Actor Nadji Jeter says his titular teen character in the new "Spider-Man: Miles Morales" video game is "going through the changes." (Nov. 25)
Actor Nadji Jeter says his titular teen character in the new "Spider-Man: Miles Morales" video game is "going through the changes." (Nov. 25)
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
From a dream to an award-winning short story to a novel to be published by HarperCollins Canada. It’s all “surreal,” says author Jessica Johns. Johns’ debut novel “Bad Cree” was the subject of a bidding war between three publishing houses. “Everybody connected with my work in such a deep and meaningful way,” said Johns. But she was drawn to work with HarperCollins because of the connection she felt with the editor Aeman Ansari. Johns felt that same connection with agent Stephanie Sinclair from the CookeMcDermid Agency. In fact, after reviewing the list of authors Sinclair represented – including Billy Ray Belcourt, Lee Maracle and Joshua Whitehead – Sinclair was the only agent Johns approached. They also connected on another level: both women are Indigenous. Johns is a member of the Sucker Creek First Nation located in Treaty 8 territory in Alberta, and Sinclair is of Cree, Ojibwe and settler descent. “As an Indigenous person I think I have a fundamental understanding of some of the underlying themes that many other writers that I'm working with are talking about in a way that I don't know another agent would,” said Sinclair. But it was the story Johns was telling that pulled Sinclair in. “I think we need more books that are truthful in all of its complexities of characters, complexities of plots and scenarios but that are also infused with joy, and I think that Jessica struck that balance perfectly. I think that’s really hard to find. I found it immediately just wonderful to read,” said Sinclair. The book also fit into Sinclair’s goal to curate a list of works with “political leanings” as says her profile on the literary agency’s website. “In many ways (Johns’) sort of normalizing and humanizing an urban Indigenous experience in a way that I think challenges how people think about stereotypical Indigenous people. I think that she's also offering insight and perspective into the joy that exists within many, many Indigenous families we don't hear enough about,” said Sinclair. “What I hope to accomplish with my list is to have the books that I contribute to bringing into the world change the conversation and change the landscape and challenge how people think about each other generally not just Indigenous people,” Sinclair said. The short story “Bad Cree” won the Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize in 2020. Johns said when she was writing the short story it had not been her intention to turn it into a novel. “Once I finished it, the story didn't really leave me. I felt like there was more to say. The characters were still kind of there for me and there is more I wanted to do,” she said. Writing the novel was “completely different” than writing a short story. “The short story was supposed to be short, so I’m cutting words, I’m trying to condense and make it concise. And with the novel I'm trying to open it up. I'm trying to expand. I'm trying to dig into scenes,” explained Johns. She is also a poet and says her poems are more narrative and her short stories integrate poetic elements. “Bad Cree” is about a Cree woman who is able to take things to and from the dream world. The ability manifests suddenly and she doesn’t know why. When the dreams escalate and become frightening she returns home to Treaty 8 territory in northern Alberta to find answers. She hasn’t been home for a while because of family issues but upon her return she reconnects with her mother, sister, aunt and cousin. They band together to figure out what’s going on, sort through why this is happening and what she has to do. Considering the content of the short story-turned-novel, it’s not surprising that the concept came from a dream Johns had. The supernatural, mystical aspect of novels have long been a popular draw for readers. “I think right now there may be a greater appetite for sure,” said Sinclair. “There were many, many publishers who were very eager to talk to her about it.” “Bad Cree” won’t be on the bookshelves until 2023. “It’s an industry standard actually which Jessica is experiencing. We sell the book and then the editor takes a year or two to work on the substantive changes, the stylistic changes, the copy edit, then getting it all typeset and designed and then it goes to print and gets published,” said Sinclair. Substantive edits ensure that characters are fully developed, that there are no holes in the plot line, and that the point of view remains consistent. Those “big picture” changes, said Sinclair, don’t change Johns’ story. “It just strengthens it.” Johns, who resides in Vancouver, will be balancing that ongoing work with her job as managing editor of the literary magazine “Room.” “Working on the novel is worked into my everyday life. I do it every single day. I have deadlines with my editor. It’s changed my immediate goals,” she said. Sinclair sees her job as matchmaker between author and publisher and it’s a role she’d like to have with Johns for a long time to come. “I hope that we will work together for the next 20 years … and I hope to see her next many, many books,” said Sinclair. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Manitoba’s first rapid testing site had no shortage of available appointments for school staffers during its inaugural week of operations. Yet, same-day tests remain out of reach for teachers who want them in the province’s COVID-19 hotspot. Between Jan. 18-24, the province took 111 nasal swab samples — an average of 16 each day — at the rapid testing site at 1066 Nairn Ave. in Winnipeg. The province set an initial goal of completing 20-40 tests daily, with an aim to ramp up to 160/day in the coming months, when it unveiled details about the “Fast Pass” pilot project earlier this month. The number of tests administered during the first week reflect the number of appointments that have been made, a provincial spokesperson said Monday, adding there have been no processing nor administrative issues at the site. Ruth MacKenzie was among the educators who booked an appointment for Monday morning, after she woke up with a sore throat. The educational assistant said she was offered numerous times when she called the booking line (1-855-268-4318) at 7:30 a.m. She picked a 10:30 a.m. slot so she could travel to Winnipeg. MacKenzie said she was pleasantly surprised by how easy the appointment was to set up, the test itself — which took under seven minutes, and that she was told to expect a result within hours. “It’s nice to know there’s a place you can go and get tested and get back to work as soon as possible,” she said. “I love my job. I enjoy it very much. I’m very thankful that I’m working.” The Monday experience was a stark contrast to her first COVID-19 test in the summertime. MacKenzie waited an hour-and-a-half before she was able to get her nasal cavity swabbed, and two days to receive a result in early August. For a positive result at the rapid site, it takes four to eight hours before the notice is posted online. Negative results take longer because they are to be verified at a lab. The province retests the latter because, according to a provincial spokesperson, the Songbird Hyris bCUBE rapid test is new to Manitoba, and many rapid-test types have been shown to have a higher volume of false negatives. The spokesperson said the turnaround for official negative results are “aligned” with those for the general testing stream; the current response time for a test processed at community sites, including the adjacent drive-thru site on Nairn Avenue, is 1-2 days. The Fast Pass site was originally open only to school staff, including teachers, educational assistants, custodians, bus drivers and workers in school-based early learning and child care facilities in Winnipeg, Seven Oaks, River East Transcona, Seine River and Hanover divisions. Over the weekend, the province broadened eligibility criteria to give all school employees in Manitoba access to quick turnaround tests, citing its ability to increase the number of daily appointments. Such an expansion was anticipated to take place in February. The president of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society said Monday he is pleased the pilot has been expanded on behalf of teachers in the metro region and those who live nearby, but noted educators work all over the province. There are concerns about test accessibility in rural and northern regions, said James Bedford, who represents 16,000 public school teachers. The province has hinted Winkler and Brandon could be home to future rapid test facilities. “We need to recognize that we can’t ignore the northern part of the province,” Bedford said. To date, 27 students have graduated from Red River College with a micro-credential in how to administer rapid COVID-19 tests. Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
“There's not enough words in the English language to share how much this will impact First Nations; how much every time the land is destroyed, how much that that tears apart who we are as Niitsitapi,” said Latasha Calf Robe. The member of the Blood Tribe (Kainai Nation) and founder of the Niitsitapi Water Protectors spoke at a town hall Jan. 21 focused on the changes to the provincial coal policy brought in by Alberta’s current UCP government. A Coal Development Policy for Alberta, known also as the 1976 Coal Policy, was rescinded effective June 1, 2020 by the government. The policy protected large portions of land, like the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, from strip mining. After intense public backlash to a December 2020 coal mining auction, the UCP government, through the office of Minister for Energy Sonya Savage, cancelled 11 pending leases for coal mining. In a statement issued by the ministry Jan. 18, Savage said the “pause will provide our government with the opportunity to ensure that the interests of Albertans, as owners of mineral resources, are protected.” But participants at the town hall made it clear that they do not believe the government is looking out for their interests, and the best-case scenario is to have the coal policy reinstated completely. One of the main concerns is the potential for toxic amounts of selenium to enter the headwaters of the Old Man River, contaminating the drinking water of more than 200,000 Albertans, including the Blood Tribe. The town hall was organized by NDP Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips, the former minister of Environment and Parks and minister responsible for the Climate Change Office. She said at least 10 per cent of her constituents are members of Blackfoot Nations and will be affected by the government’s coal policy changes. In addition to concerns about selenium entering the drinking water, Phillips said the significant change in land use sets a dangerous precedent for the possibility of backroom deals on water licensing that would impact the availability of water for the Kainai Nation. She said the Grassy Mountain Mine is getting access to water in large volumes in order to operate, alleging this would only be possible by some sort of skirting of the rules when it comes to water licensing. “We are already in a very water-stressed area made only worse by the effects of climate change,” Phillips said. “Already, we see communities all across this corridor struggling with (lack of water) or even their water infrastructure… because climate change changes when you have more water and the volumes and, you know, extreme weather events and so on.” The mounting criticism over the lack of consultation with First Nations, as well as concerns over the potential environmental impacts, have resulted in stakeholders from across the province coming together to file a judicial review of the rescission of the coal policy. That is set to begin today, Jan. 26 in the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench. The review argues for the policy to be restored. “These kinds of projects have zero legitimacy from seven generations beyond me, beyond us,” said Diandra Bruised Head, a member of the Blood Tribe council, at the town hall. The mayor of Lethbridge, Chris Spearman, and the former premier of Alberta, now Leader of the Opposition, Rachel Notley, both spoke out against the rescission of the coal policy. “Albertans have overwhelmingly said that the eastern slope should be devoted to watershed protection, recreation tourism, and just, of course, that the land itself should be respected for the way it has interacted with original peoples for so many years before anybody else was here,” said Notley. Mayor Spearman talked about the potential dangers to commercial and drinking water for the residents of Lethbridge and the surrounding areas. “To have this go forward and have the headwaters potentially contaminated is a huge betrayal of trust,” said Spearman. CJWE By Tsering Asha, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CJWE
A group of doctors and advocates are calling on Ontario Premier Doug Ford to address what they call a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in long-term care homes by bringing the military back for support and embarking on hiring and training drives.
South Korean authorities were scrambling on Wednesday to rein in coronavirus outbreaks centred on Christian schools as the country reported a jump in infections, dampening hopes of a speedy exit from a third wave of the pandemic. At least 323 COVID-19 cases had been traced to churches and mission schools run by a Christian organisation in two cities, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) data. More than 100 cases were confirmed overnight among people linked to churches and its mission schools in Gwangju, about 270 kms (168 miles) south of Seoul, officials said.
WASHINGTON — Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy was taken to a hospital Tuesday evening after not feeling well and later sent home after tests, a spokesman said, hours after the 80-year-old Democrat began presiding over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. Leahy, who'd been in his Capitol office, was taken to George Washington University Hospital “out of an abundance of caution" after being examined by Congress' attending physician, Leahy spokesman David Carle said. The senator underwent an evaluation before his release from the hospital and looks forward to returning to work, Carle said. Leahy had commenced his role of overseeing Trump's latest impeachment trial by swearing in his fellow lawmakers. The actual trial will begin next month. Leahy is presiding because he is the Senate's president pro tempore, a largely ceremonial post. Chief Justice John Roberts presided over Trump's first impeachment trial a year ago when Trump was still president. The Senate president pro tempore job normally goes to the longest-serving member of the Senate's majority party. Leahy was first elected in 1974, making him the longest-serving current senator of either party. Leahy will be chairman once again this year of the Senate Appropriations Committee, a panel that controls a large chunk of the federal budget and will be in the middle of President Joe Biden's effort to provide more spending to combat the pandemic and recharge the economy. Leahy is the fifth-oldest current senator. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., 87, is the oldest. Alan Fram, The Associated Press
The mittens worn by American Senator Bernie Sanders to the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden have garnered considerable attention online, and generated humorous images that place a hunched-against-the-cold Sanders everywhere from a scene in Forrest Gump to downtown Saint John. They also caught the attention of a New Brunswick foundation which has been making mittens for charity for the past 15 years. Katie Tower, executive director of the Pedvac Foundation in Port Elgin, said when they saw Sanders’ mittens all over the internet, they thought, “Hey those look like Pedvac mittens!” The organization decided to point out the similarity on their Facebook for anyone trying to create their own Bernie look, Tower said. The post was shared many times and retailers who carry their mittens have started calling asking for more, she said. "The great thing about our mitts is it is a social enterprise," said Tower, “We pay people in our community of Port Elgin to make them.” They aren’t, however, copying the Bernie mittens pattern. “We came up with our own pattern many years ago," Tower said. "We have revised it a bit, but the pattern in the Bernie mittens just happens to be similar enough to ours.” The teacher who originally made the mittens as a gift for Sanders spoke about using recycled or donated wool, and Pedvac mittens are also made from wool that is "second hand or donated too,” said Darcie Kingswell, coordinator of Pedvac's "Wools to Wishes". “We use a variety of different wool, different fleece,” said Kingswell, adding that it could come from a sweater or another knitted item. Buying Pedvac mittens “goes to support our programs including mental health workshops, food programs in school or free income tax preparation programs,” said Tower. Pedvac’s mittens are currently available at Starving Artist Gallery in Moncton, Wheaton's locations in the Maritimes, Happenstance in Antigonish, Threadwork in Almonte, Ont. and at the Pedvac boutique in Port Elgin, although that location is closed while Zone 1 is in red, said Kingswell. The most common similarity between these New Brunswick-made mitts and Bernie Sanders’ mitts is a lot simpler. “It looked like Bernie Sanders was just trying to stay warm," Tower said. "Ours help you do that too.” Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Global coronavirus cases surpassed 100 million on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, as countries around the world struggle with new virus variants and vaccine shortfalls. Almost 1.3% of the world's population has now been infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and more than 2.1 million people have died. Around 668,250 cases have been reported each day over the same period, and the global fatality rate stands at 2.15%.
After the pandemic-fuelled historic drop in global greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, international energy agencies are projecting emissions will ramp up this year. On Tuesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration released its short-term outlook. The report shows 2020 emissions from its energy sector fell by approximately 11 per cent, but forecasts rises in both 2021 and 2022, as the country’s economy recovers. Similarly, the International Energy Agency is projecting a rebound in electricity demand in 2021, which it projects will include an increase in the use of the most carbon-intensive energy source: coal. Climate Action Tracker, an independent international research organization, estimates emissions in Canada dropped 11 to 13 per cent during 2020, but also noted a likely 2021 rebound in its analysis. Rebounds in energy demand and emissions are a common trend during periods of financial recovery. An IEA report, released in December 2020, however, projected the COVID-19 rebound in electricity demand globally would not be as strong as it was following the 2008 financial crisis. “Despite a record drop in global emissions (in 2020), the world is far from doing enough to put (emissions) into decisive decline. The economic downturn has temporarily suppressed emissions, but low economic growth is not a low-emissions strategy — it is a strategy that would only serve to further impoverish the world’s most vulnerable populations,” said IEA executive director Fatih Birol. “Only faster structural changes to the way we produce and consume energy can break the emissions trend for good. Governments have the capacity and the responsibility to take decisive actions to accelerate clean energy transitions and put the world on a path to reaching our climate goals, including net-zero emissions.” Sarah Lawrynuik, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 28,505 new vaccinations administered for a total of 868,454 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 2,291.479 per 100,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,122,450 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 77.37 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 3,258 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 8,549 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 16.326 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 16,500 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 51.81 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,207 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,117 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.866 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 9,225 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 3,102 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 11,622 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 11.909 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 28,850 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 40.28 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 3,821 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 14,257 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 18.277 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 21,675 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 65.78 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 4,164 new vaccinations administered for a total of 224,879 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 26.281 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 238,100 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 94.45 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 9,707 new vaccinations administered for a total of 295,817 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 20.139 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 411,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 71.86 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,618 new vaccinations administered for a total of 31,369 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 22.781 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 55,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 56.37 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 727 new vaccinations administered for a total of 34,080 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 28.902 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 32,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 104.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 361 new vaccinations administered for a total of 99,814 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 22.674 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 122,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.33 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 2,509 new vaccinations administered for a total of 122,359 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 23.844 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 144,550 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.65 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 445 new vaccinations administered for a total of 4,397 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 105.365 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 35 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 30.53 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting 7,578 new vaccinations administered for a total of 9,471 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 209.912 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 32 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 65.77 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 265 new vaccinations administered for a total of 4,723 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 121.959 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 12,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 31 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 39.36 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published January 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin held their first conversation as counterparts Tuesday in a phone call that underscored troubled relations and the delicate balance between the former Cold War foes. According to the White House, Biden raised concerns about the arrest of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, Russia’s alleged involvement in a massive cyber espionage campaign and reports of Russian bounties on American troops in Afghanistan. The Kremlin, meanwhile, focused on Putin’s response to Biden’s proposal to extend the last remaining U.S.-Russia arms control treaty. While the readouts from the two capitals emphasized different elements, they both suggested that U.S-Russia relations will be guided, at least at the beginning of the Biden administration, by a desire to do no harm but also no urgency to repair existing damage. The two presidents agreed to have their teams work urgently to complete a five-year extension of the New START nuclear weapons treaty that expires next month. Former President Donald Trump's administration had withdrawn from two arms control treaties with Russia and had been prepared to let New START lapse. Unlike his immediate predecessors — including Trump, who was enamoured of Putin and frequently undercut his own administration's tough stance on Russia — Biden has not held out hope for a “reset” in relations. Instead he has indicated he wants to manage differences without necessarily resolving them or improving ties. And with a heavy domestic agenda and looming decisions needed on Iran and China, a direct confrontation with Russia is not likely something Biden seeks. Although the leaders agreed to work together to extend New START before it expires Feb. 5 and to look at other areas of potential strategic co-operation, the White House said Biden was firm on U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, while Russia is supporting separatists in the country's east. Biden also raised the SolarWinds cyberhack, which has been attributed to Russia, reports of Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan, interference in the 2020 U.S. election, the poisoning of Navalny and the weekend crackdown on Navalny's supporters. “President Biden made clear that the United States will act firmly in defence of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies,” the White House said. Biden told Putin in the phone call, first reported by The Associated Press, that the U.S. would defend itself and take action, which could include further sanctions, to ensure Moscow does not act with impunity, officials said. Moscow had reached out last week to request the call, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter but not authorized to discuss it publicly. Biden agreed, but he wanted first to prepare with his staff and speak with European allies, including the leaders of Britain, France and Germany, which he did. Before he spoke to Putin, Biden also called NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg to pledge U.S. commitment to the decades-old alliance founded as a bulwark against Russian aggression. The Kremlin's readout of the call did not address the most contentious issues between the countries, though it said the leaders also discussed other “acute issues on the bilateral and international agenda.” It described the talk as “frank and businesslike” — often a diplomatic way of referring to tense discussions. It also said Putin congratulated Biden on becoming president and “noted that normalization of ties between Russia and the United States would serve the interests of both countries." Among the issues the Kremlin said were discussed were the coronavirus pandemic, the Iran nuclear agreement, Ukraine and issues related to trade and the economy. The call came as Putin considers the aftermath of pro-Navalny protests that took place in more than 100 Russian cities over the weekend. Biden’s team has already reacted strongly to the crackdown on the protests, in which more than 3,700 people were arrested across Russia, including more than 1,400 in Moscow. More protests are planned for the coming weekend. Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner and Putin’s best-known critic, was arrested Jan. 17 as he returned to Russia from Germany, where he had spent nearly five months recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Biden has previously condemned the use of chemical weapons. Russian authorities deny the accusations. Just from the public accounts, Biden's discussion with Putin appeared diametrically opposed to Trump's relationship with the Russian president. Trump had seemed to seek Putin's approval, frequently casting doubt on Russian interference in the 2016 elections, including when he stood next to Putin at their 2018 summit in Helsinki. He also downplayed Russia’s involvement in the hack of federal government agencies last year and the allegations that Russia offered the Taliban bounties. Still, despite that conciliatory approach, Trump's administration toed a tough line against Moscow, imposing sanctions on the country, Russian companies and business leaders for issues including Ukraine, energy supplies and attacks on dissidents. Biden, in his call with Putin, broke sharply with Trump by declaring that he knew that Russia attempted to interfere with both the 2016 and 2020 U.S. elections. ___ Associated Press writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report. Matthew Lee And Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press
The call is out for municipal leaders around the world to join a network using COVID-19 as an opportunity to develop more climate-resilient communities. The new program,“1000 Cities Adapt Now,” was launched Monday at the global Climate Adaptation Summit, co-convened by the government of Canada and the United Nations Environment Programme, among others. The 10-year plan was unveiled by the mayors of Miami, Paris and Rotterdam, Netherlands, alongside world-leading research organizations World Resources Institute and Global Centre on Adaptation. The goal is to encourage urban development at the municipal level that will prepare cities and residents for the coming changes in climate. “Our cities are at the forefront when it comes to tackling COVID-19, but also tackling the crisis of climate change,” said Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb. More than a dozen other centres have signed on, including: Accra, Athens, Istanbul, Jakarta, and Antwerp, Belgium. No Canadian cities have yet to join the initiative. Antwerp Mayor Bart de Wever said worrying about climate change and the end of the century is a luxury for citizens who right now are financially stable enough to not have to worry about the end of the month first. De Wever advocated for climate adaptation at the municipal level in order to protect those at the lowest socio-economic levels who will feel the impacts of climate change the most. His city is already implementing adaptation plans that include flood dykes, repurposing of parking lots for community use, and amending building codes so every new build is required to have a “green roof.” Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis said he was eager to be involved, because cities were the only level of government that could implement a bottom-up approach to tackling climate change. In Athens, this means “changing the face of the city” as green corridors and cycling infrastructure are prioritized. “We need to get ourselves ready for the day after the pandemic, because I think none of us want this pandemic to actually become an alibi or an excuse for our cities to lose valuable time,” Bakoyannis said. Former U.N. secretary-general and current co-chairman of the Global Commission on Adaptation Ban Ki-moon congratulated the mayors who have signed on for being leaders in the field of climate adaptation and preparedness. “The world is at a crossroads. COVID-19 is colliding with the existential crisis of a climate emergency, and your cities are on the front lines. But the good news is, that because of your work, cities around the world are rising to the challenge of protecting their citizens,” Moon said. He reminded conference attendees New York’s Central Park and Victoria Park in London were created in response to historical public health crises, and have since become the most iconic green spaces in the world. “If we work together, I believe we can prepare our cities for a warmer future, and create healthy living spaces where people and biodiversity can thrive.” Sarah Lawrynuik, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
Inaya Mirza’s bully, another student in her Grade 4 classroom, is a lot quieter online. “When she was at school every day, she would be talking about this girl,” said her older sister, Maryam Mirza. “She was doing poor academically because she was so stressed.” The bullying — name-calling, rumour-spreading and gossiping — stopped when classrooms were shuttered. “Now, she’s happy,” said Maryam, 23, an early-childhood educator. “She kind of misses her friends, but, at the same time, she’s relieved that she doesn’t have to deal with the bully.” Nearly 60 per cent of public school students surveyed reported being bullied pre-COVID, according to a new report on bullying released Friday by the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. Amid the pandemic, that number dropped to about 40 per cent. The report was initiated by the board after the death of 14-year-old Devan Selvey, who was stabbed outside Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in October 2019. Kristine Bolton, a parent to two students in the public board, said her eldest daughter, a Grade 10 student at Sir Winston Churchill, suffers from anxiety. “She didn’t feel safe all the time there with what happened with Devan,” she said. “She’s been scared.” Bolton said the 15-year-old puts a lot of pressure on herself to perform academically. “She blacks out during tests,” her mother said. “So being in the comfort of home, she’s not going through that and her marks have been really good so far.” Bolton said her kids have excelled with remote learning — each for a different reason. “Our youngest one, she’s always had a lot of struggles, unfortunately, in school,” Bolton said. Her daughter, a 12-year-old student in Grade 7, had been at a Grade 3 or 4 level for a couple of years, her mother said. Now, she is doing math between a Grade 6 and 7 level. “When the remote started last year after March break, I was able to give her that one-on-one support,” she said. “Her grades have improved.” Jennifer McTaggart, a clinical psychologist with the child and youth mental health program at McMaster Children’s Hospital, said success with remote learning “is going to vary based on the kid.” “I think there are some children who are thriving in remote learning,” she said. Self-directed learners and students who are easily distracted by may prefer to learn in a more independent environment. Remote learning might be a welcome break for students who are shy, have an anxiety disorder or suffer from bullying. But, she said, it’s “a double-edged sword.” “Getting out of the situation really does reinforce the anxiety, so our kids aren’t learning how to deal in these social situations,” she said. “There’s a temporary relief, but I also worry our children aren’t getting the benefit of learning how to work through those situations, which is important to our social development.” Sixteen-year-old Elena Kowalchuk, a Grade 11 student at Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School, is “kind of made for online learning,” her mother says. “She’s highly motivated, she’s got an excellent work ethic, she’s got really good work habits,” said Michelle Castellani, who is a high school teacher. But, despite her daughter’s success with remote learning, Castellani said she will “100 per cent” be going back to the classroom once schools reopen for in-person learning. “It’s not so much for the academics that I would send her back, it is for that little bit of a social piece,” she said. “It’s important for kids to get out of the house.” Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
NEW YORK — The baseball Hall of Fame won’t have any new players in the class of 2021 after voters decided no one had the merits — on-the-field or off — for enshrinement in Cooperstown on this year's ballot. Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were the closest in voting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America released Tuesday, and the trio will have one more chance at election next year. It's the first time the BBWAA didn't choose anyone since 2013. Schilling, a right-handed ace who won three World Series titles, finished 16 votes short of the 75% threshold necessary for enshrinement. He got 71.1% per cent this time after coming up 20 votes shy at 70% last year. Schilling's on-field accomplishments face little dispute, but he has ostracized himself in retirement by directing hateful remarks toward Muslims, transgender people, journalists and others. “It’s all right, the game doesn’t owe me anything,” Schilling said during a live video stream on his Twitter account. He later wrote on Facebook that he has asked the Hall of Fame to remove his name from next year's ballot. Hall of Fame Board Chairman Janes Forbes Clark said in a statement that the board "will consider the request at our next meeting.” Bonds (61.8%) and Clemens (61.6%) made minimal gains and joined Schilling in falling short on their ninth tries. Both face suspicions of performance-enhancing drug use — Clemens has denied using PEDs and Bonds has denied knowingly using PEDs. Bonds also has been accused of domestic violence and Clemens of maintaining a decade-long relationship with a singer who was 15 when they met. Schilling, Clemens and Bonds will be joined on next year's ballot by sluggers Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz. Rodriguez was suspended for all of the 2014 season for violating MLB's PED policy and collective bargaining agreement, and Ortiz's name allegedly appeared on a list of players who tested positive in 2003. Omar Vizquel, an 11-time Gold Glove winner, dropped from 52.6% last year to 49.1% after his wife accused him of repeated domestic abuses in December. Braves star Andruw Jones, arrested in 2012 on a domestic violence charge, got 33.9% in his fourth year. Rockies slugger Todd Helton, who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and was sentenced to two days in jail last year, got 44.9% in his third time on the ballot. Some players missed out over old-fashioned baseball disagreements, too. Slick-fielding third baseman Scott Rolen moved from 35.3% to 52.9% and hard-throwing closer Billy Wagner from 31.7% to 46.4%. It’s the 19th time the BBWAA has failed to elect a Hall member and just the third time since 1971. With the Hall of Fame's Era Committees postponing their scheduled elections until next off-season because of the pandemic, there won't be a new Hall class for the first time since 1960. Cooperstown won’t be without celebration next summer, though. After the 2020 ceremony in the upstate New York village was cancelled due to the pandemic, Yankees great Derek Jeter and five-tool star Larry Walker will take centre stage on July 25, a year later than planned. They’ll be honoured alongside catcher Ted Simmons and late players’ association chief Marvin Miller. BBWAA members are instructed to elect Hall members “based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.” At a time when social justice movements are pushing for a broader reckoning on sexual misconduct and racial inequality, character evaluation took on an outsized role in this election cycle. While the Hall’s inductees already include racists, cheaters, philanderers and criminals, the current voting bloc has — narrowly, in many cases — taken a stand against candidates they think have insufficient integrity. A record 14 voters sent blank ballots, topping the 12 sent in 2006. Schilling — a six-time All-Star over 20 seasons with Baltimore, Houston, Philadelphia, Arizona and Boston — has been embroiled in controversy throughout his retirement. He launched a video game company, 38 Studios, that went bankrupt shortly after receiving a $75 million loan guarantee from Rhode Island, then was fired as an ESPN analyst after he sent a tweet comparing Muslim extremists to Nazi-era Germans and posted a derogatory Facebook comment about transgender people. Months later, Schilling was again criticized after using social media to applaud a T-shirt calling for journalists to be lynched. On Jan. 6, the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, he said the following in a message on his Twitter account: “You cowards sat on your hands, did nothing while liberal trash looted rioted and burned for air Jordan’s and big screens, sit back .... and watch folks start a confrontation for (expletive) that matters like rights, democracy and the end of govt corruption.” That tweet was sent a few days after Hall of Fame ballots were due. Schilling wrote on Facebook that he would like the veterans committee to review his Hall case. That panel — comprised of former players, managers and others in the game, along with some writers — is tasked with evaluating players who don't get election via the BBWAA vote. “I’ll defer to the veterans committee and men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player,” Schilling wrote. “I don’t think I’m a hall of famer as I’ve often stated but if former players think I am then I’ll accept that with honour. “In my heart I am at peace," he also wrote. “Nothing, zero, none of the claims being made by any of the writers hold merit.” Bonds’ ex-wife testified in 1995 during divorce proceedings that he beat and kicked her. Bonds said he never physically abused her but once kicked her after she kicked him. In 2008, the New York Daily News reported that Clemens had a decade-long relationship with country singer Mindy McCready that began when she was 15 and he was a star for the Boston Red Sox. Clemens apologized for unspecified mistakes in his personal life and denied having an affair with a 15-year-old. McCready later told “Inside Edition” she met Clemens when she was 16 and that the relationship didn’t turn sexual until several years later. The BBWAA recently voted overwhelmingly to remove the name and imprint of former Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis from MVP plaques. Landis became commissioner in 1920, and there were no Black players in the majors during his more than two decades in charge. Further down the ballot, outfielder Gary Sheffield jumped from 30.5% to 40.6% on his seventh time on the ballot and Jeff Kent improved from 27.5% to 32.4% in his eighth year. The 2022 ballot also will include Phillies stars Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard, switch-hitting slugger Mark Teixeira and two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. ___ Follow Jake Seiner: https://twitter.com/Jake_Seiner ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Jake Seiner, The Associated Press
Canadians believe their politicians are lacking compassion more than any other leadership quality right now, according to a recent online poll conducted by Leger with a panel of respondents. While compassion was a quality seen as lacking for many leaders, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs had the lowest compassion rating of any Atlantic Canadian premier, earning a score of 5.7 on a 10-point scale from respondents. By comparison, Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King had a compassion score of 7.8 from respondents. The poll was conducted while the province was in yellow phase, prior to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick. Higgs's compassion score is the third lowest in the country, coming out ahead of Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Albert Premier Jason Kenney. When asked by Brunswick News for his response to these polling results, Higgs said, “Well, I’m obviously disappointed that this would be the outcome [of the poll]. However, throughout this whole process I’ve tried to balance what we need to get through this, as individuals and as a province, so that at the end of COVID – which we do see, that end in sight – we actually have a province that can survive and provide employment.” Université de Moncton political scientist Donald Savoie said compassion just isn’t a part of Higgs’s brand. “The competent manager is the image he wants to project,” said Savoie, adding if your brand is fiscal prudence, it’s difficult to project compassion. Higgs’s highest score, a 7.3, was for decisiveness. He also scored a 6.9 per cent for managing the pandemic, a score which is higher than many other leaders, but lower than that of Nova Scotia or P.E.I.’s premiers. Higgs also had one of the lowest scores for collaboration; residents gave him a 6.3, the third lowest score in the country. Higgs’s compassion score is likely a result of his approaches to problems and the way he has been communicating to the public, said Mount Allison University political scientist Mario Levesque. “Higgs doesn’t appear friendly, seems more feisty and quick to temper,” said Levesque. “He’s champing at the bit. He has a very narrow agenda and doesn’t like to be pulled away from it.” By contrast, P.E.I. Premier Dennis King could be delivering similar news or restrictions, but he seems more open in his delivery, Levesque added. He noted that it may help that King is a former comedian. The public's perception of compassion is also likely influenced by the way a variety of policy files have recently been handled, which may be giving Higgs some baggage, said Levesque, citing moves to reduce rural hospital ER access and not moving forward on an official inquiry into systemic racism. Joanna Everitt, a political scientist at University of New Brunswick, said while it is clear compassion is not an adjective many associate with the premier, it doesn’t mean they aren’t satisfied with his leadership. Although his cumulative leadership score also fell below other Atlantic premiers, character traits should not be confused with performance satisfaction or willingness to vote for someone, although they can form the basis of these other assessments, said Everitt. Higgs said he is looking forward to working closely with public health, his colleagues and the other parties. He said he thinks in the end “we will measure performance on actual results, not opinions. I feel confident that at the end of the day, we're going to look back on this and say New Brunswick came through this in a way like no other province, because we've got a province left when we actually get through COVID.” A total of 3,801 online surveys were conducted through Leger’s online panel, LEO and partner panels. Interviews were conducted from Dec 4 to 20, 2020. Leadership scores offered by the study were a cumulative average on the 10-point scale calculated from the sum of scores on six attributes: trustworthiness, transparency or openness, decisiveness, good communication, compassion and collaboration. As a non-probability internet survey, a margin of error was not reported. If the data were collected through a random sample, the margin of error would be plus or minus 1.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Armed with a sign that reads, "We Support Farmers," Virpal Grewal joined about 100 others demonstrating outside the Indian consulate in downtown Vancouver on Tuesday. Grewal comes from a generation of farmers, with her father still farming in India. "We are worried about what happens there every day," Grewal said about why she joined the car rally on the global day of action, which saw protests all over the world. Jan. 26 is India's Republic Day, which marks the day in 1950 its constitution came into effect. In India, thousands of farmers protesting agricultural reforms stormed into the historic Red Fort complex in New Delhi, fighting off tear gas and tearing down barricades. According to a witness, one protester was killed. Farmers have been protesting for almost two months against new laws that the Indian government says will make the sector more efficient, allowing farmers to market their produce and boost production through private investment. But farmers say the laws help large, private buyers and will threaten their livelihood. Tens of thousands have since marched to New Delhi, India's capital, where they have clashed with police and set up protest camps. "They have lots of people there, like thousands, millions on the road, right? Eating on the road, sleeping on the road, and it's cold weather there," Grewal said. "And the people are, like, 80, 90 years old, or one-year-old, three-year-old kids, because everybody is worried about jobs, they depend on farming." Another demonstrator in downtown Vancouver, Yadwinder Singh, said he was there to show solidarity with protesters in India and to oppose the violence they have experienced. "It's very, very disappointing to see the government, who is supposed to be working for our welfare, doing what it is doing. It is completely neglecting the state in which people are at the moment," he said. Singh said the unrestricted private trade of crops hasn't worked in other parts of the country where it was introduced. "There are several states in India, particularly in Bihar, where these types of laws were implemented 20 years ago. Farmers in that state are the poorest farmers in the country, so I cannot see why these laws are implemented," he said. Singh said he also believes the laws were rushed without proper debate and consultation. "I even contest that these are completely democratic laws; these are half-cooked laws which do not have consent of even the Parliament; these are undemocratic even from their conception," he said. Other protesters, such as Michael Parnar, want the Canadian government to put more pressure on the Indian government to repeal the laws. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has voiced concern over the Indian government's response to the protesters. Despite anger from an Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, who called Trudeau's comments "ill informed," the prime minister reiterated his support. "Canada will always stand up for the right of peaceful protest anywhere around the world, and we're pleased to see moves toward de-escalation and dialogue," Trudeau said. Parnar, however, said he would like to see Trudeau take a harder stance against the Indian government. "Tariffs, embargoes, do whatever you need to do — even freeze assets of those in power. It's really not going to make a change until the Canadian government gathers support from the international community," he said. "Once that happens, then there will be real pressure on the Indian government." Meanwhile, protesters vowed to continue showing their solidarity here until the laws are repealed in India.
RCMP believe a woman and teenager were unable to escape before a fire destroyed a family duplex in a small hamlet west of Edmonton early Tuesday morning. An officer patrolling in Evansburg, Alta., noticed a multi-family duplex on fire shortly after 3 a.m. in the area of 49th Street and 52nd Avenue, according to an RCMP news release Tuesday evening. Two elderly residents, related to the woman and teen, were evacuated from one side of the duplex by the officer, RCMP said. RCMP would not confirm whether the woman and teenager are believed to be dead. "We need to find them," said Cpl. Deanna Fontaine, RCMP media relations officer. "This is a very tragic situation and our heart goes out to this family." A big huge loss The community of Evansburg, a hamlet about 100 kilometres west of Edmonton, is shocked by the news. The Han family that owns a local grocery store, Evansburg Family Foods, lived in the duplex. Mary Finch lives a few blocks away and has been a customer of the store since she moved to the hamlet a little more than 10 years ago. "Everybody knows them around here. It's a local family — it's not a community, it's a local family," Finch told CBC News in a phone interview Tuesday night. "It's a big loss, a big huge loss." She described the store and the family as the cornerstone of the community. "We're a little nest, Finch said. "It just feels like right now one of our feathers was damaged and we gotta get this family through it and know that they can rely on us like a lot of people relied on them." Finch organized a GoFundMe page Tuesday morning, originally with a goal to raise $10,000. When the fund reached that within three hours, she raised it. "I had to change the goal. People have donated so much it surpassed the goal," Finch said. As of Thursday night, more than 180 people had donated to the fund, which was close to $20,000. "It is just overwhelming, I never even expected half of this." Finch said others in the community are collecting furniture and clothing, as she believes the store may be all the family has left. "I feel for them because they are such hard, hard workers, and I would do anything for them, because they did as much as they could for me, and for all of us." Finch shared that when she was undergoing cancer treatment, the family showed her kindness and support. "Every time I'd come in they'd say 'how you feeling, how you feeling today?' They'd give her some fruit and show her how to make soothing tea. "It's like walking into mom and pop's house," Finch said. "If you're getting groceries and you're say $5 short or something, they'll say 'don't worry about it, I'll get you next time." Other people were known to live with the woman and teen but they were not inside the duplex at the time of the fire, Fontaine said. The fire was extinguished around 9 a.m. Tuesday. Investigators with the RCMP Forensic Identification Services and the Alberta Office of the Fire Commissioner were on scene, as the cause of the fire is still under investigation, RCMP said. Crews will continue searching the structure on Wednesday, RCMP said.
VANCOUVER — A former executive with British Columbia's lottery corporation became emotional Tuesday after two days of testimony at a public inquiry into money laundering.Robert Kroeker took several moments to compose himself but his voice still cracked with emotion when he was asked to describe his experience as a focal point in B.C.'s probe into money laundering.Kroeker, who was fired as vice-president of corporate compliance in 2019, spent much of his testimony explaining what the Crown corporation knew about illegal cash circulating at casinos and what was being done to prevent it."You are not a floor manager. You are not on the business side of casinos. You are not wining and dining high rollers," said Marie Henein, Kroeker's lawyer. "That's not what you do. You've spent your life in compliance and trying to deal with money laundering and making casinos secure places in B.C."Kroeker's voice cracked as he tried to describe the impact of allegations that the lottery corporation did not act on large amounts of illegal cash at casinos."It's been devastating, not being able to respond, particularly when I was at the corporation, and especially for my team," said the former RCMP officer. "They're professionals and to see them continually attacked and maligned, it's really unfair."Former gaming investigator Larry Vander Graaf, who is also a former Mountie, told the commission last November that the B.C. Lottery Corp. did not move quickly enough to protect the integrity of gaming from organized crime more than a decade ago.Vander Graaf, the former executive director of the province's gaming policy branch, testified that large amounts of suspicious cash started to appear at B.C. casinos in 2007 and by 2010, loan sharks were circulating nearby parking lots with bags of money believed to be from proceeds of crime.Kroeker testified Tuesday he received a high-level briefing about suspicious cash activities at provincial casinos with possible links to organized crime on his first day on the job at the lottery corporation in 2015.He said he reviewed a document that concluded lottery officials appeared unwilling to address police concerns about suspicious cash and its potential connections to organized crime. The document also included the lottery corporation's concerns over the potential fallout if the information became public, he added."Certainly by this point BCLC knew there was a concern around the cash being brought into casinos being proceeds of crime," B.C. government lawyer Jacqueline Hughes asked Kroeker."Yes, for sure," said Kroeker.On Monday, Kroeker testified that Attorney General David Eby appeared uninterested in the lottery corporation's anti-money laundering efforts during a meeting in 2017 shortly after the New Democrats took power.The Ministry of Attorney General said in a statement on Monday that Eby would not comment on evidence or proceedings while the commission is underway.But in a statement on Tuesday, the ministry said "this government's actions to tackle financial crime in B.C. speaks for itself."Kroeker testified Tuesday that the money laundering issue in B.C. had become "politically charged" and was used by the two main political parties to criticize each other.The province appointed B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen in 2019 to lead the public inquiry into money laundering after three reports outlined how hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal cash affected the province's real estate, luxury vehicles and gaming sectors.— By Dirk Meissner in VictoriaThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Même en tant que fonctionnaire québécoise, Coura Felwine Sene ne peut obtenir ses papiers d’immigrations. Tout commence au Sénégal en 2015. Coura Felwine Sene rêve de s’établir ailleurs. Le nom « Québec » circule autour d’elle et l’attire. Pour émigrer, elle fait affaire avec une agence locale afin d’obtenir les papiers. « J’ai payé 1200 dollars pour l’admission et le certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ). L’agence s’occupait de toutes les démarches », explique-t-elle. C’est là pourtant que, sans le savoir, elle se fait flouer. L’agence et les documents délivrés s’avèrent frauduleux. Mais personne ne s’en rend compte, ni elle, ni les fonctionnaires d’ici chargés de vérifier la crédibilité des documents. Ainsi, tout se déroule comme prévu à son arrivée au Québec. Son certificat d’acceptation est échangé contre un permis d’étude. Elle s’installe à Rimouski. Après quelques années à jongler entre les études et un emploi — « j’ai passé mes nuits à l’Université », dit-elle —, elle renouvelle son CAQ sans problème. Dès sa formation terminée, elle décroche un emploi à temps plein dans un des ministères québécois. On lui offre un statut de travailleur temporaire, qui expire en janvier 2023. Déterminée à s’installer pour de bon au Bas-Saint-Laurent, elle entreprend alors les démarches pour obtenir sa résidence permanente. Elle doit d’abord passer par Québec pour obtenir un nouveau certificat. Alors qu’elle en est à rassembler ses papiers, tout bascule. « J’ai demandé au ministère de l’Immigration un duplicata de mon premier CAQ. C’est là qu’ils se sont rendu compte du caractère frauduleux. » « Le numéro du dossier est à mon nom, mais le numéro de référence correspond à un autre individu au Sénégal », détaille-t-elle. Elle se dit atterrée que les fonctionnaires puissent renouveler ses papiers, pour ensuite les invalider. « Pourquoi ont-ils annulé le CAQ qui expire en août ? J’ai fini mes études depuis. Je n’en ai plus besoin. » Qui plus est, argumente-t-elle, elle aurait sans doute pu obtenir tous les papiers pour une résidence permanente sans cette copie du CAQ. « Il ne fallait pas appeler », lui aurait-on dit au ministère. Depuis, elle multiplie les recours pour demeurer au Québec. Elle porte plainte en justice au Sénégal et obtient gain de cause. Les autorités sénégalaises font fermer l’agence frauduleuse et arrêtent les propriétaires. Son employeur, le gouvernement du Québec, lui offre un permis de travail fermé. Ce document lui permettrait de postuler sur Arrima, la nouvelle plateforme numérique de sélection des immigrants. Or, avec une mention de fraude de son dossier, Coura Felwine Sene ne croit pas en ses chances. « C’est sûr qu’ils ne vont pas me choisir. » Prise dans un cul-de-sac administratif, elle ne peut croire qu’elle pourrait devoir quitter la province. Elle soutient avoir dépensé près de 100 000 $ pour ses études et son installation à Rimouski. « J’ai le droit d’être respecté. Ça fait cinq ans que je suis ici. Je travaille. Je ne reçois aucun chômage. » « Je suis très découragée. J’ai pleuré toute la fin de semaine. » L’avocate en immigration Nadia Bourra ne s’étonne pas du refus du gouvernement. « On peut être citoyen canadien et ensuite perdre ce statut, si le point de départ était frauduleux. […] S’il y a eu une fraude, c’est normal que le gouvernement refuse. Il ne peut pas permettre cela. » Le ministère québécois de l’Immigration ne commente pas les dossiers particuliers. Par courriel, une porte-parole confirme toutefois que « la ministre peut rejeter la demande d’une personne qui a fourni, dans les cinq ans précédant l’examen de la demande, directement ou indirectement, un renseignement ou un document faux ou trompeur ». « Sur l’ensemble des demandes reçues pour les dossiers « étudiants » de 2016 à 2020, ce sont 0,07 % des demandes qui ont reçu une décision de refus pour ce motif, en moyenne, par année », ajoute-t-elle. Mme Sene confirme ces statistiques. « L’agent m’a dit que c’est la première fois qu’il voit un cas comme ça. » Elle laisse cependant entendre que d’autres compatriotes pourraient se retrouver à la fois victimes de fraude et d’une erreur administrative. « Je suis la première victime, mais il y en aura d’autres. »Jean-Louis Bordeleau, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir