Washington's former envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker says he saw investigations into "possible Ukrainian corruption" and Joe Biden as separate.
Washington's former envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker says he saw investigations into "possible Ukrainian corruption" and Joe Biden as separate.
WASHINGTON — The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection. At least five supporters facing federal charges have suggested they were taking orders from the then-president when they marched on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 to challenge the certification of Joe Biden's election win. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. It's the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office. “I feel like I was basically following my president. I was following what we were called to do. He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there," Jenna Ryan, a Texas real estate agent who posted a photo on Twitter of herself flashing a peace sign next to a broken Capitol window, told a Dallas-Fort Worth TV station. Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man photographed on the dais in the Senate who was shirtless and wore face paint and a furry hat with horns, has similarly pointed a finger at Trump. Chansley called the FBI the day after the insurrection and told agents he travelled “at the request of the president that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021,” authorities wrote in court papers. Chanley’s lawyer unsuccessfully lobbied for a pardon for his client before Trump's term ended, saying Chansley “felt like he was answering the call of our president.” Authorities say that while up on the dais in the Senate chamber, Chansley wrote a threatening note to then-Vice-President Mike Pence that said: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” Trump is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office. The charge this time is “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” His impeachment lawyer, Butch Bowers, did not respond to call for comment. Opening arguments in the trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the storming of the Capitol say a full reckoning is necessary before the country — and the Congress — can move on. For weeks, Trump rallied his supporters against the election outcome and urged them to come to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to rage against Biden's win. Trump spoke to the crowd near the White House shortly before they marched along Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill. “We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,” Trump said. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.” Later he said: “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He told supporters to walk to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically” make your voices heard. Trump has taken no responsibility for his part in fomenting the violence, saying days after the attack: “People thought that what I said was totally appropriate.” Unlike a criminal trial, where there are strict rules about what is and isn’t evidence, the Senate can consider anything it wishes. And if they can show that Trump’s words made a real impact, all the better, and scholars expect it in the trial. "Bringing in those people's statements is part of proving that it would be at a minimum reasonable for a rational person to expect that if you said and did the things that Trump said and did, then they would be understood in precisely the way these people understood them," said Frank Bowman, a constitutional law expert and law professor at University of Missouri. A retired firefighter from Pennsylvania told a friend that that he travelled to Washington with a group of people and the group listened to Trump's speech and then “followed the President’s instructions” and went to the Capitol, an agent wrote in court papers. That man, Robert Sanford, is accused of throwing a fire extinguisher that hit three Capitol Police officers. Another man, Robert Bauer of Kentucky, told FBI agents that “he marched to the U.S. Capitol because President Trump said to do so,” authorities wrote. His cousin, Edward Hemenway, from Virginia, told the FBI that he and Bauer headed toward the Capitol after Trump said “something about taking Pennsylvania Avenue." More than 130 people as of Friday were facing federal charges; prosecutors have promised that more cases — and more serious charges — are coming. Most of those arrested so far are accused of crimes like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct, but prosecutors this week filed conspiracy charges against three self-described members of a paramilitary group who authorities say plotted the attack. A special group of prosecutors is examining whether to bring sedition charges, which carry up to 20 years in prison, against any of the rioters. Two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict. And while many Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky— have condemned Trump's words, it remains unclear how many would vote to convict him. “While the statements of those people kind of bolsters the House manager's case, I think that President Trump has benefited from a Republican Party that has not been willing to look at evidence,” said Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law who testified before the House Judiciary Committee during Trump's first impeachment hearings in 2019. “They stood by him for the entire first impeachment proceeding, thinking that the phone call with the president of the Ukraine was perfect and I’m sure they will think that was a perfect speech too. There is nothing yet to suggest that they would think otherwise," Gerhardt said. ____ Richer reported from Boston. Alanna Durkin Richer And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
A decision to waive vision tests and other screening typically required to renew driver's licences for Ontarians aged 80 and older during the pandemic has some in the medical community raising concerns about the risks the move poses to those on the road. Residents aged 80 and older need to renew their licence every two years. The process involves a vision test, an education session, a review of driving records, a screening exercise, and, if needed, a road test. Last March however, in an effort to limit gatherings during the pandemic, Ontario paused licence renewal sessions for drivers aged 80 and older, and waived vision testing requirements. Seniors can currently renew their licences online with no testing needed. Dr. Hall Chew, an ophthalmologist at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Toronto, said the situation is a difficult one. "On the one hand, our seniors are the people who are at risk of getting sick from COVID, so any unnecessary appointments or exposure puts them at high risk," he said. "However, we know it is harder for patients over 80 to drive. They have more medical co-morbidities and vision problems, which we see quite commonly, and this is why renewal requirements exist in the first place." Chew said the suspension of renewal requirements for those 80 and older could lead to some being behind the wheel when they shouldn't be, posing a risk to everyone on the road. He also noted that seniors are likely paying fewer visits to eye doctors during the pandemic, which means some may not yet have been told they should no longer be driving. Chew suggested that vision testing, at minimum, be considered an essential renewal requirement. He said it could be done through virtual consultations or at Service Ontario sites with minimal contact and physical distancing. Dr. Barry Goldlist, a geriatrician at the University Health Network and a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, said licence renewals for those 80 and older should be seen as an essential service. "Why did the government sites close down completely, while others are trying to find ways to provide safe essential services,” he said. Goldlist said masking and physical distancing could at least help vision tests and and the education sessions that are part of senior licence renewals take place. He also suggested that licences renewed online during the pandemic be extended only for six months, as opposed to the typical two years. Several seniors said they wanted to ensure they could keep driving safely and hoped the pause on renewal requirements would not lead to any issues in the future. Anita Longe, an 87-year-old retired nurse, said being able to drive has been particularly useful during the pandemic. “I’ve always enjoyed driving. During COVID we are inside so much, at least we can go for a drive,” she said. Longe, whose licence will expire in September, said she was a careful driver and appreciated the independence the skill brought. She said she was eager to be able to keep driving. Hiroshi Ono, an 84-year-old vision science researcher at York University, recently renewed his license online and said he only learned about being able to do so from a friend. "There was a good reason for having those tests and they are not doing them now,” he said. Meanwhile, some seniors said they've been told by customer service agents that they can keep driving without renewals during the pandemic. John Roce, an architect who turned 82 in September, said he had last been through the renewal process in 2018 and had not yet renewed his licence again. He said he wasn't sure how to do so. "I was told by the licencing bureau to sit tight until I heard from the government," he said. Michael O’Morrow, a senior advisor at the Transportation Ministry said the renewal requirements were suspended “in order to support public health guidance to limit gatherings and encourage self- isolation.” He said licences that had expired from March 1, 2019 onward could be renewed online. "We strongly encourage everyone to renew their driver’s licence," he said. The ministry did not provide statistics on the number of seniors who had their licences revoked since 2018. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Radha Kohly is an eye physician and surgeon and vice-chair in her department at the University of Toronto. She is currently a fellow in global journalism at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Radha Kohly, The Canadian Press
A 64-year-old GO Station employee is the first Metrolinx staff member to die from COVID-19, the provincial transit agency confirmed Friday night. "It's heartbreaking news for our staff to hear as they have been coming to work every day throughout the pandemic ensuring transit customers who must travel for essential reasons can get there safely," said Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins in an email statement. The employee, who worked as a "dedicated" GO Station staff member in Toronto for 11 years, died after two weeks in hospital Friday morning. "We have extended our deepest condolences to his wife and family and offered his colleagues our full support through this sad and challenging time," the statement continued. Aikins said the man's job included keeping the station sanitized, which she said helped ensure others' safety. She said it does not appear that the employee contracted the virus at work. In a statement released Wednesday, Metrolinx said 67 staff members out of 4,300 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
Recently, the Town of Langenburg completed the work on a new sewage station. The lift station is used to move raw sewage out of town to the lagoon. The sewage station is state of the art and fully automatic. Sewage enters the station through the sewage pipes that come from each and every building in town. First, the sewage passes through a Muffin Monster, which is a device that mulches and grins up anything that happens to pass through the sewage system. Looking down the wet sewage well located just outside the sewage station. Muffin Monster is located at the bottom of the wet sewage well. Next, the sewage is pumped to the lagoon through two high-speed pumps that alternate between the two pumps installed (to extend the life of the pumps that can be costly to replace or repair). All of these pumps are controlled by the brains that make sure the station runs at peak performance, switching from SaskPower electricity to an emergency generator if the power happens to cut out for less than a few minutes. The brains behind the sewage station, including the control panel. Diesel generator changed to propane as a backup generator. The backup generator was converted to propane for direct and constant power if and when needed. The total cost for this project was $1,788,156.00 which was shared by the Federal and Provincial Governments as well; just over ⅓ of the cost covered by the Town of Langenburg. The 2 impeller pumps that move the raw sewage through the pumps. While the new facility equipment is state of the art, residents can do their part to help by making sure they only flush what is intended to go down the sewers. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
Two Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) special constables have been fired following an investigation that found they used excessive force in an altercation involving a passenger on the 501 Queen streetcar last February, their union said Friday. The termination comes more than a month after an independent investigation into the violent arrest found that three TTC officers used "unauthorized" and "unnecessary" force on a passenger and that their actions were "discriminatory." CUPE 5089, the union that represents special constables, fare inspectors, and protective services guards employed by the TTC, posted the news in a Twitter statement Friday night and expressed their disappointment with the TTC's decision. "The decision comes in the wake of an 11-month investigation by Rubin Thomlinson that was politically motivated and failed to take into consideration any of the relevant legal, procedural, or factual evidence," the statement reads. A 12-second video of the arrest that occurred on Feb. 7, 2020 was posted to social media and showed two TTC staff members tackling a male rider and spraying him with a substance. The poster of the video said it began when the man, who appeared to be intoxicated, was approached by fare inspectors, who asked for proof of payment. He blew them off, which is when it turned physical, the poster said. Toronto police have said that the man was reportedly "acting aggressive and violent." The video gained public attention, with at least two city councillors speaking out in reaction to it. Coun. Brad Bradford called it an example of the "wrong way to handle fare evasion." In March of last year, the TTC retained Rubin Thomlinson LLP, an independent workplace investigation firm to probe the arrest, which found that both special constables used excessive force against the man. It also determined their application of force was based on the man's mental health and this was found to be "discriminatory on the basis of disability," the report stated. The investigator made multiple recommendations for the TTC, including improved training for special constables and fare inspectors on how they interact with people with mental illness and clarity on fare inspectors' use of force. Actions were reasonable: union CUPE 5089 disputed this report and maintains that the actions of the constables were reasonable. In Friday's statement, they note that the officers were cleared of any wrongdoing by the Toronto Police Professional Standards a month after the incident. "As we have done from the beginning, we will continue to fully support the actions of our members," the union said. "The only positive that has come from this unfortunate incident is that the level of violence occurring almost daily towards customers and staff on Toronto Transit Commission has finally been brought to the public's attention." TTC spokesperson Stuart Green confirmed in an email that the employees had been fired, but would not comment further as the union has shown this matter is still active. CUPE said they filed a grievance with the TTC and they look forward to the reinstatement of both officers.
