Captured in Boucherville, Quebec a pair of deer were spotted floating downriver on chunks of ice.
Captured in Boucherville, Quebec a pair of deer were spotted floating downriver on chunks of ice.
Former President Donald Trump has clashed again with his Republican Party, demanding that three Republican groups stop using his name and likeness for fundraising, a Trump adviser said on Saturday. The adviser, confirming a report in Politico, said lawyers for Trump on Friday had sent cease-and-desist letters to the Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Campaign and National Republican Senate Campaign, asking them to stop using his name and likeness on fundraising emails and merchandise.
Quebec is reporting 749 new cases of COVID-19 today along with 10 new deaths linked to the virus. The province also says it administered 19,865 doses of vaccine on Friday as its vaccination campaign ramps up. The latest vaccination figures, the highest the province has reported in a single day so far, come as Quebec opens vaccine eligibility to more people. To date, provincial figures show 532,012 doses of vaccine have been administered out of a total of 638,445 that the province received. Quebec reported 601 hospitalizations related to COVID-19 today, a decrease of 16 from the day before. The number of people hospitalized includes 109 people in intensive care, down by two. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2021. The Canadian Press
P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office announced one new case of COVID-19 on the Island Friday, a man in his 50s who is a close contact of a previously announced case. A statement Friday says the P.E.I. government is "pleased to hear that Health Canada has granted authorization for the use" of the Janssen, or Johnson & Johnson, COVID-19 vaccine. The province has not yet been given any details of the planned rollout of the single-dose vaccine. This is in addition to the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine approved earlier this week for use in people under 65, and the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines that have been being administered for the past couple of months. Charlottetown's winter festival was put on ice this week due to COVID restrictions, but will be extended six days to make up for the pause. P.E.I. now has 24 active cases out of a total of 139 diagnosed. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. Also in the news A container of relief supplies from P.E.I. was welcomed in Grand Bahama last week, the donations spearheaded by P.E.I. man Luke Ignace, who moved here from Freeport. The container was put together to help Bahamians struggling in the wake of both Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada is the only country in the world delaying second doses of COVID-19 vaccines from three weeks after the first dose to four months, but critics say we are venturing into uncharted scientific waters that may lead to complications down the road. WATCH | Why P.E.I. is extending the time between COVID-19 vaccine doses: Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
The widow of a mariner who died on B.C.'s North Coast is looking for answers and closure surrounding the circumstances of her husband's death. Judy Carlick-Pearson is asking the Canadian Coast Guard to raise the tugboat Ingenika, which sank Feb. 11 while pulling a large barge in the Gardner Canal just south of Kitimat. Carlick-Pearson's husband, Troy Pearson, and crew member Charley Cragg were both killed in the accident. A third crew member, Zac Dolan, was rescued after washing ashore. "Honestly, it's minute by minute, second by second some days," said Carlick-Pearson in an interview with CBC Daybreak North host Carolina DeRyk. "My son and I take turns being the cheerleader in the house to try and get through a moment." Stalled efforts at recovery It's now been more than three weeks since the Ingenika sank, but neither the Canadian Coast Guard nor the RCMP have been able to retrieve the vessel. Carlick-Peason says they have given up the search even though there could still be answers on the boat, and the boat still contained fuel, which could be harmful to the marine environment. "We feel that the tug will not only answer questions, but give us some closure as well," she wrote in a petition launched March 2. "If they recover the tug, they may find out why that tugboat sank, as tugboats aren't known to sink." The petition has received more than 6,600 signatures as of Saturday. In a written statement to CBC, Transport Canada extended their condolences to the families of Pearson and Cragg, but said the suspected depth of the vessel would make any attempts at recovery difficult and dangerous. "The coast guard continues to monitor the situation and work with the owner, the RCMP, Transport Canada, and Environment and Climate Change Canada as partners in the response," the statement says. "An investigation into the sinking of the tug Ingenika will be conducted by the Transportation Safety Board." Call for greater oversight The Feb. 11 incident has sparked calls for better protection of mariners operating vessels. The International Longshore Workers Union Local 400 Marine Section sent out a news release on Feb. 23 asking Transport Canada to require formal safety management systems for undersized and undermanned fleets operating along the coast. ILWU Local 400 president Jason Woods said approximately 12 tugboats have sunk in the past two years on the West Coast. Woods said these tugboats are often undermanned and underweight for the size of vessel they are pulling. "The only reason people haven't died is because of luck," Woods said. "We've been saying this for years, that there will be a fatality, it's going to happen, and here we are." Woods said he would like to see every commercial vessel inspected by Transport Canada regardless of its weight, and procedures in place to ensure they are appropriately manned.
