Nova Scotia is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. Three of the new cases are in the central health zone. One was a close contact of a previously reported case. The other two are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. One is a student at Dalhousie University in Halifax who lives off-campus. The case in the eastern health zone is a student at Cape Breton University in Sydney who lived off-campus and travelled outside the region. That case was reported Friday but not included in the official case tally until Saturday. All the new cases are self-isolating. There are 30 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, down two from Friday. No one is in hospital with the virus. Nova Scotia Health Authority labs conducted 2,293 Nova Scotia tests on Friday. Premier Stephen McNeil is commending students for "following health protocols," according to a release from the province. "We are seeing young people at universities taking the isolation requirement seriously and I want to thank them for protecting the health of others in their school community," he said. The province is continuing to urge students who have returned from outside of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland or P.E.I. to book a COVID-19 test on the sixth, seventh or eighth day of their quarantine, regardless if they have symptoms. Any students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 must complete a self-assessment online or call 811. Students still must complete their 14-day isolation period even with a negative test result. Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said the low numbers are encouraging but warned against complacency. "While this is good news, we must remember COVID-19 is still in our communities and we must all do our part to prevent its spread," he said in a news release. New potential exposures Late Saturday, the Nova Scotia Health Authority announced two new possible COVID-19 exposures on flights into Halifax from Toronto. Officials are asking anyone who was on the following flights in the specified seats to immediately book a test through the province's self-assessment website or contact 811, regardless of whether they have COVID-19 symptoms: Swoop flight 408 travelling on Jan. 8 from Toronto (5:30 p.m.) to Halifax (8:30 p.m.), passengers in rows 16-22 seats A, B, C and D. Symptoms may develop up to, and including, Jan. 22. Air Canada flight 604 travelling on Jan. 5 from Toronto (8:00 a.m.) to Halifax (11:00 a.m.), passengers in rows 22-28 in seats C, D, E and F. Symptoms may develop up to, and including, Jan. 19. All other passengers on this flight must continue to self-isolate as required and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. Reduction in vaccine supply At a news briefing on Friday, the premier said Nova Scotia will continue to hold back second doses of COVID-19 vaccine until it is guaranteed there will be no interruption in supply. McNeil said he understands the concerns people have with the rollout, but stressed the importance of moving the vaccine throughout the province safely and effectively. He said the province had administered 7,600 doses of the vaccine as of late Thursday, which included 2,200 front-line health-care workers who have received their second dose. Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, said the province had received 13,000 doses of vaccine prior to Thursday. Most of that supply has been administered or has been scheduled for second doses. Pfizer had recently said it will temporarily reduce shipments of its vaccine to Canada. The pharmaceutical giant is pausing some production lines at a facility in Belgium in order to expand long-term manufacturing capacity. In an email, a spokesperson from Nova Scotia Health said it has been notified it should expect fewer Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses each week for a month. "We have solid processes in place to manage a decrease or increase in vaccine supply. We can adjust our clinics to accommodate the amount of vaccine we receive," the email said. Mandatory testing for rotational workers Mandatory testing for rotational workers came into effect Friday. Workers will now be required to get a test within two days of returning to Nova Scotia and again about a week later. If rotational workers do not get tested, they will be fined $1,000. Regardless of the test result, they must still complete their 14-day modified self-isolation. A mobile health unit was set up in Truro , N.S., on Thursday in response to an increase in the number of potential exposures in the area in the last week. A full list of exposures in the province can be found here. On Friday, Nova Scotia Health said the unit will be expanded for four more days of testing. Drop-in testing will be available on Saturday at the NSCC Truro Campus from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday through Tuesday at the convention centre in the Best Western Glengarry from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Atlantic Canada case numbers MORE TOP STORIES
Prince Rupert resident Sharlene Wilson was in her early 60s when she lost her job of more than 30 years in October 2019. A month later, legal advocate Paul Lagace with the Prince Rupert Unemployed Action Centre filed a complaint with the B.C. Employment Standards Branch on her behalf, arguing she should be entitled to eight weeks' severance. More than a year later, Wilson is dead, and the branch has yet to look at her case. Lagace is now acting on behalf of her estate. "I'm so frustrated and I'm tired of the runaround," Lagace said. 'Severe stress' on workers The Employment Standards Branch is the service that oversees B.C.'s Employment Standards Act. It deals with complaints like severance, working conditions and lost wages. Legal advocates like Lagace say wait times at the branch have become unacceptable, especially given that many of the people who file complaints are low-wage workers with no other recourse. David Madiros, a lawyer with Kent Employment Law, says his clients have had to wait 10 months or longer before the branch will even touch their case. "It puts a severe stress on people," Madiros said. "Many people who are in the service industry or who are hourly wage workers don't have a lot of a cushion to fall back on." Madiros says he advises his clients to take their matters to B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal for small claims when possible. But he says some cases have to be filed through the Employment Standards Branch. Backlog due to pandemic, increased services Lagace says even trying to just call the branch for an update has become unbearable, with wait times of two hours or more. In a written statement, B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains admits there is a backlog of complaints. Although it's been more than three years since they were in power, Bains blames it on the previous Liberal government. "In 2017, our government inherited a system that was failing to serve workers," Bains said in the statement. Other reasons the ministry gave for the backlog include the elimination of the branch's self-help kits in 2019, doubling the time to submit a complaint to a year, the new inclusion of temporary foreign workers and, of course, the pandemic. "I think everyone understands that COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on British Columbians," Bains said. "The pandemic has certainly contributed to the increase in worker complaints coming into the branch." Complaints nearly double in 4 years The ministry says the Employment Standards Branch received about 7,700 complaints in 2020, compared to 4,260 complaints in 2016. But legal advocate Lagace says Wilson's case was filed months before the pandemic was declared. Regardless of what's causing the problem, Lagace says, wait times of more than a year to even get a case started, let alone resolved, is unacceptable for the people who rely on the Employment Standards Branch for lost wages. 'It was very difficult' Wilson's husband, Henry Richard Wilson, says waiting to find out about her severance put a lot of stress on his wife, who died in June from heart surgery complications. "Just seeing her reaction to her job was extremely devastating," Wilson said. "It was very difficult." Wilson, a stroke survivor, says waiting to hear about his wife's case has been frustrating, and a resolution would help put him and his two daughters at ease. Lagace wants the Labour Ministry to apologize to Wilson, and make significant changes at the branch so cases like hers can be expedited. Bains says in 2019 the ministry did invest an additional $14 million in the branch over three years, including hiring 35 more staff, streamlining processes and triaging cases.