Democrats plan to move quickly on one of the first bills of the new Congress, citing the need for federal election standards and other reforms to shore up the foundations of American democracy after a tumultuous post-election period and deadly riot at the Capitol. States have long had disparate and contradictory rules for running elections. But the 2020 election, which featured pandemic-related changes to ease voting and then a flood of lawsuits by former President Donald Trump and his allies, underscored the differences from state to state: Mail-in ballots due on Election Day or just postmarked by then? Absentee voting allowed for all or just voters with an excuse? Same-day or advance-only registration? Democrats, asserting constitutional authority to set the time, place and manner of federal elections, want national rules they say would make voting more uniform, accessible and fair across the nation. The bill would mandate early voting, same-day registration and other long-sought reforms that Republicans reject as federal overreach. “We have just literally seen an attack on our own democracy,” said U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, referring to the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol. “I cannot think of a more timely moment to start moving on democracy reform.” The legislation first introduced two years ago, known as the For the People Act, also would give independent commissions the job of drawing congressional districts, require political groups to disclose high-dollar donors, create reporting requirements for online political ads and, in a rearview nod at Trump, obligate presidents to disclose their tax returns. Republican opposition was fierce during the last session. At the time, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., labeled it the “Democrat Politician Protection Act” and said in an op-ed that Democrats were seeking to “change the rules of American politics to benefit one party.” While Democrats control Congress for the first time in a decade, the measure's fate depends on whether enough Republicans can be persuaded to reconsider a bill they have repeatedly rejected. If not, Democrats could decide it's time to take the extraordinary and difficult step of eliminating the Senate filibuster, a procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. Advocates say the bill is the most consequential piece of voting legislation since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. House Democrats vowed two years ago to make the bill a priority, and they reintroduced it this month as H.R. 1, underscoring its importance to the party. “People just want to be able to cast their vote without it being an ordeal,” said Rep. John Sarbanes, a Democrat from Maryland who is the lead sponsor of the House bill. “It’s crazy in America that you still have to navigate an obstacle course to get to the ballot box.” Current plans would have the full House take up the bill as soon as the first week of February. The Senate Rules Committee would then consider a companion bill introduced in the Senate, and a tie vote there could allow it to move out of committee and to the floor as early as next month, said Klobuchar, who is expected to become the committee’s next chair. A quick vote would be remarkable considering the Senate also is likely to be juggling Trump’s impeachment trial, confirmation of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet choices and another round of coronavirus relief. While states have long had different voting procedures, the November 2020 election highlighted how the variability could be used to sow doubt about the outcome. The bill’s supporters, which include national voting and civil rights organizations, cited dozens of pre-election lawsuits that challenged procedural rules, such as whether ballots postmarked on Election Day should count. They also pointed to the post-election litigation Trump and his allies filed to try to get millions of legitimately cast ballots tossed out. Many of those lawsuits targeted election changes intended to make voting easier. That included a Pennsylvania law the state’s Republican-led legislature passed before the pandemic to make absentee ballots available to all registered voters upon request. Government and election officials repeatedly have described the election as the most secure in U.S. history. Even former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, a Trump ally, said before leaving his post that there was no evidence of widespread fraud that would overturn the result. “The strategy of lying about voter fraud, delegitimizing the election outcome and trying to suppress votes has been unmasked for the illegitimate attack on our democracy that it is, and I think that it opens a lot more doors to real conversations about how to fix our voting system and root out this cancer,” said Wendy Weiser, head of the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy institute. Along with the election reform bill, the House two years ago introduced a related bill, now known as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in honour of the late civil rights activist and congressman. House Democrats are expected to reintroduce it soon after it had similarly stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate. That bill would restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that had triggered federal scrutiny of election changes in certain states and counties. A 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling set aside the method used to identify jurisdictions subject to the provision, known as preclearance, which was used to protect voting rights in places with a history of discrimination. In general, state election officials have been wary of federal voting requirements. But those serving in states led by Democrats have been more open and want to ensure Congress provides money to help them make system upgrades, which the bill does. “If you still believe in what we all learned in high school government class, that democracy works best when as many eligible people participate, these are commonsense reforms,” said Sen. Alex Padilla, a Democrat who oversaw California’s elections before being appointed to the seat formerly held by Vice-President Kamala Harris. But Republican officials like Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill remain opposed. Merrill said the federal government’s role is limited and that states must be allowed to innovate and implement their own voting rules. “Those decisions are best left up to the states, and I think the states are the ones that should determine what course of action they should take,” Merrill said, noting that Alabama has increased voter registration and participation without implementing early voting. “To just say that everything needs to be uniform, that’s not the United States of America,” Merrill said. In the Senate, a key question will be whether there is enough Republican support for elements of the voting reform bill to persuade Democrats to break off certain parts of it into smaller legislation. For now, Democrats say they want a floor vote on the full package. Edward B. Foley, an election law expert at Ohio State University, said Democrats should consider narrow reforms that could gain bipartisan support, cautioning that moving too quickly on a broad bill runs the risk of putting off Republicans. “It would seem to me at this moment in American history, a precarious moment, the right instinct should be a kind of bipartisanship to rebuild common ground as opposed to ‘Our side won, your side lost and we are off to the races,’” Foley said. ___ Cassidy reported from Atlanta. Christina A. Cassidy, The Associated Press
