially after the racist incidents this past summer, when five nooses were found tied onto scaffolding or hanging in view at GTA construction sites. Despite police and union investigations – and the firing of at least one worker – another two nooses were found at Michael Garron Hospital in East York in late September. “It didn't just go away because we said how we feel,” said Brampton resident Chris Campbell, of the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario. In November, Campbell became the union’s first Equity and Diversity Representative. He will work to include racism in the scope of “toolbox talk” – trades-speak for frank discussions about safety issues – in an attempt to change the culture of silence around workplace discrimination in the construction industry. The Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario represents more than 30,000 workers across 16 affiliated trades unions. Campbell completed his apprenticeship in the early ‘90s, and became a project supervisor at various sites across the GTA before teaching at the College of Carpenters and Allied Trades, based in Woodbridge. An active member in the Jamaican Canadian Association and other Black community organizations, Campbell went on to become a Local 27 Toronto Carpenters’ Union rep prior to his current appointment. Following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last spring, Black Lives Matter demonstrations underscored the urgent need to confront anti-Black racism in the workplace. Campbell said he and other union representatives marched in the downtown Toronto protests in June, sporting the union flag. Mulisius joined the marches, and commended the union for making their presence visible. “It feels good, because as a woman on site, and also as a Black person, I’m always the minority. To see our union jump behind this, it makes me feel so much prouder to be a Local 27 member,” she said. But later that month, the first noose was found at the Eglinton Crosstown LRT job site. Campbell said one of the union’s members admitted to tying it and was fired, had his union membership revoked and was banned from working on projects operated by Crosslinx Transit Solutions. “It’s not just a noose for some people. It’s a health issue, because they’re traumatized, they can’t mentally handle it,” Johnson said, adding that there were Black workers at the site. “Some people, they become emotional and they cannot go back to work because to them, it symbolizes an extreme aggression. To them, it symbolizes what their grandparents went through a few decades ago.” According to 2016 Census data, close to one-fifth of Brampton’s workforce was in the trades, transport and equipment operations industry, compared to about 12 percent in Mississauga. Peel Region also has the highest proportion of immigrants compared to its bordering regions – at about 52 percent of the population – and the highest proportion of visible minorities, at 62 percent, compared to 51 percent in Toronto, and the GTA average of 48 percent. The booming construction industry holds the potential to dramatically improve the employment prospects of Peel’s large visible minority communities. Many of these residents have not been well represented in the trades, traditionally. The BOLT (Building Opportunities for Life Today) program was launched by construction giant Tridel in 2009, and in 2013 it was established as a charitable foundation aimed at introducing career opportunities to marginalized and other “under-resourced” youth across the GTA. It has provided more than 400 post-secondary scholarships for construction-related programs, in an effort to help young people from all backgrounds pursue a career in the trades. Opening up one of Ontario’s largest industries to reflect the province’s population, is a challenge the unions are now taking up as well. Whether it’s because of cultural issues, for example the view among some South Asian-Canadian communities that trades jobs are not traditionally socially acceptable, or because of discriminatory dynamics within the industry, the lack of representation means many Peel residents are being cut off from highly lucrative careers. In 2018, the average wage of workers in the construction industry across the country was almost $32 an hour, according to Statistics Canada. The average minimum wage in the country (which is what many newcomers earn) at the time sat at about $12 an hour. A 2016 Peel-Halton Workforce Characteristics Report notes that women, racialized minorities and newcomers face disadvantages when holding precarious positions in Peel, with the largest proportions of people earning lower incomes located in Brampton and Mississauga compared to Halton municipalities. In the construction and industrial sectors, about 97 percent of Peel and Halton journeypersons and apprentices are male, though there is no race-based data provided or notes on discrimination trends in the workplace. The recent rash of racist incidents raises questions about what the industry is doing to confront discrimination. At the large LRT construction site where the Fairbank Station in Toronto, near Dufferin Street and Eglinton Avenue will open in 2022, Campbell said the union interviewed people on site and had a “toolbox talk” after a noose was tied there. The union has partnered with the Toronto and York Region Labour Council to create a charter document and establish standards for an inclusive workplace that rejects racism, xenophobia and discrimination. The document is now posted at some construction sites, Campbell said, adding that the union is planning to address racism in