TORONTO — Ontario is reporting 990 new cases of COVID-19 today and six more deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 284 new cases in Toronto, 173 in Peel Region, and 82 in York Region. Today's data is based on 57,829 completed tests. The province also reports a single-day high of 39,698 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered since Friday's update. A total of 860,412 doses of vaccine have been administered in Ontario so far. Ontario says that 1,152 more cases were resolved since the last daily update. There have been 306,997 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Ontario since the pandemic began, including 289,735 classified as resolved and 7,052 that have resulted in death. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — An exhausted Senate narrowly approved a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill Saturday as President Joe Biden and his Democratic allies notched a victory they called crucial for hoisting the country out of the pandemic and economic doldrums. After labouring through the night on a mountain of amendments — nearly all from Republicans and rejected — bleary-eyed senators approved the sprawling package on a 50-49 party-line vote. That sets up final congressional approval by the House next week so lawmakers can send it to Biden for his signature. “We tell the American people, help is on the way," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Citing the country's desire to resume normalcy, he added, “Our job right now is to help our country get from this stormy present to that hopeful future.” The huge package — its total spending is nearly one-tenth the size of the entire U.S. economy — is Biden’s biggest early priority. It stands as his formula for addressing the deadly virus and a limping economy, twin crises that have afflicted the country for a year. Saturday's vote was also a crucial political moment for Biden and Democrats, who need nothing short of party unanimity in a 50-50 Senate they run because of Vice-President Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. They also have a a slim 10-vote edge in the House. A small but pivotal band of moderate Democrats leveraged changes in the bill that incensed progressives, not making it any easier for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to guide the measure through the House. But rejection of their first, signature bill was not an option for Democrats, who face two years of trying to run Congress with virtually no room for error. The bill provides direct payments of up to $1,400 for most Americans, extended emergency unemployment benefits, and vast piles of spending for COVID-19 vaccines and testing, states and cities, schools and ailing industries, along with tax breaks to help lower-earning people, families with children and consumers buying health insurance. The package faced solid opposition from Republicans, who call the package a wasteful spending spree for Democrats’ liberal allies that ignores recent indications that the pandemic and the economy could be turning the corner. “The Senate has never spent $2 trillion in a more haphazard way," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Of Democrats, he said, “Their top priority wasn't pandemic relief. It was their Washington wish list.” The Senate commenced a dreaded “vote-a-thon” — a continuous series of votes on amendments — shortly before midnight Friday, and by the end had dispensed with about three dozen. The Senate had been in session since 9 a.m. EST Friday. Overnight, the chamber was like an experiment in the best techniques for staying awake. Several lawmakers appeared to rest their eyes or doze at their desks, often burying their faces in their hands. At one point, Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, at 48 one of the younger senators, trotted into the chamber and did a prolonged stretch. The measure follows five earlier ones totalling about $4 trillion that Congress has enacted since last spring and comes amid signs of a potential turnaround. Vaccine supplies are growing, deaths and caseloads have eased but remain frighteningly high, and hiring was surprisingly strong last month, though the economy remains 10 million jobs smaller than its pre-pandemic levels. The Senate package was delayed repeatedly as Democrats made eleventh-hour changes aimed at balancing demands by their competing moderate and progressive factions. Work on the bill ground to a halt Friday after an agreement among Democrats on extending emergency jobless benefits seemed to collapse. Nearly 12 hours later, top Democrats and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, perhaps the chamber's most conservative Democrat, said they had a deal and the Senate approved it on a party-line 50-49 vote. Under their compromise, $300 weekly emergency unemployment checks — on top of regular state benefits — would be renewed, with a final payment made Oct. 6. There would also be tax breaks on some of those payments, helping people the pandemic abruptly tossed out of jobs and risked tax penalties on the benefits. The House's relief bill, largely similar to the Senate's, provided $400 weekly benefits through August. The current $300 per week payments expire March 14, and Democrats want the bill on Biden's desk by then to avert a lapse. Manchin and Republicans have asserted that higher jobless benefits discourage people