UCL Clinical Research Director Prof Christina Pagel says we “can’t afford” to relax restrictions further
UCL Clinical Research Director Prof Christina Pagel says we “can’t afford” to relax restrictions further
The federal government is eyeing a comprehensive North American energy strategy as workers reel from cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline. The project's presidential permit was rescinded by U.S. President Joe Biden on his first day in office, prompting outrage from Alberta's provincial government. TC Energy, the proponent, had pre-emptively ceased construction of the project. "I was the minister of natural resources when the Obama administration cancelled Keystone XL. So for me, it's Round 2 of deep disappointment," Minister Jim Carr, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's representative for the Prairies, said Monday. "We have to look forward, however, to a continental energy strategy." That North American energy strategy is enticing to Alberta's premier as well, with Jason Kenney suggesting to the prime minister that they approach Washington together to pitch a collaborative approach to North American energy and climate policy. "Canada and the U.S. share a highly integrated energy system, including criss-crossing infrastructure such as pipelines and electricity transmission systems. Our energy and climate goals must be viewed in the context of that integrated system," Kenney wrote. The premier has called the Keystone cancellation an "insult" and a "gut-punch," repeatedly pressing for retaliation against the U.S. and suggesting economic and trade sanctions if the administration is unwilling to engage in conversations about the future of the pipeline. Last year, Kenney invested $1.5 billion in Keystone XL, arguing it would never be completed without the infusion. The pipeline, first announced in 2005, would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude a day from the oilsands in Alberta to Nebraska. The Biden administration has made no indication it intends to consider reinstating the permit. TC Energy has already laid off 1,000 workers in Alberta. A continental energy partnership has been an elusive goal for more than 15 years, with multiple trilateral meetings ending with consensus but often without measurable outcomes. It's been five years since Carr, then the minister of natural resources, hosted his American and Mexican counterparts to discuss the potential of such a partnership. They agreed to collaborate on things like energy technologies, energy efficiency, carbon capture and emissions reduction. While they signed a document stating these shared goals, synergy between the three countries has been slow to develop. In December 2014, a similar meeting ended with a to-do list to move forward on a continental energy strategy, including mapping energy infrastructure and sharing data. That data website hasn't been updated since 2017. In that meeting, then-natural resources minister Greg Rickford was making the pitch to the Obama administration for why Keystone XL should be permitted to live. It was cancelled — for the first time — less than a year later. "We've gone through a period over the last number of years where relations around energy have kind of died a slow death and become more and more narrowly focused around individual projects," said Monica Gattinger, director of the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa. "There's tremendous potential between Canada and the United States to collaborate around energy and environmental objectives in the long term." Gattinger said changes in the United States around hydrocarbon and shale have diminished the country's motivation for a broader energy approach. With the national governments in Canada and the U.S. now more closely aligned on climate priorities, she added there's the potential for a breakthrough. "Both countries have vast potential across a whole host of energy resources," she said. "Those are the conversations that we have not been having in North America for a number of years now. And there is a real opportunity to do so at this time." Carr is optimistic, too. "We're hardly starting from scratch, and there will be alignment," he said, alluding to his hope for co-operation between the U.S. and Canada, but also with the Prairie provinces. "There is an awful lot of work to be done and an awful lot of potential."