COVID-19. Dans une étude produite pour le Ministère de la Famille, Christine Gervais de l’Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO) s’est penchée sur l’expérience de 111 enfants et adolescents d’âge scolaire de la pandémie de la COVID-19 ainsi que ses effets sur eux-mêmes et leur parent durant la période du 30 avril au 20 mai. Si la fin du confinement du printemps 2020 semble contribuer à l’amélioration du bien-être et de la santé mentale des parents et des enfants, il importe de souligner que les parents sont encore nombreux à ressentir un faible bien-être ainsi que des symptômes anxieux importants. Si les enfants démontrent une bonne connaissance des enjeux liés à la pandémie et semble s’y adapter plutôt bien, c’est sans doute grâce à l’environnement sécurisant qu’arrive à créer leurs malgré l’incertitude ambiante. «Il nous apparaît cependant important de nous préoccuper collectivement de la persistance dans le temps des stress auxquels les familles doivent s’adapter, et de la fatigue que ressentiront de nombreux parents, enfants et adolescents face à la deuxième vague de la pandémie et au retour de mesure de distanciation plus strictes, qui pourraient limiter leur capacité d’adaptation», indique Christine Gervais en précisant que la préoccupation liée à l’épuisement des ressources adaptatives de jeunes et de leur parent est encore plus importante pour les familles qui évoluent en contexte de vulnérabilité. La professeure en sciences infirmières de l’UQO note également que l’enthousiasme des jeunes à partager leur expérience témoigne du peu de tribunes dont ils disposent pour s’exprimer, de leur souhait d’être consultés et écoutés dans la prise de décision qui les concerne, particulièrement celles liées à l’école, et de la pertinence de s’intéresser à leur point de vue. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
NEW YORK — All federal prisons in the United States have been placed on lockdown, with officials aiming to quell any potential violence that could arise behind bars as law enforcement prepares for potentially violent protests across the country in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. The lockdown at more than 120 federal Bureau of Prisons facilities took effect at 12 a.m. Saturday, according to an email to employees from the president of the union representing federal correctional officers. “In light of current events occurring around the country, and out of an abundance of caution, the decision has been made to secure all institutions,” the Bureau of Prisons said in a statement. The lockdown decision is precautionary, no specific information led to it and it is not in response to any significant events occurring inside facilities, the bureau said. To avoid backlash from inmates, the lockdown was not announced until after they were locked in their cells Friday evening. Shane Fausey, the president of the Council of Prison Locals, wrote in his email to staff that inmates should still be given access in small groups to showers, phones and email and can still be involved in preparing food and performing basic maintenance. Messages seeking comment were left with Fausey on Saturday. The agency last put in place a nationwide lockdown in April to combat the spread of the coronavirus. During a lockdown, inmates are kept in their cells most of the day and visiting is cancelled. Because of coronavirus, social visits only resumed in October, but many facilities have cancelled them again as infections spiked. One reason for the new nationwide lockdown is that the bureau is moving some of its Special Operations Response Teams from prison facilities to Washington, D.C., to bolster security after President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Authorities are concerned there could be more violence, not only in the nation’s capital, but also at state capitals, before Trump leaves office Jan. 20. A Bureau of Prisons spokesman said the agency was co-ordinating with officials at the Justice Department to be ready to deploy as needed. Earlier this month, about 100 officers were sent to the Justice Department's headquarters to supplement security staff and were deputized by the U.S. Marshals Service and given special legal powers to “enforce federal criminal statutes and protect federal property and personnel,” said the spokesman, Justin Long. The specialized units typically respond to disturbances and other emergencies at prisons, such as riots, assaults, escapes and escape attempts, and hostage situations. Their absence can leave gaps in a prison’s emergency response and put remaining staff at risk. “The things that happen outside the walls could affect those working behind the walls,” Aaron McGlothin, a local union president at a federal prison in California. As the pandemic continues to menace federal inmates and staff, a federal lockup in Mendota, California, is also dealing with a possible case of tuberculosis. According to an email to staff Friday, an inmate at the medium-security facility has been placed in a negative pressure room after returning a positive skin test and an X-ray that indicated an active case of tuberculosis. The inmate was not showing symptoms of the lung disease and is undergoing further testing to confirm a diagnosis, the email said. As a precaution, all other inmates on the affected inmate’s unit were placed on quarantine status and given skin tests for tuberculosis. The bacterial disease is spread similarly to COVID-19, through droplets that an infected person expels by coughing, sneezing or through other activities such as singing and talking. Mendota also has 10 current inmate cases and six current staff cases of COVID-19. As of Wednesday, the last day for which data was available, there were 4,718 federal inmates and 2,049 Bureau of Prisons staff members with current positive tests for COVID-19. Since the first case was reported in March, 38,535 inmates and 3,553 staff have recovered from the virus. So far, 190 federal inmates and 3 staff members have died. __ Balsamo reported from Washington. __ On Twitter, follow Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak and Balsamo at twitter.com/mikebalsamo1 Michael R. Sisak And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
TRANSPORT. Avec 15 à 30 centimètres de neige accompagnés de fortes rafales de vent qui pourraient toucher plusieurs secteurs du Québec, le ministère des Transports invite les usagers de la route à être prudents. «Le Ministère tient d'ailleurs à rassurer tous les usagers de la route dont les déplacements essentiels sont autorisés en fonction des règles imposées par le couvre-feu en vigueur : les opérations de déneigement seront effectuées normalement, et ce, de jour comme de nuit. Toutefois, il est possible que le faible achalandage sur les routes puisse diminuer l'efficacité des sels de déglaçage, d'où l'importance de redoubler de prudence lors des déplacements essentiels effectués», indique-t-on en précisant que certaines ressources d'hébergement temporaires pourraient ne pas être disponibles en raison de la pandémie. Le Ministère suggère donc de planifier ses déplacements en conséquence. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
TORONTO — Ontario Provincial Police say they've charged three of their own veteran officers and suspended four others over allegations of corruption related to the province's tow truck industry. The force alleges the accused officers provided preferential treatment to towing companies within the Greater Toronto Area. The charges and suspensions stemmed from an investigation first launched in October 2019. The officers facing charges all have at least 20 years of service with the OPP and served with either its Highway Safety Division or the Toronto detachment. Const. Simon Bridle and Const. Mohammed Ali Hussain were both arrested this past week, while a warrant is out for the arrest of Const. Bindo Showan who is believed to be out of the province. All three are charged with secret commissions and breach of trust, while Bridle faces an additional charge of obtaining sexual services for consideration. OPP says the four other officers remain under investigation, but are not currently facing any criminal charges. The Canadian Press
A team of climbers from Nepal on Saturday become the first mountaineers to successfully complete a winter attempt on the summit of K2, the world's second tallest peak. Located on the Pakistan China border, K2 is the only mountain over 8,000 metres that had not been summitted in the winter. The group were named as Nirmal Purja, Gelje Sherpa, Mingma David Sherpa, Mingma G, Sona Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, Pem Chhiri Sherpa, Dawa Temba Sherpa, Kili Pemba Sherpa, and Dawa Tenjing Sherpa.
New Brunswick is reporting 27 new cases of COVID-19 spread across six regions of the province on Saturday. The province has experienced a surge over the past two weeks, prompting officials to move all health zones to the orange recovery phase. The province has 267 active cases. There were 24 active cases on Jan. 1. The new cases include: Moncton region, seven cases: an individual 19 and under. an individual 20-29. three people 30-39. an individual 50-59. and an individual 60-69. Saint John region, four cases: two people 19 and under. an individual 40-49. an individual 90-99. Fredericton region, four cases: an individual 40-49. an individual 60-69. and two people 70-79. Edmundston region, seven cases: an individual 19 and under. an individual 20-29. an individual 30-39. an individual 40-49. two people 50-59. an individual 60-69. Campbellton region, three cases: an individual 19 and under. an individual 20-29. an individual 50-59. Bathurst region, two cases: two people 20-29. The Miramichi region reported no new cases and is the only region in the province with no active cases. New Brunswick has confirmed 911 total cases. Three people are in the hospital related to the virus. The province has recorded 631 recoveries and 12 deaths. The death of a 13th person with COVID-19 was not related to the disease. Officers visited 172 sites earlier this week and found 99.4% of all patrons were wearing masks, according to a press release. Employee compliance with mask use was 88.9%. The province said warnings were issued and businesses breaking the rules during future inspections could face fines of up to $10,000. Tucker Hall reports case Shannex Parkland Saint John is reporting a new case of COVID-19 involving a resident as part of an outbreak at its Tucker Hall nursing home. The company announced the new case in a statement released late Friday. The facility has 15 residents with the virus along with nine employees. Three residents of Lily Court died last week. Tucker Hall began receiving doses of the vaccine on Friday after Public Health officials reversed an earlier decision not to vaccinate at nursing homes experiencing outbreaks The units most affected at the long-term care homes experiencing outbreaks will not receive vaccine. Two parts of Tucker Hall, Lily Court and Portland Court are currently excluded. Shannex said it plans to retest all residents and employees of Tucker Hall next week. All results from the last round of testing on Thursday have been returned. The province has 170,985 tests since the the start of the pandemic, including 1,729 since Friday's update. More doses due to arrive More doses are expected to be delivered to long-term care facilities in the coming days. Premier Blaine Higgs said a shipment of Moderna vaccine that arrived in the province Thursday will be used to immunize residents and staff in eight long-term care facilities. New Brunswick has administered more than 7,700 vaccine doses, according to the latest figures from Public Health. Of that group, 1,862 have received a second dose. Vitalité reduces services Some hospital services are being reduced in northwestern New Brunswick in response to growing cases of COVID-19. Vitalité Health Network said the changes will impact the Edmundston Regional Hospital, Grand Falls General Hospital, and Hôtel-Dieu-Saint-Joseph de Saint-Quentin. Service reductions will vary at each facility depending on capacity and the situation in the community, according to the health authority. Vitalité is asking the public to limit emergency department visits to critical situations. Those facilities remain open for people who need urgent care. Dr. John Tobin, head of the family medicine department in Zone 4 for the Vitalite Health Network, said hospitals in the northwest are maintaining designated space in the event COVID-positive patients are admitted. "If we can delay the treatment or the surgery for a few days for a few maybe weeks, it might be delayed," he said. "But this is without saying every patient that needs urgent surgery or cancer treatment surgery will be treated." Exposure notification Public Health identified a possible public exposure where a passenger who tested positive for COVID-19 may have been infectious on the follow flight: Air Canada Flight 8910 – from Toronto to Moncton departed on Dec. 31 at 11:23 a.m. A Saint John restaurant has posted on Facebook that it is closed after being told an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 was inside. East Side Mario's said in the post that it will be closed for 48 for a deep clean. Public Health did not issue a notice about the restaurant. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
