Ella the toy poodle and this carefree parrot have been best friends since day 1. So cute! @ella_thetoypoodle
Ella the toy poodle and this carefree parrot have been best friends since day 1. So cute! @ella_thetoypoodle
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office on Wednesday using Bibles that are laden with personal meaning, writing new chapters in a long-running American tradition — and one that appears nowhere in the law. The Constitution does not require the use of a specific text for swearing-in ceremonies and specifies only the wording of the president’s oath. That wording does not include the phrase “so help me God,” but every modern president has appended it to their oaths and most have chosen symbolically significant Bibles for their inaugurations. That includes Biden, who used the same family Bible he has used twice when swearing in as vice-president and seven times as senator from Delaware. The book, several inches thick, and which his late son Beau also used when swearing in as Delaware attorney general, has been a “family heirloom” since 1893 and “every important date is in there,” Biden told late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert last month. “Why is your Bible bigger than mine? Do you have more Jesus than I do?” quipped Colbert, who like Biden is a practicing Catholic. Biden’s use of his family Bible underscores the prominent role his faith has played in his personal and professional lives — and will continue to do so as he becomes the second Catholic president in U.S. history. He follows in a tradition of many other presidents who used family-owned scriptures to take their oaths, including Ronald Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Some have had their Bibles opened to personally relevant passages during their ceremonies. Bill Clinton, for example, chose Isaiah 58:12 — which urges the devout to be a “repairer of the breach” — for his second inauguration after a first term marked by political schisms with conservatives. Others took their oaths on closed Bibles, like John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, who in 1961 used his family’s century-old tome with a large cross on the front, similar to Biden’s. The tradition of using a Bible dates as far back as the presidency itself, with the holy book used by George Washington later appearing on exhibit at the Smithsonian on loan from the Masonic lodge that provided it in 1789. Washington’s Bible was later used for the oaths by Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. But not every president has used a Bible. Theodore Roosevelt took his 1901 oath without one after the death of William McKinley, while John Quincy Adams used a law book in 1825, according to his own account. Some have employed multiple Bibles during their ceremonies: Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump chose to use, along with others, the copy that Abraham Lincoln was sworn in on in 1861. Harris did the same for her vice-presidential oath, using a Bible owned by a close family friend and one that belonged to the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Harris has spoken of her admiration of Marshall, a fellow Howard University graduate and trailblazer in government as the high court’s first African American justice. “When I raise my right hand and take the oath of office tomorrow, I carry with me two heroes who’d speak up for the voiceless and help those in need,” Harris tweeted Tuesday, referring to Marshall and friend Regina Shelton, whose Bible she swore on when becoming attorney general of California and later senator. Harris, who attended both Baptist and Hindu services as a child, worships in the Baptist faith as an adult. While U.S. lawmakers have typically used Bibles for their oaths, some have chosen alternatives that reflect their religious diversity. Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress, in 2007 used a Qur’an that belonged to Thomas Jefferson, prompting objections from some Christian conservatives. Jefferson’s Qur’an made a return in 2019 at the oath for Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chose a Hebrew Bible in 2005 to reflect her Jewish faith. Newly elected Georgia Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, who is also Jewish and who swears in Wednesday, used Hebrew scripture belonging to Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, an ally of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement. Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, opted for the Bhagavad Gita in 2013 after becoming the first Hindu elected to Congress. And Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the only member of the current Congress who identifies as “religiously unaffiliated,” took her oath on the Constitution in 2018. ___ Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Elana Schor, The Associated Press
Soit par visioconférence, Facetime, appel téléphonique ou rencontre individuelle en personne, l’équipe du Centre des Femmes du Val-Saint-François et de la MRC des Sources est toujours à pied d’œuvre. Tant mieux ! Cette pandémie est stressante et peut générer beaucoup d’anxiété pour nombre d’entre nous. Les intervenantes se sont familiarisées avec l’imprévu ! On a rencontré la directrice, Catherine Durocher. Comment cela se passe-t-il depuis mars dernier ? « Durant le premier confinement le printemps dernier, les rencontres en chair et en os se sont arrêtées, mais on a continué à offrir des services en ligne, explique-t-elle. Une partie de nos membres sont des femmes plus âgées et cela a été difficile de faire le virage vers les ressources en ligne. Une partie de celles-ci ont préféré attendre pour bénéficier de nos services. Généralement l’été, c’est plutôt calme. Sauf le dernier où nous avons été très occupées ! Les demandes d’aide individuelle ont beaucoup augmenté, à tel point qu’on a demandé à Centraide d’accroître d’une dizaine d’heures par semaine les services à cet égard. On ne voulait surtout pas se retrouver avec une grosse liste d’attente. » Une ressource essentielle La moyenne d’âge des participantes aux ateliers est de 55 ans et plus. Pour ce qui est des rencontres individuelles, l’âge varie de 18 à 90 ans ! « On remarque une hausse de l’anxiété chez les plus âgées à cause de la solitude, précise Mme Durocher. Un désarroi jumelé à la crainte d’attraper le virus. Autant de raisons qui ont eu des répercussions sur notre programmation d’ateliers sur la santé mentale pour l’hiver et le printemps 2021. Cela dit, confinement ou non, ces ateliers se réaliseront ! En respectant les consignes bien sûr, et par petits groupes de six. » Aussi à surveiller, les ateliers de création à venir au nouveau local d’Asbestos. « On martèle également le message de ne pas tolérer les situations de violence conjugale qui peuvent être exacerbées ces temps-ci. De plus, nous travaillons sur une entente de développement de parité entre hommes et femmes conclue à l’échelle de L’Estrie. Plusieurs actions dans la MRC des Sources se déploient en ce sens en ce qui a trait à l’intégration des femmes en entreprise et en politique, à l’accompagnement lors de démarches d’immigration, etc. Nous planchons aussi sur un projet visant à trouver des solutions pour la garde des enfants de parents séparés dont l’un des conjoints est violent. Bref, conclut la directrice, on ne chôme pas ! » facebook.com/Lepointdancrage cfvsf.com/contactMireille Fréjeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal L'Étincelle
