As experimental coronavirus vaccines inch toward approval in the United States, Homeland Security investigators are warning pandemic-weary Americans of fraudulent COVID-19 treatments and preventions sold online. (November 27)
As experimental coronavirus vaccines inch toward approval in the United States, Homeland Security investigators are warning pandemic-weary Americans of fraudulent COVID-19 treatments and preventions sold online. (November 27)
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office on Wednesday using Bibles that are laden with personal meaning, writing new chapters in a long-running American tradition — and one that appears nowhere in the law. The Constitution does not require the use of a specific text for swearing-in ceremonies and specifies only the wording of the president’s oath. That wording does not include the phrase “so help me God,” but every modern president has appended it to their oaths and most have chosen symbolically significant Bibles for their inaugurations. That includes Biden, who used the same family Bible he has used twice when swearing in as vice-president and seven times as senator from Delaware. The book, several inches thick, and which his late son Beau also used when swearing in as Delaware attorney general, has been a “family heirloom” since 1893 and “every important date is in there,” Biden told late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert last month. “Why is your Bible bigger than mine? Do you have more Jesus than I do?” quipped Colbert, who like Biden is a practicing Catholic. Biden’s use of his family Bible underscores the prominent role his faith has played in his personal and professional lives — and will continue to do so as he becomes the second Catholic president in U.S. history. He follows in a tradition of many other presidents who used family-owned scriptures to take their oaths, including Ronald Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Some have had their Bibles opened to personally relevant passages during their ceremonies. Bill Clinton, for example, chose Isaiah 58:12 — which urges the devout to be a “repairer of the breach” — for his second inauguration after a first term marked by political schisms with conservatives. Others took their oaths on closed Bibles, like John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, who in 1961 used his family’s century-old tome with a large cross on the front, similar to Biden’s. The tradition of using a Bible dates as far back as the presidency itself, with the holy book used by George Washington later appearing on exhibit at the Smithsonian on loan from the Masonic lodge that provided it in 1789. Washington’s Bible was later used for the oaths by Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. But not every president has used a Bible. Theodore Roosevelt took his 1901 oath without one after the death of William McKinley, while John Quincy Adams used a law book in 1825, according to his own account. Some have employed multiple Bibles during their ceremonies: Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump chose to use, along with others, the copy that Abraham Lincoln was sworn in on in 1861. Harris did the same for her vice-presidential oath, using a Bible owned by a close family friend and one that belonged to the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Harris has spoken of her admiration of Marshall, a fellow Howard University graduate and trailblazer in government as the high court’s first African American justice. “When I raise my right hand and take the oath of office tomorrow, I carry with me two heroes who’d speak up for the voiceless and help those in need,” Harris tweeted Tuesday, referring to Marshall and friend Regina Shelton, whose Bible she swore on when becoming attorney general of California and later senator. Harris, who attended both Baptist and Hindu services as a child, worships in the Baptist faith as an adult. While U.S. lawmakers have typically used Bibles for their oaths, some have chosen alternatives that reflect their religious diversity. Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress, in 2007 used a Qur’an that belonged to Thomas Jefferson, prompting objections from some Christian conservatives. Jefferson’s Qur’an made a return in 2019 at the oath for Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chose a Hebrew Bible in 2005 to reflect her Jewish faith. Newly elected Georgia Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, who is also Jewish and who swears in Wednesday, used Hebrew scripture belonging to Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, an ally of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement. Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, opted for the Bhagavad Gita in 2013 after becoming the first Hindu elected to Congress. And Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the only member of the current Congress who identifies as “religiously unaffiliated,” took her oath on the Constitution in 2018. ___ Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Elana Schor, The Associated Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Blizzard-like conditions are expected to descend on parts of eastern Newfoundland on Thursday as the provincial election campaign nears the end of its first week. Environment Canada says up to 30 centimetres of snow is in the forecast for the Avalon and Bonavista peninsulas, starting Thursday afternoon. Even more snow could cover the easternmost sections of the Avalon, which includes St. John's. And with maximum wind gusts expected to reach up to 100 kilometres per hour, outdoor campaigning will likely come to a halt. It was just over a year ago that one of the worst storms in the province's history dumped more than 90 centimetres of snow on St. John's, paralyzing the city for days. Winds gusting at 134 km/h created snowdrifts up to 15-feet high, and there was a minor avalanche in one neighbourhood near the harbour. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. The Canadian Press
CANSO – Maritime Launch Services (MLS) will not get liftoff as early as the company had hoped. Just more than four years ago, in Oct. 2016, MLS was formed in Nova Scotia to create a spaceport in Canso. In some of the earliest press releases about the proposed project, MLS stated the estimated timeline for first launch capability was 2020. And, although COVID-19 has created a Groundhog Day effect, time has continued to move forward – the calendar has turned to a new year, and MLS has yet to break ground on the Canso Spaceport facility. MLS CEO Steve Matier told The Journal on Monday (Jan. 18) that the delay could be attributed to several causes including, most recently, the wrench the global pandemic has put in every plan – be it business or personal. In addition, Matier said the original 2020 launch date was based on getting shovels in the ground in 2018. That wasn’t possible, as it took until June of 2019 to get the Environmental Assessment (EA) approved by the Department of Environment. And, he said, “There’s the whole land lease issue working with [Nova Scotia] Lands and Forestry; that takes time as well.” At this point, the company is working to meet the terms and conditions in the 2019 EA document, which include associated activities involved with designs for roads and buildings; plans for erosion and settlement control; analysis of potential impacts to watercourses and existing water users; environmental monitoring plans and more. “Within that approval (EA) was the rather lengthy list of compliance pieces that we need to get to them to review,” Matier told The Journal, adding that no construction could take place until the information supplied by the company was accepted by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment. Matier said he hoped they could move to breaking ground on the project in six months’ time, but “it’s hard to predict exact dates,” due to the time it takes for review and approval. Given that the Department of Lands and Forestry accepted the company’s draft survey for the lease of Crown land required for the project just before Christmas, the wheels of government can be seen to move forward. Once the project moves past approvals, and on to groundbreaking, Matier said it could be another two years before the first launch. “We require about 18 months of construction activities and six of commissioning before you can get to an actual launch.” While there have been delays, Matier told The Journal the company has potential clients lined up and waiting. “We have a fairly extensive set of letters of intent and MOUs with satellite developers and aggregators already, but these don’t turn into formal launch contracts until the point when we can tell them what that actual launch date is. Once we break ground, we’ll be in a much better position to project what the launch date is and start to turn those letters of intent into launch contracts.” Progress on the project has been slow this past year, and there has been little to report, which may have pleased some people in the Canso/Hazel Hill area who are opposed to the spaceport. Matier said, while the company is aware of the opposition, MLS would not have selected the site without support from the majority of community members. “We really started this initiative by working with the community, first and foremost,” he said, adding that the company has held open information sessions and met with stakeholder groups like the Municipality of the District of Guysborough and the Fishermen’s Association. “We have sought input and will continue to do so. We’re not about to ram this through … we have been open and honest about everything we are planning to do,” Matier said. The Environmental Assessment Approval, dated June 4, 2019 states that work must commence on the project within two years of the approval date; beyond that time, a written extension must be granted by the provincial environment minister. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
OTTAWA — Canada's parliamentary budget officer says reforms to a federal support program for provinces will nearly triple the cost to Ottawa next year, with the price tag projected to be about $4.5 billion. Yves Giroux says the government's fiscal stabilization program, which transfers cash to provinces that experience steep year-over-year revenue drops, will increase by $2.9 billion in fiscal 2021-22. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a major change to the program in the government's fall economic update. The revenue-insurance plan, which has been around since 1967, will now index the cap on provincial payments to Canada’s rate of GDP growth per person, a ceiling that was previously fixed at $60 per person in 1987. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has said the overhaul does not go far enough, calling it a "slap in the face," since even major declines in resource revenue might not trigger the fiscal stabilization, while a five per cent drop in non-resource revenue will. The beefed-up federal support comes as provinces wobble under the strain of record deficits and revenue shortfalls amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. The Canadian Press
Canadian companies are being told to ensure they’re not importing Chinese goods produced through the forced labour of the Uighur religious minority group. “Reports indicate mass transfers of Uighur labourers to factories across China where they are enrolled in forced labour programs that taint global supply chains in a variety of industries,” reads a Global Affairs Canada advisory. The federal government says it’s also aware of other human rights violations affecting Uighurs and other ethnic and religious groups by Chinese authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang and other parts of China, including mass arbitrary detention, forced separation of children from their parents, forced sterilization, and torture. China is a major trading partner for Canada, with $75 billion worth of merchandise imported from China in 2019, according to Statista. International Trade Minister Mary Ng said that the feds are committed to ensuring Canadian businesses aren't engaged with supply chains involving forced labour. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to increasing supply chain transparency, promoting responsible business conduct, and ensuring that Canadian companies are upholding Canadian values, wherever they may operate,” Ng said in a statement. Parliament amended the Customs Tariff Act last July to ban the imports of goods produced wholly or partly as a result of forced labour from any country. The government reminds companies that they must conform to these laws, adding that companies that operate within the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) may also be subject to human rights legislation. “In addition to legal risks, companies face reputational damage related to their supply chains if it is discovered that they are sourcing from entities that employ forced labour,” the advisory added. It remains unclear if there indeed have been confirmed instances of Uighur-made products flowing through Canadian supply chains. Canada’s National Observer asked Ng if she can definitively say there aren’t products made by Uighurs or other minority groups in Canadian supply chains, but the question was deferred to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), which also didn’t provide direct comment to the question. However, Jacqueline Callin, spokesperson for CBSA, explained shipments containing goods suspected of being produced by forced labour are detained at the border for inspection by a border services officer who has the authority to ban these goods from entering Canada based on their analysis of the specific situation. The government announced Monday that companies with ties to Xinjiang will have to sign a “Xinjiang Integrity Declaration” recognizing they’re aware of Canadian laws regarding the prohibition of forced labour and the “human rights situation in Xinjiang” before they receive support from the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS). It wasn't indicated when this declaration requirement will come into effect. The government also appointed a Canadian ombudsperson for responsible enterprise in April 2019 to review claims of alleged human rights abuses involving Canadian companies abroad, but Amnesty International Canada doesn’t think the office’s role goes far enough. “Without the power to compel documents or witness testimony, we fear the ombudsperson will be unable to fully investigate allegations of forced labour or other abuses from companies’ supply chains,” said Ketty Nivyabandi, the organization’s secretary general, in a statement. The Global Affairs advisory said the government urges Canadian companies with links to Xinjiang to “closely examine their supply chains to ensure that their activities do not support repression, including ... the Chinese government’s surveillance apparatus in Xinjiang, detention or internment facilities, or the use of forced labour.” However, Nivyabandi believes this shouldn’t be left to individual companies, calling for the Trudeau government to pass legislation that would require Canadian companies to conduct “human rights due diligence” within their global operations and supply chains. “The Canadian government has missed a crucial opportunity to hold Canadian companies accountable for human rights violations in Xinjiang and beyond,” Nivyabandi said. Yasmine Ghania, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
WASHINGTON — Three new senators were sworn into office Wednesday after President Joe Biden's inauguration, securing the majority for Democrats in the Senate and across a unified government to tackle the new president's agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges. In a first vote, the Senate confirmed Biden's nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines. Senators worked into the evening and overcame some Republican opposition to approve his first Cabinet member, in what's traditionally a show of good faith on Inauguration Day to confirm at least some nominees for a new president's administration. Haines, a former CIA deputy director, will become a core member of Biden’s security team, overseeing the agencies that make up the nation’s intelligence community. She was confirmed 84-10. The new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged colleagues to turn the spirit of the new president’s call for unity into action. “President Biden, we heard you loud and clear,” Schumer said in his first speech as majority leader. “We have a lengthy agenda. And we need to get it done together.” Vice-President Kamala Harris drew applause as she entered the chamber to deliver the oath of office to the new Democratic senators — Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla — just hours after taking her own oath at the Capitol alongside Biden. The three Democrats join a Senate narrowly split 50-50 between the parties, but giving Democrats the majority with Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote. Ossoff, a former congressional aide and investigative journalist, and Warnock, a pastor from the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s church in Atlanta, won run-off elections in Georgia this month, defeating two Republicans. Padilla was tapped by California’s governor to finish the remainder of Harris’ term. “Today, America is turning over a new leaf. We are turning the page on the last four years, we’re going to reunite the country, defeat COVID-19, rush economic relief to the people,” Ossoff told reporters earlier at the Capitol. “That’s what they sent us here to do.” Taken together, their arrival gives Democrats for the first time in a decade control of the Senate, the House and the White House, as Biden faces the unparalleled challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout, and the nation's painful political divisions from the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by a mob loyal to Donald Trump. Congress is being called on to consider Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion COVID recovery package, to distribute vaccines and shore up an economy as more than 400,000 Americans have died from the virus. At the same time, the Senate is about to launch an impeachment trial of Trump, charged by the House of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol as rioters tried to interrupt the Electoral College tally and overturn Biden’s election. The Senate will need to confirm other Biden Cabinet nominees. To “restore the soul” of the country, Biden said in his inaugural speech, requires “unity.” Yet as Washington looks to turn the page from Trump to the Biden administration, Republican leader Mitch McConnell is not relinquishing power without a fight. Haines' nomination was temporarily blocked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Okla., as he sought information about the CIA's enhanced interrogation program. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is holding back the Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas over Biden's proposed immigration changes. And McConnell is refusing to enter a power-sharing agreement with Senate Democrats unless they meet his demands, chiefly to preserve the Senate filibuster — the procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. McConnell, in his first speech as the minority party leader, said the election results with narrow Democratic control of the House and Senate showed that Americans “intentionally entrusted both political parties with significant power.” The Republican leader said he looked forward working with the new president “wherever possible.” At her first White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s desire to have his Cabinet confirmed and in place is “front and centre for the president,” and she said he was hoping to have his national security nominees in place Thursday or Friday. Psaki said the president will be “quite involved” in negotiations over the COVID relief package, but left the details of the upcoming impeachment trial to Congress. The Senate can “multitask,” she said. That’s a tall order for a Senate under normal circumstances, but even more so now in the post-Trump era, with Republicans badly split between their loyalties to the defeated president and wealthy donors who are distancing themselves from Republicans who back Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to soon transmit to the Senate the House-passed article of impeachment against Trump, charged with incitement of insurrection, a step that will launch the Senate impeachment trial. Meantime, the power-sharing talks between Schumer and McConnell have hit a stalemate. It’s an arcane fight McConnell has inserted into what has traditionally been a more routine organizing resolution over committee assignments and staffing resources, but a power play by the outgoing Republican leader grabbing at tools that can be used to block Biden’s agenda. Progressive and liberal Democrats are eager to do away with the filibuster to more quickly advance Biden’s priorities, but not all rank-and-file Senate Democrats are on board. Schumer has not agreed to any changes but McConnell is taking no chances. For now, it will take unanimous consent among senators to toggle between conducting votes on legislative business and serving as jurors in the impeachment trial. The House last week impeached Trump for having sent the mob to the Capitol to “fight like hell” during the tally of Electoral College votes to overturn Biden’s election. __ Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
After four years, U.S. President Donald Trump will be leaving office as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into the position on Jan. 20, 2021. The weeks leading up to Trump’s departure have been tumultuous, with a siege on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, five federal executions, and 143 presidential pardons, just to name a few pivotal moments.Trump began the day by speaking to a crowd at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One. He is traveling to his golf club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, and will not be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.Supporters of the 45th U.S. President gathered in West Palm Beach, Fla. to greet Trump’s motorcade when it arrived in the city.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
Aylmer resident Rayne Gelinas is taking a stand against “freedom” rallies, the local anti-restrictions movement, and its connection to the Aylmer Church of God Restoration. Ms. Gelinas is the organizer of three roadside protests along John Street North on Dec. 27, Jan. 3, and Jan. 10 just outside the Church of God. Dozens of cars line the road, with occupants displaying signs and occasionally honking during the church service. The move is to support wearing face masks and following COVID-19 health and safety regulations, which some church members and supporters have been vocal in opposing. Ms. Gelinas said she was pleased with the turnout, adding attendees, for the most part, strictly followed health and safety protocols by remaining in their cars. There was one notable exception at the Jan. 3 protest – a 34-year-old Sparta man, Terry Carrington – who was not associated with the group. They dispersed the Dec. 27 rally at Aylmer Police request, due to safety concerns and road congestion. “We’re not interested in getting to violence. We want to put public pressure on misbehaviour of this church and their associates,” explained Ms. Gelinas, specifically pointing to Church of God Pastor Henry Hildebrandt and his son, Herbert. Both Hildebrandts have been active participants with “freedom rallies” and gatherings across Ontario and are facing charges under the Reopening Ontario Act. Ms. Gelinas organized a social media group called Canadians Against “Freedom” Rallies and Misinformation. She intends to continue the peaceful roadside protests. “I have taken a lot of heat for being in the position I’m in,” she said. “I want our town to become the peaceful, beautiful community that it once was.” Ms. Gelinas alleged that she has been harassed and threatened by some associated with the church following the roadside protest, incidents which were subsequently reported to Aylmer Police. Several cars have driven by her home, with the occupants appearing to record with a cell phone. After the Jan. 10 roadside protest, Ms. Gelinas alleged that a black SUV belonging to a congregation member followed her car to her Aylmer home. The group is not a part of the “We Are One, We Are All” (WAOWAA) group that posted anonymous videos on YouTube, criticizing the actions of those associated with “freedom rallies.” Ms. Gelinas said she is in support of WAOWAA. On. Jan. 14, Ms. Gelinas said the roadside protests outside the church are now on hold as a result of the new provincial stay at home order. “I can’t have anyone in harm’s way.” Group members will now be working on a poster/flyer campaign. Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express
Residents who have been missing a backyard fire can now apply for burn permits online, as well as in person at the fire station on Mahood Johnston Drive. As of Jan. 15, residents wishing to purchase a permit online have been directed to https://mok.burnpermits.com/loginto set up an account. Once that is complete, payment can be made online through ‘Square One’ with debit or credit. Cash purchases should be made in person. Fire prevention officer Shane Watson suggests that anyone purchasing a permit should read the terms and conditions carefully, so they are informed as to what the permit entitles them to do and conditions they must adhere to. The type of permit purchased determines the length of time it is valid for and the cost of the permit. A recreational burn permit is valid for the calendar year in which it is purchased, and costs $20, as does the open air burning permit. An agricultural burning permit is valid for seven days and costs $20. The special occurrence burning permit can only be granted by the chief fire official or the designate. The cost of the permit is $20. A house, barn or similar burning permit can only be granted by the chief fire official or the designate, and is only valid for one day. The cost of the permit is $50 and those applying for this permit are asked to see the terms and conditions in open air burning permits, for additional instruction. All permits, except the recreational burning permit, require the permit holder to notify (844) 777-0443 before any burning takes place. The terms and conditions also list all items that can and cannot be burned. If applicants have additional questions not covered on the https://mok.burnpermits.com/loginwebsite, they do have the option of calling Kincardine Fire and Emergency Services for assistance. Do not call 911, call the fire station at 519-396-2141 or email email@example.com. “Kincardine Fire and Emergency Services are always trying to serve the community as best we can,” said Watson. “This new online process adds another layer to allow the community to apply for burn permits online from the comfort of their home, while still offering in-person service for those that choose to do so. Safety is always our priority and we also recognize the times we are currently in. This is another reason why we are launching the online platform, to promote people and families staying at home while continuing to attain what they need, whether it’s an approved fire to clear brush for crops, or a camp fire with your loved ones.” Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
PARIS — French university students protested Wednesday on Paris’ Left Bank to demand to be allowed back to class, and to call attention to suicides and financial troubles among students cut off from friends, professors and job opportunities amid the pandemic. Carrying a banner reading “We Will Not Be the Sacrificed Generation,” hundreds of students gathered to march on the Education Ministry, seeking government help for those struggling. Other student protests were planned Wednesday elsewhere in France. The government ordered all universities closed in October to stem resurgent virus infections, after a similar closure in the spring set many students back academically and socially. Students have increasingly been sharing their woes on social networks under such hashtags as #suicideetudiant and #etudiantphantomes, or ghost students. Heidi Soupault, a 19-year-old student in Strasbourg, wrote an open letter to President Emmanuel Macron last week saying she and her peers have “no more dreams” and have “the impression of being dead.” While France tightened its curfew last week as virus hospitalizations grow again, Prime Minister Jean Castex made a gesture toward college students, allowing first-year students to start returning to partial classes as of next week. The government acknowledged that lockdown-related mental health problems among young people are also a public health concern. But the protesting students say the measures don’t go far enough to address their woes. France has among the world’s highest numbers of virus infections and deaths. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
Paul Lavoie est devenu le nouveau directeur général de Tourisme Côte-Nord le 13 janvier. M. Lavoie assurait l’intérim du poste de directeur général pour l’organisation depuis le mois d’août. Cumulant une quinzaine d’années d’expérience dans le milieu du développement économique et fort d’une « passion inconditionnelle pour la Côte-Nord », M. Lavoie sera chargé d’assurer la poursuite des efforts de promotion et de développement touristique de la région, est-il mentionné dans un communiqué de presse. « Je suis extrêmement content que nous ayons nommé Paul. Ce fut un processus de longue haleine, mais nous avons trouvé le meilleur candidat pour ce poste », exprime le coprésident du conseil d’administration de Tourisme Côte-Nord et maire de l’île d’Anticosti, John Pineault. Paul Lavoie remplace Mario Cyr, qui avait quitté la tête de Tourisme Côte-Nord en août.Laurence Dami-Houle, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Portageur
Raven is an 11 month old Great Dane puppy with a love for life that is a thrill to watch. Like all puppies, she is full of energy and enthusiasm. A large Great Dane at full gallop is a beautiful sight but Raven is also adorably clumsy with her legs that are long and gangly. She runs like freight train full of joy and happiness when she discovers the yard full of freshly fallen snow. This is Raven's first winter and she is overjoyed at the opportunity to play. Raven's owner had brought her outside with the intention of taking her in the car to the nearby forest for a long walk on the leash, but Raven was having such fun running around free that he decided to let her have her moment before they got into the car. She can't decide which direction to go in as she runs around in circles at full tilt. After a few minutes, Raven grew tired and willingly got into the car for her daily forest time. Great Danes are one of the most beautiful and loveable dog breed and anyone who owns one usually falls completely in love with the breed. They are strong, noble, protective, and incredibly affectionate. After a day running and playing, they are content to stretch out on the couch and sleep as their humans relax and watch television or sit by the fire.
CAIRO — A boat carrying migrants bound for Europe capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off the coat of Libya, drowning at least 43 people, the U.N. migration agency said Wednesday. The International Organization for Migration said the “tragic” shipwreck that took place a day earlier was the first maritime disaster in 2021 involving migrants seeking better lives in Europe. In recent years, the EU has partnered with Libya’s coast guard and other local groups to stem such dangerous sea crossings. Rights groups, however, say those policies leave migrants at the mercy of armed groups or confined in squalid detention centres rife with abuses. The IOM said coastal security forces in Libya’s western town of Zuwara rescued 10 migrants from the shipwreck Tuesday and brought them to shore. It said the dead were all men from West African nations, according to survivors. The migration agency said the boat left the western city of Zawiya early Tuesday and capsized a few hours later after its engine stopped working amid rough seas. In the years since the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, war-torn Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. Smugglers often pack desperate families into ill-equipped rubber boats that stall and founder along the perilous Central Mediterranean route. The U.N. migration and refugee agencies called for an “urgent and measurable shift in the approach” to the situation in the Mediterranean, including an end to returns to “unsafe ports." "Arbitrary arrests and arbitrary detention in the direst of conditions continue (in Libya). Many are victimized and exploited by traffickers and smugglers, held for ransom, tortured, and abused,” they said in a statement Wednesday. The IOM said in November that some 500 migrants have died trying to cross the central Mediterranean, but the actual number of people who lost their lives could be much higher, due to “the limited ability to monitor routes.” Samy Magdy, The Associated Press
The fire department in Summerside, P.E.I., has a new pumper truck, and they marked its arrival with a tradition that is new to the city, but is centuries old in fire departments across the continent. Firefighters gathered Sunday to push the truck back into its new home. "In the early 1800s when they used to pull the steam engines or the hand pumpers with horses, the horses can't back them into the building. That's where the tradition started," said Chief Ron Enman. "Right across North America it's been a tradition. I just thought it would be something we'd start here and we had a lot of fun with it." Identical setups The new pumper replaces a 25-year-old truck that had reached the end of its life span Apart from being new, Enman said the new truck also will make work a little easier for firefighters because it is the same model as the other two pumpers at the station. "They're identical and they're set up identical," he said. "So if you're looking for a hydrant wrench on engine one or engine two, engine three, it doesn't matter what truck you're on when you go to that truck." The new pumper truck cost $681,000. More from CBC P.E.I.
SHEET HARBOUR – While no date has been set for administering phase one of the COVID-19 vaccine at Habourview Lodge (HVL) Continuing Care in Sheet Harbour, preparations are underway, while families are eagerly awaiting its arrival. Nicky Coolen’s mother has been a resident since 2019. The pandemic has made the transition to the facility challenging for her family. Visiting during the isolation period in the spring was managed through Skype calls and visits since then have not always included physical embraces. Masks and social distancing are mandatory and until the fall plastic barriers have been the norm. “This has been a really difficult year for everyone with loved ones in long term care – for the residents – and the staff who care for them,” Coolen told The Journal via email. “This is the first full year our Mom has been a resident at Harbourview and it’s been really hard not being able to see her and hug her as much as we’d like.” Coolen and her family has been waiting patiently for the arrival of the vaccine. “We’re very grateful she’s in a place where we feel she is safe and protected,” said Coolen, “… and the staff have been so incredible through it all – but the necessary restrictions and limitations around the visits have been hard on everyone.” More than 100 residents and staff are on the list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, once the supply is received. “There are 32 elders living at HVL and 69 staff in total work here,” Clinical Supervisor Cathy Logan said. Marla MacInnis, spokesperson with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness told The Journal via e-mail that work is underway to distribute and administer vaccine in nursing homes as quickly as possible. “We are unable to provide an exact date of when each facility across the province will receive the vaccine,” MacInnis said. The inability to obtain the vaccine supply required has caused the delay. “As vaccine supply increases – so too will access to the vaccine for Nova Scotians,” said MacInnis. In the meantime, preparations are being made to ready facilities for receiving the vaccines. “We are working closely with the long-term care sector,” said MacInnis, “to ensure each facility is ready to begin administering vaccinations when it is their turn.” “We’re anxiously awaiting word on when the vaccine will be available,” said Coolen. “It will provide a great sense of relief to know that our Mom – [and] the other residents and the staff – are protected against COVID.” Janice Christie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
A Jan. 11 budget presentation made by Corporate Services Director Kale Brown to Aylmer council detailed the financial outline for 2021 and provided a five-year project plan. Mr. Brown first outlined matters that were carried forward into 2021 from the previous year, and how the panemic was affecting certain projects. There are ongoing payroll adjustments for town staff. As a result of the provincial shutdown, some EECC staff will be transferred to other Aylmer departments, such as parks. Mr. Brown said that a tender for the Clarence Street reconstruction project was currently being prepared for this year. While the project was estimated to cost $1.2-million in 2020, the project is now estimated to cost about $1.5-million. The Clarence Street reconstruction was originally scheduled for 2020, but was delayed due to the pandemic. “The consequence of that is it puts projects starting to stack up on one another,” said Mr. Brown. “So department heads are having to review things that didn’t get completed in 2020 as a result of the pandemic and making sure the 10-year plan is adjusted to accommodate all of them again.” “We’re basically doing 10 years’ worth of projects in 9 years.” The development charges, water, and sewer rates study will move forward in 2021. This will allow staff to prepare capital plans, which will assist with the asset management plan and future capital planning for the water and sewer assets. The application for federal-provincial funding for 25 Centre Street renovations has been submitted. The renovations will cost between $200,000 and $250,000 and combine Aylmer town hall with the attached building on Centre Street. This will allow enough space for distanced in person council meetings. The town received $553,810 in 2019 from the province in the form of a modernization grant. Mr. Brown discussed five projects using this funding scheduled to take place this year. $90,000 will go to a records management system. Mr. Brown said this will allow staff to move more digitally in terms of file retention and file tracking. “Once it is established, it actually alters the way you process information, the way you track files, and the way it’s actually searchable and retrievable files as well.” $10,000 of the grant money will be spent on a Human Resources Information System. The add-on module will track staff training, sign offs, and pandemic-related information, such as daily health screenings. A bar code will be applied to tax bills. This will require a redesign that will cost an estimated $3,700. “If you were coming to pay your taxes at town hall, you would put your tax bill stub underneath the bar code scanner and immediately it would pull up information relating to your tax roll.” A parks and recreation master plan will cost $60,000, an item that has been discussed and put forward for several years. It will provide council with direction on available options in that department. $100,000 of this grant will go towards the 25 Centre Street renovation. There are other scheduled projects using this grant money for 2022 and 2023, leaving an unallocated balance left of $27,110. The town benefit renewal in April is projected to cost the town $31,000 more than last year. There is a 1.86% increase in the assessment roll, which represents “growth and expansion that has happened, which is coming online and being taxed for the first time.” This growth should help council address other increased costs, said Mr. Brown. He reiterated the uncertainty regarding the operating conditions in 2021. “We do not have a crystal ball as to how the year will progress. Operating environments can still change and they will be volatile, at least for the first half of 2021.” Councillor Tom Charlton asked for more details about the $60,000 parks and recreation master plan. Mr. Brown clarified that the master plan is a study. It would include input from the public as to what they would like to see from the parks and recreation department. This long-range document would also lay out operations and programming options available to council. The presentation also highlighted a financial sustainability analysis from 2015 to 2019 for the town of Aylmer. The sustainability indicators are prepared by the province, using information from financial information returns, which are submitted by each municipality. Aylmer ranked “low” level of risk in every category throughout 2019 when compared to other south region lower tier municipalities. Some of the indicators include debt servicing cost as a percent of total revenues, annual surplus (deficit) as a percent of own source revenues, and total reserves and discretionary reserve funds as a percent of municipal expenses. There was one “moderate” risk ranking in the debt servicing section in 2017. “That is pretty quickly explained – that was the final retirement of the debt relating to the EECC’s construction,” said Mr. Brown. “The moral of the story is that the financial sustainability in the current financial state of the town of Aylmer has been incredibly conservative and in good financial health for a number of years.” Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — Illicit drug overdoses are rising in northern British Columbia and health officials warn a new mix of street drugs can make a key life-saving medication less effective. Northern Health and the First Nations Health Authority have issued an overdose alert, warning that benzodiazepines, or benzos, have been found in illicit drugs circulating in the region. The alert says users of drugs contaminated with benzos might be difficult to rouse and could also be slow to respond to naloxone, the drug that reverses opioid overdoses. Health officials say benzos impede brain activity and raise the potential for overdose when mixed with street drugs laced with opioids such as fentanyl, which slow breathing and heart rate. The health authorities say street drugs have become increasingly toxic and unpredictable during the COVID-19 pandemic and they urge area drug users not to use alone. Data from BC Emergency Health Services shows overdoses spiked in northern B.C. between 2019 and last year, with calls in Fort St. John rising from 77 to 125, while paramedics in Prince George answered 999 overdose calls in 2020, an jump of 375 cases in one year. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. The Canadian Press
King wants to mitigate traffic and safety issues before a Schomberg subdivision is built. Councillors approved staff recommendations to pave the way for Forestbrook Hills phase 2, off of Roselena Drive in Schomberg. This “extension” of the existing community has been in the works for years, with plans dating back to 2016. A draft plan and bylaw amendments were submitted by the proponents in 2017 and a public meeting was first held in 2018. The plan has been revised, and now includes 51 single-detached homes on the lands, which will be accessed from an extension of Roselena, crossing the river and forming a new intersection with Church Street. The extension of Roselena, staff said, will facilitate the connection of the existing community as envisioned in the Community Plan. Protecting the Schomberg River is important, and measures will be taken to mitigate any negative impacts. Also, staff said a hardwood forest adjacent to the development will be enhanced with buffers intended for replanting. The plan also includes a reasonable transition of lot sizes. Curbs, gutters and a sidewalk will be installed at the frontage of the development abutting Church Street. Retaining walls will be necessary in some spots. Commenting agencies such as King, LSRCA and York Region have no objections, noting any outstanding matters will be addressed during the draft plan approval stage. This type of development is permitted and even supported by residents. The main concerns surround traffic and pedestrian safety. Residents contend when the extension to Roselena takes place, it will create a bypass through the neighbourhood. Staff said Roselena would be a second principle entrance for the development and would allow water services to be “looped” and provide optimal response times for emergency vehicles. Right now, more than 100 homes are served by a single access at Roselena and Moore Park Drive. “Two fully maintained road access points would also foster better traffic flow and protect for future transportation-transit planning,” staff said. Staff also noted that King’s new Traffic Calming Strategy can help in terms of alleviating potential traffic woes, such as speeding. Staff suggested that Roselena be considered for “passive traffic calming techniques,” which include signage and markings used to slow traffic. Staff also said the developer will have to build and maintain the calming measures, and monitor traffic on an ongoing basis. Residents, however, are not completely convinced. While they support new housing, they point to safety and speeding as major concerns. One resident said compromises need to be made, and he’d like to see a double cul-de-sac, instead of the connection of Roselena with Church. Opening Roselena will only compound the problem, he said, adding this new phase need to be done with safety in mind. One resident did a house-to-house survey prior to the recent virtual council meeting. He said most residents thought the cul-de-sac was the preferred option. Other residents pointed to the quality of life, stressing the character of the existing neighbourhood needs to be maintained. Planner Paul Kulyk aid staff don’t support the double cul-de-sac. He noted the Township now has the benefit of the traffic strategy to help guide them. The developer, he said, is obligated to implement the traffic control measures. A lot of the concerns, he said, point to driver behaviour, and it’s difficult to design for behaviour. Councillor Bill Cober put forth an addition to the recommendations. It calls for traffic mitigation measures be included in the design. Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday formally revoked the permit needed to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline (KXL), dashing Ottawa's hopes of salvaging the $8 billion project that the struggling Canadian crude sector has long supported. The move represents another set-back for the beleaguered Canadian oil industry, in particular its energy heartland Alberta, kills thousands of jobs, and marks an early bump in Biden's relationship with Canada, a key trading partner. Keystone XL, owned by TC Energy Corp, is already under construction in Canada, and would carry 830,000 barrels per day of Alberta oil sands crude to Nebraska.
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