Mayor Subkow called the regularly scheduled council meeting to order for the Village of Calder with all council members present. The council reviewed the minutes and Mayor Subkow made a motion to accept the minutes as reviewed; motion carried. Moving on, the council then reviewed the agenda as amended; carried. The council heard concerns from a village resident and discussed the situation with the resident. Carrying on, the council reviewed the correspondence prior to Councillor Buzinski making a motion to file it; the motion carried The council next reviewed the bank reconciliation report prior to Mayor Subkow making a motion for it to be passed; the motion carried. Moving on, the council reviewed the village’s accounts. Administrator Brock explained to the council what to expect in the accounts for the village. Mayor Subkow made a motion to accept the accounts which was carried. The council reviewed and signed the accounts payable prior to Mayor Subkow motioning to accept; motion carried. Administrator Brock was next to give her report to the council as to what she has done for the last month for the Village of Calder. Municipal Revenue Sharing was discussed under new business topics. The village meets all the criteria. Mayor Subkow made a motion to file the form for Municipals Revenue Sharing; motion carried. With only one (1) tender for garbage pickup, Councillor Buzinski made a motion to accept the tender which was carried. Summer student grants need to be filed prior to January 29, 2021. Councillor Spence made a motion to apply for a grant at a rate of $15 per hour for approximately 25-30 hours per week; motion carried. The meeting was then adjourned by Mayor Subkow. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
When COVID-19 first swarmed the United States, one health insurer called some customers with a question: Do you have enough to eat? Oscar Health wanted to know if people had adequate food for the next couple weeks and how they planned to stay stocked up while hunkering down at home. “We’ve seen time and again, the lack of good and nutritional food causes members to get readmitted" to hospitals, Oscar executive Ananth Lalithakumar said. Food has become a bigger focus for health insurers as they look to expand their coverage beyond just the care that happens in a doctor’s office. More plans are paying for temporary meal deliveries and some are teaching people how to cook and eat healthier foods. Benefits experts say insurers and policymakers are growing used to treating food as a form of medicine that can help patients reduce blood sugar or blood pressure levels and stay out of expensive hospitals. “People are finally getting comfortable with the idea that everybody saves money when you prevent certain things from happening or somebody’s condition from worsening,” said Andrew Shea, a senior vice-president with the online insurance broker eHealth. This push is still relatively small and happening mostly with government-funded programs like Medicaid or Medicare Advantage, the privately run versions of the government's health program for people who are 65 or older or have disabilities. But some employers that offer coverage to their workers also are growing interested. Medicaid programs in several states are testing or developing food coverage. Next year, Medicare will start testing meal program vouchers for patients with malnutrition as part of a broader look at improving care and reducing costs. Nearly 7 million people were enrolled last year in a Medicare Advantage plan that offered some sort of meal benefit, according to research from the consulting firm Avalere Health. That’s more than double the total from 2018. Insurers commonly cover temporary meal deliveries so patients have something to eat when they return from the hospital. And for several years now, many also have paid for meals tailored to patients with conditions such as diabetes. But now insurers and other bill payers are taking a more nuanced approach. This comes as the coronavirus pandemic sends millions of Americans to seek help from food banks or neighbourhood food pantries. Oscar Health, for instance, found that nearly 3 out of 10 of its Medicare Advantage customers had food supply problems at the start of the pandemic, so it arranged temporary grocery deliveries from a local store at no cost to the recipient. The Medicare Advantage specialist Humana started giving some customers with low incomes debit cards with either a $25 or $50 on them to help buy healthy food. The insurer also is testing meal deliveries in the second half of the month. That's when money from government food programs can run low. Research shows that diabetes patients wind up making more emergency room visits then, said Humana executive Dr. Andrew Renda. “It may be because they’re still taking their medications but they don’t have enough food. And so their blood sugar goes crazy and then they end up in the hospital,” he said. The Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem connected Medicare Advantage customer Kim Bischoff with a nutritionist after she asked for help losing weight. The 43-year-old Napoleon, Ohio, resident had lost more than 100 pounds about 11 years ago, but she was gaining weight again and growing frustrated. The nutritionist helped wean Bischoff from a so-called keto diet largely centred on meats and cheeses. The insurer also arranged for temporary food deliveries from a nearby Kroger so she could try healthy foods like rice noodles, almonds and dried fruits. Bischoff said she only lost a few pounds. But she was able to stop taking blood pressure and thyroid medications because her health improved after she balanced her diet. “I learned that a little bit of weight gain isn’t a huge deal, but the quality of my health is," she said. David Berwick of Somerville, Massachusetts, credits a meal delivery program with improving his blood sugar, and he wishes he could stay on it. The 64-year-old has diabetes and started the program last year at the suggestion of his doctor. The Medicaid program MassHealth covered it. Berwick said the non-profit Community Servings gave him weekly deliveries of dry cereal and premade meals for him to reheat. Those included soups and turkey meatloaf Berwick described as “absolutely delicious.” “They’re not things I would make on my own for sure,” he said. “It was a gift, it was a real privilege.” These programs typically last a few weeks or months and often focus on customers with a medical condition or low incomes who have a hard time getting nutritious food. But they aren't limited to those groups. Indianapolis-based Preventia Group is starting food deliveries for some employers that want