Snow fell on the New South Wales Blue Mountains region early on May 22 after a cold front passed through the state.
This footage shows the snowfall in Blackheath. Credit: Rhys Pope Photography via Storyful
Snow fell on the New South Wales Blue Mountains region early on May 22 after a cold front passed through the state.
This footage shows the snowfall in Blackheath. Credit: Rhys Pope Photography via Storyful
The A-list is back. How A-list? Try Lady Gaga and J. Lo. Inauguration officials announced on Thursday that the glittery duo would appear in person on Jan. 20, with Gaga singing the national anthem as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, and Jennifer Lopez giving a musical performance. Foo Fighters, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen will offer remote performances, and Eva Longoria and and Kerry Washington will introduce segments of the event. Later that day, Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute primetime TV special celebrating Biden’s inauguration. Other performers include Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Ant Clemons. Despite a raging pandemic that is forcing most inaugural events online, it was a sign that Hollywood was back and eager to embrace the new president-elect four years after many big names stayed away from the inauguration of President Donald Trump, hugely unpopular in Hollywood. The question: How would the star wattage play across the country as Biden seeks to unite a bruised nation? Eric Dezenhall, a Washington crisis management consultant and former Reagan administration official, predicted reaction would fall “along tribal lines.” “I think it all comes down to the reinforcement of pre-existing beliefs,” Dezenhall said. “If you’re a Biden supporter, it’s nice to see Lady Gaga perform.” But, he added, “what rallied Trump supporters was the notion of an uber-elite that had nothing to do at all with them and that they couldn’t relate to.” Presidential historian Tevi Troy quipped that the starry Gaga-J. Lo lineup was not A-list, but D-list — "for Democratic.” "When Democrats win you get the more standard celebrities,” said Troy, author of “What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House.” “With Republicans you tend to get country music stars and race-car drivers." Referring to Lady Gaga’s outspoken support for the Biden-Harris ticket, he said he was nostalgic for the days when celebrities were not so political. “Call me a hopeless romantic, but I liked the old days when Bob Hope or Frank Sinatra would come to these events and they were not overtly political,” he said. Still, he said, Biden’s unity message won’t be derailed. “In the end, I don’t think having Lady Gaga or J. Lo is all that divisive,” he said. Attendance at the inauguration will be severely limited, due to both the pandemic and fears of continued violence, following last week’s storming of the Capitol. Outside the official events, one of the more prominent galas each inauguration is The Creative Coalition's quadrennial ball, a benefit for arts education. This year, the ball is entirely virtual. But it is star-studded nonetheless: The event, which will involve food being delivered simultaneously to attendees in multiple cities, will boast celebrity hosts including Jason Alexander, David Arquette, Matt Bomer, Christopher Jackson, Ted Danson, Lea DeLaria, Keegan Michael-Key, Chrissy Metz, Mandy Patinkin and many others. Robin Bronk, CEO of the non-partisan arts advocacy group, said she's been deluged with celebrities eager to participate in some way. The event typically brings in anywhere from $500,000 to $2.5 million, and this year the arts community is struggling like never before. Bronk noted that planning has been a challenge, given not only the recent political upheaval in the country but also the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic. Given all that, did a celebration make sense? “I was thinking about this when we were trying to phrase the invitation,” Bronk said. “Do we celebrate? This is the most serious time of our lives.” But, she said, especially at a time when the arts community is suffering, it’s crucial to shine a spotlight and recognize that “the right to bear arts is not a red or blue issue. One of the reasons we have this ball is that we have to ensure the arts are not forgotten." The Presidential Inaugural Committee also announced Thursday that the invocation will be given by the Rev. Leo O’Donovan, a former Georgetown University president, and the Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Andrea Hall, a firefighter from Georgia. There will be a poetry reading from Amanda Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate, and the benediction will be given by Rev. Silvester Beaman of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware. On the same platform, Biden sat in 2013 behind pop star Beyoncé as she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at President Barack Obama's second inauguration. James Taylor sang “America the Beautiful,” and Kelly Clarkson sang “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.” At Trump’s inauguration in 2017, the anthem was performed by 16-year-old singer Jackie Evancho. A number of top artists declined the opportunity to perform at the festivities, and one Broadway star, Jennifer Holliday, even said she’d received death threats before she pulled out of her planned appearance. There was indeed star power in 2017, but most of it was centred at the Women’s March on Washington, where attendees included Madonna, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson, Cher, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Emma Watson and many others. This year, signs are that Obama-era celebrities are returning. Dezenhall said that in the end, it's logical for organizers to go with the biggest talent. “Lady Gaga is as big as you can get, and she is very talented,” he said. “If I were being inaugurated and I could have Lady Gaga, I would take it.” Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
ENVIRONNEMENT. La MRC de la Haute-Yamaska a déposé son bilan de mi-parcours 2019 du Plan directeur de l’eau 2017-2021. Ce plan d’évaluation et d’intervention lancé en 2017 est financé par le Fonds vert. Il a été voté il y a treize ans par le conseil des maires de la MRC. Près de 1,24 M$ seront investis entre 2017 et 2021 dans les huit municipalités du territoire. De ce budget, 200 000 $ ont été dépensés en 2019. «La MRC a activement poursuivi son engagement en matière environnementale, par la mise en œuvre d’actions concrètes pour la santé des lacs et des cours d’eau en Haute-Yamaska. Autant en matière de protection des bandes riveraines, de mise à niveau des installations septiques, de lutte à la pollution ou de contrôle de l’érosion, voire de conservation volontaire des milieux naturels», précise Valérie-Anne Bachand, inspectrice en environnement et chef de projet pour le Plan directeur de l’eau. «Ça contribue à atténuer les impacts des changements climatiques sur les milieux hydriques.» La MRC a été productive. Elle affirme avoir pu compléter près de 92 % des 60 interventions qu’elle souhaitait mener en 2019 dans le cadre de son Plan directeur de l’eau (PDE) 2017-2021 — Pour des lacs et des cours d’eau en santé en Haute-Yamaska. Selon son dernier bilan, plus de 81 % des bandes riveraines du territoire sont aujourd’hui conformes, même si 350 avis d’infraction ont été envoyés aux nouveaux propriétaires riverains au printemps 2019. Par ailleurs, de nombreux efforts ont été déployés pour sensibiliser les propriétaires à la pollution, à l’érosion et à la végétalisation des berges. Plus de 1 600 arbustes ont été distribués. La MRC a aussi versé 25 000 $ à l’OBV Yamaska pour soutenir le projet collectif d’amélioration de la qualité de l’eau en milieu agricole du bassin versant du lac Boivin. La MRC en a profité pour procéder à la caractérisation et à la mise à niveau des installations septiques de la région. Près de 88 % des installations non conformes répertoriées depuis 2010, ont été corrigées ou sont en voie de l’être. «C’est un très bon bilan considérant ce que ça représente comme coûts pour les propriétaires.» Des centaines d’hectares protégés Un projet triennal mené avec la collaboration de la Fondation SÉTHY a permis «entre 2017 et 2019 de signer 55 ententes visant la conservation volontaire de 865 hectares en Haute-Yamaska» et «55 hectares d’écosystèmes à haute valeur écologique seront aussi protégés à perpétuité grâce à la négociation d’ententes de conservation légale entre la Fondation SÉTHY et des propriétaires privés.» Près de 35 000 $ ont été accordés à la Fondation SÉTHY dans le cadre de ce projet de conservation des milieux naturels. La qualité de l’eau est considérée comme généralement bonne, selon les analyses réalisées dans 92 % des 24 stations d’échantillonnage des eaux de surface du territoire, notamment en ce qui a trait à la présence de coliformes fécaux « à l’exception de deux stations dont la qualité de l’eau est ressortie mauvaise ou douteuse (en amont et en aval de la station d’épuration de la Ville de Granby)», écrit-on dans ce rapport. Ceci ne veut pas dire pour autant que Granby ne répond pas aux normes en la matière, précise Valérie-Anne Bachand. «Concernant les résultats du programme d’échantillonnage (dont des coliformes fécaux), le temps généralement plus sec, lors des prélèvements de 2019, pourrait avoir contribué à réduire le taux de dilution de certaines sources d’apports ponctuels (dont les rejets d’eaux usées municipales)», explique Mme Bachand. Une mise à niveau prochaine de la station d’épuration de Granby devrait permettre d’améliorer ces chiffres. Sinon, la quantité de phosphore présent dans l’eau s’améliore. Mais environ 70 % des stations sont encore affectées par une concentration élevée en phosphore total (qualité mauvaise ou douteuse). «On poursuit la mise en œuvre du Plan d’action. Lutter contre la pollution diffuse, l’érosion des berges et protéger les milieux humides figure en tête de liste des priorités de la MRC. «C’est un beau plan d’action qu’on a devant nous», conclut Valérie-Anne Bachand, chef de projet pour le Plan directeur de l’eau, pour la MRC de la Haute-Yamaska. Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his entire Cabinet resigned Friday to take political responsibility for a scandal involving investigations into child welfare payments that wrongly labeled thousands of parents as fraudsters. In a nationally televised speech, Rutte said he had informed King Willem-Alexander of his decision and pledged that his government would continue work to compensate affected parents as quickly as possible and to battle the coronavirus. “We are of one mind that if the whole system has failed, we all must take responsibility, and that has led to the conclusion that I have just offered the king, the resignation of the entire Cabinet,” Rutte said. The move was seen as largely symbolic; Rutte’s government will remain in office in a caretaker mode until a new coalition is formed after a March 17 election in the Netherlands. The resignation brings to an end a decade in office for Rutte, although his party is expected to win the election, putting him first in line to begin talks to form the next government. If he succeeds in forming a new coalition, Rutte would most likely again become prime minister. The Netherlands is the third European country thrown into political uncertainty this week in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. In Estonia, the government resigned over a corruption scandal, while Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte’s governing coalition is at risk of collapse after a small partner party withdrew its support. Rutte said earlier this week that his government would be able to keep taking tough policy decisions in the battle against the coronavirus even if it were in caretaker mode. The Netherlands is in a tough lockdown until at least Feb. 9, and the government is considering imposing an overnight curfew amid fears about new, more contagious variants of the virus. “To the Netherlands I say: Our struggle against the coronavirus will continue,” Rutte said. On Thursday, the leader of the Dutch opposition Labor Party stepped down because he was minister of social affairs in a governing coalition led by Rutte when the country’s tax office implemented a tough policy of tracking down fraud with child welfare. Lodewijk Asscher’s decision put further pressure on Rutte ahead of Friday's Cabinet meeting. Ministers were to decide on their reaction to a scathing report issued last month, titled “Unprecedented Injustice,” that said the tax office policies violated “fundamental principles of the rule of law.” The report also criticized the government for the way it provided information to parliament about the scandal. Many wrongfully accused parents were plunged into debt when tax officials demanded repayment of payments. The government has in the past apologized for the tax office’s methods and in March earmarked 500 million euros ($607 million) to compensate more than 20,000 parents. One of those parents waited near parliament as the Cabinet met and said she wanted it to resign. “It's important for me because it is the government acknowledging, ‘We have made a mistake and we are taking responsibility,’ because it's quite something what happened to us,” Janet Ramesar told The Associated Press. Rutte plans to lead his conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy into the March election, and polls suggest it will win the most seats. That would put Rutte, who has been in office for a decade at the head of three different coalitions, first in line to attempt to form the next ruling coalition. Deputy Prime Minister Kajsa Ollongren, who serves as interior minister, said as she entered Friday's meeting that “it is very important to be accountable and also to show responsibility in the political sense, and we are going to talk about that in the Council of Ministers today.” Mike Corder, The Associated Press
COPENHAGEN — The ex-partner of Norway’s former justice minister was convicted and sentenced to 20 months in jail Friday for setting a fire outside the politician’s home and other threatening behaviour. The Oslo District Court found Laila Bertheussen guilty of setting fire to a garbage container and scrawling graffiti that included the word “racist” and a swastika on the Oslo home of then-Justice Minister Tor Mikkel Wara in 2018 and 2019. She also was found guilty of writing Wara a threatening letter. Bertheussen, 55, also was found guilty of making threats against other peoples. Throughout her trial, she pleaded innocent and argued that Norway’s domestic security agency had conducted a one-sided investigation. Presiding Judge Yngvild Thue rejected the defence argument, saying the court found the investigation to have been exceptionally thorough. Bertheussen was arrested in March 2019. Wara stepped down at the same time because of the case, which made headlines in Norway. He has described the vandalism as “unpleasant and scary.” The Associated Press
The first person to die as a result of COVID-19 in the Saskatchewan Penitentiary has been identified by family as 53-year-old Eugene Francis. His younger sister, Konzter Gregorie, confirmed his identity to CBC via email after he was reported to have died in an outside hospital from COVID-19-related complications on Jan. 8. Gregorie said her brother was originally from La La Biche, Alta., but had lived in Edmonton since the '90s. People who knew him, posting on Facebook after his death, used his nickname, Magoo. Laugh, love for family won't be forgotten Gregorie said in a text message his memory will live on. "I'll never forget the sound of his laugh," she said. "And he was always very protective about the ones he loved." She said his health deteriorated quickly. "He called and said he had COVID-19 and next thing he was gone, passed away," she said via text, noting it all happened in a "couple of days." Francis' COVID-19 death is the first recorded at the federal facility in Prince Albert and the fourth of an inmate who contracted the virus in a federal prison. Gregorie said the death has been "very emotional" for her and her family, as they hate to think of their brother passing away, "basically alone, with no family." "I pray that no body else has to go through this kind of heartache," she said. Numbers released earlier this week indicate progress is being made on the Saskatchewan Penitentiary outbreak, as active cases continue to fall. As of Jan. 12, Correctional Service Canada data indicates 213 of the 244 cases recorded in the facility — roughly 87 per cent — have recovered, with only 31 listed as active. Saskatchewan is still leading the country when it comes to active COVID-19 cases in federal prisons, followed by Manitoba with 24 cases and Alberta with seven active cases. The Prince Albert outbreak has been extremely difficult for the families of those inside. They say supports and resources are lacking. "I hate it. I hate that my husband's there," said Amber Slippery. She said her husband, Conrad Slippery, contracted COVID-19 in the prison and that the last few weeks have been extremely difficult. Conrad suffered from extreme fatigue as a result of the virus and could hardly leave his cell, she said. She said that while he's sounding better now, the outbreak has been a struggle for her and their two kids. "They're really scared for him," she said. Amber, who works in the health-care sector, said her husband is at high risk due to diabetes. She said he's told her he's had trouble accessing cleaning supplies. Her worries peaked this weekend when Francis's death was reported. "I just never want my husband to die in there too," she said. Amber said her son is also taking the outbreak hard, as the youngster regularly talks to his dad on the phone, a comfort that's become more scarce with outbreak procedures in place. "[My son] cries quite a bit, because he's used to his dad phoning all the time," she said. "The fact that his dad can't call home all the time, and when he can get to call, they're either sleeping or they're at school, so he's really not talking to his kids now and that's affecting them big time." Desperation taking form Bronson Gordon, an inmate at the facility, claims some are getting so desperate to see outbreak procedures ended they are trying to get others infected using what he called a "virus bomb." He said a virus bomb is when an inmate who has tested positive for COVID-19 will cough and sneeze on a piece of property, like a magazine or an article of clothing, and then pass it along to someone else on the range in hope of exposing others. Bronson, who claims he was targeted by a "virus bomb," said the practice started after a guard inside the facility told inmates the only way they'll be able to lift the outbreak procedures is if active cases fall to zero. Bronson said many of those inside are in vulnerable, fragile states as a result of the lock down and are desperate for it to end. "You've got a lot of people who are sitting in here with extreme f--king mental health issues due to this f--cking lockdown," he said. No other sources with knowledge of life in the facility that CBC has spoken to have said they have heard of virus bombs. CSC investigating remarks CBC Saskatchewan requested an interview with a representative from the Saskatchewan Penitentiary about COVID-19 handling at the facility, including allegations of "virus bombs," but Correctional Services Canada (CSC) provided a written statement instead. The statement said CSC takes the allegations outlined by Gordon seriously and will be looking into it. "With regard to remarks to inappropriate staff comments, CSC employees are expected to act according to the highest legal and ethical standards, and are subject to the rules of professional conduct and code of discipline," CSC said. "CSC does not tolerate any breach of its policies and all allegations are thoroughly investigated regardless of the source." The statement said the safety of its employees, offenders and the public remains CSC's "top priority." It also said that while the facility has modified routines, it is not locked down, as lock-down only happens when there is "a clear and substantial danger to safety and security of an institution, staff members, inmates, or to the public." "Given the close living environment, positive inmates and close contacts are medically isolating in their cells. During the isolation period, inmates have access to health care staff as well as institutional staff," the statement said. "Staff and Public Health will determine when it is safe to adjust Saskatchewan Penitentiary's modified routine and allow inmates to have access to standard routines and services again." COVID adds pressure to already-tense environment Pierre Hawkins, public legal counsel for the John Howard Society of Saskatchewan, which advocates for prisoner rights in Canada, said isolation is mentally taxing on inmates to begin with and those stresses are magnified during a global pandemic. "There's no doubt that COVID-19 in the correctional context increases tension among inmates, between inmates and corrections officers and in the facility generally," he said. "We have a population here that disproportionately suffers, not only from mental health issues, but also from a physical vulnerability to complications from the virus. "So you can understand why, that while on lock down with very few things to do, that people just sort of sit and worry and tensions, understandably, build a little bit." Hawkins said he's also heard reports of cleaning supplies being in short supply at the facility, but didn't have specifics. He said it's unfortunate the outbreak at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary was able to spread so quickly, saying he thought the federal government would have been better prepared to handle the situation after dealing with outbreaks at other facilities earlier in the pandemic. "We like to think that lessons would have been learned, that could have been applied at Saskatchewan Penitentiary, I'm not sure that has happened in this case." Back inside the facility, Gordon said he was recently moved to the maximum security portion of the prison, where he says conditions are better. He said he's not trying to cause trouble at the federal penitentiary, but wants to bring attention and hopefully positive change to a situation he feels is inhumane. "All we talked about was: 'F--k, wouldn't it be good to like just go outside and just breathe in fresh air," he said. "All we get is this circulated air and we're stuck in our cell for 23 and a half hours a day."
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped nine of her most trusted allies in the House to argue the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Democrats, all of whom are lawyers and many of whom have deep experience investigating the president, face the arduous task of convincing skeptical Senate Republicans to convict Trump. A single article of impeachment — for “incitement of insurrection” — was approved by the House on Wednesday, one week after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. At the time, lawmakers were counting the votes that cemented Trump’s election defeat. As members of the House who were in the Capitol when it was attacked — several hiding under seats as rioters beat on the doors of the chamber — the Democrats are also witnesses to what they charge is a crime. So are the Senate jurors. “This is a case where the jurors were also victims, and so whether it was those who voted in the House last night or those in the Senate who will have to weigh in on this, you don’t have to tell anyone who was in the building twice what it was like to be terrorized,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the managers. It is unclear when the trial will start. Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate. It could be as soon as next week, on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office. The managers plan to argue at trial that Trump incited the riot, delaying the congressional certification of the electoral vote count by inciting an angry mob to harm members of Congress. Some of the rioters were recorded saying they wanted to find Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the count. Others had zip ties that could be used as handcuffs hanging on their clothes. “The American people witnessed that,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., one of the managers. “That amounts to high crimes and misdemeanours.” None of the impeachment managers argued the case in Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when the Senate acquitted the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House impeached Trump in 2019 after he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden’s family while withholding military aid to the country. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, another manager, says the nine prosecutors plan to present a serious case and “finish the job” that the House started. A look at Pelosi’s prosecution team in Trump’s historic second impeachment: REP. JAMIE RASKIN, MARYLAND Pelosi appointed Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee, as lead manager. In a week of dramatic events and stories, Raskin’s stands out: The day before the Capitol riots, Raskin buried his 25-year-old son, Tommy, after he killed himself on New Year’s Eve. “You would be hard pressed to find a more beloved figure in the Congress” than Raskin, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was the lead manager during Trump’s first trial. He worked closely with Raskin on that impeachment investigation. “I know that part of what gives him strength to take on this burden that he now carries is knowing that this is something that would be enormously meaningful to his son.” REP. DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO DeGette, who is serving her 13th term representing Denver, is a former civil rights attorney and one of Pelosi’s go-to allies. The speaker picked her to preside over the House during the first impeachment vote in 2019. DeGette said Pelosi trusted her to do it because she is “able to to control the passions on the floor.” She says she was surprised when Pelosi called to offer her the prosecutorial position but quickly accepted. “The monstrosity of this offence is not lost on anybody,” she says. REP. DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence and public defender, is in his sixth term in Congress and is a senior member of the Judiciary panel. He was heavily involved in Trump’s first impeachment and was one of three original authors of the article that the House approved on Wednesday. He and California Rep. Ted Lieu began writing the article together, in hiding, as the rioters were still ransacking the Capitol. He tweeted out a draft the next morning, writing that “I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.” REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels, where he has been an outspoken critic of Trump's handling of Russia. He was a litigator in private practice before he was elected to the Texas legislature and came to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. Julian Castro ran in the Democratic primary for president last year. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA Swalwell also serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels and was deeply involved in congressional probes of Trump’s Russian ties. A former prosecutor, he briefly ran for president in 2019. “The case that I think resonates the most with the American people and hopefully the Senate is that our American president incited our fellow citizens to attack our Capitol on a day where we were counting electoral votes, and that this was not a spontaneous call to action by the president at the rally,” Swalwell said. REP. TED LIEU, CALIFORNIA Lieu, who authored the article of impeachment with Cicilline and Raskin, is on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs panels. The Los Angeles-area lawmaker is a former active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force and military prosecutor. “We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic,” he said. DEL. STACEY PLASKETT, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Because she represents a U.S. territory, not a state, Plaskett does not have voting rights and was not able to cast a vote for impeachment. But she will bring her legal experience as a former district attorney in New York and senior counsel at the Justice Department — and as one of Raskin's former law students. “As an African American, as a woman, seeing individuals storming our most sacred place of democracy, wearing anti-Semitic, racist, neo-Nazi, white supremacy logos on their bodies and wreaking the most vile and hateful things left not just those people of colour who were in the room traumatized, but so many people of colour around this country," she said Friday. REP. JOE NEGUSE, COLORADO Neguse, in his second term, is a rising star in the Democratic caucus who was elected to Pelosi’s leadership team his freshman year in Congress. A former litigator, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee and consulted with Raskin, Cicilline and Lieu as they drafted the article the day of the attack. At 36, he will be the youngest impeachment manager in history, according to his office. “This armed mob did not storm the Capitol on any given day, they did so during the most solemn of proceedings that the United States Congress is engaged in,” Neguse said Thursday. “Clearly the attack was done to stop us from finishing our work.” REP. MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA Like Neguse, Dean was first elected when Democrats recaptured the House in 2018. She is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is a former lawyer and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She says she hopes the prosecutors can convince the Senate and the American people “to mark this moment" with a conviction. “I think I bring to it just the simple fact that I’m a citizen, that I’m a mom and I’m a grandma," Dean said. "And I want my children, my grandchildren, to remember what we did here.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
The Township of Seguin and the other six municipalities that make up west Parry Sound have signed off on a letter, dated Dec. 1, to Ontario’s minister of the environment, conservation and parks. The letter states that they would like the ministry to reconsider the transition of the blue box from 2025 to 2024. What exactly is the blue box transition program? The Blue Box Transition program is being legislated by the Province of Ontario and means the responsibility of collecting and processing recyclable products will be on the manufacturers who make the items. What that means is the duty of recycling is being shifted to the manufacturers who produce the material rather than society. Will this effect how I put out my recycling? The government says there shouldn’t be any change of service. You may have to go to a different location to drop off your recycling, if rural, or you may have a new company that picks up your curbside blue box materials. When is this supposed to come into effect? For the municipalities that make up west Parry Sound — Parry Sound, Archipelago, Seguin, McKellar, McDougall, Carling and Whitestone — the change is supposed to come into effect in 2025; however, all seven municipalities have signed a letter to Minister Jeff Yurek requesting the transition take place in 2024. Why? The District of Muskoka is transitioning in 2024 and, currently, the west Parry Sound municipalities process blue box materials in Bracebridge. They are concerned about issues that may happen if the transition happens at a different time than Muskoka. Another concern is the fact the Greater Toronto Area is transitioning in 2023 and the expanded list of recyclables there will differ from what is offered in west Parry Sound for a time. Residents who migrate north for the summer may expect to recycle the same list of items, which may cause contamination in waste systems. Will this transition raise my taxes? Once the producers and manufacturers take over the recycling process, it’s going to save the taxpayers; however, prices for products may go up to pay for the manufacturers’ cost of processing the recycling. The Township of Seguin said at its Jan. 11 council meeting that the mayors from the seven municipalities would follow up on the letter once a response was received. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
WASHINGTON — U.S. wholesale prices rose 0.3% in December led by a the biggest jump in energy costs since June. The Labor Department reported Friday that the gain in its producer price index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach consumers, followed a modest 0.1% gain in November and matched the 0.3% rise in October. The December increase reflected a 5.5% surge in energy costs, the biggest gain since a 9.6% jump in June. That offset a 0.1% drop in food costs, the first decline since August. Over the past 12 months, inflation at the wholesale level has risen a modest 1.5%. The government reported Wednesday that consumer inflation was also well-behaved last year, rising just 1.4% over the past 12 months. These low inflation reading are giving the Federal Reserve room to keep interest rates at ultra-low levels in an effort to help lift the economy out of a pandemic-induced recession. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Divers found parts of the cockpit voice recorder on Friday as more personnel joined the search for wreckage and victims from an Indonesian plane that crashed last weekend in the Java Sea with 62 people on board. The aerial search for the crashed Sriwijaya Air jet was being expanded as well, said National Search and Rescue Agency mission co-ordinator Rasman, who uses one name. More than 4,000 search and rescue personnel are supported by 14 airplanes, 62 ships and 21 inflatable boats. They are using an underwater metal detector and remotely operated vehicle to search for human remains, the cockpit voice recorder and more wreckage. Divers narrowed the search for the cockpit voice recorder after finding some of its parts. “We have found the casing, the beacon and the CVR batteries. We need to search for the memory unit,” the commander of the navy's First Fleet Command, Abdul Rasyid, said Friday. “We hope it will be not far from them,” he said. Investigators have downloaded information from the plane's flight data recorder, which was recovered earlier this week. “There are 330 parameters and everything is in good condition. We are learning about it now,” said Soerjanto Tjahjono, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Committee. Families of those on board have been providing DNA samples to help identify them. National Police spokesperson Rusdi Hartono said 12 of the 62 victims had been identified as of Thursday, including a flight attendant and an off-duty pilot. The committee has said the crew did not declare an emergency or report any technical problems before the plane plunged into the sea minutes after taking off from Jakarta in heavy rain. They said it broke apart upon impact with the water, ruling out a midair explosion, because the debris field is concentrated and engine parts indicate it was running until impact. The 26-year-old Boeing 737-500 was out of service for almost nine months last year because of flight cutbacks caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The airline and Indonesian officials say it underwent inspections, including for possible engine corrosion that could have developed during the layoff, before it resumed commercial flying in December. Indonesia’s aviation industry grew quickly after the nation’s economy was opened following the fall of dictator Suharto in the late 1990s. Safety concerns led the United States and the European Union to ban Indonesian carriers for years, but the bans have since been lifted due to better compliance with international aviation standards. Edna Tarigan And Fadlan Syam, The Associated Press
Between 15 and 30 centimetres of snow could fall during a messy weekend storm in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. Environment Canada has issued snowfall warnings for an area roughly covering Brockville, Hawkesbury, Maniwaki and Arnprior, including Ottawa and Gatineau. The capital's snow should start around midnight, with 10 centimetres by morning and another 10 to 15 on Saturday. Morning wind gusts could touch 40 kilometres per hour. Ottawa has had just over 11 centimetres of snow this month and about 26 centimetres since Dec. 1. It hasn't had 15 or more centimetres of snow in a day since late February 2020. In the Maniwaki area, most of the snow should fall during the day Saturday, though it could stretch into Saturday night. It could be more messy around Brockville, when that 10 to 15 centimetres of snow may fall on a bed of overnight ice pellets. The Belleville, Kingston, Pembroke and Pontiac areas don't have a warning. Kingston could get about 5 centimetres of snow mixed with ran and Pembroke is forecast to get snowfall amounts just short of what would trigger a warning. Saturday's daytime high is expected to be around freezing across the region. Sunday's high is a few degrees below zero before that night returns to more seasonable lows in the low teens.
Hong Kong's 180,000 civil servants were told on Friday they had four weeks to sign a document pledging their loyalty to the Chinese-ruled city's mini-constitution and dedication to the government. More than 4,000 civil servants in the global financial hub have already made the declaration since Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law in June, which punishes anything China considers to be subversion, secessionism, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison. Authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing say the law is necessary to bring stability to the semi-autonomous former British colony after a year of anti-government demonstrations.
Some of the first recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine in the southern N.W.T. are reminding residents that it will help them stay safe. The statements come as the government found an undetected COVID-19 result in Hay River's wastewater earlier this week. Vaccine clinics popped up in three of the smaller South Slave communities this week: K'atl'odeeche First Nation, Enterprise and Kakisa. 'I'm going to do it for my community' April Martel, chief of K'atl'odeeche First Nation, was one of the first people in line for the Moderna vaccine on Wednesday. For a few days before the clinic, Martel had gone door-to-door with a translator, sharing vaccination information with elders in her community. Still, she got nervous as soon as she walked through the doors of the Chief Lamalice Complex with a team of nurses. "I was so excited to get it, but at the same time I was scared," Martel told CBC. She said she was reluctant at first because she knew it was a new type of vaccine, and didn't know how her body would react to it. She was convinced after seeing a long lineup of elders behind her, waiting for their dose. "I felt a little bit better, knowing that [the elders] are getting the vaccine," she said. "They're doing it for their community, so I was like I'm going to do it for my community." Martel said more than 100 people got the first dose of the vaccine that day. There were more who wanted to take it, she continued, but had to be turned away because they were sick or recently got the flu vaccine. More people got vaccinated after positive COVID wastewater test A few hours after being vaccinated, Martel's phone rang. It was Dr. Kami Kandola, the N.W.T.'s chief public health officer, calling to let her know that there was a positive COVID-19 result in Hay River's wastewater system. "I was like 'are you … kidding me, oh my god!'" Martel said. After posting the news on the nation's Facebook page, Martel said more people decided to head to the community centre to get their vaccine. For those who didn't make it, they'll be able to go back again in 28 days to get their vaccine. If they decide not to at that time, Martel said, she will still respect their choice — but she wants people to be comfortable knowing that elders in the community are getting the vaccine. "People were happy [Wednesday], so I just want to share that with people," she said. 'It's the smart thing to do' Enterprise resident Jim Dives was flagged down Thursday morning by a team of nurses looking for the community centre. Dives took them to the right place and helped them carry some of their medical supplies through the door. In the small hamlet of 130 people, appointments for the Moderna vaccine are first-come-first-serve. "They said, 'I guess you're first,'" Dives laughed. "Right place, right time." Dives describes himself as over 70, a little overweight and diabetic — all factors increasing his risk of contracting COVID-19 so he had "no qualms" getting the vaccine. "I think it's the smart thing to do," Dives said. "I think the Northwest Territories is primed to have a large outbreak and ... getting the vaccine is the easiest way to protect everybody." On his way out, Dives said he saw about 15 to 20 people waiting for their turn to get it. Enterprise has a large population of seniors, Dives said. He believes most people in the hamlet will be open to getting the vaccine. "The more people that get the vaccine, the better off we're going to be down the road because that's the only way to stop this thing," Dives said. Dives said he will continue to wear his mask, wash his hands and limit his gatherings even after getting the vaccine to minimize his risk as much as possible.
Québec souhaite mettre en valeur la participation et le leadership des femmes et des filles dans les secteurs du sport, du plein air et de l’activité physique. C’est pourquoi il fait appel à la Fondation Québec en forme, devenue M361, dont le siège social est à Trois-Rivières, pour la mise en place d’une stratégie globale de mobilisation en collaboration avec le ministère de l’Éducation. Le gouvernement a fait connaître son intention dans le cadre d’une annonce de recrutement d’organismes ciblés possédant l’expertise des enjeux liés aux femmes dans les secteurs du sport, du plein air et de l’activité physique. Son choix s’est arrêté sur Québec en forme à la suite d’un accord de gré à gré. Québec en forme était une organisation québécoise fondée en 2002, issue d’une entente de partenariat de 480 millions $ entre la Fondation Lucie et André Chagnon et le gouvernement du Québec. Son mandat était de promouvoir la bonne forme physique et la saine alimentation auprès des enfants de 0 à 17 ans. En septembre 2019, Québec en forme devient M361. Elle se transforme en une toute nouvelle organisation et redirige ses activités vers l’activité physique et la saine alimentation. En vertu du mandat accordé, M361 devra recruter des partenaires et experts oeuvrant en sport, plein air et activité physique pour la mise en commun des stratégies favorisant le recrutement et la rétention des femmes et des filles dans les domaines du sport, du plein air et de l’activité physique. Pour ce faire, ils devront valoriser et mettre en lumière des modèles féminins dans ces secteurs d’activité. Parmi les organismes ciblés figurent Égale Action et Fillactive. Le travail consistera à élaborer une image de marque pour lancer et accompagner la stratégie globale, produire des outils promotionnels, incluant une vidéo ainsi qu’un événement de lancement, tout en assurant le développement d’un site Web. Le projet doit prendre son envol l’automne prochain pour une période de deux ans. Malgré nos demandes d’entrevue par courriel, il n’a pas été possible de discuter avec la direction de M361 pour obtenir plus de détails.Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
A house fire in Burk’s Falls closed Highway 520 in both directions on Thursday, Jan. 14 while region fire departments responded to the call. The fire started at approximately 11 a.m., according to Burk’s Falls fire Chief Dave McNay. As of 1:41 p.m., asked if the fire was under control, McNay replied that operations had not given that information nor the cause of the fire. At 4:19 p.m., the Ministry of Transportation announced the highway had reopened to traffic. “I can’t tell you much until we get inside to investigate,” McNay said, adding that there were five fire departments on the scene. “I’m appreciative of our neighbours’ support.” There were two people living inside of the house and both were home at the time of the fire. Paul Watson lived there with his roommate and said it all happened so fast. “My buddy was lying down in his room watching TV and I saw the smoke coming from downstairs,” said Watson. “I went to check it out — it was in the room by the furnace room, it was in the floor already and up above — it caught fast.” “By the time I got upstairs again, you couldn’t even see in the house because of the smoke.” Behind Watson, the house was still smouldering, but he said that he and his roommate were OK. “We lost our cat, I think,” he said, sadly. “We had her for three or four years.” Asked if he had a place to stay for the night, Watson replied that they were still trying to figure that out and had been in contact with a crisis management service. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
The long-promised public inquiry into search and rescue operations in Newfoundland and Labrador was launched Thursday. Justice and Public Safety Minister Steve Crocker formally established the $1.5-million inquiry, which he said will look different than past commissions of inquiry, such as the recent one on the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project. It will be more policy based as opposed to investigative, Crocker said, and will be smaller and more focused. “It will examine the organization, the operations of ground search and rescue in the province, with a final report making recommendations on how to improve that system,” he said at a news conference. The 2012 death of 14-year-old Burton Winters after he went snowmobiling near Makkovik spurred the inquiry, which is expected to last about six months. Winters' body was found three days after he was reported missing. Search and rescue helicopters were not called to look for him until two days after he was reported missing, which caused widespread concern. Crocker said it is impossible to deny how the case exposed gaps in the search and rescue system and spurred the inquiry. “None of us know when we will require the support of search and rescue teams,” he said. “But we hope that if we need them that service will be there and be adequate and prepared to respond in a timely manner.” The inquiry was a Liberal campaign promise in 2015 and was announced on Dec. 4, 2018. Retired provincial court judge James Igloliorte, originally from Hopedale, will lead the inquiry as commissioner, and said the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed things down a little, but they have been working behind the scenes doing consultation and research since last summer. The inquiry won’t focus on any specific cases, but a hearing will be held in Makkovik involving members of Winters' family and others who knew him. Igloliorte said they want to frame the examinations and the recommendations as being the Burton Winters Inquiry, and people were affected by the Inuk teen’s death, with a lot of questions arising about search and rescue. “We will be in Makkovik and allow the entire community to speak to us if they wish, and we will make sure that, insofar as we can, we will answer any questions they may have through the presentation of various witnesses to participate in the discussions,” he said. Igloliorte said they have already been consulting with the Indigenous groups of Labrador and expect them to be a part of the process. He said due to the relationship the Indigenous people of Labrador have with the land and outdoor activities, they are more at risk, and that will be recognized in this inquiry and report. They will work with a number of groups, Igloliorte said, including the public, various search and rescue organizations, and police forces. The inquiry will be largely comprised of informal hearings, but may also include research studies, interviews and surveys, and written submissions. Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
While most children in the province continue at-home learning for at least another few weeks, some students with special needs, including those in Windsor-Essex, have already returned to in-person classes. Nearly two weeks ago on Jan. 4, Windsor-Essex students in special education went back to school. Parents of these students say their children are happier and more productive compared to when they were in online learning. But some special education teachers are concerned and want enhanced safety measures, according to local president of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario Mario Spagnuolo. For parent Valérie Hodgins, in-person classes give her children, who have autism, the structure they need. "It's working very well for our family structure and routine," she said. "When they were off for the three weeks at Christmas break, their whole schedule was off. They weren't sleeping right. They just weren't completely themselves. "They've been back to school for almost two weeks now. They've had successful days. They're back to sleeping normally. They are back to eating properly. Like everything is back to normal for them." Both her children attend a local Catholic French immersion school. Hodgins said she communicates with her children's teacher on a daily basis and feels safe knowing her children wear masks and protective eye shields at school. "They're just happy, and that wasn't the case when they're at home," she said. Stephanie Seguin is another parent who's grateful to have the option of in-person classes for her daughter, Hazel, who has Down syndrome and attends a Catholic school. "It's been really awesome for her. She's so happy. We chose to send her half-day. So she goes half-day to school in-person and then she does the rest of the day virtual learning where I sit next to her in the afternoon. So that schedule right now is really working well for her," she said. Seguin said she feels fortunate she didn't need to fight to have the option of in-person classes — something Joanna Conrad has been trying to get for her five-year-old daughter, who also has Down syndrome. Conrad said her daughter, who is in senior kindergarten in a public school, is currently doing virtual learning and it's not going well for her. "She doesn't want to log on most days. If she does log on in the morning, it's four or five to 10 minutes max. It's very difficult for her to participate unless I'm sitting right beside her. And even then, she tunes out. She says, 'OK, bye-bye. And she turns it off and out," she said. 'A lot of distraction at home,' says one parent "For me to work on activities with her in the home is also very challenging. There's a lot of distraction. You know, most parents don't understand unless they have a child with special needs, what it means to try to support your child," she said. Conrad said her daughter requires special supports that are not available at home. She said she's contacted the board to try and get her daughter back in-class, but was told that isn't an option for students in kindergarten. She's waiting to hear from Mike Wilcox, the superintendent of special education with the Greater Essex County District School Board, for an answer. Wilcox told CBC News that he cannot speak to any specific situation as it would breach confidentiality, but said there are some students "who may be senior kindergarten age" attending classes in-person. "Right now, we are supporting our students with our most complex needs and we have lots of supports in place for those students who are not in in-person learning," he said. "We have speech and language [supports] and psychologists who are completing assessments in-person and online. So we have lots of supports there for our students with special education needs ranging from, you know, JK to to Grade 12." He said he recommends that parents who have concerns contact the principal of their school to find a way that the special education department can further support their child. Wilcox also said in-person classes for students with special needs are going well, adding that 73 per cent of those who were attending in-person classes before the holidays have returned. In an email statement to CBC News, Stephen Fields, the communications coordinator with Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, said if students with special needs cannot be accommodated through remote learning, they are allowed to attend school. The statement in part reads, "there is no congregation of students with special needs in one location, and in many cases there might be only one or two students in the classroom." "At the secondary level, those students with special needs who elected to attend school would go to their Life Skills rooms the way they always would. These are usually smaller groups of students (around seven or eight)." He said the board continues to follow public health guidelines by "mandating the use of PPE for staff, masking for students, appropriate distancing and regular hand hygiene." Teachers concerned Spagnuolo said special education teachers who he spoke with on Wednesday raised concerns about in-person learning. He said they're afraid to speak out in fear of reprisal from their employer, but have flagged that they want some changes made to how in-person learning is conducted. "Some of the things that we're looking for is more enhanced PPE, better cleaning and enhanced cleaning products in these classrooms," he said, adding they also want better screening protocols, air ventilation and assessments. "Also to see if we can get any higher priority for these teachers that are continuing to work in these buildings in terms of vaccinations for those that choose to ask to be vaccinated," he said. "They're on the front lines currently and they need to have access to that vaccination as soon as possible." While special education teachers understand the need to teach students with special needs in-person, Spagnuolo said they would like to be included and heard in the decision-making process. "I think that's the least that the government in the school board could do, is include these teachers in the decision making," he said.
WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden has picked a former Food and Drug commissioner to lead vaccine science in his drive to put 100 million shots into the arms of Americans in his administration's first 100 days and stem the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. David Kessler, who will have the title of chief science officer of COVID response, headed the Food and Drug Administration in the 1990s under presidents of both political parties. He has been acting as a top pandemic adviser to Biden and his appointment was announced Friday by the presidential transition office. Kessler will work out of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, assuming responsibility for the scientific side of Operation Warp Speed, an effort launched under the Trump administration to rapidly develop vaccines and treatments. The drive has already produced two highly effective vaccines, and more are on the way. Nonetheless, the nation's vaccination campaign has gotten off to a slow start, and most of the vaccine being delivered to states by the federal government is not being used right away. A person advising the Biden transition team said Kessler will take on the role now being carried out by Dr. Moncef Slaoui, a prominent vaccine scientist and innovator who has been serving as chief advisor to Operation Warp Speed. Several vaccine candidates in the pipeline are in final clinical trials, and one company is expected to soon apply for FDA emergency approval for its formulation. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. Kessler will co-ordinate vaccine review and approval, as well as the logistics of manufacturing millions more doses. Experts say the U.S. will need to vaccinate upwards of 250 million people to approach the goal of “herd immunity," where there is widespread resistance to virus allowing for a return to normal life. So far fewer than 12 million doses have been administered. Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, The Associated Press
Firefighter Morrison was able to break a path through the ice out to the dog while safely secured by ropes. Just before he got to the dog, it gave out a crying type howl and as soon as he grabbed it, it went completely limp from exhaustion. Video credit Alpena City Firefighters
OTTAWA — Harvest Meats is recalling a brand of Polish sausages due to undercooking that may make them unsafe to eat. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the recall affects customers in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Ontario and Saskatchewan. It covers Harvest brand Polish sausages in 675-gram packages with a March 15 best before date. Customers are advised to throw away or return the product. The agency says no illnesses have been reported. A food safety investigation is ongoing. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
THE LATEST: B.C. health officials confirmed 509 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. on Friday. Another nine people have died. A total of 1,047 people in B.C. have lost their lives due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. There are 349 people in hospital, including 68 in intensive care. Active cases continue to fall in the province, with the tally at 4,604 active cases. To date, 75,914 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine in B.C. Thirteen more cases have been linked to the Big White community cluster. B.C. has identified its first case of the infectious coronavirus variant first seen in South Africa. B.C. is seeking legal advice on whether an inter-provincial travel ban is doable. The director of UBC's school of public health has resigned after travelling during the holidays. B.C.'s curve has started to bend down again following a bump after the holidays, but health officials are warning British Columbians to keep following public health measures as they watch for two confirmed coronavirus variants in the province. Health officials announced 509 new cases of COVID-19 in the province on Friday. Active cases continued to fall, with the tally now at 4,604. Another nine people have died from the virus, bringing the provincial death toll to 1,047. B.C. recorded one new health-care outbreak at the Hilltop House care home in Squamish, B.C. Interior Health has identified 13 additional cases of COVID-19 linked to the Big White Mountain community cluster. The total number of cases identified to date is 175. Of those, 110 reside on Big White Mountain. There are 32 active cases at the resort and 143 people who have recovered. Vaccine delay A total of 75,914 people have been vaccinated in B.C. so far. On Friday, the federal government announced that global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will temporarily reduce shipments of its vaccine in order to expand manufacturing capacity at a facility in Belgium. That means fewer shipments of the Pfizer vaccine to Canada at least until March. Henry and Dix said they were were disappointed to hear about the delay. The province is working with the federal government to determine how the delay may impact the rollout in B.C. Officials said they would provide more information in the coming days. New variant Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced on Thursday the first confirmed case in B.C. of a more infectious coronavirus variant discovered in South Africa. Henry said health officials are investigating how the person in B.C. contracted the variant, as they have not travelled or been linked to any travellers. She also confirmed four total cases in the province of the variant linked to the U.K. All four cases have been traced and officials don't believe they have led to spread, Henry said. Both variants spread more easily and rapidly, and have led to surging cases in a number of countries. On Friday, during an interview on CBC's The Early Edition, Health Minister Adrian Dix said officials are concerned about another variant linked to Columbus, Ohio. Dix did not say there were any cases of the variant detected in B.C. at this time. Seeking legal advice on travel ban The B.C. government is getting legal advice to determine whether an inter-provincial travel ban would be doable — or constitutional — as a way to protect the province, as COVID-19 case numbers soar in other parts of Canada. Premier John Horgan on Thursday said he and other leaders would be speaking about the issue later in the day and on Friday during a virtual, two-day cabinet retreat, with the goal to nail down which options the government can take — if any — by the end of the summit. He said he hopes to announce an update on the issue early next week. Henry said she would not issue a public health order against inter-provincial travel. "It's hard to see how that is feasible in British Columbia, for many reasons," she said. "Our borders are very different. We have many ways that people can cross, particularly from Alberta." Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief medical health officer, says stopping non-essential travel would be a difficult decision for B.C., but it could reduce COVID-19 transmission by cutting the number of contacts. Tam said B.C.'s decision to seek legal advice reinforces the message that it isn't time to go on a cross-country vacation. UBC director resigns after holiday travel Peter Berman has resigned as director of the University of British Columbia's School of Population and Public Health just over a week after admitting to holiday travel during the school's winter break. Berman announced his resignation in a Friday statement posted online. He said it would take effect at the end of the day. Berman said in a letter posted last week that he travelled to Hawaii. Businesses deny Indigenous people entry CBC has learned that Save-On-Foods in Powell River, the Glen Lyon Restaurant in Port Hardy, and a dentist's office in Duncan, B.C., all refused service to Indigenous people, citing cases of COVID-19 in their communities as a reason. The businesses claimed they were trying to stop COVID-19 from spreading from nearby Indigenous communities. In a statement, Henry said the incidents were an issue of racism. "COVID-19 has illuminated longstanding inequities and in particular those faced by First Nations in B.C.," she said. "I want to add my voice to the chorus who have condemned such behaviour." What else you need to know Meanwhile, B.C.'s seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie is investigating what went wrong at Little Mountain Place in Vancouver — the location of B.C.'s deadliest care home outbreak. Forty-one residents infected with the virus have died, while 71 staff and 99 of 114 residents have tested positive. While a million British Columbians have already received their B.C. Recovery Benefit, more than 400,000 others are still waiting for their applications to be approved. The tax-free cash payout can mean up to $1,000 dollars for eligible families and $500 dollars for individuals. B.C.'s Finance Minister Selina Robinson said Wednesday that staff are working through a high volume of applications, and will continue to do so in the coming weeks. Dix says it's "very disappointing'' that some doctors in Vancouver jumped the queue to get a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Dix says there will be an investigation into these incidents. The province's vaccination strategy has been to maximize the number of people getting vaccinated by extending the interval between doses as far as possible. Some doctors and nurses have expressed concern over the dose interval, though Henry herself has said it falls within national and World Health Organization recommendations. B.C.'s health restrictions are in effect until at least Feb. 5 at midnight. The current orders include a ban on gatherings with people outside of one's immediate household. The province's non-essential travel advisory remains in place, including travel into and out of B.C., and between regions. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 4 p.m. PT on Thursday, Canada had reported 688,891 cases of COVID-19, with 77,956 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 17,383. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Common symptoms include: Fever. Cough. Tiredness. Shortness of breath. Loss of taste or smell. Headache. But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. What should I do if I feel sick? Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911. What can I do to protect myself? Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. Keep your distance from people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces. More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.