The chief of the Shawanaga First Nation near Parry Sound said he is confident the majority of his people will want to get vaccinated against COVID 19. However, Chief Wayne Pamajewon said he understands the reluctance of some to get the vaccine, adding that it is their prerogative. The chief said he did not have an exact date on when the vaccine would reach his territory. He said he fully understands the reasons some of his people are reluctant to get the vaccine shots, particularly in light of the troubling history of the treatment of Indigenous people in the Canadian health-care system. However, he is advising his people to take the vaccination program seriously. “I think there are a couple of leaders within my council who are a little leery of this COVID needle. I’ve been a diabetic for 37 years. A needle to me means nothing,” the chief said. “I have never pushed my people to do anything they didn’t want to do. The call is probably going to be put into their hands. I can’t make them do that. I refuse to do that. The Great Spirit will work with them on that one.” The chief said he has every reason to believe his people will continue to follow COVID-19 protocols and he is cautiously optimistic that the territory will continue to remain coronavirus-free. Chief Pamajewon said the community has only had to address one COVID case — a student who does not live on the Shawanaga First Nation but attends school there was confirmed to have had the virus last month. That youngster has since self-isolated and has been declared COVID-free. There was no transfer of the virus to his community members. “We isolated that case right away because we were notified about it. We sent all the children from that community where the child was from home because they attend our school. It’s just lucky that we cut it off at the right spot and it went nowhere,” the chief said. “All the contacts came back negative. That was great that we were able to stop it right in its tracks before it got into our community.” The chief went on to say that he and his membership will abide by the latest provincial lockdown protocols, but he wanted to make it clear he does not necessarily classify himself as an Ontarian, but a member of Turtle Island, (the Indigenous term for North America). “Maybe what could’ve happened was that (the restrictions) had been tighter and longer from the beginning. I don’t think we locked the door tight enough,” Chief Pamajewon said. “I don’t think Premier Doug Ford had any choice, especially in the hot zones. But even some of our political leaders are (travelling). You can’t tell someone to do something and you turn around and you don’t do that. What is that? To me that’s wrong.” Pamajewon said that since the pandemic began, no one on the territory has been issued a ticket for hosting large gatherings at their home. “We don’t want our people to be charged or anything like that. What we want is preventive policing. We’ve had co-operation from our people to be mindful of gathering together. I’ve even approached some of their bonfires and talked with them to remind them to be mindful of the rules in place,” Chief Pamajewon said. John McFadden is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Indigenous issues for MuskokaRegion.com, ParrySound.com and Simcoe.com. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. John McFadden, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
King wants to mitigate traffic and safety issues before a Schomberg subdivision is built. Councillors approved staff recommendations to pave the way for Forestbrook Hills phase 2, off of Roselena Drive in Schomberg. This “extension” of the existing community has been in the works for years, with plans dating back to 2016. A draft plan and bylaw amendments were submitted by the proponents in 2017 and a public meeting was first held in 2018. The plan has been revised, and now includes 51 single-detached homes on the lands, which will be accessed from an extension of Roselena, crossing the river and forming a new intersection with Church Street. The extension of Roselena, staff said, will facilitate the connection of the existing community as envisioned in the Community Plan. Protecting the Schomberg River is important, and measures will be taken to mitigate any negative impacts. Also, staff said a hardwood forest adjacent to the development will be enhanced with buffers intended for replanting. The plan also includes a reasonable transition of lot sizes. Curbs, gutters and a sidewalk will be installed at the frontage of the development abutting Church Street. Retaining walls will be necessary in some spots. Commenting agencies such as King, LSRCA and York Region have no objections, noting any outstanding matters will be addressed during the draft plan approval stage. This type of development is permitted and even supported by residents. The main concerns surround traffic and pedestrian safety. Residents contend when the extension to Roselena takes place, it will create a bypass through the neighbourhood. Staff said Roselena would be a second principle entrance for the development and would allow water services to be “looped” and provide optimal response times for emergency vehicles. Right now, more than 100 homes are served by a single access at Roselena and Moore Park Drive. “Two fully maintained road access points would also foster better traffic flow and protect for future transportation-transit planning,” staff said. Staff also noted that King’s new Traffic Calming Strategy can help in terms of alleviating potential traffic woes, such as speeding. Staff suggested that Roselena be considered for “passive traffic calming techniques,” which include signage and markings used to slow traffic. Staff also said the developer will have to build and maintain the calming measures, and monitor traffic on an ongoing basis. Residents, however, are not completely convinced. While they support new housing, they point to safety and speeding as major concerns. One resident said compromises need to be made, and he’d like to see a double cul-de-sac, instead of the connection of Roselena with Church. Opening Roselena will only compound the problem, he said, adding this new phase need to be done with safety in mind. One resident did a house-to-house survey prior to the recent virtual council meeting. He said most residents thought the cul-de-sac was the preferred option. Other residents pointed to the quality of life, stressing the character of the existing neighbourhood needs to be maintained. Planner Paul Kulyk aid staff don’t support the double cul-de-sac. He noted the Township now has the benefit of the traffic strategy to help guide them. The developer, he said, is obligated to implement the traffic control measures. A lot of the concerns, he said, point to driver behaviour, and it’s difficult to design for behaviour. Councillor Bill Cober put forth an addition to the recommendations. It calls for traffic mitigation measures be included in the design. Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
GUYSBOROUGH – It has been three months since the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society hearing regarding charges against Adam Rodgers, former partner in the Port Hawkesbury law firm Boudrot Rodgers, concluded. The charges sought to define the potential level of knowledge and complicity Rodgers shared with his former law firm partner, Jason Boudrot, in the latter’s defrauding of clients’ trust funds. The hearing panel, in a decision released Tuesday, Jan. 12, found Rodgers had engaged in professional misconduct and had been reckless in regard to his professional responsibility – but had not misappropriated funds or assisted Boudrot in doing so. “The Panel has concluded that the Society (Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society) has satisfied its burden of establishing on the balance of probabilities that Adam Rodgers has engaged in professional misconduct by being reckless in regard to his professional responsibilities regarding trust funds,” stated the Notice of Decision issued by the Hearing Panel of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society on Jan. 12. In October of 2018, managing partner Boudrot contacted the Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society (NSBS) to report that he had “some issues with his trust accounts,” stated a NSBS hearing committee document in 2019. That led to a suspension of Boudrot’s practicing certificate, a declaration of bankruptcy and, in 2019, the disbarment of Boudrot. Last August, the NSBS published a notice stating that the society would hold a hearing respecting charges of professional misconduct and professional incompetence against Rodgers. The hearing, which took place at the beginning of last October, convened to hear submissions and consider evidence regarding the fraudulent dealings with clients’ trust monies managed by Boudrot Rodgers, to determine Rodgers’ role in the matter. The panel heard and was supplied evidence – in the form of an agreed upon joint book of exhibits – related to three charges of professional misconduct by encouraging or knowingly assisting with fraudulent or dishonest dealings with clients' trust monies and/or professional incompetence. The panels’ findings state, “We, as a Panel are satisfied that the Society has demonstrated it is more probable than not that Adam Rodgers, allowed Jason Boudrot to misappropriate clients’ trust