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
Inaya Mirza’s bully, another student in her Grade 4 classroom, is a lot quieter online. “When she was at school every day, she would be talking about this girl,” said her older sister, Maryam Mirza. “She was doing poor academically because she was so stressed.” The bullying — name-calling, rumour-spreading and gossiping — stopped when classrooms were shuttered. “Now, she’s happy,” said Maryam, 23, an early-childhood educator. “She kind of misses her friends, but, at the same time, she’s relieved that she doesn’t have to deal with the bully.” Nearly 60 per cent of public school students surveyed reported being bullied pre-COVID, according to a new report on bullying released Friday by the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. Amid the pandemic, that number dropped to about 40 per cent. The report was initiated by the board after the death of 14-year-old Devan Selvey, who was stabbed outside Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in October 2019. Kristine Bolton, a parent to two students in the public board, said her eldest daughter, a Grade 10 student at Sir Winston Churchill, suffers from anxiety. “She didn’t feel safe all the time there with what happened with Devan,” she said. “She’s been scared.” Bolton said the 15-year-old puts a lot of pressure on herself to perform academically. “She blacks out during tests,” her mother said. “So being in the comfort of home, she’s not going through that and her marks have been really good so far.” Bolton said her kids have excelled with remote learning — each for a different reason. “Our youngest one, she’s always had a lot of struggles, unfortunately, in school,” Bolton said. Her daughter, a 12-year-old student in Grade 7, had been at a Grade 3 or 4 level for a couple of years, her mother said. Now, she is doing math between a Grade 6 and 7 level. “When the remote started last year after March break, I was able to give her that one-on-one support,” she said. “Her grades have improved.” Jennifer McTaggart, a clinical psychologist with the child and youth mental health program at McMaster Children’s Hospital, said success with remote learning “is going to vary based on the kid.” “I think there are some children who are thriving in remote learning,” she said. Self-directed learners and students who are easily distracted by may prefer to learn in a more independent environment. Remote learning might be a welcome break for students who are shy, have an anxiety disorder or suffer from bullying. But, she said, it’s “a double-edged sword.” “Getting out of the situation really does reinforce the anxiety, so our kids aren’t learning how to deal in these social situations,” she said. “There’s a temporary relief, but I also worry our children aren’t getting the benefit of learning how to work through those situations, which is important to our social development.” Sixteen-year-old Elena Kowalchuk, a Grade 11 student at Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School, is “kind of made for online learning,” her mother says. “She’s highly motivated, she’s got an excellent work ethic, she’s got really good work habits,” said Michelle Castellani, who is a high school teacher. But, despite her daughter’s success with remote learning, Castellani said she will “100 per cent” be going back to the classroom once schools reopen for in-person learning. “It’s not so much for the academics that I would send her back, it is for that little bit of a social piece,” she said. “It’s important for kids to get out of the house.” Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
VICTORIA — Canadian rescue crews are helping to search for a small plane off of the B.C. coast after United States officials received a mayday distress call. The U.S. Coast Guard says in a tweet that crews are searching the waters between Victoria and Port Angeles, Wash., for a downed Cessna 170. It says one man was reported aboard the aircraft. The coast guard says the flight originated from Ketchikan, Ala. Lt.-Cmdr. Tony Wright of the Canadian Forces Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria says the pilot described his location during the mayday call Tuesday afternoon. Wright says Canada is supporting the search with the Canadian Coast Guard's Sir Wilfred Laurier vessel and a CC-115 Buffalo aircraft out of Comox, B.C. He says they are searching along with an American helicopter and vessels. "We're supporting the U.S. Coast Guard," Wright said, adding he had no other information immediately available. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co. is deepening its partnership with Target Corp. by launching its first-ever home collection at the discount chain. Levi's limited time only 100-item collection of denim-inspired tableware, quilts, pillows and other items will be launched on Target's website and most Target stores on Feb. 28. Target started selling low-price brand Denizen from Levi's in 2011 and then began carrying its premium Red Tab brand in 2019. It will be expanding the Red Tab brand to 500 stores by fall of this year. The move is yet another blow to department stores, which have been struggling even more during the pandemic. Target CEO Brian Cornell and Levi's CEO Chip Bergh told The Associated Press they believe the Levi products, which also include some clothing, will be collectors' items. For Target, it's the latest strategic partnership with a major brand and comes as Target extends its strong sales streak through the pandemic. The Minneapolis-based discounter signed a deal late last year with beauty chain Ulta to open more than 100 beauty shops by middle of this year. In 2019, it forged a partnership with Disney & Co to open