to improve the eating habits of people covered under their health plans. People who sign up start working with a health coach to learn about nutrition. Then they can either begin short-term deliveries of meals or bulk boxes of food and recipes to try. The employer picks up the cost. It's not just about hunger or a lack of good food, said Chief Operating Officer Susan Rider. They're also educating people about what healthy, nutritious food is and how to prepare it. Researchers expect coverage of food as a form of medicine to grow as insurers and employers learn more about which programs work best. Patients with low incomes may need help first with getting access to nutritional food. People with employer-sponsored coverage might need to focus more on how to use their diet to manage diabetes or improve their overall health. A 2019 study of Massachusetts residents with similar medical conditions found that those who received meals tailored to their condition had fewer hospital admissions and generated less health care spending than those who did not. Study author Dr. Seth Berkowitz of the University of North Carolina noted that those meals are only one method for addressing food or nutrition problems. He said a lot more can be learned “about what interventions work, in what situations and for whom.” A lack of healthy food “is very clearly associated with poor health, so we know we need to do something about it,” Berkowitz said. ___ Follow Tom Murphy on Twitter: @thpmurphy ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Tom Murphy, The Associated Press
SOUTHAMPTON, England — Last season's FA Cup winner Arsenal was eliminated from the competition in the fourth round on Saturday thanks to Gabriel's own goal in a 1-0 loss to Southampton. In an otherwise close game, Gabriel's decision to try to block a shot from Kyle Walker-Peters proved decisive for Arsenal losing its hold on the cup. Right-back Walker-Peters was allowed plenty of space to overlap the Arsenal defence, but his shot looked to be heading narrowly wide of the far post before Gabriel's failed attempt deflected the ball off the post and in. It was the first goal Arsenal had conceded since Dec. 26 after five consecutive shutouts. Southampton moves on to a fifth-round game away at Wolverhampton, which beat sixth-tier Chorley on Friday. Premier League clubs Manchester City, Brighton, West Ham and Sheffield United are all in action later Saturday against lower-league teams. There is also a rescheduled Premier League game between Aston Villa and Newcastle. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
As thousands of new migrant workers begin to arrive in Windsor-Essex, some local leaders fear a looming crisis lies ahead. Last year, hundreds of migrant workers in the region contracted COVID-19 and two died after falling sick with the disease. As of Friday, 12 farms in Leamington and Kingsville are in outbreak. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit also reported that 57 agri-farm worker cases are active and 104 more are in isolation. As cases begin to ramp up while new workers arrive — with the County of Essex estimating that between 600 and 700 new workers have already landed in the region — local officials worry that last summer will repeat itself. Despite all levels of government implementing new strategies and providing extra funding, the question remains as to whether lessons were actually learned from 2020 and whether workers will be kept safe the second time around. Up to 2,000 workers are expected in coming weeks, with 10,000 arriving by June. Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos said that some of the new workers have already shown up and tested positive for COVID-19, though CBC News could not confirm that. He said he's concerned with how these workers are being integrated into the workforce and inspections on how they're being quarantined upon arrival. Those inspections, he said, are done virtually and the government doesn't follow up in person, which leads him to question the integrity of the quarantine. He added that they don't know where each worker is supposed to be quarantining and, as such, town officials cannot respond to those who might be breaking the rules. "If we're being asked to enforce it, we can't, we don't have the information that's been required," Santos said. "The [Ontario Provincial Police] have told us their hands are tied, because they don't have the data." Santos and Essex County Warden Gary McNamara said they put their concerns in a letter to the federal and provincial governments in the hopes that they will provide more guidance. "We're asking the governments and the powers that be to utilize their requirements, strengthen them based on the experience that we've already gone through and bring that oversight," Santos said. "[They've] allowed this program to continue with certain restrictions and guidelines ... and we're asking them to police it and bring forward the boots on the ground, the enforcement that they've approved." 'I don't believe we're in that same position' But Joe Sbrocchi, general manager of Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers (OGVG), says he doesn't believe that they're "in that same position" as last year. "There are so many eyes on this that I find it strange that people think that that isn't happening. I don't get it," he told CBC News. "I don't think we're looking at the same situation that we saw in March and April of last year." He said OGVG has worked with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to develop tools and supports for farmers. As for the quarantine process, Sbrocchi said it's straightforward: workers arrive and tell Canadian Border Services where they are headed, that information is passed to local law enforcement that will check in. Yet he couldn't say whether inspections or check-ins on the workers were happening in-person or virtually. He added that he's not aware of any new workers showing up and testing positive. "If the question is do I think that people are acting inappropriately, I do not and I certainly wouldn't be supportive of it," he said. "Farms will do everything possible to be cooperative ... it's in their interest in every way possible ... We are doing everything possible to take care of this as best we can." The province responded to Santos' letter and said they are closely working with federal and local authorities to "ensure there is a coordinated response when it comes to controlling the spread of COVID-19 on farms." In November, the province announced 35 actions to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 on farms. The actions required participation from farmers, workers, the government and the industry. Short-term solutions referred to the use of personal protective equipment, physical distancing practices, widespread adoption of screening practices and limiting the number of workers moving between farms. A key long-term solution was better housing standards. In an emailed statement to CBC News, the federal government said it has invested nearly $85 million to cover the cost of worker quarantines and that it has extended funding for Windsor's Isolation Recovery Centre until March 31.
It's made from infused pine needles, mixed with cardamom and lemon peel and the end result is a delicate bitter-sweet soda.View on euronews
LISBON, Portugal — Portugal will hold a presidential election Sunday, choosing a head of state to serve a five-year term as the country suffers through a national lockdown and a worsening coronavirus outbreak. Saturday is a day of political reflection, when campaigning and the publication of opinion polls are forbidden. So here’s a look at the election: WHAT’S AT STAKE? The president in Portugal has no legislative powers, which lie with parliament and the government, but is an influential voice and under exceptional circumstances can dissolve parliament and call an early election. The head of state can also veto legislation, although parliament can overturn that veto, and refer legislation to the constitutional Court for vetting. Mostly, the president aims to stand above the political fray, refereeing disputes and acting as an arbiter to defuse tensions. WHO’S IN THE RUNNING? Seven candidates are running, but if none captures more than 50% of the vote, a runoff between the two top candidates will take place on Feb. 14. The incumbent, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, is widely expected to be returned for a second and final term. Charming and affable, the 72-year-old Rebelo de Sousa’s willingness to pose for selfies spawned a Portuguese Facebook page called “Selfies com Marcelo” (Selfies with Marcelo). He has had an approval rating over 60% and his six challengers haven’t come close to denting his apparent lead. But a new right-wing populist, André Ventura, may capture around 11% of the vote, opinion polls indicate, and could secure second place in a runoff. That would send a shock wave through Portuguese mainstream politics, where extremists have so far been absent. HOW IS AN ELECTION HELD DURING A PANDEMIC? Portugal, which is in a lockdown, has one of the worst rates of infections and deaths in the world, according to a tally by John's Hopkins University. The election campaign featured none of the usual flag-waving rallies or other large public events in order to avoid gatherings that would fuel the spread of the virus. Campaigning ended Friday. Early voting drew almost 200,000 of the country's 9.3 million registered voters. The government is opening 2,000 more polling stations to prevent crowds from forming on Sunday. Restrictions on movement are being lifted for election day and voters must bring their own pens. Barry Hatton, The Associated Press
The Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas and Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford are asking Premier Doug Ford to limit big box stores from selling non-essential items. In a letter to the premier, writing on behalf of the city’s 84 BIAs representing more than 70,000 businesses, the two state that the latest emergency orders, while important for reducing the spread of COVID-19, are harmful to small businesses. “Under the latest orders essential retailers – particularly big box stores – are able to sell non-essential items in-store, and after-hours,” the letter reads. “This puts small businesses at a disadvantage and is a public health concern as it may encourage non-essential travel.” Bradford has been on weekly calls with TABIA throughout the pandemic and says there have been a lot of grievances over emergency rules for big box stores compared to small businesses. In the letter, Bradford and John Kiru (Executive Director of TABIA) make their request. “We are asking you take urgent action by going one step further in the orders and mandating big box stores and other retailers selling essential goods to close off sections of their stores where non-essential items are displayed,” they said. They cite a similar strategy used in Manitoba. In that province’s second retail lockdown in November 2020, it chose to not allow big box stores to choose their hours of operation. The goal is fairness for small businesses, Broadview-Danforth BIA chair Albert Stortchak said, expressing what so many BIAs across Toronto are feeling. “You see the big box stores, they’re selling the same products as we are and that hurts,” he said. While explaining that small businesses have demonstrated their capability to follow COVID-19 health protocols, Stortchak goes said if small businesses are outcompeted by big box retail under the current disadvantage, it spells problems for the future of community main streets. Some vacancies have made room for other businesses to grow, such as Mary Brown’s Chicken which opened in GreekTown on the Danforth last year, but Stortchak said the risk is greatest for small, independent shops. He said it is those type of small, independent stores and their owners that make a community vibrant as compared to franchises or generic shops which are found in most neighbourhoods. “It’s going to hollow us out,” he said. “If we lose the small independents, you’re going to be going somewhere else.” The letter to Premier Ford asks to “even the playing field” and review the new public health measures to curb non-essential travel and allow for equal competition for all business operators. Ali Raza, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Beach Metro News
An Edmonton man who admitted stabbing his stepfather with scissors at a Christmas Day family gathering three years ago has been acquitted of second-degree murder. Stephan Kody was found not guilty this week in the Dec. 25, 2017 death of Eddie Melenka at a home near 73rd Avenue and 77th Street. In his decision, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Adam Germain said the Crown "has not negated Mr. Kody's plea of self-defence" so the homicide "will have to remain a non-culpable homicide." The Crown had argued that Kody should have been convicted of "at least" manslaughter, Germain said. But he said he didn't need to consider a manslaughter finding because he concluded that Kody "is entitled to the benefit of the doubt about self-defence." The stabbing occurred on Christmas Day. A family gathering fuelled by alcohol, drugs and karaoke had started the night before. Kody, who was 22 at the time, and Melenka, 48, had been drinking alcohol "all day" and snorting cocaine. The cocaine belonged to Melenka, who was sharing it with Kody in the master bedroom. Kody admitted that he did at least three or four lines of cocaine and that a dispute arose over whether he could count on his stepfather to leave him another line. According to Germain's decision, the two men got into a fight. Melenka pushed Kody over a couch. Kody grabbed a pair of scissors from the kitchen table and ran back to the bedroom. Kody said Melenka followed him into the room and attacked him. Kody fought back with the scissors. "One of the wounds entered Mr. Melenka between his top second and third rib and proceeded downward into his heart which led to bleeding into the chest cavity and despite prompt, competent and aggressive medical intervention, Mr. Melenka succumbed to his wounds," Germain said. The Crown had argued for Kody to be convicted of at least manslaughter because the stabbing stemmed from Kody's anger that his stepfather had stopped him from continuing to use his cocaine. The Crown had also said that picking up a pair of scissors and stabbing someone near the heart reflects an intention to kill, and that there wasn't enough evidence to show that Kody was not in full control of his faculties at the time. The defence lawyer argued that his client's evidence should be believed as being "reasonable, logical, and consistent with all of the background facts," Germain said. The judge noted that Kody gave evidence indicating that he was afraid of being beaten by Melenka, a larger man who was a more capable and experienced fighter. Photos taken of Kody following his arrest revealed that he had been subject to a beating. The stabbing was not witnessed by the other five people who were in the house. "Given the amount of alcohol and cocaine consumed that night and the circumstances of this homicide, I could not, under any basis, conclude that the requirements for second-degree murder have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt," Germain said. "Therefore, if I am wrong about the Crown's failure to prove that self-defence did not apply, Mr. Kody would've been convicted only of manslaughter. "In the event of successful appellate review by the Crown which does not result in a retrial, arrangements to sentence Mr. Kody on the basis of manslaughter should be considered."
DALIAN, China — Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez left Chinese club Dalian Pro on Saturday, citing family reasons during the coronavirus pandemic. “The pandemic is still here, for all of us, and supporting our families has been a priority when making this decision,” Benitez wrote in a statement on his personal website. Benitez had one year left on his contract with the club, which finished 12th in the 16-team Chinese Super League last season. “I say goodbye sadly under these circumstances, but at the same time I am convinced that the future will be bright for Dalian Pro,” he said. The 60-year-old Spaniard went to China after a three-year spell re-establishing Newcastle in the English Premier League. Benitez won the Spanish league twice and a UEFA Cup with Valencia before moving to Liverpool. He led Liverpool to a surprise Champions League title in 2005, the first of his six seasons there. Benitez later had short stints in charge at Inter Milan, Chelsea — winning the Europa League in 2013 — and Real Madrid. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
LONDON — A major British doctors' group is says the U.K. government should “urgently review” it's decision to give people a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine up to 12 weeks after the first, rather than the shorter gap recommended by the manufacturer and the World Health Organization. The U.K., which has Europe’s deadliest coronavirus outbreak, adopted the policy in order to give as many people as possible a first dose of vaccine quickly. So far almost 5.5 million people have received a shot of either a vaccine made by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech or one developed by U.K.-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University. AstraZeneca has said it believes a first dose of its vaccine offers protection after 12 weeks, but Pfizer says it has not tested the efficacy of its jab after such a long gap. The British Medical Association on Saturday urged England’s chief medical officer to “urgently review the U.K.’s current position of second doses after 12 weeks.” In a statement, the association said there was “growing concern from the medical profession regarding the delay of the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as Britain's strategy has become increasingly isolated from many other countries.” “No other nation has adopted the U.K.‘s approach,” Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the BMA council, told the BBC. He said the WHO had recommended that the second Pfizer vaccine shot could be given up to six weeks after the first but only “in exceptional circumstances.” “I do understand the trade-off and the rationale, but if that was the right thing to do then we would see other nations following suit,” Nagpaul said. Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, defended the decision as “a reasonable scientific balance on the basis of both supply and also protecting the most people.” Researchers in Britain have begun collecting blood samples from newly vaccinated people in order to study how many antibodies they are producing at different intervals, from 3 weeks to 24 months, to get an answer to the question of what timing is best for the shots. The doctors’ concerns came a day after government medical advisers said there was evidence that a new variant of the virus first identified in southeast England carries a greater risk of death than the original strain. Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said Friday “that there is evidence that there is an increased risk for those who have the new variant,” which is also more transmissible than the original virus. He said the new strain might be about 30% more deadly, but stressed that “the evidence is not yet strong” and more research is needed. Research by British scientists advising the government said although initial analyses suggested that the strain did not cause more severe disease, several more recent ones suggest it might. However, the number of deaths is relatively small, and fatality rates are affected by many things, including the care that patients get and their age and health, beyond having COVID-19. Britain has recorded 95,981 deaths among people who tested positive, the highest confirmed virus toll in Europe. The U.K. is in a lockdown to try to slow the latest surge of the virus, and the government says an end to the restrictions will not come soon. Pubs, restaurants, gyms, entertainment venues and many shops are closed, and people are required to stay largely at home. The British government is considering tightening quarantine requirements for people arriving from abroad. Already travellers must self-isolate for 10 days, but enforcement is patchy. Authorities are considering requiring arrivals to stay in quarantine hotels, a practice adopted in other countries, including Australia. “We may need to go further to protect our borders,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — When Joe Biden took the oath of office as the 46th president, he became not only the oldest newly inaugurated U.S. chief executive in history but also the oldest sitting president ever. Biden was born Nov. 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He was 78 years, two months and one day old when he was sworn in on Wednesday. That’s 78 days older than President Ronald Reagan was when he left office in 1989. A look at how the country Biden now leads has changed over his lifetime and how his presidency might reflect that. BIGGER, MORE DIVERSE PIE The U.S. population is approaching 330 million people, dwarfing the 135 million at Biden's birth and nearly 60% greater than when he was first elected to the Senate in 1972. The world population in Biden’s lifetime has grown from about 2.3 billion to 7.8 billion. More striking is the diversity in Biden’s America. The descendant of Irish immigrants, Biden was born during a period of relative stagnant immigration after U.S. limitations on new entries in the 1920s, followed by a worldwide depression in the 1930s. But a wave of European immigration followed World War II, when Biden was young, and more recently an influx of Hispanic and nonwhite immigrants from Latin America, Asia and Africa has altered the melting pot again. In 1950, the first census after Biden’s birth counted the country as 89% white. Heading into 2020, the country was 60% non-Hispanic white and 76% white, including Hispanic whites. So, it’s no surprise that a politician who joined an all-male, nearly all-white Senate as a 30-year-old used his inaugural address 48 years later to promise a reckoning on racial justice and, later that afternoon, signed several immigrant-friendly executive orders. BIDEN, HARRIS AND HISTORY Biden took special note of Vice-President Kamala Harris as the first woman elected to national office, and the first Black woman and south Asian woman to reach the vice presidency. “Don’t tell me things can’t change,” he said of Harris, who was a student in the still-mostly segregated Oakland public elementary school when Biden became a senator. The first time Biden addresses a joint session of Congress, there will be two women behind a president, another first: Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. But change comes slowly. Harris was just the second Black woman ever to serve in the Senate. When she resigned Monday, the Senate was left with none -- and just three Black men out of 100 seats. Black Americans account for about 13% of the population. MONEY MATTERS Minimum wage in 1942 was 30 cents an hour. Median income for men according to the 1940 census, the last before Biden's birth, was $956, with women earning about 62 cents for every dollar a man earned. Today, the minimum wage is $7.25. The federal government's most recent weekly wage statistics reflect a median annual income of about $51,100 for full-time workers. But the question is buying power, and that varies. The month Biden was born, a dozen eggs averaged about 60 cents in U.S. cities -- two hours of minimum wage work. A loaf of bread was 9 cents, about 20 minutes of work. Today, eggs can go for about $1.50 (12 minutes of minimum-wage work); a loaf of bread averages $2 (16 minutes). College tuition is another story. Pre-war tuition at Harvard Business School was about $600 a year -- roughly two-thirds of the median American worker’s yearly wages. Today, the current Harvard MBA class is charged annual tuition of more than $73,000, or a year and almost five months of the median U.S. salary (and that’s before taxes). Biden proposes raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour -- a move already drawing opposition from Republicans. He’s called for tuition-free two-year community and technical college and tuition waivers for four-year public schools (so, not Harvard) for students from households with $125,000 or less in annual income. DEBT National debt has soared in Biden’s lifetime, from $72 billion to $27 trillion. But it’s a recent phenomenon. Biden finished 36 years in the Senate and became vice-president amid the fallout from the 2008 financial crash, when the debt was about $10 trillion. Now he takes office amid another economic calamity: the coronavirus pandemic. To some degree, this is a biographical bookend for Biden. He was born when borrowing to finance the war effort generated budget deficits that, when measured as percentage of the overall economy, were the largest in U.S. history until 2020, when emergency COVID spending, the 2017 tax cuts and loss of revenue from a lagging economy added trillions of debt in a single year. Reflecting how President Franklin Roosevelt approached the Great Depression and World War II, Biden is nonetheless calling for an additional $1.9 trillion in immediate deficit spending to prevent a long-term economic slide. PLANES, TRANES AND AUTOMOBILES As part of his proposed overhaul of the energy grid, Biden wants to install 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations by 2030, a move analysts project could spur the sale of 25 million electric vehicles. For context, federal statistics counted 33 million cars in the U.S. altogether in 1948, as Biden began grammar school. A FIRST FOR THE SILENT GENERATION Biden is part of the Silent Generation, so named because it falls between the “Greatest Generation” that endured the Depression and won World War II, and their children, the Baby Boomers, who made their mark through the sweeping social and economic changes of the civil rights era, Vietnam and the Cold War. True to the stereotypes, Biden’s generation looked for decades as if it would never see one of its own in the Oval Office. The Greatest Generation produced John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Then Boomers took over. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Donald Trump were born in a span of 67 days in 1946, the first of the Boomer years. Barack Obama, born in 1961, bookended their generation as a young Boomer. If his inaugural address is any indication, Biden seems eager to embrace the characteristics of his flanking generations. He ticked through the “cascading crises” -- a pandemic and economic fallout reminiscent of the Depression and subsequent war effort, a reckoning on race that’s an extension of the civil rights era -- and summoned the nation “to the tasks of our time.” PLENTY OF FIRST-HAND LEARNING Biden lived through 14 presidencies before beginning his own, nearly one-third of all presidents. No previous White House occupant had lived through so many administrations before taking office. Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
With input from the Town Engineer, Ste-phen Burnett and Director of Development and Operations Jim Moss, Treasurer Carey Holmes outlined the connecting link grant contract for the East portion of Main Street.The RFP was closed in November and four bids were received. The winning bid, which includes option 1, of the three options pro-vided, was Coco Paving at $491,609.Stephen Burnett outlined to council the total scope of the project and all three options. He explained that when the appli-cation was filed, the total scope of the work was not determined.Once this was accomplished, it was deter-mined that the curbing along the core area of Main Street did need replacement along with the road resurfacing. Behind the curb-ing, between it and the sidewalk, was an area of interlocking stone. The decision that needed to be made was as to whether or not this should be replaced, reused, or left alone, hence the aforementioned three options.The recommendation was that option 1 was the most efficient and practical, replace the interlocking stone and the curbing, along with the resurfacing of the road way.Some of the old interlocking stone could be saved and reused in the renovations to Jack Downing Park.In addition, the curbing in front of Town Hall, at the crosswalk, would be extended out so as to remove one lane of traffic and negate the use to the current barriers to pre-vent motorists from trying to pass cars wait-ing for traffic in the crosswalk.Both the new stone and the lane change are awaiting MTO approval but no issue with that is presently foreseen.Treasurer Holmes indicated that the extra costs of the new stone, which was a little over $82,000, could be taken from the Road Construction Reserve, leaving it with a bal-ance of $293,500.Once the MTO approvals are received for the optional work, the project should commence as soon as weather permits are available, assumably in early spring of 2021. Council approved the project unanimously. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
Tourisme Côte-Nord y est allé d’une idée de promotion complètement amusante, afin de continuer à promouvoir la région en temps de Covid. Ils ont lancé ce 21 janvier une campagne humoristique, sur les jeux de société. Tourisme Côte-Nord propose 20 parodies de jeux de société à saveur nord-côtière, et invite la population à partager leur campagne promotionnelle, afin de faire connaître la région, et de rigoler un peu.L’organisme mentionne que l’industrie touristique a été lourdement affectée par cette pandémie et qu’elle aura de grands besoins lors de la relance économique.Voici la toute dernière campagne réalisée par Tourisme Côte-Nord: https://www.facebook.com/613352892084693/posts/3582545271832092/?sfnsn=moKarine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
Enjoy this review about the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM, another ultra-sharp lens by Canon for the RF-mount. PRO + fast and precise working autofocus + sharpness, water- and dust protected CONTRA -big and heavy