Cowboys running back Tony Pollard took his opportunity as a starter in Week 15 by scoring two touchdowns, twice as many as Ezekiel Elliott has recorded since Week 6.
Cowboys running back Tony Pollard took his opportunity as a starter in Week 15 by scoring two touchdowns, twice as many as Ezekiel Elliott has recorded since Week 6.
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
Edmontonians are cleaning up after a snow squall brought powerful winds to the city Tuesday night, knocking out power to thousands of homes and creating whiteout conditions on local highways. An Epcor spokesperson told CBC News that about 5,000 customers had lost power due to high winds Tuesday and repair crews were expected to work through the night. As of Wednesday morning, about 200 customers remained in the dark in neighbourhoods across the city. A wind warning remained in effect for the city and several surrounding communities. Strong winds, with gusts near 90 km/h, are expected to continue through Wednesday afternoon. Environment Canada is warning of possible damage to buildings and flying debris before the winds begin to weaken this evening. After weeks of mild weather, the squall hit Tuesday night. The winds picked up around 8:30 p.m., ripping off shingles and downing trees. The sudden, violent gusts of wind reached up to 90 km/h. Drivers were urged to avoid local highways as blasts of blowing snow created near zero visibility. While some hunkered down, many Edmontonians put their face to the storm and took to social media. Some surveyed damage to their properties. Others watched the howling winds from behind rattling windows or from shaking balconies. Tree branches broke. Trampolines were toppled. One young hockey player used the wind to send him gently careening across the ice. Another took to a nearby parking lot to capture a ballet of shopping carts dancing across the icy pavement. 'Everything went black' Mike Henkemans was at his mother's house in the Westmount neighbourhood when there was sickening crash outside that sent the house rattling. "The wind was so crazy and loud and the snow was blowing sideways," Henkemans said. "Then everything went black." A 14-metre tall spruce tree in the backyard had toppled, hitting the roof and a second storey balcony before crashing into a pergola and a barbecue before coming to rest on the ground floor deck. The tree snapped the power lines and the live wires remained dangling. "It just smashed everything," he said. "It was terrifying. It was really scary. I didn't know what was happening." "The power lines are snapped and all over the garage. You can see them dangling." Henkemans said he called Epcor, his insurance company and an arborist for help with the clean-up. A neighbour allowed them to run an extension cord over the property line so they could run a space heater as they waited for the power to be reconnected. "It was a long night," Henkemans said. Edmonton was not alone in experiencing the intense wind. Wind warnings were in effect for much of the province, including the Edmonton region, Jasper, Whitecourt, Okotoks, Olds, Rocky Mountain House and Banff National Park. Snow squall warnings were also issued for Edmonton, as well as other parts of central and northern Alberta including Ponoka County, Leduc County, Drayton Valley and Lloydminster. A snow squall is a brief but powerful storm characterized by strong winds and blowing snow. 'Like a bomb hit my house' Giselle Denis was playing board games with her children when the lights went dark in her home south of Sherwood Park. Moments later, with the wind howling, there was a loud crash. "It sounded like a bomb hit my house," she said. "I have never heard something like that. It was so loud. " The force of the wind had sent a tree toppling. A large branch had smashed through the window of a basement bedroom. "The floor was just covered in glass. It broke the metal and wood frame of the window and the tree was like in the house," Denis said. "It's a full tree." Denis expects insurance will cover the damage but it was a long sleepless night. She spent several hours cleaning up in the dark. "It's hard to go to sleep after that and I think the adrenaline is still pumping through my body." The damaged room used to serve as her son's bedroom but now stores her paintings. Her son's bedroom is next door. She feels thankful no one was hurt. "One more inch to the left and it could have been disastrous," she said. The Edmonton Police Service issued a traffic advisory around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday advising motorists to avoid a section Calgary Trail where three tractor-trailers rolled over as a result of strong winds. No injuries were reported in the rollovers, EPS said. There are also numerous traffic advisories for other parts of the province affected by the wind and snow.
