New Governor Spencer Cox unveiled a plan Friday to ramp up Utah's COVID-19 vaccine distribution as the state sees a post-holiday surge in new cases. (Jan. 8)
New Governor Spencer Cox unveiled a plan Friday to ramp up Utah's COVID-19 vaccine distribution as the state sees a post-holiday surge in new cases. (Jan. 8)
For two Virginia police officers who posed for a photo during the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection, the reckoning has been swift and public: They were identified, charged with crimes and arrested. But for five Seattle officers the outcome is less clear. Their identities still secret, two are on leave and three continue to work while a police watchdog investigates whether their actions in the nation's capital on Jan. 6 crossed the line from protected political speech to lawbreaking. The contrasting cases highlight the dilemma faced by police departments nationwide as they review the behaviour of dozens of officers who were in Washington the day of the riot by supporters of President Donald Trump. Officials and experts agree that officers who were involved in the melee should be fired and charged for their role. But what about those officers who attended only the Trump rally before the riot? How does a department balance an officer's free speech rights with the blow to public trust that comes from the attendance of law enforcement at an event with far-right militants and white nationalists who went on to assault the seat of American democracy? An Associated Press survey of law enforcement agencies nationwide found that at least 31 officers in 12 states are being scrutinized by their supervisors for their behaviour in the District of Columbia or face criminal charges for participating in the riot. Officials are looking into whether the officers violated any laws or policies or participated in the violence while in Washington. A Capitol Police officer died after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher as rioters descended on the building and many other officers were injured. A woman was shot to death by Capitol Police and three other people died after medical emergencies during the chaos. Most of the officers have not been publicly identified; only a few have been charged. Some were identified by online sleuths. Others were reported by their colleagues or turned themselves in. They come from some of the country’s largest cities — three Los Angeles officers and a sheriff’s deputy, for instance — as well as state agencies and a Pennsylvania police department with nine officers. Among them are an Oklahoma sheriff and New Hampshire police chief who have acknowledged being at the rally, but denied entering the Capitol or breaking the law. “If they were off-duty, it’s totally free speech,” said Will Aitchison, a lawyer in Portland, Oregon, who represents law enforcement officers. “People have the right to express their political views regardless of who’s standing next to them. You just don’t get guilt by association.” But Ayesha Bell Hardaway, a professor at Case Western Reserve University law school, said an officer’s presence at the rally creates a credibility issue as law enforcement agencies work to repair community trust, especially after last summer's of protests against police brutality sparked by the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Communities will question the integrity of officers who attended the rally along with “individuals who proudly profess racist and divisive viewpoints,” she said. “It calls into question whether those officers are interested in engaging in policing in a way that builds trust and legitimacy in all communities, including communities of colour.” In Rocky Mount, a Virginia town of about 1,000, Sgt. Thomas Robertson and Officer Jacob Fracker were suspended without pay and face criminal charges after posting a photo of themselves inside the Capitol during the riot. According to court records, Robertson wrote on social media that the “Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem … The right IN ONE DAY took the f(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.” Attempts to contact the pair were unsuccessful and court records do not list lawyers. Leaders in Rocky Mount declined to be interviewed. In a statement, they said the events at the Capitol were tragic. “We stand with and add our support to those who have denounced the violence and illegal activity that took place that day,” said Police Chief Ken Criner, Capt. Mark Lovern and Town Manager James Ervin. “Our town and our police department absolutely does not condone illegal or unethical behaviour by anyone, including our officers and staff.” On the other side of the county, five Seattle officers are under investigation by the city’s Office of Police Accountability. Two officers posted photos of themselves on social media while in the district and officials are investigating to determine where they were and what they were doing. Three others told supervisors that they went to Washington for the events and are being investigated for what they did while there. Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said his department supports officers’ freedom of speech and that those who were in the nation's capital will be fired if they “were directly involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.” But police leaders need to evaluate more than just clear criminal behaviour, according to Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a policing research and policy group. They must also consider how their actions affect the department credibility, he said. Officers' First Amendment rights “don’t extend to expressing words that may be violent or maybe express some prejudice,” Wexler said, “because that’s going to reflect on what they do when they’re working, when they’re testifying in court.” Through the summer and fall, Seattle police — along with officers elsewhere — came under criticism for their handling of mass protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd. The city received more than 19,000 complaints against officers, most for excessive use of force and improper use of pepper spray. Andrew Myerberg, director of the Seattle Office of Police Accountability, said none of the officers now under investigation were involved in those cases. But Sakara Remmu, cofounder of Black Lives Matter Seattle/King County, said the officers should be fired regardless. Their public declarations of solidarity with Trump fosters not just community distrust, but terror of the entire department, she said. “It absolutely does matter when the decorum of racial peace cracks and racial hatred comes through, because we already have a documented history and legacy of what that means in this country,” Remmu said. In Houston, the police chief decried an officer who resigned and was later charged in the riot. A lawyer for Officer Tam Pham said the 18-year veteran of the force "very much regrets” being at the rally and was “deeply remorseful.” But many chiefs have said their officers committed no crimes. “The Arkansas State Police respects the rights and freedom of an employee to use their leave time as the employee may choose,” department spokesman Bill Sadler said of two officers who attended the Trump rally. Malik Aziz, the former chair and executive director of the National Black Police Association, compared condemning all officers who were in Washington to tarring all the protesters who took to streets after the killing of George Floyd with the violent and destructive acts of some. A major with the Dallas Police Department, Aziz said police acting privately have the same rights as other Americans, but that knowingly going to a bigoted event should be disqualifying for an officer. “There’s no place in law enforcement for that individual,” Aziz said. Martha Bellisle And Jake Bleiberg, The Associated Press
Guyana said late on Saturday that a Venezuelan navy vessel detained two vessels that were fishing in Guyana's exclusive economic zone, the latest dispute in a long-running border conflict between the two South American nations. Caracas says much of eastern Guyana is its own territory, a claim that is rejected by Georgetown. The conflict has flared up in recent years as Guyana has started developing oil reserves near the disputed area.
Saskatchewan's premier says the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline isn't over yet. In a recent interview with CBC's Rosemary Barton, Premier Scott Moe says conversations around the TC Energy project are ongoing, despite U.S. President Joe Biden's recent cancellation of the pipeline's permit by executive order. "I wouldn't say this project is over by any stretch. There is a lot of conversation to have on KXL," Moe said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live. The 1,897-kilometre pipeline would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from oilsands in Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska, connecting to the original Keystone pipeline running to the U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. A portion of the project would have crossed into southern Saskatchewan. Moe, along with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, has pushed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government to take action against the pipeline's halt. That could include economic sanctions, Moe suggested — a possibility also raised by Kenney. "I haven't said that we should go to sanctions and sanctions should be utilized first," Moe said in his interview with Barton. "But sanctions are always on the table in any conversation or any challenge that we may have with our trading relationship with our largest partner." The project, originally blocked by U.S. President Barack Obama, was then approved by President Donald Trump, who wanted to negotiate the terms of the project, before ultimately being blocked again by Biden in the first days of his presidency. Federal Opposition leader Erin O'Toole has also expressed frustration over the cancellation of the project, saying in a statement it "will devastate thousands of Canadian families who have already been badly hurt by the economic crisis." Trudeau's government has repeatedly said that it supports the project and has made that clear to the new U.S. administration, but both the prime minister and Canada's ambassador to the U.S. have said it is time to respect the decision and move on. Speaking on Friday morning, Trudeau reiterated his disappointment with the cancellation and said he would raise the issue during his phone call with Biden scheduled for later in the day. "Obviously the decision on Keystone XL is a very difficult one for workers in Alberta and Saskatchewan who've had many difficult hits," he said. "Over the past years we have been there for them and we will continue to be there for them and I will express my concern for jobs and livelihoods in Canada, particularly in the West, directly in my conversation with President Biden." Trudeau stressed he and the new president are on the same wavelength on fighting climate change and middle-class job creation, as well as the "values of Canadians." Moe called the cancellation a "devastating blow to North American energy security," and said in the interview with Barton he'll continue to advocate for the pipeline, which he says has both economic and environmental benefits for Canada.
JOHANNESBURG — Tributes are pouring in for South Africa's Oscar-nominated anti-apartheid jazz trombonist and composer Jonas Gwangwa, who has died at the age of 83. With driving music that fired up Black South Africans’ resistance to repressive white minority rule, Gwangwa left the country rather than submit to apartheid censorship. Other prominent exiled South African musicians included Hugh Masekela, Abdullah Ibrahim and Miriam Makeba. “Jonas Gwangwa ascends to our great orchestra of musical ancestors whose creative genius and dedication to the freedom of all South Africans inspired millions in our country and mobilized the international community against the apartheid system," President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a tribute. So potent was Gwangwa's musical activism that his home was bombed by apartheid forces in 1985, but he survived, Ramaphosa said in his tribute. Raised in Johannesburg's Soweto township, Gwangwa rose to prominence in 1959 as a member of the Jazz Epistles, a group that included Masekela and Ibrahim. When the apartheid regime imposed a state of emergency in 1960, it restricted jazz performances which were viewed as promoting racial equality. Gwangwa was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga, South Africa's highest honour for outstanding contribution in arts and culture, in 2010. He was nominated for an Oscar for music he composed for the 1987 movie “Cry Freedom,” which starred Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline. Gwangwa’s death fell on the anniversary of the deaths of his friends and fellow African music giants Masekela and Zimbabwean musician Oliver Mtukudzi, who died in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Mogomotsi Magome, The Associated Press
Mercedes Stephenson speaks to U.S. Chargé d'Affaires in Ottawa Katherine Brucker on ‘The West Block’ following U.S. President Joe Biden’s first week in the Oval Office. When asked if Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, the two Canadians detained in China, are on Biden’s radar, Brucker says “absolutely … I think you can count on the United States to continue to work with Canada to secure the release of the two Michaels.”
Quand on pense à la pratique du droit et au système judiciaire, où le télécopieur et le papier font toujours partie du quotidien, on n’associe pas nécessairement ce domaine d’activité à l’innovation et au changement. Pour tenter d’accélérer les choses, l’Université de Sherbrooke s’est associée à deux cabinets d’avocats pour créer le Laboratoire d’innovation juridique (Lab.IJ). Il ne s’agit pas ici d’une énième chaire de recherche, mais plutôt d’un point de convergence pour attirer les idées nouvelles et surtout soutenir les étudiants créatifs cherchant à faire progresser la pratique du droit sous toutes ses formes. Les grands objectifs poursuivis par le Lab.IJ sont de stimuler l’entrepreneuriat et l’innovation chez les étudiants de la faculté de droit, mais pas en vase clos. Les activités sont ouvertes à tous les étudiants de l’université dans le but de favoriser la collaboration interdisciplinaire. Le regroupement de services de juristes, comptables, notaires et autres experts en ressources humaines est d’ailleurs de plus en plus courant au sein de grands cabinets du Québec. Le professeur agrégé et spécialiste du droit des affaires, Patrick Mignault, explique que les compétences en entrepreneuriat sont «de plus en plus importantes dans la pratique du droit», mais que cela «ne ressort pas nécessairement clairement de nos enseignements». Tout en admettant que le cursus de la faculté de droit soit déjà exigeant, le coresponsable du laboratoire croit que les étudiants comprennent l’utilité de développer de telles compétences en parallèle. «Plusieurs avocats doivent devenir des entrepreneurs, soit à titre personnel ou au sein d'une grande entreprise», donne-t-il en exemple. Me Yannick Crack, directeur de l’Estrie du cabinet Therrien Couture Joli-Cœur, confirme cet appétit pour l’innovation et la fibre entrepreneuriale au sein de son équipe. «Ça fait partie de nos valeurs d’innover dans la pratique du droit. On veut être d'importants agents de changement», partage l’avocat lui-même diplômé de l’UdeS. Pour y arriver, il dit être à la recherche «de gens qui essaient d’innover, de penser en dehors de la boîte» et c’est pour cette raison que son cabinet s’est associé au Lab.IJ. De façon concrète, au-delà de la promotion de l’innovation, le laboratoire se veut une ressource d’aide au développement de projets initiés par des étudiants. On veut intéresser des étudiants de toutes les facultés, que ce soit en génie, en informatique ou en gestion par exemple, à avoir le réflexe de penser aux applications possibles de leurs idées dans le domaine du droit. Si un étudiant de la faculté est impliqué dans l’équipe derrière un projet innovant, le Lab.IJ peut lui donner un élan en mettant son réseau de contacts à contribution. «On a des petits fonds pour les aider, mais on a surtout des canaux pour les mettre en contact avec des gens qui pourraient les appuyer financièrement», précise le professeur Patrick Mignault. Encore une fois, Me Yannick Crack emboîte le pas et ouvre la porte à une certaine forme de mentorat de son cabinet pour soutenir d'éventuels projets soumis à l’équipe du laboratoire. Comme on le soulignait précédemment, le domaine du droit n’est pas un exemple d’évolution rapide. De l’avis du professeur Mignault, plusieurs facteurs peuvent expliquer l’immobilisme des modes de fonctionnement et des méthodes de travail, dont une culture conservatrice et traditionaliste, mais aussi des enjeux pratiques comme la protection d’informations confidentielles et sensibles. Ainsi, le télétravail rendu inévitable par la pandémie reste complexe à mettre en œuvre s’il faut multiplier les accès à distance à des serveurs hautement sécurisés. À ce sujet, le Lab.IJ tient actuellement un concours, jusqu’au 15 février, visant à recueillir les meilleures idées pour favoriser le télétravail dans la pratique du droit. De son côté, Me Crack se fait philosophe en rappelant que «l’humain est bien dans ses pantoufles et qu’on attend souvent d’être mis au pied du mur pour changer les choses». Voilà pourquoi on aura eu besoin d’une pandémie pour tenir des audiences en visioconférence et forcer les avocats à embrasser le télétravail. Les deux hommes sont cependant d’accord sur le fait que la nouvelle génération de juristes brasse la cage. Selon Yannick Crack, le système judiciaire «vit une cure de rajeunissement» et les cabinets doivent aussi s’adapter aux attentes différentes de cette génération en matière de ressources humaines. Pour Patrick Mignault, les juristes de demain doivent absolument réfléchir à la manière d’intégrer la technologie dans leur travail. Il souligne notamment l’utilité d’outils pour la rédaction automatisée de contrats ou de logiciels d'aide à la prise de décisions qui s'appuient sur des données statistiques. De nombreuses tâches de base qui grugent beaucoup de temps de travail pourraient être rendues plus efficaces si seulement la profession accepte de faire le saut dans le 21e siècle.Ugo Giguère, Initiative de journalisme local, La Presse Canadienne
WASHINGTON — As the House prepares to bring the impeachment charge against Donald Trump to the Senate for trial, a growing number of Republican senators say they are opposed to the proceeding, dimming the chances that former president will be convicted on the charge that he incited a siege of the U.S. Capitol. House Democrats will carry the sole impeachment charge of “incitement of insurrection” across the Capitol late Monday evening, a rare and ceremonial walk to the Senate by the prosecutors who will argue their case. They are hoping that strong Republican denunciations of Trump after the Jan. 6 riot will translate into a conviction and a separate vote to bar Trump from holding office again. But instead, GOP passions appear to have cooled since the insurrection. Now that Trump's presidency is over, Republican senators who will serve as jurors in the trial are rallying to his legal defence, as they did during his first impeachment trial last year. “I think the trial is stupid, I think it’s counterproductive,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.. He said that "the first chance I get to vote to end this trial, I’ll do it” because he believes it would be bad for the country and further inflame partisan divisions. Trump is the first former president to face impeachment trial, and it will test his grip on the Republican Party as well as the legacy of his tenure, which came to a close as a mob of loyal supporters heeded his rally cry by storming the Capitol and trying to overturn Joe Biden's election. The proceedings will also force Democrats, who have a full sweep of party control of the White House and Congress, to balance their promise to hold the former president accountable while also rushing to deliver on Biden's priorities. Arguments in the Senate trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. Leaders in both parties agreed to the short delay to give Trump's team and House prosecutors time to prepare and the Senate the chance to confirm some of Biden’s Cabinet nominees. Democrats say the extra days will allow for more evidence to come out about the rioting by Trump supporters, while Republicans hope to craft a unified defence for Trump. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday that he hopes that evolving clarity on the details of what happened Jan. 6 “will make it clearer to my colleagues and the American people that we need some accountability.” Coons questioned how his colleagues who were in the Capitol that day could see the insurrection as anything other than a “stunning violation” of tradition of peaceful transfers of power. “It is a critical moment in American history and we have to look at it and look at it hard,” Coons said. An early vote to dismiss the trial probably would not succeed, given that Democrats now control the Senate. Still, the mounting Republican opposition indicates that many GOP senators would eventually vote to acquit Trump. Democrats would need the support of 17 Republicans — a high bar — to convict him. When the House impeached Trump on Jan. 13, exactly one week after the siege, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said he didn’t believe the Senate had the constitutional authority to convict Trump after he had left office. On Sunday, Cotton said “the more I talk to other Republican senators, the more they’re beginning to line up” behind that argument. “I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” Cotton said. Democrats reject that argument, pointing to a 1876 impeachment of a secretary of war who had already resigned and to opinions by many legal scholars. Democrats also say that a reckoning of the first invasion of the Capitol since the War of 1812, perpetrated by rioters egged on by a president who told them to “fight like hell” against election results that were being counted at the time, is necessary so the country can move forward and ensure such a siege never happens again. A few GOP senators have agreed with Democrats, though not close to the number that will be needed to convict Trump. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said he believes there is a “preponderance of opinion” that an impeachment trial is appropriate after someone leaves office. “I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offence,” Romney said. “If not, what is?” But Romney, the lone Republican to vote to convict Trump when the Senate acquitted the then-president in last year’s trial, appears to be an outlier. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, said he believes a trial is a “moot point” after a president's term is over, “and I think it’s one that they would have a very difficult time in trying to get done within the Senate.” On Friday, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close Trump ally who has been helping him build a legal team, urged the Senate to reject the idea of a post-presidency trial — potentially with a vote to dismiss the charge — and suggested Republicans will scrutinize whether Trump’s words on Jan. 6 were legally “incitement.” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who said last week that Trump “provoked” his supporters before the riot, has not said how he will vote or argued any legal strategies. The Kentucky senator has told his GOP colleagues that it will be a vote of conscience. One of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nine impeachment managers said Trump’s encouragement of his loyalists before the riot was "an extraordinarily heinous presidential crime." Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pennsylvania., said "I mean, think back. It was just two-and-a-half weeks ago that the president assembled a mob on the Ellipse of the White House. He incited them with his words. And then he lit the match.” Trump’s supporters invaded the Capitol and interrupted the electoral count as he falsely claimed there was massive fraud in the election and that it was stolen by Biden. Trump’s claims were roundly rejected in the courts, including by judges appointed by Trump, and by state election officials. Rubio and Romney were on “Fox News Sunday,” Cotton appeared on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures” and Romney also was on CNN's “State of the Union,” as was Dean. Rounds was interviewed on NBC's “Meet the Press.” ___ Associated Press writer Hope Yen contributed to this report. Mary Clare Jalonick And Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
URK, Netherlands — Rioters set fires in the centre of the southern Dutch city of Eindhoven and pelted police with rocks Sunday at a banned demonstration against coronavirus lockdown measures, while officers responded with tear gas and water cannons, arresting at least 30 people. Police in the capital of Amsterdam also used a water cannon to disperse an outlawed anti-lockdown demonstration on a major square ringed by museums. Video showed police spraying people grouped against a wall of the Van Gogh Museum. It was the worst violence to hit the Netherlands since the pandemic began and the second straight Sunday that police clashed with protesters in Amsterdam. The country has been in a tough lockdown since mid-December that is due to continue at least until Feb. 9. In Eindhoven, 125 kilometres (78 miles) south of Amsterdam, a central square near the main railway station was littered with rocks, bicycles and shattered glass. The crowd of hundreds of demonstrators also was believed to include supporters of the anti-immigrant group PEGIDA, which had sought to demonstrate in the city. Eindhoven police said they made at least 30 arrests by late afternoon and warned people to stay away from the city centre amid the clashes. Trains to and from the station were halted and local media reported plundering at the station. There were no immediate reports of injuries. The violence came a day after anti-curfew rioters torched a coronavirus testing facility in the Dutch fishing village of Urk. Video from Urk, 80 kilometres (50 miles) northeast of Amsterdam, showed youths breaking into the coronavirus testing facility near the village’s harbour before it was set ablaze Saturday night. The lockdown was imposed by the Dutch government to rein in the spread of the more transmissible variant of the coronavirus. Police said they fined more than 3,600 people nationwide for breaching the curfew that ran from 9 p.m. Saturday until 4:30 a.m. Sunday and arrested 25 people for breaching the curfew or for violence. The police and municipal officials issued a statement Sunday expressing their anger at rioting, “from throwing fireworks and stones to destroying police cars and with the torching of the test location as a deep point.” “This is not only unacceptable, but also a slap in the face, especially for the local health authority staff who do all they can at the test centre to help people from Urk,” the local authorities said, adding that the curfew would be strictly enforced for the rest of the week. On Sunday, all that remained of the portable testing building was a burned-out shell. ___ Associated Press writer Mike Corder in Otterlo contributed. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Peter Dejong, The Associated Press
Chinese air force planes including 12 fighter jets entered Taiwan's air defence identification zone for a second day on Sunday, Taiwan said, as tensions rise near the island just days into U.S. President Joe Biden's new administration. China views democratically ruled Taiwan as its own territory, and has in the past few months increased military activity near the island. But China's activities over the weekend mark a ratcheting up with fighters and bombers being dispatched rather than reconnaissance aircraft as had generally been the case in recent weeks.
IDRE FJÄLL, SWEDEN — Another day, another World Cup ski cross gold medal for Canadian Reece Howden. The native of Cultus Lake, B.C., captured a second straight World Cup event Sunday and third of the season. In the women's event, Marielle Thompson of Whistler, B.C., was third for her fifth podium finish this year. After winning Saturday's event by hanging back then coming on at the end, Reece reverted back to his hard-charging style Sunday, He led from start to finish of the big final. “The draft wasn’t as big of an issue (Sunday)," he said. "I skied as fast as I could today, it worked out. "I’m so happy this is unbelievable.” Reece is on quite roll, having won three of the last four World Cup races. "Third time is the charm," he said. "I’ll keep trying my best. "I’m super proud of these last few races, so I’ll try to carry it through the rest of the season, stay safe, stay injury-free, and keep it going.” Thompson was pleased to have secured third place despite poor visibility on the lower part of the track. “I’m a lot happier with how I skied (Sunday)," she said. "I think I brought some good skiing to each heat and I’m happy to land on the podium." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The patient, when he came into the hospital ER with what seemed to be mild pneumonia, wasn't that sick and might otherwise have been sent home. Except the man had just returned from China, where a new viral disease was spreading like a brush fire. His chest X-rays were also unusual. "We'd never seen a case like this before," says Dr. Jerome Leis. "I'd never seen an X-ray quite like that one." It was the evening of Jan. 23, 2020, when the team at Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre decided to admit the 56-year-old patient. That same day, Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, told the country: "The risk of an outbreak in Canada remains low," Tam said in a refrain she and other officials would repeat for weeks on end. Less than two days after admission to Sunnybrook, the man would become "Patient Zero" — the first COVID-19 case in Canada. For several weeks, Leis, the hospital's medical director of infection prevention and control, had been anticipating just such a moment. He had known since the end of December about the outbreak in Wuhan, China, and he'd been following Chinese authorities as they published information about the new pathogen and its effects. Drawing on lessons learned from the SARS epidemic years earlier, Sunnybrook's screening staff were already asking new specific questions of incoming patients. Protocols were sharpened. Just that morning, in fact, internal-medicine residents and faculty had done a refresher around protective gear. "We were extremely suspicious that this was the novel coronavirus that had been described," Leis says. "It does feel like a lifetime ago and yet it does just seem like yesterday." Dr. Lynfa Stroud, on-call general internist and division head of general internal medicine at Sunnybrook, was notified the new patient needed to be admitted. "We didn't know what exactly we were dealing with," Stroud says. "We had early reports of presentations and how people evolved. We were a bit nervous but we felt very well prepared." The following day, as China was locking down Hubei province, Dr. Peter Donnelly, then head of Public Health Ontario, was asked about lockdowns in Canada. "Absolutely not," he declared: "If a case comes here, and it is probably likely that we will have a case here, it will still be business as normal.'' Confirmation of the clinicians' suspicions at Sunnybrook would come from the agency's laboratory, which had been working furiously to develop and validate a suitable test for the novel coronavirus based on information from China. The agency's lab had been testing samples for two weeks when the Sunnybrook call came in. "They sent a sample to us in a cab," says Dr. Vanessa Allen, chief of microbiology and laboratory science at Public Health Ontario. It would be the start of a round-the-clock effort to test and retest the new samples. "The last thing you need is a false signal or some kind of misunderstanding," says Allen, who had been a resident during the SARS outbreak. By about midday of Saturday, Jan. 25, the lab was sure it had identified the new organism that would soon take over the world and become a household name. "It wasn't called COVID at the time," Allen says of the disease. Over at Sunnybrook, Leis received the confirmation without much surprise. "It was consistent with what we were seeing and what we suspected," he says. "I was actually happy that the lab was able to confirm it." Within hours, public health authorities would let the country know that Canada had its first case of the "Wuhan novel coronavirus," although further confirmation from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg was pending. "I want Ontarians to know that the province is prepared to actively identify, prevent and control the spread of this serious infectious disease in Ontario," Health Minister Christine Elliott declared as the province announced a new "dedicated web page" for latest information. The wife of "Patient Zero" would also soon be confirmed as COVID-19 positive but was able to self-isolate at home. "This (man) was one of the first cases to report on the more milder spectrum of disease, which was not something we were aware of," Leis says. "It helped to teach us about the larger spectrum in disease severity that we see with COVID-19, which is very different from SARS." Looking back now at their roles in a small piece of Canadian pandemic history, those involved talk about how much we didn't know about a virus that has since infected three-quarters of a million people in Canada, killing more than 18,800 of them. "The initial detection, in some ways, was the easy part," Allen says. "This virus and the implications are extremely humbling, and just the prolonged nature and impact of this was certainly not on my radar in January of last year." Yet treating "Patient Zero" and his wife afforded valuable lessons about what was then a poorly understood disease. For one thing, it became apparent that most of those afflicted don't need hospital admission — hugely important given the massive number of infections and resulting stresses on critical-care systems. "To be honest: We would have sent this patient home from the emergency room," Stroud says. "We admitted him because, at that time, it wasn't known very well what the course of illness was." Sunnybrook alone has now assessed more than 4,000 COVID-19 patients. To survive the onslaught, the hospital developed a program in which patients are screened and, if possible, sent to self-isolate under remote medical supervision. Both "Patient Zero" and his wife recovered. Their cases would mark Canada's first minor health-care skirmish of what was to become an all-out global defensive war against COVID-19. It also marked the beginning of relentless work hours for those on the front lines of health care. For health-care workers, it's been a long year since those first energized, if anxious, days one year ago. There's a weariness in their voices, a recognition the war is still raging, even as vaccines developed with stunning alacrity offer some hope of a truce. "We have been working essentially non-stop since last January and it's not slowing down now," Leis says. "Health-care teams are tired. There's a lot of concern about burnout. It's been challenging for sure." Despite COVID-19's deadly toll, the vast majority of COVID-19 patients, like "Patient Zero," recover. Still, even for some of those, their battle might never be over. "These people just don't get magically better," Stroud says. "Some will have lifelong lung scarring and damage to their lungs." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
More people were allowed in churches and other places of worship Sunday after the province eased some COVID-19 measures this weekend. There have been no reported cases of influenza on P.E.I. this season, as well as fewer cases of coughs and colds, which the Chief Public Health Office credits to "unintended impacts" of pandemic restrictions. With cough and cold season all but non-existent this year because of COVID-19 health measures, Honibe lozenge-maker Island Abbey Foods has laid off 30 staff. Despite those layoffs, it's been a banner year for P.E.I.'s biosciences sector, with more than 200 new jobs in 2020, and seven Island bioscience companies planning major expansions this year. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases reported on P.E.I. remains 110, with seven still active. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. New Brunswick reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, mostly in the Moncton and Edmundston regions. The province now has 334 active cases. Nova Scotia had a single new case of COVID-19 to report along with two recoveries, bringing the total of known active cases to 19. Also in the news 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.
CALGARY — Dr. Liz Ruelle says it was a difficult decision to close her veterinary practice to first-time patients after being swamped with requests by new pet owners who turned to animal companionship during the pandemic.For Ruelle, who operates the Wild Rose Cat Clinic in Calgary, everything takes two to three times longer with COVID-19 safety protocols, so providing timely medical attention to animals can be challenging.She's six months behind on regular checkups and so decided last October to refer new furry patients to emergency clinics. "Everyone was running out and getting pets ... and we're now facing backlogs of annual exams, because we weren't doing them for months," Ruelle said."I have a hard time saying no to people. It's gut-wrenching for us. When we're saying no, it's because we physically can't."Humane Canada says 78,000 cats and 28,000 dogs were in shelters across Canada in 2019. Sixty-five per cent of the felines and 73 per cent of dogs were either adopted or reclaimed by their owners.Numbers for last year aren't yet available, but shelters across the country say demand has been brisk, although the number of cats and dogs available has dropped."Our adoptions have thankfully stayed steady throughout the pandemic and haven't seen a marked increase in animal returns," said Jessica Bohrson from the Calgary Humane Society."With so many folks now working from home, they've been able to give their new pets a great deal of attention."There are about 10,000 veterinarians in Canada. Dr. Enid Stiles, president of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, said that's too few vets for the number of pets.The greatest shortfall is in British Columbia, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador."It's become a triage of what's most important. Certainly these new pets have thrown a wrench into things, because in Canada we already have a very big shortage of veterinarians," said Stiles, who shut down her Montreal clinic to new patients in December."My clinic said we would never do that, but ... we ended up having to stop taking any new patients because we're burning out. We had to put the brakes on and that's hard because where are those pets going to go?"The irony is they're going to end up being pushed out to more rural vets, who may still have some ability to see these patients, but now they're having to travel great distances in a pandemic just to get veterinary care."Lack of attention for newer patients has led to many veterinarians being subjected to verbal abuse from angry pet owners, Stiles added."People get frustrated and they're very emotional when dealing with pets. We understand, but certainly with the pandemic it's even more of a struggle," she said."People's fuses are short."The Toronto Humane Society switched to virtual adoptions last spring. The organization has fewer animals available than usual because it isn't allowed to bring in any from the United States with the border closed.Hannah Sotropa said the society has received more than 11,000 applications for adoption since the pandemic began."Definitely the interest has certainly increased. We're not seeing an increase in adoptions per se largely due to the fact we have had fewer animals," she said.The Toronto Humane Society has its own public veterinary service clinic which vaccinates, spays and neuters pets. It also has a dental suite."There's going to be backlogs. What's really important is we find ways to make veterinary care more accessible, so we can prevent animals ending up in our shelters simply due to affordability or lack of availability to basic, veterinary care," Sotropa said."It's important for people to know that even if they are an adopter, they can still come for help if they need it."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
There was no distribution plan for the coronavirus vaccine set up by the Trump administration as the virus raged in its last months in office, new President Joe Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, said on Sunday. "The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the White House," Klain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Biden, a Democrat who took over from Republican President Donald Trump on Wednesday, has promised a fierce fight against the pandemic that killed 400,000 people in the United States under Trump’s watch.
TORONTO — George Armstrong, who captained the Toronto Maple Leafs to four Stanley Cups in the '60s and wore the blue and white his entire career, has died. He was 90. The Maple Leafs confirmed the death Sunday on Twitter. Armstrong played a record 1,187 games with 296 goals and 417 assists over 21 seasons for the Leafs, including 13 seasons as team captain. The right-winger added another 26 goals and 34 assists in 110 playoff games. Known as the Chief, Armstrong was one of the first players of Indigenous descent to play professional hockey. Armstrong was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1975. Some 41 years later, Armstrong was voted No. 12 on the franchise's list of 100 greatest Maple Leafs in its centennial season. "George is part of the very fabric of the Toronto Maple Leaf organization and will be deeply missed," Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan said in a statement. "A proud yet humble man, he loved being a Maple Leaf but never sought the spotlight even though no player played more games for Toronto or captained the team longer. Always one to celebrate his teammates rather than himself, George couldn't even bring himself to deliver his speech the day he was immortalized on Legends Row." A young Armstrong met Syl Apps when the Maple Leafs star came to his bantam team's annual banquet. Armstrong would go on to wear No. 10, the first Leaf to do so after the retirement of talismanic Cup-winning captain Apps. Armstrong would also become one of a select number of Leafs honoured with a banner at Scotiabank Arena and his number was officially retired in October 2016 at the team's centennial anniversary home opener. In 2015, Armstrong and Apps were added to the Leafs' Legends Row. The Leafs released a statement on Sunday with the words from Armstrong's unread speech that night. "Hockey is a great game and I love it. I am part of a fading generation that you will never have again. Every one of us is one of a kind, that will never be repeated. To all of my friends and acquaintances, thank you for your advice and direction, that helped make me who I am today … a very, very happy person." After hanging up his skates in 1971, Armstrong coached the Toronto Marlboros to Memorial Cup victories in 1972-73 and 1974-75 before accepting a scouting position with the Quebec Nordiques in 1978. He spent nine years with Quebec before returning to the Toronto fold as assistant general manager and scout in 1988. Armstrong served as interim coach for the final 47 games of the 1988-89 season after John Brophy was fired after an 11-20-2 start. The next year, Armstrong returned to his role as a scout for the Leafs. Armstrong scored 20 goals four times during his career but was better known for his leadership and work ethic, helping restore the franchise's winning touch. A smart player and talented backchecker, he worked the angles to get the best shot at his opponent and formed a formidable penalty-killing tandem with Dave Keon. A humble man, Armstrong was quick to deflect praise. He credited his players for his Memorial Cup wins as coach. "It wasn't because I was a great coach, it was because I had some great players," he said in a 1989 interview, listing off the likes of the Howe brothers, John Tonelli, Mark Napier and Mike Palmateer. And he offered a typical response when inducted into the Leaside Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. "I don't know whether I deserve it or not but I sure am happy to get it," said Armstrong, who lived in several areas of the city before making Leaside his Toronto home. Born in Bowland’s Bay, Ont., to an Irish father and an Iroquois mother, a young Armstrong honed his hockey skills in Falconbridge near the Sudbury nickel mines where his father worked. The Boston Bruins were interested but Armstrong waited until the Leafs put him on their protected list while he was playing with the Copper Cliff Jr. Redmen of the NOHA in 1946-47. After winning the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy as the OHA's leading scorer with Stratford next season, the Leafs sent him to their main junior affiliate, the Toronto Marlboros. He was elevated to the senior Marlies for the 1949 Allan Cup playoffs and helped the team win the title over Calgary the next year. It was during the Allan Cup tournament, specifically a visit to the Stoney Indian Reserve in Alberta, that he got his nickname. When the band heard of Armstrong's ancestral background, they made him an honorary member with the name "Chief Shoot-the-Puck" and presented him with a ceremonial headdress. It was a different era and "The Chief" nickname stuck. Armstrong, who was proud of his mother's heritage, would become the first player of Indigenous descent to score in the NHL. He spent most of two seasons in Pittsburgh with the Leafs' American Hockey League farm team before making the big league. He made his NHL debut in December 1949 and became a full-time member of the Leafs in time for the start of the 1952-53 season. "It looks as if he's going to be here for quite a long time the way he handled that puck," legendary broadcaster Foster Hewitt said after Armstrong scored his first NHL goal in a 3-2 win over Montreal. Taking a pass from future Hall of Famer Max Bentley, Armstrong beat defenceman Butch Bouchard and beat goaltender Gerry McNeil. "I did a little war dance that night and I think everybody in Maple Leaf Gardens was pretty happy about it as well," Armstrong recalled 15 years later. Toronto owner and GM Conn Smythe named Armstrong his captain before the 1957-58 season. Smythe would later call Armstrong "the best captain, as a captain, the Leafs have ever had." The Leafs won the Stanley Cup in 1962, the first of three straight championships. Armstrong was 36 when the veteran Leafs won the franchise's last championship in 1967. His insurance empty-net goal with 47 seconds remaining in the clinching 3-1 Game 6 win proved to be the final goal of the Original Six era. The six-foot-one, 204-pounder played a few more seasons, but suffered a knee injury during the 1969-70 campaign that forced him to retire. Armstrong was convinced to come back for the 1970-71 season before quitting for good at age 40. At the time, Armstrong had played more seasons and more games as a Maple Leaf than any other player, and was second in career points. Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Parts of New Brunswick are reporting fewer cases of COVID-19 recently, but numbers remain high in the Moncton and Edmundston health zones. The province announced 20 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, mostly in those areas. Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer, said there have been about 48 cases in the Moncton area, or Zone 1, in the last seven days. Of those cases, 12 are related to travel and many others are close contacts. There are five people hospitalized with the virus across the province with two in intensive care. The latest numbers bring the total number of active cases to 334. The Moncton region (Zone 1) confirmed 10 new cases, which include: four people 19 and under. an individual 20-29. an individual 30-39. an individual 50-59. two people 60-69. an individual 70-79. The Edmundston region (Zone 4) reported nine new cases: two people 19 and under. an individual 20-29. an individual 40-49. three people 50-59. an individual 60-69. an individual 80-89. The Miramichi region (Zone 7), reported one new case: an individual 50-59. All of the new cases are self-isolating and under investigation. New Brunswick has confirmed 1,124 total cases of COVID-19 and 776 recoveries. There have been 13 deaths. Public Health has conducted 185,936 since the start of the pandemic, including 3,000 since Saturday's update. More schools to close Schools in the Edmundston zone are now closed as part of the lockdown. But on Sunday, the province also announced that five schools in neighbouring Zone 3 will also move to learn-from-home models. In Perth-Andover: Andover Elementary School. Perth-Andover Middle School. Southern Victoria High School. In Plaster Rock: Donald Fraser Memorial School. Tobique Valley High. The province said those schools are closing due to "operational challenges as a significant portion of the school community lives within Zone 4." Staff in Zone 4 will work from home, while staff in Zone 3 will continue to work from their schools. A device-loaning program will be available for families of students in grades 3-8 who do not have access to technology at home. Two new deaths at Shannex Shannex Parkland in Saint John posted an update on its website Sunday saying two residents of Lily Court who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 died last week. One resident died on Thursday and the other on Friday. The province has not announced any new COVID related deaths in recent days. In an email, a government spokesperson said "without getting into too many specifics and breaking confidentiality, a person who is positive for COVID-19 can die from other circumstances." In its release, Shannex said reporting on whether a resident has died as a result of COVID-19 is sometimes complicated because of multiple health-care partners involved. "Communicating openly with our residents, families and employees is a priority at Shannex and we understand that the delay in communicating the details may create some confusion, and we apologize for this." Workplace transmission in Moncton A diaper manufacturing plant in Moncton confirmed a contracted worker tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. Irving Personal Care confirmed the case on Thursday, according to a statement. "Contact tracing was completed and submitted to Public Health and we are co-operating fully with the province," said Stephen Donaher, vice president of operations. "On Thursday, we shut down operations and completed a full sanitization and disinfection of our entire plant." Employees required to self-isolate continue to be paid, a practice which has been in place since the start of the pandemic, the company said. The plant reopened Friday, according to a release. Russell said transmission is still being detected in workplace settings. "It really is important that people hear the message around testing," she said in an interview. There are now 90 total active cases in the Moncton region. RCMP say several people were ticketed at a demonstration outside of Moncton City Hall on Saturday. Staff Sgt. Jeff Johnston couldn't confirm the number of tickets handed out or the number of arrests, or the reasons for the arrests or tickets. "The tickets that were issued were in relation to the Emergency Measures Act," he said. Rapid tests less accurate Irving Personal Care said it conducted rapid testing on 150 employees at the diaper facility following the positive case. The company said all the results returned negative and it plans to conduct another round of tests next week. But Russell said rapid tests or antigen tests have a lower reliability for asymptomatic people, as they are designed for people experiencing symptoms. "If people test negative it's not really reassuring," she said. Public Health is not using rapid antigen tests to prevent false positives. Russell said testing has increased in Zone 3 with a new site in Perth-Andover to gain a better picture of the situation. "We can't get all the right information unless all the people who have symptoms are getting tested," she said. Russell said if testing capacity grows, it will make it easier to determine if some regions can return to orange and yellow levels. Zone 4 lockdown begins The Edmundston and Grand Falls region (Zone 4) entered full lockdown on Saturday, which is expected to last for a minimum of two weeks. Most non-essential businesses have been forced to close, and schools are switching to virtual learning on Monday. Cathy Pelletier, executive director of Edmundston Regional Chamber of Commerce, said she's really concerned about the tourism industry. "Being in a lockdown right now, nobody can come here and no one can come out," she said. "Basically the hotels are empty right now." Grocery stores, pharmacies, NB Liquor stores and Cannabis NB stores will remain open. Veterinary clinics can also stay open with animals dropped off at the curb. Libraries will open to allow internet access. Regulated health-care professionals, such as dentists, can continue to operate. The province said early childhood education facilities can also continue to operate, with the help of a $3 hourly wage boost for employees who work during the lockdown. Edmundston faces few hospital beds Health-care workers in northwest New Brunswick are concerned about the availability of intensive care beds as case numbers climb. The Edmundston Regional Hospital only has 11 beds for intensive care. With case numbers in Zone 4 surging, there are worries those beds could fill up. The health region began a full lockdown on Saturday and has 144 active cases of COVID-19. Dr. Laurie Malenfant said there are COVID-positive patients at the hospital. "We have some who are even fighting for their lives," she told Radio-Canada. "It makes the environment a little stressful because we know they won't be the last patients to come with what is happening in the community." The province announced 17 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, including 10 in the Edmundston and Grand Falls region. Nine more new cases were announced for the region on Sunday. The region is also grappling with cases inside long-term care homes. Manoir Belle Vue, a special care home in Edmundston, has confirmed 20 positive cases. Public Health has also declared outbreaks at Le Pavillon Le Royer, another long-term care home in Edmundston, and Foyer Ste-Elizabeth in nearby Baker Brook. Malenfant said while health-care workers have the situation under control, things could change rapidly. The beds in the Edmundston hospital's intensive care unit are not solely for those with COVID-19. "Other illnesses continue to enter, we need to be able to provide good service to everyone, not just to people who will have contracted the virus," Malenfant said. There are fears that health-care workers could become infected, leading to a reduction in staffing capacity. "Employees who are certified to work with people in critical care situations, we have a limited number," said Malenfant.
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 11 a.m. Ontario is reporting 2,417 new cases of COVID-19 today and 102 deaths linked to the virus. The new case count is up slightly from yesterday's total of 2,359. Public health officials in southwestern Ontario say a male teen who worked in a London-area long-term care home is among those who have recently died after contracting the virus. A spokesman for the Middlesex-London Health Unit says they can't provide the exact age or any other details about him, but added he is the youngest person in the county to have died of COVID-19. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Genetically modified organisms can help address current agricultural challenges, but public opinion is against them. Maybe the search for delicious decaf coffee could lead to widespread acceptance.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is confronting the political risk that comes with grand ambition. As one of his first acts, Biden offered a sweeping immigration overhaul last week that would provide a path to U.S. citizenship for the estimated 11 million people who are in the United States illegally. It would also codify provisions wiping out some of President Donald Trump's signature hard-line policies, including trying to end existing, protected legal status for many immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and crackdowns on asylum rules. It's precisely the type of measure that many Latino activists have longed for, particularly after the tough approach of the Trump era. But it must compete with Biden's other marquee legislative goals, including a $1.9 trillion plan to combat the coronavirus, an infrastructure package that promotes green energy initiatives and a “public option” to expand health insurance. In the best of circumstances, enacting such a broad range of legislation would be difficult. But in a narrowly divided Congress, it could be impossible. And that has Latinos, the nation's fastest growing voting bloc, worried that Biden and congressional leaders could cut deals that weaken the finished product too much — or fail to pass anything at all. “This cannot be a situation where simply a visionary bill — a message bill — gets sent to Congress and nothing happens with it,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, which advocates for low-income immigrants. “There’s an expectation that they will deliver and that there is a mandate now for Biden to be unapologetically pro-immigrant and have a political imperative to do so, and the Democrats do as well.” If Latinos ultimately feel betrayed, the political consequences for Democrats could be long-lasting. The 2020 election provided several warning signs that, despite Democratic efforts to build a multiracial coalition, Latino support could be at risk. Biden already was viewed skeptically by some Latino activists for his association with former President Barack Obama, who was called the “deporter in chief” for the record number of immigrants who were removed from the country during his administration. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont defeated Biden in last year's Nevada caucuses and California primary, which served as early barometers of the Latino vote. In his race against Trump, Biden won the support of 63% of Latino voters compared with Trump's 35%, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 110,000 voters nationwide. But Trump narrowed the margin somewhat in some swing states such as Nevada and also got a bump from Latino men, 39% of whom backed him compared with 33% of Latino women. Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate since 1996 to carry Arizona, in part because of strong grassroots backing from Mexican American groups opposed to strict GOP immigration policies going back decades. But he lost Florida by underperforming in its largest Hispanic county, Miami-Dade, where the Trump campaign's anti-socialism message resonated with Cuban- and some Venezuelan Americans. Biden also fell short in Texas even though running mate Kamala Harris devoted valuable, late campaign time there. The ticket lost some sparsely populated but heavily Mexican American counties along the Mexican border, where law enforcement agencies are major employers and the GOP's zero-tolerance immigration policy resonated. There were more warning signs for House Democrats, who lost four California seats and two in South Florida while failing to pick up any in Texas. Booming Hispanic populations reflected in new U.S. census figures may see Texas and Florida gain congressional districts before 2022's midterm elections, which could make correcting the problem all the more pressing for Democrats. The urgency isn't lost on Biden. He privately spent months telling immigration advocates that major overhauls would be at the top of his to-do list. As vice-president, he watched while the Obama administration used larger congressional majorities to speed passage of a financial crisis stimulus bill and its signature health care law while letting an immigration overhaul languish. “It means so much to us to have a new president propose bold, visionary immigration reform on Day 1. Not Day 2. Not Day 3. Not a year later,” said New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, his chamber's lead sponsor of the Biden package. Menendez was part of a bipartisan immigration plan championed by the “Gang of Eight” senators that collapsed in 2013. Obama then resorted to executive action to offer legal status to millions of young immigrants. President George W. Bush also pushed an immigration package — with an eye toward boosting Latino support for Republicans before the 2008 election — only to see it fail in Congress. Menendez acknowledged that the latest bill will have to find at least 10 Republican senators' support to clear the 60-vote hurdle to reach the floor, and that he's “under no illusions" how difficult that will be. Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a moderate Republican from Florida, said Biden may find some GOP support but probably will have to settle for far less than what’s in his original proposal. “Many Republicans are worried about primary challenges,” Curbelo said, adding that Trump and his supporters’ championing of immigration crackdowns means there's “political peril there for Republicans.” But he also said Democrats could alienate some of their own base by appearing to prioritize the needs of people in the country illegally over those of struggling U.S. citizens and thus “appearing to overreach from the perspective of swing and independent voters.” Indeed, Democrats haven't always universally lined up behind an immigration overhaul, arguing that it could lead to an influx of cheap labour that hurts U.S. workers. Some of the party's senators joined Republicans in sinking Bush's bill. Still, Latinos haven't forgotten past immigration failures and have often blamed Democrats more than Republicans. Chuck Roca, head of Nuestro PAC, which spent $4 million on ads boosting Biden in Arizona, said that while Hispanics have traditionally tended to support Democrats, he has begun to see trends in the past decade where more are registering as independent or without party affiliation. Those voters can still be won back, he said, but only if Latinos see real change on major issues such as immigration “even if it's piecemeal.” “They have to get something done if they want to start to turn around the loss of Latino voters,” said Rocha, who headed Latino voter outreach for Sanders’ presidential campaign. “They have to do everything in their power now to get Latinos back.” ___ Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed to this report. Will Weissert, The Associated Press
LONDON — Mesut Ozil has thanked Arsenal for an “amazing journey” after his departure to Fenerbahce was confirmed, saying he goes with no grudges despite not playing for nearly a year. Ozil said goodbye to his Arsenal teammates a week ago and his move to Turkey has now been wrapped up. “I’d like to thank the club for this amazing journey over the past seven-and-a-half years,” Ozil said Sunday. The former Germany international has not played for Arsenal since March and his contract was due to expire at the end of the current season. “The support I have felt from the team and fans during my time here has been truly incredible and something I will always be grateful for," Ozil said. “Together we won trophies for the first time in years and created memories that will last a lifetime. The Arsenal fans will forever remain in my heart. “I’d like to thank Edu Gaspar for helping bring about a professional and dignified solution in the past few days, and I wish everyone at the club the best in their attempt to continue to bring Arsenal back to the top, where we belong.” Having started the first 10 games under Mikel Arteta following his appointment in December 2019, Ozil has not featured since a 1-0 win over West Ham before the coronavirus pandemic saw football halted. He was omitted from Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squads. “As I said, the past few months haven’t been the easiest,” Ozil said. “Like every player, I want to play every minute of football for my team. In life, however, things don’t always play out how we want or expect them to. “But it is important to look for the positives in life and not negatives, which is why I try to live life with no regrets and holding no grudges. Being at Arsenal was more than just football, it was about community.” Manager Mikel Arteta said he would be remembered for playing in three of the four FA Cup finals Arsenal won during his time at the club. “Mesut’s achievements at Arsenal are undisputed,” Arteta said. “It was a privilege to play alongside him and, more recently, coach him. “His creativity and vision led to many goals during his time in the Arsenal shirt. Mesut was at the heart of many great moments for this club over the years, including those three FA Cup final wins. These successes will always be part of our history. We thank Mesut and wish him all the best with Fenerbahce.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press