A trio of pooches going for a run in the snowy woods on a nice day in Newfoundland.
A trio of pooches going for a run in the snowy woods on a nice day in Newfoundland.
Things could look different in the annual meeting season starting next month, when companies are set to face the most investor resolutions tied to climate change in years. Those votes are likely to win more support than in previous years from large asset managers seeking clarity on how executives plan to adapt and prosper in a low-carbon world, according to Reuters interviews with more than a dozen activist investors and fund managers. In the United States, shareholders have filed 79 climate-related resolutions so far, compared with 72 for all of last year and 67 in 2019, according to data compiled by the Sustainable Investments Institute and shared with Reuters.
WASHINGTON — Missed intelligence was to blame for the outmanned Capitol defenders' failure to anticipate the violent mob that invaded the iconic building and halted certification of the presidential election on Jan. 6, the officials who were in charge of security that day said in their first public testimony on the insurrection. The officials, including the former chief of the Capitol Police, pointed their fingers at various federal agencies — and each other — for their failure to defend the building as supporters of then-President Donald Trump overwhelmed security barriers, broke windows and doors and sent lawmakers fleeing from the House and Senate chambers. Five people died as a result of the riot, including a Capitol Police officer and a woman who was shot as she tried to enter the House chamber with lawmakers still inside. Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned under pressure immediately after the attack, and the other officials said Tuesday they had expected the protests to be similar to two pro-Trump events in late 2020 that were far less violent. Sund said he hadn’t seen an FBI field office report that warned of potential violence citing online posts about a “war." Sund described a scene as the mob arrived at the perimeter that was “like nothing” he had seen in his 30 years of policing and argued that the insurrection was not the result of poor planning by Capitol Police but of failures across the board. “No single civilian law enforcement agency – and certainly not the USCP – is trained and equipped to repel, without significant military or other law enforcement assistance, an insurrection of thousands of armed, violent, and co-ordinated individuals focused on breaching a building at all costs,” he testified. The hearing was the first of many examinations of what happened that day, coming almost seven weeks after the attack and over a week after the Senate voted to acquit Trump of inciting the insurrection by telling his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his election defeat. Fencing and National Guard troops still surround the Capitol in a wide perimeter, cutting off streets and sidewalks that are normally full of cars, pedestrians and tourists. The joint hearing, part of an investigation by two Senate committees, was the first time the officials testified publicly about the events of Jan. 6. In addition to Sund, former Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger, former House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving and Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, testified. Irving and Stenger also resigned under pressure immediately after the deadly attack. They were Sund’s supervisors and in charge of security for the House and Senate. “We must have the facts, and the answers are in this room," Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar said at the beginning of the hearing. The Rules panel is conducting the joint probe with the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Even after the hearing, much still remains unknown about what happened before and during the assault. How much did law enforcement agencies know about plans for violence that day, many of which were public? And how could the Capitol Police have been so ill-prepared for a violent insurrection that was organized online? Sund told the lawmakers that he didn't know then that his officers had received a report from the FBI’s field office in Norfolk, Virginia, that forecast, in detail, the chances that extremists could bring “war” to Washington the following day. The head of the FBI’s office in Washington has said that once he received the Jan. 5 warning, the information was quickly shared with other law enforcement agencies through a joint terrorism task force. Sund said Tuesday that an officer on the task force had received that memo and forwarded it to a sergeant working on intelligence for the Capitol Police but that the information was not sent on to other supervisors. “How could you not get that vital intelligence?” asked Senate Homeland Chairman Gary Peters, D-Mich., who said the failure of the report to reach the chief was clearly a major problem. “That information would have been helpful,” Sund acknowledged. Even without the intelligence, there were clear signs that violence was a possibility on Jan. 6. Far-right social media users openly hinted for weeks that chaos would erupt at the U.S. Capitol while Congress convened to certify the election results. Sund said he did see an intelligence report created within his own department warning that Congress could be targeted on Jan. 6. But he said that report assessed the probability of civil disobedience or arrests, based on the information they had, as “remote” to “improbable” for the groups expected to demonstrate. Contee, the acting city police chief, also suggested that no one had flagged the FBI information from Norfolk, Virginia, which he said came in the form of an email. He said he would have expected that kind of intelligence “would warrant a phone call or something. ” Sund and Irving disagreed on when the National Guard was called and on requests for the guard beforehand. Sund said he spoke to both Stenger and Irving about requesting the National Guard in the days before the riot, and that Irving said he was concerned about the “optics” of having them present. Irving denied that, saying Sund's account was “categorically false." “We all agreed the intelligence did not support the troops and collectively decided to let it go,” Stenger said. After smashing through the barriers at the perimeter, the invaders engaged in hand-to-hand combat with police officers, injuring dozens of them, and broke into the building. Once the violence had begun, Sund and Irving also disagreed on when the National Guard was requested — Sund said he requested it at 1:09 p.m., but Irving denied receiving a call at that time. Contee said he was “stunned” over the delayed response. He said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Police officers “were out there literally fighting for their lives” but the officials appeared to be going through a ”check the boxes” exercise, he said. Pentagon officials, who will be invited