WASHINGTON — The public won’t see President Donald Trump’s White House records for years, but there’s growing concern the collection won’t be complete, leaving a hole in the history of one of America’s most tumultuous presidencies. Trump has been cavalier about the law requiring that records be preserved. He has a habit of ripping up documents before tossing them out, forcing White House records workers to spend hours taping them back together. “They told him to stop doing it. He didn’t want to stop,” said Solomon Lartey, a former White House records analyst. He said the first document he taped back together was a letter from Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., about a government shutdown. The president also confiscated an interpreter’s notes after Trump had a chat with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Trump scolded his White House counsel for taking notes at a meeting during the Russia investigation by former special counsel Robert Mueller. Top executive branch officials had to be reminded more than once not to conduct official business on private email or text messaging systems and to preserve it if they did. And now, Trump's baseless claim of widespread voter fraud, which postponed for weeks an acknowledgement of President-elect Joe Biden's victory, is delaying the transfer of documents to the National Archives and Records Administration, further heightening concern about the integrity of the records. “Historians are likely to suffer from far more holes than has been the norm,” said Richard Immerman at the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. In the Trump White House, "not only has record-keeping not been a priority, but we have multiple examples of it seeking to conceal or destroy that record.” Lack of a complete record might also hinder any ongoing investigations of Trump, from his impeachment trial and other prospective federal inquiries to investigations in the state of New York. But even with requests by lawmakers and lawsuits by government transparency groups, there is an acknowledgment that noncompliance with the Presidential Records Act carries little consequence for Trump. In tossing out one suit last year, U.S. Circuit Judge David Tatel wrote that courts cannot “micromanage the president’s day-to-day compliance.” The Presidential Records Act states that a president cannot destroy records until he seeks the advice of the national archivist and notifies Congress. But the law doesn’t require him to heed the archivist's advice. It doesn't prevent the president from going ahead and destroying records. Most presidential records today are electronic. Records experts estimate that automatic backup computer systems capture a vast majority of the records, but cannot capture records that a White House chooses not to create or log into those systems. THE MOVE Moving a president’s trail of paper and electronic records is a laborious task. President Barack Obama left about 30 million pages of paper documents and some 250 terabytes of electronic records, including the equivalent of about 1.5 billion pages of emails. The records of past presidents are important because they can help a current president craft new policies and prevent mistakes from being repeated. “Presidential records tell our nation’s story from a unique perspective and are essential to an incoming administration in making informed decisions,” said Lee White, director of the National Coalition for History. “They are equally vital to historians." When Trump lost the November election, records staffers were in position to transfer electronic records, pack up the paper ones and move them to the National Archives by Jan. 20, as required by law. But Trump’s reluctance to concede has meant they will miss the deadline. “Necessary funding from the (White House) Office of Management and Budget was delayed for many weeks after the election, which has caused delays in arranging for the transfer of the Trump presidential records into the National Archives' custody,” the National Archives said in a statement to The Associated Press. “Even though the transfer of these records will not be completed until after Jan. 20, the National Archives will assume legal custody of them on Jan. 20 in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.” The White House did not respond to a request for comment about preserving Trump's records. One person familiar with the transition said guidance typically emailed to executive branch employees explaining how to turn in equipment and pack up their offices was sent out in December, but quickly rescinded because Trump insisted on contesting the election. With little guidance, some staffers in the White House started quietly calling records workers to find out what to do. Departing employees are instructed to create a list of folders in each box and make a spreadsheet to give the National Archives a way to track and retrieve the information for the incoming Biden team. The process gets more complex with classified material. The Biden administration can request to see Trump records immediately, but the law says the public must wait five years before submitting Freedom of Information Act requests. Even then, Trump — like other presidents before him — is invoking specific restrictions to public access of his records for up to 12 years. Six restrictions outlined in the law include national security, confidential business information, confidential communications between the president and his advisers or among his advisers and personal information. RECORD-KEEPING PRACTICES Around Trump's first impeachment and on other sensitive issues, some normal workflow practices were bypassed, a second person familiar with the process said. Apparently worried about leaks, higher-ups and White House lawyers became more involved in deciding which materials were catalogued and scanned into White House computer networks where they are automatically saved, this person said. The individuals, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss inner workings at the White House, said that if uncatalogued materials ended up in an office safe, for instance, they would at least be temporarily preserved. But if they were never catalogued in the first place, staffers would not know they existed, making such materials untraceable. White House staff quickly learned about Trump's disregard for documents as they witnessed him tearing them up and discarding them. “My director came up to me and said, ‘You have to tape these together,'” said Lartey, the former records analyst. Lartey said someone in the White House chief of staff's office told the president that the documents were considered presidential records and needed to be preserved by law. Lartey said about 10 records staffers ended up on Scotch tape duty at different times, starting with Trump’s first days in the White House through at least mid-2018. Trump's staff also engaged in questionable practices by using private emails and messaging apps. Former White House counsel Don McGahn in February 2017 sent a memo that instructed employees not to use nonofficial text messaging apps or private email accounts. If they did, he said, they had to take screenshots of the material and copy it into official email accounts, which are preserved. He sent the memo back out in September 2017. “It's an open question to me about how serious or conscientious any of those people have been about moving them over,” said Tom Blanton, who directs the National Security Archive at George Washington University, which was founded in 1985 to combat government secrecy. Trump was criticized for confiscating the notes of an interpreter who was with him in 2017 when the president talked with Putin in Hamburg, Germany. Lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to obtain the