from returning to work, a rationale most Democrats and many economists reject. That agreement on jobless benefits wasn't the only move that showed the sway of moderates. The Senate voted Friday to eject a House-approved boost in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, a major defeat for progressives. Eight Democrats opposed the increase, suggesting that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and other progressives pledging to continue the effort in coming months will face a difficult fight. Party leaders also agreed to restrict eligibility for the $1,400 stimulus checks that will go to most Americans. That amount would be gradually reduced until, under the Senate bill, it reaches zero for people earning $80,000 and couples making $160,000. Those amounts were higher in the House version. Many of the rejected GOP amendments were either attempts to force Democrats to cast politically awkward votes or for Republicans to demonstrate their zeal for issues that appeal to their voters. These included defeated efforts to bar the bill's education funds from going to schools closed for the pandemic that don't reopen their doors, or that let transgender students born male to participate in female sports. One amendment would have blocked aid to so-called sanctuary cities, where local authorities balk at helping federal officials round up immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. Friday's gridlock over unemployment benefits gridlock wasn't the bill's lengthy delay. A day earlier, Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., forced the chamber's clerks to read aloud the entire 628-page relief bill, a wearying task that lasted nearly 11 hours. ___ Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Kevin Freking contributed to this report. Alan Fram, The Associated Press
Charlottetown's winter festival was put on ice this week due to COVID restrictions, but will be extended six days to make up for the pause. Organizers behind the Ice City Festival, a "distant cousin" of the Jack Frost Festival normally held pre-pandemic, say the past week has been a whirlwind. The festival was supposed to have events throughout the city last week, but the circuit-breaker restrictions instituted Feb. 27, followed by red-phase restrictions early this week, put the festivities on pause. The province had announced a two-week stop to indoor dining as part of the bid to stop the sudden jump in cases. But at a pandemic briefing on Wednesday, Premier Dennis King announced restaurants could reopen Thursday. The current rules limit 50 patrons in a restaurant, no more than six at a table and the establishment must close by 10 p.m. With in-room dining allowed again, Ice City organizers could restart the festivities, which include outdoor activities as well as food. "Skating and stuff could have still carried on, but definitely with the in-room dining, a lot of our restaurant partners are having micro-events at their restaurants," said Heidi Zinn, executive director of Discover Charlottetown. "And certainly, you know, one of the reasons we're doing this is to bring people downtown and get them into the restaurant.... We're super excited to have the programming back." Charlottetown's Ice City Festival began on Feb. 12 and was slated to run until March 14. Now because of the pause it'll run until March 20.
TORONTO — Ontario's New Democrats say they would create a new cap-and-trade carbon pricing system if elected in 2022. The official Opposition made the promise in an environmental policy plank of their election platform, released today at a morning news conference. Party leader Andrea Horwath says the province needs the carbon pricing system to help fight climate change. She says the system would generate $30 billion in revenue, and the NDP would raise another $10 billion through the sale of "green bonds", over four years. The NDP says that cash would be used to pay for green building retrofits, to ramp up electric vehicle sales, and to plant a billion trees by 2030. The platform also promises to give each household in the province $600 to add an electric car charging station. Ontario's Progressive Conservative government scrapped the province's cap-and-trade system in 2018, a regime introduced by the previous Liberal government. Horwath said the NDP carbon pricing system will ensure polluters pay for their emissions and promised it will not add costs to low and middle income Ontarians. The party says the plan would help Ontario reach a target of net-zero emissions by 2050. "I think more and more people have come to the realization that we must tackle the climate climate crisis," Horwath said. "A just transition means we will really look after our people while we look after our climate." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2021. The Canadian Press
A man in Regina has been issued a $2,800 ticket for disobeying the public health order on private gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, police say. Officers were called to the 3000 block of 25th Avenue at 11:30 p.m. Friday, a Regina Police Service news release said. When they arrived, nine people were in the residence, including one person from Saskatoon. Police said the gathering was in violation of the public health order which limits indoor private gatherings to people who already reside in the home. The resident at the home was issued the ticket.
Two people died in a fire at an apartment building Saturday morning in in Hilden, N.S. RCMP say they responded to a report of a fire on Truro Road at 6:55 a.m. A media release stated that local fire departments were able to extinguish the fire. No other details were provided. The cause of the fire is being investigated by Colchester District RCMP, the Northeast Nova Major Crimes Unit and the Office of the Fire Marshal. The RCMP does not believe the fire is suspicious, according to the release. The Red Cross tweeted that the building had 22 units and that 46 tenants are displaced. It has set up a comfort centre at the Hilden fire hall to assist anyone from the apartment building with emergency needs. MORE TOP STORIES
Trials have been set for two alleged street gang members accused of shooting at police who were pursuing them on Onion Lake Cree. A four-day trial will run in Lloydminster Provincial Court July 5-8, 2021, for thirty-seven-year-old Glynnis Larene Chief. Chief has been in custody at Pine Grove Correctional Centre for women in Prince Albert since her arrest New Year’s Day. She was denied bail in January and North Battleford Crown Prosecutor Oryn Holm continues to oppose her release. Chief and four others (Twaine Derek Buffalo-Naistus, Danny Lee Weeseekase, Tyler Ryan Wolfe, and Melissa Lee McAlpine) were arrested after allegedly shooting at the RCMP during a pursuit on Onion Lake Cree Nation Jan. 1, 2021. Chief is charged with discharging a firearm with intent to endanger life, being an occupant of a vehicle knowing there was a firearm, careless use of a firearm, possession of a firearm without a license, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, possession of a prohibited weapon, and assault of a police officer with a weapon. Holm said he expects there to be 14 witnesses. North Battleford legal aid lawyer Cameron Schmunk represents Chief. A trial will be held in Lloydminster Provincial Court Aug. 9 – 12, 2021, for thirty-eight-year-old Weeseekase. He is charged with breach of recognizance for possessing a weapon, discharging a firearm with intent to endanger life, being an occupant of a vehicle knowing there was a firearm, careless use of a firearm, possession of a firearm without a license, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, possession of a prohibited weapon, and assault of a police officer with a weapon. Weeseekase also remains in custody. When police searched the black SUV the five were in they found two SKS rifles, a sawed-off shotgun, a sawed-off 22-caliber rifle and ammunition. RCMP say the five were identified as street gang associates. North Battleford RCMP General Investigation Section took over the investigation. Onion Lake state of emergency The North Battleford RCMP gang unit, called the Crime Reduction Team (CRT), continues to help Onion Lake RCMP combat gang activity. RCMP CRT members collaborate with communities and partner agencies to reduce gang violence and activity. There are two CRTs operated by the RCMP in Saskatchewan; one is in North Battleford and the other is in Prince Albert. Onion Lake Cree Nation declared a state of emergency in January 2020 after a string of drug and gang-related violence threatened the safety of the community. If you are associated with a gang and want to leave it, contact STR8 UP in northern Saskatchewan at 306-763-3001, STR8 UP in central Saskatchewan at 306-244-1771, or Regina Treaty Status Indian Services in southern Saskatchewan at 306-522-7494 to get assistance. If anyone has any information that could assist investigators, please contact Onion Lake RCMP at 306-344-5550. Information can also be submitted anonymously to Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submitting a tip online at www.saskcrimestoppers.com. Onion Lake Cree Nation borders the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan and is located about 50 kilometres north of Lloydminster. email@example.com Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Ontario is reporting 990 new cases of COVID-19 and six new deaths, according to the latest provincial figures. The new daily case count brings the total number of cases since the pandemic began in Ontario to 306,997. Toronto saw 284 new cases while Peel Region saw 173. Both regions are under stay-at-home orders that are scheduled to lift on Monday. York Region reported 82 new cases. WATCH | Hillier talks about vaccine rollout: The update follows the release of Ontario's accelerated vaccine rollout plan, which should see all adults 60 and older given a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by early June — a month sooner than initially planned. "That was very optimistic," Dr. Peter Lin told CBC News on Saturday. Lin applauded the province's rollout strategy for including an option to space out shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines by up to four months. "[That] means more people can get vaccinated and the whole idea is to burn the virus out," he said. "If you have lots of people vaccinated, the virus can't find a new host and we could say goodbye to the virus quicker and get back to normal life faster." To date, Ontario has administered more than 860,400 doses of COVID-19 vaccines with more than 270,600 people fully vaccinated. Toronto, the province's largest city, is responsible for the administration of nearly 200,000 of those doses — a figure that amounts to more than 124,686 people being vaccinated. In a Saturday news release, the city said 197,155 doses have been administered, and that several clinics are underway on Saturday to vaccinate hospital and community-based healthcare workers who are in Phase 1 priority groups. Vaccine availability continues to be a stumbling block for cities, including Toronto, which has a population of more than 2.9 million. Other public health units that saw double-digit increases in cases were: Ottawa: 60 Thunder Bay: 54 Halton Region: 34 Waterloo Region: 33 Durham Region: 32 Lambton: 27 Simcoe Muskoka: 27 Windsor-Essex: 27 Hamilton: 24 Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District: 19 Sudbury: 17 Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 17 Eastern Ontario: 12 (Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit on a given day, because local units report figures at different times.) 