funds, through his willful blindness and recklessness and thereby failed in his professional obligations. “The Panel is satisfied by clear and convincing evidence that Mr. Rodgers was “deliberately ignorant” of the activities of Mr. Boudrot. The Panel is satisfied that Mr. Rodgers did not deliberately nor actively misappropriate funds nor assist Mr. Boudrot in doing so. The Panel is satisfied the Society has demonstrated that it is more probable than not that Adam Rodgers aided Jason Boudrot through his willful blindness and recklessness and thereby failed to preserve and protect clients’ property.” The conclusion of its 50-page decision states, “In reaching this conclusion the Panel has imputed to Mr. Rodgers’ knowledge of the illegal activities of Mr. Boudrot and that he should have done something about it. The Panel findings are not based on a criminal standard that he aided and abetted Mr. Boudrot, but rather that a lawyer has a very high obligation of trust, as set out in the code of professional conduct and the regulations to properly deal and protect trust funds and Mr. Rodgers breached that obligation.” Rodgers, who has been vocal in his defense against the charges brought by NSBS, shared his response to the decision with The Journal via email Jan. 13. He wrote, “I am pleased to be exonerated on the main charges that I was somehow a participant in the large-scale theft and misappropriation schemes of my former law partner. It was not easy to fight the powerful Bar Society all on my own, but it was the right thing to do, and most of the Bar Society allegations against me were found by the Panel to be without merit, as I had predicted. “My conscience was always clear, but it was still satisfying to see it confirmed by the Panel that I did not take anything from anybody, that I did good work as a lawyer for my clients, and that I handled the crisis brought on my former partner in an appropriate manner,” he stated. Speaking to the finding of misconduct, Rodgers stated, “Where the Panel did make a finding of misconduct, it was to do with relatively minor billing matters, distinct from the main allegations. The Panel agreed that these instances did not result in any client of mine or other third party experiencing any losses and characterized my actions as willful blindness. “While I disagree with this unusual characterization, I take the matter seriously, and have learned some important lessons from the experience. I also wish to move on from this entire matter and focus my energy on the clients and other people I serve, both as a lawyer and community volunteer. I recognize and accept that lawyers are held to a higher standard and, throughout this difficult time, I have tried my best to act and communicate publicly in ways that would reinforce respect for our justice system and preserve the integrity of the legal profession in Nova Scotia.” As for the future, Rodgers wrote, “I look forward now to putting this entire ordeal behind me and see what I can do next for the people of my area, and throughout Nova Scotia. I continue to prepare for the next phase of the Desmond Inquiry, which resumes hearings next month, and [I] am considering several potential opportunities after that.” The panel has 60 days from the time of the decision’s release to determine what sanctions may be applied to Rodgers regarding the findings of the hearing. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
WASHINGTON — Three new senators were sworn into office Wednesday after President Joe Biden's inauguration, securing the majority for Democrats in the Senate and across a unified government to tackle the new president's agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges. In a first vote, the Senate confirmed Biden's nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines. Senators worked into the evening and overcame some Republican opposition to approve his first Cabinet member, in what's traditionally a show of good faith on Inauguration Day to confirm at least some nominees for a new president's administration. Haines, a former CIA deputy director, will become a core member of Biden’s security team, overseeing the agencies that make up the nation’s intelligence community. She was confirmed 84-10. The new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged colleagues to turn the spirit of the new president’s call for unity into action. “President Biden, we heard you loud and clear,” Schumer said in his first speech as majority leader. “We have a lengthy agenda. And we need to get it done together.” Vice-President Kamala Harris drew applause as she entered the chamber to deliver the oath of office to the new Democratic senators — Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla — just hours after taking her own oath at the Capitol alongside Biden. The three Democrats join a Senate narrowly split 50-50 between the parties, but giving Democrats the majority with Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote. Ossoff, a former congressional aide and investigative journalist, and Warnock, a pastor from the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s church in Atlanta, won run-off elections in Georgia this month, defeating two Republicans. Padilla was tapped by California’s governor to finish the remainder of Harris’ term. “Today, America is turning over a new leaf. We are turning the page on the last four years, we’re going to reunite the country, defeat COVID-19, rush economic relief to the people,” Ossoff told reporters earlier at the Capitol. “That’s what they sent us here to do.” Taken together, their arrival gives Democrats for the first time in a decade control of the Senate, the House and the White House, as Biden faces the unparalleled challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout, and the nation's painful political divisions from the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by a mob loyal to Donald Trump. Congress is being called on to consider Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion COVID recovery package, to distribute vaccines and shore up an economy as more than 400,000 Americans have died from the virus. At the same time, the Senate is about to launch an impeachment trial of Trump, charged by the House of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol as rioters tried to interrupt the Electoral College tally and overturn Biden’s election. The Senate will need to confirm other Biden Cabinet nominees. To “restore the soul” of the country, Biden said in his inaugural speech, requires “unity.” Yet as Washington looks to turn the page from Trump to the Biden administration, Republican leader Mitch McConnell is not relinquishing power without a fight. Haines' nomination was temporarily blocked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Okla., as he sought information about the CIA's enhanced interrogation program. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is holding back the Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas over Biden's proposed immigration changes. And McConnell is refusing to enter a power-sharing agreement with Senate Democrats unless they meet his demands, chiefly to preserve the Senate filibuster — the procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. McConnell, in his first speech as the minority party leader, said the election results with narrow Democratic control of the House and Senate showed that Americans “intentionally entrusted both political parties with significant power.” The Republican leader said he looked forward working with the new president “wherever possible.” At her first White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s desire to have his Cabinet confirmed and in place is “front and centre for the president,” and she said he was hoping to have his national security nominees in place Thursday or Friday. Psaki said the president will be “quite involved” in negotiations over the COVID relief package, but left the details of the upcoming impeachment trial to Congress. The Senate can “multitask,” she said. That’s a tall order for a Senate under normal circumstances, but even more so now in the post-Trump era, with Republicans badly split between their loyalties to the defeated president and wealthy donors who are distancing themselves from Republicans who back Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to soon transmit to the Senate the House-passed article of impeachment against Trump, charged with incitement of insurrection, a step that will launch the Senate impeachment trial. Meantime, the power-sharing talks between Schumer and McConnell have hit a stalemate. It’s an arcane fight McConnell has inserted into what has traditionally been a more routine organizing resolution over committee assignments and staffing resources, but a power play by the outgoing Republican leader grabbing at tools that can be used to block Biden’s agenda. Progressive and liberal Democrats are eager to do away with the filibuster to more quickly advance Biden’s priorities, but not all rank-and-file Senate Democrats are on board. Schumer has not agreed to any changes but McConnell is taking no chances. For now, it will take unanimous consent among senators to toggle between conducting votes on legislative business and serving as jurors in the impeachment trial. The House last week impeached Trump for having sent the mob to the Capitol to “fight like hell” during the tally of Electoral College votes to overturn Biden’s election. __ Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
