WASHINGTON — Disputing President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block President-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House.Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail.More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday.Trump has long railed against the investigation into whether his 2016 campaign was co-ordinating with Russia, but he and Republican allies had hoped the results would be delivered before the 2020 election and would help sway voters. So far, there has been only one criminal case, a guilty plea from a former FBI lawyer to a single false statement charge.Under federal regulations, a special counsel can be fired only by the attorney general and for specific reasons such as misconduct, dereliction of duty or conflict of interest. An attorney general must document such reasons in writing.Barr went to the White House Tuesday for a previously scheduled meeting that lasted about three hours.Trump didn't directly comment on the attorney general's remarks on the election. But his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his political campaign issued a scathing statement claiming that, "with all due respect to the Attorney General, there hasn’t been any semblance” of an investigation into the president's complaints.Other administration officials who have come out forcefully against Trump's allegations of voter-fraud evidence have been fired. But it's not clear whether Barr might suffer the same fate. He maintains a lofty position with Trump, and despite their differences the two see eye-to-eye on quite a lot.Still, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer quipped: “I guess he’s the next one to be fired.”Last month, Barr issued a directive to U.S. attorneys across the country allowing them to pursue any “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities before the 2020 presidential election was certified, despite no evidence at that time of widespread fraud.That memorandum gave prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before the election was certified. Soon after it was issued, the department’s top elections crime official announced he would step aside from that position because of the memo.The Trump campaign team led by Giuliani has been alleging a widespread conspiracy by Democrats to dump millions of illegal votes into the system with no evidence. They have filed multiple lawsuits in battleground states alleging that partisan poll watchers didn’t have a clear enough view at polling sites in some locations and therefore something illegal must have happened. The claims have been repeatedly dismissed including by Republican judges who have ruled the suits lacked evidence.But local Republicans in some battleground states have followed Trump in making unsupported claims, prompting grave concerns over potential damage to American democracy.Trump himself continues to rail against the election in tweets and in interviews though his own administration has said the 2020 election was the most secure ever. He recently allowed his administration to begin the transition over to Biden, but he still refuses to admit he lost.The issues they've have pointed to are typical in every election: Problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost.But they've gone further. Attorney Sidney Powell has spun fictional tales of election systems flipping votes, German servers storing U.S. voting information and election software created in Venezuela “at the direction of Hugo Chavez,” – the late Venezuelan president who died in 2013. Powell has since been removed from the legal team after an interview she gave where she threatened to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.Barr didn't name Powell specifically but said: “There's been one assertion that would be systemic fraud and that would be the claim that machines were programmed essentially to skew the election results. And the DHS and DOJ have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”In the campaign statement, Giuliani claimed there was “ample evidence of illegal voting in at least six states, which they have not examined.”“We have many witnesses swearing under oath they saw crimes being committed in connection with voter fraud. As far as we know, not a single one has been interviewed by the DOJ. The Justice Department also hasn’t audited any voting machines or used their subpoena powers to determine the truth,” he said.However, Barr said earlier that people were confusing the use of the federal criminal justice system with allegations that should be made in civil lawsuits. He said a remedy for many complaints would be a top-down audit by state or local officials, not the U.S. Justice Department.“There’s a growing tendency to use the criminal justice system as sort of a default fix-all," he said, but first there must be a basis to believe there is a crime to investigate.“Most claims of fraud are very particularized to a particular set of circumstances or actors or conduct. ... And those have been run down; they are being run down,” Barr said. “Some have been broad and potentially cover a few thousand votes. They have been followed up on."___Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
It’s been a different year for Gander Fire Rescue. Normally, members’ calendar would be filled with things like handing out Halloween candy to children at the hospital or opening the fire hall for tours. However, things like that were scuttled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the fire department was hoping to do something this year. With that in mind, some members of the department came up with the idea of collecting winter clothing for children. “We just thought we were going to get jackets and stuff, but people were asking if they could donate certain items and we said, ‘Certainly, go ahead,’” said Addison Quilty, Gander Fire Rescue’s assistant deputy fire chief. The department’s goal was to collect the same number of winter clothing as there are fire hydrants in Gander. That set their aim at 427 pieces of clothing. They didn’t care if it was mittens, gloves, toques, jackets or boots, as long as the department was able to get what they aimed for. It turns out they got all of those things in abundance — they’ve collected 432 pieces of clothing. “We’ve