the workplace through new educational initiatives and training for members and senior leadership. In his new role, Campbell will be notified and involved in the complaints resolution process related to racism in the workplace, and encourages workers to report these incidents. “It’s a health and safety issue,” he said. With the work of craft and trade unions based in skill development, at the forefront of efforts to address racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination is the question of whose skills are being recognized, said Tania Das Gupta, a professor in the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at York University. As part of her research into racism in the labour movement, Das Gupta interviewed visible minority workers in leadership roles within larger unions, who expressed feeling obstructed in their work. “In other words, you could have diversity, but sometimes it becomes tokenism and the [union] structures are not conducive to inclusion,” she said. Education is integral to making anti-racism programs a success, she added. “If the workers are prepared, and they’re educated on why these changes are happening, then they're likely not to feel threatened.” Professional associations and developers such as Tridel and Ellis Don have launched anti-racism campaigns in response to the incidents this past summer, including quarterly roundtable discussions with 21 industry partners, spearheaded by the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON). The group is meeting for the second time this month. “These incidents didn’t happen in isolation, and it wasn’t just one incident…so we realized that this is an issue that we need to dive deeper into combatting,” said Amina Dibe, manager of government and stakeholder relations at RESCON. The collective launched the Construction Against Racism Everyone (CARE) Campaign, distributing more than 2,000 hardhat stickers for workers to show their solidarity, while launching educational webinars and subcommittees to tackle education, communication and training within the industry. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @LaVjosa COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you.Vjosa Isai, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
Rio Tinto, division Fer et Titane, de Sorel, commencera la production d’oxyde de scandium de haute qualité qui pourra entrer dans la production d’alliages d’aluminium à ses alumineries du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, et ce, à la suite de travaux de recherche et développement réalisés au Centre de recherche et développement d’Arvida. La société a fait l’annonce de la construction d’une nouvelle usine de démonstration au coût de 7,5 M$ ayant une capacité annuelle de 3 tonnes à Sorel. En conférence de presse virtuelle, M. Stéphane Leblanc, directeur exécutif de Rio Tinto Fer et Titane, a expliqué que l’oxyde de scandium sera tiré des résidus provenant de sa mine d’ilménite de Havre Saint-Pierre pour être transformé à Sorel dans le cadre du projet sous la marque commerciale Element North 21. L’oxyde de scandium est un minerai métallique entrant dans la production de batteries, d’équipements médicaux au laser, mais aussi dans la production d’alliages d’aluminium. L’utilisation de seulement 0.1 % à 0.2 % d’oxyde de scandium suffit pour modifier considérablement les propriétés mécaniques de l’aluminium. Présentement, les Chinois sont les principaux producteurs mondiaux d’oxyde de scandium avec un volume annuel de 15 tonnes. L’oxyde de scandium est aussi utilisé pour améliorer les performances des piles à combustible à oxyde solide, lesquelles sont utilisées comme source d’énergie pour les centres de données et les hôpitaux, ainsi que dans des produits de niche tels que les lasers et l’éclairage des stades ou des studios. Il est également utilisé pour produire des alliages mères aluminium-scandium à haute performance pour l’industrie aérospatiale, la défense et l’impression 3D. M. Leblanc a souligné le travail de collaboration qui a été réalisé entre les centres de recherche et développement de Sorel et d’Arvida, ayant conduit à la mise au point des procédés de transformation pour ce matériel hautement spécialisé. Selon les projections, la demande pour l’oxyde de scandium est appelée à croître de façon importante, d’ici 2028, pour atteindre plusieurs centaines de tonnes, en raison de l’expansion dans les secteurs des télécommunications, du transport et la production de batteries, ce qui permettrait l’ajout de modules de production supplémentaires. Le projet d’usine-pilote a reçu le soutien financier de 750 000 $ provenant pour une part de 500 000 $ du ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles et 350 000 $ du programme Essor. Pour le ministre de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles Jonatan Julien, le projet de valorisation de l’oxyde de scandium de Rio Tinto Fer et Titane est un exemple concret de valorisation de nos résidus miniers. « Il témoigne de notre capacité d’innover et de saisir des occasions d’affaires dans un marché en croissance et dans un contexte visant à renforcer la sécurité de nos approvisionnements. Cette entreprise a le potentiel de devenir un important fournisseur hors Chine dans le domaine du scandium », a-t-il déclaré. S elon le ministre de l’Économie et de l’Innovation du Québec, Pierre Fitzgibbon, l’étape qui vient d’être franchie aujourd’hui par Rio Tinto Fer et Titane a le potentiel de positionner le Québec comme leader mondial de l’extraction de scandium et de sa commercialisation. Il ouvre la porte aux applications scandium-aluminium pour d’autres organisations membres du Réseau de transformation métallique du Québec.Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
The United States announced sanctions on Friday against six Hong Kong or Chinese officials it blamed for implementing a new security law in Hong Kong, following the mass arrests of pro-democracy activists this month. Hong Kong police arrested 53 people on Jan. 5 in the biggest crackdown on the democracy movement since China last year imposed a security law which opponents say is aimed at quashing dissent in the former British colony. "This action by Hong Kong authorities is yet another stark example of Hong Kong's freedoms and democratic processes being fundamentally undermined," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
Educators teaching students with special needs are raising concerns about returning to physical classrooms in southern Ontario while schools otherwise remain closed to in-person learning due to COVID-19. Students in southern Ontario are learning online until at least Jan. 25 and the government extended virtual classes for those in five hot spots until Feb. 11. Special education students who cannot participate in remote learning, however, were back in physical classrooms on Monday – a move the government said was recommended by experts. But as COVID-19 cases rise, some special education teachers say they are worried about their safety, as well as the safety of their students, some of whom are immunocompromised. "For my five- and six-year-old (children), it's not safe for them to go to school, but it's totally safe for my immunocompromised students to go to school?" asked Katie Swallowell, a teacher working for a Catholic school board in London, Ont. Swallowell, who teaches high school students with special needs, said some of her students may not wear masks or may have mask exemptions. "Some of them don't wear masks or they take them off because they hate them. Sneezing, coughing, hugging," she said. "Some of them you can't say no to. You try to say no, but they don't understand and you feel bad." Among 16 of her students, only five opted for remote learning, while the remaining 11 resumed in-person classes, said Swallowell. The teacher said she's worried about bringing the virus home to her three children, including a one-year-old. "It's either safe or it's not safe," she said, adding that there have been no added COVID-19 measures at her school since coming back from winter break. "It looks the same as it did in December." The education ministry said students with special needs can benefit from the routine and consistency of in-class learning and noted that their return to physical classrooms comes with "strong health and safety measures." "We have followed that advice, supported by the chief medical officer of health, to ensure a small number of the most exceptional children can receive the care they desperately need," said ministry spokeswoman Caitlin Clark. Laura Kirby-McIntosh, a parent of two children with autism and president of Ontario Autism Coalition, said the government's choice to resume in-person learning for special education students is the right one. Keeping schools open for those students helps them maintain normalcy and routine during the pandemic, she said. But more needs to be done to ensure consistency for students and a safe working environment for educators, she said. A good supply of personal protective equipment, regular asymptomatic testing, temperature checks and access to vaccinations are just some of the things that can help, she said. Jennifer Windsor, a physical education teacher at Huron Park Secondary School in Woodstock, Ont., said her school board only informed educators about coming back to teach in-person two days before classes resumed. "We're being told, it's not safe for students. Yet our most vulnerable sector, you're telling us it's safe to return and no changes since we left in December have been made," she said. Windsor, also a mother of three, said she had to ask her ageing parents for help with her own kids as she returned to teach at school. "For me, the potential of exposing my parents – that has a certain burden and stress. I have barely slept since Thursday, I can barely eat," she said. The resumption of special needs in-person learning means unrecognized increased risks for many education workers, students and families, the union representing Windsor and other teachers in her school board said. "(We are) concerned that the Ford government’s announcement is a half measure that does not go far enough in protecting student and staff safety during the COVID-19 pandemic," District 11 of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation said in a statement. Union district president John Bernans said he can't understand how the government believes it's safe for the group of students and staff to return to in-person learning when it is not safe for any other group. “This government has had 10 months to put social supports in place for parents of children with special needs that keep students, families and workers safe. They have failed to do that," said Bernans. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship Denise Paglinawan, The Canadian Press
Bumble Inc's plans to go public come at a time when companies are seeking to capitalize on what has been the strongest IPO market in two decades. Companies raised a record $168 billion through IPOs on U.S. stock exchanges in 2020, according to Dealogic data. "The deficiency we identified relates to a lack of defined processes and controls over information technology," it said in the filing.
Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said today that global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will temporarily reduce shipments of its vaccine to Canada, further complicating the slow rollout of doses. Anand said she was told last night that Pfizer will send fewer doses than expected because it is pausing some production lines at its facility in Puurs, Belgium, in order to expand long-term manufacturing capacity. "This expansion work means that Pfizer is temporarily reducing deliveries to all countries receiving vaccines manufactured at its European facility, and that includes Canada," Anand told reporters at a public health briefing. "Pfizer believes that by the end of March it will be able to catch up, such that we will be on track for the total committed doses for Q1," she added, referring to the first quarter of the calendar year. Anand stressed that this is a "temporary reduction" and not a "stoppage," as some doses will still be shipped to Canada when some of Pfizer's manufacturing lines are idle. "It's going to be temporary, it's not a loss, and we will make up those doses," she said, adding deliveries will be disrupted for "two or three weeks." WATCH | Canada affected by Pfizer vaccine production delay in Europe: Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccine logistics, said Canada's allotment will be reduced by 50 per cent for four weeks. He said the shipment next week of roughly 208,000 doses will proceed as planned, but shipments over the subsequent four weeks will be substantially smaller as a result of this manufacturing hiccup. Fortin said Canada will experience the "most profound impact" during the week of Jan. 25, when Pfizer will ship just a quarter of what had been promised originally. All told, the delivery of roughly 400,000 doses has been punted to a later date. Fortin stressed that Pfizer's shipments will scale up after that point and "return to what we expected for end-February and onwards." The general has stated previously that Canada was expecting the delivery of 1.4 million Pfizer doses that month. "As numbers increase, Pfizer indicated that they intend to offset the impact of their production dip," he said. "It will hurt in the short-term but ... the manufacturer is committed to the doses it has promised us." A spokesperson for Pfizer Canada said the delay will allow the company to significantly scale up its manufacturing operations and pump out up to 2 billion vaccine doses this year — up from the previous target of 1.3 billion. The company said there will be "fluctuations in orders and shipping schedules" as it works to increase production volumes. "As part of the normal productivity improvements to increase capacity, we must make modifications to the process and facility. Although this will temporarily impact shipments in late January and February, it will provide a significant increase in doses available for patients in late February and March," the spokesperson said. Other countries supplied by Pfizer's European facility provided some rough estimates Friday of how deliveries will be affected as Pfizer retools. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health said it expects deliveries to be reduced by as much as 20 per cent over the coming weeks. Lithuania said it was told its supplies would be halved until mid-February. "The manufacturer told us the cuts are EU-wide," Lithuanian health ministry spokesperson Vytautas Beniusis told Reuters. Anand said the federal government still expects to receive roughly four million doses of the Pfizer product in the first three months of this year. Moderna is expected to deliver another two million doses of its vaccine. Pfizer also has a plant in Kalamazoo, Mich., but all of Canada's doses are being shipped from the company's European operation. "While both our U.S. and European sites are approved by Health Canada to supply the Canadian market, the supply to Canada has been allocated from our Puurs site in Belgium. For the time being, that has not changed," the Pfizer spokesperson said. Later Friday, in an interview with CBC's Power & Politics, Anand said she did try to negotiate with the company to avoid this delay but was unsuccessful. "In my telephone conversation with them, I did raise what other measures we could take," she said. Pfizer's Michigan plant is only 220 kilometres away from the Detroit-Windsor border crossing. Asked if Canada could receive doses from the Michigan plant while the Brussels location is working at reduced capacity, Anand said those products have been earmarked already for the American market. 'Bumps along the way' Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought to assure Canadians today that the "temporary" delays won't derail the government's long-term goal of getting everyone who wants a shot vaccinated by the end of September. He also said he doesn't expect the manufacturing pause to "change our second quarter goals. Canada must still get ready for the 'ramp up' phase in Q2." Fortin has said the country is expecting delivery of about one million vaccine shots each week starting in April. In the spring, Canada will shift from phase one of the vaccine rollout — immunizing particularly vulnerable people, such as long-term care home residents, some Indigenous adults and health care providers — to wider distribution among the general population. Trudeau said the government always anticipated some "bumps along the way," given the unprecedented global demand for vaccines. WATCH: Trudeau says Pfizer's reduction is 'just temporary' "This kind of issue is out of our hands and that's why we pursued an aggressive procurement strategy in the first place," Trudeau said, adding Canada is not entirely dependent on Pfizer for shots. Other promising vaccine candidates, such as those from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceutical division, Janssen, are currently being reviewed by regulators at Health Canada.
CORNWALL – The first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in the region. Eastern Ontario Health Unit staff along with medical staff and paramedics have begun to deliver the first of two doses of the vaccine at Long-Term Care homes in the region. The first shipment of the vaccine arrived on Wednesday and more shipments of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are expected this month. Meanwhile, COVID-19 infection numbers continue to increase in the region but the trend is slowing. During his January 14th media availability, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said the rolling seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 was decreasing. "I'm actually encouraged and hoping to see this trend continue," he told reporters. According to the January 14th EOHU numbers, the average for cases was 120.6, which would still be considered at the Grey-Lockdown level under the province's colour-coded COVID-19 restrictions system. Forty or more cases per 100,000 is the level for Red, 25 cases for Orange. Currently there are 623 active cases of the Novel Coronavirus in the EOHU region, and the overall case count has increased to 2,046 people infected since the pandemic began. Locally, there have been 21 cases in South Dundas, but only four cases are active. North Dundas has had 40 cases overall, five of which are active. Cases still continue to increase in Cornwall and in South Glengarry. Cornwall has 227 active cases, or one in case in every 207 people in the city. South Glengarry has 54 active cases, most of which are due to a large-scale outbreak at a LTC home in Lancaster. Lancaster is one of 13 LTC homes or residences that have COVID-19 outbreaks listed on the EOHU's Facility Outbreak page. One facility that is not in a COVID-19 outbreak is the Community Living Dundas County facility in Winchester. The Leader reported this week that the facility was listed as having a respiratory outbreak that the source was unknown and that the outbreak was COVID-19 related. In fact, all residents and staff have had COVID-19 tests and the results for all tests were negative. Community Living Dundas County executive director Debbie Boardman said that the people were tested for COVID-19 as a precautionary measure. "They have been treated medically for the respiratory condition and are recovering well," Boardman said. "We have also received verbal confirmation that the(unknown) respiratory outbreak is over." She explained that CLDC staff and family members of people who live in CLDC supported homes have been following protocols, requirements and direction received from the EOHU and the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. "Everyone has been doing a fantastic job of following the guidelines," Boardman said. "They have been diligent and to date, no one has had a positive COVID-19 test. She added that they were looking forward to a vaccine being available to people living and working in Dundas County. The EOHU's COVID-19 numbers are updated weekdays (Monday to Friday, except statutory holidays) and are available on the organization's website. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
In a blog post published on Friday, the EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell said Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed now needed to live up to the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded in 2019 by doing all it takes to end the conflict in Tigray. "We are ready to help, but unless there is access for humanitarian aid operators, the EU cannot disburse the planned budget support to the Ethiopian government," Borrell said.
A coroner's inquest has been scheduled to examine the events that led Bathurst police to fatally shoot Michel Vienneau six years ago. Chief Coroner Jérôme Ouellette will preside over the inquest scheduled from April 27 to May 7 at a venue in Beresford, near Bathurst, according to a news release issued Friday. A jury will hear the evidence, presented publicly during the formal court proceeding, about what led to the 51-year-old Tracadie businessman's death on Jan. 12, 2015. The jury can issue recommendations meant to prevent similar deaths in the future. An inquest doesn't make findings regarding legal responsibility. Vienneau was killed at the Bathurst train station after returning from a weekend trip to Montreal to watch a hockey game with his fiancée, Annick Basque. The couple had stepped off the train and Vienneau had started to drive away from the station when officers surveilling him attempted to intercept him. Two anonymous tips submitted through Crime Stoppers had said Vienneau was trafficking drugs on the train, and indicated his car was parked at the train station. Constables Mathieu Boudreau and Patrick Bulger were among six undercover officers who rushed to the station based on anonymous Crime Stoppers tips. Vdeo recreation of the shooting based on witness testimony When Vienneau began to drive away from the station, Boudreau and Bulger moved to stop him. They got out of an unmarked police car in plainclothes and drew their pistols. Evidence heard at a discipline hearing for the officers held in 2019 indicated that Vienneau drove his Chevrolet Cruze into the police car and kept driving toward Bulger. Bulger testified he was hit by Vienneau's car and pinned against a snowbank. Boudreau, who testified he feared for his partner's life, then fired four times at Vienneau. Vienneau died of a gunshot wound to the left side of his chest. An RCMP investigation into the shooting determined the tips were false and there was no evidence Vienneau was trafficking drugs. Documents obtained by CBC News showed Nova Scotia RCMP, which investigated the officers' actions, considered a probe of the false tips. However, RCMP last year confirmed that they don't know the identity of the person who submitted the tips. Criminal charges against the officers were dropped after a preliminary inquiry. A separate investigation under the New Brunswick Police Act alleged the officers: didn't properly use and carry a firearm, abused their authority by using unnecessary force, failed to follow police policies and procedures and acted in a discreditable manner. An arbitrator ruled in late 2019 that Boudreau and Bulger did not violate the code of conduct and could keep their jobs. The decision followed testimony from 13 witnesses over 11 days in Bathurst in fall 2019. The New Brunswick government had previously said an inquest would be held, though it had to take place after the criminal and discipline proceedings. However, while the appeal period ended a year ago, it was followed by the COVID-19 pandemic that the province said affected scheduling the inquest. The inquest will take place at Danny's Events Centre in Beresford "to ensure compliance with physical distancing requirements due to COVID-19," a news release says.
SILVER SPRING, Md. — Wells Fargo had its best quarter of 2020 as its profit rose 4% in the fourth quarter of a year defined by the coronavirus outbreak. The bank, based in San Francisco, said Friday that its earnings rose to $3 billion, or 64 cents per share, compared with earnings of $2.87 billion , or 60 cents a share, a year earlier. The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 59 cents per share. The biggest U.S. mortgage lender posted revenue of $17.93 billion in the period, just short of projections of $18.1 billion. Net interest income fell 17%, the company said, mostly due to falling interest rates. However, economists are forecasting modest mortgage rate rises this year. Long-term bond yields, which can influence interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, have climbed recently amid expectations of higher U.S. government spending on pandemic relief and an economic recovery as more people get vaccinated for COVID-19. On Thursday night, President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan that would speed up vaccines and deal financial help to those struggling with the pandemic’s prolonged economic fallout. Biden proposed $1,400 checks for most Americans and extending a temporary boost in unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through September. Like it has for most businesses, it’s been a tumultuous year for Wells Fargo, which set aside $3.83 billion in the first quarter to cover potentially bad loans as the economy ground to halt because of the coronavirus outbreak. Then the lender lost $2.4 billion in the second quarter, its first quarterly loss since the real estate crash of 2008. Wells bounced back somewhat last quarter with $2 billion in profit. As if the challenges presented by the virus pandemic weren’t enough, Wells has been in hot water with regulators for years. Wells has been operating under strict federal guidelines due to a series of scandals, limiting its ability to grow. Wells Fargo shares fell 7.2% in morning trading and have declined almost 33% in the last 12 months. Matt Ott, The Associated Press
SILVER SPRING, Md. — U.S. industrial production rose 1.6% in December, a third straight monthly gain, but remains below its pre-pandemic level. The December gain in industrial output followed a 0.5% increase in November and a 1% increase in October, the Federal Reserve reported Friday. Even with those gains, industrial output is still about 3.3% below its level in February before the pandemic hit. Manufacturing increased 0.9% while mining production rose 1.6%. Utilities' output rose 6.2% as a rebound in December demand followed unseasonably warm weather in November. U.S. industry operated at 74.5% of capacity in December, still below the pre-pandemic rate of 76.9% in February. Matt Ott, The Associated Press