Representatives of the religious faiths recognized in Belgium have joined forces to urge federal authorities to increase the number of people admitted inside places of worship during the coronavirus pandemic. Under the current COVID-19 rules, such places can accommodate up to 15 people. In a letter to Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne, the religious representatives argued that the number of people allowed should instead be linked to the space available. They proposed a return to the “one person per 10 square meters" rule which applied in June last year when Belgium exited the spring lockdown. “The use of this standard proved to be less restrictive for religious practice and at the same time very protective for public health,” they said in a statement on Wednesday. The letter was signed by representatives from the Roman Catholic, Protestant-Evangelical, Jewish, Anglican, Muslim and Orthodox faiths. “In these difficult and uncertain times, the need for meaning and spirituality is felt more than ever," they said. “For months now, a maximum of 15 people at a time have been able to gather in churches, mosques and synagogues in our country. Even if the life of a believer does not take place exclusively in the place of worship, many feel this measure in the long run as a drastic restriction of the latter." The government introduced the 15-person limit in December after the country’s highest court said the ban of services — with the exception of weddings and funerals in restricted company — which was introduced in October was disproportionate and impeded constitutional conditions on freedom of religion. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
Priyanka Chopra Jonas was scrolling through Twitter a few years ago when she saw a headline that a film adaptation of “The White Tiger” was in the works. She immediately got on the phone to her agent. Her request: Please call the producers and offer her services. At the very least, she wanted to executive produce and help use her platform to get the word out. Aravind Adiga's novel about a driver in India who rises to become a successful businessman despite the stratified caste system was an international bestseller and critical darling, winning the Man Booker Prize in 2008. In the film, which hits Netflix Friday, Jonas not only got that producer credit, but co-stars as well. “(The book) had a profound effect on me,” Jonas said. “It made me uncomfortable and made me think about a part of the world that we sort of desensitize ourselves to.” People have been trying to get a film adaption of “The White Tiger” off the ground for years. Producer Mukul Deora scooped up the film rights a decade ago. But it’s safe to say no one has been hoping to make an adaptation as long as Ramin Bahrani. The “99 Homes” director and Adiga have been friends since their days at Columbia University in the '90s and he was reading rough drafts of the novel years before it was published. He’s even on the dedication page. “It’s an epic story that required a lot of financing and money and resources to get it made in India,” Bahrani said. “That wasn’t so easy when the novel came out.” Deora told him it was fated to be. But even with the precedence of films like “Slumdog Millionaire,” they didn’t think one of the traditional studios would make the film at the level they wanted because, as Bahrani said, “There are no comic book characters in it and they’re not flying around shooting and killing one another and encouraging us to go to war.” So they tried Netflix. “They were hungry for it,” Bahrani said. “They have an appetite for global stories, for voices that are not typically represented behind a camera or in front of the camera.” At the core of the story is Balram, who narrates his own journey from a small village to being the head chauffeur for a prominent and corrupt family. Big international and Bollywood stars were interested in the part, but Bahrani had a different idea. “It seemed to me that this story about an underdog from the underclass should be played by an Indian and hopefully an unknown Indian, not a movie star,” he said. The man they found was Adarsh Gourav, a local working actor who had not had a lot of luck lately. “I thought it was beyond my league,” Gourav said. He went to the audition without much hope. But Bahrani saw in him exactly what he was looking for. “His smile was so inviting and so charming and he could turn on a dime,'” Bahrani said. ‘He had that duality the part needed.” After a month of call backs, Bahrani told Gourav he’d gotten the role. “It felt so surreal I couldn’t even react,” Gourav said. “I couldn’t process it.” Gourav was a fan of the book, too. It made him realize his own privilege when he’d read it as a teenager and he wanted to do the role justice, so he committed to trying to understand the circumstances of his character’s life. He lived in a small village for a few weeks and even worked in a small food shop in Delhi, where he’d clean plates and sweep floors for the equivalent of $1.50 a day. “It was a very humbling experience,” Gourav said. The film does have a major Bollywood star in Rajkummar Rao, and, of course Jonas whose stardom is now global. But it may still be a revelation for U.S. audiences who have yet to see the scope of Jonas’ acting talents. “I see myself at the beginning of my career and in the States right now,” Jonas said. "I’ve never (thought) just because I’ve had a career with almost 50 movies somewhere else that I should have that same kind of reception in a country that doesn’t know me. (But) when I first came over to this side of the world, it was hard because not a lot of parts are written for people who look like me.” She had to fight for roles that were more than stereotypes. Even Pinky, who is married to Balram's boss, required a little bit of an update for the film. In the book she’s seen only through Balram’s voyeuristic eyes. In the film, she’s a more fully realized person. Jonas has also taken it upon herself to get more South Asian stories out in the world through her production company, Purple Pebble Pictures. “We’re one fifth of the world’s population, but you don’t see that represented in global entertainment,” she said. Eventually she’d like to direct, too. Her husband, Nick Jonas, has advised her to, “Stop overthinking it and just go do it.” And she thinks streaming services are helping to broaden people’s horizons and introduce them to global content. Jonas does hope that non-Indian audiences understand that “The White Tiger” is set at the turn of the 21st century and that modern India is very different from what is depicted in the book and film. The class divide, she said, is a metaphor for the vast wealth disparity in every country. Of course “The White Tiger” is also, first and foremost, entertainment with some “Goodfellas” touchstones. “We tried to make a fun, fast, propulsive movie with a great lead character and an amazing set of performances,” Bahrani said. “Anything else is a bonus.” ___ Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