been really impressed,” said Quilty. “We’re still getting things now.” The pandemic has changed the way organizations handle donated items, and Gander Fire Rescue is no different. The department put a pair of bins outside the fire hall and once an item was placed in the bin, it stayed there for 24 hours. When it entered the building, the clothing was cleaned again. In the next little while, the department will start bagging up what they’ve collected and delivered it to the Salvation Army. From there, the church’s community and family services division in Gander will distribute the items where they are needed. “The Salvation Army is certainly very grateful for that kind of partnership with us, to be able to provide that kind of practical donation to help people for the cold winter months,” said Maj. Rene Loveless, public relations and development secretary with the provincial Salvation Army. “That's fabulous.” Loveless said he was impressed with the number of items the Gander fire department collected in a short period. Ensuring children have adequate clothes for the winter months, which can be harsh at times in central Newfoundland, was at the heart of the Gander Fire Rescue clothing drive. To see that effort to help children was something that stood out for Loveless. “It’s a beautiful thing, really,” said Loveless. The department isn’t done collecting clothing just yet. They’ve set a deadline of Dec. 6 and then they will stop collecting. In the meantime, their final number could be even higher by the time they call it off next week. “People are still not afraid to help others out,” said Quilty. “It is a good thing to see.” Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
“Eddie’s Boy,” by Thomas Perry (Mysterious Press)The hitman known as the butcher’s boy is back, forced out of retirement at age 61 to confront an implacable old enemy who wants him dead.Thomas Perry first introduced him 38 years ago in his Edgar Award-winning debut novel, “The Butcher’s Boy,” but until now, the character has reemerged only twice — in “Sleeping Dogs” in 1992 and “The Informant” in 2011.The new novel, “Eddie’s Boy,” finds him in England, posing as retired American businessman Michael Shaeffer. He’s enjoying life with a charming yet spunky aristocratic British wife until someone discovers his secret and sends a small army of killers to snuff him out.Shaeffer flees to Australia, only to discover that his unknown enemy has managed to track him there. So, he jets to America to find out who has put a contract out on him and to put a stop to it. In his wake, he leaves a trail of dead bodies across much of the English-speaking world. Perry breaks the action-packed narrative with reminiscences about the protagonist’s early life, when a small-town Pennsylvania hit man named Eddie, who spent his off hours operating a fine butcher shop, taught the boy both trades.If fans of Perry’s novels think the plot of “Eddie’s Boy” closely resembles the last two butcher’s boy books, they’d be right, but the saving grace is in the differing details, including how Shaeffer confronts the challenge of engaging in combat with a fit but aging body.Although the butcher’s boy is not — and never been — a likeable character, Perry expects us to admire the skill and meticulous care with which he works. And there is certainly much to admire in the skill with which Perry works, from his flawless plotting to his tight and muscular prose style.___Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels including “The Dread Line.”Bruce Desilva, The Associated Press
Director Julia Hart couldn’t stop thinking about Tuesday Weld. She had just watched Michael Mann’s 1981 thriller “Thief” and Weld’s character Jessie had taken over her imagination. Where did she and the baby go? What was going through her mind? In some ways, Jessie is just the girlfriend. She’s there to up the stakes for the main character and exits the frame when the action begins. It’s not uncommon in the genre. Just think of Michael Corleone closing the door on Kay at the end of “The Godfather.” But, Hart thought, what if we followed the woman instead of the man? It wouldn't be revisionist or corrective, just a different path. And it was the beginning of the yearslong process of creating “I’m Your Woman,” which turns the lens on the suburban housewife who has to go on the run with a new baby when her criminal husband disappears. The film starring Rachel Brosnahan opens in select theatres Friday and will be available on Amazon Prime Video on Dec. 11. “It’s not like I want ‘Thief’ to have followed Jessie,” Hart said. “The movie was so good that I couldn’t stop thinking about this character and the story of all these women. In these crime dramas, even though the women weren’t the main characters, they were amazing characters. They were complex and flawed and interesting and well performed and well written. They just didn’t get their own movie...That’s what inspired me to create Jean.” Hart and her husband, producer Jordan Horowitz, got to work writing the script. And when Amazon Studio heads, who had been impressed with her superhero drama “Fast Color," asked what they wanted to make next, they had this ready to go. And after a meeting with Brosnahan, she knew she’d found her Jean. “She’s such a chameleon,” Hart said. “And she feels like a real woman. I think a lot of the women in the 70s movies did as well — not like someone who had been airbrushed and made to look perfect.” The “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” star was all in. Despite her successes over the past few years, she’d been frustrated by the “one-dimensional” roles that were coming her way. Jean was a refreshing departure from that. “Jean is a quiet woman’s action hero. That’s something that I’ve never seen before,” Brosnahan said. “And it’s a really nontraditional look at motherhood. Motherhood is more often than not, not the picture perfect journey we see on Instagram.” The shoot was going to be hard. Hart knew she’d have her work cut out for herself directing her first car chase and big club scene with hundreds of background actors. But the biggest challenge would be the fact that they’d decided to work with real babies, who in the process of the chronological shoot would go from 6 to 8 months in age. “I am constantly