Disney-branded shops at its stores. Cornell said that strategic partnerships “have been key to Target’s success" and has set it apart from rivals. For San Francisco-based Levi, the collaboration reflects how the company has been diversifying its label away from department stores and focusing on retailers that drive customer traffic. Bergh said that the expansion with Target has helped the brand reach a broader customer base, but he cautions that the jeans maker has no intention of going into the home business in a permanent way. “This is unexpected Levi’s stuff that they are going to find inside Target, and it’s going to surprise and delight them," Bergh said. _______ Follow Anne D’Innocenzio: http://twitter.com/ADInnocenzio Anne D'Innocenzio, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin Wednesday warning of the lingering potential for violence from people motivated by antigovernment sentiment after President Joe Biden's election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks. The department did not cite any specific plots, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration. It is not uncommon for the federal government to warn local law enforcement through bulletins about the prospect for violence tied to a particular event or date, such as July 4. But this particular bulletin, issued through the department’s National Terrorism Advisory System, is notable because it effectively places the Biden administration into the politically charged debate over how to describe or characterize acts motivated by political ideology, and suggests it regards violence like the kind that overwhelmed the Capitol as akin to terrorism. The bulletin is an indication that national security officials see a connective thread between different episodes of violence in the last year motivated by anti-government grievances, including over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results and police use of force. The document singles out crimes motivated by racial or ethnic hatred, such as the 2019 rampage targeting Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, as well as the threat posed by extremists motivated by foreign terror groups. A DHS statement that accompanied the bulletin noted the potential for violence from “a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors.” “Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin said. The alert comes at a tense time following the riot at the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the presidential election. DHS also noted violent riots in “recent days,” an apparent reference to events in Portland, Oregon, linked to anarchist groups. “The domestic terrorism attack on our Capitol earlier this month shined a light on a threat that has been right in front of our faces for years,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “I am glad to see that DHS fully recognizes the threat posed by violent, right-wing extremists and is taking efforts to communicate that threat to the American people.” The alert was issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske. Biden’s nominee for the Cabinet post, Alejandro Mayorkas, has not been confirmed by the Senate. Two former homeland security secretaries, Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano, called on the Senate to confirm Mayorkas so he can start working with the FBI and other agencies and deal with the threat posed by domestic extremists, among other issues. Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, said attacks by far-right, domestic extremists are not new but that deaths attributed to them in recent years in the U.S. have exceeded those linked to jihadists such as al-Qaida. “We have to be candid and face what the real risk is,” he said in a conference call with reporters. Federal authorities have charged more than 150 people in the Capitol siege, including some with links to right-wing extremist groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers. The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against 43-year Ian Rogers, a California man found with five pipe bombs during a search of his business this month who had a sticker associated with the Three Percenters on his vehicle. His lawyer told his hometown newspaper, The Napa Valley Register, that he is a “very well-respected small business owner, father, and family man” who does not belong to any violent organizations. Ben Fox And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
The current public health order will remain in effect until Feb. 19, 2021, the Government of Saskatchewan announced Tuesday. At a press conference, Premier Scott Moe explained that numbers are moving in the right direction but measures should continue. “The restrictions that we have are working but we need to leave them in place for a while longer,” Moe said. Measures remaining in place for another three weeks include limiting private indoor gatherings to immediate households with some exceptions for people living alone and caregivers and private outdoor gatherings remaining at a limit of 10 as long as physical distancing can be maintained. On the business side, most retail and personal services are still reduced to 50 per cent capacity and large retail locations are reduced to 25 per cent capacity. Restaurants remain limited to four customers per table and three meters between tables for in-person dining. As well, places of worship, concert venues and theatres are limited to a maximum of 30 people “I ask everyone to continue following the public health orders and the guidelines to keep yourself and those around you safe. These measures are working when we follow them as the vast majority of Saskatchewan people and businesses are doing,” Moe said. Chief Medical Health Officer Saqib Shahab explained later that public health measures are either seen as too much or too little depending on whom you are talking to. “You know they do try to strike a fine balance between minizing cases as long as the guidelines are followed and letting people work and enjoy other amenities as possible. According to Shahab these measures have to be balanced with economic mental, health and social costs of stricter measures. Obviously it does impact some people more than others in terms of what their interests are,” Shahab said. “The downward trend shows that if all of us abide by public health principles it has a significant impact on our case numbers. Making measures more stringent would always be an option, unfortunately, if our case numbers ramped up,” Shahab said. Moe explained that the gradual decline in case numbers can be seen in 232 cases reported Thursday and a seven-day average of 254, down from 321 on Jan. 12. He added that active cases are down to 2,665 which are the lowest since late November and down from the peak of 4,763 on Dec. 7. The province also began issuing tickets to establishments that fail to abide by public health orders. Tickets of $14,000 each were issued Tuesday morning to Crackers and the Crazy Cactus in Saskatoon and Stats Cocktails and Dreams in Regina. “There have been a small number of mainly bars and restaurants who may not have been following (orders), putting their staff, putting their customers and essentially putting their communities at risk.,” Moe said. Moe said that he had asked for an increase in enforcement and that was one reason the tickets were issued. “There have been three tickets with significant fines that have been issued to bars in Saskatoon and Regina. Some other investigations are ongoing and they may result in additional fines,” Moe said. According to both Moe and Shahab, issuing fines and penalties are a last resort but have become necessary. “What we really desire is compliance, for everyone to follow all of the public health orders and the guidelines that are in place. That is how we will continue to reduce our case numbers so that hopefully in three weeks from now we can start to maybe look at easing some of the restrictions that are in place,” Moe said. Shahab reminded people to familiarize themselves with guidelines and comply as citizens and business owners. “It’s not just up to the business owner. As a customer in a retail location or restaurant or bar, it is up to us to comply. I think when we don’t comply we put our friends, family, the business, the community at risk,” Shahab said. When asked by why these businesses had their names and fines released Moe said that they should be released. “It’s our hope that we wouldn’t have to release any more as compliance is always the effort. I have said over the course of the last few weeks that we are going to be and I was encouraging all of those involved to increase the enforcement,” Moe said. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Critics of Baffinland Iron Mines’ proposed Mary River mine expansion questioned the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability and integration of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, or traditional knowledge, during the second day of a Nunavut Impact Review Board hearing. It revealed that a clear divide between company and community still exists, despite CEO Brian Penney’s assertion Monday his company has addressed community concerns about the mine’s phase two expansion. Baffinland says it needs to build a 110-kilometre railway from Milne Inlet to the Mary River mine to make the mine financially sustainable. But the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization was one of the more outspoken presenters during Tuesday’s proceedings in Pond Inlet, repeatedly asking Baffinland staff if they considered Inuit traditional knowledge in their proposals, especially when regarding the environment. “Does Baffinland understand that proper incorporation of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit is a requirement of the Nunavut Impact Review Board, not only an expectation of communities?” Eric Ootoovak, a member of the hunters and trappers organization asked. He also asked if Baffinland respects traditional knowledge as “factual information that is essential to the environmental impact statement.” Megan Lord-Hoyle, Baffinland’s vice-president of sustainable development, and Lou Kamermans, senior director of sustainable development, said the company has adapted its proposal to the needs of affected communities, even if it hasn’t been to the extent that groups such as the MTHO would like. “We can agree to disagree on the conclusions of our assessments, but your disagreement doesn’t mean that we haven’t carried out the studies that are included in our assessment,” said Kamermans, in reference to incorporating traditional knowledge. “That information is objectively there, there’s no debate on that. We have considered the information.” Critics’ questions about whether their environmental concerns will be addressed and honoured by Baffinland have persisted since November 2019. That was when the hearings were postponed after Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Aluki Kotierk brought forward a motion to postpone the hearing because were too many questions remained about the proposal. Since then, Baffinland has held meetings with affected communities and revised its proposal. Vessels would operate for four, rather than 10, months a year, to help avoid disturbing marine life. The company also introduced the Inuit stewardship plan to allow Inuit to “report on social, environmental, and cultural impacts” of the phase two