The Environmental Protection Agency has approved two powerful products to remove the virus from surfaces. Video by Shibani Gokhale
The Environmental Protection Agency has approved two powerful products to remove the virus from surfaces. Video by Shibani Gokhale
Venezuela's government is encouraging private firms to sign import and export deals with companies in Asia and the Middle East as part of an effort to limit the impact of U.S. sanctions, according to four sources with knowledge of the matter. The plan expands on President Nicolas Maduro's existing commercial relationships with allies such as Turkey and Iran, which have already been providing the cash-strapped government with food and fuel in exchange for gold.
TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors have hired former New Orleans Pelicans associate head coach Chris Finch and ex-Raptors 905 head coach Jama Mahlalela as assistant coaches for Nick Nurse's staff. Raptors assistant coach Patrick Mutumbo will take over as coach of Raptors 905, a G League team.Raptors assistants Brittni Donaldson and John Bennett also will join the Raptors 905 staff.Finch spent the past three years in New Orleans. Previously, he was an assistant coach with Denver (2016-17) and Houston (2011-16).Prior to his time in the NBA, Finch guided Rio Grande to two consecutive appearances in the G League final, including a championship in 2010.Finch also was head coach of the British men's national team at the 2012 Olympics, with Nurse serving as one of his assistants.Mahlalela was an assistant coach with the Raptors for five seasons (2014-18) prior to becoming head coach for Raptors 905 the past two year. A native of Swaziland, Mahlalela grew up in the Greater Toronto Area.The Raptors open training camp this weekend in Tampa, Fla. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020.The Canadian Press
A special committee struck after almost two years' worth of emails from a government account went missing is recommending the province make individual public servants responsible by law for preserving their own records.The province's Special Committee on Government Records Retention is calling on the province to implement a "duty to document" clause in the Archives & Records Act, the legislation that sets out government's responsibilities when it comes to the preservation of documents."A duty to document establishes a positive duty for public servants and officials to create a full, accurate and complete record of important business activities," the committee wrote in its final report to the legislature.Information and privacy commissioners across Canada have been pushing for duty to document legislation in the country for years, as a way to strengthen public access to government documents.In 2017, B.C. became the first province in Canada to implement such a measure.Committee chair Michele Beaton said implementing a similar measure in P.E.I. would "catapult us to being a leader in being transparent regarding government decisions."The committee is also recommending government make more records public via routine disclosure — without requiring they be requested through freedom of information legislation.Committee struck to probe missing emailsIt was as a result of freedom of information requests that the committee came into being.P.E.I.'s former privacy commissioner Karen Rose issued a scathing report in June, after learning that almost two years worth of emails belonging to Brad Mix, a senior bureaucrat with Innovation PEI, had gone missing.The emails had been subject to multiple freedom of information requests. The province didn't tell those requesting the emails — and initially did not tell the privacy commissioner — that the records no longer existed.Failing to disclose that, the commissioner concluded, put government in breach of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. She said failure to properly archive the emails was a breach of the Archives and Records Act.More 'gaps' in government email archivesAs part of its review, the committee was advised by the province's Treasury Board of five more email archives belonging to former bureaucrats and elected officials that contain one or more "gaps."Among those are two former cabinet ministers: Wes Sheridan, former minister of finance; and Allan Campbell, a cabinet minister who became Robert Ghiz's chief of staff in 2011.Both archives were among a list of email accounts P.E.I.'s auditor general asked for in 2015 as part of her investigation of e-gaming, the province's failed attempt to become a regulator for online gambling.The five archives with gaps are in addition to three email accounts the auditor general said in her 2016 report had been improperly deleted. She cited that as a contravention of the Archives and Records Act.A spokesperson for the province's Treasury Board told CBC News that a "preliminary search" of 26 email accounts was conducted in 2015, at the request of the auditor general, and the five in question "appeared to have a gap or gaps in time."However, the spokesperson said that, according to the province's IT department, "a gap does not mean a missing email or emails. A gap may be a variety of things such as a day of inactivity or a time period of inactivity."According to the information provided to the committee, the dates of those gaps were not recorded when they were first discovered in 2015. Commissioner asking for detailsMembers of the committee, when they were advised of the email gaps, decided to take no further action on the matter.But P.E.I.'s new privacy commissioner Denise Doiron has written to the province's deputy minister of finance asking about one of the gap accounts — that belonging to Sheridan.Doiron has asked for the dates of Sheridan's gaps, and noted that when her predecessor asked the department about the possibility of any further missing records while investigating Mix's emails, there was no mention of Sheridan's account."You did not mention the possibility of any gaps in Wes Sheridan's records in your response," Doiron noted in her letter.Didn't delete emails, said MixWhen called to appear before the committee in October, Mix said he "did not do anything to destroy any of my email archives. I did not do anything knowingly to cause the gap that exists in my email archive." P.E.I. is the last province in the country to use the Groupwise email system, which debuted in 1994. The province is in the process of upgrading to Microsoft 365, which is expected to make records management and retention easier.CBC News reached out to Sheridan and Campbell for reaction to the report.Campbell did not respond and Sheridan declined to comment.More from CBC P.E.I.