2 regions to see restrictions eased Monday Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Zain Chagla told CBC News on Saturday that Canada's approval of the single shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine — news that came after Ontario released its vaccine plan — should definitely help speed up the timeline. "We'll get to the point where vaccines are scaling up and up and up," he said. But he cautioned: "There may be turbulence for the next month or so." On Monday, stay-at-home orders in Toronto and Peel Region will be lifted, although both regions will stay in lockdown. Medical officers of health for both regions had urged caution ahead of the shift. "Vaccines do us no good if they're not in arms yet," Dr. Lawrence Loh said at a Wednesday news conference. "We must stay the course." Last month, the province made a few changes to what people are allowed to do in a grey lockdown. As of Monday, residents in Toronto and Peel Regions will be able to shop in person at reduced capacity: 50 per cent for grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies and 25 per cent for other retailers. Loitering in shopping malls or other stores will not be permitted. Individuals will still need to wear a mask and practice physical distancing. WATCH | Toronto and Peel Region to move into grey zone as stay-at-home order lifts on Monday
The Dalai Lama, who is 85, was administered the first shot of the coronavirus vaccine on Saturday at a hospital in the north Indian hill town of Dharamsala.
A COVID-19 outbreak at Bowness High School in northwest Calgary is causing all grades to transition to online classes starting Monday. The Calgary Board of Education sent a letter to parents Friday detailing that the school was placed on outbreak status for the provincial COVID-19 map. According to the provinces' website, an outbreak refers to schools with five to nine cases. The CBE said classes will be held online until March.16 and will impact around 1,184 students in grades 10-12. Students will continue their coursework through a variety of virtual classroom programs but will not be able to transfer to Hub online learning, the CBE said in the letter. The province considers an outbreak investigation completed when there have been no new confirmed cases in the school for 28 days.
The total number of Toronto residents vaccinated against COVID-19 is now 124,868, the city said on Saturday. In a news release, the city said the total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Toronto is now 197,155. Because some residents have received two doses of the vaccine, the total number of residents vaccinated is lower than the total number of vaccine doses administered, the city clarified in an email on Saturday. The city said in the release that several clinics are underway on Saturday to vaccinate hospital and community-based healthcare workers who are in Phase 1 priority groups. Clinics are being held at Unity Health Toronto, University Health Network, Michael Garron Hospital, Humber River Hospital, North York General Hospital, Scarborough Health Network and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The city said it expects to vaccinate upwards of 6,700 people across 15 clinics over the weekend. Canada approved the first single shot vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson, on Friday. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recently recommended a longer maximum interval between first and second doses of the three two-shot COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada to increase the speed at which Canadians get vaccinated. Toronto's population is more than 2.9 million.
DHARMSALA, India — The Dalai Lama, the 85-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader, was administered the first shot of the coronavirus vaccine on Saturday at a hospital in the north Indian hill town of Dharmsala. After receiving the injection, he urged people to come forward, be brave and get vaccinated. “In order to prevent some serious problems, this injection is very, very helpful,” he said. Dr. G.D. Gupta of Zonal Hospital, where the shot was administered, told reporters that the Dalai Lama was observed for 30 minutes afterward. “He offered to come to the hospital like a common man to get himself vaccinated,” he said. Ten other people who live in the Dalai Lama's residence were also vaccinated, Gupta said. All eleven received the Covishield vaccine, which was developed by Oxford University and U.K.-based drugmaker AstraZeneca, and manufactured by India's Serum Institute. India has confirmed more than 11 million cases of the coronavirus and over 157,000 deaths. The country, which has the second-highest caseload in the world behind the U.S., rolled out its vaccination drive in January, starting with health care and front-line workers. Earlier this month, it expanded its inoculation drive to older people and those with medical conditions that put them at risk. The Dalai Lama made Dharmsala his headquarters in 1959, fleeing Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule. China doesn’t recognize the Tibetan government-in-exile and accuses the Dalai Lama of seeking to separate Tibet from China. The Dalai Lama denies being a separatist and says he merely advocates for substantial autonomy and protection of the region’s native Buddhist culture. The Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. — Elmer Yarborough got a terrifying call from his sister: She wept as she told him two of his nephews may have been shot in broad daylight as they left a bar in Portland, Oregon. He drove there as fast as he could. An officer told him one of his nephews was heading to the hospital and the other, Tyrell Penney, hadn't survived. “My sister, Tyrell’s mom, was on the phone; I just said, ‘He’s gone.’ And I just heard the most horrific scream that you could ever imagine,” Yarborough said. When Penney was killed last summer, unrest was roiling liberal Portland as protesters took to the streets nightly to demand racial justice and defunding police. At the same time, one of the whitest major cities in America was experiencing its deadliest year in more than a quarter-century — a trend seen nationwide — with shootings that overwhelmingly affected the Black community. Responding to the calls for change in policing, the mayor and City Council cut several police programs from the budget, including one Yarborough believes could have saved his nephew. A specialized unit focused on curbing gun violence, which had long faced criticism for disproportionately targeting people of colour, was disbanded a month before Penney, a 27-year-old Black man visiting from Sacramento, California, was killed on July 25. Yarborough and some other families wonder if ending the unit is partly to blame for Portland's dramatic spike in shootings, but officials and experts attribute increased gun violence in cities nationwide to the hardships of the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment, economic anxiety and stress on mental health. “Without a doubt, I think it is a possibility that my nephew could still be alive if (the Gun Violence Reduction Team) was not dissolved,” said Yarborough, a crisis response volunteer for Portland police who responds to shootings to support victims’ families. “I cannot say for sure if he would, but what I will tell you is had it not been my nephew that was saved, it probably could have saved the life of someone else,” he said. More people died of gunfire last year in Portland — 40 — than the entire tally of homicides the previous year. The number of shootings — 900 — was nearly 2 1/2 times higher than the year before. The spike has continued this year, with more than 150 shootings, including 45 people wounded and 12 killed so far. Police had warned of possible repercussions of ending the unit, pointing out cautionary tales in other cities that had made a similar choice. Portland police quoted former Salinas, California, Police Chief Kelly McMillin: “Not to be overly dramatic, but if you lose the unit which focuses on removing firearms from the hand of violent offenders, people will die. It’s really just that simple.” Stockton, California, began disbanding and defunding police units dedicated to gun violence in 2010. In 2011 and 2012, the city’s homicide rates reached record highs. After the city restored the units, homicides significantly declined, according to data reported by police. While policing has been refocused in Portland, experts and officials say it's unlikely those changes caused spikes in gun violence. “I believe if (the Gun Violence Reduction Team) were (around) today, we would still see a substantial, if not identical increase, in shootings in Portland,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said in January. “This is clearly part of a larger national trend.” Wheeler, who is also police commissioner, announced the unit's disbanding last June and reassigned its 34 officers to patrol. He described it as an opportunity to reimagine policing and redirected $7 million in police funds toward communities of colour. The push was led by Jo Ann Hardesty, the first Black woman elected to the City Council. She cited a 2018 audit showing nearly 60% of people stopped by the gun violence team were Black — though they make up less than 6% of the city’s population. Nearly half of the 55 total homicide victims in 2020 were people of colour, many of them from Portland's historically Black neighbourhoods, according to city statistics. So far this year, there have been 17 homicides — a concerning number considering there had only been one homicide in the same period in 2020. Among the people of colour shot to death last year were a 23-year-old Iraqi refugee stopping to pick up an Uber fare; an 18-year-old recent high school graduate; and a 53-year-old woman caught in gang crossfire and killed in front of her husband. The violence has left leaders and community members scrambling for solutions. Some say the loss of the unit’s seasoned detectives has hurt the city, while others push for new approaches. Last month, police launched a squad of 15 officers and six detectives focusing on gun violence investigations. Officials say it's only part of the solution, as leaders partner with community groups, work to increase transparency and use proactive approaches that don't rely on the stop-and-frisk tactic. That’s little solace to Penney’s three children, the friends he was visiting in Portland or his family, who moved to California when he was child to avoid the exact reason he died — gun violence. Yarborough, Penney's uncle, was a gang member in the 1990s and had been arrested by officers with Portland's gun violence team. Despite that, he described the unit as "the CIA” of the police department and said they often stopped shootings before they happened because of their deep community knowledge. “They built relationships with gang members and knew who the perpetrators were,” Yarborough said. “They ... were able to band together to stop it, or at least refer people impacted to programs to help change their lives.” ___ Cline is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Sara Cline, The Associated Press