proposal, which will be run by the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and paid for by Baffinland. As well, the Inuit Certainty Agreement, a multimillion-dollar agreement between the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and Baffinland, was signed in July 2020 and outlines community benefits, Inuit participation in the project and incentives for affected communities. “Science and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit will be considered in parallel and on equal footing as part of the adaptive management planning,” Lord-Hoyle said. But community representatives have yet to be won over. On Tuesday, Amanda Hanson Main, technical advisor to the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization, asked Lord-Hoyle three times if, during the 2019 proceedings, Baffinland supported any requests or motions by communities to slow down the hearings when they felt their concerns weren’t being answered. The third time, Lord-Hoyle referred to Baffinland’s legal counsel to answer. “We believe that an answer has been given to this question, and the answer is that the position of the company on the motions is on the record and is well known to the board,” said Brad Armstrong. Hanson Main replied, “Noting the non-response at this oral hearing, I’ll move forward, recognizing that Baffinland not only did not support the motions or the requests, and in fact pressed forward despite the protests of communities.” The nine-member Nunavut Impact Review Board assesses the environmental and socio-economic impacts of development projects and advises the federal and territorial governments on their findings. The hearing will continue until Feb 6. Afterwards, the review board will send a report to federal Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal recommending whether the project should go ahead. Meagan Deuling, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunatsiaq News
The Prince Albert Outreach Program recently distributed items to local schools thanks to a Share The Warmth Grant from SaskEnergy. Items were distributed to Vincent Massey Public School, Riverside Public School and Queen Mary Public School in Prince Albert. “One of the Outreach workers applied for a grant from SaskEnergy and PA Outreach received a $1,000 grant for Share the Warmth,” Touni Vardeh Esakian, a team leader with Prince Albert Outreach, said. “With the SaskEnergy grant PA Outreach purchased gloves, toques and snack food, which were distributed to the schools.” The program thanked SaskEnergy for their grant. PA Outreach explained that serving youth looked different this winter. The grant helped them purchase an abundance of food items and warm clothing for youth and their families. The items were distributed in early this month. “Without the heartwarming generosity of SaskEnergy, we would not have been able to help as many youth stay warm and less hungry,” PA Outreach said in a media release. “Thank you SaskEnergy.” Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Fans of the Voyageur Days Festival will not gather where the rivers meet in Mattawa again this summer. Council agreed during their meeting Monday night to postpone the 2021 event due to the COVID-19 pandemic without much discussion. The recommendation came from the recreation committee and the only amendment was the removal of the year it was being postponed until, with 2022 scratched from the motion as well. See: No Voyageur Days in 2020 'heartbreaking' A media release was issued Tuesday by Renee Paquette, recreation and facilities services manager: “Over the last few weeks, we have been monitoring the situation closely and have determined that, along with government mandates in Ontario, it is no longer safe to move forward with our festival in July of 2021,” the release stated. “The well-being of our fans, artists, staff, vendors, partners, and the surrounding community is our number one priority. We have, therefore, decided to hold off on having the festival this year. “These are without doubt unprecedented times but as a town and community, we will all get through this together. We will overcome this and grow from it, but now is the time to be safe and look out for one another by protecting everyone else who supports us. Stay safe and rock on.” Council decided in April 2020 to pull the plug on the festival as the first wave of the pandemic was in full force with Mayor Dean Backer saying the “risks are way too high.” Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam's ruling Communist Party chief, has been nominated for a rare third term, a Party official said, according to several state media articles that were published on Wednesday then subsequently amended, removing the comments. On Monday, more than 1,600 delegates began nine days of mostly closed-doors meetings at the Party's five-yearly Congress, during which a new leadership team will be picked to bolster Vietnam's ongoing economic success - and the legitimacy of the Party's rule. Trong, 76, who is also Vietnam's president and architect of its anti-corruption campaign, had been widely tipped to continue as party chief despite health issues and old age - which should technically disqualify him for the position, although "special case" exceptions are granted.
Global coronavirus cases surpassed 100 million on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, as countries around the world struggle with new virus variants and vaccine shortfalls. Almost 1.3% of the world's population has now been infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and more than 2.1 million people have died. Around 668,250 cases have been reported each day over the same period, and the global fatality rate stands at 2.15%.
VICTORIA — Health officials say more COVID-19 cases have been linked to community clusters related to social gatherings and a ski resort in British Columbia's Interior. The Interior Health authority says in a news release that 46 new cases linked to a cluster first identified Jan. 20 in the Williams Lake area have been identified. Thirteen staff at Cariboo Memorial Hospital have also tested positive, but Interior Health says the hospital is safe to visit for appointments or emergency care. A total of 314 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the region since New Year's Day and the health authority says most transmission occurred at recent social events and gatherings. Interior Health also says an additional 11 cases have been linked to a community cluster at Big White Ski Resort, bringing the total cluster of cases to 225. It says 21 cases there are active and three of those who recently tested positive live or work at the resort. "Everyone is reminded that socialization must be limited to immediate household bubbles. Please do not invite friends or extended family to your residence for a visit or gathering," Interior Health says in the statement. Provincial health officials say the number of daily cases of COVID-19 is too high and repeated calls for everyone's help to bend the curve. The province recorded 407 cases Tuesday, bringing the total number of active infections to 4,260. Among those, 313 people are hospitalized, including 71 in intensive care. An additional 14 people died in the past day and the death toll in B.C. from COVID-19 rose to 1,168. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry say in a joint statement that now is the time for anyone who has put aside public health precautions to join or rejoin efforts to stop the spread. They say it is especially critical with the presence of variant strains of COVID-19 in B.C. "For the many who have been doing your part, you may be asking 'What more can I do?'" Dix and Henry say in the joint statement. "Be the voice of support and encouragement for those who may be wavering in their resolve." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga apologised on Wednesday after lawmakers from his ruling coalition visited night clubs despite his government's call for people to avoid unnecessary outings to curb the spread of COVID-19. The news is another headache for Suga whose approval rating has tumbled because of dissatisfaction with his handling of the pandemic, which critics have called too slow and inconsistent. "I'm terribly sorry that this happened when we are asking people not to eat out after 8 p.m. and to avoid non-essential, non-urgent outings," Suga told parliament.
LOS ANGELES — Dwayne Johnson’s new NBC comedy “Young Rock” has him campaigning for president in 2032, but the actor and producer sidestepped the possibility of a real-life run someday. A coming-of-age story inspired by the former pro wrestler's colorful but challenging childhood and youth, “Young Rock” is framed by the adult Johnson's reflections on his life as he stumps for office. Is Johnson cleverly preparing America for his next act? “I think the people will prepare me. I can say that,” he replied with a laugh. Using the candidacy as a device to revisit his past was suggested by Nahnatchka Khan, executive producer of “Young Rock,” he told The Associated Press on Tuesday. Johnson also is an executive producer for the series, debuting Feb. 16, with his younger versions played by Adrian Groulx and Bradley Constant. “We were trying to figure out a creative way that I can be intertwined in every episode, to be part of it. This was (Khan’s) idea, and at first I was a little reticent about it because it’s political,” he said. “You just knew that by the time the show was coming out, politics was gong to take yet another hard turn and be so polarizing as it is.” Khan’s persuasive argument: “She said something to the effect of, ‘Well, you always say you’re a man of the people, and I think we should give it a shot,’” Johnson recounted. In a 2018 Vanity Fair interview, the film and TV star said he'd seriously considered a 2020 run for president but decided against it. During a Q&A Tuesday with TV critics, Johnson was asked if he would invite U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren — a self-proclaimed fan of Johnson's 2015-19 “Ballers” sports comedy — to make a cameo appearance on “Young Rock.” “If we're lucky enough to come back for a second round (of episodes), then maybe she will then," he said. And what about President Joe Biden as a guest? “Well, I can see that happening,” he told The AP. “It all depends on how far we go with it (the series). But I am friends with Sen. Warren, President Biden as well, and Vice-President Kamala Harris, and so I wouldn't rule it out." Johnson, a self-described independent, bestowed his first political endorsement on the Biden-Harris Democratic ticket last year. But he suggests a a bipartisan approach ahead for “Young Rock." "I'm also friends with a lot of Republicans, so who knows what kind of melting-pot politics we'll have down the road, if by chance we're lucky to come back,” Johnson said. Lynn Elber, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin held their first conversation as counterparts Tuesday in a phone call that underscored troubled relations and the delicate balance between the former Cold War foes. According to the White House, Biden raised concerns about the arrest of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, Russia’s alleged involvement in a massive cyber espionage campaign and reports of Russian bounties on American troops in Afghanistan. The Kremlin, meanwhile, focused on Putin’s response to Biden’s proposal to extend the last remaining U.S.-Russia arms control treaty. While the readouts from the two capitals emphasized different elements, they both suggested that U.S-Russia relations will be guided, at least at the beginning of the Biden administration, by a desire to do no harm but also no urgency to repair existing damage. The two presidents agreed to have their teams work urgently to complete a five-year extension of the New START nuclear weapons treaty that expires next month. Former President Donald Trump's administration had withdrawn from two arms control treaties with Russia and had been prepared to let New START lapse. Unlike his immediate predecessors — including Trump, who was enamoured of Putin and frequently undercut his own administration's tough stance on Russia — Biden has not held out hope for a “reset” in relations. Instead he has indicated he wants to manage differences without necessarily resolving them or improving ties. And with a heavy domestic agenda and looming decisions needed on Iran and China, a direct confrontation with Russia is not likely something Biden seeks. Although the leaders agreed to work together to extend New START before it expires Feb. 5 and to look at other areas of potential strategic co-operation, the White House said Biden was firm on U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, while Russia is supporting separatists in the country's east. Biden also raised the SolarWinds cyberhack, which has been attributed to Russia, reports of Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan, interference in the 2020 U.S. election, the poisoning of Navalny and the weekend crackdown on Navalny's supporters. “President Biden made clear that the United States will act firmly in defence of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies,” the White House said. Biden told Putin in the phone call, first reported by The Associated Press, that the U.S. would defend itself and take action, which could include further sanctions, to ensure Moscow does not act with impunity, officials said. Moscow had reached out last week to request the call, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly. Biden agreed, but he wanted first to prepare with his staff and speak with European allies, including the leaders of Britain, France and Germany, which he did. Before he spoke to Putin, Biden also called NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg to pledge U.S. commitment to the decades-old alliance founded as a bulwark against Russian aggression. The Kremlin's readout of the call did not address the most contentious issues between the countries, though it said the leaders also discussed other “acute issues on the bilateral and international agenda.” It described the talk as “frank and businesslike” — often a diplomatic way of referring to tense discussions. It also said Putin congratulated Biden on becoming president and “noted that normalization of ties between Russia and the United States would serve the interests of both countries." Among the issues the Kremlin said were discussed were the coronavirus pandemic, the Iran nuclear agreement, Ukraine and issues related to trade and the economy. The call came as Putin considers the aftermath of pro-Navalny protests that took place in more than 100 Russian cities over the weekend. Biden’s team has already reacted strongly to the crackdown on the protests, in which more than 3,700 people were arrested across Russia, including more than 1,400 in Moscow. More protests are planned for the coming weekend. Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner and Putin’s best-known critic, was arrested Jan. 17 as he returned to Russia from Germany, where he had spent nearly five months recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Biden has previously condemned the use of chemical weapons. Russian authorities deny the accusations. Just from the public accounts, Biden's discussion with Putin appeared diametrically opposed to Trump's relationship with the Russian president. Trump had seemed to seek Putin's approval, frequently casting doubt on Russian interference in the 2016 elections, including when he stood next to Putin at their 2018 summit in Helsinki. He also downplayed Russia’s involvement in the hack of federal government agencies last year and the allegations that Russia offered the Taliban bounties. Still, despite that conciliatory approach, Trump's administration toed a tough line against Moscow, imposing sanctions on the country, Russian companies and business leaders for issues including Ukraine, energy supplies and attacks on dissidents. Biden, in his call with Putin, broke sharply with Trump by declaring that he knew that Russia attempted to interfere with both the 2016 and 2020 U.S. elections. ___ Associated Press writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report. Matthew Lee And Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press
Out of 99 new positive cases discovered in the Simcoe Muskoka Region, health officials say 97 are linked to a long-term care home in Barrie and all of those people are likely affected by the fast-spreading U.K. variant. There are concerns the highly contagious strain of the virus is more widespread than initially thought. Miranda Anthistle has the details.
Google is reviving plans to launch its own news website in Australia within weeks, according to a local media outlet contracted to provide articles for the venture, as the search giant fights world-first proposed laws on content payments. The launch of the News Showcase product as early as next month is Google's latest tactic in a high-profile campaign against the Australian government's planned legislation to make the company pay local news providers for content that appears in its search engine. Google had announced plans to launch News Showcase in Australia last June, signing deals with seven small local outlets, including The Conversation, for content.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 28,505 new vaccinations administered for a total of 868,454 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 2,291.479 per 100,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,122,450 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 77.37 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 3,258 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 8,549 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 16.326 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 16,500 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 51.81 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,207 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,117 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.866 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 9,225 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 3,102 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 11,622 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 11.909 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 28,850 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 40.28 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 3,821 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 14,257 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 18.277 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 21,675 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 65.78 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 4,164 new vaccinations administered for a total of 224,879 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 26.281 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 238,100 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 94.45 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 9,707 new vaccinations administered for a total of 295,817 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 20.139 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 411,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 71.86 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,618 new vaccinations administered for a total of 31,369 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 22.781 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 55,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 56.37 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 727 new vaccinations administered for a total of 34,080 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 28.902 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 32,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 104.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 361 new vaccinations administered for a total of 99,814 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 22.674 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 122,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.33 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 2,509 new vaccinations administered for a total of 122,359 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 23.844 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 144,550 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.65 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 445 new vaccinations administered for a total of 4,397 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 105.365 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 35 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 30.53 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting 7,578 new vaccinations administered for a total of 9,471 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 209.912 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 32 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 65.77 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 265 new vaccinations administered for a total of 4,723 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 121.959 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 12,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 31 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 39.36 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published January 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Canadians are "Angry Birds" when it comes to climate change, shows a survey the United Nations calls the largest ever taken on the issue. The mammoth survey, which drew respondents through the use of popular online games, ranked Canada seventh out of 50 countries in its perception of how important the problem is — and tops in the gap between men and women on the issue. "Canada was at the top end of the group of countries we surveyed in terms of the recognition of the climate emergency," said Steve Fisher, an Oxford University sociologist who helped run the survey on behalf of the United Nations Development Program. The novel survey found respondents through games such as Angry Birds and Dragon City. As people played the games, a questionnaire would pop up instead of an ad. Project director Cassie Flynn, who is with the UN program, said the idea came to her while riding the subway in New York. "Every single person was on their phone," she said. "I started looking over people's shoulders and the huge majority was playing games. I thought, 'How do we tap into that?'" Two years, 1.2 million responses (in 17 languages) and a great deal of innovative statistical thinking later came the People's Climate Vote. It is an attempt, said Flynn, to gauge the public's sense of urgency on climate change and how people feel about different policies. "The decisions (on climate) are going to affect every single person on the planet. What we wanted to do is to bring public opinion into that policy-making." As the federal Liberal government advances on its ambitious climate program, it seems Canadians are more concerned about the issue than most. Three-quarters of those surveyed agreed that climate change is an emergency compared with the global average of 64 per cent. That belief topped out at 83 per cent for respondents under 18. But, at 72 per cent, it wasn't much weaker among those over 60. The survey also found that Canadians who believed climate change is an emergency believed it strongly. Three-quarters said action should be urgent and on many fronts. They really liked solutions based in conservation. Support for nature-based climate policies was higher in Canada at 79 per cent than in any other countries with high carbon emissions from land use. They also wanted polluters to pay. Some 69 per cent favoured policies that regulate company behaviour. Only the United Kingdom, at 72 per cent, registered stronger among high-income countries. And, at 81 and 80 per cent respectively, respondents in the U.K. and Canada were virtually tied at the top in support of ocean and waterway protection. Canada also had the largest gap between men and women in their assessment of the importance of climate change. Canadian women and girls surveyed were 12 per cent more likely to rate it an emergency than men and boys. Globally, there wasn't much difference. Fisher, who researches political attitudes and behaviour, said climate change is a more partisan issue in Canada, the United States and Australia than elsewhere on the globe. "It is related to partisanship in those countries," he said. "Women are much more likely to vote for the more climate-conscious left parties." Fisher said the use of cellphone games gave researchers access to groups that are hard for pollsters to reach, such as young people. "It was kind of new to do the fieldwork in this way," he said. "It reached an awful lot of people." Each respondent was asked to complete the survey only once. The team used 4,000 different games, some popular with children, some with older people. Still, the sample skewed young. The statisticians had to adjust the sample to ensure all groups were given appropriate weight. The survey is considered accurate to within two percentage points, 19 times out of 20. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. — Follow @row1960 on Twitter Bob Weber, The Canadian Press