The singer is perfectly at ease letting people see what he’s really going through.
Some 7,000 people are facing eviction hearings in Ontario this winter, and tenant advocates are urging solidarity among neighbours and across Toronto to keep people in their homes. The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) is “in a full-throttle blitz to clear its backlog,” said Kenneth Hale, the director of legal services at the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO), noting there is a particular focus on processing eviction applications for non-payment. While Premier Doug Ford promised earlier this year that no one would be evicted during the pandemic, his government lifted a moratorium on hearings back in August, and the LTB has since kicked back into gear despite higher COVID-19 caseloads than in the first wave. “The government thinks that it’s more important that investors get paid than low-income people are protected from viral infection,” Hale said. In response, the Keep Your Rent advocacy group is inviting those facing the tribunal to share details — they’ve collected more than a hundred of these so far — in order to better prepare them to fight. “We are telling them that they need to be communicating with their neighbours, they need to realize that they are part of a bigger struggle, that they are not alone in being behind on rent during COVID,” said MaryAnn Icaro, who got active with Keep Your Rent early in the pandemic and has been observing hearings in the recent uptick. “What we've been seeing, especially for these tenants that we are not in contact with, that are not organizing, that are isolated, they are finding themselves with standard orders,” she said, which typically give a tenant less than two weeks to pay their arrears. After eight months of pandemic-related income loss, that could amount to thousands of dollars. “Tenants have minutes to plead their case to these judges,” she said. In one recent online hearing, she said neighbours and other supporters intervened by going down the hall to notify a tenant who had, in fact, paid their arrears and didn’t know they still needed to attend or that the landlord would not mention the payment. A spokesperson for Tribunals Ontario, of which the LTB is a part, did not respond to a request for comment. The Ford government has introduced legislation this year, Bill 184, which makes it easier for tenants to be evicted, including by waiving a requirement for another LTB hearing if a tenant agrees to a rent arrears plan and then misses a payment. “These politicians will not save us, they’ve orchestrated this crisis,” Icaro said, noting that Keep Your Rent is instead focused on improving tenants’ negotiating position with their landlords. This is what tenants in properties owned by corporate landlord MetCap Living plan to do this Saturday when they show up at the real estate company’s headquarters seeking a meeting with CEO Brent Merrill. Tenants who have withheld rent since April plan to say they are willing to pay if Merrill agrees not to seek to evict those who can’t, Icaro said. She also pointed out that tenants in various locations across the city, including in the Crescent Town neighbourhood near the Victoria Park subway station, have made it clear to their landlord that they will block any efforts by sheriffs to enforce evictions. That may stave off the immediate threat, but ACTO’s Hale said a deeper reckoning with the housing crisis and troubles at the tenancy tribunal looms. “Community efforts to fend off the sheriff are not going to be successful in the long run,” he said. “We need a justice system that works for everyone, including low-income people.”Alastair Sharp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
For the second time in the past five days, Niagara Region Public Health has advised District School Board of Niagara that one individual at Port Colborne High School has tested positive for COVID-19. The first case was confirmed on Nov. 29. As a result of the two COVID-19 cases, three classrooms have been closed. Local school boards will not identify the individual who tested positive. However, the provincial online database that tracks school-related COVID-19 cases does identify the Nov. 29 case as staff member. Today’s case will not be immediately known as the provincial database lags behind school boards in its reporting. In a media release, DSBN said, “As part of COVID-19 case management and infection control protocol, students and staff who had close contact with the individual have been contacted and told by NRPH to stay home and self-isolate.” Provincial guidelines indicate “an outbreak in a school is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in school with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection.” Public health has not indicated if it will declare an outbreak at Port High. Preventative COVID-19 practices that Port Colborne High School has been following since classes started, such as wearing PPE, physical distancing, maintaining hand hygiene, and doing the daily health screening, will continue, DSBN said. Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: email@example.comSean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