THUNDER BAY — The Thunder Police Services Board received a progress report on the 44 recommendations handed out by the Office of the Independent Police Review during Tuesday’s board meeting. Legal counsel for the Thunder Bay Police Service, Holly Walbourne, presented the second yearly report to the board on Tuesday, Jan. 19, and outlined the service’s progress on all 44 recommendations. In December 2018, a 300-plus page report by the OIPRD detailed failings on the part of the Thunder Bay Police Service to address the policing needs of Indigenous people in the community. One of the most significant recommendations in the report recommended the reinvestigation of nine sudden deaths involving indigenous people by a multi-discipline team. The OIPRD recommended the cases be reopened because the initial investigations lacked quality. On Tuesday, Walbourne informed the board the re-investigations are still ongoing and further updates will come from the executive governance committee. Other completed recommendations reported on Tuesday included the recommendation of the police force to make the wearing of name tags on the front of police uniforms mandatory for all officers. According to the report, as of August 2020, all name tags were ordered and are now considered a permanent part of an officer’s uniform. After the presentation by Walbourne, board member Michael Power stated he would advocate for updates on the report to be reviewed at every board meeting rather than an annual review. “We as a board own this report,” Power said, adding transferring the written report to a grid format where recommendations can be labelled as completed or not completed in terms of progress could also be beneficial to share with Indigenous leaders and communities to evaluate the police force's progress on the report. "We can get into more significant conversation about what has been done as a result of implementation, what needs to be done and improve the level of understanding," he said. Also on Tuesday, the board discussed the implementation of in-car and body-worn cameras. Police said in their report capital funding has been secured to actualize the project and the service will be announcing the rollout of the project by the end of the first quarter of 2021. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Superintendent Dan Taddeo said providing the board with a solid timeline for the implementation of the program is difficult. For the full progress report presented during Tuesday’s meeting go to the Thunder Bay Police Services Board website by clicking here. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Sherbrooke — L’Ancienne Forge vient de franchir un nouveau pas vers sa concrétisation, dès juin 2021. En deux mois, cette nanobrasserie communautaire, qui occupera la forge centenaire du cœur de Brompton, a récolté plus de 16 600 $ en signe de soutien de la communauté. La campagne de sociofinancement de l’Ancienne Forge, tenue en collaboration avec La Ruche Estrie afin de trouver les fonds nécessaires pour l’aménagement d’une salle de brassage à la fine pointe, avait pour objectif d’amasser 15 000 $. Puisque son objectif a été dépassé, celle-ci profitera d’autant plus d’une contribution 2 750 $ provenant du fonds Alvéole de Commerce Sherbrooke. Michael Jacques, chargé de projet pour l’Ancienne Forge, y voit une belle mobilisation du secteur Brompton de Sherbrooke, confirmant ainsi le besoin de voir naître un tel endroit. « C’est super. Il y a eu d’importants dons de familles qui sont là depuis plusieurs générations. Elles ont fait monter en flèche la campagne », exprime-t-il. Rappelons que le Comité du patrimoine de Bromptonville prépare depuis près d’un an et demi la création d’un tout nouveau lieu de rencontre au 49, rue Saint-Lambert, soit un bâtiment datant de 1914 qui était occupé par un garage jusqu’à tout récemment. On pourra notamment y boire de la bière « de haut niveau » préparée sur place en collaboration avec le département de sciences brassicoles de l’Université Bishop’s, manger des produits préparés par des restaurateurs du coin, promouvoir son entreprise ou son art et assister à différents événements de diffusion de la culture et de l’histoire. Cette initiative vise également à créer des emplois en plus de préserver le vieux bâtiment, qui possède d’ailleurs toujours ses murs de brique d’origine. Il s’agira d’une entreprise d’économie sociale, qui remettra tous ses profits directement dans la communauté, notamment par le biais d’organismes. Les bénévoles derrière ce projet ont rassemblé presque toutes les autorisations qui devraient leur permettre d’offrir une nanobrasserie aux citoyens dès l’été prochain, en plus de la collaboration de plusieurs entrepreneurs des environs. Ils tentent d’ailleurs toujours de séduire différents bailleurs de fonds afin d’être en mesure d’éventuellement acheter le bâtiment. Même si la campagne de sociofinancement est terminée sur la plateforme La Ruche Estrie, les dons, commandites et partenariats sont toujours les bienvenus, assure M. Jacques. On peut le contacter au firstname.lastname@example.org à ce sujet.Jasmine Rondeau, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
LONDON — Dozens of U.K. music stars including Elton John, Ed Sheeran and conductor Simon Rattle say musicians have been “shamefully failed” by the British government, which has left them facing post-Brexit restrictions on touring in the European Union. In a letter published Wednesday in the Times of London, more than 100 musicians including Sting, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and Roger Daltrey of The Who, along with the heads of major arts institutions, said the new U.K.-EU trade deal that took effect Jan. 1 has “a gaping hole where the promised free movement for musicians should be.” Britain’s departure from the EU means that U.K. citizens can no longer live and work freely in the 27-nation bloc. Tourists do not need visas for stays of up to 90 days, and some short business trips are also allowed. But artists and musicians have not been included in the deal. Britain and the EU disagree about who is to blame for the omission, each accusing the other of rejecting a deal for touring artists. The new rules mean U.K. performers have to comply with differing rules in the 27 EU nations, negotiating visas for musicians and permits for their equipment. Many say the costs and red tape will make it impossible for British artists to perform on the continent, endangering the country’s status as a cultural powerhouse. The musicians’ letter said the new expense and bureaucracy will make “many tours unviable, especially for young emerging musicians who are already struggling to keep their heads above water owing to the COVID ban on live music.” Scottish National Party lawmaker Pete Wishart, a former member of rock band Runrig, said Tuesday in the House of Commons that musicians and artists were “mere collateral in this government’s obsession in ending freedom of movement” and controlling immigration once it left the EU. Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage acknowledged the situation was “incredibly disappointing,” but said “the door is open” to talks with the EU on a deal for musicians. She resisted calls from the opposition to publish details of the proposals made by the U.K. during negotiations that the bloc allegedly rejected. ___ Follow all AP stories about Brexit developments at https://apnews.com/Brexit. Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said U.S. President Joe Biden's decision to revoke the permit for Calgary-based TC Energy's Keystone XL pipeline was a "gut punch," characterizing it as a direct attack on the trade relationship between the two countries. "Sadly, [this is] an insult directed at the United States's most important ally and trading partner," Kenney said during a press conference held Wednesday. Kenney said he was calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sit down with the new administration, suggesting that the federal government impose trade and economic sanctions should those efforts be refused. As a part of the broader climate order, the Biden administration wrote that the Keystone XL pipeline "disserves the U.S. national interest," citing challenges surrounding climate and the pursuit of a clean energy economy. In the order, the administration indicated that its analysis concluded that approval of Keystone XL would "undermine U.S. climate leadership" by undercutting the influence of the country on other nations to take climate action. "Leaving the Keystone XL pipeline permit in place would not be consistent with my Administration's economic and climate imperatives," the order reads. WATCH | Alberta Premier Jason Kenney reacts to Keystone decision: Prior to Kenney's comments, both Trudeau and