notes of another interpreter who was with Trump in 2018 when he met with Putin in Helsinki, Finland. It's unclear whether the two presidents talked about Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Many people suspected the subject did come up because at a news conference afterward, Trump said he believed Putin when Putin denied Russian interference despite U.S. intelligence agencies finding the opposite. Several weeks ago, the National Security Archive, two historical associations and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington sued to prevent the Trump White House from destroying any electronic communications or records sent or received on nonofficial accounts, such as personal email or WhatsApp. They also alleged that the White House has already likely destroyed presidential materials. The court refused to issue a temporary restraining order after government lawyers told the judge that they had instructed the White House to notify all employees to preserve all electronic communications in their original format until the suit was settled. “I believe we will find that there’s going to be a huge hole in the historical record of this president because I think there’s probably been serious noncompliance of the Presidential Records Act," said Anne Weismann, one of the lawyers representing the groups in their suit. "I don’t think President Trump cares about his record and what it says. I think he probably cares, though, about what it might say about his criminal culpability.” Trump faces several legal challenges when he leaves the White House. There are two New York state inquiries into whether he misled tax authorities, banks or business partners. Also, two women alleging he sexually assaulted them are suing him. DESTROYING OR SAVING HISTORY Presidential records were considered a president's personal property until the Watergate scandal under President Richard Nixon prompted Congress in 1978 to pass the Presidential Records Act over worry that Nixon would destroy White House tape recordings that led to his resignation. After that, presidential records were no longer considered personal property but the property of the American people — if they are preserved. Lawmakers have introduced legislation to require audits of White House record-keeping and compliance with the law. “The American public should not have to wait until a president has left office to learn of problems with that president’s record-keeping practices," Weismann said. Deb Riechmann, The Associated Press
Justin Kripps of Summerland, B.C., and Cam Stones of Whitby, Ont., earned their seventh World Cup medal together in finishing third at their second two-man bobsled race of the season on Saturday in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The Canadians had a two-run time of two minutes 12.84 seconds on a fast track that is quickly becoming one of their favourites. "The track was much faster than in training and we had a lot of fun on our way to our first ever two-man medal on this track," said Kripps, the reigning Olympic two-man champion with 17 World Cup two-man medals who was fifth at last week's season-opener in Germany. The 34-year-old had never reached the podium in St. Moritz until last year when Kripps teamed with Ben Coakwell, Ryan Sommer and Stones to win the four-man title. WATCH | Kripps and Stones hang on to 3rd spot on podium: "It was another great day in St. Moritz for Team Kripps. It is easily becoming one of our favourite tracks, and is especially fun to win medals on," added Stones. "Justin's driving was great, and we are really looking forward to trying to defend our four-man title from last year tomorrow." The Canadians, who joined forces after the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, turned in the third-fastest time in their opening run down the only non-refrigerated track in the world. Friedrich leads 1-2 German finish They held the final spot on the podium despite posting the fifth-fastest final run time on the 1,700-metre chute of natural ice that winds its way to the finish line in the town of Celerina. "It is the birthplace of bobsleigh," said Kripps of St. Moritz. "It is like Monaco for the Grand Prix. There is so much history and always such a treat to slide here." It was a 1-2 German finish Saturday as Francesco Friedrich won the 47th World Cup gold medal of his career (2:11.92) while piloting Alexander Schueller to break a tie with fellow German Sandra Kiriasis for the most by any bobsled pilot. Johannes Lochner and Florian Bauer placed second in 2:12.37. WATCH | Francesco Friedrich records 47th gold of World Cup career: Calgary's Chris Spring, who picked up three medals on the Europe Cup circuit a week ago, was competing on the World Cup for the first time in more than a year on Saturday. Pushed by Ottawa's Mike Evelyn, the newly formed team finished 11th spot at 2:13.79 in the latter's World Cup debut. The World Cup continues Sunday with the women's and four-man bobsleigh races.
Three Ontario Provincial Police officers and another person have been charged, while four other officers have been suspended in connection with an ongoing investigation into the towing industry in the GTA, the force said Saturday. In a news release, the OPP said its professional standards unit received an internal complaint in February of 2019 alleging members of the OPP Highway Safety Division were providing preferential treatment to tow operators within the Greater Toronto Area. A joint investigation involving the force's criminal investigation branch commenced in October of last year into the situation. Now, three OPP officers — all with more than 20 years of service — have been charged with secret commissions and breach of trust contrary to the Criminal Code. The officers are: 53-year-old Const. Simon Bridle, who is attached to the highway safety division's 407 detachment. 52-year-old Const. Mohammed Ali Hussain, with the Toronto detachment. 57-year-old Const. Bindo Showan, who is with the 407 detachment. Bridle has also been charged with obtaining sexual services for consideration, police say. Showan is currently out of the province, the OPP said, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. The other officers were arrested earlier this week. 4 more OPP officers suspended with pay All three members have been or will be served notices of suspension with pay, the OPP said. Additionally, as a result of the criminal investigation, four more OPP officers — including two commissioned officers from the highway safety division — have been suspended with pay. These members remain under investigation but have not been charged with an offence, the OPP said. The OPP has also charged a 52-year-old Toronto man with aiding and abetting breach of trust and secret commissions. The accused is expected to appear in court on April 16 at the Ontario Court of Justice, Finch Avenue in Toronto. Investigators are asking anyone with information regarding this ongoing investigation to call the OPP non-emergency number at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers.
Once upon a time, there was a girl named Sofia who loved books but was bothered by how the book collection in her school library was very … well … white. So the girl decided she'd try to write a new twist to the tale by penning something prosaic yet powerful — an application for a government grant, to be exact. Two thousand dollars later, 13-year-old Sofia Rathjen of Sherwood Park, Alta., is curating a collection of books by, and about, Black, Indigenous and people of colour. The new books are building diversity on the bookshelves of the Sherwood Heights junior high library and more tolerance and understanding among its students. "Students of colour — and all people of colour — can see their stories represented authentically and unapologetically and written by authors who understand those experiences," the Latino-Canadian teen told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM. "And non-people of colour can understand things that we go through. That way, it's not always our job to explain everything and why something is hurtful or racist." 'I just thought about how I could change that' In total, the school will get 134 books — science fiction, poetry, history, graphic novels, mythology and more — featuring authors from dozens of cultural backgrounds. Rathjen's application for Strathcona County's Community Change grant grew out of another piece of writing — a "passion project" essay about why representation matters in school libraries that she had done the year before. "The library was great, [but] I noticed that it lacked representation of people of colour and I saw the way that it affected outside of the library and outside of books," Rathjen said. "Personally, I experienced a lot of micro-aggressions, and I know people who have experienced blatant racism from people at our school. And so I just thought about how I could change that." The Grade 8 student came up with the idea to apply for the grant, then went to the teacher of her leadership class, Robin Koning, for help. Koning said he is "pleased as punch," not just at the grant being approved but at what it means for the school. "We really want to increase our Black/Indigenous/people of colour collection," he said. "Like Sofia said, we want people to realize that people from other cultures experience all kinds of discrimination, whether it's words or actions or just weird things that people say and do." The school's new "technicolour bookshelf," as Rathjen dubs it, is a powerful way to share that message. And Rathjen, said Koning, is a powerful ambassador. "For us to increase the collection of books that ... students would love to read, that's what we're about," he said. "The excitement from Sofia will make, hopefully, other students her age excited about reading." The first 39 books arrived at Rathjen's home during the at-home schooling period so, of course, she took the opportunity to read them. Books provide perspective She reviews books, too, on her Instagram account @the_technicolour_bookshelf, and happily rattled off suggestions to a CBC Radio producer who asked about titles. "OK, so Clap When You Land is by Elizabeth Acevedo. This is about two sisters who don't know that the other exists until their dad dies in a plane crash. And it's about grief and loss and also sisterhood. And it's really beautiful," she said. "And this, Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, is based off of African and African-American mythology. And it's about a boy who punches a hole in the sky into a world of folklore that he thought were only stories." Rathjen said she worked hard to find books that will appeal to people of any ethnicity, whether or not they love books as much as her. Books, she said, are the way to see the perspectives of others. "There's a metaphor [about] windows and mirrors. So books are either a window into someone else's perspective and experiences, or a mirror of your own. "And so I think that's why I love reading so much. Because you get to read about so many different stories and experiences and put yourself in the shoes of other people." The end. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
More people have been spending time at home during the pandemic and some shared pictures of their home-renovation products with CBC. Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park in Brookvale, P.E.I., has opened after delays due to a lack of snow. COVID-19 health measures will be in place for skiers, such as mandatory face coverings and physical distancing at the lifts. A special facility to treat those in psychiatric emergencies in that opened in Charlottetown during the pandemic won't be reopening, despite earlier assurances from the health minister that the closure was temporary. The pandemic is having a big impact on fundraising efforts for the 2023 Canada Games in P.E.I. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases reported on P.E.I. is 104, with eight still active. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. New Brunswick reported 27 new cases of COVID-19 spread across six regions of the province on Saturday. It now has has 267 active cases. Nova Scotia reported four new cases, with 30 active. Also in the news P.E.I. will not look at an Atlantic bubble again for at least two weeks. Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
Brazil's government will not seek to bar Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from 5G network auctions slated for June this year, newspaper Estado de S. Paulo reported on Saturday, citing government and industry sources. Financial costs potentially worth billions of dollars and the exit of ally President Donald Trump from the White House are forcing President Jair Bolsonaro to backtrack on his opposition to Huawei bidding to provide the next generation cellular network for carriers in Brazil, the paper said.
The Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) council plans to waive penalties on tax payments in the initial few months of 2021. “I think residents and businesses across the town have been severely impacted by COVID. This last shutdown over the Christmas season has been particularly painful for a lot of businesses and residents,” said TBM councillor Rob Sampson. “I think we should, as a council, show some recognition of that pain and provide some relief,” he added. TBM staff will be preparing a draft bylaw for council consideration that will look to waive penalties on tax payments for April, May and June of 2021. The bylaw is expected to waive penalties for both commercial and residential taxpayers. According to Ruth Prince, director of finance for TBM, waiving the penalties may cost the municipality approximately $100,000. However, she says that if an additional round of COVID relief funding were to come from the province, the cost could be covered should the town obtain some of that funding. “I’ve got to believe the province is going to have to provide a third round of funding. It is not as though COVID has stopped impacting municipalities. In fact, I would argue that's probably gotten worse,” Sampson said. TBM previously waived penalties for tax payments at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, according to Prince, most TBM residents continued to make the payments on-time and in-full. “Last year most people did make their payments even though there was a waive of the penalty and interest,” she said. “Most people are in the habit of making the payments and understand that they will have to pay the money eventually anyways.” A related staff report and draft bylaw are expected to be brought to a committee of the whole meeting in early February. Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
A number of front-line doctors across Canada have volunteered their scarce free time over the past year to help Canadians understand COVID-19. Jeff Semple checks in with some of these doctors to answer your questions, and give us a glimpse into their lives.