Area grandmothers are tying orange ribbons on fixtures in downtown Brighton to raise awareness about gender-based violence. Grandmothers Advocacy Network (GRAN) Northumberland is leading the orange campaign locally. Orange has been chosen by the United Nations as the colour to represent the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, a multi-year effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls around the world by 2030. “To this end, our group (decorates) downtown Brighton with orange bows and cards, as well as mans a display at the Brighton Public Library to promote increased awareness of the impact of violence against women and girls,” GRAN Northumberland’s Betty Ann Knutson told the Brighton Independent. Sixteen days of activism against gender-based violence is an international campaign that occurs annually. The campaign runs from Nov. 25 to Dec. 10, commencing on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and winding down on Human Rights Day. “We now have lots of orange bows on Main Street, at King Edward Park, at the municipal building/library and even at Tim Hortons,” added GRAN Sharon Graham. GRAN is described as a dynamic network of volunteers across Canada advocating at local, national and international levels. The group strives to garner Canadian and international support for measures that will significantly improve the quality of life for Africa's grandmothers as they strive to hold their families and communities together in the face of the AIDS pandemic. “Our current efforts focus on ensuring access to affordable medicines, improving access to education, ending violence against women and girls and (granting) the right to economic security and social protection,” Graham noted. GRAN Northumberland welcomes women from across the county to join in on its advocacy work. Call Graham at 613-475-2094 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and/or visit www.grandmothersadvocacy.org for more information. Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Northumberland News
ROUYN-NORANDA-Une adolescente de 14 ans a perdu la vie en milieu de soirée jeudi, après avoir été heurtée par un véhicule sur le boulevard Saguenay, à Rouyn-Noranda. Les circonstances exactes de l’accident ne sont pas encore connues. «Nous avons parlé aux personnes impliquées dans la collision, et l’enquête se poursuit, indique la Sgt. Nancy Fournier, du service des communications de la Sûreté du Québec. Des enquêteurs et des experts en reconstitution ont travaillé toute la soirée et toute la nuit pour tenter d’en savoir plus.» L’accident est survenu dans le secteur Noranda-Nord, à l’angle du boulevard Saguenay et du chemin England. «Il s’agit d’un secteur où la limite de vitesse passe de 70 km/h à 90 km/h, en direction de La Sarre, souligne la Sgt. Fournier. Pour le moment, il est trop tôt pour dévoiler l’identité de la jeune victime, puisque nous devons aviser les proches de son décès. Ce que nous pouvons dire pour le moment, c’est que ni l’alcool, ni la drogue ne sont en cause.» La passagère du véhicule a dû être transportée à l’hôpital, après avoir subi un violent choc nerveux.Michel Ducas, Initiative de journalisme local, La Presse Canadienne
Niagara is now home to one of the best young spellers in Canada. Leena Jalees, 14, of St. Catharines took home the gold at this year’s Spelling Bee of Canada national championship, beating out 25 other competitors in the intermediate division (ages 12-14) across the country. Jalees, who has entered the regional competitions on two previous occasions, said this was her first time reaching the national level, after winning Niagara’s competition earlier in November. Jalees said she had always been a good speller, particularly when it came to everyday words, and thought entering a spelling bee would help her expand her spelling abilities when it came to new and unfamiliar words. “I thought it would be fun to learn new words, and become a better speller, and know the tactics of how to break down the words and be able to spell words I have never heard of before. So I decided to do a spelling bee, just to see how well I could do.” Jalees did more than okay. In her first appearance on the national stage, she was crowned the winner in the intermediate division of the Spelling Bee of Canada after correctly spelling the word “taxonomist”. For Jalees, the word was a no-brainier. “When I found out that was the word, I was so relieved because I was already familiar with that word. I already knew how to spell it, so I didn’t have to think about it.” So how does one study for a spelling bee? The competitors were given a manual of 400 words two and a half weeks prior to the competition, but that doesn’t include tiebreaker words, which are entirely new, and come down to the participants' ability to break down the word itself. Jalees said her strategy involves looking at the words as multiple units, and understanding the origin of the word itself. “One of the words was polemicist. I thought it was a medical word, but then when I knew it had to do with politics, then I decided to change the way I spelled it to ending in 'cist'. So I was very grateful I didn’t start spelling it the way I was initially going to.” Jalees, who hopes to one day be an OB/GYN said she hopes to defend her title at next year’s competition, as it may be her last year of eligibility. “I am going to try again next year, and see how well I can do again.” Also representing Niagara at the national championship were Jimmy Zhou, of Niagara Falls, who competed in the junior division (ages 9-11) and Shirley Chen, of St. Catharines, who competed in the primary division (ages 6-8).Bryan Levesque, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News
