Gingersnap has a lot to say. So cute!
Gingersnap has a lot to say. So cute!
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
As the calendar turns over to 2021, the Northwest Regional Airport is again seeing a decline in total passengers. 2020 was overall a tough year for the airline industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Northwest Regional Airport followed that trend. In March, passenger numbers at the airport plummeted to historic lows. Between March and September, the passenger count increased gradually, peaking at 14,676 in August. Since then, the number of passengers has decreased each month to just over 9,000 in Dec. For the year, the Northwest Regional Airport saw 147,642 passengers — just over half of 2019’s total of 293,895. The Northwest Regional Airport’s statistics do not include passengers on chartered flights, so the actual number of people arriving and departing from the airport is actually higher. Charter passengers use a separate building for arrivals and departures. The airport continues to ask that people in the terminal building wear a mask. To ensure physical distancing, the airport has closed every second chair in the public seating area, security room and hold room. The eating area is at 40 per cent capacity and non-passengers are asked to stay outside the terminal building. Common touch points like handrails, push buttons and chair arms are cleaned after each departure. Other airports in the Northwest also struggled in 2020. The Prince Rupert Airport shut down most of its operations in March, 2020 and resumed flights in June. Then on Jan. 13, 2021, Air Canada announced that it was cancelling all flights to Prince Rupert effective Jan. 23 until further notice as part of its COVID-19 Mitigation and Recovery Plan. ALSO READ: Flights to Prince Rupert cancelled Air Canada suspended all commercial flights at Smithers Regional Airport in April 2020, with the airline not resuming activities at the airport until October.Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
The province is adding text messaging to its COVID-19 communication toolbox. "Text messages will now be used to support case and contact monitoring on a daily basis, in addition to phone calls from contact tracers and automated phone messages," said acting deputy chief provincial public health officer Dr. Jazz Atwal Thursday afternoon. Text will serve a number of functions: as an alert that test results are available on the Manitoba COVID-19 online result display, in combination with other support during isolation, as an opportunity to confirm isolation status, to report changes in symptoms, and to request direct contact from a contact tracer. "Over the next few days, this service will be ramped up so that more of the individuals self-isolating will receive texts as part of case and contact monitoring. Text messages are another way public health officials interact with Manitobans and, similar to a phone call, it’s important that the public respond to these text messages as soon as possible to improve the speed and accuracy of our efforts to stop the spread of COVID," Atwal said. Lanette Siragusa, provincial lead for health system integration and quality and chief nursing officer for Shared Health then took the press present at the virtual meeting through hospitalization numbers: 117 hospitalized with active COVID-19 and 16 people in intensive care with active COVID-19. As for personal care homes, Siragusa said staffing is fairly stable related to meeting the demands of the pandemic. "(There’s) quite a bit of focus is on community outbreaks. We’re working with the regional health authorities and partners to make sure that people have safe spaces to isolate whether it be in their regions or coming to Winnipeg," she said. "That work is ongoing." Atwal noted the province is behind on updating active cases in the province – rather than 2,866, the reality is closer to 1,394. "Work is being done to correct that administrative issue," he said. Regarding public consultations, which have been promised so that Manitobans can provide input on a way forward when it becomes possible to ease restrictions, Atwal said that’s still in the planning phase. "When we’re ready, that information will be provided to the public," he said. The COVID-19 update from the province on Thursday saw two additional deaths listed, including one patient from the Prairie Mountain Health region – a male in his 90s linked to the McCreary/Alonsa Health Centre outbreak. The province reported 261 new cases, but two cases were removed due to data correction, bringing yesterday’s new cases to 259 The new cases are as follows: \- 11 cases in the Interlake–Eastern health region; \- 139 cases in the Northern health region; \- 23 in the Prairie Mountain Health region; \- 13 cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region; and \- 75 cases in the Winnipeg health region. The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate was 10 per cent in the province, and 7.1 per cent in Winnipeg. Lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba total 26,954, with 755 deaths or 2.8 per cent. There are currently 2,866 active cases in the province, with 23,313 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 The province also reported 117 people are in hospital with active COVID-19, as well as 173 people in hospital with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require care, for a total of 290 hospitalizations. Sixteen people are in intensive care units with active COVID-19, as well as 21 people with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care, for a total of 37 ICU patients. In the Prairie Mountain Health region, there are 218 active cases, with 1,511 recovered. There are 18 people hospitalized, with no patients in ICU, and a total of 43 deaths. Brandon’s active case count is 73. Wednesday, 2,333 tests were completed, for a total of 446,018 since February. » Source: Province of Manitoba As of Jan. 11, the status of COVID-19 outbreaks in Prairie Mountain Health were as follows: • Brandon Correctional Centre: 108 total cases, 18 staff infected, 90 non-staff infected, one active case, 107 recovered, zero death. • McCreary/Alonsa Health Centre: 42 total cases, 14 staff infected, 28 non-staff infected, 37 active cases, one recovered, four death. • Fairview Personal Care Home: 109 total cases, 41 staff infected, 68 non-staff infected, 0 active cases, 92 recovered, 17 deaths. • Gilbert Plains Personal Care Home: 42 total cases, 18 staff infected, 24 residents infected, 1 active case, 32 recovered, nine deaths. • Grandview Personal Care Home: 37 total cases, 12 staff infected, 25 residents infected, 1 active cases, 31 recovered, five deaths. • St. Paul’s Personal Care Home: No information Note: An outbreak is considered over one incubation period (14 days) after the final active case. » Source: Province of ManitobaMichèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):9:56 a.m.Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says Canada is on track to hit 10,000 new daily infections of COVID-19 by the end of January.New modelling shows the total number of cases could reach 796,630 by Jan. 24 and another 2,000 people could die.Tam says there is rapid and widespread community spread of COVID-19, and governments and individuals need to do everything they can to reduce contacts.She says measures to reduce contacts must be kept in place long enough to prevent an immediate resurgence of infections as soon as the lockdown measures are lifted.---9:40 a.m.U.S. drug-maker Pfizer is temporarily cutting back vaccine deliveries to Canada because of issues with its European production lines.Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Pfizer thinks it will still be able to deliver four million doses by the end of March, but it's no longer guaranteed.Canada has received about 380,000 doses of the vaccine so far, and was supposed to get another 400,000 this month, followed by almost two million doses in February. There is no update yet on what the new deliveries will be.---This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
An Angus man is recovering from a house fire that left him bandaged from head to torso, and with no clear sense of what caused the blaze that destroyed his Margaret Street home. Justin Hunt, 33, suffered burns to his esophagus, back and left arm as he escaped through the smoke and fire that tore through his home shortly after 5 a.m. on Jan. 9. Once outside, he sliced open his right arm punching in a window in an attempt to rescue the family dog, Molly, but he was unable to retrieve her. “He was in an induced coma on a ventilator, but woke up from that Sunday night at 11 p.m.,” girlfriend Cassandra Brunelle said Jan. 13. Brunelle said Hunt’s daughter Kaede, 10, and son Masen, 8, were staying with their grandparents that evening and are living with her while their father remains in hospital. With four children of her own, Brunelle said she’s busy, yet she can’t get over the support from the community since Hunt’s house burned down. “It’s been an amazing response by everyone,” she said. Both Angus Morrison Elementary and Baxter Central Public schools have offered school supplies, there have been a few local fundraisers, and several Facebook groups have rallied around the young parents. “As soon as everybody heard, there was a large outpouring from the community,” Brunelle said. Donations of food, toys and clothing have been dropped off at Cristina’s Place Portuguese and Keto Bakeshop on Mill Street in Angus. The Office of the Fire Marshal was called to determine the cause of the fire, said Essa Township Deputy Fire Chief Doug Burgin. “Unattended cooking caused the fire,” he said, adding there was extensive damage to the house. A GoFundMe account has already received more than $11,000 in donations. To donate, visit www.ca.gf.me/v/c/rpyw/justin-hunt-family-community-outreach.Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
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
OTTAWA — Activist Velma Morgan says several Black organizations were denied federal funding through a program designed to help such groups build capacity — after the department told them their leadership was not sufficiently Black.The chair of Operation Black Vote tells The Canadian Press her group received an email from Employment and Social Development Canada this week saying their application did not show "the organization is led and governed by people who self-identify as Black."The department sent a second email the next day, saying their applications were not approved because it did not receive "the information required to move forward."Morgan says her not-for-profit, multi-partisan organization that aims to get more Black people elected at all levels of government is one of at least five Black organizations that didn't get the funding.Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen says the initial letter his department sent to unsuccessful applicants was "completely unacceptable" and that he demanded a retraction as soon as he saw it.In a thread on Twitter, Hussen says he discussed with his department's officials to how such a mistake could have happened and implemented measures to make sure it does not happen again. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2020———This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
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
When at least five centimetres of snow falls in Mississauga, the City’s army of plows, salters and other winter maintenance vehicles are dispatched to clear the slippery stuff within 24 hours. An excess snowfall volume, or limited on-site space, forces clearers to haul the snow over to a City storage facility – and there aren’t enough of them. The essential work that makes Mississauga’s streets safer to navigate during the winter months, and allows for the smooth operation of parks and recreation features, is made harder as Works, Operations and Maintenance departments vie for places to store equipment, in the same limited spaces where snow sometimes has to be stored. Now, the City is gearing up for a temporary solution by transforming the West Credit Avenue storage site originally planned for MiWay transit vehicles – near Derry Road and West Credit Avenue – to accommodate more snow clearing vehicles and other related uses. The City’s new $141-million winter maintenance contract – which includes additional snow clearing vehicles – is leaving the Works department even more strapped for space. Council opted for a short-term solution in the 2021 budget to create a temporary site at the West Credit location, ahead of the 2022 Yard Master Plan and Modernization Study. This fall, the site was used to stockpile dry leaves after three of the City’s existing yards reached capacity. The “extraordinary high volumes of leaves” that fell this November slowed the Region of Peel’s ability to transfer them to composting sites, according to a staff report that month. In other words, were it not for the West Credit site’s use as a backup storage location, the leaf collection program would have ground to a halt. Mississauga’s One Million Trees program and commitment to urban forest development will affect leaf collection in the future, the report notes. And when the seasonal storage of nature’s elements is not a factor, the City is still left needing room to tuck away equipment. Mississauga has four operations yards: the Mavis yard, built in 1956; the Clarkson and Malton yards, built in 1977; and the Meadowvale yard, built in 1996. In 2005, staff said a fifth operations yard needed to be built urgently, by 2008, for the Engineering and Works Operations, and Recreation and Parks divisions. Thirteen years after that hard deadline, the yard still has not been built. The rapidly growing city faced criticism recently for chronically neglecting desperately needed expansion of its fire service, while through the Region of Peel, which all 12 Mississauga council members represent at the higher tier, affordable housing in the city has been ignored for decades and the recent report revealed crucial infrastructure to keep streets running and parks cleared are also being kicked down the road. “This is understandable, given that yards are costly to construct and yards are not public facing like community centres and libraries,” the November 30 staff report reads. “However, yard capacity is important to maintain Council-approved service levels.” In 2022, the City will release its Yard Master Plan, and Modernization Study completed by consultants, as part of budget discussions for that year. The Works department says its snow storage capacity right now is in deficit of about 26,000 cubic metres, not including the West Credit site. That floor space alone translates to at least six-and-a-half average sized football fields. The Hurontario LRT in 2024 will result in the need for another 51,000 cubic metres of space to store snow, the report states. Earlier this year, the City’s Enforcement staff had to relinquish some of their storage space at a Mavis North facility to the Works department for winter vehicles. The City has 31 tractor and loader plow units, and added another 24 single-and tandem-axle plows, which remove snow and distribute salt at the same time. Outdated winter maintenance practises in Mississauga result in the City using 60,000 tonnes per year of road salt, which will be reduced with the addition of more plowing and be better for the environment. These changes are part of an eight-year, $141 million winter maintenance contract Council approved this summer. The contract begins next year, and will cost about $17 million in its first full year, by 2022. According to 2021 budget documents, the City will be tapping into its winter maintenance reserve to the tune of about $1.9 million, which will go toward funding priority sidewalk and bus stop clearing services. Staff are expecting that the West Credit site can be used for a minimum of a decade. The report was drafted following a request from Ward 9 Councillor Pat Saito during budget discussions last month, after some of the $3.5 million project budget line was mistakenly qualified to Council as “throwaway” costs. Saito said she did not want Council to approve the project without having a closer look at the spending. Staff were able to reduce the West Credit site cost by $700,000, to $2.8 million, after changing the type of asphalt for the project, Saito said in an interview. “If we're going to put money into anything, we need to put it into our maintenance locations because if we don't have somewhere to store the snow, to put the leaves…the parks equipment, the forestry equipment and the snow plows, we can't provide service to the community,” Saito said. 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
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
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
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte worked the phones on Friday, trying to secure enough votes in parliament to allow him to stay in power after a junior ally quit the cabinet this week. There was growing confidence within the coalition that the government could stay afloat as a new, pro-government group formed in the Senate and the head of the country's influential bishops' association appealed for stability. Conte is due to address the lower house on Monday and the upper house Senate on Tuesday about the political chaos which was triggered by former premier Matteo Renzi in a row over the coalition's handling of the coronavirus and economic crises.
Ce n’est rien de moins qu’une onzième victoire consécutive qu’a mérité il y a quelques jours le groupe Robert, de Boucherville, en raflant encore une fois le « TCA Fleet Awards » C’est évidemment avec beaucoup de fierté que Groupe Robert, spécialisé dans l’industrie du camionnage et du transport, s’est vu décerné le premier prix de sa catégorie pour une 11e année consécutive. Le prix a été créé par la Truckload carriers association, qui regroupe plus de 200 000 camionneurs en Amérique du Nord. Ces prix identifient les entreprises de camionnage qui ont démontré un engagement sans précédent envers la sécurité. Groupe Robert est donc l’entreprise de sa catégorie avec le ratio de fréquence d’accidents le plus bas par million de miles parcourus depuis 11 ans. « La sécurité étant au centre de toutes nos initiatives, ce prix est à l’honneur de tous nos employés » a indiqué la direction du groupe lors de l’annonce de leur nomination Le groupe Robert, qui emploie environ 3500 personnes, est bien implanté à Boucherville, sur le boulevard Marie-Victorin avec un important centre de distribution et de transit de camion. Il possède également d’importantes installations à Rougemont, là même ou la famille Robert possède aussi un domaine viticole. François Laramée, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
New modelling released by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) suggests the number of daily COVID-19 cases could more than triple to 30,000 if people increase their contacts during a time of widespread community transmission. The report also projects that if Canadians simply maintain their current levels of contact with people outside their households, case counts will still rise to roughly 13,000 a day from 7,900 now. The modellers said that, based on current case counts, Canada "remains on a rapid growth trajectory," with roughly 2,000 more people expected to die over the next 10 days as the country approaches a death toll of 20,000. As many as 100,000 more people could contract the virus over the next week and a half, PHAC said. "Quick, strong and sustained measures are needed to interrupt rapid growth and maintain COVID-19 control," PHAC said in its report. "Reducing COVID-19 activity is urgently needed as rollout of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines begins." Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam told a news conference that the vaccine rollout, which is now protecting priority groups of high-risk Canadians, will not have a big impact on the numbers in the short term. WATCH / Dr. Theresa Tam on the impact of vaccine on COVID-19 transmission: "In terms of the national projections and the transmission in communities, you're not going to see that in the initial months, which is why I think our message ... is [to] absolutely get on with the public health measures," she said. "Do all of those things, don't do non-essential travel. All that really counts. It works. And when you can suppress that projection, the vaccines have a longer runway." Data to determine impact of vaccine rollout Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said government and external experts are working to determine the impact of vaccine rollouts on the numbers mid- and long-term. "But at the present time, it's really difficult to say. There are so many factors involved. Even today, we're seeing issues in terms of vaccine supply, how vaccines are being rolled out across the country," he said. "There's other factors in terms of the increasing rates of infection in various parts of the country. So there are many different factors in play." Right now, Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec are the provinces reporting the highest infection rates per 100,000 people. Rise in cases post-holidays Tam said many provinces, including some that had been on a downward trajectory, saw a sharp rise in daily case numbers after the holidays. That's likely due to people having more contacts over the holidays and reduced testing during those weeks, she said. Since the holidays, stronger community level public health measures have been adopted across Canada and some areas are showing that public health measures are working to slow growth. "However, we have yet to see the widespread and sustained declines in daily case counts that would indicate we are bringing the pandemic under control nationally," she said. Some 10 months into this pandemic, long-term care homes continue to report hundreds of daily cases. There are now more than 400 outbreaks nationwide — a situation which is expected to push hospitalization rates higher still. Alberta and Manitoba are reporting the highest rates of hospitalization per 100,000 people. PM calls LTC deaths 'tragic' During a news conference outside his residence at Rideau Cottage today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the outbreaks now occurring in long-term care homes in Ontario and across the country are "tragic." "Our parents and grandparents built this country. They raised us. And they deserve so much better," he said. "It is vital that we continue to get vaccines to vulnerable people as quickly as we can. And that's exactly what we're focused on. But remember – no one is invincible. Even if you're young and healthy, this virus can be very dangerous. And that's why we all have to keep doing our part." Trudeau said that while vaccines are rolling out across the country, Canadians must reduce their in-person contacts. "For the moment, that's the only way to get these numbers down," he said. "Since yesterday, Ontario is now under a stay-at-home order. This is the kind of tough but necessary decision that provincial governments are having to make." PHAC said COVID-19-related deaths are steadily rising and may soon exceed levels seen during the first peak. Calling the new modelling "alarming," NDP health critic Don Davies called for stronger federal measures to reduce the spread of the virus. "The numbers released today paint a very sobering picture," he said. "COVID-19 is claiming the lives of 145 Canadians every single day and the situation is getting worse. Clearly, what we've been doing isn't working. PHAC's forecast shows that a stronger response is necessary to slow the alarming spread of COVID-19."
Steven Snively says he had a hard time sleeping the night Yosif Al-Hasnawi died. But he went to work the next day because he didn't want Hamilton to have one less ambulance on the road. That's also when he wrote his report about what happened the night before. Snively is one of two former Hamilton paramedics on trial in superior court for how they treated Al-Hasnawi on Dec. 2, 2017. When they arrived at a sidewalk near Main and Sanford, they thought he'd been shot with a BB gun, the court has heard. They didn't leave for the hospital for 23 minutes. In fact, Al-Hasnawi had been shot with a .22 caliber bullet. By the time he arrived at the hospital, nearly all the blood had drained from his heart. Snively says he and codefendant Christopher Marchant gave the 19-year-old CPR at the hospital as emergency doctors tended to him. Snively said he was shocked and distraught when Marchant told him Al-Hasnawi was dead. "I was overwhelmed with an array of emotions," he told the court Friday. "I can't recall them all now, but it was shock. Disbelief. Doubt. There was just … uncertainty." The idea of writing an incident report that night "just didn't come to mind," Snively said. Instead, he wrote it the next day, he told the court. He sat alone at a desk, he said, and wrote that Al-Hasnawi had "a soft tissue injury from a pellet gun." He also wrote that he thought it was primarily a mental health call. He wrote the report, he told the court, in a "state of fatigue." "Did you get any sleep the night before?" asked his lawyer, Michael DelGobbo. "No, sir," Snively said. As for why he didn't call in sick the next day, he said, "if I didn't show up, the service would have been down one truck." Snively, 55, and Marchant, 32, are charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life. It's a rare case, one that could hold first responders criminally accountable for how they treated a patient. Some Crown witnesses said the pair laughed during the call, and said Al-Hasnawi should get an Oscar for his acting. The paramedics deny saying that. In his testimony this week, Marchant said Al-Hasnawi was "uncooperative," and they thought it was a mental health call. That's why they took him to St. Joseph's Hospital rather than Hamilton General, a regional trauma centre. The court has also heard that Marchant, in talking to a dispatcher, said Al-Hasnawi was "acting like a dickhead." What happens next Snively said he and Marchant, with the help of Sgt. Nesreen Shawihat from Hamilton Police Service, restrained Al-Hasnawi in the back of the ambulance. Al-Hasnawi's condition spiraled about a minute from the hospital, Snively recalled, and that's when he hit the sirens. The trial resumes Wednesday, when the Crown will cross-examine Snively. Jeffrey Manishen of Hamilton is representing Marchant. The Crown attorneys are Linda Shin and Scott Patterson. Justice Harrison Arrell is presiding over the judge-only trial. The person who shot Al-Hasnawi, Dale King, was acquitted last year of second-degree murder. That case is being appealed.
Brandon Sun readers request specific questions be asked about COVID-19. Question: What is Brandon’s test positivity rate? We are anxious for loosening restrictions and feel we should be counting on our own numbers rather than the rest of Manitoba’s stats. I got a little worried yesterday when seeing Winnipeg’s positivity rate has dropped, but the rest of Manitoba of which we are part of didn’t. Dr. Jazz Atwal: Sorry, I don’t have all the test positivity rates off the top of my head or on a paper in front of me right now. So I do apologize. I do know, Manitoba test positivity is 10 per cent, Winnipeg is 7.1 per cent. I think it’s somewhat intuitive to know that the Northern RHA (regional health authority) likely has a high positivity rate with all the new cases and a smaller population. Again, I think we need to understand that test positivity is just one indicator that public health looks at, right? So, when we look at our epidemiology, we look at test positivity, we look at cases, we look at risk. We look at a whole bunch of different things when we’re looking at restrictions and orders and what should be done from an orders perspective, to look at those things. So, again, we don’t look at one indicator. I know people get fixated on a case number or just test positivity, or both, but there are many other indicators on top of that, that we look at. We look at hospitalizations, etc. to take those next steps, to create a sound plan for Manitobans. Follow-up question: Is it nevertheless possible to provide the region’s positivity rate or even just Brandon’s? Is it possible to tease that out for the area? Atwal: I have to come back to you on that. We’ll have to seek out that information and see what we can provide. Do you have a question about something in your community? Send your questions to email@example.com with the subject line: Readers Ask.Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
NEW YORK — When Joe Biden addresses the country for the first time as president, his inaugural speech is likely to echo calls for unity that predecessors have invoked since the first time George Washington was sworn in. Unity has since been a theme, and an anxiety, for many incoming presidents, who have faced economic and social crises and moments when the very future of the U.S. was in doubt. Historians mention the first inaugural speeches of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln as possible parallels for Biden, who has said his goal is to “restore the soul” of the country. Biden, who assumes office just two weeks after an armed seige of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, will preside over a nation in which millions believe Trump's baseless claims that the election was stolen. Few presidents have faced such questions about their own legitimacy. “Unity has always been an aspiration," says presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. “It seems like whenever we have foreign policy flare-ups, we use the word freedom. But when we have domestic turmoil we use the word unity.” The United States was forged through compromise among factions that disagreed profoundly on slavery, regional influence and the relative powers of state and federal government. When Washington assumed office in 1789 he cited the blessings of providence in noting that “the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most governments have been established.” Jefferson was the third U.S. president, and the first whose rise was regarded by opponents as a kind of emergency. The 1800 election won by Jefferson marked the beginning of competing political parties — Jefferson was a leader of the Democratic-Republican Party, losing incumbent John Adams a Federalist — and critics regarded the new president as a dangerous atheist. "JEFFERSON — AND NO GOD!!!” was how one Federalist paper described Jefferson's candidacy. Adams did not attend the inauguration, a breach rarely repeated although Trump has vowed to do the same. “Let us then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind," Jefferson urged in his address. "We are all republicans: we are all federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it." Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, a Federalist who administered the oath of office to Jefferson, wrote later that the speech was “in the general well judged and conciliatory.” Lincoln's pleas were more dire, and tragically unmet, despite what historian Ted Widmer calls his “genius to combine urgency with literary grace.” Seven out of 11 future Confederate states had seceded from the U.S. before he spoke, in March 1861, over fears he would end slavery. The Civil War would begin a month later. “We are not enemies, but friends,” Lincoln had insisted, reminding fellow Americans of their “mystic chords of memory” while also warning that resistance to the will of voters would destroy democracy. "A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism,” he said. Historian David Greenberg, whose books include “Nixon's Shadow" and “Republic of Spin,” cites Richard Nixon's inaugural in 1969 as another speech given at a time of social turmoil. The U.S. was violently divided over the Vietnam War and civil rights, and Nixon himself had long been seen as an unprincipled politician exploiting fears and resentments — appealing to what he would call “the silent majority.” His speech at times was openly and awkwardly modeled on the 1961 inaugural of John F. Kennedy, who had defeated Nixon in 1960. “We are caught in war, wanting peace. We are torn by division, wanting unity,” Nixon stated. “We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another — until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices.” Some presidents asked for unity, others asserted it. Franklin Roosevelt, elected in a landslide in 1932 during the Great Depression, said in his first inaugural speech: “If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other.” Four years later, having won by an even greater landslide, he declared the country had “recognized” a need beyond financial help, a “deeper” need, “to find through government the instrument of our united purpose.” Unity can prove more imagined than real. When James Buchanan spoke in 1857, three years before the Civil War, he claimed that “all agree that under the Constitution slavery in the states is beyond the reach of any human power except that of the respective states themselves wherein it exists.” Rutherford B. Hayes, whose presidency was marked by the retrenchment of federal troops from the post-Civil War South and ongoing resistance from Southern whites to equal rights for Blacks, declared during his 1877 inaugural that true peace could be achieved through the “united and harmonious efforts of both races” and the honest work of local self-government. “A president often claims the country is ‘united’ behind a belief when it’s more wishful thinking than reality,” Widmer says. “I’m not sure how many Americans wanted to do something for their country after JFK asked them to — although there were impressive new kinds of volunteers, like the Peace Corps. And I think that many Americans still appreciated help from the government, even after Ronald Reagan declared that ‘government is the problem.’ That’s the problem with soundbites: They often oversimplify.” Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
Kids are normally able to put their lost baby teeth under their pillow hoping for a payment from the tooth fairy. But what if the tooth falls out and goes missing at school? Gavin Jensen, a five-year-old kindergarten student in Prince George, B.C., was faced with this dilemma this week when one of his teeth fell out in class. Seeing how upset he was, the vice-principal of Hart Highlands Elementary School wrote a formal plea to the fabled fairy to make sure Gavin got his due reward. "Please accept this letter as official verification of a lost tooth and provide the standard monetary exchange rate you normally use for a real tooth," Shandee Whitehead wrote in a letter under the school's masthead. "As a trained vice-principal and hobby dentist, I can verify that there is definitely a gap in Gavin's teeth that was not there this morning when he came in." Whitehead says she learned Gavin had dropped one of the teeth after it came out of his mouth before lunch on Tuesday. "When I went into the classroom, he was actually quite upset," she told Sarah Penton, host of CBC's Radio West. "He lost it from his mouth and then he couldn't find it in the room." The vice-principal says she and other staff searched for it in every corner of the classroom. "Despite the heroic efforts of a fearless search team, we were unable to recover it," Whitehead told the fairy. Whitehead's amusing correspondence has become a sensation in her community after posting the letter on social media. "In addition to contributing to a long-term plan for students' success, cultivating leadership in others, managing people, data and processes, and improving school leadership … a vice-principal has the duty of helping to create a positive school culture … one that saves the day!" Whitehead tweeted Tuesday. She also took the opportunity to remind the tooth fairy about some outstanding payments she was owed. "PS — I am still waiting for the money for my wisdom teeth from 2000. Please pay as soon as possible," Whitehead wrote at the end of the letter. "I have bills to pay." While she is still waiting to get paid, Gavin received his reward on Thursday morning. "When I woke up in the morning, the tooth fairy actually did come," he told Penton. "I got the coin…It was a gold and silver one." Tap the link below to hear the interview with Shandee Whitehead and Gavin Jensen on Radio West:
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin company launched a new capsule into space Thursday to test all the astronaut perks before people strap in. Thursday’s flight with a dummy named Mannequin Skywalker lasted 10 minutes and reached 66 miles (106 kilometres) above West Texas. Both the New Shepard rocket and the capsule landed successfully. It was the 14th flight to the fringes of space for a New Shepard rocket. The first was in 2015. “The success of this flight puts us one really big step closer to flying astronauts,” launch commentator Ariane Cornell said from company headquarters in Kent, Washington. “There’s going to be a lot of fun ahead in 2021.” Blue Origin plans to launch paying passengers — tourists, scientists and professional astronauts — on brief hops over West Texas' remote desert. It's also working on a bigger rocket, New Glenn, that would blast off from Cape Canaveral as well as a lunar lander for astronauts under NASA's Artemis moon program. The capsule soaring Thursday featured the latest crew upgrades: microphones and push-to-talk buttons for the six seats, wall panels to muffle engine noise, a safety-alert system, and temperature and humidity controls to keep passengers comfortable and the big windows free of fog. The launch and landing team was scaled back because of the pandemic. New Shepard is named for the first American in space, Alan Shepard. New Glenn honours John Glenn, the first American in orbit. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. ___ This story was first published on Jan. 14. It was updated on Jan. 15 to correct the spelling of Alan Shepard’s last name. Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
CALGARY — French oil and gas company Total says it will ditch its membership in the U.S.-based American Petroleum Institute because it disagrees on climate-related policies. The move announced Friday follows its decision last July to drop out of the Calgary-based Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and write off $9.3-billion worth of oilsands assets in Alberta. Total said in a statement Friday it would not renew its membership for 2021 following an analysis of API's position on climate issues that has shown "certain divergences.” The company notably mentions API's "support during the recent elections to candidates who argued against the United States’ participation" in the 2015 Paris Agreement to curb climate change. Total says it is working to provide cleaner energy and its CEO, Patrick Pouyanne, said the group wants to ensure that “the industry associations of which we are a member adopt positions and messages that are aligned with those of the group in the fight against climate change.” Total said last summer it was leaving CAPP because of a "misalignment'' between the organization's public positions and those expressed in Total's climate ambition statement announced last May. At the time, CAPP CEO Tim McMillan called the decision "disappointing" and Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage called it "highly-hypocritical'' given Total's investments in other parts of the world. Total’s decision to leave the API is significant, said Peter Frumhoff, the director of science and policy at the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists. “It’s a very big deal for an oil major to take a position basically leaving the major trade association here in the United States,” he said. With more than 600 members, API represents all segments of the oil and natural gas industry in the U.S. Frumhoff said the move came just days after API’s president, Mike Summers, made a speech in which he said the group would fight regulation of methane emissions, restrictions on drilling on public lands and support for charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. He added that Total's decision put pressure on oil companies BP and Shell, which both said they aim at fighting greenhouse gas emissions, “to put their political power where their mouth is and do the same.” President-elect Joe Biden, who has said he wants to focus on fighting climate change, has pledged to have the U.S. rejoin the Paris accord on the first day of his presidency. With files from the Associated Press The Canadian Press