CAMEROON, Cameroon — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he intends to invite the rival leaders on Cyprus to an informal meeting “as soon as practicable,” but he warns that this meeting must be different and help clarify “the true extent" of their common vision “and outline steps necessary to chart a way forward.” The U.N. chief also warned in a report to the U.N. Security Council circulated Tuesday that “time is working against a mutually acceptable political settlement in Cyprus.” After decades of status quo, he said, “changes are happening on the ground that may become irreversible, should the two communities not recommit themselves to resolving their differences peacefully, proactively and with determination.” Guterres gave no date for the meeting of Cyprus’ rival Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders along with the three “guarantors” of the Mediterranean island nation's independence -- Greece, Turkey and Britain. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters Tuesday that “there’s no date I’m able to share with you.” The Security Council was briefed virtually behind closed doors Tuesday on the latest developments by U.N. special representative Elizabeth Spehar, who heads the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Cyprus. Council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the briefing and discussions were private, said there was broad support among the 15 members for Guterres’ intention to convene a U.N. meeting at the earliest opportunity. Members also welcomed the positive response of the rival leaders who signalled their agreement to take part with no preconditions, the diplomats said.. Cyprus was divided into a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north and an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south in 1974 following a Turkish invasion that was triggered by a coup aimed at union with Greece. Numerous rounds of U.N. mediated talks have ended in failure, with the last push for a peace deal in July 2017 ending in acrimony. That meeting also led to an apparent shift by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots toward seeking a two-state deal rather than pursuing their stated aim of reunifying the country as a federation made up of Greek and Turkish speaking zones. Guterres stressed that “the primary responsibility for the future of the process remains with the parties.” Following consultations over the past months by U.N. envoy Jane Holl Lute, he said both sides and the guarantors have expressed a willingness to attend an informal meeting under his auspices. “The purpose of the meeting will be to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a sustainable, lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable horizon,” the secretary-general said. Guterres said the COVID-19 pandemic has widened longstanding fractures within and between the island's two communities. He also pointed to rising tensions in the eastern Mediterranean region over exploration for oil and gas, and delineating maritime boundaries. Guterres called for serious efforts to defuse tensions and urged dialogue to resolve disputes. “I continue to stress that natural resources located in and around Cyprus should benefit both communities and constitute a strong incentive to reach a mutually acceptable settlement in Cyprus without any further delay,” he said. Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California sheriff’s deputy was killed and another deputy was wounded in a shootout with a suspect who gunned down a K-9 dog before he was fatally shot, authorities said. The gunbattle erupted in Sacramento near a racetrack at the Cal Expo event venue after a vehicle pursuit late Monday, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said. The deputy who died was identified as Adam Gibson, a six-year veteran of the department, Jones said. “He leaves behind a wife and an infant child,” the sheriff said. The injured deputy was in stable condition, Jones said. Jones said the suspect was a man in his 40s but didn't release his name He was identified Tuesday as Robert Stephen Calderon by his mother, Jenny Calderon, who talked to the Sacramento Bee. He had a history of criminal activity, drug use and mental illness, according to his family and court records. Calderon said that her son had been on drugs in the past, and “I think he was bi-polar.” “He saw people coming out of the walls,” she said. “They would come, and they would abuse him. And he was mad at me because he thought I was letting them into his room." Calderon said that led him to get a gun and that she had no idea how he was able to obtain it. “I told him to get rid of it, I told him you have to go get some help, and you have to get rid of that gun,” she said. The pursuit and shooting followed an attempted traffic stop, Jones said, and the driver ended up crashing on the Cal Expo grounds. “One of the K-9 officers deployed a K-9 dog up to the vehicle to try and assist getting the suspect out of the vehicle. The suspect immediately shot and killed the K-9 unit, then immediately started firing at the officers,” Jones said. It wasn’t immediately known what prompted the attempted traffic stop. The Sacramento Police Department plans to handle the investigation, Jones said. Gov. Gavin Newsom offered condolences to the slain deputy's family. “Deputy Gibson will forever be remembered for his selfless sacrifice and his commitment to providing safety and security for the Sacramento community,” Newsom said in a statement. Calderon's family described him as a former truck driver and in-home health services worker who loved animals and had a small pug named Max. They said he was frequently homeless and living in a Chevrolet Suburban, often parking it outside the used clothing store where deputies contacted him Monday night. Calderon cycled in and out of custody for decades, according to court records. He had a combined nine felony and misdemeanour cases out of Sacramento County dating to 1993, Superior Court records show. The cases generally involve drugs and stolen vehicles. His most recent local case, a felony, came in 2012. He was sentenced to 16 months in state prison for vehicle theft. Jenny Calderon broke down several times speaking about her son and what he had done. Speaking in her apartment, Calderon said she was mourning not only her son, but especially the fallen deputy and his family. “I’m glad he’s dead because if he knew what he had done to that deputy’s family, he wouldn’t be able to live with himself,” she said. The Associated Press