frustrated by how people treat babies like they’re not people both in real life and on film — like it’s fine to have a fake baby or it’s fine to have four different babies playing the same character,” Hart said. “We knew it was a big risk, but we felt like it was one worth taking. We wanted to commit to making the baby a character in the film who you could connect to and know.” It added stress and time restrictions but also beauty and spontaneity to the shoot. “There were times when things happened with those babies that we never could have expected,” Brosnahan said. “And that added a layer of magic to certain scenes.” In one tense scene where Jean’s home is broken into and she has to hide in the closet and make a desperate phone call, the baby unexpectedly fell asleep in her arms. “It added this layer of urgency,” Brosnahan said. And although Hart is proud of the action sequences, the mother of two does not remember feeling more joy and exhilaration than knowing that they got a shot of the baby sleeping. “Getting a baby to fall asleep in its period costume, in its period crib at the time when you’re scheduled to shoot it is a bit of a miracle,” Hart said. There are exactly two of those miracle shots in the finished film. Brosnahan also took on a different kind of role in “I’m Your Woman:" as producer. She’d been thinking about it for some time, “looking for a way to carve out a path for myself.” And she’s immensely grateful to Hart and Horowitz for giving her the opportunity. “This is such a literal example, but most of the time you show up on the set as an actor having never seen what could be your house, the character’s house that they have lived in 30 years. And you’re showing up on day one and trying to pretend you’ve lived there for 30 years,” she said. As a producer, she was involved in everything from script development to location scouting. When she showed up to her character’s house this time, she knew it already. “It made me a better actor,” she said. Hart has spent most of her career as a writer and filmmaker trying to convince studios that stories about women are worth telling. After years of fighting, she's finally starting to see the change. “The studios are starting to really take female filmmakers and filmmakers of colour more seriously,” Hart said. “It’s not just lip service anymore.” —- Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
In a regulatory filing, Airbnb set a target price range of between $44 and $50 apiece to sell 51.9 million shares, which would pull in $2.6 billion. Of the shares being sold, Airbnb founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk will together sell nearly $100 million worth of shares in the IPO launch. The San Francisco-based firm also gained from increased interest in renting homes away from major cities.
Two battleground states, Wisconsin and Arizona, certified their presidential election results in favour of Joe Biden, even as President Donald Trump's legal team continued to dispute the results.Biden’s victory in Wisconsin was certified Monday following a partial recount that only added to his 20,600-vote margin over Trump, who has promised to file a lawsuit seeking to undo the results.Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, signed a certificate that completed the process after the canvass report showing Biden as the winner following the recount was approved by the chairwoman of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission. Evers’ signature was required by law and is typically a procedural step that receives little attention.“Today I carried out my duty to certify the November 3rd election,” Evers said in a statement. “I want to thank our clerks, election administrators, and poll workers across our state for working tirelessly to ensure we had a safe, fair, and efficient election. Thank you for all your good work.”The action Monday now starts a five-day deadline for Trump to file a lawsuit, which he promised would come no later than Tuesday. Trump is mounting a longshot attempt to overturn the results by disqualifying as many as 238,000 ballots. Trump’s attorneys have alleged without evidence that there was widespread fraud and illegal activity.Biden’s campaign has said the recount showed that Biden won Wisconsin decisively and there was no fraud. Even if Trump were successful in Wisconsin, the state’s 10 Electoral College votes would not be enough to undo Biden’s overall victory as states around the country certify results.Earlier Monday, Arizona officials certified Biden’s narrow victory in that state.Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey both vouched for the integrity of the election before signing off on the results.“We do elections well here in Arizona. The system is strong,” Ducey said.He did not directly address Trump’s claims of irregularities but said the state pulled off a successful election with a mix of in-person and mail voting despite the pandemic.Hobbs said Arizona voters should know that the election “was conducted with transparency, accuracy and fairness in accordance with Arizona’s laws and election procedures, despite numerous unfounded claims to the contrary.”Biden is only the second Democrat in 70 years to win Arizona. In the final tally, he beat Trump by 10,457 votes, or 0.3% of the nearly 3.4 million ballots cast.Even as Hobbs, Ducey, the state attorney general and chief justice of the state Supreme Court certified the election results, Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis met in a Phoenix hotel ballroom a few miles away to lay out claims of irregularities in the vote count in Arizona and elsewhere. But they did not provide evidence of widespread fraud.“The officials certifying have made no effort to find out the truth, which to me, gives the state Legislature the perfect reason to take over the conduct of this election because it’s being conducted irresponsibly and unfairly,” Giuliani said.Nine Republican state lawmakers attended the meeting. They had requested permission to hold a formal legislative hearing at the Capitol but were denied by the Republican House speaker and Senate president.Trump berated Ducey on Twitter Monday night, asking, “Why is he rushing to put a Democrat in office, especially when so many horrible things concerning voter fraud are being revealed at the hearing going on right now.”Elections challenges brought by the Trump campaign or his backers in key battleground states have largely been unsuccessful as Trump continues to allege voter fraud while refusing to concede.There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.___Bauer reported from Madison, Wis.; Cooper and Tang reported from Phoenix.Scott Bauer, Jonathan J. Cooper And Terry Tang, The Associated Press