JASNA, Slovakia — Mikaela Shiffrin denied her Slovakian rival Petra Vlhova a home victory Saturday, winning the first World Cup slalom following the world championships. Shiffrin trailed first-run leader Vlhova by 0.27 seconds on a hill where the Slovakian regularly trains. But the American had a blistering final run to win the race by 0.34 as the pair continued its dominance in the discipline. They combined have won 31 of the 32 World Cup slaloms held since January 2017, a streak interrupted only once by Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin. “I feel pretty amazing about it,” Shiffrin said about her 45th career slalom win and 69th overall. “It was a really good fight for me and that’s a pretty nice feeling to have right now.” Laurence St-Germain of St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., was 10th, Ali Nullmeyer of Toronto was 22nd and Erin Mielzynski of Collingwood, Ont., was 24th. The result moved Shiffrin within one victory of a World Cup record. Only one skier, male or female, has won more races in a single discipline: Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark triumphed 46 times in giant slalom in the 1970s and 80s. Wendy Holdener finished 0.52 behind in third. It was the 26th career slalom podium for the Swiss skier, who is yet to win a race in the discipline. Katharina Liensberger was 1.42 off the lead in fourth and missed a slalom podium for the first time this season. The Austrian beat Vlhova and Shiffrin to gold in the slalom at the world championships two weeks ago, ending the American’s streak of four world titles. Shiffrin won bronze at the worlds but later said she was disappointed in her skiing. On Saturday, though, the three-time overall champion was back to her best. “That was good, it was a really big step,” said Shiffrin, who still found “some small things” she could have done better. “But it was OK as I kept pushing. That’s the feeling that I want to have,” she said. “Today it was good enough to win, sometimes it’s not. But that’s the feeling, that’s the fight.” The race resembled the victory from Shiffrin’s only previous visit to the Slovakian resort, in 2016, when she also beat the home nation’s favourite, Veronika Velez-Zuzulova. “Last time it was the fight between Zuzu and me,” Shiffrin said. “It’s actually quite a pleasure to come here and have that fight with these girls. The two times we came to Jasna, we had a Slovakian girl who was on top level.” The main difference, however, was the lack of spectators on Saturday amid anti-coronavirus measures. “Last time, for sure, the crowd was bigger and you could feel the atmosphere more for the hometown girl,” Shiffrin said. The result gave new impetus to the battle for the slalom season title. With three races left, Vlhova was leading Shiffrin by 45 points, with Liensberger 70 points behind in third. Vlhova narrowed the gap on overall World Cup leader Lara Gut-Behrami. The Swiss skier sat out the race and was holding a lead of 107 points. The race weekend was initially scheduled to start with a giant slalom, but organizers swapped the program as unfavourable weather was forecast and moved the GS to Sunday. ___ More AP skiing: https://apnews.com/hub/skiing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
KABUL — A suicide car bombing killed the Afghan intelligence directorate’s chief prosecutor Saturday, an official said, amid an increase in violence in the war-ravaged country. Sayed Mahmood Agha was on his way to his office in the southern city of Lashkargah when an attacker driving a car full of explosives targeted Agha's convoy, killing him, said Attaullah Afghan, provincial council chief for Helmand province. One of Agha's bodyguards was also killed and eight others, including two civilian passersby, were wounded. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Afghanistan is experiencing a nationwide spike in bombings, targeted killings, and other violence as peace negotiations in Qatar between the Taliban and the Afghan government continue. The Islamic State group’s local affiliate has claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, but many go unclaimed, with the government putting the blame on the Taliban. The insurgents have denied responsibility for most of the attacks. In another incident at the Sheikh Abu Nasre Farahi crossing in Afghanistan’s western Farah province on the Iranian border, at least three terminals storing diesel fuel caught fire, causing a massive blaze that consumed at least two trucks carrying natural gas and fuel, according to Afghan officials and Iranian state media. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the fire. Taj Mohammad Jahid, Governor of Farah told The Associated Press that the Afghan first responders did not have the means to put out the huge fire and had requested firefighting support from Iran, which helped extinguish the blaze. It was the second massive fire on on the Afghan-Iranian border in the past three weeks. ——— Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran contributed to this story. Tameem Akhgar, The Associated Press
