U.S. President Donald Trump granted clemency to former White House aide Steve Bannon as part of a wave of pardons and commutations issued in his final hours in office.
U.S. President Donald Trump granted clemency to former White House aide Steve Bannon as part of a wave of pardons and commutations issued in his final hours in office.
LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side on a steep roadway in suburban Los Angeles known for wrecks, authorities said. The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he was undergoing leg surgery. Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median shortly before 7:15 a.m., crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, authorities said at a news conference. No other cars were involved. The 45-year-old was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out. The airbags deployed, and the inside of the car stayed basically intact and that “gave him a cushion to survive the crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Both of his legs were seriously injured, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. They said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. Authorities said they checked for any odor of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and did not find any. They did not say how fast he was driving. The crash happened on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale Los Angeles suburbs. Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to arrive at the wreck, told reporters that he sometimes catches people topping 80 mph in the 45 mph zone and has seen fatal crashes there. “I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said. Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where he presented the trophy on Sunday. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement. A tweet Monday showed Woods in a cart smiling with comedian David Spade. According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club. Woods, a 15-time major champion who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories, has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019. He has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, winning at the most prolific rate in modern PGA Tour history. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking, which has led to enormous increases in prize money during his career. Even at 45, he remains the biggest draw in the sport. The SUV he was driving Tuesday had tournament logos on the side door, indicating it was a courtesy car for players at the Genesis Invitational. Tournament director Mike Antolini did not immediately respond to a text message, though it is not unusual for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after the event. Woods feared he would never play again until the 2017 fusion surgery. He returned to win the Tour Championship to close out the 2018 season and won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time. He last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12. Woods also has a 13-year-old daughter. During the Sunday telecast on CBS from the golf tournament, Woods was asked about playing the Masters on April 8-11 and said, “God, I hope so.” He said he was feeling a little stiff and had one more test to see if he was ready for more activities. He was not sure when he would play again. Athletes from Mike Tyson to Magic Johnson and others offered hopes that Woods would make a quick recovery. “I’m sick to my stomach,” Justin Thomas, the No. 3 golf player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Bradenton, Florida. “It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right.” Crews used a crane to lift the damaged SUV out of the hillside brush. The vehicle was placed upright on the street and sheriff’s investigators inspected it and took photos. Then it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled away Tuesday afternoon. This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. The most notorious was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree. That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women. Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months. In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain. Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder. Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he has reduced his playing schedule in recent years because of injuries. The surgery Tuesday would be his 10th. He has had four previous surgeries on his left knee, including a major reconstruction after he won the 2008 U.S. Open, and five surgeries on his back. ___ Ferguson reported from Jacksonville, Florida. Stefanie Dazio And Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is moving slowly but surely toward reengaging with the Palestinians after a near total absence of official contact during former President Donald Trump’s four years in office. As American officials plan steps to restore direct ties with the Palestinian leadership, Biden’s national security team is taking steps to restore relations that had been severed while Trump pursued a Mideast policy focused largely around Israel, America's closest partner in the region. On Tuesday, for the second time in two days, Biden's administration categorically embraced a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that Trump had been purposefully vague about while slashing aid to the Palestinians and taking steps to support Israel’s claims to land that the Palestinians want for an independent state. The State Department said Tuesday that a U.S. delegation attended a meeting of a Norwegian-run committee that serves as a clearinghouse for assistance to the Palestinians. Although little-known outside foreign policy circles, the so-called Ad Hoc Liaison Committee has been influential in the peace process since Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. “During the discussion, the United States reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians and to preserve the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the State Department said in a statement. “The United States underscored the commitment to supporting economic and humanitarian assistance and the need to see progress on outstanding projects that will improve the lives of the Palestinian people, while urging all parties to avoid unilateral steps that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve,” it said. U.S. participation in the meeting followed a Monday call between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s foreign minister in which Blinken stressed that the new U.S. administration unambiguously supports a two-state solution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is close to Trump, has eschewed the two-state solution. Biden spoke to Netanyahu last week for the first time as president after a delay that many found suspicious and suggestive of a major realignment in U.S. policy. Blinken, however, has spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi twice amid ongoing concern in Israel about Biden's intentions in the region, particularly his desire to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. In