to testify before the committee at a second hearing next week, have said it took time to put the troops in position, and there was not enough contingency planning in advance. They said they offered the assistance beforehand but were turned down. Klobuchar said after the hearing that the next police chief should have greater ability to make decisions both leading up to and during a crisis, and the Rules panel could consider such legislation once the investigation is completed. The current structure “clearly needs some reform,” she said. The hearing Tuesday was the first of several this week examining what went wrong Jan. 6. A House subcommittee will examine damage to the Capitol on Wednesday and will hear testimony from current security officials, including Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman, on Thursday. Next week, the Senate panels will invite officials from the Pentagon, FBI and Homeland Security Department. In prepared testimony released ahead of the hearing on damage to the Capitol, Architect of the Capitol J. Brett Blanton and the curator of the House of Representatives, Farar Elliott, describe damage to statues and paintings and quick thinking by staff as the rioting was underway — including one aide who secured the House’s 1819 silver inkstand, the oldest object in the chamber. Congress is also considering a bipartisan, independent commission, and multiple congressional committees have said they will look at different aspects of the siege. Federal law enforcement has arrested more than 230 people who were accused of being involved in the attack, and attorney general nominee Merrick Garland said in his confirmation hearing Monday that investigating the riot would be a priority. ___ Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor in Washington and Nomaan Merchant in Houston contributed to this report. Mary Clare Jalonick, Michael Balsamo And Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
Hyundai Motor Co will replace battery systems in some 82,000 electric vehicles globally due to fire risks - a costly $900 million recall that lays bare the thorny issue of how car and battery makers split the bill when problems arise. The recall is one of the first mass battery pack replacements conducted by a major automaker. The recall mostly concerns the Kona EV, Hyundai's biggest-selling electric car which was first recalled late last year for a software upgrade after a spate of fires.
VANCOUVER — Dominik Kahun scored twice Tuesday as the Edmonton Oilers clawed out a 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver (8-13-2) had a 3-0 lead late in the first period, thanks to goals from Bo Horvat, Tyler Myers and Elias Pettersson. Kahun sparked the comeback for Edmonton (13-8-0) with goals late in the first and early in the third. Connor McDavid buried a power-play tally to tie the game, and Tyler Ennis scored to seal the win. Leon Draisaitl registered three assists. Edmonton’s Mike Smith had 30 saves, while Thatcher Demko stopped 25-of-29 shots for Vancouver (8-13-2). The victory extends Edmonton's win streak to four games. It was another disappointing result for the Canucks, who have just two wins in their last 12 games. Ennis broke a 3-3 deadlock 13:25 into the third period. Stationed at the side of the net, he took a puck that had bounced off his shin and tipped it in behind Demko. McDavid knotted the score with a power-play tally 4:23 into the third. Vancouver defenceman Alex Edler had been sent to the box for tripping just nine seconds earlier. When Demko dove to make a stop, McDavid was quick to capitalize, popping a shot in over the sprawled-out netminder from the side of the net. Edmonton had already cut Vancouver's lead to a single goal less than a minute into the third when Kahun's shot from the face-off dot sailed in over Demko's glove. It was the Czech forward's second goal of the night and fourth of the season. After a slow start to the game, the Oilers came close to whittling away the Canucks lead in the second frame. Draisaitl unleashed a blast that tested Demko mightily four minutes in. The goalie hugged his post tightly to ensure an errant puck didn't sneak through, not letting up until the whistle sounded. Near the end of the frame, McDavid fired a shot off the cross bar. Play continued for a few moments before officials decided to check the play to see whether the puck had, in fact, gone into the Vancouver net before bouncing back out. A video review confirmed there was no goal. Vancouver started the scoring race just 1:06 into Tuesday's game. Horvat sprinted down the boards and fired a sharp-angle shot from near the goal line. The puck slid under Smith's pads and into the net to the goaltender's apparent disbelief. Myers extended Vancouver's lead seven minutes later with a blast from the top of the face-off circle. His shot ticked off the stick of Edmonton's Tyler Ennis and sailed in over Smith's shoulder to put the Canucks up 2-0. A scramble in front of the Oilers net ended with another Vancouver goal midway through the first. Canucks defenceman Jordie Benn sent the puck to the front of the net and, through a crowd of sticks, Miller was able to deflect it back to Pettersson at the top of the crease. Falling to the ice, the Swedish centre batted a backhanded shot past Smith. It was Vancouver's third goal, coming on its ninth shot of the night. Edmonton responded just before the first intermission. Kahun got a shot off from low in the face-off circle and Demko appeared to make the stop. But the Canucks netminder couldn't hold on to the puck, which dribbled out from under his arm and into the net. The Oilers and Canucks will face each other again in Vancouver on Thursday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press
Strong exports and solid construction activity helped the German economy to grow by a better-than-expected 0.3% in the final quarter of last year, but stricter lockdown measures at home and abroad are clouding the outlook for Europe's largest economy. The data, published by the Federal Statistics Office on Wednesday, marked an upward revision to its earlier estimate for a 0.1% expansion over the previous quarter. Adjusted for calendar effects, the German economy shrank by 5.3% last year, a much smaller contraction than in many other European countries, helped by a strong fiscal response to the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taiwan chipmakers are buying water by the truckload for some of their foundries as the island widens restrictions on water supply amid a drought that could exacerbate a chip supply crunch for the global auto industry. Some auto makers have already been forced to trim production, and Taiwan had received requests for help to bridge the shortage of auto chips from countries including the United States and Germany. Taiwan, a key hub in the global technology supply chain for giants such as Apple Inc, will begin on Thursday to further reduce water supply for factories in central and southern cities where major science parks are located.
U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that he and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed to work toward achieving net zero emissions by 2050. "We're launching a high-level, climate-ambition ministerial and to align our policies and our goals to achieve net zero emissions by 2050," Biden said in a speech following a bilateral meeting with the Canadian leader. U.S. Special Climate Change Envoy John Kerry and his Canadian counterpart, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, will host the ministerial.
Have fun learning the alphabet with handmade clay superheroes and stop motion animation technology for all kids in the world. Thanks for watching!
Des jeunes immigrants afro-descendants, appellent à une meilleure éducation de la société sur les cultures africaines. Une méconnaissance généralisée de l’Afrique nourrit les préjugés et le racisme que peuvent rencontrer les personnes noires au Québec et ailleurs au pays, selon de jeunes immigrants afro-descendants, qui appellent à une meilleure éducation de la population sur les cultures africaines. Du haut de ses 12 ans, Béni Tévi souhaite vivre « dans un monde sans violence, où tous les gens seraient respectés sur un même pied d’égalité ». À ses yeux, il ne fait aucun doute que la diversité est une « richesse » qui rend « la vie plus intéressante ». Ce jeune Rimouskois, originaire du Togo, est l’un des quatre adolescents afro-descendants ayant participé, le 20 février dernier, au forum « Bâtir et grandir ensemble », organisé par le Cabaret de la Diversité. Béni agit à titre d’ambassadeur jeunesse pour cet organisme du Bas-Saint-Laurent depuis 2019. Animé par la Camerounaise Wanda Jemly, le forum ayant pris la forme d’une discussion ouverte a donné aux jeunes élèves présents l’occasion d’échanger à propos des idées reçues sur les Noirs et de proposer des solutions pour améliorer l’inclusion et favoriser les rapprochements interculturels. « On ne peut pas vivre ensemble si on ne se connaît pas », fait valoir en entrevue Lenine Nankassa Boucal, fondateur du Cabaret de la Diversité. « Il faut avoir l’humilité d’écouter, d’apprendre et de grandir avec nos enfants, pour bâtir le monde de demain d’amour, de paix, de tolérance et de mieux vivre ensemble », insiste celui qui est également porte-parole du Mois de l’Histoire des Noirs Bas-Saint-Laurent. « Nous avons le devoir de léguer un monde meilleur à nos enfants, mais le monde qu’on laissera sera tributaire de nos actes aujourd’hui. » Discutant d’abord d’identité, les jeunes étudiants ont déploré être souvent « mis dans une même case ». « Quand je dis aux gens que je viens du Togo, ils pensent que je dis Congo. Ça me dérange un peu que les gens pensent que tous les Africains viennent du Congo », a confié Béni, qui est arrivé au Québec en 2016, à l’âge de 9 ans. « Il y a une très grande diversité de cultures en Afrique, mais souvent, les gens ne prennent pas en considération les autres pays », a souligné pour sa part Marylou Djida, une Camerounaise de 14 ans née en Italie et vivant aujourd’hui à Vancouver. Confortablement assis dans son salon à Gatineau, Sébastien Cimpaye, 13 ans, a indiqué que les gens gagneraient à s’intéresser davantage aux cultures africaines. « Ce sont des cultures très riches. C’est un peu triste quand tu parles d’un pays et que les gens n’ont pas l’air de savoir où c’est. Les gens me demandent parfois si je peux leur apprendre “l’africain”, comme s’il y avait une seule langue en Afrique », a ajouté le Québécois d’origine rwando-burundaise. « Comment pourrait-on faire pour que cela change ? » a demandé l’animatrice aux jeunes. Béni s’est empressé de répondre « qu’il faudrait parler davantage des pays africains et asiatiques et montrer leur culture à travers des expositions. » Le Suisse d’origine camerounaise, Joaron Zufferey, a renchéri en proposant d’enseigner aux jeunes enfants qu’il y a 54 pays en Afrique, avant même leur arrivée sur les bancs d’école. « On pourrait leur montrer à travers des livres ou des jeux de société qu’il y a d’autres pays que le Congo, le Cameroun et le Nigeria », a précisé le résident de Vancouver âgé de 12 ans, mordu de lecture et de science. Marylou a suggéré pour sa part l’apprentissage à travers des exposés en équipe devant la classe. « Quand on nous parle de l’Afrique à l’école, on parle de guerre et d’esclavage. Je trouve qu’on pourrait parler un peu plus de culture », a-t-elle exprimé, esquissant son sourire discret. Quant à lui, Sébastien a proposé d’utiliser des mythes et des contes pour en apprendre davantage sur les pays de l’Afrique. « Dans nos cours de géographie, il y a toujours plein d’histoires pour nous aider à nous souvenir de chaque pays d’Europe, mais quand on parle de l’Afrique, on n’a pas ça. Un cours de géographie, je m’en souviens plus ou moins, mais une histoire, ça reste dans ma tête ! » a dit le jeune homme. « Une fois, dans ma classe, quelqu’un a dit le mot “race” et la professeure lui a dit qu’il ne fallait pas dire ça », a par ailleurs raconté la jeune Marylou Djida, disant ne pas toujours comprendre le malaise et l’hésitation des gens à l’égard de l’utilisation des mots « race » et « noir ». « Je crois que le problème n’est pas dans le mot, mais plutôt dans son utilisation négative envers quelqu’un », a-t-elle jugé. Parlant de son expérience en tant que métis suisse-camerounais, Joaron a expliqué : « Il y a plus que des Blancs et des Noirs. Quand j’étais au Cameroun, on me disait que j’étais blanc et je leur disais que j’étais aussi noir. Et ici au Canada, c’est l’inverse », a-t-il confié. « Le mot noir est un peu tabou, car les gens “non noirs” ont peur de nous déranger ou de nous blesser en le disant, mais c’est plutôt la connotation du mot qui dérange », a souligné Béni. « Quand les gens veulent décrire une personne noire, ils essaient de trouver un autre terme ou adjectif, alors que ce serait plus simple de dire le mot noir, a observé de son côté Sébastien Cimpaye, de Gatineau. Les gens craignent qu’on pense qu’ils sont racistes, tout ça devient compliqué. » À ses yeux, « il faut vivre et laisser vivre, mais essayer d’être empathique et se mettre à la place de l’autre pour comprendre ce qu’il peut ressentir. » Tout simplement. Le panel jeunesse « Bâtir et grandir ensemble » a été présenté dans le cadre du Mois de l’Histoire des Noirs, en collaboration avec Afrika21, le Conseil de la Communauté noire de Gatineau (CCNG) et Kacodiar. Karla Meza, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir
Tuesday's Games NHL Buffalo 4 New Jersey 1 Pittsburgh 3 Washington 2 (OT) Chicago 6 Columbus 5 (SO) Ottawa 5 Montreal 4 (SO) Nashville 2 Detroit 0 Edmonton 4 Vancouver 3 --- AHL Rockford 3 Cleveland 2 Toronto 5 Stockton 1 --- NBA Detroit 105 Orlando 93 Cleveland 112 Atlanta 111 Brooklyn 127 Sacramento 118 Golden State 114 New York 106 Philadelphia 109 Toronto 102 Dallas 110 Boston 107 Milwaukee 139 Minnesota 112 L.A. Clippers 135 Washington 116 Denver 111 Portland 106 --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
GUYSBOROUGH – What should have been a routine point on the monthly Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) council meeting agenda, a report on the recent Eastern Counties Regional Library (ECRL) library board meeting, spurred a long discussion about the fate of the libraries in Canso and Guysborough. At the Feb. 17 meeting, councillors voiced concerns about the hours at each library branch and the fear that those few hours may be reduced as the ECRL creates a budget for the coming fiscal year. The ECRL has asked the MODG to increase its funding. At this time, the MODG has no plans of doing so; they provide the ECRL with $35,990 per year and own and maintain the buildings ECRL uses in the municipality at a cost of approximately $40,000 a year. Council put forward and passed a motion to send a letter to the ECRL board about their concerns. Warden Vernon Pitts told the media after the council meeting, “ECRL are looking for a major increase in funding but they’re also, in the same breath, they’re also looking at cutting services…. We have 16 hours of service here in Guysborough and we have 24 hours of service in the community of Canso; to me that’s substandard anyway. If they’re going to cut services what’s left to cut? Is the next thing to close the libraries? “What we are trying to do is get ahead of this. We’re trying to make them realize that … the municipality does the maintenance, the lights, the phone; we do all the bills in regard to that so I can’t see where these costs are coming from,” said Pitts, adding that an ECRL board meeting set for Feb. 18, would hopefully result in some answers to questions council has about funding and service. In regard to last month’s meeting with representatives from Emergency Health Services (EHS), Pitts said council has not received any additional response to their questions about availability of ambulances and response times. He added, “I noticed watching CTV news that there are major problems in other areas. So, we’re not the only one bucking the trend, shall we say. Let’s see where it goes. It’s not good news, what you’re hearing; be it equipment issue or manpower issue. We are going to have to get that sorted out. The only way we can do that is to have an exchange of ideas … Until they contact us, our hands are basically tied.” Council has also filed a freedom of information request in regard to plans for the Irving Oil property in Guysborough and a former gas station property in Boylston. Pitts said, “Council is not going to slacken off on this. This is a priority for our council. It is not only the property in the Guysborough area it is also the old service station in the Boylston area. We want them all cleaned up. This day and age there’s no need of it.” In the coming month, the MODG will formulate the budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. Pitts said of the budget planning to date, “As everyone through the municipality knows, likely province wide, the last number of years we’ve taken a $3 million hit in regard to property assessment commercial (due to decommissioning of Sable Offshore Energy Project). We have a plan in place, a five-year-plan … as long as we stick to the plan; I think we are going to weather this alright. “We are not looking at any major tax increases going forward. We just went through our preliminary budget meeting planning session at the CLC a number of weeks ago. Things aren’t too bad. We are very comfortable. Let’s not rock the boat,” said Pitts. When asked if there would be an increase in taxes he said, “I believe we are still going to have the lowest tax rate in the province of Nova Scotia when we get through the budget process … I anticipate perhaps, maybe there will be a very minimal increase.” Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
ROME — Italy on Wednesday pressed the United Nations for answers about the attack on a U.N. food aid convoy in Congo that left a young ambassador and his paramilitary police bodyguard dead. Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told lawmakers in Rome that Italy has asked both the U.N. and the U.N. World Food Program to open an investigation into the security arrangements for convoy, which was attacked two days earlier. The minister said Italy also will spare no effort to determine the truth behind the killing of Ambassador Luca Attanasio and Carabiniere paramilitary officer Vittorio Iacovacci. A WFP Congolese driver, Moustapha Milambo, was also killed in the attack. “We have formally asked the WFP and the U.N. to open an inquest that clarifies what happened, the motivations for the security arrangements employed and who was responsible for these decisions,” Di Maio said. The trip was undertaken at the U.N.’s invitation, according to Di Maio. The two Italians had “entrusted themselves to the protocol of the United Nations,” which flew them on a U.N. plane from Kinshasha to Goma, 2,500 kilometres (1,500 miles) away, Di Maio said. The Italian embassy in Kinshasha, Di Maio noted, has two armoured vehicles at the ambassador's disposal for moving around the city and the country. But for Monday's mission, to visit a WFP school food project in Rutshuri in eastern Congo, Attanasio was travelling in U.N. vehicles. Only hours earlier, Di Maio, flanked by Premier Mario Draghi, met the arrival of the bodies of the two Italians at a Rome military airport. Autopsies are scheduled for Wednesday and a state funeral for both men was set for Thursday in Rome. A special team of Carabinieri investigators, dispatched by Rome prosecutors, arrived Tuesday in Congo on what Di Maio said would likely be multiple missions to determine what happened. Attanasio, 43, who leaves a widow involved in volunteer projects in Congo and three young children, "was in love with his profession, with Africa and his family,'' Di Maio said. He noted that the Carabiniere was nearing the end of his security detail in Congo and was soon due back in Rome. The World Food Program, which won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for its efforts to feed refugees and other malnourished people worldwide, is headquartered in Rome. "For this reason, I immediately asked WFP in Rome and the United Nations, involving directing the Secretary General (Antonio) Guterres, to supply a detailed report on the attack on the convoy,'' Di Maio said. WFP has said the road had been previously cleared for travel without security escorts. U.N. security officials based in Congo usually determine road safety. On Tuesday, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York that the U.N. had launched an internal review concerning the “security around the incident.” Di Maio said the attackers numbered six, had light arms and apparently spread obstacles on the road and fired shots in the air to stop the convoy. “The noise of the shooting alerted soldiers of the Congolese Armed Forces and the rangers of Virunga park, less than a kilometre (half-mile) away, headed to the place of the incident.” Di Maio quoted the local governor as saying that to force the victims to go into the bush, they killed the WFP driver. When the ranger patrol arrived, Di Maio said, citing the Congolese interior minister’s account, the attackers “fired upon the Carabiniere, killing him, and at the ambassador, gravely wounding him.? Attanasio died of his wounds shortly afterward. Italy will reinforce its commitments to aid Africa, Di Maio said, calling that the “best way to honour the memory? of the two slain Italians. "A policy that puts Africa at the centre of Italian diplomatic, European and international attention, this is the commitment Luca believed in and in which we believe in,'' the foreign minister said. Frances D'Emilio, The Associated Press
New laws are on the horizon for Canada’s aquaculture industry, but environmentalists are wary the proposed legislation might not be enough to protect the country’s oceans. Canada’s $1.2-billion aquaculture industry is now regulated under a patchwork of federal and provincial laws and regulations. Confusion over that regulatory maze has fuelled a years-long effort by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to develop aquaculture-specific legislation. The new laws would update rules on everything from licensing to the industry’s environmental impact. “We have concerns around the act that (with) the direction it is going, it may actually exempt or replace or undermine some of the other legislative protections around wild fish biodiversity,” said Stan Proboszcz, science and campaign adviser for the Watershed Watch Salmon Society. Currently, the Fisheries Act contains strong provisions aimed at protecting wild fish and wild fish habitat. Largely developed in the Trudeau government’s early years — an effort to restore protections gutted by former prime minister Stephen Harper — the rules established rigorous habitat protections, Proboszcz said. But he’s worried the proposed aquaculture laws could exempt fish farms from some of these protections. Of greatest concern to Proboszcz and other advocates are open-pen salmon farms, the largest industry in Canada’s aquaculture sector. In use on both coasts, open-pen nets pose a risk to wild Pacific and Atlantic salmon largely because the farms risk exposing wild populations to pests and disease. For instance, a 2012 report by Justice Bruce Cohen found that fish farms along salmon migration routes on the B.C. coast were contributing to the rapid decline of Fraser River salmon. Almost a decade later, in 2020 — and months after the river saw historically low returns — DFO decided to remove open-pen fish farms from the species' key migration route. Environmentalists in both the Atlantic provinces and B.C. have also been concerned for years about the farms’ impact on surrounding ecosystems because excrement, excess feed, and other waste leach beyond the floating pens — despite environmental protections under the Fisheries Act. “The open-pen salmon farming industry is in part governed by the protections of the Fisheries Act,” said Proboszcz. “We think that’s the way it should stay — we spent … years revising the Fisheries Act to protect habitats, to protect wild fish, and we don’t want to see an aquaculture act come in that amends those protections.” In a statement, DFO said the proposed act “would be derived from relevant sections of the Fisheries Act” and “would clearly and appropriately prohibit specific harmful activities … by maintaining the environmental prohibition currently found under the Fisheries Act.” But in a January letter, Watershed Watch and a coalition of other environmental organizations noted that less-stringent provincial aquaculture laws could leave open a loophole to these protections. The Atlantic provinces have some jurisdiction over aquaculture in their waters thanks to agreements between the federal and provincial governments. “The super obvious (concern) is that there doesn’t appear to be any requirement for a national standard of regulation,” said Simon Ryder-Burbidge, marine conservation officer with the Halifax-based Ecology Action Centre. “In the course of developing a federal act, you would want to mandate some kind of national standards for the protections of ecosystems at the federal level,” but the proposed act would keep the current system — where jurisdiction over fish farms is split between the federal and provincial governments — intact. “The proposed (aquaculture) act will not impede on existing areas of provincial jurisdiction,” DFO confirmed in a statement. Those aren’t Ryder-Burbidge and Proboszcz's only worries, however. Both noted that DFO’s dual responsibility to regulate and promote Canada’s aquaculture industry is a significant conflict of interest that shouldn’t be enshrined in the planned law. “We do not want to see any sort of legislation or regulation that facilitates the government’s promotion of aquaculture as an industry,” said Proboszcz. Similar concerns have been raised for years: Justice Cohen noted it in the 2012 Cohen report on Fraser River sockeye. More recently, Chief Don Tom, vice-president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, noted the issue was central to controversy around fish farms in B.C.’s Discovery Islands. In response, the ministry said it is “committed to the conservation of wild salmon stocks” and aims to create an act that “provides greater clarity for the sector’s management and helps further enhance environmental protections.” Still, Ryder-Burbidge remains concerned. “At the end of the day, the protection of marine species falls at the foot of the federal government. We want to see them step up and take action to protect wild … salmon and other species,” he said. Marc Fawcett-Atkinson/Local Journalism Initiative/Canada's National Observer Marc Fawcett-Atkinson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
(Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit) Joanne Valiquette used to love going out for walks and having visitors to her North Bay apartment. But now the 68-year-old is afraid to even go into the halllway of the Lancelot Apartments, which has become the centre of a COVID variant outbreak in the city. "It really hit close to home when it's in this building. It is scary," says Valiquette. "So I'm afraid to go out to to do my laundry or to go through the lobby downstairs." So far, over 40 tenants of the building have tested positive for COVID, about two dozen of them a confirmed case of one of the new fast-spreading variants of the coronavirus. Two of Valiquette's neighbours have died. "I have a feeling it's never going to end. We're never going to have freedom again," she says. "It's going to be like this maybe for the rest of my life." Over 40 tenants at the Lancelot Apartments in North Bay have tested positive for COVID-19, about 26 of them for one of the new variants. Two people who lived in the building have died. The Nipissing and Parry Sound districts are now approaching two months in lockdown and the health unit has extended the stay-at-home order until at least March 8. Unlike Toronto and Peel, which remain shutdown because of a high number of COVID cases, the North Bay and Parry Sound areas aren't re-opening in order to stop the spread of the variants. "It is nerve-racking. You feel like you're one swab away from a disaster," says Jamie Lowery, the CEO of the city-run Casselholme nursing home. "You're always wondering... if somehow it will get into your home." One visitor to Casselholme did test positive for a COVID variant and then there were 12 more positive COVID tests this week— two staff and 10 relatives of residents. Lowery says about half of them were re-tested and it came back negative. The health unit says that doesn't mean they don't have the virus and are consulting with experts about the test results. But Lowery says public health is refusing to re-test the remaining half dozen, mostly spouses of one of the long-term care residents. "I'm very upset," he says. "These are seniors. And every time you cough or sneeze or feel a headache, in your mind, you're like 'uh oh.' They're quite worried." Jamie Lowery, the CEO of the Casselholme nursing home, would like to see the health unit release more information about the spread of variants in North Bay. Lowery would also like to see the health unit sharing more of what it knows about how the variants are spreading in North Bay. Others took that frustration further, marching in the street outside the health unit office calling for an end to the lockdown and chanting "Chirico has got to go" referring to medical officer of health Dr. Jim Chirico. "I was surprised and disappointed by that. I think he's done an outstanding job," says North Bay city councillor Chris Mayne. "I think he's actually saved lives in our community by being prudent and I think most people in the community appreciate that." A few dozen protesters on the streets of North Bay this week called for an end to the lockdown and laid blame on medical officer of health Dr. Jim Chirico. Chirico has been the target of criticism for the past month, after the health unit went over and above provincial restrictions and ordered tobogganing hills, skating rinks and snowmobile trails in Nipissing and Parry Sound closed. That ban was lifted this week, while the stay-at-home order continues. Robb Noon, the mayor of the small town of Callander just south of North Bay, says public health is "showing leadership" by "making the tough decisions" but says they need to explain their thinking to frustrated citizens. "If we don't have anything to go by to understand that, it just leads to speculation. You never see a light at the end of the tunnel. You have no clue," says Noon. "The public is so thirsty for more information." Parry Sound Mayor Jamie McGarvey says he has yet to get an explanation why his town and others over an hour's drive from the variant outbreak in North Bay can't re-open along with the rest of northern Ontario. "There are a number of very upset people. They are certainly questioning the lockdown. There are businesses that are suffering," he says. "Why penalize absolutely everybody when you could isolate the severe situations?" No one from the North Bay-Parry Sound Public Health Unit was made available for an interview for this story and Dr. Chirico has not been made available to speak with CBC for several weeks now.
Did you notice anything different about the Super Bowl this year? Not Tom Brady winning – that is nothing new – but the record number of women involved in the big game, from coaches to trainers to officials to operations staff. Turns out there is a quarterback behind that drive: Sam Rapoport.
(Courtesy Terry Jenkins - image credit) Thanks to all the recent snowfall, those sleigh bells are ringing at a horse farm just outside of Chatham. TJ Stables began offering sleigh rides to paying customers last weekend, and it's been very popular. One of the owners, Terry Jenkins, said it's been a much-needed financial boon after being locked down for much of the past year. Jenkins said she's hoping the snow will stick around. "Oh, this is the first time in my life I've wished it would stay cold," she said with a laugh. She bought the sleigh almost three years ago "to make memories" for her grandchildren but the weather hasn't co-operated. After considering selling it last summer, enough snow fell this season for Jenkins to use the sleigh, and help make memories for other families as well, she said. The endeavour is supporting keeping the horses fed after almost six months of lockdowns. "They don't know it's COVID. They just want their supper," she said. The sleigh can hold four adults or a family of six with children — all in the same bubble. More from CBC Windsor:
(Submitted by the Bennett family - image credit) John Bennett and his family take a picture before quarantining. It's a nightmare scenario for many families in Newfoundland contending with the latest rise in COVID-19 numbers: Parents testing positive and having to divide their home for self-isolation, all while taking care of young children. For one St. John's family that's already a reality. John Bennett's 10-year-old son, John, has cystic fibrosis, a chronic lung disease. Last week, Bennett, his wife Gillian, and their other son Noah, 6, all tested positive for COVID-19. Bennett initially booked a swab after visiting Bigs Ultimate Sports Grill in Mount Pearl, around the time the B117 variant started its spread through the metro region. While his first test came back negative, Bennett said he and his wife developed symptoms a few days later. "She just wasn't feeling all that well — a little bit under the weather," said Bennett. A day after her test, she got the result: positive. Bennett said the news came as a shock to his family, and soon after, he and his two sons got tested as well. Bennett's returned positive that time, though both of his sons' results came back negative. Noah was tested again on Monday, and the result came back positive. The Bennetts have two boys, John and Noah. John, the oldest, has cystic fibrosis. Right away, the family tried to divide the house, with Bennett's sons, wife, and himself each taking separate parts of the home. But having young kids, especially one with a lung condition like cystic fibrosis, made staying apart a challenge. "It feels like a bit of a yo-yo effect. At one moment you're feeling OK, the next minute emotions are kind of all over the place," said Bennett. "You're trying to take care of yourself, you're also trying to take care of your kids, your wife, and then trying to figure out some logistics of all living in the house together." Cystic fibrosis heightening anxiety Bennett's foremost worry at the moment is John falling ill, too. Since the pandemic began last year, Bennett said, they've learned a little more about how the virus affects those living with cystic fibrosis. "I'm certainly not minimizing it whatsoever, but from what we've seen over the last year, it doesn't necessarily have a bigger impact," Bennett said. While there's no evidence to show conditions like cystic fibrosis make individuals more susceptible to contracting COVID-19, people with the condition may be susceptible to more serious symptoms. Meals delivered by friends and family have been a big help, says Bennett. Bennett described his son as healthy and active, a kid who diligently follows a cystic fibrosis treatment regimen. The uncertainty of the virus, however, is still a cause of concern. "It's been worrying. We don't want him to have it," Bennett said. "But if he does have it, and sometimes I guess you just have to mentally prepare yourself for those things, we'll deal with it the best we can." John was tested again this week and his results came back negative: welcome news for Bennett and his family. For the time being, Bennett said John is in isolation with plenty of games to keep him entertained. "He's been in kind of his own isolation mode; he's got his Xbox, and he's got some friends online that just kept him company and whatnot." A father's advice? Get tested While they never expected the pandemic to hit so close to home, Bennett said, they shared their story over social media in order to keep friends and family informed, and encourage others to get tested. "I tested negative and had some symptoms probably three or four days after. Hindsight is 20/20. I should have probably gotten retested," said Bennett. His overall message is no matter how mild your symptoms may be, he hopes others take them seriously. Bennett, whose family has been vocal about John's condition in the past, said they've received overwhelming support. "All of the support from family and friends to be quite honest with you has helped us get through this," he said. "Messages of support, food being dropped off, snacks being dropped off. Just the outreach has kind of left us sometimes a little bit speechless." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
BERLIN — A former member of Syrian President Bashar Assad's secret police was convicted Wednesday by a German court of facilitating the torture of prisoners in a landmark ruling that human rights activists hope will set a precedent for other cases. Eyad Al-Gharib was convicted of accessory to crimes against humanity and sentenced by the Koblenz state court to 4 1/2 years in prison. It was the first time that a court outside Syria ruled in a case alleging Syrian government officials committed crimes against humanity. German prosecutors invoked the principle of universal jurisdiction for serious crimes to bring the case that involved victims and defendants who were in Germany. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the verdict represented a “historic juncture” that would send “real messages to all those who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Syrian people and gives hope to the victims and their families that right will prevail.” The group, which has documented the decade-long war, urged Syrian refugees in Europe to come forth with any evidence and documents to courts to help more such cases. Al-Gharib could have faced more than a decade behind bars, but judges took into account mitigating factors, including his testimony in court. The 44-year-old was accused of being part of a unit that arrested people following anti-government protests in the Syrian city of Douma and took them to a detention centre known as Al Khatib, or Branch 251, where they were tortured. Al-Gharib went on trial last year with Anwar Raslan, a more senior Syrian ex-official who is accused of overseeing the abuse of detainees at the same jail near Damascus. Raslan is accused of supervising the “systematic and brutal torture” of more than 4,000 prisoners between April 2011 and September 2012, resulting in the deaths of at least 58 people. During the trial, al-Gharib testified against Raslan, implicating him in more than 10 deaths of prisoners. A verdict in Raslan's case is expected later this year. The court also considered photographs of thousands of alleged victims of torture by the Syrian government. The images were smuggled out of Syria by a former police officer, who goes by the alias of Caesar. “Today’s verdict is the first time a court has confirmed that the acts of the Syrian government and its collaborators are crimes against humanity,” said Patrick Kroker, a lawyer with the European Center for constitutional and Human Rights, which represented multiple survivors at the trial. “Testimony by torture survivors and intelligence officers, as well as the Caesar photos, prove the scale and systemic nature of enforced disappearances, torture and sexual violence in Syria," he said. "The relevance of this evidence extends far beyond the proceedings in Koblenz.” Delivering the oral verdict, the presiding judge made it clear that al-Gharib's crimes were part of the Syrian government’s systematic abuses against its own population. Syrian officials did not testify during the 60-day trial. The court concluded that al-Gharib's unit, which was under Raslan's command, was involved in chasing down and detaining at least 30 people following a demonstration in Douma, and then bringing them to the detention centre where they were tortured. Al-Gharib, who had the rank of sergeant major until he defected, left Syria in 2013 and came to Germany in 2018. Both men were arrested a year later. Some rights groups have raised questions about the trial, noting that government defectors like Al-Gharib may not realize that statements they make during asylum applications may be used against them. Mohammad Al-Abdallah, director of the Washington-based Syria Justice and Accountability Center and a former prisoner in Syria, said Al-Gharib was a low-ranking officer with little value in the case against him. He suggested that putting defectors like Raslan and Al-Gharib in prison would please the Assad government, "because this will deter anyone else from defecting or joining the opposition or supplying information to human rights groups.” But Wassim Mukdad, a Syrian survivor and co-plaintiff in Raslan's trial, said while al-Gharib was "just one small cog in the vast Syrian torture apparatus” the verdict against him was important. “I hope it can shed light on all of the Assad regime’s crimes,” he said. "Only then will the trial really be a first step on this long road to justice for myself and other survivors.” The European Center for constitutional and Human Rights, which supports 29 survivors in the case against Raslan, of whom 14 are represented as co-plaintiffs in that case, is working to bring further cases against Syrian officials to trial in Germany, Austria, Sweden and Norway. ___ Sarah El Deeb in Beirut and David Rising in Berlin contributed to this report. Frank Jordans, The Associated Press
Bruce Springsteen was fined $500 on Wednesday after the rock 'n' roll legend pleaded guilty to a charge of consuming alcohol at a federally run New Jersey beach in November, and prosecutors dropped drunken driving and reckless driving charges. Springsteen, 71, whose songs have chronicled life in his home state of New Jersey and its shore scene for more than 50 years, entered his plea in an online arraignment before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Anthony Mautone in Newark. He admitted to downing "two small shots of tequila" on Nov. 14 at Sandy Hook beach, part of the National Park Service's Gateway National Recreation Area, where alcohol consumption is prohibited.
The company, whose Chief Executive Officer Michael Saylor is one of the most vocal proponents of bitcoin, bought the cryptocurrency in cash at an average price of about $52,765 each. MicroStrategy, the world's largest publicly traded business intelligence company, spent last year steadily amassing bitcoin after making its first investment in August. Bitcoin's price has recently scaled record highs as major firms, such as BNY Mellon, asset manager BlackRock Inc and credit card giant Mastercard Inc, backed certain cryptocurrencies, with Tesla Inc investing $1.5 billion in bitcoin.