The World Health Organization says the world is close to seeing the end of the COVID-19 pandemic but warned that inequalities in distributing a vaccine and other therapeutics could have deep economic and social consequences. (Dec. 4)
A family is left homeless after a fire engulfed their mobile home on 15 Wilson Avenue in Elgin on Dec. 1. Wanda MacDonald, her partner, three children and a son-in-law, escaped unharmed. They managed to save their six dogs and a cat, although one cat is still missing. “I was in the house, on Facebook at the time, when Jason (her son) yelled that the bike was on fire, (although) they’re not sure if that’s what caused it,” MacDonald said. The fire is still under investigation. The family has no home insurance to cover their losses. MacDonald and her family went into the house a few times to save their pets, even though the house was on fire. “A lot of people say animals are just animals, but they’re not. They’re family members,” she explained. She said her most immediate need is a three or four-bedroom place to rent. “That’s all I’m looking for--just enough space for my family. We’ve been calling around, but most places are rented,” MacDonald added. She said her family has been getting huge donations from people in the community, but her father’s home, located right beside hers, can’t store the couches, beds and other items they’ve received. “Our family is so grateful. I just want to say thank you to the community for helping out.” Country Squire in Gananoque had been letting them stay at the hotel, but “our last stay is tonight, we have to be out of there tomorrow,” she said. Her son Adam, 21, and her daughter both purchased brand new acoustic guitars for Christmas, but both guitars were burned in the fire. “That’s all they wanted for Christmas,” MacDonald said. MacDonald can be reached at 613-532-4827. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family. Yona Harvey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Smiths Falls Record News
WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden is adjusting the scope of his agenda to meet the challenges of governing with a narrowly divided Congress and the complications of legislating during a raging pandemic.Rather than immediately pursue ambitious legislation to combat climate change, the incoming administration may try to wrap provisions into a coronavirus aid bill. Biden's team is also considering smaller-scale changes to the Affordable Care Act while tabling the more contentious fight over creating a public option to compete with private insurers.Biden is already working on an array of executive actions to achieve some of his bolder priorities on climate change and immigration without having to navigate congressional gridlock.The manoeuvring reflects a disappointing political reality for Biden, who campaigned on a pledge to address the nation's problems with measures that would rival the scope of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal legislation. But Democrats acknowledge that big legislative accomplishments are unlikely, even in the best-case scenario in which the party gains a slim majority in the Senate.“Let’s assume my dream comes true,” Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin said, referring to a tight majority for his party. “I think we have to carefully construct any change in the Affordable Care Act, or any other issue, like climate change, based on the reality of the 50-50 Senate.”“There’s so many areas, which we value so much that Republicans do not, that it will be tough to guide through the Senate under the circumstances,” the Illinois Democrat added.Biden's agenda hinges on the fate of two Senate runoff races in Georgia, which will be decided on Jan. 5. If Democrats win both seats, the chamber will be evenly divided, with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.In that event, Biden's agenda items stand a better chance of at least getting a vote. If Republicans maintain control, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might not bring the new president's priorities to the floor.Biden's initial focus on Capitol Hill will be a multibillion-dollar coronavirus aid bill, which is certain to require significant political capital after lawmakers have been deadlocked over negotiations on Capitol Hill for months.The president-elect said Thursday on CNN that while he supports a $900 billion compromise bill introduced this week by a bipartisan group of negotiators, the bill is “a good start" but it's “not enough” and he plans to ask for more when he's in office. His team is