Canadian Ambassador to the United States Kirsten Hillman indicated that while disappointed with the decision, they were resigned to live with it. The 1,897-kilometre pipeline, first announced in 2005, would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude a day from the oilsands in Alberta to Nebraska. It would then have connected with the original Keystone pipeline that runs to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. Biden's revoking of the permit was part of a series of executive orders aimed at tackling climate change that also included re-entering the Paris climate accord. The Alberta government agreed last year to invest about $1.5 billion as equity in the project, plus billions more in loan guarantees. As a result, the Canadian leg of the project has been under construction for several months with about 1,000 workers in southeast Alberta. Trudeau pledges support for energy workers In a statement, Trudeau said he had spoken directly with Biden about the project in November, and Hillman along with others in the government had made Canada's case to high-level officials in the administration. Trudeau said his government did welcome the new administration's moves to rejoin the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, and to temporarily suspend oil and natural gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Kenney said that if the federal government doesn't approach Keystone XL discussions on the same level it did aluminum and steel tariffs, then the province would be forced to "go further in our fight for a fair deal in the federation." The comment appeared to be a reference to Alberta's so-called fair deal panel, a series of measures being studied by the province that would help the province better assert its standing within Confederation. In a statement, Alberta Opposition leader Rachel Notley called the cancellation of Keystone a "difficult day" for Alberta workers but criticized the provincial government's approach to the project. "This decision is made far worse by the premier's reckless gamble of at least $1.5 billion on a project that most people understood was at great risk and over which he had no authority," Notley said. TC Energy says it's considering its options Conservative Party Leader Erin O'Toole called the cancellation of the pipeline "devastating." "We need to get as many people back to work, in every part of Canada, in every sector, as quickly as possible. The loss of this important project only makes that harder," O'Toole said in a statement. "Justin Trudeau should have done more to stand up for our world-class energy sector and the men and women who depend on it to provide for their families." In a statement released Wednesday morning, TC Energy said it was disappointed in the move and warned it would lead to the layoffs of thousands of unionized workers. "TC Energy will review the decision, assess its implications and consider its options," the statement reads. "However, as a result of the expected revocation of the presidential permit, advancement of the project will be suspended." The company said the decision would "overturn an unprecedented, comprehensive regulatory process that lasted more than a decade." The company struck a deal with four labour unions to build the pipeline and has an agreement in place with five Indigenous tribes to take a roughly $785-million ownership stake. Contractors association 'disappointed' The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada said in a news release it is disappointed that Biden is "putting politics before reason." "We're disappointed that the new president has lost sight of the huge economic and strategic advantages of this project," said PCAC president Paul de Jong. The association, whose member companies employ thousands of Alberta and B.C. construction workers, said the pipeline would have generated as many as 60,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada and the United States. Canadian producers, who have struggled for years from low prices partly related to sometimes-congested pipelines, have long supported Keystone XL. In a statement, Suncor Energy said it backed expanding market access to the U.S. through pipelines such as KXL, which, it said, would provide responsibly sourced oil to U.S. refineries for the benefit of U.S. consumers. But a Canada Energy Regulator report in November said western Canadian crude exports are expected to remain below total pipeline capacity over the next 30 years if KXL and two other projects proceed, prompting environmental groups to question the need for all three. Biden signalled plan for months For months, Biden had said he intended to cancel the project if elected. Hillman said she was disappointed but that Canada would accept the decision. "We respect that that's the decision he's made," she said. "He had made a commitment during his campaign, and he lived up to that commitment, and I think we have to accept that and move forward." WATCH | Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Kirsten Hillman reacts to Keystone decision: Greg Anderson, a political scientist at the University of Alberta, says Canadians tend to look at narrow trade conflicts as a sort of barometer for the larger relationship with the U.S. but added "that just isn't the case." He also says the province faces bigger challenges than the loss of one pipeline. "I think a lot of Albertans were hoping that maybe this could just kind of slide by and the pipeline would get built," said Anderson. "But the Keystone pipeline is not the Alberta economy. You know, it's not going to save Alberta or solve Alberta's problems. It might have helped on the margins, but Alberta has bigger fish to fry." The pipeline has become emblematic of the tensions between economic development and curbing the fossil fuel emissions that are causing climate change. The Obama administration rejected it in 2015, prompting TC Energy in 2016 to launch a lawsuit and a multibillion-dollar North American Free Trade Agreement claim against the U.S. government. The company changed course after Donald Trump revived it once he became president four years ago and gave it strong support. Construction has already started in the United States. TC Energy could now take similar action in order to prevent walking away from Keystone XL empty-handed after a dozen years of setbacks, billions of dollars spent and thousands of pages of filings.
CAIRO — A boat carrying migrants bound for Europe capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off the coat of Libya, drowning at least 43 people, the U.N. migration agency said Wednesday. The International Organization for Migration said the “tragic” shipwreck that took place a day earlier was the first maritime disaster in 2021 involving migrants seeking better lives in Europe. In recent years, the EU has partnered with Libya’s coast guard and other local groups to stem such dangerous sea crossings. Rights groups, however, say those policies leave migrants at the mercy of armed groups or confined in squalid detention centres rife with abuses. The IOM said coastal security forces in Libya’s western town of Zuwara rescued 10 migrants from the shipwreck Tuesday and brought them to shore. It said the dead were all men from West African nations, according to survivors. The migration agency said the boat left the western city of Zawiya early Tuesday and capsized a few hours later after its engine stopped working amid rough seas. In the years since the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, war-torn Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. Smugglers often pack desperate families into ill-equipped rubber boats that stall and founder along the perilous Central Mediterranean route. The U.N. migration and refugee agencies called for an “urgent and measurable shift in the approach” to the situation in the Mediterranean, including an end to returns to “unsafe ports." "Arbitrary arrests and arbitrary detention in the direst of conditions continue (in Libya). Many are victimized and exploited by traffickers and smugglers, held for ransom, tortured, and abused,” they said in a statement Wednesday. The IOM said in November that some 500 migrants have died trying to cross the central Mediterranean, but the actual number of people who lost their lives could be much higher, due to “the limited ability to monitor routes.” Samy Magdy, The Associated 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.
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Blizzard-like conditions are expected to descend on parts of eastern Newfoundland on Thursday as the provincial election campaign nears the end of its first week. Environment Canada says up to 30 centimetres of snow is in the forecast for the Avalon and Bonavista peninsulas, starting Thursday afternoon. Even more snow could cover the easternmost sections of the Avalon, which includes St. John's. And with maximum wind gusts expected to reach up to 100 kilometres per hour, outdoor campaigning will likely come to a halt. It was just over a year ago that one of the worst storms in the province's history dumped more than 90 centimetres of snow on St. John's, paralyzing the city for days. Winds gusting at 134 km/h created snowdrifts up to 15-feet high, and there was a minor avalanche in one neighbourhood near the harbour. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. The Canadian Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 10:35 a.m. Ontario says there are 2,655 new cases of COVID-19 in the province today and 89 more deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott says 925 of the new cases are in Toronto, 473 are in Peel Region and 226 are in York Region. Nearly 14,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since Ontario's last daily update. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. The Canadian Press
Aylmer resident Rayne Gelinas is taking a stand against “freedom” rallies, the local anti-restrictions movement, and its connection to the Aylmer Church of God Restoration. Ms. Gelinas is the organizer of three roadside protests along John Street North on Dec. 27, Jan. 3, and Jan. 10 just outside the Church of God. Dozens of cars line the road, with occupants displaying signs and occasionally honking during the church service. The move is to support wearing face masks and following COVID-19 health and safety regulations, which some church members and supporters have been vocal in opposing. Ms. Gelinas said she was pleased with the turnout, adding attendees, for the most part, strictly followed health and safety protocols by remaining in their cars. There was one notable exception at the Jan. 3 protest – a 34-year-old Sparta man, Terry Carrington – who was not associated with the group. They dispersed the Dec. 27 rally at Aylmer Police request, due to safety concerns and road congestion. “We’re not interested in getting to violence. We want to put public pressure on misbehaviour of this church and their associates,” explained Ms. Gelinas, specifically pointing to Church of God Pastor Henry Hildebrandt and his son, Herbert. Both Hildebrandts have been active participants with “freedom rallies” and gatherings across Ontario and are facing charges under the Reopening Ontario Act. Ms. Gelinas organized a social media group called Canadians Against “Freedom” Rallies and Misinformation. She intends to continue the peaceful roadside protests. “I have taken a lot of heat for being in the position I’m in,” she said. “I want our town to become the peaceful, beautiful community that it once was.” Ms. Gelinas alleged that she has been harassed and threatened by some associated with the church following the roadside protest, incidents which were subsequently reported to Aylmer Police. Several cars have driven by her home, with the occupants appearing to record with a cell phone. After the Jan. 10 roadside protest, Ms. Gelinas alleged that a black SUV belonging to a congregation member followed her car to her Aylmer home. The group is not a part of the “We Are One, We Are All” (WAOWAA) group that posted anonymous videos on YouTube, criticizing the actions of those associated with “freedom rallies.” Ms. Gelinas said she is in support of WAOWAA. On. Jan. 14, Ms. Gelinas said the roadside protests outside the church are now on hold as a result of the new provincial stay at home order. “I can’t have anyone in harm’s way.” Group members will now be working on a poster/flyer campaign. Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express
WASHINGTON — In his final remarks as president, Donald Trump tried to take credit for accomplishments of his predecessor and even those to come under President Joe Biden. Falsehoods suffused his farewell remarks Wednesday morning and the night before, though he was spot on with this: “We were not a regular administration.” As well, in noting Americans were “horrified” by the storming of the Capitol this month, he brushed past the encouragement he had given to the mob in advance and his praise of the attackers as “very special” people while they were still ransacking the seat of power. A look at some of his statements to well-wishers at Joint Base Andrews en route to Florida on Wednesday and in his videotaped address Tuesday: COVID-19 TRUMP: “We got the vaccine developed in nine months instead of nine years or five years or 10 years, a long time. It was supposed to take a long time. ... We have two out, we have another one coming almost immediately.” — remarks Wednesday before leaving Washington. TRUMP: “Another administration would have taken three, four, five, maybe even up to 10 years to develop a vaccine. We did in nine months.” — address Tuesday. THE FACTS: Actually, the administration didn’t develop any vaccines. Pharmaceutical companies did. And one of the two U.S. companies that have come out with vaccines now in use did not take development money from the government. Trump’s contention that a vaccine would have taken years under a different administration stretches credulity. COVID-19 vaccines were indeed remarkably fast, but other countries have been developing them, too. A vaccine for the coronavirus is not a singular achievement of the United States, much less the Trump administration. U.S. drugmaker Pfizer developed its vaccine in partnership with Germany’s BioNTech, eschewing federal money for development, though benefitting from an advance commitment from Washington to buy large quantities if the vaccine succeeded. A vaccine by Moderna, from the U.S., is also in widespread use. But Britain’s AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is being administered in several countries, and vaccines from China and Russia are also in limited use. More than a dozen potential vaccines are in late stages of testing worldwide. ___ TRUMP: “We passed VA Choice.” — address Tuesday. THE FACTS: No, he did not get the Choice program passed. President Barack Obama did. Trump expanded it. The program allows veterans to get medical care outside the Veterans Affairs system under certain conditions. Trump has tried to take credit for Obama's achievement scores of times. ___ TAXES TRUMP: "We also got tax cuts, the largest tax cut and reform in the history of our country by far." — remarks Wednesday. TRUMP: “We passed the largest package of tax cuts and reforms in American history.” — address Tuesday. THE FACTS: His tax cuts are not close to the biggest in U.S. history. It’s a $1.5 trillion tax cut over 10 years. As a share of the total economy, a tax cut of that size ranks 12th, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 cut is the biggest, followed by the 1945 rollback of taxes that had financed World War II. Post-Reagan tax cuts also stand among the historically significant: President George W. Bush’s cuts in the early 2000s and Obama’s renewal of them a decade later. ___ ECONOMY TRUMP: “We have the greatest economy in the world.” — remarks Wednesday. TRUMP: “We also built the greatest economy in the history of the world.” — address Tuesday. THE FACTS: No, the numbers show it wasn’t the greatest in U.S. history. And he is the first president since Herbert Hoover in the Depression to leave office with fewer jobs than when he started. Did the U.S. have the most jobs on record before the pandemic? Sure, the population had grown. The 3.5% unemployment rate before the recession was at a half-century low, but the percentage of people working or searching for jobs was still below a 2000 peak. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer looked at Trump’s economic growth record. Growth under Trump averaged 2.48% annually before the pandemic, only slightly better than the 2.41% gains achieved during Obama’s second term. By contrast, the economic expansion that began in 1982 during Reagan’s presidency averaged 4.2% a year. ___ TRUMP, on the economy after the pandemic: “It's a rocket ship up.” — remarks Wednesday. THE FACTS: Not so. There’s been no dramatic, V-shaped economic recovery under Trump. Employers cut jobs during his final December in office. But economists say the additional aid approved in December and the prospect of more from Biden could cause the strongest growth this year in more than two decades. ___ TRUMP: "We reignited America’s job creation and achieved record-low unemployment for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, women — almost everyone. — address Tuesday. THE FACTS: Not an ignition. Job creation actually slowed in 2017, Trump’s first year in office, to about 2 million, compared with nearly 2.5 million in 2016, Obama’s last year in office. The low unemployment rates refer to a pre-pandemic economy that is no more. The pandemic has cost the U.S. economy 10 million jobs and has made Trump the first president since Hoover to oversee a net loss of jobs. The U.S. has about 2.8 million fewer jobs now than when Trump was inaugurated, and lost 140,000 just in December. And the job losses have fallen disproportionately on Black Americans, Hispanics and women. ___ TRUMP: “We rebuilt the American manufacturing base, opened up thousands of new factories, and brought back the beautiful phrase Made in the USA.” — address Tuesday. THE FACTS: That's a stretch. There are now 60,000 fewer manufacturing jobs in the U.S. than when Trump took office. Despite gains before the pandemic, the manufacturing base had not exactly been “rebuilt.” Before the coronavirus, nearly 500,000 manufacturing jobs were added under Trump, somewhat better than the nearly 400,000 gained during Obama’s second term. Still, even before the pandemic, the U.S. had 4.3 million fewer factory jobs than it did in 2001, the year China joined the World Trade Organization and a flood of cheaper imports from that country entered the U.S. ___ CAPITOL INSURRECTION TRUMP: “All Americans were horrified by the assault on our Capitol. Political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans. It can never be tolerated.” — address Tuesday. THE FACTS: That may sum up the reaction of most Americans but it ignores his own part in stirring the anger of his supporters before they staged the violent melee. For months, Trump falsely claimed the November election was stolen, then invited supporters to Washington and sent them off to the Capitol with the exhortation to “fight like hell.” With the uprising still underway and the velocity of the attack apparent from video and reports from the scene, Trump released a video telling them “to go home now” while repeating “this was a fraudulent election” and adding: “We love you. You're very special.” The House impeached Trump, accusing him of inciting an insurrection. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, a Trump political ally for four years, said Tuesday the Trump supporters were “fed lies” and ”provoked by the president and other powerful people." ___ MILITARY TRUMP: “We rebuilt the United States military.” — remarks Wednesday. THE FACTS: That’s an exaggeration. It’s true that his administration accelerated a sharp buildup in defence spending, including a respite from what the U.S. military considered to be crippling spending limits under budget sequestration. But a number of new Pentagon weapons programs, such as the F-35 fighter jet, were started years before the Trump administration. And it will take years for freshly ordered tanks, planes and other weapons to be built, delivered and put to use. The Air Force’s Minuteman 3 missiles, a key part of the U.S. nuclear force, for instance, have been operating since the early 1970s and the modernization was begun under the Obama administration. They are due to be replaced with a new version, but not until later this decade. ___ TRUMP: “We obliterated the ISIS caliphate.” — address Tuesday. THE FACTS: His suggestion of a 100% defeat is misleading as the Islamic State group still poses a threat. IS was defeated in Iraq in 2017, then lost the last of its land holdings in Syria in March 2019, marking the end of the extremists’ self-declared caliphate. Still, extremist sleeper cells have continued to launch attacks in Iraq and Syria in recent weeks and are believed to be responsible for targeted killings against local officials and members of the Syrian Democratic Forces. The continued attacks are a sign that the militant group is taking advantage of governments otherwise focused on the pandemic and the ensuing slide into economic chaos. The virus is compounding longtime concerns among security and U.N. experts that the group will stage a comeback. ___ CHINA TRUMP: “We imposed historic and monumental tariffs on China. ... Our trade relationship was rapidly changing, billions and billions of dollars were pouring into the U.S., but the virus forced us to go in a different direction.” — address Tuesday. THE FACTS: That’s a familiar assertion, false to the core. It’s false to suggest the U.S. never collected tariffs on Chinese goods before he took action. Tariffs on Chinese goods are simply higher in some cases than they were before. It’s also wrong to suggest that the tariffs are being paid by China. Tariff money coming into the government’s coffers is mainly from U.S. businesses and consumers, not from China. Tariffs are primarily if not entirely a tax paid domestically. ___ Associated Press writers Josh Boak, Robert Burns and Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report. ___ EDITOR'S NOTE — A look at the veracity of claims by political figures. ___ Find AP Fact Checks at http://apnews.com/APFactCheck Follow @APFactCheck on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APFactCheck Hope Yen, Christopher Rugaber And Calvin Woodward, The Associated Press
A Jan. 11 budget presentation made by Corporate Services Director Kale Brown to Aylmer council detailed the financial outline for 2021 and provided a five-year project plan. Mr. Brown first outlined matters that were carried forward into 2021 from the previous year, and how the panemic was affecting certain projects. There are ongoing payroll adjustments for town staff. As a result of the provincial shutdown, some EECC staff will be transferred to other Aylmer departments, such as parks. Mr. Brown said that a tender for the Clarence Street reconstruction project was currently being prepared for this year. While the project was estimated to cost $1.2-million in 2020, the project is now estimated to cost about $1.5-million. The Clarence Street reconstruction was originally scheduled for 2020, but was delayed due to the pandemic. “The consequence of that is it puts projects starting to stack up on one another,” said Mr. Brown. “So department heads are having to review things that didn’t get completed in 2020 as a result of the pandemic and making sure the 10-year plan is adjusted to accommodate all of them again.” “We’re basically doing 10 years’ worth of projects in 9 years.” The development charges, water, and sewer rates study will move forward in 2021. This will allow staff to prepare capital plans, which will assist with the asset management plan and future capital planning for the water and sewer assets. The application for federal-provincial funding for 25 Centre Street renovations has been submitted. The renovations will cost between $200,000 and $250,000 and combine Aylmer town hall with the attached building on Centre Street. This will allow enough space for distanced in person council meetings. The town received $553,810 in 2019 from the province in the form of a modernization grant. Mr. Brown discussed five projects using this funding scheduled to take place this year. $90,000 will go to a records management system. Mr. Brown said this will allow staff to move more digitally in terms of file retention and file tracking. “Once it is established, it actually alters the way you process information, the way you track files, and the way it’s actually searchable and retrievable files as well.” $10,000 of the grant money will be spent on a Human Resources Information System. The add-on module will track staff training, sign offs, and pandemic-related information, such as daily health screenings. A bar code will be applied to tax bills. This will require a redesign that will cost an estimated $3,700. “If you were coming to pay your taxes at town hall, you would put your tax bill stub underneath the bar code scanner and immediately it would pull up information relating to your tax roll.” A parks and recreation master plan will cost $60,000, an item that has been discussed and put forward for several years. It will provide council with direction on available options in that department. $100,000 of this grant will go towards the 25 Centre Street renovation. There are other scheduled projects using this grant money for 2022 and 2023, leaving an unallocated balance left of $27,110. The town benefit renewal in April is projected to cost the town $31,000 more than last year. There is a 1.86% increase in the assessment roll, which represents “growth and expansion that has happened, which is coming online and being taxed for the first time.” This growth should help council address other increased costs, said Mr. Brown. He reiterated the uncertainty regarding the operating conditions in 2021. “We do not have a crystal ball as to how the year will progress. Operating environments can still change and they will be volatile, at least for the first half of 2021.” Councillor Tom Charlton asked for more details about the $60,000 parks and recreation master plan. Mr. Brown clarified that the master plan is a study. It would include input from the public as to what they would like to see from the parks and recreation department. This long-range document would also lay out operations and programming options available to council. The presentation also highlighted a financial sustainability analysis from 2015 to 2019 for the town of Aylmer. The sustainability indicators are prepared by the province, using information from financial information returns, which are submitted by each municipality. Aylmer ranked “low” level of risk in every category throughout 2019 when compared to other south region lower tier municipalities. Some of the indicators include debt servicing cost as a percent of total revenues, annual surplus (deficit) as a percent of own source revenues, and total reserves and discretionary reserve funds as a percent of municipal expenses. There was one “moderate” risk ranking in the debt servicing section in 2017. “That is pretty quickly explained – that was the final retirement of the debt relating to the EECC’s construction,” said Mr. Brown. “The moral of the story is that the financial sustainability in the current financial state of the town of Aylmer has been incredibly conservative and in good financial health for a number of years.” Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express