12-year-old Rayn Loyer talks about his third annual ‘Kits 4 The Homeless’ campaign and how you can help those experiencing homelessness this winter.
12-year-old Rayn Loyer talks about his third annual ‘Kits 4 The Homeless’ campaign and how you can help those experiencing homelessness this winter.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince, an Israeli official said on Monday, in what would be the first publicly confirmed visit there by an Israeli leader as the countries close ranks against Iran. Earlier, Israeli media said Netanyahu had secretly flown on Sunday to Neom, on the Red Sea, for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Reports of the meeting between the crown prince and Netanyahu were denied by Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
TORONTO — Iamgold Corp. says it is temporarily reducing the underground workforce at its Westwood mine in Quebec following what it called a seismic event.The company says underground work at Westwood remains suspended following the event that occurred on Oct. 30. The temporary reduction affects 437 workers, or about 70 per cent of the underground workforce, Iamgold says.The company is investigating the cause of the seismic event and a business recovery plan for Westwood is being assessed. It says the Westwood mill was restarted on Nov. 4, processing stockpile and Grand Duc open pit ore. Iamgold has three gold mines including the Essakane mine in Burkina Faso, the Rosebel mine in Suriname and the Westwood mine in Canada.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:IMG)The Canadian Press
Ontario has tapped former head of the Canadian Armed Forces Gen. Rick Hillier to lead a new task force that will oversee the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in the province, Premier Doug Ford announced Monday.At the province's daily press conference, Ford said Ontario is being told that the first doses of the vaccine are expected to be ready in early 2021."We need military precision," Ford said, noting that rollout of the vaccine will be a "massive logistical challenge.""We will get vaccines to every part of this province when they are ready."Still, Health Minister Christine Elliott cautioned that vaccinations are "still months away" and urged people to continue to follow public health guidelines.Elliott said the province is still waiting to hear exactly when it will start receiving vaccines, but it is expected that Ontario's most vulnerable and healthcare workers would start getting them before March. These people will have to be vaccinated twice in 21 days, she said.This news comes as Ontario reported 1,589 more cases of COVID-19 on Monday, another single-day record as Toronto and Peel Region move into a second lockdown.The new cases include 336 in Toronto, 535 in Peel and 205 in York Region. They drive the seven-day average up to 1,423 after six consecutive days of increases.Other public health units that saw double-digit increases in today's update were: * Waterloo Region: 83 * Hamilton: 61 * Windsor: 56 * Halton Region: 53 * Durham Region: 41 * Ottawa: 40 * Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 30 * Simcoe Muskoka: 25 * Niagara Region: 24 * Brant County: 16 * Thunder Bay: 16 * Middlesex-London: 13[Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary, which include data from up until 4 p.m. the previous day. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.]Provincial Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said Monday that Toronto is "holding the line" on cases, but noted that infections are now ticking up in other red and yellow zones in the province."It's not just the lockdown areas that have to be concerned," Williams said.Sixty of the new infections were school-related, including 51 students and nine staff members. A total of 676, or about 14 per cent, of Ontario's 4,828 publicly-funded schools have reported one current case of COVID-19. Three schools remain closed due to the illness.The additional cases come as Ontario's labs processed 37,471 test samples for the novel coronavirus, and 18,394 were added to the queue to be completed. The province reported an overall test positivity rate of 4.6 per cent.With today's update there are currently 13,004 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 in the province, the most at any point since the outbreak began in late January. Further, 19 more people with COVID-19 have died, the province said, pushing the official death toll to 3,505. The additional deaths include 11 residents of long-term care and a man in his 20s, the fifth person in their 20s to die with COVID-19 in Ontario. So far this month, 360 people with infections of the novel coronavirus have died provincewide.The number of people with confirmed cases in hospitals grew by 23, up to 507. Some 156 of those patients are being treated in intensive care. Public health officials have identified 150 as the threshold for when unrelated surgeries and procedures are likely to be postponed because of burdens on the hospital system.2nd lockdown begins for Toronto, PeelMeanwhile, Toronto and Peel Region have entered the most restrictive tier of Ontario's pandemic protection plan.It means that for at least the next 28 days, non-essential retailers can only offer curbside pickup, while restaurants are closed to all but takeout and delivery orders.Personal services have also been forced to close, but schools and child-care centres remain open.Ford announced the move on Friday, but it didn't come into effect until 12:01 a.m. today.That gave residents of Toronto and Peel the chance to stock up over the weekend, and many did — flooding local malls, even as those facilities extended hours in an effort to prevent too many people from coming at once.Ford fielded several questions from reporters Monday about why he isn't allowing small businesses to stay open in some way, yet big box stores are allowed to remain open.In particular, Ford was asked why the province isn't following Manitoba's model, where businesses are required to remove any non-essential goods from the shelves or rope off those areas.Ford said he had spoken with the CEO of Walmart, and said the practice was causing "massive problems" in that province."It would be a logistical nightmare," Ford said.Still, the premier said he knows that forcing businesses to close is "not fair," and went on to list things he says the province has done to help them.Hudson's Bay location to close after opening MondayFord was also asked why a Hudson's Bay department store location on Queen Street West at Yonge Street in Toronto was open Monday, despite the lockdown. Ford passed the question to Dr. Barbara Yaffe, the province's associate chief medical officer of health, who emphasized that residents should avoid going out. In a statement Monday evening, Alexandra Hilkene, Elliott's press secretary, said that while big-box stores with a "full grocery component" are allowed to remain open for in-person shopping, retailers like the Bay and IKEA are not. On Monday night, Hudson's Bay released a statement saying it had closed all Toronto locations but opened the store at Queen and Yonge because a grocery store is located there."We understood this to be in line with the province's direction, however we have now made the decision to close our Queen Street store [on Tuesday]. All Hudson's Bay stores in Toronto and Peel will offer shoppers curbside pickup," the statement from Hudson's Bay Company spokesperson Tiffany Bourré reads.Durham, Waterloo move to red zoneWhile Toronto and Peel face the strictest measures, other areas of the province are also seeing rules tighten.Durham Region and Waterloo joined York Region in the red classification today. The rules limit restaurants, gyms and food courts to 10 indoor patrons with social distancing, with even tighter restrictions on private gatherings.York's local medical officer of health, Dr. Karim Kurji, went even further by ordering additional measures aimed at banquet halls and convention centres, as well as retail outlets.They include at least two metres distancing or a cap of 50 people for both indoor and outdoor events such as weddings and funerals. Shopping malls and stores must also set capacity limits that ensure two metres between shoppers.Penalties for offenders are fines fines of up to $5,000 per day for an individual and up to $25,000 per day for a corporation. The areas around Huron, Perth, Simcoe, Muskoka, and Windsor-Essex have also moved to the orange classification, which caps gatherings at staffed businesses to 50 people indoors, or four per table at restaurants.Motion to extend CMOH's termThe provincial government introduced a motion in the legislature Monday to extend the term of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams. Williams said Monday afternoon that Ford and Elliott asked him to stay on. He said he feels like the role of medical officer of health is "not for what you can get out of it, but what you can contribute to it."Williams's five-year tenure was set to expire in February, but the motion would see it lengthened to September 2021. However, the provincial NDP did not provide unanimous consent on the issue today, so it will be debated and go through a vote."The chief medical officer of health is a critical player in the pandemic response strategy. Re-appointing him with no process and no discussion is turning this key public health decision into a political game," said Deputy Leader of the Opposition Sara Singh in a statement."We recognize there are very legitimate concerns about how the government is handling this pandemic," said Singh. "The Ford government cut back on public health protections just as the second wave was starting to surge, and set disastrously high thresholds for action.While Ford has repeatedly praised Williams for his role in formulating Ontario's response to COVID-19, Williams has come under increased public scrutiny as a second wave of the illness grips parts of the province.He was recently criticized by peers for suggesting that even virus hotspots could move into the green "prevent" tier of Ontario's restrictions framework by Christmas. Ford again threw his support behind Williams Monday."I do not ever believe in changing a dance partner in the middle of a dance, especially when he's an incredible dancer," Ford said.
PEERS Alliance in Charlottetown has received $2,100 from the Tegan and Sara Foundation for its work in the LGBTQ community. "That was a big moment for me, to get that notification that we've been awarded the funds," said Brittany Jakubiec, the executive director at PEERS Alliance. "I'm a little bit, like, excited that we get to put kinda their stamp on our project. That's just huge."PEERS Alliance is a charitable non-profit organization. It began as AIDS PEI and slowly evolved to offer programming and outreach for harm reduction for the LGBTQ community.This year, it is one of 13 organization across Canada to receive a Community Grant from the Tegan and Sara Foundation. Jakubiec said the plan is to use the money to keep the adult drop-in program running until June. "The adult drop-in is a low-barrier social group dedicated to fostering and growing 2SLGBTQ+ community in P.E.I.," said Jakubiec. (When using that term, Jakubiec means two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and/or questioning, with the plus representing other terms people may prefer to use for themselves.)"The drop-in program does help with the reduction of social isolation and an increase of feeling like you're connected to the community."'It's super important'Jakubiec said additional costs have come up this year due to the pandemic and the extra financial support is not only crucial to running the program but also ensuring it doesn't need to be cut early. "It's super important that the program is offered."For Islanders looking for supports, Jakubiec said PEERS Alliance can be reached by phone, email or on social media — contact information is posted on its website. And for those who do call, Jakubiec said extra precautions are taken — for example, asking if a message can be left on the caller's phone — to make sure people feel safe and supported. "We really try and just make sure that we're being inclusive and respectful of where people are in their journeys."More from CBC P.E.I.
NEW YORK — Taylor Swift won her third consecutive artist of the year prize at the American Music Awards, but she missed the show for a good reason: She said she's busy re-recording her early music after her catalogue was sold. In a video that aired during Sunday's awards show, the pop star said “the reason I’m not there tonight is I’m actually re-recording all of my old music in the studio where we originally recorded it. So it’s been amazing. And I can’t wait for you to hear it." Last year music manager Scooter Braun — who manages Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande — announced that his Ithaca Holdings company had acquired Big Machine Label Group, the home to Swift’s first six albums. This month Braun said he has sold the master rights to Swift’s first six albums to an investment company; Swift acknowledged the sale on social media and said she would not work with the new buyers because Braun was still involved. Instead, she headed back to the studio. Swift beat out Bieber, Post Malone and Roddy Ricch to win the top award. She also won favourite music video and favourite pop/rock female artist, winning three honours and tying Bieber, Dan + Shay and the Weeknd for most wins Sunday. The Weeknd lost artist of the year, but he still kicked off his all-star week as a big winner: Days before he’s expected to land multiple Grammy nominations, he won favourite soul/R&B male artist, favourite soul/R&B album for “After Hours" and favourite soul/R&B song for “Heartless” two days before the 2021 Grammy nominations are announced. “The last time I received this award it was given to me by the late, great Prince," he said after winning favourite soul/R&B album. “And, you know, he’s the reason I get to constantly challenge the genre of R&B and yeah, I’d like to dedicate this to him." The Weeknd didn’t break character throughout the three-hour show with his gauze-wrapped face, which matched the vibe of his recent album and music videos where he appears blooded and bruised. He accepted his awards and performed with his face wrapped in gauze. Kenny G joined the Weeknd for his performance, playing the sax in downtown Los Angeles as the Weeknd walked across a bridge singing “In Your Eyes.” He finished the performance singing “Save Your Tears.” The Weeknd was one of several artists who appeared live at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles for the fan-voted awards show. Others recently taped their performances because of the coronavirus pandemic, though host Taraji P. Henson — who appeared live from the venue — said the few audience members sitting in the mezzanine practiced social distancing, wore masks and were tested for the virus. Henson joked that A-list celebrities were in the audience, including Beyoncé, though cardboard cut-out of the singer, Jay-Z and other stars appeared in seats. But a good number of chart-toppers were in the building. Breakthrough singer-rapper Doja Cat performed and won new artist of the year and favourite soul/R&B female artist. Grammy-winning country duo Dan + Shay beautifully performed “I Should Probably Go to Bed” and won favourite country duo or group, collaboration of the year and favourite country song for “10,000 Hours," the latter two shared with Bieber. And Megan Thee Stallion — won favourite rap/hip-hop songs for “WAP" with Cardi B — performed “Body" from her recently released debut album “Good News." Bieber and Shawn Mendes kicked off the AMAs with a pre-taped performance of their new duet “Monster," marking the first time they performed the song together. It began with a stripped-down Bieber singing his recent hit “Lonely," with songwriter-producer Benny Blanco on piano, and “Holy," where background dancers wearing masks joined him. Mendes, strumming his guitar, then appeared for “Monster," which featured the twentysomethings singing lyrics about about fame and growing up as celebrities who attracted massive public attention. Mendes later sang his song “Wonder" during the show, which aired on ABC. Katy Perry, in her first performance since giving birth to her first child, gave a strong performance of the emotional and hopeful song “Only Love,” which featured a surprise guest appearance from Darius Rucker, who sang and played guitar. With flaming red lights glaring behind her, Billie Eilish sang her new song “Therefore I Am,” as her brother-songwriter-producer Finneas backed her on guitar. Jennifer Lopez and Maluma teamed up to perform their new songs “Pa’ Ti” and “Lonely” from the film “Marry Me,” which both of them star in, while Dua Lipa — who won favourite pop/rock song — floated in the air during her performance of “Levitating.” 24kGoldn and Iann Dior — who currently have the country's No. 1 song with the smash hit “Mood," also performed. The multi-genre track is the rare song that has reached No. 1 on both the rap and rock charts. Other performers included BTS, Lewis Capaldi, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Baby, Bell Biv DeVoe and Nelly, who performed hits from his diamond-certified debut album “Country Grammar," which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. This year the AMAs, which typically awards one Latin honour, launched more categories in the genre. Becky G — who burst on the music scene in 2014 with the pop hit “Shower" but has recently had success singing in Spanish and launching hits on the Latin charts — won favourite Latin female artist. She used her speech to honour immigrant families. “I proudly wave both flags, Mexican and American. And like many, many children and grandchildren of immigrants, no matter where they’re from, we have learned from the ones before us what sacrifice and hard work looks like," she said. “And I dedicate this award to all of our immigrant workers in this pandemic; the students and immigrant families. It’s because of my family, my abuelitos, that I stand here today." Nominees for the AMAs were based on streaming, album and digital sales, radio airplay and social activity, and reflect the time period of Sept. 27, 2019, through Sept. 24, 2020. Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Boralex Inc. has signed a deal to buy controlling interests in seven solar power plants in the United States from Centaurus Renewable Energy LLC and other investors for $283 million.The deal includes five solar plants in California, one in Alabama and one in Indiana.CRE and other investors will retain certain non-controlling interests in the assets.The operations were commissioned between 2014 and 2017 and benefit from long-term power purchase agreements.Boralex chief executive Patrick Lemaire says the acquisition will mark the company's entry into the California, Alabama and Indiana markets and will be a springboard to further development.The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:BLX)The Canadian Press
The Petit Noel art exhibit and sale features a variety of work by local and area painters, photographers, potters and artisans at the Callander Bay Heritage Museum & Alex Dufresne Gallery. “We have over 30 people participating and the show is a great snapshot of the various artistic talents we have here in Northeastern Ontario,” states a museum notice. There will not be an opening reception and numbers are restricted as per COVID-19 safety restrictions but visitors welcome Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. “Please wear your mask, respect social distancing, and do not visit if you are not feeling well.”Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
These weren’t the piano lessons of my youth. Quite the opposite.Gone was the septuagenarian teacher crowding me on a piano bench at my grandmother’s house, extolling the importance of Christian hymns. “Old Rugged Cross,” “Jesus Loves Me,” “How Great Thou Art." Grandma finally accepted my resignation after a few solid years of protest.Then last spring, as the pandemic droned on, I’d lost my job, and our schools in the Boston area remained closed, I decided to start taking piano lessons again.It had been 30 years. The grand staff was a foreign language and the only key I could recognize was middle C.The first day, I propped up my phone, clicked a Zoom link for our lesson and found an energetic college student staring back at me.I’d been thinking about returning to piano for a while, but never had the free time required for learning a skill until the shutdown in March. It was rainy and frigid in New England, and I needed an antidote for the monotony of pandemic life. Some were tending sourdough starters, others binge-watched Netflix. I started piano lessons.I wasn’t the only one who chose music.NEW WAYS TO PASS TIME“I knew nothing about the ukulele community before COVID,” said Pat Adamson-Waitley, 64, of Edina, Minnesota.Adamson-Waitley had played the ukulele a handful of times, but in March, she said, “I started playing it every day.”She joined Zoom jams with other players, and bought two ukuleles and two songbooks. Summer's warm weather took her away from the ukulele a little, but she still averages 30 minutes of playing time a day.Clubs like the Twin Cities ukulele club, an informal group of about 300 people, have welcomed many people discovering music for the first time, or finding it again. Tom Ehlinger, 69, of Bloomington, Minnesota, leads the club’s weekly Zoom jams.“One thing that’s different about the Zoom jam is that it’s much easier to get to than an in-person jam,” he said. “There’s no traffic.”Since March, Ehlinger has received inquiries from people as far away as New York City wanting to join.“It brings people together solely for the purpose of doing something enjoyable,” he said.NEVER A BETTER TIMEAs for formal lessons, Andrew Geant, co-founder of Chicago-based Wyzant, an online marketplace for private tutors, said music has become one of the company’s fastest growing areas. Cello tutors in April experienced a 450 per cent increase in students and a 400 per cent rise in lessons from last year, he said. By October, the number had grown to a 4,500 per cent increase in students and a 4,730 per cent increase in lessons.The cost of online lessons is lower than in-person instruction, Geant noted. And if the student and teacher don’t match well, it’s easy to find a new instructor.“Online, you can find the right instructor because you’re no longer bound by geography,” he said.Rashida Bryant, 44, is an Atlanta-based voice instructor through Wyzant who saw her client roster double from April to June, when she had 30 students.Her students range in age from early teenagers to people in their late 60s.“Everybody has different reasons for doing it, but if you’re going to be at home, then this is a better time than any,” she said.A SENSE OF CONTROLTurning to music during bleak times has a long history, said Joy Allen, chair of Music Therapy at Berklee College of Music in Boston.“It gives us choice and control, and we don’t have a lot of that right now,” she said.Music also provides social connection, Allen said, and a link to the familiar.During lockdown, private piano lessons for Andrea Cordero Fage’s two teenage sons in Harrison, New York, stopped, but something new happened. The brothers, whose interest in music has waxed and waned over the years, “came into their own musically,” she said. “I would have never imagined it.”They started playing piano for hours a day. They researched movie soundtracks, like the one to the 2014 science fiction epic “Interstellar,” by Hans Zimmer, and learned the score on their own with the assistance of sites like YouTube.“After dinner, one would play and the other would watch. Then they’d switch,” Cordero Fage said. “I think they fed off each other, saw it as a challenge.”Studying or listening to music can harness our focus, said Melita Belgrave, associate dean and professor of music therapy at Arizona State University.Throughout the pandemic, many people have been watching concerts at home but retaining a semblance of the shared experience. The millions of people who streamed the movie version of the Broadway musical “Hamilton” is an example.“People are finding themselves drawn to the arts and crafts,” Belgrave said. “We are learning new ways to connect with each other.”I haven’t figured out whether my Zoom piano lessons will continue past the pandemic. I've gone from knowing middle C to playing cusp chords, eight-key scales and Mozart.But even if returning to regular life interrupts my lessons, piano will always be one of my best pandemic memories.Tracee M. Herbaugh, The Associated Press
A busy west-end St. John's street was blocked off for three hours Monday as police searched for a suspect in a case involving assault with a weapon.About a dozen uniformed officers in six marked and one unmarked squad cars descended upon a very familiar section of Empire Avenue, in the vicinity a house that is well known to police.Officers with rifles and a police dog could be seen near 374 Empire Ave. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary advised residents in the immediate area to stay indoors.According to a tweet from the police force, a house in the area was "contained." Traffic was closed off on Empire Avenue between Ropewalk Lane and Cordage Place, a small block of about 10 houses.Access to the street was restricted from just after 10 a.m. until around 1 p.m.RNC Const. James Cadigan confirmed the house in question is 374 Empire Ave., a house visited regularly by officers. It was the site of a stabbing in July 2019, an overdose death in 2017 and a police raid in 2016.Cadigan said they were looking for a suspect in an assault that occurred in central St. John's on Sunday evening.He said a 42-year-old man had previously been arrested and held to appear in court, charged with assault causing bodily harm, and assault with a weapon.The search for a second suspect brought police to 374 Empire Ave. on Monday morning.Cadigan said the RNC "contained" the home while officers spoke with people inside. About eight officers eventually entered the residence, but the suspect was not there.As of Monday afternoon, the search for the second suspect was ongoing.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
An elementary school in Deer Lake has closed its doors for two days, after a student tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning, the first instance of a case within the Newfoundland and Labrador school system.Elwood Elementary will be closed Monday and Tuesday, Education Minister Tom Osborne announced at a press conference Monday afternoon.Osborne said the student's test results came back around 8 a.m. Monday, sparking the swift reversal from prior messaging from the school district, which had previously said schools were open in the town, with school buses having begun their morning runs before word of the closure came.Students at Elwood Elementary are grouped into classroom cohorts to minimize their contacts as part of the English school district's COVID-19 operating plan, but Osborne said in this case officials decided to close the entire school and not just keep one class home."Because this is the first instance, I would rather that we acted with an abundance of caution then to look back and think that we should have," Osborne said.Osborne said the closure ensures effective contact testing, but that any closure beyond Wednesday could cause extra anxiety for a community already dealing with significant amounts of stress."We reached the right balance with two days. I think a week would have sent the wrong messages," Osborne said.Student's connection to previous caseThe student is a close contact of a previously announced positive case, officials said Monday at an earlier press conference that saw Premier Andrew Furey temporarily suspend the Atlantic bubble. The Western Health region now has 10 active cases, six of them connected to each other. Those connected cases prompted the Town of Deer Lake to go into lockdown over the weekend, with its town council asking people to stay home and non-essential businesses to close."This is scary for a lot of people and for a lot of us," Mayor Dean Ball told CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning.No schools are closed elsewhere in the province due to COVID-19. There are 23 active cases in the province, and a new travel alert as of Monday, with anyone who flew aboard Air Canada Flight 8880 from Halifax to Deer Lake, arriving on Thursday to call for testing.Watch the full press conference below:Ball later told CBC News testing went well on Monday for the students. A testing site was set up in the parking lot of the town office. "We were really pleased with how really quick we got through that," he said. "On the bright side of this it was a good day to get that done."But, Ball said, the ordeal has been nerve-wracking for parents.Parents, students notifiedClose contacts of the student within the Deer Lake school system were notified Monday morning, said Tony Stack, the CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District.Stack said very few children showed up anyway."I would imagine it was apprehension within the community — understandably so — so the attendance rates were very low, less that 25 per cent," he said.For students and staff who were not called by public health, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said they should monitor themselves for symptoms but recognize that brief contact such as passing someone in a hallway presents a slim chance of exposure."Those are very low risk, they're very short periods of interaction, so they're not considered to put somebody at risk for COVID-19 exposure," she said.Teachers remained at work at Elwood Elementary on Monday preparing online learning lessons for Tuesday, said Stack."Tomorrow there could be activities. We're asking parents to be prepared for that connection outreach," he said.Ball said reopening is pending on test results which are expected on Tuesday. Both Stack and Osborne said the Elwood Elementary closure isn't an exact template to follow if there are more school-related COVID-19, and it may not be necessary to shut down an entire school in the future.Increase health measures: NLTAAhead of Monday's media conference with Stack and Osborne, the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association (NLTA) issued a media release, saying it had concerns, given the latest case. Ingram has been calling for mandatory face masks for all students, as well as physical barriers for teachers. Students younger than Grade 7 — such as those at Elwood Elementary — do not have to wear masks, except on school buses."Our position since March has been that we've had concerns about the discrepancy and inconsistency between the safety measures we see in place in public venues throughout this entire province and what's not in our school system," Ingram told CBC News shortly after Monday's news conference. "We think now is the time, more than ever, to reassess why those measures in our schools are less than seen in these venues." Ingram said he has fielded several phone calls from parents raising the same concerns.Ingram said the NLTA also takes issue with people accessing schools for extracurricular activities like sports. At Monday's press conference, Stack did say that could be adjusted on a regional basis."If we have to curtail extracurricular activities in a particular area, and Deer Lake would be one that we'd be looking at, then we will certainly do that," he told reporters.There were no changes to current district health and safety policies announced during Monday's news conference, although Stack said current public health measures within schools would be re-emphasized.As the current scenario plays out in Deer Lake and public health officials do their work, Osborne asked for patience from the community."I know there is significant concern in the community of Deer Lake today and I certainly appreciate this concern gets amplified for people when their children are involved," he said.Bus of hockey players turned around after COVID scareA small sense of relief is being expressed by Glenn Littlejohn, president of the U18 Major Hockey League. He told CBC Radio's On The Go how the Western Kings were on the way to play the East Coast Blizzard. A bus with 25 players and team staff were headed to the Southern Shore arena, from Deer Lake, when they were stopped in Whitbourne. A team official got a call that he was a close contact of a previous COVID-19 positive case in Deer Lake. Littlejohn said the bus stopped immediately. "It wasn't really a hard decision," he said in an interview on Monday, noting the safety of the team and the general public is the top priority.He said everyone on the bus was wearing masks and as spaced out as possible. The bus turned back around, and the team official stayed in the front of the bus.The team official has since learned his test was negative, but precautions remain in place. He is staying away from the team for 14 days. "This is something we probably expected," he said, given the pandemic continues to swirl, "and hopefully we can just move on."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The 74th annual Lions Children’s Christmas Telethon is going ahead despite not being able to host live acts. Canadore College’s media arts students are compiling highlights of the past three events to produce a four-hour virtual broadcast Sunday, Dec. 5 from 4 to 8 p.m. “We suspect there will be a lot more families in need,” said Gary Verge, telethon committee chairman. He’s with the Bonfield Lions but the fundraiser involves 11 clubs, including Mattawa, Callander, Powassan, Trout Creek, Sundridge, South River, Burk’s Falls, Kearney, Arnstein and Restoule. “We could use $30,000,” Verge said of their target to receive from pledges and donations to buy turkeys, hams and gifts for kids for close to 400 families overall. Each club also adds in boxes of food to go with the initial basket “to help make it last a few meals.” In Bonfield for example, he said about 20 families each year get a little extra support heading into a holiday season that often strains already thin household budgets. Usually, the long-standing telethon runs nine hours lives with artists corralled in line as the performances are rotate through the stages, something that couldn’t be done this year due to COVID-19 pandemic health protocols. “We’re also trying to put together some Christmas entertainment featuring local talent,” Verge said of the dual mandate of igniting the spirit of the season. “But all those acts hanging around up at the college is not a good idea this year.” It’s also “excellent experience” for the Canadore students, he said, hoping they can return to the live show next year. The 2020 telethon can be seen on YourTV Channels 12 and 700, through the www.lionschildrenstelethon.com website; www.canadoretv.com or listen on Country 600 CKAT Radio. To donate, call 705-472-4420 or 1-844-888-4420. You can also make a pledge online or use PayPal at www.lionschldrenstelethon.com Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. NoneDave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
L’écrivain et conteur Nicolas F. Paquin, 42 ans, nouvellement proprio à Danville, met en lumière une page de l’histoire des plus sombres, soit la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. À sa façon ! Ses qualités artistiques rejoignent son humanité. Son spectacle englobe sept récits de vétérans qu’il livre en maniant la langue et l’émotion pour faire passer son public du rire aux larmes. D’où vient l’idée de remonter à la surface ces héros anonymes effacés par le temps ? « Déjà j’avais écrit une trilogie, Les Volontaires, pour rendre hommage aux volontaires de ce conflit, précise-t-il. À travers différents événements dans les salons du livre, les bibliothèques et dans les milieux scolaires, je racontais des histoires sur la 2e Grande Guerre. À force de me faire dire “Tu es un sacré conteur, fais-en un spectacle !”, les contes ont vu le jour. Par ailleurs, ma rencontre avec Gilbert Boulanger, qui était mitrailleur sur un bombardier, a été déterminante. J’avais lu son livre L’alouette affolée, un véritable cri du cœur. J’ai voulu qu’il sache que son cri n’était pas tombé dans l’oreille d’un sourd ! Le 12 novembre 2012, on a passé 12 heures ensemble ! Notre amitié a été brève, à peine un an. Et il est décédé. » Passeur de mémoire Ici au pays, ainsi qu’en France, Nicolas a rencontré des vétérans ou leurs descendants, qui lui ont fait des confidences et des révélations sur ce qu’ils ont vécu personnellement. « De cette recherche sont nées des amitiés extraordinaires avec des gens qu’a priori je n’aurais jamais rencontrés, s’émeut-il. Je suis le privilégié qui recueille les derniers souvenirs. Quels étaient les sentiments et les motivations des jeunes de cette époque ? Je dois les raconter ! On honore le soldat inconnu… Il n’y en pas. Seulement des gens qu’on a oubliés. Pourtant, on leur doit tout à ces jeunes qui se sont engagés pour notre liberté. » En 2019, fin prêt, il croyait parler de la dernière grande crise que l’humanité avait vécue. « J’avais fait un premier rodage au Nouveau-Brunswick, puis en France. Et les Français ont adoré !, se réjouit-il. Puis une première a eu lieu le 25 janvier à Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. Et bang ! La pandémie a tout annulé. Les contes de guerre se vivent en salle, pas virtuellement à travers un écran. Vivement le retour sur scène ! » Ne pas se souvenir, c’est prendre le risque de répéter l’Histoire. « J’emprunte le chemin de la guerre pour donner le goût de la paix », conclut-il. facebook.com/lescontesdeguerre ctpaquin.wixsite.com/lescontesdeguerreMireille Fréjeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal L'Étincelle
MILAN — In a signal of rebirth, the Donizetti theatre in the northern Italian city of Bergamo, devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, reopened this weekend after three years of renovations.But the planned gala celebration had to be postponed, and new productions for an annual festival dedicated to the city's native composer Gaetano Donizetti had to be streamed online from an empty theatre.Festival musical director Riccardo Frizza said the autumn festival was envisioned as a life-affirming moment for the city and province, where 6,000 people died in a single month last spring. In the summer he conducted Donizett's Requiem, performed outside the city’s cemetery in tribute to the dead.“You have to know that in my festival orchestra and in the chorus there are people who lost two or three family members,’’ Frizza said. “We couldn’t do the festival without having done this tribute to those who aren’t with us anymore.”Plans for an audience had to be scrapped after the virus started to resurge in October, even if Bergamo itself is experiencing lighter contagion than the spring, when images of army trucks transporting the dead to other regions for cremation laid bare the pandemic's toll. The calendar was cut to three productions.All three weekend performances of Donizetti’s “Marino Faliero,” “Le Nozze in Villa” and “Belisario” are available online indefinitely for a subscription price of 59 euros ($70.) Frizza said the money is needed to help freelance singers and musicians recoup some income during a year in which classical music has been all but shutdown by the coronavirus.Italy shut all theatres in February, and there was a tentative reopening over the summer.While some other theatres are offering free online streaming of their archives, Frizza said few are offering new opera productions. The Donizetti theatre package includes extras like commentary, interviews and a virtual tour of the renovated theatre, its frescoed ceilings given a fresh vibrancy. Another Donizetti opera filmed last year, “L'Ange De Nisida," will be released on Wednesday.By comparison, Milan’s famed La Scala theatre will broadcast a Dec. 7 concert on state television, substituting its traditional gala season-opener.To ensure the health of the Donizetti Festival orchestra, singers and chorus, strict protocols were put into place, including weekly testing and separate rehearsals. During the weekend performances, the chorus, most of the orchestra and Frizza wore masks.At La Scala, more than 40 members of the chorus have tested positive for the virus, plus another 18 in the orchestra.Frizza, who suffered a mild bout with the virus during the March peak when Italy was in total lockdown, said no one in the festival contracted the virus during the rehearsals. That's critical to allowing the live performances to go ahead despite the partial lockdown in Lombardy.“No one can imagine the March lockdown without music, without books, without televised performances,” Frizza said. “The pandemic has taught those who hadn’t understood before, the importance of culture, arts and beauty in the world.”Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
SAINT-TITE – Devant combler un important manque à gagner généré par la pandémie, le Carrefour emploi Mékinac a reçu une aide financière «d'urgence» de la part de Desjardins, via son Fonds d'aide au développement du milieu. En temps normal, le Carrefour emploi Mékinac bénéficie des retombées du Festival western pour financer la portion d'investissement du milieu dans le cadre des activités du projet Place aux Jeunes. Or, l'annulation de l'édition 2020 de l'événement est venue créer un vide important. C'est à la suite d'une demande à la Caisse Mékinac/Des Chenaux que Desjardins a consenti à octroyer un financement de 4 000$ pour le maintien des activités d'attraction, d'accueil et de rétention de jeunes diplômés dans la MRC de Mékinac. Depuis plus de 20 ans, Place aux Jeunes a permis à de nombreux participants de découvrir les municipalités du secteur et de s'y établir, notamment grâce aux services d'un agent de migration dont la mission est de prendre contact avec les personnes intéressées à s'établir sur le territoire et à les accompagner pour se trouver un emploi, un logement et aux autres besoins qui peuvent subvenir. Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
Toronto and Peel Region have officially moved into lockdown as Ontario tries to curb the province's steep rise in COVID-19 cases. The shutdown will last a minimum of 28 days.
The Hudson's Bay Company store in Coquitlam, B.C., closed its doors to customers on Sunday after its landlord said the company had defaulted on its rent.It's the latest blow to HBC, which has operated in Canada since the late 17th century. The company has struggled to pay its bills in other parts of the country, as well.Still, the closure of store in the Coquitlam Centre Mall came as a surprise to many shoppers who arrived to pull on locked doors."Pretty shocking ... The Bay has been around since what?" said Annette Borrows.Retail analysts say the store closure is a sign of mounting revenue losses across the industry amid the pandemic."We've seen Hudson's Bay Company really trying to stay relevant, and it's tough," said David Ian Gray with retail consultancy DIG360. "And they've been struggling with that pre-COVID."In October, HBC announced plans to close its flagship store in Winnipeg in February. The company has operated out of the six-storey building at the corner of Portage and Memorial for nearly a century.At the time, the company said changes in consumer behaviour, such as shopping online, was one reason for walking away from the landmark site.Earlier this month, a judge in Ontario ordered HBC to pay half the rent owing at one of its stores after a landlord attempted to evict the retailer. The store at Hillcrest Mall in Richmond Hill, Ont., owed seven months of rent.Gray says the pandemic has accelerated HBC's financial troubles."What's happening is that retailers, in particular non-essentials, especially fashion, have just been decimated," he said."It's not Hudson's Bay Company, but all of them. We're not buying as much fashion, but also we're really restricted on closures, openings."In Coquitlam, HBC's landlord, Pensionfund Realty Limited, posted a sign on the store that said it hadn't received payment for more than a month.In a statement, HBC said it's looking for a fair solution with its landlords across North America.
GENEVA — A panel of human rights experts working with the United Nations said Monday that former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn was wrongly detained in Japan and has urged “compensation” for him from the Japanese government.The Japanese government denounced the report as a “totally unacceptable” viewpoint that will change nothing in the country's legal process.In its opinion published Monday, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Ghosn’s arrest in Japan in late 2018 and early 2019 was “arbitrary” and called on Japan’s government to “take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of Mr. Ghosn without delay.” A determination of whether detention is arbitrary is based on various criteria, including international norms of justice.While Ghosn is no longer in Japan, having fled in a dramatic operation that drew headlines worldwide, the opinion could weigh on minds in courtrooms in the country and beyond. It could affect, for example, the possible extradition of two Americans, Michael Taylor and his son Peter, whom Japanese prosecutors say helped the executive sneak out of Japan.Ghosn, a 66-year-old with French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, led Japanese automaker Nissan for two decades, rescuing it from near-bankruptcy. He was arrested in November 2018 on charges of breach of trust, in misusing company assets for personal gain, and violating securities laws in not fully disclosing his compensation. He denies wrongdoing.In December, he fled Japan to Lebanon while out on bail awaiting trial, meaning his case will not go on in Japan. Interpol has issued a wanted notice but his extradition from Lebanon is unlikely.The five-member working group, which is made up of independent experts, called on Japan to ensure a “full and independent investigation” of Ghosn’s detention, and asked the government “to take appropriate measures against those responsible for the violation of his rights.”The working group said that “the appropriate remedy would be to accord Mr. Ghosn an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations."The opinions of the working group are not binding on countries but aim to hold them up to their own human rights commitments. Among its past rulings involved the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who was likewise deemed to have had his human rights violated.The panel, which is independent from the United Nations, noted a string of allegations from Ghosn and his representatives, such as that he was subjected to solitary confinement and long interrogations at day or night, and denied access to court pleadings. His team claimed that interrogations of Ghosn were aimed to extract a confession.Japan’s system has been repeatedly criticized by human rights advocates. The panel cited previous concerns about Japan’s so-called “daiyo kangoku” system of detention and interrogation that relies heavily on confessions and could expose detainees to torture, ill-treatment and coercion.Japan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the government had applied “appropriate procedures” in the case, and it could not provide full information to the working group before a trial had begun. For that reason, the ministry added, it would be inappropriate for the working group to make a decision on the Ghosn case “based on limited information and biased allegations” from him and his team.“The opinion is totally unacceptable, and is not legally binding,” the ministry statement said. It also warned that the opinion could set a dangerous precedent, and “encourage those who would stand criminal trial to entertain the idea that flight can be justified and prevent the realization of justice and the proper functioning of the criminal justice system in each country.”"Japan can by no means accept the opinion of the Working Group regarding the case of the defendant Carlos Ghosn," it added.Ghosn lawyer Jessica Finelle welcomed the “brave” decision by the panel and said its members had been “hard on the Japanese legal system” and the way that Japanese authorities treated Mr. Ghosn, "specifically, violating numerous times his presumption of innocence, presenting him as guilty, orchestrating two of his arrests with the media...”Ghosn was “very happy” and “relieved” about the opinion, she said."He is somehow is getting back his dignity because he’s been humiliated during this time that he was held in Japan,” she said.Ghosn has accused Nissan and Japanese officials of conspiring to bring him down to block a fuller integration of Nissan with its French alliance partner Renault SA of France.Ghosn's lawyers filed a petition with the working group in March last year, appealing to its role to look into cases in which governments are alleged to have wrongly detained individuals under agreed international human rights conventions.Its members declined to speak to reporters about the opinion, the U.N. human rights office said.____Jeffrey Schaeffer reported from Paris.Jamey Keaten And Jeffrey Schaeffer, The Associated Press
Here’s a collection of 2020 holiday albums reviewed by The Associated Press. ____________ Carrie Underwood, “My Gift” (Capitol Nashville) Carrie Underwood takes fans to church with her first holiday album “The Gift,” a set of hymns and traditional Christmas classics that invoke the spiritual and religious themes of the season. Underwood’s interpretations of songs like “Silent Night” and “O Holy Night” are simply produced with lush strings, allowing her to showcase her vibrato as she soars to the top of her range. You could imagine yourself in a pew, head bowed as you listened to her sing “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” and all would be missing is a children’s choir and the smell of incense. But while Underwood could probably sing the Bible and sound great, the album’s more interesting tracks are original songs, including “Let There Be Peace,” a song she co-wrote where she’s backed by a choir on a rousing R&B gospel track. On one of the album’s 11 tracks, Underwood is joined on “Little Drummer Boy” by her 5-year-old son Isaiah, whose singing about “pah-wump-pah-pah-pump” and “dwums” is adorably cute, but it borders on saccharine. But the best song is her duet with John Legend on an original called “Hallelujah,” which Legend co-wrote. These two Grammy winners push each other to new and impressive heights as they raise their voices to the heavens. More of that please. — Kristin M. Hall ____________ Dolly Parton, “A Holly, Jolly Christmas” (Butterfly Records) Leave it to Dolly Parton to know just how to brighten up pandemic blues with a full dose of cheery holiday nostalgia. Her first Christmas album in 30 years sounds like it could have been made decades ago — even if she recorded it masked, gloved and appropriately socially distanced this past summer. Despite touches of pop culture — Jimmy Fallon and Miley Cyrus are among her duet partners — the feeling is more Sinatra and Nat King Cole. The first track, “Holly Jolly Christmas,” sets the tone with a “ding, dong, ding” choral opening, honky-tonk undertones and Dolly’s folksy banter. “All I Want for Christmas Is You” delivers a flirty duet with Fallon as the two playfully trade gushy confessions and Parton teases at the end: “Oh, you sexy boy.” Several tunes are Parton originals, including “Christmas on the Square,” also the title of her new Netflix holiday musical. It’s a delightfully hokey offering, a vision of friends and families gathering for singing, dancing, snowball fights and other nostalgic fare. That may all be off the table this holiday season, but Parton at least gives us a welcome taste. — Lindsey Tanner ____________ Meghan Trainor, “A Very Trainor Christmas” (Epic) Put down that eggnog and go to Spotify right now: The winner of the best Christmas album of 2020 is clearly Meghan Trainor. The 18-track “A Very Trainor Christmas” is a marvel, a multi-textured triumph led by Trainor’s warm, retro and soulful voice — perfect for a holiday album. It boasts six excellent originals alongside smart covers of such songs as “Last Christmas” by Wham! and a ukulele-led “Winter Wonderland.” Trainor has somehow infused new energy and verve to old chestnuts. Her ‘60s-meets-2020 “Sleigh Ride” is like hearing a new song and her “Silent Night” is churchlike, respectfully glorious. Trainor has her family join her for some songs — cousins and her dad — and Earth, Wind & Fire stop by to help on an old-school, propulsive funky “Holidays.” (Seth MacFarlane is the album’s only odd note, taking himself far too seriously in a version of “White Christmas”). Of the clutch of new songs, there’s the gloriously funky-EDM “I Believe in Santa,” the trop-pop “Naughty List,” the sad violin ballad “Christmas Got Me Blue” and the gleeful “Christmas Party.” America, rejoice: We just got a great early Christmas present. — Mark Kennedy ____________ Leslie Odom, Jr., “The Christmas Album” (S-Curve/BMG) What is one thing you can count on when a Broadway star creates a holiday album? The vocals will not disappoint. Tony and Grammy winner Leslie Odom, Jr. has delivered a vibrant melting pot of holiday classics and original songs with “The Christmas Album.” Odom’s voice lends itself well to multi-genre music, making him an ideal candidate to bring forth some holiday cheer. From his jazzy rendition of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” to the pop-forward “Last Christmas,” his album is — simply put — easy listening. Among the traditional yuletide tunes, Odom’s personally penned songs hold their own. “Snow” is a cold weather earworm, while “Winter Song” finds Odom’s smooth falsetto complimented by Cynthia Erivo’s sultry pipes. While most of his holiday covers are close in sound to their predecessors, the “Hamilton" star brings a unique South African influence to “Little Drummer Boy” with the help of the Mzansi Youth Choir and strips down the New Year’s Eve classic “Auld Lang Syne” to create tenderness. Not exclusively limited to Christmas songs, Odom delivers a brilliant, intimate performance of “Ma’oz Tzur,” accompanied by his wife, Nicolette Robinson, and a piano. “The Christmas Album” celebrates diversity and comfort in a year when both are sorely needed. — Ragan Clark ____________ Jamie Cullum, “The Pianoman at Christmas” (Blue Note) The title is misleading, because Jamie Cullum is more of a big band crooner than piano player on this set of 10 tunes he wrote in lockdown this spring. The arrangements are pandemic-defying, with 57 musicians by Cullum’s count, and they make “The Pianoman at Christmas” swing and soar. Horns and string orchestra trade off and blend beautifully, providing a broad canvas for Cullum to explore a range of holiday moods. Included are two tunes each about Santa, Christmas lights and the holiday blues. There’s also a cuddle song, and the topical, timely opener “It’s Christmas,” where a merry Cullum sings, “Shove your petty differences right up the chimney, please.” All of the songs are secular. “Don’t care about a saviour,” Cullum sings on the title cut. “Just want to hold onto you.” A few lyrics could have benefited from more time in the workshop. “The Jolly Fat Man” is jazzy fun, but Cullum tries unsuccessfully to rhyme hat with dispatch and relax with back. Nonetheless, he captures the spirit of the season. More than once Cullum belts a long note, and it’s easy to visualize him, head back and arms outstretched, happy to embrace the end of this awful year. — Steven Wine ____________ Tori Kelly, “A Tori Kelly Christmas" (Capitol/Schoolboy) Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds is easily one of the greatest music producers and songwriters of all time. So him in the producer’s chair plus Grammy-winning vocalist Tori Kelly in the vocal booth equals STUNNING, SENSATIONAL, EXTRAORDINARY and PHENOMENAL. Kelly is a top notch performer throughout “A Tori Kelly Christmas,” which features traditional classics like “Silent Night,” “O Holy Night” and “Joy to the World,” where her vocals will instantly transport you to a church that people not only attend to praise and worship, but to also hear beautiful and exquisite music. Even the original tracks are cute and pleasant, including “Gift That Keeps on Giving” and “25th,” where Kelly sings sweet lyrics like “no more silent nights/I’ll be by your side” and “got nothing on my list/don’t you know my only wish is to hold you on the 25th?” She closes the album with an excellent and clean cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and it is so good we’re sure Cohen is smiling from above with his approval. — Mesfin Fekadu ____________ Goo Goo Dolls, “It’s Christmas All Over” (Warner) It’s hard to write a Christmas song and it’s doubly hard writing about a bad kid on Christmas, but Goo Goo Dolls have done it. The rockabilly “You Ain’t Getting Nothin’” is an unexpected and super step on the band’s solid first holiday record, “It’s Christmas All Over.” “You picked Santa’s pocket/And you stole his reindeer/You’re only 8 years old/I caught you drinking beer,” frontman John Rzeznik sings about someone who should be getting coal in their stocking. It’s one of two originals — and one reworking — on a 10-track album filled with jazzy covers of iconic holiday songs such as “Let It Snow” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The title comes from a Tom Petty tune, which is respectfully covered. The other original is “This Is Christmas,” which has that beautiful melancholy the Goo Goo Dolls are known for. It earns its right to be a holiday classic of its own. The reworked song is “Better Days,” a wistful ode to peace from the band's 2006 album “Let Love In.” Here, it has been rebuilt with a child’s voice (the daughter of Jimmy McGorman, the band’s longtime collaborator). It’s powerfully affecting — revealing strong songwriting topped by a delicate voice. — Mark Kennedy ____________ Keedron Bryant, “The Best Time of Year" (Warner) Passionate is Keedron Bryant’s forte. At just 12 years old, he turned heads with his fiery plea “I Just Wanna Live,” a song about being a young Black man in America. Written by his mother Johnnetta Bryant after she watched the painful death of George Floyd, the song helped Bryant inspire and connect with people around the world. It even landed him a record deal. He’s 13 now and has released a Christmas EP that features a passionate and mature vocal performance from the budding superstar. Bryant tackles Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” and adds his own wonderful spin to the song. And he and his sister, Aiyanna Bryant, are epic on their soulful version of Boyz II Men and Brian McKnight’s holiday classic, “Let It Snow.” The four-song EP closes with the original track “This Year,” an upbeat adventure promising that 2021 will be better than 2020 — a message we all need to hear, especially from the youth. After all — the children are our future. — Mesfin Fekadu ____________ Davy Jones, “It’s Christmas Time Once More” (Not Too Late Records) Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without reindeers, turtle doves, a partridge — and a Monkee. “It’s Christmas Time Once More,” a reimagined collection of traditional holiday songs from The Monkees’ late frontman Davy Jones, is a welcome and warm addition to the season. His gentle and expressive voice often got overshadowed by the goofy goings-on in his made-for-TV rock band. Here it is centre stage. Jones tackles songs like “Silver Bells” and “Silent Night” with English-accented aplomb. For a jazzy “White Christmas,” his voice is joined by his youngest daughter, singer-songwriter Annabel Jones, in a pretty duet that hits all the right notes. The songs have some miles on them. They were originally released in 1991 on cassette then on CD in 1997 and released again in 2005 as “Christmas Jones.” Producer Chip Douglas has given them new arrangements and added background vocals from former Monkees bandmate Micky Dolenz and his sister, Coco Dolenz. Douglas leans into rockabilly with “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and banjo with “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” One of the two bonus tracks is an original recording of Jones singing “White Christmas” with Douglas on guitar, recorded in 1967 in Douglas’ home in L.A.’s famed Laurel Canyon. It is wistful and blissed out. — Mark Kennedy Associated Press, The Associated Press
Agriculture in Labrador has always been a bit of a hard go. While there is a huge amount of agricultural land in the region — far more than on the island portion of the province — the vast majority of it is uncleared and even getting access to some of it could take years. There is a bright side, though. In recent years, a few new farms have popped up and one is even planning to sell local beef. Food insecurity is a big issue in Labrador, with high prices and the area only producing one per cent of the food it consumes. The provincial government created a work sector plan for agriculture in the last few years and highlighted some concerns producers are having in Labrador, including the lack of an abattoir or the ability to sell large-scale commercial eggs in the region and the need for more Crown land to be made available for agriculture. On Nature’s Best Farm, Desmond Sellars has been growing produce such as carrots and potatoes in the region for about 20 years. He is a familiar face to many in Happy Valley-Goose Bay as the guy who sells vegetables in front of the courthouse, There is a huge amount of opportunity for farmers in Labrador, according to Sellars, but he feels the industry is still in its infancy stage and 'requires a lot of zeroes in your bank account.’ “Farmers here in Labrador can produce more but it always comes down to policy around agriculture. There’s no question about the soil, there’s no question about the land being able to produce, but we do not have the right policy and the right supports at the present time to support increased agriculture here in Labrador.” Things are moving in the right direction, he said, with the province recognizing the need for more locally produced food, but agriculture is a long game and that’s even more true in Labrador. It can take years to get leased land from the government, he said, and that’s just the first hurdle. Since all agricultural land in Labrador is leased, not granted, farmers don’t have access to any capital from it to go to banks, and so have to invest a lot of their own money up front. Even then, he said, the province still owns it and when a farmer retires, all the investments they made on the land can be lost. Freight costs are another barrier, he said. It costs just as much to ship things sometimes as the items themselves. That drives up his cost, which is a barrier to selling his produce to local stores. It’s cheaper for local stores in bring in food from outside the province than buy from him, he said, and that needs to be addressed. “Farmers don’t need a handout, they need a hand up,” he said. ‘If I could, for example, be able to expense freight on a subsidy basis I could compete with P.E.I., Ontario, New Brunswick, and I’d have that market, I know I would. That wouldn’t be a terrible cost to anyone, but it would be a big step for producers.” At the end of the day, he said, young people need to see that agriculture is something worthwhile to pursue and he doesn’t see a lot of that messaging out there. While farming is a long-term investment because of the large upfront capital costs, he said, it can be very profitable and there need to be more conversations around that. “The whole notion of farming as an important, viable business for this province and for people to engage in, there aren’t enough conversations around that. Farming is an underdeveloped part of this province, that’s self-evident. For that to change it requires ongoing conversations and I would argue some policy changes. “ Jim Purdy is one of the operators of Birch Lane Farm on Mud Lake Road in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, which produces a wide variety of products, from produce to live chickens and live ducks to berries and jams. Purdy highlighted some of the same issues as Sellars, especially around the impact of freight costs and getting Crown land. “Our biggest competition isn’t here, it’s in Quebec and Ontario. They can sell their product cheaper here than we can produce it for. We have to depend on the local market, loyalty, to sell our products.” Purdy said people do recognize that locally grown food tastes better, but producers need to move into larger commercial markets to be able to grow and that isn’t possible right now. Other provinces have programs to assist with that, he said, and something needs to be done in Newfoundland and Labrador. Things that aren’t issues in less remote places, he said, like getting a tractor fixed or hiring someone to clear land, can be a real barrier in Labrador. “I would say that there’s less than 200 acres of cleared agricultural land in Labrador and in some places that’s a small farm,” he said. “It’s not like you can call someone and get them to do it. We don’t have the infrastructure here for agriculture, it’s as simple as that.” He said in his opinion other provinces have done a lot more to help with agricultural production and it doesn’t seem to be a priority for the government in Newfoundland and Labrador. Much like Sellars, Purdy cites the rules around Crown land and the unwillingness of government to grant it to farmers. “They can but they won’t,” he said. “It took me a few years to get a lease and that was on land no one else wanted. Can you imagine how long it would take if someone else had wanted it? I don’t know why the process takes so long but it isn’t helping anything. If you want to farm here, you better be ready for a long investment,” he said. When asked what could be done to help the industry grow Purdy said he didn’t even know where to start, but government offering more support is a big part of it. When SaltWire Network contacted Fisheries, Forestry, and Agriculture Minister Elvis Loveless, who was given the portfolio three months ago, he said he hasn’t had a chance go to Labrador to meet with local producers yet and discuss the issues, but he’s committed to doing so. “Our goal, in terms of helping farmers, is opening up access to land,” Loveless said when asked about the concerns expressed over the inability to get granted agricultural land. “Farmers, in order to grow vegetables, or just around the culture of growing, need land, there’s no doubt. I won’t make a commitment on a timeframe, but I will commit to talking to farmers. I’m looking to get on the ground in Labrador and have those conversations with them; what are their priorities moving their industry forward in Labrador?” Loveless said in terms of issues, it’s “all on the table.” He referenced recent investments made by the provincial government in the central Labrador region for community gardens and a cold storage and packaging facility in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and said there are plans to make more agricultural land available in the region. “Having access to safe and healthy food is on everyone’s minds, and addressing those needs has never been more important than right now, especially in Labrador, where the residents rely heavily on food imported from other areas, and that’s something we’d like to change.” Tomorrow: a new beef farm is the only one of its kind in Labrador. Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
Wuhan, the Chinese city that was ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic, went into lockdown on Jan. 23. Life has returned to nearly normal 10 months later, but residents there still remember the harsh conditions.