DENPASAR, Indonesia — An American graphic designer is being deported from the Indonesian resort island of Bali over her viral tweets that celebrated it as a low-cost, queer-friendly place for foreigners to live. Kristen Antoinette Gray arrived in Bali in January 2020 and wound up staying through the coronavirus pandemic. Her posts on Twitter, including comparisons between Bali and Los Angeles and links to buy her e-book, began going viral in Indonesia on Sunday. “This island has been amazing because of our elevated lifestyle at much lower cost of living. I was paying $1,300 for my LA studio. Now I have a treehouse for $400,” one of Gray’s posts on Twitter said. Gray’s posts were considered to have “disseminated information disturbing to the public,” which was the basis for her deportation, said Jamaruli Manihuruk, chief of the Bali regional office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights. A statement from the office cited her descriptions of Bali providing comfort for LGBT and being easily accessible during the pandemic. It also referenced tweets with links to her e-book, which had direct links to agents who could help foreigners move to the island. “She stated that she could provide easy access to Bali through the recommended agency and offered the low living costs in Bali, that it is comfortable and LGBTQ-friendly,” Manihuruk said at a news conference Tuesday. Her tweets also referenced her e-book costing $30 and a follow-up consultation about becoming an expatriate in Bali for $50. “She is suspected of carrying out business activities by selling e-books and put a rate for consulting (about) Bali tourism,” Manihuruk said. Many Indonesian social media users were furious that she was showing off living and working in Bali without a proper business visa. “I am not guilty. I have not overstayed my (tourist) visa. I am not making money in Indonesian rupiah. I put out a statement about LGBT and I am deported because of LGBT,” Gray told reporters after Immigration officials announced the deportation. Indonesia has temporarily restricted foreigners from coming to the country since Jan. 1 to control the spread of COVID-19, and public activities have been restricted on Java and Bali islands. “The Bali Regional Office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights urges foreign nationals to comply with the current COVID-19 pandemic to comply with health protocols and to follow right procedures regarding visa processing and while in Indonesia,” Manihuruk said. Gray and her partner, Saundra Michelle Alexander, are currently in immigration detention while waiting for a flight to the United States. Firdia Lisnawati, The Associated Press
The United States swore in its 46th President on Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended their inauguration in Washington, D.C. with a slew of distinguished guests, but few onlookers as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a need for social distancing.Several past presidents were in attendance, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., however the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not attend. Trump flew to his golf club in Florida earlier in the day. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence did attend the ceremony with his wife.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
WASHINGTON — Troops in riot gear lined the sidewalks, but there were no crowds. Armored vehicles and concrete barriers blocked empty streets. Miles of fencing cordoned off many of the nation's most familiar landmarks. Joe Biden was safely sworn in as president in a Washington on edge, two weeks after rioters loyal to former President Donald Trump besieged the Capitol. Law enforcement officials contended not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack. Officials monitored members of far-right extremist and militia groups, increasingly concerned about the risk they could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said. There were a few scattered arrests but no major protests or serious disruptions in the city during Biden's inauguration ceremony. As Biden put it in his address: “Here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever.” After the deadly attack that killed five on Jan. 6, the Secret Service stepped up security for the inauguration early, essentially locking down the nation's capital. More than 25,000 troops and police were called to duty. The National Mall was closed. Checkpoints were set up at intersections. In the hours before the event, federal agents monitored “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said. In right-wing online chat groups, believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory expressed disappointment that top Democrats were not arrested for sex trafficking and that Trump did not seize a second term. Twelve National Guard members were removed from the security operation a day earlier after vetting by the FBI, including two who had made extremist statements in posts or texts about Wednesday's event. Pentagon officials would not give details on the statements. The FBI vetted all 25,000 members in an extraordinary security effort in part over the presence of some ex-military in the riot. Two other U.S. officials told The Associated Press that all 12 were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or to have posted extremist views online. The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe groups the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.” The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, confirmed that Guard members had been removed and sent home, but said only two cases were related to inappropriate comments or texts related to the inauguration. He said the other 10 cases were for issues that may involve previous criminal behaviour or activities but were not directly related to the inaugural event. The FBI also warned law enforcement officials about the possibility that members of right-wing fringe groups could pose as National Guard troops, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter. Investigators in Washington were particularly worried that members of right-wing extremist groups and militias, like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, would descend on Washington to spark violence, the law enforcement officials said. Some of the groups are known to recruit former military personnel, to train extensively and to have frequented anti-government and political protests. In addition to the thousands of National Guard troops, hundreds of law enforcement officers from agencies around the country were also brought into Washington. The increased security is likely to remain in the nation's capital for at least a few more days. ___ Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor in Washington and James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida, contributed to this report. Ben Fox, Colleen Long And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
ATLANTA — Paul McDonough has returned to Atlanta United as vice-president of soccer operations. The MLS team announced the rehiring of McDonough on Tuesday after he spent two years as Inter Miami's sporting director. McDonough returns to the role he held in Atlanta from 2016-18, becoming a key player in the club's dynamic entry into MLS. United set numerous attendance records and captured the MLS Cup championship in just its second season in 2018. McDonough left after the championship to lead Inter Miami's entry into MLS as an expansion team this past year. The club went 7-13-3 and made the MLS playoffs in its pandemic-affected debut season. Atlanta United, meanwhile, fell on hard times in 2020. The club fired coach Frank de Boer and missed the playoffs for the first time. “Paul was a key part of our team as we built Atlanta United and we’re delighted to have him back in the organization,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said in a statement. “Paul brings a vast knowledge of the game, but more importantly he is a great cultural fit who complements our front office." McDonough will report to technical director Carlos Bocanegra and take a leading role in managing the salary cap. McDonough previously worked with Orlando City, helping the club transition to its inaugural season in MLS. He began his career in college coaching, serving as an assistant at Wake Forest, South Carolina and UConn. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Kelowna Regional RCMP say a massive amount of cocaine that landed in Okanagan grocery stores in 2019 was shipped in banana containers, and likely ended up in the stores by accident. According to a written statement from police, several bricks of cocaine were found on Feb. 24, 2019, after a local grocery store reported finding what it believed to be illicit drugs. Later that day, West Kelowna RCMP also received a call from a grocer after they uncovered what they suspected to be drugs in their banana shipment. In total, police seized 21 packages of cocaine, weighing around one kilogram each. The statement from RCMP says the drugs were likely not destined for Kelowna. The drug section of the Kelowna RCMP worked with the Canada Border Service Agency to determine that the shipments had originated in Colombia. "Our investigation leads us to believe these illicit drugs were not meant to end up in the Central Okanagan, and arrived here in the Okanagan Valley as a result of a missed pickup at some point along the way," Cpl. Jeff Carroll of the Kelowna RCMP Drug Section said in the statement. The statement said that, according to experts, the shipments of pure cocaine, once cut with other agents, would have introduced upwards of 800,000 doses of crack cocaine into the Canadian illicit drug market.
TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey Supreme court has overturned a man's bank robbery conviction because of a prosecutor's reference to a classic horror movie. During closing arguments in the case against Damon Williams, the prosecutor showed jurors a photo from the movie “The Shining” depicting a character played by Jack Nicholson telling his terrified wife and son, “Here’s Johnny!” moments after breaking through a door with an axe. The reference was meant to illustrate that actions can speak louder than words, and to support the prosecutor's contention that Williams should be convicted of a more serious offence even though no threatening words were spoken to the bank teller in Camden County in 2014. The jury convicted Williams of second-degree robbery, which requires the use of force or the threat of force, rather than the less serious crime of third-degree theft. Prosecutors argued that Williams' conduct before and after passing a note to the teller supported the more serious charge. Williams is currently serving a 14-year term. A unanimous Supreme Court disagreed Tuesday, writing that prosecutors “must walk a fine line” when comparing a defendant with “an individual whom the jury associates with violence or guilt.” “The use of a sensational and provocative image in service of such a comparison, even when purportedly metaphorical, heightens the risk of an improper prejudicial effect on the jury,” Justice Lee Solomon wrote. “Such a risk was borne out here." The Camden County prosecutor's office, which tried the case, declined to comment on the ruling Tuesday. The Associated Press
Inmates at the Drumheller Institution are engaging in a hunger strike following restrictions and lockdowns due to a number of reported COVID-19 cases among the inmate population. It was reported by the Calgary Herald on Friday, January 15 “more than 30 inmates” are participating in the hunger strike, which began on Saturday, January 9, to protest the ongoing lockdown. “Last week, one inmate from Drumheller Institution declared they were on a hunger strike,” said a spokesperson for Correctional Service Canada (CSC). “We worked with the inmate and found a resolution to the issues which led them to begin a hunger strike. There are no inmates currently on hunger strike at Drumheller Institution.” A total of 39 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 since the first cases were reported on December 24; as of Monday, January 18, all reported cases have recovered and there are no active cases at Drumheller Institution. To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, in-person visits have been suspended for both the minimum and medium security facilities at the Drumheller Institution. “Drumheller Institution continues to operate under modified routine as a means to protect staff and inmates from COVID-19 infection. As part of the infection prevention and control measures currently in place, inmates of one unit at the institution are presently being isolated,” the spokesperson stated. They added, “Normal routine will be re-established at the institution once managers, following public health advice, determine it is safe to do so.” Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail
CALGARY — A lawyer for a rancher trying to get a judge to force the Alberta government to reconsider its decision to throw out a policy that protected the Rocky Mountains from coal mines says his client wants to be treated fairly."What my clients are seeking is not to be left out in the cold," Richard Harrison told a Court of Queen's Bench judge Tuesday at a hearing to decide whether a judicial review into the move should go ahead.The United Conservative government is trying to persuade Justice Richard Neufeld to throw out the application for the review. Melissa Burkett, a lawyer for the province, said it's a matter for elected officials, not judges. "This case is not about an unlawful exercise of government power," she argued earlier Tuesday. "This case is about the government's ability to create and dictate policy based on economic, social, political and other relevant factors."Southern Alberta ranchers and area First Nations are attacking the government's decision to revoke a coal policy from 1976 that blocked development on some parts of the eastern slopes of the Rockies and tightly restricted it elsewhere. The policy was quietly revoked without consultation by Energy Minister Sonya Savage last May.Burkett, saying there is nothing to review, argued the policy was not rooted in legislation or regulation. "The adaptation and any amendment of the coal policy is exclusively under the mandate of the minister of energy," she said.Allowing a review would wrongly tie governments to the decisions of their predecessors, she added.Burkett said the policy had become obsolete given the development of Alberta's energy review bodies and laws. Overturning the policy has "no practical impact" because agencies such as the Alberta Energy Regulator now exist, she said And because those oversights now exist, revoking the policy hasn't violated the rights of those seeking the review, Burkett said.Her colleague, Andrea Simmonds, disputed the ranchers' arguments that requirements for public consultation exist in land-use law and in regional plans.She said the Alberta Land Stewardship Act doesn't allow for judicial review of decisions made under its purview. Regional plans "have no legal status," she said.Harrison argued that the coal policy, far from obsolete, was being used to judge mine proposals right up until the minister revoked it. He emphasized that one coal mine proposal calls for infrastructure right through the middle of his client's grazing lease and would intrude nearly to the doorstep of a cabin that's been in his family for a century.Simple fairness should have required the government to at least talk to him before its decision."Whether consultation, a hearing, a phone call, they want any kind of procedural fairness that reflects the impact it is going to have. "I cannot think of a more detrimental impact than an open-pit coal mine."Harrison argued the land stewardship act does require consultation. He noted that it says property rights should not be infringed on without due process. "(The act) was amended for the express purpose of inserting consultation requirements."He disagreed that regional plans have no legal force and pointed out they have been incorporated into the legally enforceable South Saskatchewan Regional Plan. Earlier Tuesday, ranchers and First Nations who filed separate requests for the review agreed to have their arguments heard together. The Bearspaw, Kainai, Siksika, Blood, Ermineskin and Goodfish Lake First Nations kept the right to bring separate constitutional arguments, which are not part of the application filed by rancher Macleay Blades. The hearing is to last through Wednesday.Popular Alberta entertainment figures, including Corb Lund and Jann Arden, have strongly opposed the decision. Petitions against it have gathered more than 100,000 signatures.On Monday, Savage announced in a news release that the recent sale of 11 coal leases would be cancelled and that no more would be sold on land where open-pit mines were forbidden under the old policy.She did not provide any more details, promise any consultation or offer to reconsider the decision on the 1976 policy.Environmental groups point out the 11 leases represented a tiny fraction of the leases sold since the policy was quashed. At least eight provincial recreation areas are either completely or largely surrounded by coal exploration leases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021.— By Bob Weber in Edmonton. Follow @row1960 on Twitter The Canadian Press
The U.S. Secret Service opened an investigation into comedian John Mulaney over jokes believed to be made about President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live” last year, according to records obtained by The Associated Press. Mulaney, 38, revealed last month that the Secret Service had investigated the comedian and “SNL” alum for “inappropriate jokes about President Trump” after he made a joke about Roman dictator Julius Caesar, who was stabbed to death by a group of senators on the Ides of March. The file obtained by the AP through Freedom of Information Act request showed the bureau contacted NBC but did not interview the comedian for its inquiry, which found no wrongdoing. “Another thing that happened under Julius Caesar, he was such a powerful maniac that all the senators grabbed knives, and they stabbed him to death. That would be an interesting thing if we brought that back now,” Mulaney said to laughter from the audience. The joke was said during Mulaney’s opening monologue during the “Saturday Night Live” broadcast on Feb. 29, 2020. The Secret Service noted other remarks during the monologue, including: “I asked my lawyer if I could make that joke, he said, let me call another lawyer, and that lawyer said yes. I don’t dwell on politics, but I dislike the Founding Fathers immensely. ... I hate when people are like, God has never created such a great group of men than the Founding Fathers. Yeah, the ’92 Bulls. ... That’s a perfect metaphor for the United States. When I was a boy, the United States was like Michael Jordan in 1992. Now the United States it like Michael Jordan now.” Two days after Mulaney’s “SNL” monologue, law enforcement officials contacted Thomas McCarthy, the global chief security officer and senior vice-president at NBC Universal, to express the agency’s desire to discuss the joke with the comedian's attorneys. The Secret Service file included a report from Breitbart entitled, “SNL: John Mulaney Jokes that Senators Should Stab Trump Like Julius Caesar.” The investigation into Mulaney was opened in March and closed in December, five days after the comedian revealed the investigation during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. The Secret Service file notes that Mulaney made no direct threats towards Trump. “The person vetting me was very understanding that the joke had nothing to do with Donald Trump because it was an elliptical reference to him,” Mulaney said to Kimmel. “I didn’t say anything about him. In terms of risk assessment, no one who’s ever looked at me thought I registered above a one.” He added: “I said I have been making jokes about him since 2007, so I have been making fun of him for 13 years,” Mulaney said. “They said if it’s a joke, then I am cleared by the Secret Service.” —— LaPorta reported from Delray Beach, Florida. James Laporta, The Associated Press
Deng Pravatoudom played the Lotto Max numbers her husband dreamt of 20 years ago and won a $60M jackpot. Video by Shibani Gokhale
Robbie Fowler is doing his best to keep his name and the sport of soccer in the news in cricket-mad India. The legendary striker for Liverpool and former England international has made more headlines and waves since his arrival as a coach in the Indian Super League (ISL) than his more experienced counterparts on the subcontinent. The 45 year-old Fowler, who scored over 180 goals for Liverpool, took over East Bengal in October and has taken fans of one of India’s biggest and oldest clubs for a roller-coaster ride so far. On the field, after collecting just a single point from the opening five games, the Kolkata team is now unbeaten in seven matches to raise hopes of a top-four finish and a place in the playoff finals series. Off it, Fowler has not missed an opportunity to make controversial points. The latest came after Monday’s 0-0 draw against Chennaiyin in which Fowler was less than happy about a first-half red card for Ajay Chhetri. It was, Fowler said, just the latest in a long line of bad decisions. “It is bordering on the disgraceful, some of the decisions by the referee,” Fowler said on Indian television after the game. “I am mentally exhausted because I am fighting battles with the referees every single game. It’s an absolute joke. We can’t keep doing this, having arguments with the referees as they are spoiling the game.” Fowler declared that the next fixture, against Mumbai City, leader of the 11-team league that came into existence in 2014 and, in 2020, became India’s top tier, will be more of the same. “We know what to expect as we won’t be getting any decisions again because that’s what it’s like. Some of the decisions are awful. I’m not calling them cheats or anything like that but it is bordering on the cheating for us and it’s not right.” It is not the first time that Fowler, who had mixed results in his previous coaching spells in Thailand with Muangthong United and Brisbane Roar in Australia's A-League, has made headlines for controversial comments. After a 3-0 loss in the second game of the season to Mumbai, Fowler caused controversy in post-match comments about local players. “We will coach the players because in all fairness few of them have probably never been coached before and that is what we are doing,” Fowler said. “We will try and make our Indian players better and that takes good coaching and I don’t think they had that in the years gone by,. He later said his remarks had been taken out of context. There is a long history of British influence in Indian football but coaches and players from another European country can be found in much greater numbers in the Indian Super League. Just four of the 11 teams at the start of the 2020-21 season did not have Spanish coaches and there are over 20 Spanish players in the league. At the moment, the top four are all under Iberian influence with the three British-coached teams in the bottom half of the table. If Fowler can get a win against Mumbai then he may start to change that and make headlines for other reasons — his results on the field. ___ More AP soccer https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports John Duerden, The Associated Press
Global equity benchmarks rose to new record highs and oil prices rose on Wednesday as investors moved into riskier assets in anticipation of further U.S. stimulus under the new Biden administration to mend the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. President Joe Biden, who was sworn into office on Wednesday, last week laid out a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal to boost the economy and speed up the distribution of vaccines. U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen urged lawmakers to "act big" to save the economy and worry about debt later at a confirmation hearing Tuesday.
Municipal leaders in Cap-Pelé are concerned about a misconception that COVID-19 cases have been occurring only in Moncton, and are working to dispel that notion. “We know that there have been cases in our community,” said Justin LeBlanc, director of events and communications for the village of Cap-Pelé. But because the term 'Moncton zone', 'Moncton region' or similar is used to describe Zone 1, there are people who genuinely do not believe that cases occurred in the surrounding communities, LeBlanc said. Village staff have heard residents calling into radio shows indicating these views and are concerned they may be more widely held, LeBlanc said, especially by those who are upset they have to abide restrictions they don't believe are warranted for the area in which they live. “Definitely with the airport being located in [Metro] Moncton and a lot of cases related to travel, people may think the cases stay in Moncton, but we are very connected to Moncton also,” LeBlanc said. While residents of Cap-Pelé and surrounding areas may use the same airport occasionally, hundreds of people who live in Cap-Pelé also work and shop every day in Metro Moncton, he said. Referring to the zone as the “Southeast zone” would be more inclusive for those in the communities outside Moncton, he said, and could help alleviate the problem. For now, the town is doing everything it can to make this information clear by word of mouth, social media and news releases, LeBlanc said. The town was made aware of community residents who tested positive by the residents themselves, LeBlanc said. Public Health does not release this information, citing confidentiality. While the town has seen compliance with pandemic measures, there are concerns the wording of the zones may be giving some a false sense of security, he said. Zone 1 encompasses a large area, LeBlanc said. In addition to Moncton, it also includes Dieppe, Riverview, Salisbury, Petitcodiac, the Harcourt area, Port Elgin area, Rockport, Sackville, Dorchester, Shediac, Beaubassin-Est, Cap-Pelé, Saint-Antoine, Grande-Digue, Cocagne, Bouchtouche, Richibucto, Saint-Louis-de-Kent area, Coverdale, Hillsborough, Riverside-Albert, Alma and every community in between. On Thursday, Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's Chief Medical Officer of Health, referred to the zone as “Moncton and southeast New Brunswick” during the COVID-19 briefing. When asked by Times & Transcript if the use of “Moncton and southeast New Brunswick” was going to be used from now on to dispel the misconception that cases are not occurring outside the largest city, Russell pointed to the department’s website which lists communities in each health zone. Russell also reiterated Public Health has no plans to name smaller communities where there are positive cases. The decision not to go further than the health region in naming where cases occur is largely to protect people’s confidentiality, she said. But she said it is also because they believe it may be too late to serve a purpose. “By the time we announce a case in a particular area, the virus has probably been circulating for seven days prior to that,” she said, repeating that she wants people to behave as if they and those they are with have COVID-19 all the time. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
WASHINGTON — Sen. Richard Burr said Tuesday that the Justice Department has told him it will not prosecute him over stock sales made during the coronavirus pandemic, ending an insider trading investigation that led him to at least temporarily step aside from a powerful committee chairmanship last year. Prosecutors had investigated for months whether the North Carolina Republican and former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee had exploited advance information when he unloaded as much as $1.7 million in stocks in the days before the coronavirus caused markets to plummet. “The case is now closed,” Burr said in a statement. "I’m glad to hear it. My focus has been and will continue to be working for the people of North Carolina during this difficult time for our nation.” His lawyer, Alice Fisher, described the investigation as a “thorough review” and said Burr, who has said he will not seek reelection after his term ends in 2023, would remain focused on “the safety and security of North Carolinians and the United States as a whole.” A Justice Department spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment. The New York Times was first to report on the decision to not bring charges. The investigation escalated in May when the FBI obtained a search warrant to seize a cellphone from Burr. The day after that action became public, Burr said he would step aside as Intelligence Committee chairman while the FBI investigation was ongoing. It is unclear whether he will retake the role as the panel’s top Republican now that he has been cleared. Democrats are set to take control of the Senate on Wednesday, and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner will become the panel’s chairman. Burr, who was first elected to the Senate in 2004 and chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee as it conducted its own investigation into Russian election interference in the 2016 presidential election, has denied wrongdoing in the well-timed stock sales. His lawyer has said he had actively co-operated with the investigation. Senate records show that he and his wife sold between roughly $600,000 and $1.7 million in more than 30 transactions in late January and mid-February, just before the market began to dive and government health officials began to sound alarms about the virus. Several of the stocks were in companies that own hotels. Burr has acknowledged selling the stocks because of the coronavirus but said he relied “solely on public news reports,” specifically CNBC’s daily health and science reporting out of Asia, to make the financial decisions. The Justice Department last year separately closed without charges investigations into stock trading by multiple other senators, including Dianne Feinstein of California, Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, according to people familiar with notifications sent to the senators. They, too, had come under scrutiny for transactions made in the weeks before the coronavirus sent markets downhill. ____ Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo in Washington contributed to this report. Eric Tucker And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says residents in long-term care and supportive living facilities will remain the priority as the province grapples with a looming slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine supply. Dr. Deena Hinshaw says health officials may also have to rebook vaccination appointments for those getting the required second dose. Hinshaw made the announcement just hours after the federal government said there will be no shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next week and reduced shipments for about three weeks after that. The slowdown is due to Pfizer retrofitting its Belgium-based plant in order to ramp up production down the road. Hinshaw says Alberta has 456 new cases of COVID-19, with 740 patients in hospital. There are 119 patients in intensive care and 1,463 people have died. “This is frustrating, but the factory issues in Belgium are out of our control," Health Minister Tyler Shandro said in a release Tuesday. "We will continue to use what we have to protect as many Albertans as possible. And we will continue to inform Albertans of any changes to our vaccination plans.” Alberta recently finished giving first doses of vaccine to all residents in its 357 long-term care and supportive living facilities. “These are absolutely the highest-risk locations, and people who live in these facilities are the most vulnerable to severe outcomes,” Hinshaw told a virtual news conference. “Two-thirds of all our (COVID-19) deaths have been in long-term care and supportive living facilities.” Alberta has given 90,000 first doses of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to those in the high priority cohort: those in the care homes and front-line health-care workers. Canada was to get more than 417,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and next, but will now get just over 171,000 this week and nothing the following week. Both vaccines require two doses weeks apart for full effectiveness. The delay has also forced the province to put off implementing the next phase of priority cases: Indigenous seniors over 65 and other seniors 75 and older. Alberta remains under strict lockdown measures, which include a ban on indoor gatherings. Bars, restaurants and lounges can offer takeout or pickup service only. Retailers are limited to 15 per cent customer capacity, while entertainment venues like casinos and movie theatres remain shuttered. The province relaxed some measure slightly on Monday. Outdoor gatherings can have 10 people maximum. Personal care services, like hair salons, manicure and pedicure salons and tattoo shops, can open by appointment only. Hinshaw said it’s not clear when further restrictions can be lifted. “Our health system is still under severe strain,” she said. “This continues to impact our ability to deliver care, not only for COVID-19 but all the other health needs Albertans have.” There were 11,096 active COVID cases Tuesday, about half the number recorded at its peak in mid-December. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
After four years, U.S. President Donald Trump will be leaving office as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into the position on Jan. 20, 2021. The weeks leading up to Trump’s departure have been tumultuous, with a siege on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, five federal executions, and 143 presidential pardons, just to name a few pivotal moments.Trump began the day by speaking to a crowd at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One. He is traveling to his golf club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, and will not be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.Supporters of the 45th U.S. President gathered in West Palm Beach, Fla. to greet Trump’s motorcade when it arrived in the city.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.