already working on his own coronavirus relief package.People close to Biden's transition team say they're looking at that stimulus as a potential avenue for enacting some climate reforms — like aid for green jobs or moving the nation toward a carbon-free energy system — that might be tougher to get on their own.Durbin mentioned President Barack Obama’s first term as a precedent for what Biden will encounter when he takes office.Then, Obama was forced to focus much of his early energy on a stimulus package to deal with the financial crisis, and he spent months wrangling with his own party on his health care overhaul. Obama also enacted financial regulatory reform, but other progressive priorities, like cap and trade legislation and immigration reform, ultimately lost steam.And he had a significant House and Senate majority at the time.Still, some Republicans argue that if Biden approaches negotiations in good faith, there are some common areas of agreement. Rohit Kumar, the co-leader of PwC's Washington National Tax Services and a former top aide to McConnell, said it's possible to find a compromise on some smaller-scale priorities, like an infrastructure bill, addressing the opioid crisis and even a police reform bill.“There is stuff in the middle, if Biden is willing to do deals in the middle — and that means being willing to strike agreements that progressive members don’t love, and maybe have them vote no, and be at peace with that,” he said.Indeed, speaking on CNN Thursday, Biden expressed optimism about cutting deals with Republicans. He said when it comes to national security and the “economic necessity” of keeping people employed and reinvigorating the economy, “there's plenty of room we can work.”Still, he acknowledged, "I’m not suggesting it’s going to be easy. It’s going to be hard."But here, progressives, not Republicans, could be the roadblock. Waleed Shahid, spokesperson for the liberal Justice Democrats, said progressives are “worried and anxious” about Biden's history of making what he called “toxic compromises with McConnell."“I think progressives will probably play a key role in trying to push Democrats to have a spine in any negotiations with Mitch McConnell,” he said. “People will hold him accountable for what he ran on.”Shaheed said he believes progressives could play a role in pushing the Biden administration to embrace a more “aggressive approach” and pursue executive actions to address some Democratic priorities.And indeed, Biden’s transition team has already been at work crafting a list of potential unilateral moves he could take early on.He plans to reverse Trump’s rollback of a number of public health and environmental protections the Obama administration put in place. He’ll rejoin the World Health Organization and the Paris climate accord and rescind the ban on travel from some Muslim-majority countries. He could also unilaterally reestablish protections for “Dreamers” who were brought illegally to the U.S. as children.But some of his biggest campaign pledges require congressional action and are certain to face GOP opposition.Biden has promised to take major legislative action on immigration reform and gun control, but prior legislative efforts on both of those issues — with bipartisan support — have failed multiple times.He’s also pledged to roll back the Trump tax cuts for the wealthy, forgive some student loan debt and make some public college free — all heavy lifts in a closely divided or Republican-controlled Senate.“It’s easy to be skeptical and pessimistic in this Senate,” Durbin said. “I hope that they give us a chance to break through and be constructive and put an end to some of the obstruction.”Alexandra Jaffe, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Laurentian Bank Financial Group beat expectations even as it reported its fourth-quarter profit slipped to $36.8 million compared with $41.3 million a year earlier.The Montreal-based bank says its profit amounted to 79 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Oct. 31, down 90 cents per diluted share in the same quarter last year.Revenue for the quarter totalled $243.5 million, up from $241.6 million a year earlier.Provisions for credit losses amounted to $24.2 million for the quarter, up from $12.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2019.On an adjusted basis, Laurentian says it earned 91 cents per diluted share in its latest quarter, down from $1.05 per diluted share a year ago.Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of 73 cents per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:LB)The Canadian Press