One of the teachers at Mount Pearl Senior High who contracted COVID-19 is now on the mend, looking forward to getting back to a job she loves, and hopes sharing her story will show how important it is to follow public health guidelines. Erin Noseworthy is a French immersion teacher at the school at the centre of the outbreak of coronavirus variant B117 last month, and while she's still not totally recovered, she said she's come a long way, thanks to support from the school community. "It really has been rough. But the positive out of this is that, while our school community is experiencing some negativity, I am seeing only the positive. This is bringing our school community closer together than it ever was," Noseworthy said. "The acts of kindness that are happening in our school community are numerous and generous." I love my job, I love my kids and I was worried to death that something would happen to one of them. - Erin Noseworthy Former students dropped off a gift basket for her within days of them finding out she had contracted the virus. "With this basket they also sent me a video where they compiled some get-well greetings for me. And I mean that was no small feat to put together in a couple of days, and the thought behind it — I mean, the basket itself was amazing and the things that were in it was wonderful, but to me, I was just so touched by the work that went behind it," Noseworthy said. "And to see two of my students show up in my driveway one morning with this basket and to just see the smiles on their faces really, really brought so much joy to my heart. I felt so blessed." It was a difficult illness for Noseworthy. On her birthday, Feb. 7, she and her fiancé were already in isolation after previously visiting the Bigs Ultimate Sports Grill, which had been identified as a possible contact site for the virus in the early days of the outbreak. That night, she found out there were confirmed cases at the school where she taught. "I love my job, I love my kids and I was worried to death that something would happen to one of them," Noseworthy said through tears. She had a test booked for Feb. 10, and the results were negative — but Noseworthy and her fiancé followed public health recommendations to continue isolating as more cases at the school where she taught were being found. "It was on Valentine's Day, the 14th, I started coughing a little bit and immediately took out my phone and put in for another COVID-19 test. I was tested on the 15th and this time it came back that I was COVID-19-positive," Noseworthy said. It took 10 days for her to develop symptoms and test positive for the virus. Following guidelines essential to prevent spread That recommendation to self-isolate, and her adherence to that direction, is something Noseworthy is extremely grateful for, and a lesson she hopes others will take to heart. "I have learned that it is so important to follow the public heath guidelines. I was asymptomatic, I had a negative test, for nine days after my last possible contact with the virus. And I followed the health guidelines, and thank goodness I did, because then I didn't spread the virus beyond my immediate household," she said. "I'm so thankful that I followed the public health guidelines, and my biggest piece of advice to anyone listening is that they really need to do the same. If you are told to self-isolate, please self-isolate." A temporary testing site was set up at Mount Pearl Senior High in mid-February at the height of the outbreak.(John Pike/CBC) Noseworthy said it took a couple of days for her symptoms to worsen, even leading to chest pains. She eventually called the provincial 811 health line to ask what she should do, and was told to head to the Health Sciences Centre emergency department, where she ended up having to wait in her car for nearly four hours before finally getting treatment. That experience prompted her parents to speak out about what they said were weaknesses in the pandemic response system. "Very sick — my sickest day. Trying to find a way to recline the seat, lie down and roll over, and I was miserable," Noseworthy said of the experience. She was eventually treated for dehydration, pain and nausea. Vehicles lined up outside the drive-thru COVID-19 swabbing site at the Summit Centre in Mount Pearl on Feb. 15.(Sherry Vivian/CBC) "I stayed a few hours in the emergency room and then I was sent home to rest. From there I did start to improve — that was my worst day. After that I started seeing small improvements day to day," Noseworthy said. Noseworthy is immunocompromised, having been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis; to treat that illness, she takes a drug called methotrexate, an immuno-suppressant, meaning her immune system is weakened. She thinks this likely contributes to her long recovery time. "I think I'm on Day 20 now. I'm still not recovered, I'm still having minor symptoms, the worst of which is the fatigue, but I'm doing better and better every day," she said. "But I'm really hoping, and I'm working with my public health nurse to work on a plan to go back to work, probably part time, on Monday." 'It has meant the world to me' Noseworthy guesses she's one of about a dozen teachers at Mount Pearl Senior High who contracted the virus. "I'm one teacher telling my story, but there are 10 or more others that I'm sure have similar stories to this. I know of teachers that aren't even sick that have had gift baskets dropped off to them just to kind of boost their morale," Noseworthy said with a laugh. "That's the real Husky spirit, that's Mount Pearl Senior High. No one in that school went about trying to spread COVID-19. What we do in our school is we spread kindness." Noseworthy said she looks forward to getting back to working with her students — even in a virtual classroom — and the support she's received has helped her on the road to recovery. "It has meant everything to me — it has meant the world to me. I was in a really difficult spot," she said. "I've got a little ways to come still before I'm back to myself again, but I'm so positive and I'm happy and I'm just really touched by the Husky community." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador