Highlights of this day in history: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel suffers a stroke and lapses into a coma; the inventor of braille is born; Jesse Ventura sworn in as Minnesota's governor, poet T.S. Eliot dies. (Jan. 4)
Highlights of this day in history: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel suffers a stroke and lapses into a coma; the inventor of braille is born; Jesse Ventura sworn in as Minnesota's governor, poet T.S. Eliot dies. (Jan. 4)
WASHINGTON — The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection. At least five supporters facing federal charges have suggested they were taking orders from the then-president when they marched on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 to challenge the certification of Joe Biden's election win. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. It's the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office. “I feel like I was basically following my president. I was following what we were called to do. He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there," Jenna Ryan, a Texas real estate agent who posted a photo on Twitter of herself flashing a peace sign next to a broken Capitol window, told a Dallas-Fort Worth TV station. Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man photographed on the dais in the Senate who was shirtless and wore face paint and a furry hat with horns, has similarly pointed a finger at Trump. Chansley called the FBI the day after the insurrection and told agents he travelled “at the request of the president that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021,” authorities wrote in court papers. Chanley’s lawyer unsuccessfully lobbied for a pardon for his client before Trump's term ended, saying Chansley “felt like he was answering the call of our president.” Authorities say that while up on the dais in the Senate chamber, Chansley wrote a threatening note to then-Vice-President Mike Pence that said: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” Trump is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office. The charge this time is “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” His impeachment lawyer, Butch Bowers, did not respond to call for comment. Opening arguments in the trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the storming of the Capitol say a full reckoning is necessary before the country — and the Congress — can move on. For weeks, Trump rallied his supporters against the election outcome and urged them to come to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to rage against Biden's win. Trump spoke to the crowd near the White House shortly before they marched along Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill. “We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,” Trump said. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.” Later he said: “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He told supporters to walk to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically” make your voices heard. Trump has taken no responsibility for his part in fomenting the violence, saying days after the attack: “People thought that what I said was totally appropriate.” Unlike a criminal trial, where there are strict rules about what is and isn’t evidence, the Senate can consider anything it wishes. And if they can show that Trump’s words made a real impact, all the better, and scholars expect it in the trial. "Bringing in those people's statements is part of proving that it would be at a minimum reasonable for a rational person to expect that if you said and did the things that Trump said and did, then they would be understood in precisely the way these people understood them," said Frank Bowman, a constitutional law expert and law professor at University of Missouri. A retired firefighter from Pennsylvania told a friend that that he travelled to Washington with a group of people and the group listened to Trump's speech and then “followed the President’s instructions” and went to the Capitol, an agent wrote in court papers. That man, Robert Sanford, is accused of throwing a fire extinguisher that hit three Capitol Police officers. Another man, Robert Bauer of Kentucky, told FBI agents that “he marched to the U.S. Capitol because President Trump said to do so,” authorities wrote. His cousin, Edward Hemenway, from Virginia, told the FBI that he and Bauer headed toward the Capitol after Trump said “something about taking Pennsylvania Avenue." More than 130 people as of Friday were facing federal charges; prosecutors have promised that more cases — and more serious charges — are coming. Most of those arrested so far are accused of crimes like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct, but prosecutors this week filed conspiracy charges against three self-described members of a paramilitary group who authorities say plotted the attack. A special group of prosecutors is examining whether to bring sedition charges, which carry up to 20 years in prison, against any of the rioters. Two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict. And while many Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky— have condemned Trump's words, it remains unclear how many would vote to convict him. “While the statements of those people kind of bolsters the House manager's case, I think that President Trump has benefited from a Republican Party that has not been willing to look at evidence,” said Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law who testified before the House Judiciary Committee during Trump's first impeachment hearings in 2019. “They stood by him for the entire first impeachment proceeding, thinking that the phone call with the president of the Ukraine was perfect and I’m sure they will think that was a perfect speech too. There is nothing yet to suggest that they would think otherwise," Gerhardt said. ____ Richer reported from Boston. Alanna Durkin Richer And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s health minister, who has faced criticism for consuming and endorsing a herbal syrup made by a sorcerer, has tested positive for COVID-19. A Health Ministry official on Saturday confirmed that Pavithra Wanniarachchi became the highest-ranking official to be infected with the virus. She and her immediate contacts have been asked to self-quarantine. Doctors have said there is no scientific basis for the syrup as remedy for the coronavirus. It's said to contain honey and nutmeg. Thousands of people gathered in long queues in December in the town of Kegalle, northeast of the capital Colombo, to obtain the syrup, just days after Wanniarachchi and several other government officials publicly consumed it. The maker of the syrup said he got the formula through his divine powers. In local media, he claimed the Hindu goddess Kaali appeared to him in a dream and gave the recipe to save humanity from the coronavirus. Sri Lankans are used to taking both the regular medicine and indigenous alternative drugs to cure ailments. Meanwhile on Saturday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced that Sri Lanka will receive the first stock of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India on Jan. 27. He said India is giving this stock free of charge and his government is making arrangements to purchase more vaccines from India, China and Russia. On Friday, Sri Lanka approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine amid warnings from doctors that front-line health workers should be quickly inoculated to prevent the medical system from collapsing. The vaccine was the first to be approved for emergency use in Sri Lanka. The Health Ministry says the inoculation will begin by mid-February. Sri Lanka has witnessed a fresh outbreak of the disease in October when two clusters — one centred on a garment factory and the other on the main fish market — emerged in Colombo and its suburbs. Sri Lanka has reported 52,964 cases with 278 fatalities. ___ This story has been corrected to show that the town where people lined up for the syrup was Kegalle. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
Larry King, who quizzed thousands of world leaders, politicians and entertainers for CNN and other news outlets in a career spanning more than six decades, has died aged 87, his media company said in a statement on Saturday. King had been hospitalized in Los Angeles with a COVID-19 infection, according to several media reports. "For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry's many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster," it said.
As thousands of new migrant workers begin to arrive in Windsor-Essex, some local leaders fear a looming crisis lies ahead. Last year, hundreds of migrant workers in the region contracted COVID-19 and two died after falling sick with the disease. As of Friday, 12 farms in Leamington and Kingsville are in outbreak. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit also reported that 57 agri-farm worker cases are active and 104 more are in isolation. As cases begin to ramp up while new workers arrive — with the County of Essex estimating that between 600 and 700 new workers have already landed in the region — local officials worry that last summer will repeat itself. Despite all levels of government implementing new strategies and providing extra funding, the question remains as to whether lessons were actually learned from 2020 and whether workers will be kept safe the second time around. Up to 2,000 workers are expected in coming weeks, with 10,000 arriving by June. Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos said that some of the new workers have already shown up and tested positive for COVID-19, though CBC News could not confirm that. He said he's concerned with how these workers are being integrated into the workforce and inspections on how they're being quarantined upon arrival. Those inspections, he said, are done virtually and the government doesn't follow up in person, which leads him to question the integrity of the quarantine. He added that they don't know where each worker is supposed to be quarantining and, as such, town officials cannot respond to those who might be breaking the rules. "If we're being asked to enforce it, we can't, we don't have the information that's been required," Santos said. "The [Ontario Provincial Police] have told us their hands are tied, because they don't have the data." Santos and Essex County Warden Gary McNamara said they put their concerns in a letter to the federal and provincial governments in the hopes that they will provide more guidance. "We're asking the governments and the powers that be to utilize their requirements, strengthen them based on the experience that we've already gone through and bring that oversight," Santos said. "[They've] allowed this program to continue with certain restrictions and guidelines ... and we're asking them to police it and bring forward the boots on the ground, the enforcement that they've approved." 'I don't believe we're in that same position' But Joe Sbrocchi, general manager of Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG), says he doesn't believe that they're "in that same position" as last year. "There are so many eyes on this that I find it strange that people think that that isn't happening. I don't get it," he told CBC News. "I don't think we're looking at the same situation that we saw in March and April of last year." He said OGVG has worked with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to develop tools and supports for farmers. As for the quarantine process, Sbrocchi said it's straightforward: workers arrive and tell Canadian Border Services where they are headed, that information is passed to local law enforcement that will check in. Yet he couldn't say whether inspections or check-ins on the workers were happening in-person or virtually. He added that he's not aware of any new workers showing up and testing positive. "If the question is do I think that people are acting inappropriately, I do not and I certainly wouldn't be supportive of it," he said. "Farms will do everything possible to be cooperative ... it's in their interest in every way possible ... We are doing everything possible to take care of this as best we can." The province responded to Santos' letter and said they are closely working with federal and local authorities to "ensure there is a coordinated response when it comes to controlling the spread of COVID-19 on farms." In November, the province announced 35 actions to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 on farms. The actions required participation from farmers, workers, the government and the industry. Short-term solutions referred to the use of personal protective equipment, physical distancing practices, widespread adoption of screening practices and limiting the number of workers moving between farms. A key long-term solution was better housing standards. In an emailed statement to CBC News, the federal government said it has invested nearly $85 million to cover the cost of worker quarantines and that it has extended funding for Windsor's Isolation Recovery Centre until March 31.
A naked Florida man stole what news footage showed to be a marked police vehicle and crashed it in a wooded area, officials said. Joshua Shenker, 22, was arrested after Thursday's crash on charges including theft of a motor vehicle, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, depriving an officer of means of communication or protection and resisting an officer without violence, according to a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office report. Officers responded to reports of a naked man running along Interstate 10 in western Jacksonville shortly before noon Thursday. Shenker was lying in the the roadway when an officer stopped on the opposite side of the route, the report said. Shenker then ran across the highway lanes toward the officer, officials said. The redacted report didn't say how Shenker stole the vehicle. Authorities confirmed only that a vehicle belonging to the City of Jacksonville was stolen. First Coast News footage of the scene showed the crashed vehicle to be a marked patrol car. According to the police report, about $10,000 worth of damage was done to the vehicle. Officers noticed Shenker had road rash after the crash and he was taken to a hospital to be checked out, authorities said. Shenker was being held on $4,011 bail. Jail records didn't list an attorney for him. The Associated Press
LISBON, Portugal — Portugal will hold a presidential election Sunday, choosing a head of state to serve a five-year term as the country suffers through a national lockdown and a worsening coronavirus outbreak. Saturday is a day of political reflection, when campaigning and the publication of opinion polls are forbidden. So here’s a look at the election: WHAT’S AT STAKE? The president in Portugal has no legislative powers, which lie with parliament and the government, but is an influential voice and under exceptional circumstances can dissolve parliament and call an early election. The head of state can also veto legislation, although parliament can overturn that veto, and refer legislation to the constitutional Court for vetting. Mostly, the president aims to stand above the political fray, refereeing disputes and acting as an arbiter to defuse tensions. WHO’S IN THE RUNNING? Seven candidates are running, but if none captures more than 50% of the vote, a runoff between the two top candidates will take place on Feb. 14. The incumbent, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, is widely expected to be returned for a second and final term. Charming and affable, the 72-year-old Rebelo de Sousa’s willingness to pose for selfies spawned a Portuguese Facebook page called “Selfies com Marcelo” (Selfies with Marcelo). He has had an approval rating over 60% and his six challengers haven’t come close to denting his apparent lead. But a new right-wing populist, André Ventura, may capture around 11% of the vote, opinion polls indicate, and could secure second place in a runoff. That would send a shock wave through Portuguese mainstream politics, where extremists have so far been absent. HOW IS AN ELECTION HELD DURING A PANDEMIC? Portugal, which is in a lockdown, has one of the worst rates of infections and deaths in the world, according to a tally by John's Hopkins University. The election campaign featured none of the usual flag-waving rallies or other large public events in order to avoid gatherings that would fuel the spread of the virus. Campaigning ended Friday. Early voting drew almost 200,000 of the country's 9.3 million registered voters. The government is opening 2,000 more polling stations to prevent crowds from forming on Sunday. Restrictions on movement are being lifted for election day and voters must bring their own pens. Barry Hatton, The Associated Press
What began as a side project for Canadian journalist Daniel Dale soon ballooned into a full-time job, as he fact-checked U.S. President Donald Trump — often in real time — and Trump's near-daily spreading of misinformation. Now, with Trump's four-year term over, Dale reflects on some of Trump's most damaging and befuddling lies. Dale went to Washington to cover analytical and human interest stories for the Toronto Star, where he was the paper's bureau chief for four years. He began fact-checking Trump as a side project. The president, he soon found, provided ample material to work with. "It turned out that the president lied so frequently that it could be a full-time thing," said Dale, speaking with CBC's Leigh Anne Power. "And that's what it became for me." Dale, who moved to CNN in 2019, was often sought out for what was true — and more often what wasn't — in Trump's tweets, speeches, remarks and news conferences. Dale now has more than 1.2 million followers on Twitter. The volume and frequency of Trump's tweets created a demanding schedule, said Dale, and fact-checking the president soon became a kind of lifestyle. "He would lie from sometimes 6 a.m. when he would get on Twitter, to just about midnight where he would stop tweeting," said Dale. "You could be watching a game, or watching a movie, or out at a park or something and just have to jump because the president had said something wildly untrue and your editor is calling." 'Ridiculous' and 'unique' Like other social media companies, Twitter suspended Trump's account indefinitely over his role in this month's violent riot at the Capitol. Through the months, Trump's tweets often veered from the potentially violent to the outright bizarre. While Dale says that all politicians lie or bend the truth in order to win elections or play-up their personal accomplishments, Trump would often claim outlandish and easily verifiable facts about himself. "He claimed that he was once named 'Michigan Man of The Year', even though he never lived in Michigan," Dale said. "There's no reason he would've gotten this award, he did not get this award, but he kept saying it." Another of Trump's lies which stood out was a claim that he had been called by the leader of the Boy Scouts of America, and was told that he had given the greatest ever speech at the Boy Scout Jamboree event. The Boy Scouts of America confirmed to Dale that had never happened. "He made that up, the White House later admitted it," said Dale. "So a president who lies about the Boy Scouts is a pretty unique president." Dangerous tweeting Though Trump's time in office yielded many remarkable claims and fabrications, the more serious of his lies, said Dale, were the ones which put American institutions and lives at risk. "The lies that he won the election, that it was rife with fraud, Joe Biden stole it, or it was rigged— all that. I think we've seen the serious damage to democracy," he told CBC's Newfoundland Morning. In addition to allegations of election fraud, Dale said that the most damaging day-to-day implications of Trump's lying were the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Listen to Newfoundland Morning's interview with Daniel Dale, beginning at 9:30: "[Saying] things were under control and it wasn't that bad, and it was just like the flu," Dale said, "that kind of family of lies I think very likely resulted in a lot of Americans dying, because people didn't change their behaviour in a way they would have if the president had been more honest with them." While some fact-checking might have been as simple as a Google search, others required him to track down obscure characters, and dig into archives or statistical databases. As for what it takes to be a good fact-checker, Dale pointed to a willingness to wade into the weeds to find the truth is imperative. "I would say you have to have stamina. You have to take a breath and second guess yourself, make sure that you are not misunderstanding what's said, and you're not tweeting prematurely before you've listened to all the facts," said Dale. "I think you have to be willing to go the extra mile in pursuing the truth." And while the Trump era has ended, Dale's zeal for checking the facts has not. On Friday, he reported on a false claim by President Joe Biden. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
LOS ANGELES — Larry King, the suspenders-sporting everyman whose broadcast interviews with world leaders, movie stars and ordinary Joes helped define American conversation for a half-century, died Saturday. He was 87. King died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Ora Media, the studio and network he co-founded, tweeted. No cause of death was given, but CNN had earlier reported he was hospitalized with COVID-19. A longtime nationally syndicated radio host, from 1985 through 2010 he was a nightly fixture on CNN, where he won many honours, including two Peabody awards. With his celebrity interviews, political debates and topical discussions, King wasn’t just an enduring on-air personality. He also set himself apart with the curiosity be brought to every interview, whether questioning the assault victim known as the “Central Park Jogger” or billionaire industrialist Ross Perot, who in 1992 rocked the presidential contest by announcing his candidacy on King’s show. In its early years, “Larry King Live” was based in Washington, D.C., which gave the show an air of gravitas. Likewise King. He was the plainspoken go-between through whom Beltway bigwigs could reach their public, and they did, earning the show prestige as a place where things happened, where news was made. King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews. In 1995 he presided over a Middle East peace summit with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He welcomed everyone from the Dalai Lama to Elizabeth Taylor, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Barack Obama, Bill Gates to Lady Gaga. Especially after he relocated to Los Angeles, his shows were frequently in the thick of breaking celebrity news, including Paris Hilton talking about her stint in jail in 2007 and Michael Jackson’s friends and family members talking about his death in 2009. King boasted of never over-preparing for an interview. His nonconfrontational style relaxed his guests and made him readily relatable to his audience. “I don’t pretend to know it all,” he said in a 1995 Associated Press interview. “Not, `What about Geneva or Cuba?' I ask, `Mr. President, what don’t you like about this job?' Or `What’s the biggest mistake you made?' That’s fascinating.” At a time when CNN, as the lone player in cable news, was deemed politically neutral, and King was the essence of its middle-of-the-road stance, political figures and people at the centre of controversies would seek out his show. And he was known for getting guests who were notoriously elusive. Frank Sinatra, who rarely gave interviews and often lashed out at reporters, spoke to King in 1988 in what would be the singer’s last major TV appearance. Sinatra was an old friend of King’s and acted accordingly. “Why are you here?” King asks. Sinatra responds, “Because you asked me to come and I hadn’t seen you in a long time to begin with, I thought we ought to get together and chat, just talk about a lot of things.” King had never met Marlon Brando, who was even tougher to get and tougher to interview, when the acting giant asked to appear on King’s show in 1994. The two hit it off so famously they ended their 90-minute talk with a song and an on-the-mouth kiss, an image that was all over media in subsequent weeks. After a gala week marking his 25th anniversary in June 2010, King abruptly announced he was retiring from his show, telling viewers, “It’s time to hang up my nightly suspenders.” Named as his successor in the time slot: British journalist and TV personality Piers Morgan. By King’s departure that December, suspicion had grown that he had waited a little too long to hang up those suspenders. Once the leader in cable TV news, he ranked third in his time slot with less than half the nightly audience his peak year, 1998, when “Larry King Live” drew 1.64 million viewers. His wide-eyed, regular-guy approach to interviewing by then felt dated in an era of edgy, pushy or loaded questioning by other hosts. Meanwhile, occasional flubs had made him seem out of touch, or worse. A prime example from 2007 found King asking Jerry Seinfeld if he had voluntarily left his sitcom or been cancelled by his network, NBC. “I was the No. 1 show in television, Larry,” replied Seinfeld with a flabbergasted look. “Do you know who I am?” Always a workaholic, King would be back doing specials for CNN within a few months of performing his nightly duties. He found a new sort of celebrity as a plain-spoken natural on Twitter when the platform emerged, winning over more than 2 million followers who simultaneously mocked and loved him for his esoteric style. “I’ve never been in a canoe. #Itsmy2cents,” he said in a typical tweet in 2015. His Twitter account was essentially a revival of a USA Today column he wrote for two decades full of one-off, disjointed thoughts. Norm Macdonald delivered a parody version of the column when he played King on “Saturday Night Live,” with deadpan lines like, “The more I think about it, the more I appreciate the equator.” King was constantly parodied, often through old-age jokes on late-night talk shows from hosts including David Letterman and Conan O’Brien, often appearing with the latter to get in on the roasting himself. King came by his voracious but no-frills manner honestly. He was born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in 1933, a son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who ran a bar and grill in Brooklyn. But after his father’s death when Larry was a boy, he faced a troubled, sometimes destitute youth. A fan of such radio stars as Arthur Godfrey and comedians Bob & Ray, King on reaching adulthood set his sights on a broadcasting career. With word that Miami was a good place to break in, he headed south in 1957 and landed a job sweeping floors at a tiny AM station. When a deejay abruptly quit, King was put on the air — and was handed his new surname by the station manager, who thought Zeiger “too Jewish.” A year later he moved to a larger station, where his duties were expanded from the usual patter to serving as host of a daily interview show that aired from a local restaurant. He quickly proved equally adept at talking to the waitresses, and the celebrities who began dropping by. By the early 1960s King had gone to yet a larger Miami station, scored a newspaper column and become a local celebrity himself. At the same time, he fell victim to living large. “It was important to me to come across as a ‘big man,”’ he wrote in his autobiography, which meant “I made a lot of money and spread it around lavishly.” He accumulated debts and his first broken marriages (he was married eight times to seven women). He gambled, borrowed wildly and failed to pay his taxes. He also became involved with a shady financier in a scheme to bankroll an investigation of President Kennedy’s assassination. But when King skimmed some of the cash to pay his overdue taxes, his partner sued him for grand larceny in 1971. The charges were dropped, but King’s reputation appeared ruined. King lost his radio show and, for several years, struggled to find work. But by 1975 the scandal had largely blown over and a Miami station gave him another chance. Regaining his local popularity, King was signed in 1978 to host radio’s first nationwide call-in show. Originating from Washington on the Mutual network, “The Larry King Show” was eventually heard on more than 300 stations and made King a national phenomenon. A few years later, CNN founder Ted Turner offered King a slot on his young network. “Larry King Live” debuted on June 1, 1985, and became CNN’s highest-rated program. King’s beginning salary of $100,000 a year eventually grew to more than $7 million. A three-packs-a-day cigarette habit led to a heart attack in 1987, but King’s quintuple-bypass surgery didn’t slow him down. Meanwhile, he continued to prove that, in his words, “I’m not good at marriage, but I’m a great boyfriend.” He was just 18 when he married high school girlfriend Freda Miller, in 1952. The marriage lasted less than a year. In subsequent decades he would marry Annette Kay, Alene Akins (twice), Mickey Sutfin, Sharon Lepore and Julie Alexander. In 1997, he wed Shawn Southwick, a country singer and actress 26 years his junior. They would file for divorce in 2010, rescind the filing, then file for divorce again in 2019. The couple had two sons, King’s fourth and fifth kids, Chance Armstrong, born in 1999, and Cannon Edward, born in 2000. In 2020, King lost his two eldest children, Andy King and Chaia King, who died of unrelated health problems within weeks of each other. He had many other medical issues in recent decades, including more heart attacks and diagnoses of type 2 diabetes and lung cancer. Early in 2021, CNN reported that King was hospitalized for more than a week with COVID-19. Through his setbacks he continued to work into his late 80s, taking on online talk shows and infomercials as his appearances on CNN grew fewer. “Work,” King once said. “It’s the easiest thing I do.” ___ Former AP Television Writer Frazier Moore contributed biographical material to this report. Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press
An Edmonton man who admitted stabbing his stepfather with scissors at a Christmas Day family gathering three years ago has been acquitted of second-degree murder. Stephan Kody was found not guilty this week in the Dec. 25, 2017 death of Eddie Melenka at a home near 73rd Avenue and 77th Street. In his decision, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Adam Germain said the Crown "has not negated Mr. Kody's plea of self-defence" so the homicide "will have to remain a non-culpable homicide." The Crown had argued that Kody should have been convicted of "at least" manslaughter, Germain said. But he said he didn't need to consider a manslaughter finding because he concluded that Kody "is entitled to the benefit of the doubt about self-defence." The stabbing occurred on Christmas Day. A family gathering fuelled by alcohol, drugs and karaoke had started the night before. Kody, who was 22 at the time, and Melenka, 48, had been drinking alcohol "all day" and snorting cocaine. The cocaine belonged to Melenka, who was sharing it with Kody in the master bedroom. Kody admitted that he did at least three or four lines of cocaine and that a dispute arose over whether he could count on his stepfather to leave him another line. According to Germain's decision, the two men got into a fight. Melenka pushed Kody over a couch. Kody grabbed a pair of scissors from the kitchen table and ran back to the bedroom. Kody said Melenka followed him into the room and attacked him. Kody fought back with the scissors. "One of the wounds entered Mr. Melenka between his top second and third rib and proceeded downward into his heart which led to bleeding into the chest cavity and despite prompt, competent and aggressive medical intervention, Mr. Melenka succumbed to his wounds," Germain said. The Crown had argued for Kody to be convicted of at least manslaughter because the stabbing stemmed from Kody's anger that his stepfather had stopped him from continuing to use his cocaine. The Crown had also said that picking up a pair of scissors and stabbing someone near the heart reflects an intention to kill, and that there wasn't enough evidence to show that Kody was not in full control of his faculties at the time. The defence lawyer argued that his client's evidence should be believed as being "reasonable, logical, and consistent with all of the background facts," Germain said. The judge noted that Kody gave evidence indicating that he was afraid of being beaten by Melenka, a larger man who was a more capable and experienced fighter. Photos taken of Kody following his arrest revealed that he had been subject to a beating. The stabbing was not witnessed by the other five people who were in the house. "Given the amount of alcohol and cocaine consumed that night and the circumstances of this homicide, I could not, under any basis, conclude that the requirements for second-degree murder have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt," Germain said. "Therefore, if I am wrong about the Crown's failure to prove that self-defence did not apply, Mr. Kody would've been convicted only of manslaughter. "In the event of successful appellate review by the Crown which does not result in a retrial, arrangements to sentence Mr. Kody on the basis of manslaughter should be considered."
LONDON — A major British doctors' group is says the U.K. government should “urgently review” it's decision to give people a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine up to 12 weeks after the first, rather than the shorter gap recommended by the manufacturer and the World Health Organization. The U.K., which has Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak, adopted the policy in order to give as many people as possible a first dose of vaccine quickly. So far almost 5.5 million people have received a shot of either a vaccine made by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech or one developed by U.K.-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University. AstraZeneca has said it believes a first dose of its vaccine offers protection after 12 weeks, but Pfizer says it has not tested the efficacy of its jab after such a long gap. The British Medical Association on Saturday urged England’s chief medical officer to “urgently review the U.K.’s current position of second doses after 12 weeks.” In a statement, the association said there was “growing concern from the medical profession regarding the delay of the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as Britain's strategy has become increasingly isolated from many other countries.” “No other nation has adopted the U.K.‘s approach,” Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the BMA council, told the BBC. He said the WHO had recommended that the second Pfizer vaccine shot could be given up to six weeks after the first but only “in exceptional circumstances.” “I do understand the trade-off and the rationale, but if that was the right thing to do then we would see other nations following suit,” Nagpaul said. Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, defended the decision as “a reasonable scientific balance on the basis of both supply and also protecting the most people.” Researchers in Britain have begun collecting blood samples from newly vaccinated people in order to study how many antibodies they are producing at different intervals, from 3 weeks to 24 months, to get an answer to the question of what timing is best for the shots. The doctors’ concerns came a day after government medical advisers said there was evidence that a new variant of the virus first identified in southeast England carries a greater risk of death than the original strain. Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said Friday “that there is evidence that there is an increased risk for those who have the new variant,” which is also more transmissible than the original virus. He said the new strain might be about 30% more deadly, but stressed that “the evidence is not yet strong” and more research is needed. Research by British scientists advising the government said although initial analyses suggested that the strain did not cause more severe disease, several more recent ones suggest it might. However, the number of deaths is relatively small, and fatality rates are affected by many things, including the care that patients get and their age and health, beyond having COVID-19. Britain has recorded 95,981 deaths among people who tested positive, the highest confirmed virus toll in Europe. The U.K. is in a lockdown to try to slow the latest surge of the virus, and the government says an end to the restrictions will not come soon. Pubs, restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues and many shops are closed, and people are required to stay largely at home. The British government is considering tightening quarantine requirements for people arriving from abroad. Already travellers must self-isolate for 10 days, but enforcement is patchy. Authorities are considering requiring arrivals to stay in quarantine hotels, a practice adopted in other countries, including Australia. “We may need to go further to protect our borders,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
Saskatchewan residents may have only seen Premier Scott Moe once this week, but they no doubt heard him weigh in on everything from pipelines to civic politics to, of course, COVID-19. For the second straight week, Saskatchewan led the country in per capita active cases. And this week it became the leader in the rate of cases over the past seven days. On Thursday, Saskatchewan set a new high for COVID-19 deaths in one day with 13. On Friday, eight more people were added to the growing list. In 2021, 94 Saskatchewan residents have lost their lives. Moe extended his condolences in a social media post Thursday, adding, "while case numbers continue to decrease and we continue to deliver the vaccine at a high rate, reporting the highest number of deaths in a single day is a sombre reminder of the need to reduce the spread of this deadly virus by following all public health orders and guidelines." At the government's lone COVID-19 media conference on Tuesday, Moe pointed to a slight decrease in active cases as "very positive in where we are going." New cases ranged from 227 on Thursday up to 312 on Friday. On Tuesday, Moe aimed at those breaking public health orders, saying "enough is enough." "We have kids in community after community in this province that are making the sacrifice. It's time as adults we start making the same sacrifice." He said the government would consider indefinite closures of businesses flouting public health rules. Moe called the current measures, which expire next Friday, "significant" and did not hint at implementing stricter ones next week. Vaccine 'firecracker' The news of vaccine manufacturer Pfizer not sending any doses to Canada next week rankled the premier. Pfizer said the temporary slowdown to ship vaccines is due to efforts to boost production volumes and upgrade its plant in Belgium. The federal government expects the deliveries to be disrupted for "two or three weeks" but anticipates the short-term slowdown will be made up for in February and March. Near the end of the Tuesday news conference, Moe referenced comments made by Ontario Premier Doug Ford on what he would do if he were Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "I'd be up that guy's ying-yang so far with a firecracker he wouldn't know what hit him," said Ford. Moe quoted Ford adding, "I would just say if the prime minister were able to do that there would be a lineup of premiers behind that would bring a lighter to that party." NDP health critic Vicki Mowat said she shared Moe's sentiment of frustration but called his comment "disturbing" and "a poor choice of words." Pfizer Canada declined to comment on the remarks of Moe and Ford. After an initial slow rollout, Saskatchewan has ramped up its vaccinations. On Friday, Moe tweeted the province leads others in percentage of vaccines administered and called on the federal government to "get us more vaccines more quickly." Pipeline problems Moe is also asking the federal government to do more in response to a decision from new U.S. President Joe Biden. In one of his first acts after taking office, Biden kept an election promise to stop the Keystone XL pipeline project. The 1,897-kilometre pipeline would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the oilsands in Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska, connecting to the original Keystone pipeline that runs to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. In 2015, the U.S. Senate approved a bill to build the pipeline, but one month later President Barack Obama vetoed the bill. In 2019, President Donald Trump issued a permit to get the project off the ground. Last March, Alberta invested $1.5 billion in the project and, less than two months later, Biden promised to kill the project if elected. Last Sunday, Moe released a statement as reports broke that indicated Biden would shut the project down. "While I am urging the prime minister to leverage his relationship with Mr. Biden, Saskatchewan will continue exercising our contacts in Washington, D.C., to advocate for the continuation of this project that clearly benefits both of our nations," Moe wrote in a statement Sunday. TC Energy, the pipeline owner, said the project would have created "$2.97 million in additional annual property taxes to municipalities along the pipeline right-of-way in Saskatchewan." The pipeline would have run through the Saskatchewan RMs of Fox Valley, Piapot and Grassy Creek. On Thursday, Moe posted another statement to social media calling on the federal government to intervene further, expressing concern about the potential of future pipeline projects. "If the federal government is unwilling to further challenge the Biden administration's unilateral action to cancel this pipeline, will they stand with the advancement of future privately developed pipelines, or will they abandon the hardworking employees providing livelihoods for thousands of families in Western Canada?" Moe said. Prime Minister Trudeau and the federal government have stated their support for the pipeline project. This week Trudeau called Biden's decision "a very difficult one for workers in Alberta and Saskatchewan." He said he would raise the issue with Biden in their call Friday, although it seems unlikely Trudeau would sway Biden from undoing one of his first moves in office. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called the U.S. decision a violation of the Canada-U.S.-Mexico trade agreement. "At the very least, I call upon the government of Canada to press the U.S. administration to compensate TC Energy and the Government of Alberta for billions of dollars of costs incurred in the construction of Keystone XL to date," Kenney wrote in a letter to Trudeau. Moe calls Regina committee decision 'absurd' It is fairly rare for a Saskatchewan premier to take on a city council for one of its decisions, but that happened this week as Moe took issue with an approved amendment at Regina's executive committee. On Wednesday, the committee, made up of city councillors and the mayor, passed a motion to add fossil fuel producers and sellers to the list of companies banned from paying for naming rights on city buildings. Mayor Sandra Masters was one of four who voted against the amendment. Moe again took his frustrations to social media not long after the committee passed the motion. He said if council were to approve the change next week his government would "seriously consider the future of sponsorships to the City of Regina from provincial energy companies like SaskEnergy and SaskPower." The councillor who proposed the amendment, Dan LeBlanc said, "Mr. Moe should stay in his lane and stay out of municipal politics. Frankly, I would think he has bigger fish to fry with his handling of the COVID crisis." It is possible the amendment as written will not receive the approval of council when it meets next Wednesday.
WOLVERHAMPTON, England — Wolverhampton has signed Brazilian striker Willian José on loan from Spanish club Real Sociedad until the end of the season, the Premier League club said Saturday. The loan signing adds depth to the Wolves squad after forward Raúl Jiménez suffered a fractured skull against Arsenal on Nov. 29. Wolves said the deal remains subject to Willian José being granted a work permit and international clearance, and that it includes an option to buy at the end of the season. Wolves said he is unlikely to be available for the team's next game against Chelsea in the Premier League on Wednesday. Willian José has scored 62 goals in 170 games for Real Sociedad but scored only three times in 13 games in La Liga this season. He scored twice in his last game for the Spanish club in a 2-0 win over Cordoba in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Larry King, the suspenders-sporting everyman whose broadcast interviews with world leaders, movie stars and ordinary people helped define American conversation for a half-century, died Saturday. He was 87. King died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Ora Media, the studio and network he co-founded, tweeted. No cause of death was given, but CNN had earlier reported he was hospitalized with COVID-19. A longtime nationally syndicated radio host, from 1985 through 2010 he was a nightly fixture on CNN, where he won many honours, including two Peabody awards. With his celebrity interviews, political debates and topical discussions, King wasn't just an enduring on-air personality. He also set himself apart with the curiosity be brought to every interview, whether questioning the assault victim known as the "Central Park Jogger" or billionaire industrialist Ross Perot, who in 1992 rocked the presidential contest by announcing his candidacy on King's show. In its early years, Larry King Live was based in Washington, D.C., which gave the show an air of gravitas. Likewise King. He was the plainspoken go-between through whom Beltway bigwigs could reach their public, and they did, earning the show prestige as a place where things happened, where news was made. King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews. In 1995 he presided over a Middle East peace summit with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He welcomed everyone from the Dalai Lama to Elizabeth Taylor, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Barack Obama, Bill Gates to Lady Gaga. Relocated to Los Angeles Especially after he relocated to Los Angeles, his shows were frequently in the thick of breaking celebrity news, including Paris Hilton talking about her stint in jail in 2007 and Michael Jackson's friends and family members talking about his death in 2009. King boasted of never over-preparing for an interview. His non-confrontational style relaxed his guests and made him readily relatable to his audience. "I don't pretend to know it all," he said in a 1995 Associated Press interview. "Not, `What about Geneva or Cuba?' I ask, `Mr. President, what don't you like about this job?' Or 'What's the biggest mistake you made?' That's fascinating." At a time when CNN, as the lone player in cable news, was deemed politically neutral, and King was the essence of its middle-of-the-road stance, political figures and people at the centre of controversies would seek out his show. Interviewed Sinatra, Brando And he was known for getting guests who were notoriously elusive. Frank Sinatra, who rarely gave interviews and often lashed out at reporters, spoke to King in 1988 in what would be the singer's last major TV appearance. Sinatra was an old friend of King's and acted accordingly. "Why are you here?" King asks. Sinatra responds, "Because you asked me to come and I hadn't seen you in a long time to begin with, I thought we ought to get together and chat, just talk about a lot of things." King had never met Marlon Brando, who was even tougher to get and tougher to interview, when the acting giant asked to appear on King's show in 1994. The two hit it off so famously they ended their 90-minute talk with a song and an on-the-mouth kiss, an image that was all over media in subsequent weeks. 25-run year on Larry King Live After a gala week marking his 25th anniversary in June 2010, King abruptly announced he was retiring from his show, telling viewers, "It's time to hang up my nightly suspenders." Named as his successor in the time slot: British journalist and TV personality Piers Morgan. By King's departure that December, suspicion had grown that he had waited a little too long to hang up those suspenders. Once the leader in cable TV news, he ranked third in his time slot with less than half the nightly audience his peak year, 1998, when "Larry King Live" drew 1.64 million viewers. His wide-eyed, regular-guy approach to interviewing by then felt dated in an era of edgy, pushy or loaded questioning by other hosts. Meanwhile, occasional flubs had made him seem out of touch, or worse. A prime example from 2007 found King asking Jerry Seinfeld if he had voluntarily left his sitcom or been cancelled by his network, NBC. "I was the No. 1 show in television, Larry," replied Seinfeld with a flabbergasted look. "Do you know who I am?" Always a workaholic, King would be back doing specials for CNN within a few months of performing his nightly duties. Big following on Twitter He found a new sort of celebrity as a plain-spoken natural on Twitter when the platform emerged, winning over more than 2 million followers who simultaneously mocked and loved him for his esoteric style. "I've never been in a canoe. .Itsmy2cents," he said in a typical tweet in 2015. His Twitter account was essentially a revival of a USA Today column he wrote for two decades full of one-off, disjointed thoughts. Norm Macdonald delivered a parody version of the column when he played King on "Saturday Night Live," with deadpan lines like, "The more I think about it, the more I appreciate the equator." King was constantly parodied, often through old-age jokes on late-night talk shows from hosts including David Letterman and Conan O'Brien, often appearing with the latter to get in on the roasting himself. Born and raised in Brooklyn King came by his voracious but no-frills manner honestly. He was born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in 1933, a son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who ran a bar and grill in Brooklyn. But after his father's death when Larry was a boy, he faced a troubled, sometimes destitute youth. A fan of such radio stars as Arthur Godfrey and comedians Bob & Ray, King on reaching adulthood set his sights on a broadcasting career. With word that Miami was a good place to break in, he headed south in 1957 and landed a job sweeping floors at a tiny AM station. When a deejay abruptly quit, King was put on the air — and was handed his new surname by the station manager, who thought Zeiger "too Jewish." A year later he moved to a larger station, where his duties were expanded from the usual patter to serving as host of a daily interview show that aired from a local restaurant. He quickly proved equally adept at talking to the waitresses, and the celebrities who began dropping by. By the early 1960s King had gone to yet a larger Miami station, scored a newspaper column and become a local celebrity himself. At the same time, he fell victim to living large. "It was important to me to come across as a `big man,"' he wrote in his autobiography, which meant "I made a lot of money and spread it around lavishly." Married 8 times to 7 women He accumulated debts and his first broken marriages (he was married eight times to seven women). He gambled, borrowed wildly and failed to pay his taxes. He also became involved with a shady financier in a scheme to bankroll an investigation of President Kennedy's assassination. But when King skimmed some of the cash to pay his overdue taxes, his partner sued him for grand larceny in 1971. The charges were dropped, but King's reputation appeared ruined. King lost his radio show and, for several years, struggled to find work. But by 1975 the scandal had largely blown over and a Miami station gave him another chance. Regaining his local popularity, King was signed in 1978 to host radio's first nationwide call-in show. Originating from Washington on the Mutual network, The Larry King Show was eventually heard on more than 300 stations and made King a national phenomenon. A few years later, CNN founder Ted Turner offered King a slot on his young network. Larry King Live debuted on June 1, 1985, and became CNN's highest-rated program. King's beginning salary of $100,000 a year eventually grew to more than $7 million. A three-packs-a-day cigarette habit led to a heart attack in 1987, but King's quintuple-bypass surgery didn't slow him down. Meanwhile, he continued to prove that, in his words, "I'm not good at marriage, but I'm a great boyfriend." He was just 18 when he married high school girlfriend Freda Miller, in 1952. The marriage lasted less than a year. In subsequent decades he would marry Annette Kay, Alene Akins (twice), Mickey Sutfin, Sharon Lepore and Julie Alexander. In 1997, he wed Shawn Southwick, a country singer and actress 26 years his junior. They would file for divorce in 2010, rescind the filing, then file for divorce again in 2019. The couple had two sons, King's fourth and fifth kids, Chance Armstrong, born in 1999, and Cannon Edward, born in 2000. In 2020, King lost his two eldest children, Andy King and Chaia King, who died of unrelated health problems within weeks of each other. He had many other medical issues in recent decades, including more heart attacks and diagnoses of type 2 diabetes and lung cancer. Early in 2021, CNN reported that King was hospitalized for more than a week with COVID-19. Through his setbacks he continued to work into his late 80s, taking on online talk shows and infomercials as his appearances on CNN grew fewer. "Work," King once said. "It's the easiest thing I do."
A New Brunswick RCMP officer committed serious, charter-infringing misconduct by denying a man arrested for impaired driving access to a lawyer, a court decision states. The case involved Pier-Paul Landry, who was convicted of impaired driving, but was initially denied access to a lawyer by the investigating officer on the 2017 case. Landry was acquitted on appeal of the conviction. The decision names RCMP Const. Kalbarczyk as the investigating officer but does not include his first name. The Crown sought leave to appeal the acquittal, leading to the New Brunswick Court of Appeal decision issued Thursday. Justice Charles LeBlond, who wrote the decision on behalf of the three-judge panel, upheld the acquittal. "[T]he facts of this case expose the police officer's usual practice which prevented Mr. Landry from availing himself of his right to retain and instruct counsel at the scene of his arrest, despite the Supreme Court of Canada's explicit and well-known instructions to that effect, dating back more than thirty-three years, which have been reiterated in several decisions of this Court," LeBlond wrote. He added that his hope is that the "clear signal" the appeal court sent in a previous ruling regarding access to a lawyer, and "reiterates in these reasons will be clearly understood." According to the decision, Landry was stopped at 2:48 a.m. on Dec. 2, 2017, in Inkerman Ferry, a community northeast of Tracadie-Sheila. Kalbarczyk detected alcohol on Landry's breath. Landry admitted he had been drinking. He failed a roadside screening test around 3:10 a.m., leading the officer to arrest him. The decision says Kalbarczyk advised Landry of his rights, which include the right to retain and instruct legal counsel without delay. Landry told the officer he had a lawyer and wanted to speak with him immediately. However, Kalbarczyk refused to allow him to do so until at a police station, which LeBlond wrote was the first breach of Landry's rights. I cannot conceive that the RCMP, with all its resources and means of communicating with its members, would not have alerted its members about how they should conduct themselves - Justice Charles LeBlond "[T]he case law could not be clearer on the issue of when an accused is entitled to avail himself or herself of his or her right to counsel," LeBlond wrote. "The right applies immediately following arrest and reading of constitutional rights, insofar as the circumstances of the case allow. No evidence may be obtained before the right is exercised." The judge said Kalbarczyk should have let Landry use his cellphone instead of the officer threatening to seize the device. At the police station, Landry repeatedly tried to call several lawyers without success. After several more attempts, the officer read Landry what's known as a Prosper warning. It indicates a suspect has changed their mind about contacting legal representation or hasn't clearly responded to the officer about seeking legal representation. It is used before questioning the suspect. But the warning didn't apply, LeBlond wrote, and Landry wasn't aware of the legal significance of the warning. Kalbarczyk testified Landry told him, "I do not waive it, but what do you want me to do?" Instead of allowing Landry to exercise his right within a reasonable time, the decision says the officer told Landry there was nothing more to be done. Four minutes later, Landry was turned over to another person who collected breath samples to determine his blood alcohol level. LeBlond described Kalbarczyk's actions as "very serious Charter infringing misconduct." The officer testified that he followed his usual practice in such circumstances. "I cannot conceive that the RCMP, with all its resources and means of communicating with its members, would not have alerted its members about how they should conduct themselves, especially in light of the fact that the expected conduct was established by Canada's highest court more than thirty years ago," LeBlond wrote. Impaired driving is one of the most frequent criminal offences and one of the most common offences heard by criminal courts, according to Statistics Canada. LeBlond ruled the violations mean evidence of Landry's blood alcohol evidence cannot be used, upholding Landry's acquittal. Const. Hans Ouellette, a spokesperson for RCMP in New Brunswick, responded to a request for comment about the decision by saying the force "respects the decision of the court." Coreen Enos, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Public Safety, said the decision is being reviewed "to determine its implications" and declined further comment.
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Canadian food policy analyst and writer Wayne Roberts died on Jan. 20 at the age of 76 after battling leukemia, leaving behind his wife and children, but also a legacy of advocacy rooted in food security. Roberts was highly respected for his work in food policy and his role as manager of the Toronto Food Policy Council from 2000 to 2010 where the Toronto Food Charter was developed under his leadership. But Roberts was not only known and well-respected for his work in food advocacy and sustainability — he was a friend to many. Anan Lololi, executive director of Afri-Can FoodBasket, considered Wayne Roberts a partner in advocating for food security, as well as a dear friend. Lololi says he was encouraged by Roberts' work in food policy and sustainability within his own work in fighting for food justice and food sovereignty. "He is the godfather of good food policy for Canada for the things that he contributed to food policy in Toronto and Canada at large," Lololi said. Roberts worked as a leading member of the City of Toronto's environmental task force and helped develop a number of plans, including the Environmental Plan and Food Charter, which was adopted by city council in the early 2000s. He was also a regular columnist for NOW Magazine focusing on issues of food insecurity, social justice and public health. The magazine named Roberts one of Toronto's leading visionaries of the past 20 years. Roberts was an author of a number of books including Get A Life!, Real Food For A Change, and The No-Nonsense Guide to World Food. Lololi says he remembers Roberts bringing humour and wit to every conversation, casual or professional. He described him as a people person who looked out for low-income folks and diverse communities within Toronto. The pair last got to work together with the Black Creek community of Jane and Finch where they looked into food as medicine, but his legacy will live on for years to come both locally and nationally. "As a person that's so highly respected in food policy development, it was an honour for me to work with him within this community," Lololi said. "He's that type of person who really wants to get to the bottom of what the issue is so he can work with that particular community." Roberts received the Canadian Environment Award for his contributions to sustainable living in 2002 and went on to receive the Canadian Eco-Hero Award in 2008. Tammara Soma, an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University says although she was not related to Roberts, his death hit her "very, very hard." Soma says Roberts was a "superhero" of hers. Originally from Indonesia, when Soma first came to Canada as an undergraduate student, she distinctly remembers meeting Roberts for the first time. He was dressed in a carrot costume handing out carrots at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. From that moment on, Soma says, Roberts offered his help and mentorship — something he would commonly do for anyone who wanted to take part in the food movement. Soma, one of the founding members of the Toronto Youth Food Policy Council, says Roberts' efforts in helping give a voice to the youth in particular has made him a hero to many, not only her. "He's a pollinator...he's like this beautiful dandelion, it just spreads everywhere, his positivity, his passion, his power," she said. "I will always be fully indebted to him because of that." Joe Mihevc, former Toronto city councillor, says one of his fondest memories of Roberts was his involvement in Toronto's re-integration of chickens in the city. Mihevc said during the last meeting of the Toronto Urban Hen project, he pulled a prank on Roberts by giving him two chickens. "The joy of that story is just the look on his face and I think it's the only egg that has ever been laid at city hall," he said. Mike Schreiner, Guelph MPP and Green Party of Ontario leader, said Roberts' influence on Toronto's local food scene was paramount. "When someone in Toronto goes to a farmers' market or they harvest from a community garden or they see that their local grocery store has more local food in it — Wayne played a vital role in making that happen," he said. Former Green Party leader Jim Harris said Roberts taught him a special lesson in life. "As he was dying, he and I would laugh a lot as we always did — and he and I coined the term 'radical happiest'," Harris said. "Living with joy I think is the greatest lesson that I've learned from Wayne."
WASHINGTON — It's a proven political strategy: Underpromise and overdeliver. President Joe Biden, in his first three days in office, has painted a bleak picture of the country's immediate future, warning Americans that it will take months, not weeks, to reorient a nation facing a historic convergence of crises. The dire language is meant as a call to action, but it's also a deliberate effort to temper expectations. In addition, it is an explicit rejection of President Donald Trump’s tack of talking down the coronavirus pandemic and its economic toll. Chris Lu, a longtime Obama administration official, said the grim tone is aimed at “restoring trust in government” that eroded during the Trump administration. “If you’re trying to get people to believe in this whole system of vaccinations, and if you want people to take seriously mask mandates, your leaders have to level with the American people,” he said. Biden said Thursday that “things are going to continue to get worse before they get better” and offered “the brutal truth” that it will take eight months before a majority of Americans will be vaccinated. On Friday, he declared outright: “There’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months.” It's all part of Biden's pledge that his administration will "always be honest and transparent with you, about both the good news and the bad.” That approach, aides say, explains Biden’s decision to set clear and achievable goals for his new administration. The measured approach is drawing praise in some corners for being realistic -— but criticism from others for its caution. Trump often dismissed the seriousness of the virus and even acknowledged to journalist Bob Woodward that he deliberately played down the threat to the U.S. to prop up the economy. Even as death tolls and infection rates soared, Trump insisted the country was already “rounding the turn.” Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said Biden’s pledge for 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in office might fall short of what’s needed to turn the tide on the virus. “Maybe they’re picking a number that’s easier to achieve, rather than the number that we need to achieve. I would urge people to be bolder than that,” he said. Adalja argued that the goal they’ve set “should be the bare minimum that we accept.” But he also acknowledged that there’s a major political risk in overpromising. “You don’t want people to be discouraged or feel like the government is incompetent” if they fail to meet a goal, he said. “It’s a disappointingly low bar,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a public health expert and emergency physician. Biden on Friday acknowledged the criticism, saying he was hopeful for more vaccinations, but he avoided putting down a marker that could potentially fall out of reach. “I found it fascinating that yesterday the press asked the question, ‘Is 100 million enough?'" he said in the State Dining Room. "A week before, they were saying, ‘Biden, are you crazy? You can’t do 100 million in 100 days.’ Well, we’re — God willing — not only going to 100 million. We’re going to do more than that.” In fact, while there was some skepticism when Biden first announced the goal on Dec. 8, it was generally seen as optimistic but within reach. The Biden administration might be taking lessons from the earliest days of the Obama administration, when there was constant pressure to show real progress in turning around the economy during the financial crisis. One former Obama administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak freely about internal conversations, said there was a fevered effort during the first few months of Obama's first term to play down the focus on evaluating the president’s success within his first 100 days because aides knew the financial recovery would take far longer than that. In one notable misstep, Obama’s National Economic Council chair, Christina Romer, predicted that unemployment wouldn’t top 8% if Congress passed the administration’s stimulus package to address the financial crisis. It was signed into law a month into Obama's first term, but by the end of that year, unemployment nevertheless hit 10%. The risk in setting too rosy expectations is that an administration might become defined by its failure to meet them. President George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech in 2003 — at a time when the Iraq War was far from over — became a defining blunder of his presidency. Trump provided an overreach of his own in May 2020, when he said the nation had “prevailed” over the virus. At the time, the country had seen about 80,000 deaths from the virus. This week, the U.S. death toll topped 412,000. Trump’s lax approach and lack of credibility contributed to poor adherence to public safety rules among the American public. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Trump’s handling of the virus caused so much damage to public perceptions of its severity that it’s important for Biden to set a contrasting tone. “I think it is really important to start telling the American people the truth. And that has not happened in a year, since we found the first case of coronavirus, so he’s got a lot of damage to undo,” she said. “This is a very serious, very contagious, deadly disease, and anything other than that message — delivered over and over again — is, unfortunately, adding to the willingness of lots of people to pay no attention to how to stop the spread of the disease.” Alexandra Jaffe And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
Germaine McLaughlin's 90th birthday celebration wasn't typical. The pandemic meant there was no opportunity for a large party, but McLaughlin's daughter Cathy Arndt had an idea. She posted on social media asking for people to send Germaine — or "Gerry" — cards. Because of the post, the 90-year-old spent almost all day on Jan. 20 opening cards and receiving flowers from family, friends and complete strangers. "I never thought I'd reach the age of 90 really," McLaughlin said from her home in Weyburn, Sask. "It's quite nice to be acknowledged and just know that somebody's thinking about you," she said. "I'm pretty happy about this … pretty surprised." Arndt said she wasn't expecting to get that much for her mother's birthday, then people started sharing the post, including people outside of Saskatchewan. "Boy, the cards just started coming in," Arndt said. "And every day there was 10 or more cards coming in the mail." "The final count is 91 but it sounds like there's many more on their way to my mom." Cards came in from across Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and one from Germany. "It was overwhelming," Arndt said. "So much love." Arndt said people may have gotten on board because it gave them something positive to dwell on. "With hearing of so many deaths with COVID, it's just such a positive thing to think about." "We have to make the best of everything nowadays. We could be down and out about it all. But really, you have to look at the silver lining and the goodness in the world." Arndt said people shouldn't underestimate the kindness out there in the country. McLaughlin said on her special day she's feeling the love. "Thank you for everything," McLaughlin said. "And for my good wishes."
Less gas, more green. That is the motto behind the Indigenous Off-Diesel Initiative, a federal program that recently awarded $800,000 toward green energy projects in Inuvik — one of the biggest consumers of diesel in the north. The money was awarded to Grant Sullivan, president of Nihtat Energy Ltd., a Gwich'in development corporation. Sullivan said he is hopeful to put the money to use this summer. "The Gwich'in Tribal Council supports innovative energy projects developed by our own Gwich'in participants, like Grant Sullivan, for the benefit of our communities," Gwich'in Tribal Council Grand Chief Ken Smith said. Two solar projects slated The new funding is set aside to pursue solar projects in the Beaufort Delta region, according to the federal press release. The projects include a 2021 solar project at the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility, with funds to help with implementation and training, and planning for a grid-connected solar farm in Inuvik, slated to start in 2021 and be completed by 2022. Nihtat Energy Ltd. has a history of green initiatives and collaborations in the north. Last year, the company teamed up with The North West Company to install 640 solar energy panels on the roof of the Inuvik Northern store, saving approximately $60,000 in electricity expenses annually. The announcement comes four months after the federal government also pledged $8 million for eight clean energy projects in the territories.
If he were alive today, even St. Paul would be texting, Tweeting and firing off emails to get the news out, Pope Francis said on Saturday in his message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of Social Communication. St. Paul, who lived in the first century of the Christian era, spread the new faith into Europe and Asia Minor and is believed to have written a great part of the New Testament. "Every tool has its value, and that great communicator who was Paul of Tarsus would certainly have made use of email and social messaging," the pope said in the message, titled "Come and See".