ISTANBUL — Turkey’s president has renewed his vitriolic attacks on French President Emmanuel Macron, saying he hopes France will get rid of him soon. Speaking after Friday prayers in Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Macron “trouble” for France, which he said was experiencing a dangerous time under his leadership. “My wish is for France to get rid of the Macron trouble as soon as possible,” Erdogan said. Otherwise, Erdogan claimed, France would not be able to overcome the Yellow Vest protest movement against social injustice in the country. Erdogan also said France has lost its credibility as an intermediary of the Minsk group, which was created in the 1990s to encourage peaceful resolution for the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. France has sided with Armenia in that conflict, and Turkey with Azerbaijan. Erdogan’s comments come amid harsh rhetoric from both leaders. Macron tried to avoid further escalation Friday, calling for “respect” after Erdogan's attack, and deflecting a question on the spat. The French leader also told Brut, a news website, that Erdogan was in the process of limiting the liberty of the Turkish people. Relations have been tense over a host of issues, including what Erdogan characterizes as French Islamopohobia, energy disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya. In October, Erdogan said Macron needed his head examined for defending caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. At the time, French authorities denounced Turkish “propaganda” against France and Paris recalled its ambassador to Turkey for consultations. The French presidency responded to Erdogan's comments in October with unusually strong language, saying: “Excess and rudeness are not a method” and “we are not accepting insults," and called for changes in Erdogan's “dangerous” policy. The Associated Press
La tenue d’un exercice d’instruction sur la base de Valcartier par plusieurs militaires membres du Régiment du Saguenay, du 20 au 22 novembre dernier, soulève des interrogations et des craintes pour la famille de l’un d’entre eux en raison des risques potentiels de propagation de la COVID-19. Au cours des derniers jours, un citoyen de Chicoutimi, dont le fils est membre du Régiment du Saguenay et qui vit sous le même toit que ses parents, s’est interrogé sur la pertinence de tenir des exercices militaires regroupant plusieurs dizaines de personnes dans les deux zones rouges nécessitant le transport des participants. Selon le récit de l’interlocuteur, le jeune homme a été transporté en minibus jusqu’à Valcartier avec tout son équipement à bord en respectant la mesure de distanciation tandis que le port du masque aurait été plus ou moins respecté, une affirmation difficile à vérifier. Le parent concerné aurait tenté de dissuader le fils d’âge majeur de participer à l’exercice militaire, mais il aurait répondu que ses petits frères et sœurs allaient à l’école, ce qui le légitimait de se rendre à Valcartier. « La participation au Régiment du Saguenay se fait sur une base volontaire. Il y a des pères de famille là-dedans. Notre crainte est que mon fils revienne avec le virus et nous contamine, moi et ma conjointe, qui sommes confinés en télétravail, ainsi que ses petits frères et sœurs. On comprend que le Régiment du Saguenay est sa seule source de revenus », mentionne ce parent inquiet. Mis au fait de la situation, l’adjudant-chef du Régiment du Saguenay, François Girard, confirme que 43 membres du régiment, dont lui-même, ainsi que des membres de la réserve oeuvrant comme policiers à la Base miliaire de Bagotville, ont été transportés à Québec pour des manœuvres d’instruction. Des exercices d’attaques en zone rurale, de patrouille de reconnaissance et de rappel sur tour ont été effectués. L’adjudant-chef assure que toutes les mesures édictées par la Santé publique ont dû être respectées à partir du transport des militaires, qui a été effectué avec des autobus d’une capacité de 47 passagers remplis à 50 %, jusqu’aux mesures de distanciation sur le terrain. M. Girard nie que les masques ont été enlevés à bord. M. Girard précise que depuis le printemps, le Régiment du Saguenay a été mis en pause et a dû annuler une quantité importante d’activités prévues au calendrier tandis que plusieurs membres du commandement oeuvrent en télétravail. L’autre réalité est que les militaires doivent continuer de conserver leurs capacités opérationnelles afin de pouvoir faire face à toute situation d’urgence, opérations terrain, sauvetage, etc., ce qui exige la tenue d’entraînements collectifs comme ceux tenus à la fin novembre. « Dans nos directives, tout est observé quant au respect des règles. Il nous faut des gens qui vont continuer à faire ce qu’ils ont à faire. Pour ça, il nous faut être en santé. Aussitôt qu’on a des doutes, on ferme les unités. » M. Girard conclut que la participation aux exercices collectifs au sein du Régiment du Saguenay se fait sur une base volontaire et que personne n’oblige les membres à être présents.Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Firefighters battling a blaze in a Southern California canyon made some progress toward containment but were up against more high winds and low humidity on Friday, which threatened to stoke the flames that forced thousands to evacuate. The Bond Fire, which was about 10% contained on Friday afternoon, broke out around on Wednesday night on the road for which it is named and quickly engulfed much of Silverado Canyon, egged on by strong Santa Ana winds. "Firefighters worked through the night extinguishing hot spots, mopping up around structures and stopping the forward spread of this fire," Captain Paul Holaday of Orange County Fire Authority said in a video posted to Twitter on Friday.
Ralentie par la pandémie de COVID-19, qui a causé une baisse de 3 % des heures travaillées en 2020, l’industrie de la construction au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean devrait rebondir de 9 % en 2021, soutenue par les investissements publics. Comme le veut la pratique, la Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) vient de publier son bilan 2020 et les perspectives de la prochaine année pour cette industrie qui compte 170 000 travailleurs à travers la province, dont 6000 au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. Selon les prévisions publiées, les travailleurs oeuvrant dans le secteur des chantiers électriques devraient profiter de l’année 2021 avec l’accélération de la construction de la nouvelle ligne Micoua-Saguenay d’Hydro-Québec, un projet d’une valeur de 793 M$ qui doit être complété en 2022. L’ensemble du projet sera partagé avec la Côte-Nord, qui a subi une baisse de 28 % des heures travaillées en 2020. La CCQ ajoute à la liste la réfection de la centrale d’Isle-Maligne par Rio Tinto, au coût de 160 M$, d’ici 2026, ainsi que la réfection du centre de cuisson d’anodes avec un investissement de 209 M$. La construction du parc éolien Val-Éo figure également parmi les chantiers liés à la production d’électricité. Il y a lieu de croire que certains travailleurs de la région profiteront de la réouverture du chantier Romaine 4, sur la Basse-Côte-Nord, ralenti dans la dernière année par des problèmes de sécurité. La CCQ prédit une hausse de 28 % des heures travaillées. La réfection de la Centrale Rapide-Blanc, en Mauricie, sera également une source d’activités pour les travailleurs de la région, alors qu’un entrepreneur du Lac-Saint-Jean vient d’y décrocher un contrat de 12 M$. Dans le secteur résidentiel, l’année 2021 pourrait être marquée par l’ouverture de trois chantiers de maisons des aînés ainsi que par le début de la construction du stade de soccer intérieur de Jonquière. Le démarrage des grands projets se fait attendre alors que Métaux BlackRock est toujours à la recherche de financement pour pouvoir lancer la construction d’une mine de ferrovanadium et d’une usine à Grande-Anse, bien que l’entreprise ait tous les permis en main pour lancer la construction. Il en va de même pour le projet d’exploitation d’apatite d’Arianne Phosphate. Résidentiel Les données publiées pour la construction résidentielle n’incluent pas de prévisions régionales, mais la CCQ indique que ce secteur terminera 2020 avec 51 550 mises en chantier, une hausse de 7 % comparativement à 2019. Un total de 32 millions d’heures travaillées figure au tableau, en baisse de 3 %. La CCQ prédit une baisse de 3 % en 2021 avec 47 000 habitations construites et 31 millions d’heures travaillées. La baisse du nombre d’entrées de résidants non permanents, qui était en forte croissance ces dernières années, et la crise sanitaire expliquent la baisse anticipée. Industriel Selon les chiffres publiés, l’année 2020 aura été plutôt éprouvante pour le secteur industriel. L’activité allait déjà en ralentissant depuis le milieu de 2019, et le secteur peine à reprendre sa vitesse de croisière depuis la réouverture des chantiers. Le volume de travail s’établira à 9,5 millions d’heures travaillées, en baisse de 17 % par rapport à 2019. Ce sera le plus faible niveau d’activité généré par le secteur depuis le milieu des années 1990. La fermeture des chantiers de la fin mars au début mai explique en grande partie ces faibles résultats. De plus, l’incertitude entourant la pandémie a entraîné l’annulation ou le report de divers projets, comme c’est le cas des travaux prévus par Valero à Lévis, qui sont repoussés à une date indéterminée. Institutionnel Le secteur institutionnel et commercial a été ralenti dans sa forte impulsion amorcée en 2018, et perdra 10 % en 2021, avec un volume de 88,0 millions d’heures travaillées, toujours selon ce qui est avancé par la CCQ. Loin d’être une catastrophe dans les circonstances, ce niveau se révèle être celui qui a été atteint il y a deux ans seulement. En 2021, le secteur reprendra graduellement du poil de la bête, même si l’incertitude risque d’être encore présente. Du côté du commercial, la confiance est ébranlée et différents acteurs privés pourraient repousser leurs projets.Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