Monday's call, Blinken “emphasized the Biden administration’s belief that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. The Trump administration had presented its own version of a two-state peace plan, though it would have required significant Palestinian concessions on territory and sovereignty. The Palestinians, however, rejected it out of hand and accused the U.S. of no longer being an honest peace broker after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moved the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and rescinded a long-standing legal opinion that Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate under international law, Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Josh Norris scored the shootout winner to give the Ottawa Senators a 5-4 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night at Canadian Tire Centre. Tim Stutzle also beat Montreal goalie Carey Price in the shootout. Ottawa's Brady Tkachuk opened with a miss and Senators netminder Matt Murray stopped Corey Perry and Jonathan Drouin. It capped a wild and entertaining game between the two rivals. Both teams had excellent chances in the overtime session. Stutzle had two glorious opportunities but couldn't convert and Montreal's Tyler Toffoli was stoned on a breakaway with about a minute to go. It looked like Montreal's Brendan Gallagher had scored the winner with 2.1 seconds left in regulation but the goal was waved off after a review due to goaltender interference. Tkachuk scored twice for Ottawa with Drake Batherson and Erik Brannstrom adding singles. Shea Weber had two goals for Montreal. Drouin and Toffoli had a goal apiece. After a slow start, the last-place Senators have picked up their play of late. Ottawa (6-14-1) entered with three wins over its last five games, including a 3-2 overtime victory over the Habs last Sunday. The 9-5-4 Canadiens, meanwhile, were 5-1-2 last month but entered with just one win in their last five games to drop them into fourth place in the North Division. The Senators needed just 96 seconds to open the scoring. Derek Stepan delivered a low saucer pass to Batherson, who extended his goal streak to three games by beating Price with a high backhand. Ottawa was rewarded for its steady power-play pressure at 9:57. Tkachuk flipped the puck under Price's arm on a shot the veteran goalie would no doubt like to have back. With Tkachuk and Montreal's Ben Chiarot off for fighting, the Canadiens caught a break to halve the lead at 16:03. Weber fired the puck toward the net from the boards and it deflected off Nikita Zaitsev's skate and past Murray. Tkachuk was in on the action again early in the second period, catching a high stick to the face that resulted in Weber being sent off on a double-minor. Ottawa restored its two-goal cushion as Brannstrom's low shot from the high slot went through a maze of players and between Price's legs at 3:41. It was his first career NHL goal. The Canadiens quickly answered as Thomas Chabot mishandled the puck and Drouin swooped in to collect it before beating Murray at 4:52. Weber then tied it at 10:06 with a trademark rocket from the point. Toffoli gave Montreal its first lead of the game at 8:06 of the third period. He fooled Brannstrom on his way in before snapping the puck past Murray on the short side. Tkachuk pulled Ottawa even with a softie goal less than two minutes later. He steered the puck towards the net and it fooled Price at 10:11. Chabot returned to the lineup after missing two games with an upper-body injury. Defenceman Brett Kulak drew into the Montreal lineup with Victor Mete sitting out as a healthy scratch. Ottawa will continue its five-game homestand on Thursday against Calgary. It will be the first of three straight games against the Flames. Montreal visits Winnipeg on Thursday. The Jets will also host the Canadiens on Saturday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
Regina– Crop Insurance coverage is going up due to higher commodity prices, and rates are going up as well, but the premium cost per dollar of coverage continues to decline. There’s a new pilot program for vegetables, and changes for forage and chickpeas, too. On Canada Agriculture Day, Saskatchewan Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Donna Harpauer and, through a press release, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced enhancements to the 2021 Crop Insurance Program. This year, Crop Insurance coverage will reach a record level due to higher commodity prices and increased yield coverage. “Farmers across Saskatchewan continue to step up despite all the challenges thrown their way during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bibeau said in a release. “These improvements to the Crop Insurance Program give Saskatchewan farmers more coverage they can count on. We will continue working with our provincial counterparts to ensure farmers have the risk management tools to help their stability and growth.” Asked if the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on crop insurance, Harpauer said, “None.” “For over 60 years, the Crop Insurance Program has supported Saskatchewan producers with reliable coverage and exceptional customer service,” Harpauer said. “We are committed to providing producers with the insurance programs they need and the enhancements announced today build upon the current suite of programs.” Coverage going up Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) said it “continues to provide high coverage as we enter a new growing season.” Coverage will reach a record level of $273 per acre due to higher commodity prices and increased yield coverage, up from $224 in 2020. This represents a 22 per cent increase in coverage. The average premium cost per dollar of coverage continues to decline. There was a 42 per cent reduction in average premium cost per dollar of coverage over the last 10 years. This includes a 20 per cent reduction directly resulting from the strong financial position of the program, SCIC said. However, due to the increased coverage for 2021, the average premium for producers will be higher than in 2020. The average premium per acre will be $8.59, up from $7.40. Harpauer said, “Establishment benefit values are reviewed annually. This year, the establishment benefit values for canola, lentils, chickpeas and corn have increased. Canola is now $70 per acre. Large green lentils are $50 per acre and red lentils are $30 per acre. Large Kabuli chickpeas are $65 per acre and Small Kabuli chickpeas are $45 per acre. Corn is $95 per acre.” New forage options New in 2021, producers growing tame hay will have additional options when insuring their hay acres. Crop Insurance customers now have the choice to insure their tame hay acres under the Forage Rainfall Insurance Program (FRIP) or the Multi-Peril Crop Insurance Program. Coverage options can be customized for each farming operation. Under FRIP, payments will be calculated based on rainfall levels, instead of overall yields. “Saskatchewan cattle producers face a lot of risks. It is good to see the programs they can access through SCIC continue to evolve,” Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association Chair Arnold Balicki said in a release. “Adding tame hay to the Forage Rainfall Insurance Program and extending the calf coverage deadline and hours of operation for Livestock Price Insurance are all positive. I encourage cattle producers to look into SCIC’s programs as there were many improvements in recent years.” “Forage producers will also see an increase in Native Forage Establishment Benefit coverage. The Native Forage Establishment Benefit provides coverage on newly seeded native forage acres. The coverage is increasing from $75 to $200. Other Forage Establishment Benefit prices seeing an increase includes tame hay to $90 per acre and sweetclover to $65 per acre,” Harpauer said. Forage producers are encouraged to review available coverage options through SCIC's Forage Option and Weather-Based Programs. Vegetable pilot program “In 2021, SCIC is also introducing coverage for large scale vegetable production. Commercial vegetable growers will now have access to the commercial vegetable pilot program, which will provide standalone coverage for damage to cabbage and pumpkin crops,” Harpauer said. SCIC has been working with the Saskatchewan Vegetable Growers' Association to develop programming for the growing commercial vegetable sector in Saskatchewan. The impact of a crop failure on vegetable operations could be significant as a relatively small number of acres has extremely high value. A minimum of eight acres is required to participate in the program. SCIC will continue to explore insurance coverage options for the Commercial Vegetable Program. Last summer, the Government of Saskatchewan made one of the largest announcements for agriculture in this province in years, laying out a plan for $4 billion in expansion of irrigation in central Saskatchewan, with an eye to growing different crops, including vegetables. Asked how this will impact Crop Insurance, Harpauer responded, “That’s a ways into the future. So I think it’s important that they’re doing the pilot this year. And we’ll see how that goes. As production increases in vegetables and other crops that benefit for irrigation, I think it’s been demonstrated, here in Saskatchewan, that Crop Insurance officials are very nimble in addressing the crops as they change. I know, myself, from when I was a producer, to today, the crops have changed significantly, and Crop Insurance had been there for all the changes.” Chickpeas Saskatchewan has also become a significant producer of chickpeas. SCIC is updating the base grade for large-seeded Kabuli chickpeas to reflect current production and marketing patterns. This increases the insured price and the quality coverage. Carl Potts, executive director of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, said, “I think the changes to the chickpeas base grade calculation just better reflects the size and the quality of the chickpeas that chickpea producers are producing these days. It’s simply a better reflection of the product the producers are producing, and should increase the overall level of coverage for producers.” Potts called it “a welcome development.” Saskatchewan Pulse Growers Board Chair Shaun Dyrland said, “This change should increase coverage levels for most of the 300 chickpea producers in the province.” Canola’s significance Asked if there were any trends with farmers moving towards a particular crop, or any move into a “Cinderella crop” in 2021, SCIC acting president and CEO Jeff Morrow responded, “One of the main crops in the province, and the main crops in terms of acres and liability for Crop Insurance programs is canola. That is certainly the most predominant crop. And I say our top three, other than canola, are wheat, duram and peas.” He said it’s up to producers to decide what they plant, but historically canola has been top. SARM reaction Ray Orb of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities said, “We're actually quite pleased about some of the enhancements, in particular, with the vegetable pilot program. We think that will be good to create more diversity into the province’s agriculture industry. “We're also pleased to be able to look at some of the things that they're also enhancing, Kabuli chickpeas in particular. “In general, we’re favorable, and always have been favorable, to uplifting and adjusting some of the weather based insurance programs. And we think that will help our livestock producers, as far as protecting their forage crops and things like that. “So generally, we're pleased. We see that there's an increase of about 22 per cent of the of the coverage, understanding at the same time, that will premiums will go up.” He said generally it has served the agriculture industry well to have more coverage. Deadline March 31, 2021, is the deadline to select insured crops and coverage levels or make additional changes to Crop Insurance contracts. Producers need to also apply, reinstate or cancel by this date. Crop Insurance is a business risk management program supported through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Under Crop Insurance, premiums for most programs are shared 40 per cent by participating producers, 36 per cent by the Government of Canada and 24 per cent by the Government of Saskatchewan. Administrative expenses are fully funded by governments, 60 per cent by Canada and 40 per cent by Saskatchewan. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
La crise de logements dans les communautés, dont celle de Uashat mak Maliotenam met en lumière les besoins criants liés à la surpopulation au sein d’une même maison, mais également de l’itinérance. De bonnes nouvelles viennent enfin d’être annoncées. Un projet visant l’aboutissement de plus de 200 logements abordables, sur une période de 5 ans, a été confirmé grâce, à l’aide de Services Autochtones Canada. L’étape, actuellement embryonnaire, permettra d’entreprendre des démarches afin de construire des maisons supplémentaires dans les communautés. Les constructions sont évaluées aux environs de 45 M$, sur 5 ans. Il s’agit, en moyenne, de 40 maisons par année. «La surpopulation dans les maisons et la difficulté d’accès à des logements sociaux qui conviennent aux besoins des familles sont au cœur des préoccupations de plusieurs communautés des Premières Nations partout à travers le Canada. La construction de nouvelles unités de logements et de maisons adaptées chez nous permettrait de combler une partie de nos besoins.», mentionne le Chef Mike Mckenzie. Karine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
Square Inc raised the bets on bitcoin by investing $170 million more and Chief Executive Jack Dorsey promised on Tuesday to "double down" on the payment firm's commitment to the world's biggest cryptocurrency. "The Internet needs a native currency, and we believe bitcoin is it," the longtime bitcoin enthusiast and chief executive of social media firm Twitter Inc said. Square bought 3,318 bitcoins in the fourth quarter, adding to the mainstream acceptance of the digital currency that has been winning support from several big investors.
An Oxford County micro-farmer is sowing the seeds of a campaign to grow fresh produce for rural families in need this summer. Jeffrey King, from Lakeside, a small village south of St. Marys, plans to support families hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic by delivering fresh vegetables from his garden through the growing season. “I just thought, 'What can I do, doing what I do, to help others?' ” he said. “I can grow food. I’m good at growing food.” A volunteer firefighter and stay-at-home dad of two boys, King has been micro-farming and selling his garden produce to locals for years. But this year, he’s making a switch, aiming to expand his endeavours and donate the produce to children and families struggling financially. He’s working with municipal officials and local schools to identify families in need in Lakeside, Embro, Thamesford and area. “In our community, we don’t have food banks, we’re very rural,” King said. “I’d like to find a few families within our own community, it’ll give you that sense of community support.” King is raising money online to cover the costs of seeds and supplies and to expand his operation. He said for about $800 a family, he can provide fresh produce — cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, beets — weekly for the bulk of spring, summer and fall. Since King launched his online fundraiser, other local vendors have offered to contribute other essential items, like hygiene products, to his weekly deliveries. He aims to support six to 10 families through the year. “They can take the money they would’ve spent on groceries and put it toward things like rent, hydro … and not have to worry about the large expense of food,” King said. email@example.com Twitter.com/MaxatLFPress The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada Max Martin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press
BUCHAREST, Romania — Olivier Giroud’s bicycle-kick goal awarded after video review gave Chelsea a 1-0 win against Atlético Madrid in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday. It took nearly three minutes for Giroud and his teammates to be able to celebrate the important 68th-minute away goal that was initially disallowed for offside. Giroud was clearly in front of the defenders when he pulled off his acrobatic shot, but VAR determined that the ball came from Atlético defender Mario Hermoso, thus annulling the offside. Atlético was the home team but the match was played in Bucharest, Romania, because of travel restrictions preventing visitors from Britain entering Spain. The second leg will be on March 17 in London. In the other round-of-16 match on Tuesday, Bayern Munich defeated Lazio 4-1 in Italy. It was the second consecutive loss for Atlético after a seven-match unbeaten streak in all competitions. It was also the eighth straight game in which the Spanish club has conceded a goal, extending its worst run without a clean sheet since coach Diego Simeone arrived in late 2011. Chelsea is yet to lose in its eight matches since coach Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard at the helm. It had been a lacklustre match until Giroud’s goal, with neither team managing to create many significant scoring opportunities and with the goalkeepers not having to work too hard. Chelsea controlled possession and looked a bit more dangerous, but both sides appeared to be satisfied with the scoreless draw and didn’t take too many risks. Hermoso was trying to clear the ball from the area and ended kicking it backward in a ball dispute with Mason Mount. Giroud reached up high with his left foot send the ball toward the corner of Atlético goalkeeper Jan Oblak. Mount and Jorginho were shown yellow cards and will miss the second leg because of accumulation of cards. Simeone had to improvise with midfielder Marcos Llorente as a right back against Chelsea because of several absences on defence, including Kieran Trippier following an English betting investigation. The teams had played in the group stage of the Champions League in the 2017-18 season, with Chelsea winning 2-1 in Spain before a 1-1 draw in London. Atlético eliminated Chelsea in the semifinals in 2014. It was in Bucharest that Simeone won his first title with Atlético, the 2012 Europa League. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Crown prosecutors are asking that a Manitoba man who rammed a gate at Rideau Hall before arming himself and heading on foot toward Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s home last summer be sentenced to six years in prison, minus time served. The request came during sentencing arguments on Tuesday in the case of Corey Hurren, the 46-year-old sausage-maker and Canadian Ranger who pleaded guilty this month to eight charges in relation to the incident at Rideau Hall last July. Crown prosecutor Meaghan Cunningham told an Ottawa courtroom that Hurren’s actions "were far from benign," and posed a serious threat to public safety while setting up a potentially dangerous situation. “The RCMP officers involved were able to de-escalate the situation and eventually arrest Mr. Hurren without any shots being fired,” Cunningham told the court. “But that doesn't change the fact that Mr. Hurren’s deliberate actions on July 2 were incredibly dangerous. They created a risk of harm or death to anyone that might have been caught up in what he had planned.” Cunningham also asked that the court order a DNA sample be taken and that Hurren be banned from owning any weapons for life. During his own submission, defence lawyer Michael Davies said he was seeking a sentence of three years less time served. He argued that while his client made a series of bad decisions, “ultimately, he made one correct decision: the decision to put those guns down.” “I'm not here to say you should be congratulated on that decision,” Davies said. “But if he's to be held accountable for his decisions, and he should be, your honour also has to take into consideration that ultimately, at the end of the day, he put the guns down.” Justice Robert Wadden is expected to deliver his sentence on March 10. In asking for a lesser sentence, Davies described his client as a hardworking member of society who enjoyed his work as a Ranger and was involved in his community’s Lions Club before financial challenges started to crop up in late 2019. Those challenges were exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Davies said, and led Hurren into a state of depression. “COVID has dealt many of us blows, some more than others,” Davies said. “In his particular case, it took away his remaining livelihood. … And so now Mr. Hurren is getting into this downward spiral of no money coming in but money still has to go out.” Davies added that Hurren is already facing fallout from his actions besides the prospect of several years in jail, including the start of divorce proceedings by his wife and the military’s move to permanently discharge him from the Rangers. Cunningham, however, said that Hurren had not expressed any remorse for his actions or an "appreciation of the gravity of his conduct.” She added that his actions were not impulsive, but that Hurren had planned and thought about them for at least several days. “Corey Hurren was prepared to die for his cause. He believed his message was that important,” Cunningham told the court. “The motive behind his actions was not suicide. He wasn't doing this in order to die. He simply recognized that being killed might be an unavoidable consequence of his actions. … Mr. Hurren’s motive is clear: It was to send a political message.” Hurren drove a truck onto the grounds of the Governor General’s official residence on July 2 last year and rammed through the gate, which caused the vehicle to stall and its airbags to deploy. He then set out on foot toward Rideau Cottage, where Trudeau and his family are living due to unresolved questions about costly repairs needed at the prime minister’s traditional official residence at 24 Sussex Drive. Trudeau was not home at the time. Police were able to talk Hurren down and arrested him peacefully after about 90 minutes. He was initially accused of uttering a threat to “cause death or bodily harm” to Trudeau. But in an agreed statement of facts read in an Ottawa courtroom on Feb. 5, Hurren told police he didn’t intend to hurt anyone, and that he wanted to arrest Trudeau to make a statement about the government’s COVID-19 restrictions and its ban on assault-style firearms. He said he had hoped to make the arrest during Trudeau’s daily pandemic briefing outside Rideau Cottage. Hurren, who told police he hadn’t qualified for emergency aid benefits, was angry about losing his business and his guns. He believed Canada was turning into a communist state. Hurren also told police at the scene that he wanted to show Trudeau “how angry everyone was about the gun ban and the COVID-19 restrictions” and said the prime minister “is a communist who is above the law and corrupt.” During a police interview after his arrest, Hurren said “he’s not a bad guy for doing this and he did not want to hurt anyone.” Asked what his plan was, he replied: “I don’t think there was one.” Asked if he had any regrets, Hurren, who’d spent two days driving from Manitoba to Ottawa, said he wished he'd stopped to see the Terry Fox statue near Parliament Hill. Data retrieved from his cellphone, Facebook and Instagram posts included exchanges with friends about “conspiracy theories related to the Canadian government,” as well as a “sacrifice theory” related to the date of the mass shooting in Nova Scotia last April and suggestions that COVID-19 is a hoax. Police seized five firearms from Hurren at Rideau Hall, including a restricted revolver, a prohibited pistol, a prohibited rifle, two shotguns and a prohibited high-capacity magazine. Eleven more long guns were seized from his Manitoba residence. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
An outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared at St. Eugene Catholic Elementary School in east Hamilton. In a letter to families on Tuesday, the school’s principal said the outbreak was declared “after an epidemiological link was identified between today’s case and an earlier case at the school.” The Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board has reported three confirmed cases of the virus — a staff member on Feb. 23, a “third-party employee” on Feb. 22 and a student on Feb. 15 — at the school. “The outbreak is related to the group currently in quarantine,” the letter reads. The board says students and staff at St. Eugene should continue to attend school “unless directed otherwise” by public health. This is the fourth outbreak in a Hamilton school — third in the Catholic board — to be declared in the last week. An outbreak was declared on Feb. 17 at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Elementary School on the west Mountain, which currently has nine positive cases — five students and four staff. The west Mountain school is closed to in-person learning until March 1 as a result of the outbreak. COVID-19 testing was offered to all staff and students at St. Teresa of Avila on Feb. 20. The HWCDSB said 60 tests were conducted — 23 PCR tests among those self-isolating and 37 rapid tests for other staff and students. The board said on Monday all 37 rapid tests came back negative, and that it is still waiting on the PCR test results. Three staff cases have been reported at St. Ann Catholic Elementary School in central Hamilton, which has been in outbreak since Feb. 18. An outbreak was also declared Feb. 17 at the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board’s A.M. Cunningham Elementary School, located in central Hamilton, after two students tested positive for the virus. Schools in Hamilton reopened for in-person learning on Feb. 8 with enhanced health and safety measures in place after weeks of remote learning. Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
Grimsby council unanimously threw its support behind the inclusion of a theatre at the new soon-to-be-built West Niagara Secondary School (WNSS). Though there is no financial commitment, council voted in favour following a presentation by Friends of the Arts in West Niagara who are embarking on a $2.6-million fundraising campaign for the theatre. Matt Miller, principal of Grimsby Secondary School, presented the fundraiser to council at the Feb. 16 committee of the whole meeting, explaining the District School Board of Niagara has already allocated $4.2 million of the required $6.8 million needed to build the theatre. Miller said when fundraising starts, there will be printed material to inform the community, as well as a website for donations and contributions will be tax deductible. He said hopes to start fundraising “within the next couple weeks.” According to Miller, the proposed 750-seat venue will be attached to the school but also have separate entrances as it will not be limited to school use, but also available for rent to the community. A per-hour rate will be charged and the rate ranges from $0 to $135, depending on purpose. In his presentation, he said the community will not be responsible for any other costs associated with use of the facility, other than rental fees. WNSS is set to open in Beamsville in 2022. It will accommodate students from the now-closed South Lincoln Secondary School and soon-to-be-closed Grimsby Secondary and Beamsville District Secondary. Miller will come on as principal of WNSS as it takes on the role of a "superschool." The fundraising campaign has received letters of support from multiple members of the community, such as Grimsby Mayor Jeff Jordan, Lincoln and Grimsby Rotary clubs, the Grimsby Chamber of Commerce and former principal of Grimsby Secondary School Jim Heywood, among many others. Moosa Imran, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News
OTTAWA — Judges peppered a federal lawyer with questions Tuesday as the Canadian government argued a refugee pact between Ottawa and Washington is consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canada's lawyers contend the Federal Court misinterpreted the law when it declared in July that the Safe Third Country Agreement breaches constitutional guarantees of life, liberty and security. The court's declaration of invalidity was suspended for six months and later extended, leaving the law in place while a three-judge panel of the Federal Court of Appeal examines the issue. The two-day hearing is slated to proceed through Wednesday. Under the bilateral refugee agreement, which took effect in 2004, Canada and the U.S. recognize each other as safe places to seek protection. It means Canada can turn back a potential refugee who arrives at a land port of entry along the Canada-U.S. border on the basis the person must pursue their claim in the U.S., the country where they first arrived. Canadian refugee advocates have steadfastly fought the asylum agreement, arguing the U.S. is not always a safe country for people fleeing persecution. Several refugee claimants took the case to court along with the Canadian Council for Refugees, the Canadian Council of Churches and Amnesty International, who participated in the proceedings as public interest parties. In each case, the applicants, who are citizens of El Salvador, Ethiopia and Syria, arrived at a Canadian land entry port from the U.S. and sought refugee protection. They argued in court that by returning ineligible refugee claimants to the U.S., Canada exposes them to risks in the form of detention and other rights violations. In her decision last year, Federal Court Justice Ann Marie McDonald concluded the Safe Third Country Agreement results in ineligible claimants being imprisoned by U.S. authorities. Detention and the consequences flowing from it are "inconsistent with the spirit and objective" of the refugee agreement and amount to a violation of the rights guaranteed by Section 7 of the charter, she wrote. "The evidence clearly demonstrates that those returned to the U.S. by Canadian officials are detained as a penalty." In a written submission filed in advance of the appeal hearing, the government says the court's decision should be overturned because the refugee agreement does not breach the principles of fundamental justice. The government argues McDonald made serious legal mistakes in striking down the pact. Federal lawyers say that in finding detention makes it more difficult for asylum claimants in the U.S. to access legal counsel, McDonald ignored evidence that about 85 per cent of asylum claimants in the U.S. are represented. During the appeal hearing Tuesday, Justice David Stratas questioned the notion the judge's findings were in error. "You would admit, wouldn't you, that there is a risk that someone is turned back at the Canadian border and encounters the U.S. system, including detention, without counsel? That's a possibility?" he asked Martin Anderson, a lawyer for the government. Anderson replied that when one looks at the "totality of the evidence," it tends to support the notion more people have access to counsel in detention than not. The government argues the evidence before the Federal Court showed that neither U.S. asylum law nor practice means automatic detention for those determined to be ineligible to claim refugee status in Canada under the bilateral agreement. The U.S. asylum regime has "many safeguards to protect against inhumane detention" and Canadian law provides "safety valve mechanisms" to exempt someone from being returned to the U.S., should they face a likely risk of unlawful detention, the federal filing says. In their submission to the court, the refugee claimants and public interest parties say the federal immigration and public safety ministers have not identified a reviewable error of law. Even so, they say, the government asks the court to accept "bald assertions that purported 'safety valves' at the border found 'illusory' by the Federal Court are nevertheless sufficient to save the unconstitutional regime." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
Sexual health for pre-teens guru Saleema Noon is evolving her school-based program for online COVID-19 life. Noon and her team of sexual health educators have worked with a group of pre-teen “influencers” to develop a so-called master class for kids to set them up for a happy, healthy life. The pre-teens identified what topics to address and how to address them, making sure the messaging is relevant for young people. All Noon’s programs are prevention-based, aiming to support kids with tools before a crisis and angst hits. And there are a lot of tools pre-teens need to successfully get through life. “The stakes are just so much higher than when we were kids,” Noon told Black Press. “The pressure is just so huge, even in Grade 5. When my stepdaughters were younger – they’re in their 20s now – we just told them they couldn’t have a cell phone until high school. And that was okay then, but now Grade 5 is like the new Grade 7.” The classic fear of missing out (or FOMO), is intensified with cell phones. Noon has heard from some parents that kids want to sleep with their phones because they’re afraid they’ll miss out on a group text, or someone will say something mean about them and they won’t be able to defend themselves right away. The idea with the master class is to help parents teach good habits early so when kids are ready for social media they can use it in a way that’s fun and healthy. The workshop, called the Growing Up Game Plan, covers six areas: gender and gender stereotypes, how to honour and express emotions, healthy relationships, being assertive, puberty and body image, and internet safety. When offered in schools, typically parent advisory committees fund the workshops. Online they are fee-based, but in future iterations Noon plans to use her foundation to sponsor families financially. The current cohort is open for registration until Feb. 25; a second cohort will launch in the summer. Registration for the online workshop is here: https://saleemanoon.com/growing-up-game-plan/ Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The boyfriend of a Wyoming woman whose 2-year-old son was found dead in an apartment complex dumpster has been arrested, police said Tuesday. Wyatt Lamb, 27, was taken into custody after the disappearance of Athian Rivera triggered a search Friday. The toddler's body was found a few hours into the effort involving police, firefighters and residents. Lamb was listed as the boyfriend of Rivera's mother, Kassy Orona, 25, on Orona's Facebook page on Monday but the reference had been deleted Tuesday. Police arrested Lamb at their apartment Friday evening on suspicion of failing to appear in court and violating parole in a different case, Cheyenne police said in a statement Tuesday. Investigators have recommended murder and aggravated child abuse charges against him, the statement said. Lamb remained jailed Tuesday and unavailable for comment. Ericka Smith, his attorney in a previous case, didn't immediately return a phone message Tuesday seeking comment. Police weren't prepared to disclose additional details about what happened, including how the boy died and got in the dumpster, police department spokeswoman Alexandra Farkas said. Orona identified herself as the boy's mother on Facebook. "Every day I wake up and I still just can't accept this. I can't believe I’m never gonna see your beautiful smile ... your little run as I chase you and you chase me back," Orona wrote in a post Tuesday. Orona's posts didn't include what might have happened to the boy. She didn't return a Facebook message Tuesday seeking comment. The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem says the central bank is seeing early signs that people may be purchasing homes solely because they believe prices may go up. Macklem says rising prices in particular for single-family homes are still a long way from the heated market the country observed about five years ago. Fuelling the increase has been a combination of demand for more space as millions of workers do their jobs remotely, constrained supply and rock-bottom interest rates driven low by central bank actions. The bank's key policy rate has been at 0.25 per cent for about 11 months, and its quantitative easing program is trying to reduce the rates paid on things like mortgages to drive spending. Macklem says the central bank is surprised by the rebound in the housing market. He adds there are early signs of what he called "excess exuberance," with people maybe expecting the recent increases in prices to go on indefinitely. "What we get worried about is when we start to see extrapolated expectations, when we start to see people expecting the kind of unsustainable price increases we've seen recently go on indefinitely," Macklem said during a question-and-answer session with chambers of commerce in Edmonton and Calgary. "We are starting to see some early signs of excess exuberance, but we're a long way from where we were in 2016-2017 when things were really hot." The central bank plans to keep its key rate low until the economy recovers, expected sometime in 2023, and adjust its bond-buying program over time. Macklem says there is still a need for considerable monetary policy support to generate a complete recovery. In the meantime, the bank will keep an eye on debt levels, as mortgage debt rises as households pay down other debt like credit cards and personal loans, Macklem says. "We are acutely aware that in a world of very low interest rates, there is a risk that housing prices could get stretched, households could get stretched, and certainly that's a risk we want to guard against," Macklem told reporters following the speech. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he expects a provincial lab will be able to test for samples of concerning COVID-19 variants by next month. He says the Roy Romanow Provincial Lab in Regina is in the process of becoming certified so it can carry out such tests on strains that appear to be able to spread more easily. Currently, samples have to been sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, which means results can take two weeks. Moe says testing variants in Saskatchewan will mean more samples can be analyzed more quickly. Health officials say two more cases of the mutation first identified in the United Kingdom were found in two residents in the Regina area. The Ministry of Health says they were tested at the end of January and health officials believe there is no link to travel. The province also reported its first case of the strain initially found in South Africa in a resident who was tested last month and lives in a region that includes Prince Albert. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021 The Canadian Press
Students may not get a day out of class for a field trip during the pandemic, but are able to experience an even wider variety of museums, zoos and concerts virtually.
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina's top elections administrator on Tuesday urged state lawmakers to move all of this year's municipal elections to 2022 and bump back next year's primaries from March to May due to delayed Census data. Census numbers play a crucial role in how legislative districts are redrawn every decade. But even though the data was supposed to be delivered by next month, the federal government does not expect to have it ready to be released until September because of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic. North Carolina is now either the first state in the nation or among the first to put forward a plan that pushes local government contests to 2022. Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, cited the Census setbacks as the driving force behind her recommendation to postpone the elections. She noted that 62 of the more than 500 municipalities across the state need the Census data because candidates submit paperwork or voters cast ballots based on their specific ward or district. While it's possible for many of the remaining local governments that do not require districts or wards to go forward without the Census data, Bell called on lawmakers to follow her advice in order to address redistricting and avoid confusing voters. “It is very difficult for voters to understand why one municipality would be having an election, while another is not, especially when they're accustomed to those elections being held at the same time,” Bell said. She noted it's unlikely redistricting would be completed in time for the December filing deadline ahead of the March 2022 primary. Every 10 years, states are tasked with creating new maps for state legislative and congressional races. Because of the delayed Census, Bell is asking leaders to endorse her 2022 recommendations for a May 3 primary, July 12 runoff primary and Nov. 8 general election. “We would propose that the municipal elections coincide with those election dates." The 2022 primaries include bids for U.S. Senate and House, judicial races and state legislative seats. Wendy Underhill, director of elections and redistricting with the National Conference of State Legislatures, said she was not aware of any other places where Census delays could cause municipal elections to be delayed. Underhill noted there's a bill in Connecticut that would move municipal elections to November, but that is likely more of a reflection of a national trend of states adjusting their calendars for local races to boost voter turnout than a response to the delayed Census. Michael Li, a senior counsel at the Brennan Center who focuses on redistricting, noted that a bill was filed in Texas earlier this month that would give the governor, lieutenant governor and state House speaker the ability to move the state's 2022 primary if a redistricting plan is not in effect by Sept. 1. He believes the Census lag could become a catalyst for states like North Carolina to transition local elections to even-numbered years. In North Carolina, the Republican-controlled General Assembly has the ultimate decision on when to hold the elections, and the state elections board is tasked with carrying out the plan. Some state elections officials are concerned with the proposed overhaul to the voting timetable, particularly in places where updated Census data is not needed to carry out local contests. “It causes me some heartburn to think about making a sweeping change that's going to affect the election schedule proposal," said Stacy Eggers, a Republican member on the state board of elections. Scott Mooneyham, a spokesman for the North Carolina League of Municipalities, said Bell's plan could actually lead to more confusion among longtime voters whose communities are unaffected by the Census but will experience later elections. “I’m not suggesting the Board of Elections can do magic and fix this problem, but I’m not at all convinced that having a one-size-fits-all approach to this is the best approach,” Mooneyham said. Damon Circosta, the Democratic chairman of the board, said he shares concerns about a lack of timely voting but added, “There's really no good solution, and I trust the General Assembly will do what they need to do to give us the direction we need.” ___ Follow Anderson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BryanRAnderson. ___ Anderson is a corps members 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. Bryan Anderson, The Associated Press
The goal was quintessential Christen Press: a bending banger from distance. In her return to the U.S. national team for the SheBelieves Cup, Press made an impact with an early goal against Brazil over the weekend. It was her first start for the team this year. Press now has 10 goals in her last 13 games for the United States. She has 59 international goals overall, and her next will tie her for ninth all-time on the national team. It could come Wednesday when the U.S. wraps up the tournament with a game against Argentina. “Every time you score when you represent your country, it’s a huge honour. A lot of work, a lot of shots go into a single goal,” she said. “So, I feel very proud to represent this team, and I will continue to do everything in my power to do that well.” Press was on a roll at this time last year. She was the Golden Ball winner in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament with five goals, then she added a pair of goals in the 2020 SheBelieves Cup. She saw an increased role in the absence of Alex Morgan, who was on pregnancy leave. The coronavirus pandemic slowed Press' momentum on the national team, but she has stayed sharp with her club team, Manchester United. “Playing in Manchester definitely has helped her because she's in good physical form and she's had the game minutes, so she's a little more played in than the majority of the group — and we could see that in the game the other night, she created for us and scored a great goal,” U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “But one thing that we were very appreciative of was she put in a good defensive shift. She was in the box on two crosses, helped us out. So overall a good performance.” Press made her national team debut in 2013. A standout at Stanford who won the MAC Hermann Trophy as the nation’s best college player as a senior, Press went on to play for clubs in Sweden in addition to the National Women's Soccer League. As the coronavirus impacted sports globally last year, Press opted out of playing for her then-club team, the Utah Royals, in the NWSL's Challenge Cup last summer and a limited fall series of games. Instead, Press headed overseas, signing a one-year deal with Manchester United in September. She has two goals in nine appearances with United, who sit in third place in the Women's Super League standings. While so much has been shut down down during the pandemic, Press still values her time in England. “I think there’s something that’s really freeing about playing internationally and outside of your domestic league, and there’s so many challenges that you face culturally, even when you’re in a country where they speak the same language as you,” she said. Press didn't participate in the national team's January camp or a pair of matches against Colombia while she returned to form following a non-COVID illness. But she returned for the SheBelieves Cup this month in Florida. The United States tops the standings for the round-robin tournament with wins over Canada and Brazil. Brazil coach Pia Sundhage, who coached the United States from 2008 to 2012, gave Press her first call-up to the national team. “I remember when she was called in for the first time and everybody told me that she's a goal scorer — and she's proven that, from different kinds of angles," Sundhage said. "I think in the box she's one of the best.” Press said the key to her success is preparation and staying chill. “One thing that I’ve learned playing on the U.S. women’s national team is you have to prepare for every single game as if it’s the most important game of your life. So that’s kind of the approach I take,” Press said. “And for me, that means actually calming myself emotionally a lot before the game, because I tend to be very excited. And so in order to feel prepared, that’s kind of my game day routine is just to stay really chill. And then kind of feel like you’re shooting out of a cannon during the game.” ____ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Anne M. Peterson, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Police are still seeking a suspect in the slaying of a Montreal-area woman on Sunday who had told authorities days prior about being the victim of alleged death threats. Provincial police said there have been no arrests in the killing of Marly Edouard, 32, known in Haiti's music scene as a former manager, producer and radio host. A command post was set up near her home in the Montreal suburb of Laval on Monday; a police spokeswoman said Tuesday she had no new information to provide. Djimy Ducasse, who lives in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, and co-owned a music agency with Edouard, said in an interview Tuesday the community to which Edouard was closely tied is taking her death hard. Edouard came to Canada in 2016 and, two years later, set up Symbiose509, a Laval-based promotion, marketing and events agency with Ducasse, which operated in Haiti. Ducasse said he met Edouard in 2013 when she was managing rap stars in Haiti and he was hosting a radio show. It was a friendship that would continue with the pair becoming business partners. “We became good friends, we spoke all the time, we spoke about business, we spoke about everything and nothing,” said Ducasse, who last spoke to her on Friday — the same day she reported alleged threats to local police. Ducasse said they spoke about some tasks she wanted him to do and some recent health problems she'd encountered, but she never mentioned anything about threats on her life. He said he had tried calling her Sunday but Edouard never responded, which he said was unlike her. On Monday, Ducasse was alerted to Montreal media reports that Edouard had been killed. Quebec provincial police have classified Edouard's death as a homicide and have said her body bore marks of violence when it was found Sunday in the parking lot of her condominium building. Meanwhile, Quebec’s police watchdog is investigating the Laval police's response to the alleged threats Edouard reported last Friday. The Bureau des enquetes independantes said Edouard had called 911 to ask for help from Laval police on Feb. 19. The call was placed about 12:40 p.m. to police; officers met with her and left, according to the watchdog agency. Less than 48 hours later, Edouard was found dead. Edouard was described by Ducasse as kind and driven. She had been involved in the music scene in Haiti at a very young age and had worked with many artists in the country. Some artists took to social media to pay their respects to her. “Marly isn’t someone that went unnoticed,” Ducasse said. “Everyone who was part of the rap scene in Haiti, it was nearly impossible to not have worked on at least one project with Marly Edouard. It’s why her death hits hard for a lot of people in Haiti." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press