MADRID — Emergency services in Spain's Canary Islands say 68 people from North Africa have been the first migrants to arrive in the Atlantic Ocean archipelago since authorities dismantled a squalid makeshift camp that had brought criticism and shame to the government. One boat with 34 men was rescued by Spain's Maritime Rescue Service, while another boat with 33 adults and one teenager, all men, docked in Maspalomas beach on Gran Canaria Island, the 112 emergency service tweeted Tuesday. The migrants were taken to the Arguineguín dock on the same island, which closed as a processing centre Monday after three months of criticism for holding thousands of Africans in squalor, some times for weeks, while they were identified and tested for the coronavirus. Spain's ombudsman had ordered the makeshift camp’s closure, where potential asylum-seekers had difficulty accessing legal counselling. A minimal structure has been left to deal with new arrivals before the migrants and asylum-seekers are distributed between military barracks — where they can be only held for up to 72 hours — empty hotels or other facilities. More than 20,000 people seeking a better life have arrived so far this year in the Spanish archipelago across from the northwest African coast, up from 1,500 in the same period of 2019. At least 500 people have died in their attempt to reach Europe through the Canary Islands. The Associated Press
Ten fishermen out of Shippagan, N.B., were testing ropeless trap technology during the spring crab fishery that is designed to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales.A recent report from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts found that fishing gear entanglements were the leading cause of right whale deaths from 2010 to 2015. There are only about 360 right whales remaining in the world.The report recommended ropeless gear as a solution. Standard gear connects traps on the bottom to a buoy on the surface. With ropeless gear, the ropes lie on the bottom until they are released by an acoustic signal from the fisherman, then float to the surface so the traps can be hauled.Robert Hache, director general of the Acadian Crabbers Association, said previous experiments with ropeless gear did not go well."The main issue was the reliability and user-friendly aspect of the acoustic release mechanism," said Hache.This most recent technology is working better, he said, but there are still issues. In particular, the system relies on cellular networks for locating the underwater traps, and the signals are not that strong out on the fishing grounds.Eventually, a system would also need to be set up so the Department of Fisheries and Oceans can keep track of all the traps in the water."Fishermen that have been involved with the testing and have used these devices have found it sufficiently interesting to do further experimentation," said Hache.Fishermen investedInterest in the devices is growing, Hache said.Five of the 10 fishermen this year invested their own money to buy the devices."That was a very good sign for us, because when you get these people interested in an equipment, that are willing to invest, then it means they are looking at this issue seriously," said Hache.New methods need to be found. Currently, conservation means just shutting down the fishery when whales are spotted.Ropeless traps can stay in the water, because they pose no danger to the whales.More from CBC P.E.I.
While outdoor rinks will continue to open across Saskatoon this year, hockey games will not be allowed on them.At Saskatoon city council's monthly meeting on Monday night, councillors asked administration about reports that hockey nets were being removed from outdoor rinks. Lynne Lacroix, the city's general manager of community development said that hockey games are not allowed under provincial COVID-19 rules."If you leave the nets out randomly, the chance of scrimmages happening or games picking up will probably be high," said Lacroix. "So they're trying to minimize that as public skating is permitted, games are not permitted under the new regulations."Last week, the province suspended all team and group sports in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19. Under-18 hockey players are still allowed to practise, but only in groups of eight players.Outdoor rinks operated by community associations will still allow up to 30 skaters on the ice at any given time.Andrew Roberts, director of recreation and community development with City of Saskatoon, said the new rules on hockey nets are in effect because the province is only allowing practices for under-18 players."So based on that, we're requiring that nets not be outside on our outdoor rink during public skating time," Andrews said."We are recommending to our community associations — we're not mandating, we're just recommending — that the nets be removed when there's unsupervised time just to mitigate the risk of hockey being played with groups bigger than eight."The policy is in effect until Dec. 17, when the province will be providing updates to the recommendations.Andrews said community associations can still rent out rinks for hockey practices under the new restrictions, and would be able to use hockey nets in those circumstances.The city has received plenty of feedback from citizens and community associations, mostly looking for clarification, he said. "We're providing the requirements and the documentation to our community association so that they can share them among the community as well."Indoor rinks aren't really affected, Andrews said, because nets aren't on the ice during public skating and all rental times are supervised."The difference is everyone must wear a mask indoors — it is just recommended to wear masks at outdoor rinks," he said.Kelly Boes, executive director of the Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association, said the new city guidelines don't really affect organized minor hockey.Boes said their practices, for the most part, are indoors and they are allowed to have nets."I really think this is designed around the kids that are, you know, hanging around and just want to go and have some fun and start playing, and a shinny game breaks out," he said."I think that's why they're doing it, to try to stop that from happening."Coun. Randy Donauer (Ward 5) worried there might be confusion between indoor and outdoor venues."I don't know if it's sending the right message to say we're going to have hockey facilities inside for practices, but you can't even have a net out for kids to shoot on in the neighborhood," he said. Brad Holler, who was out Tuesday shooting pucks at the Sutherland rinks, thinks removing the nets is going too far."It sucks for kids," he said. "This is Saskatchewan. Hockey's a huge part of our culture, it's how kids stay active."I realize there's a pandemic at hand. But when you look at some of the other regulations that are in place right now, like you can go eat at a restaurant, five people per table and take off [your] masks … to take away hockey nets, I think it's a little ridiculous."Roman Todos, president of the Caswell Hill Community Association, said they are still getting the rink prepared, so it isn't open yet.How big a deal the no-net policy will be depends on how long the restriction stays in place, he said."We should be close to getting our rink up and running and then we'll have to follow the guidelines as much as possible," said Todos, adding they'll need some more people to help to put up signage up and co-ordinate the new policy. Meanwhile, Lacroix said other winter activities, like Optimist Hill, are expected to open soon, as is the Meewasin outdoor rink near the Bessborough Hotel.During the city council meeting, Pamela Goulden-McLeod, the city's director of emergency planning, continued to ask people in Saskatoon to stay at home and limit the number of new cases of COVID-19 in the city.On Monday, there were 1,318 active cases of COVID-19 in Saskatoon, almost double the number from Regina."Our ICUs are currently operating over capacity and our resources are stretched," she said. "We need all residents to return to following the guidelines of [Chief Medical Health Officer] Dr. [Saqib] Shahab as closely as possible."
TORONTO — BMO Financial Group says it is winding down its non-Canadian investment and corporate banking business in the energy sector as the bank topped expectations with a $1.6-billion profit in its latest quarter.Chief executive Darryl White said Tuesday the move is part of BMO's efforts to better allocate resources in places where they can deliver strong returns now and in the future."Going forward, BMO Capital Markets' energy business will be focused on the Canadian energy market, where we believe our competitive positioning is strongest and where we will continue our deep and long-standing commitment to supporting clients," he told analysts on a conference call to discuss the bank's latest financial results.White's remarks come as Canadian banks and the country's economy are trying to stage a rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted governments and financial institutions to streamline their processes and dig into their coffers to offer relief.Despite the added pressures and a recent second wave of the virus, BMO reported Tuesday a fourth-quarter profit of nearly $1.6 billion or $2.37 per share, up from nearly $1.2 billion or $1.78 per share a year ago.On an adjusted basis, BMO says it earned $2.41 per share, down from an adjusted profit of $2.43 per share in the same quarter last year.Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of $1.90 per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.Revenue totalled nearly $6 billion, down from almost $6.1 billion in the same quarter last year.White indicated that things continue to look up for the bank — one of the reasons why it was able to start paring back the amount of money it is putting aside to account for bad loans.Total provisions for credit losses amounted to $432 million, up from $253 million a year ago, but down from nearly $1.1 billion in its third quarter.BMO will continue to be disciplined with its expense management and efforts to bring efficiency to its operations, White said."While we expect revenue growth in parts of our business could remain constrained in the near term, we are committed to our financial objectives over the medium term," he said.The bank, White added, has already strengthened its competitive and capital position and identified opportunities to grow as business investment and consumer spending recover and the globe gets better at managing COVID-19."Looking ahead to 2021, while the path of the pandemic and the economic recovery remains uncertain, we now know that vaccines will be available relatively soon, and there's good reason to be optimistic about the associated economic recovery accelerating as 2021 progresses."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:BMO)Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press
The IHS Markit Canada Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' index (PMI) rose to a seasonally adjusted 55.8 in November from 55.5 in October. "Latest survey data shows encouraging signs at the Canadian manufacturing sector as it continues to recover from the second quarter downturn," Shreeya Patel, an economist at IHS Markit, said in a statement. The output index stayed solidly in expansion territory, dipping to 55.1 from 55.2 in October, which was its highest in more than two years.