WASHINGTON — The U.S. trade deficit widened 1.7% in October to $63.1 billion. The politically sensitive gap in the trade of goods with China and Mexico grew.The gap between the goods and services the United States sold and what it bought abroad rose from $62.1 billion in September, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Exports rose 2.2% to $182 billion, led by sales of aircraft engines. Imports increased 2.1% to $245.1 billion on an uptick in shipments of auto parts.The deficit in the trade of goods with China rose 9% to $26.5 billion and the gap with Mexico rose 10% to $11.8 billion.So far this year, the overall gap in the trade of goods and services with the rest of the world has risen to $536.7 billion, up 9.5% from January-October 2019.President Donald Trump, who vowed to reduce the trade deficit, has imposed tariffs on foreign steel, aluminum and on $360 billion in Chinese products. It is unclear how much of Trump's aggressive trade policies will be retained by President-elect Joe Biden.The coronavirus, however, has upended trade in services such as education and travel in which the United States runs persistent surpluses. U.S. services exports are down nearly 20% so far this year, and America's trade surplus in services dropped in October to $18.3 billion, lowest since August 2012.The U.S. ran an October deficit of $81.4 billion in the trade of goods such as autos and appliances.Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press
ROME — Qatar's foreign minister said Friday that his country remains committed to the creation of a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem, and that progress on that front would need to be “at the core” of any agreement to normalize relations with Israel.“Right now, I don't see that the normalization of Qatar and Israel is going to to add value to the Palestinian people,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said at Italy’s annual Mediterranean Dialogue.There was speculation that Qatar — which already co-operates with Israel in providing aid to the Gaza Strip — might be the next Arab country to normalize relations after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan established diplomatic ties with Israel earlier this year.But the foreign minister said Qatar remains committed to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, in which Arab countries would recognize Israel in exchange for its withdrawal from territories occupied in the 1967 war and the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem.The foreign minister noted that his country has a “working relationship” with Israel to provide aid to Gaza, where the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.“But for the full normalization, I believe that the (Palestinian issue) needs to be at the core of any agreement of normalization between Qatar and Israel,” he said.The wealthy Gulf country's aid to Gaza has provided a lifeline to the territory, which has been under a crippling Israeli and Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized power. It has also been a key element in a shaky, informal truce that has prevented any major outbreaks of fighting in recent years. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars — the most recent in 2014 — as well as countless smaller skirmishes.The normalization agreements with Israel, brokered by the United States, were widely seen as a breakthrough in Mideast diplomacy. But the Palestinians condemned the agreements as a betrayal because they marked a major erosion in Arab support for their cause, a key source of leverage in any future peace talks.The Associated Press
AL-QAYYARAH, IRAQ (Reuters) - Tuqqa Abdullah and her Iraqi family have wandered from one displaced people's camp to the next in the past three years, buying time and hoping they will one day be able to go home. Just 14 when her father took the family to the then Islamic State (IS) stronghold of Mosul, she has inherited a legacy that might take generations to overcome. When Iraqi forces captured Mosul in the dying days of the three-year-old IS caliphate in 2017, Abdullah's father and older sons were killed.