With the new year here, many are starting to think of tax season which is just around the corner. This year, with the uncertain financial standing Canada and the world, is in with COVID-19 still breathing down our throats, it is helpful to hear of tax credits being offered by the government. Recently, Deputy Premier and Finance minister Donna Harpauer came forward with a few tax credits the Sask Party is offering, “We are pleased to resume the indexation of income tax brackets and tax credit amounts in 2021….. Indexation protects Saskatchewan taxpayers from bracket creep, and helps keep the tax system fair, competitive and affordable.” All Saskatchewan income tax brackets and tax credit amounts will once again be indexed in 2021, this will save taxpayers an estimated $15 million. The level of indexation in 2021 will be 1.0 percent, matching the national rate of inflation. “Restarting the Active Families Benefit to make children’s activities more affordable was a key election commitment of our government,” Harpauer said. “As promised, the Active Families Benefit will provide a non-refundable tax credit of $150 per year per child to eligible families. Families of children with a disability will receive an additional $50, for a total tax credit of $200 per year per child.” Families with children enrolled in sports, arts and cultural activities will also be able to claim the Active Families Benefit once again on their 2021 taxes, the restarting of the Active Families Benefit will be part of the 2021-22 Budget which will be retroactive to January 1, 2021. Parents who enroll their children in sports, arts and cultural activities in the new year are therefore reminded to keep their receipts so they may claim the benefit with their 2021 tax filings. Saskatchewan residents who are planning to renovate their homes may also be able to claim the recently announced Saskatchewan Home Renovation Tax Credit. Under this non-refundable tax credit, Saskatchewan homeowners can save up to $1,155 in provincial income tax in 2021 if they claim a 10.5 percent tax credit on up to $11,000 of eligible home renovation expenses incurred between October 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021. A further $945 in savings may be claimed in 2022 in respect of eligible expenses incurred between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022. Eligible expenses include the cost of permits, contractor labour and professional services, building materials, fixtures, and equipment rentals. Tax Credits are always helpful to see as tax season approaches. It is always a good idea to check with your local accountant, or better yet hire a local account, as they are always on top of any tax credit you may be eligible for. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
LOS ANGELES — Hours after an angry mob of Trump supporters took control of the U.S. Capitol in a violent insurrection, Selena Gomez laid much of the blame at the feet of Big Tech. “Today is the result of allowing people with hate in their hearts to use platforms that should be used to bring people together and allow people to build community,” tweeted the singer/actor. “Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Jack Dorsey, Sundar Pichai, Susan Wojcicki — you have all failed the American people today, and I hope you’re going to fix things moving forward.” It’s just the latest effort by the 28-year-old Gomez to draw attention to the danger of internet companies critics say have profited from misinformation and hate on their platforms. Gomez has been calling out Big Tech for months — publicly on the very platforms she’s fighting and privately in conversations with Silicon Valley’s big hitters. In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Gomez said she’s frustrated by what she views as the companies’ lacklustre response and that they have to “stop doing the bare minimum.” “It isn’t about me versus you, one political party versus another. This is about truth versus lies and Facebook, Instagram and big tech companies have to stop allowing lies to just flow and pretend to be the truth,” Gomez said in a phone interview from New York. “Facebook continues to allow dangerous lies about vaccines and COVID and the U.S. election, and neo-Nazi groups are selling racist products via Instagram. “Enough is enough,” she said. Facebook and Twitter representatives declined to comment. Google didn't respond to an AP request for comment. Gomez is among a growing number of celebrities using their platforms to call out social media, including Sacha Baron Cohen, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Kerry Washington, and Kim Kardashian West. Gomez became passionate about the issue in 2017 when a 12-year-old commented on one of her Instagram posts: “Go kill yourself.” “That was my tipping point,” she said. “I couldn’t handle what I was seeing.” Social media experts have argued that companies like Facebook and Twitter played a direct role in the Capitol insurrection both by allowing plans for the uprising to be made on their platforms and through algorithms that allow dangerous conspiracy theories to take flight. That’s even though executives, such as Facebook’s Sandberg, have insisted that planning for the riots largely took place on other, smaller platforms. “The operational planning was happening in spaces that Selena, for example, was identifying to Sheryl Sandberg in advance saying, ‘You know, we need to do something about white supremacist extremism online and their ability to just form a group on Facebook and happily talk away to each other, plan what they’re going to do next,’” said Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which has helped educate Gomez about online misinformation. In emails shared exclusively with the AP, Gomez told Sandberg in September that “a search for a militia group ‘Three Percenters’ results in dozens of pages, groups and videos focused on people hoping and preparing for civil war, and there are dozens of groups titled ‘white lives matter’ that are full of hate and lies that might lead to people being hurt or, even worse, killed.” That’s even though Facebook banned U.S.-based militia groups from its service in August. In the same email, Gomez also points to several ads with lies about election fraud being allowed to remain on Facebook and Instagram and questions why that was being allowed. “I can’t believe you can’t check ads before you take money, and if you can’t you shouldn’t be profiting from it,” she wrote. “You’re not just doing nothing. You’re cashing in from evil.” In an email response to Gomez, Sandberg defends Facebook’s efforts to remove harmful content, saying the platform has removed millions of posts for hate speech, and bans ads that are divisive, inflammatory, or discourage people from voting. She didn’t directly address the advertising examples Gomez pointed to. “It’s beating around the bush and saying what people want to hear,” Gomez said about her interactions with Sandberg and Google, among others. "I think at this point we’ve all learned that words don’t match up unless the action is going to happen.” Following the violence at the U.S. Capitol, tech companies made some of their biggest changes to date. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms banned President Donald Trump, drawing criticism from some including the American Civil Liberties Union that it was censorship, and praise from others who say the president abused his platform by encouraging violence. In a thread defending Twitter’s Trump ban, CEO Jack Dorsey said “offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all.” In addition to banning Trump, Facebook has been removing video and photos from Capitol rioters. The company also added text on posts questioning the election, confirming that Joe Biden has been lawfully elected, and saying it was taking enforcement action against militarized social movements like QAnon. While the changes are positive, they’re “just a drop in the bucket,” said Jeff Orlowski, director of Netflix’s “The Social Dilemma,” a popular 2020 film that showed how Silicon Valley’s pursuit of profit could pose an existential threat to U.S. democracy. Voices like Gomez’s can be a huge help to get the message across, considering her hundreds of millions of followers, Orlowski said. “Think of the advertising revenue from every Selena Gomez post. Think of the advertising revenue from every Donald Trump post, the advertising revenue from every post from The Rock or whoever,” he said. “Those people are literally generating millions of dollars for these companies ... The top 20 people on Instagram have probably the most influence over Mark and Sheryl compared to anybody else until finally Congress as a whole gets enough momentum and energy to put some legislation together.” Orlowski and Ahmed both said they’re looking to Biden’s administration for reforms, including a measure that would hold social media companies accountable for the posts they allow, an effort that has gained momentum and drawn bipartisan support. “The question no longer is ‘Is there going to be change,’” Ahmed said. “The question is, ‘What kind of change are we going to get?’” Meanwhile, Gomez vows to keep fighting as long as she has a pedestal. “While I have this, I’m going to do good things with it,” she said. “I think that’s my purpose.” ___ Associated Press writer Barbara Ortutay contributed to this report from Oakland, California. Amanda Lee Myers, The Associated Press
MANCHESTER, England — Abby Dahlkemper became the third U.S. international to join Manchester City in England’s top women’s league this season after completing her move on Saturday. Americans Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle have been at City since August. Dahlkemper, a defender, signed a 2 1/2-year deal after four seasons with the North Carolina Courage in the National Women’s Soccer League. She has been playing for the U.S. team since October 2016 and was a member of the World Cup-winning squad from 2019. City is fourth in the Women’s Super League this season. The team has been runner-up the last three years. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right party on Saturday chose Armin Laschet, the pragmatic governor of Germany’s most populous state, as its new leader — sending a signal of continuity months before an election in which voters will decide who becomes the new chancellor. Laschet will have to build unity in the Christian Democratic Union, Germany's strongest party, after beating more conservative rival Friedrich Merz. And he will need to plunge straight into an electoral marathon that culminates with the Sept. 26 national vote. Saturday’s vote isn’t the final word on who will run as the centre-right candidate for chancellor in Germany’s Sept. 26 election, but Laschet will either run himself or have a big say in who does. He didn't address his plans at Saturday's party convention. Laschet, 59, was elected in 2017 as governor of North Rhine-Westphalia state, a traditionally centre-left stronghold. He governs the region in a coalition with the pro-business Free Democrats, the CDU’s traditional ally, but would likely be able to work smoothly with a more liberal partner, too. Current polls point to the environmentalist Greens as a likely key to power in the election. Laschet pointed Saturday to the value of continuity and moderation, and cited the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump as an example of where polarization can lead. “Trust is what keeps us going and what has been broken in America,” he told delegates before the vote. “By polarizing, sowing discord and distrust, and systematically lying, a president has destroyed stability and trust.” “We must speak clearly but not polarize,” Laschet said. “We must be able to integrate, hold society together.” He said that the party needs “the continuity of success” and “we will only win if we remain strong in the middle of society.” Laschet said that “there are many people who, above all, find Angela Merkel good and only after that the CDU.” He added that ”we need this trust now as a party” and that “we must work for this trust.” Laschet beat Merz, a former rival of Merkel who was making his second attempt in recent years to win the CDU leadership, by 521 votes to 466. A third candidate, prominent lawmaker Norbert Roettgen, was eliminated in a first round of voting. Merz's sizeable support suggests that a strong contingent would like a sharper conservative profile after the Merkel years. Merkel has led Germany since 2005 but said over two years ago that she wouldn't seek a fifth term as chancellor. Merkel, 66, has enjoyed enduring popularity with voters as she steered Germany and Europe through a series of crises. But she repeatedly abandoned orthodox conservative policies, for example by accelerating Germany's exit from nuclear energy and ending military conscription. Her decision in 2015 to allow in large numbers of migrants caused major tensions on the centre-right and strengthened the far-right Alternative for Germany party. Saturday's vote ends a nearly year-long limbo in Germany’s strongest party since outgoing leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who narrowly beat Merz in 2018 to succeed Merkel as CDU leader but failed to impose her authority, announced her resignation. A vote on her successor was delayed twice because of the coronavirus pandemic. Laschet called for unity after Saturday's vote and said Merz remains “an important personality for us.” “All the questions that will face us after the pandemic need a broad consensus in our party,” he said. “And we will need this consensus for all the elections that are ahead of us, too. Everyone will be against us.” Laschet, a miner's son who served as a member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2005, shouldn't expect much of a honeymoon in his new job. In addition to the national election, Germany is holding six state elections this year, the first two in mid-March. And at some point, he will confer with allies in Bavaria on who runs for chancellor. The CDU is part of the Union bloc along with its sister party, the Bavaria-only Christian Social Union, and the two parties will decide together on the candidate. The Union currently has a healthy poll lead, helped by positive reviews of Merkel’s handling of the pandemic. CSU leader Markus Soeder, the governor of Bavaria, is widely considered a potential candidate after gaining in political stature during the pandemic. Some also consider Health Minister Jens Spahn, who supported Laschet and was elected as one of his deputies, a possible contender. Polls have shown Soeder’s ratings outstripping those of Saturday’s CDU candidates. Laschet has garnered mixed reviews in the pandemic, particularly as a vocal advocate of loosening restrictions after last year’s first phase. “It's very good that a year-long discussion process is over,” Soeder said. “I am sure that Armin Laschet and I will find a joint, wise and united solution to all other pending questions.” Saturday’s result will now be officially endorsed in a postal ballot. That is expected to be a formality but is required by German law. Geir Moulson, The Associated Press