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says there is a chance you'll be able to gather with more people during the holidays.Restrictions put in place last week and in effect until Dec. 17 limit the number of people allowed in a household to five.But Moe said if the new restrictions start to bring down the number of COVID-19 cases in the province, they might loosen the restrictions over the holidays."Maybe at some point between now and Christmas have a conversation around maybe some of those restrictions relaxing slightly to allow us to come together in a little larger numbers as we enter the holiday season," Moe said, adding they will rely on the advice of health officials to make that decision as Christmas nears. Currently Saskatchewan has the third-highest rate of cases per capita in Canada, behind only Manitoba and Alberta. On Monday Saskatchewan reported 325 new cases, and the rate of active cases of COVID-19 was 307 per 100,000 population as of Sunday. Moe said they will have three choices as Dec. 17 nears, and it will depend on which one Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab recommends."He will be recommending that we keep the status quo. He'll be recommending that we actually add to those [restrictions]," Moe said."Or he'll be recommending that potentially, for example, around the numbers that we have in household gatherings are five right now. Maybe able to creep up just a little bit so that we could have a few people in our home for Christmas and for the holiday season for a couple of days."Opposition Leader Ryan Meili says there is nothing in the current projections to suggest the number of COVID-19 cases are coming down by Christmas. "The virus doesn't care whether it's a holiday or not," Meili said. "The only thing that matters is whether those numbers have come down. We aren't seeing that now. We'll see what happens in the weeks ahead.""But really, if the premier had been serious at all, making sure people could enjoy their holidays, we shouldn't be toying with the idea of just having a break in people taking public health measures."Mieli said Moe missed his opportunity to take the measures to prevent the spread. "[Moe] should have taken action right away to get things under control instead of where we are today, where when we look at the model, there's nothing suggesting that the numbers are coming down by Christmas. He's feeding people a line," Meili said.Moe said provinces like Quebec are putting forward policies of allowing more people to gather around Christmas."It's too early for us to say which of those three options would occur. I think, in fairness, it's too early for Dr. Shahab to say as well. We need a little bit of time. "We've had three or four days since these restrictions have come. These additional restrictions and measures have come into place. And we need to have a few days to see if they are actually going to make any impact on the numbers that we have." Minister of Health Paul Merriman said they are looking at all options.He said they must consider the health care system and health workers."On top of that, what is going to be good for everybody's mental health and the economy? These all have to be balanced, not necessarily on a two-week basis, but on a daily basis. So we'll be making that determination in the near future of what it's going to look like over the Christmas season."Merriman said the five people per household will remain until they see the number of cases in a couple of weeks."But I'm hopeful that they will be either stabilizing or going down. And if they are, that will make a decision at that point."
In this video, I demonstrate how I make a human bust cake. But not just any human bust cake, this one is a #SelfieCake!
A city councillor is hopeful Calgary could soon join the ranks of cities with bylaws against harassing women in public places.Ward 7 Coun. Druh Farrell said the City of Calgary has a responsibility to support the well-being and safety of all people in public spaces.So, she'd like to see the city engage with Calgarians on the issue of street harassment and draw up a bylaw to help control it.She said street harassment includes unwelcome comments, gestures and actions forced primarily upon women by people who aren't known to them. Typically, they are sexually charged comments which are disrespectful, alarming or insulting."It's most frequently an attack, a verbal attack on women but it's also against many LGBTQ people," said Farrell."We certainly see that harassment happening in Calgary."Widespread problemShe cites a Statistics Canada report that found one-in-three girls and women were victims of unwanted sexual behaviour in the previous 12 months.Farrell has a motion which will be discussed at council's priorities and finance committee on Tuesday.As per council's screening process, if the motion is properly drafted, it will go on to be discussed at a city council meeting later this month."With all of our bylaws, we look at education first and then establish a social norm. It's not OK to harass strangers on the street," said Farrell.Her motion states that other Canadian cities including Edmonton, Vancouver and London have already passed bylaws to regulate street harassment.> Statements like this from governments essentially saying we hold ourselves accountable for your safety and we're going to work towards it, I think that they make a difference. \- Andrea Silverstone, SagesseThe executive director of the Sagesse Domestic Violence Prevention Society, Andrea Silverstone, said a bylaw is a step toward increasing public safety."Everyone can relate to an experience of feeling harassed or an experience of doing something different to try and experience greater safety on the street because they don't believe that it might exist because of their gender or their sexual identity," said Silverstone.She said street harassment is an example of coercive control which can erode a person's feeling of safety, even if they haven't been hit or threatened.That kind of harassment can make women or targeted people rethink the choices they make about where they go for dinner or where they choose to work because they may feel unsafe. "I think that you can't underestimate just how pervasive a lack of a sense of personal safety is on the streets and how it can actually relate to all aspects of one's life," said Silverstone.From her vantage point, it's important that government realizes it can play a role in helping all citizens feel safer and welcome in public places — a bylaw can be a piece of that puzzle."Statements like this from governments essentially saying we hold ourselves accountable for your safety and we're going to work towards it, I think that they make a difference."Farrell's motion calls on the city to assess Calgary's jurisdiction to draw up a defensible bylaw to address street harassment.If council approves it, there would be a report back to council by administration by the first quarter of 2022.
Ontario is investing more money into the idea of using community paramedics to provide health care to senior citizens in their own homes. The Ontario government announced Friday it will invest up to $15 million to expand the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program. This initiative will help more seniors on long-term care waitlists stay safe while living in the comfort of their own homes for a longer period of time, said a news release. The program is not currently available in all communities. As a first step, the government is inviting communities to express their interest in expanding their existing provincially funded community paramedicine programs to include long-term care, said the news release. Communities that meet the eligibility requirements will be invited to submit an implementation plan and proposed budget, outlining how they will administer a larger Community Paramedicine program this fiscal year, said the Ministry of Long-Term Care. "The community paramedicine program provides our seniors, their families and caregivers peace of mind while waiting for a long-term care space," said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. "Expanding the program across the province means that more of our loved ones can access services from their own homes, potentially even delaying the need for long-term care, while still providing the quality care and service they need and deserve." The program was initially announced in October 2020 in partnership with five communities. This included Brant County, Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board, the City of Ottawa, Renfrew County, and York Region. Among the services provided in the program are: Access to health services 24-7, through in-home and remote methods, such as online or virtual supports; Non-emergency home visits and in-home testing procedures; Ongoing monitoring of changing or escalating conditions to prevent or reduce emergency incidents; Additional education about healthy living and managing chronic diseases; and Connections for participants and their families to home care and community supports. The ministry said the community paramedicine program is a way the province is collaborating with health system partners to provide innovative services and work toward ending hallway health care in hospitals, improve the long-term care system, and respond to the impact COVID-19 has had on seniors and their families.Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
Le Dr Richard Fachehoun de la Santé publique et le président-directeur général par intérim du CISSS Côte-Nord, Claude Lévesque, ont de nouveau martelé leur message de respect des consignes sanitaires lors de leur point de presse du lundi 30 novembre. Depuis le début du mois de novembre, 38 nouveaux cas de COVID-19 ont été détectés, dont 22 dans la MRC de Manicouagan et 12 dans la MRC Sept-Rivières. Le Dr Fachehoun est notamment préoccupé par l’arrivée du temps des Fêtes. Il indique que cette période est plus propice à des rassemblements, ce qui augmente le risque de transmission. Il affirme qu’au « début du mois de janvier, on risque d’avoir une augmentation du nombre de cas. Il est donc important pour l’instant de réduire nos contacts pour stabiliser la situation ». Il invite d’ailleurs les Nord-Côtiers à passer le temps des Fêtes dans la région. CHSLD de Sept-Îles L’autre sujet qui a retenu l’attention lors du point de presse fut la situation au CHSLD de Sept-Îles. Rappelons que dimanche, le CISSS annonçait une éclosion de COVID-19 de moins de cinq cas parmi les travailleurs. Le CISSS affirme surveiller la situation de très près et avoir mis en place toutes les mesures nécessaires. Ainsi, tous les travailleurs et résidents ont subi un test de dépistage. Les familles des résidents ont été contactées. Une désinfection des lieux communs a été faite. De plus, de la sensibilisation est faite auprès des travailleurs de la résidence. Pour l’instant, il y a des restrictions pour les visites, mais il est possible pour les proches aidants de s’y rendre. « Nous sommes mobilisés pour protéger les usagers et le personnel », affirme Dr Richard Fachehoun. L’enquête épidémiologique concernant l’éclosion au CHSLD de Sept-Îles se poursuit. Questionné sur le fait d’employer des travailleurs provenant d’autres régions, le CISSS explique qu’il faut recourir à ces travailleurs pour pouvoir garantir l’accès aux services des usagers. Il assure du même coup avoir mis en place les mesures nécessaires pour tester les employés et ainsi protéger les usagers.Vincent Berrouard, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nord-Côtier
China has increased scrutiny of its technology sector in recent weeks, last month drafting anti-monopoly rules for tech firms. It has also expressed concerns about data protection and consumer rights, while authorities have on a number of occasions ordered apps to be suspended for mishandling user information.
Should former members of the Syrian security forces who have defected from President Bashar al-Assad's government be prosecuted for war crimes, or should they serve as key witnesses in an effort to bring senior officials to justice? The question has divided Syrian refugees and exiles who have fled a civil war in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and that has been marked by atrocities since it broke out in 2011. In Germany, home to 600,000 Syrian refugees, prosecutors have used universal jurisdiction laws that allow them to prosecute crimes against humanity committed anywhere in the world to seek justice for victims of alleged torture and extrajudicial killings by Assad's forces.
The Yukon Chamber of Mines says the territorial government needs to speed up implementation of the Resource Gateway program announced more than three years ago.The program announcement was the highlight of Justin Trudeau's first visit to Yukon as prime minister.Yukon Premier Sandy Silver and Trudeau jointly pledged just over $360 million in funding to build and upgrade mining roads. Mining companies promised another $108 million.The main targets of the money were connecting Newmont's Coffee gold project to roads in the goldfields south of Dawson City, Casino's copper-gold mining project west of Carmacks to the Freegold Road and Selwyn Chihong's zinc-lead property north of Watson Lake, accessed by the Nahanni Range Road.The Chamber of Mines is worried that funding might dry up if it's not used soon, said executive-director Samson Hartland."We continue to be deeply disappointed that none of the projects are moving forward in any manner," said Hartland, "and even more concerned that if government doesn't move quickly to allocate the funds and commence the projects, that federal funding might be reallocated elsewhere," he said.Hartland said one of the biggest challenges facing resource exploration is a lack of transportation infrastructure."I don't think you can overstate, you know, a half billion dollar commitment to infrastructure development in the territory that has some of the best infrastructure and the best geology in the world," he said.Yukon Highways and Public Works minister Richard Mostyn said the government is moving ahead with the program.It announced last week that it has an agreement with the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation to upgrade three bridges on the Freegold Road. The government previously announced a bypass to keep mining related traffic out of Carmacks.Mostyn said the government also has an agreement with the Liard First Nation to improve bridges on the Nahanni Range Road and improve the Robert Campbell Highway.He said there's also an agreement with the Ross River Dena Council to improve the North Canol Road and the roads between Faro and Ross River. These were not part of the original Resource Gateway program.Work on roads in the goldfields south of Dawson City has not begun, Mostyn said, because the government is still negotiating an agreement with the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin First Nation."It's the signing of that agreement with affected First Nations that allows us to start the planning and tendering and execution of those construction projects," Mostyn said.
When Nikita Toms hears a knock on the front door of her King’s Point home, there are a couple of things it could mean. The first is that it could be the courier dropping off a Christmas gift. The second thing it could be is another courier delivering a piece of her four-year-old daughter Peyton’s Make-A-Wish bedroom makeover. Sometimes, the courier shows up with a mixture of both. When that happens, Nikita is always sure to separate gifts from makeover items. Either way, they’re both equally welcomed by the youngest Toms. “It’s exciting to her,” said Nikita. Pieces for the bedroom renovation have been coming for the past month. The makeover includes a new bedroom set, the repainting of walls with a giant rainbow — Peyton’s aunt and uncle are painting her room — and a host of other upgrades to reflect her love of unicorns and rainbows. Make-A-Wish Canada breaks wishes down into three categories. There are travel wishes, celebrity wishes and item wishes. With the COVID-19 pandemic still going strong, the travel and celebrity wish categories became impossible to fulfill. Some of the children making those wishes chose to wait until they could travel again to make them happen, while others switched their wishes to item wishes. “Some of the wishes have been reimagined,” said Dave Walsh, development co-ordinator with Make-A-Wish Canada in St. John’s. The pandemic meant a shift in the way Make-A-Wish Canada does things. Normally, the foundation would have a team that would assemble and makeover a gift like Peyton’s. However, for safety reasons, the foundation has been sending the items to the family and having them assemble it themselves. “We’ve been forced to do things at a distance,” said Walsh. Make-A-Wish Canada is fulfilling three other wishes in addition to Peyton’s in the province. The other three are all video game-related. All are currently receiving pieces of their gifts. “It’s kind of nice, too,” said Walsh. “They feel like Christmas wishes.” Peyton was one of those who decided to reimagine her wish. A big Disney fan, she had originally wished to visit Disneyland, but that wasn’t possible under current conditions. With travel a no-go, the young girl gave it some thought and decided she wanted a bedroom makeover with an emphasis on two things in particular. “She wanted anything to do with rainbows and unicorns,” said Nikita. Peyton finished two years of chemotherapy to shrink a benign tumour on her jaw that was the size of a baseball in February 2018. Then, her parents Nikita and Jake, marvelled at her strength as she did three chemo sessions a month and 72 treatments over the two years. “She was a lot stronger than we were,” said Nikita. Seeing the bedroom slowly come together with the help of the family has been great for her parents. And, obviously, for Peyton. As pieces of the room continue to trickle in, the family hopes to have everything assembled in the next couple of weeks. “(Peyton) well deserves it,” said Nikita. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice