Infectious disease specialist Dr. Michael Gardam says more aggressive restrictions earlier to stop the spread would have made a 'huge difference.'
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Michael Gardam says more aggressive restrictions earlier to stop the spread would have made a 'huge difference.'
LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side on a steep roadway in suburban Los Angeles known for wrecks, authorities said. The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he was undergoing leg surgery. Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median shortly before 7:15 a.m., crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, authorities said at a news conference. No other cars were involved. The 45-year-old was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out. The airbags deployed, and the inside of the car stayed basically intact and that “gave him a cushion to survive the crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Both of his legs were seriously injured, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. They said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. Authorities said they checked for any odor of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and did not find any. They did not say how fast he was driving. The crash happened on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale Los Angeles suburbs. Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to arrive at the wreck, told reporters that he sometimes catches people topping 80 mph in the 45 mph zone and has seen fatal crashes there. “I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said. Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where he presented the trophy on Sunday. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement. A tweet Monday showed Woods in a cart smiling with comedian David Spade. According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club. Woods, a 15-time major champion who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories, has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019. He has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, winning at the most prolific rate in modern PGA Tour history. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking, which has led to enormous increases in prize money during his career. Even at 45, he remains the biggest draw in the sport. The SUV he was driving Tuesday had tournament logos on the side door, indicating it was a courtesy car for players at the Genesis Invitational. Tournament director Mike Antolini did not immediately respond to a text message, though it is not unusual for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after the event. Woods feared he would never play again until the 2017 fusion surgery. He returned to win the Tour Championship to close out the 2018 season and won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time. He last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12. Woods also has a 13-year-old daughter. During the Sunday telecast on CBS from the golf tournament, Woods was asked about playing the Masters on April 8-11 and said, “God, I hope so.” He said he was feeling a little stiff and had one more test to see if he was ready for more activities. He was not sure when he would play again. Athletes from Mike Tyson to Magic Johnson and others offered hopes that Woods would make a quick recovery. “I’m sick to my stomach,” Justin Thomas, the No. 3 golf player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Bradenton, Florida. “It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right.” Crews used a crane to lift the damaged SUV out of the hillside brush. The vehicle was placed upright on the street and sheriff’s investigators inspected it and took photos. Then it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled away Tuesday afternoon. This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. The most notorious was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree. That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women. Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months. In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain. Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder. Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he has reduced his playing schedule in recent years because of injuries. The surgery Tuesday would be his 10th. He has had four previous surgeries on his left knee, including a major reconstruction after he won the 2008 U.S. Open, and five surgeries on his back. ___ Ferguson reported from Jacksonville, Florida. Stefanie Dazio And Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press
ATLANTA — Fueled by Black turnout, Democrats scored stunning wins in Georgia in the presidential and U.S. Senate races. Now, Republicans are trying to make sure it doesn't happen again. GOP lawmakers in the once reliably red state are rolling out an aggressive slate of voting legislation that critics argue is tailored to curtail the power of Black voters and undo years of work by Stacey Abrams and others to increase engagement among people of colour, including Latino and Asian American communities. The proposals are similar to those pushed by Republicans in other battleground states: adding barriers to mail-in and early voting, major factors in helping Joe Biden win Georgia's 16 Electoral College votes and Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff take the two Senate seats that gave Democrats control of the chamber. But one aspect of their plans, a proposal to eliminate early voting on Sundays, seems specifically targeted at a traditional get-out-the-vote campaign used by Black churches, referred to as “souls to the polls." It's led many to suggest Republicans are trying to stop a successful effort to boost Black voter turnout in Georgia, where they make up about a third of the population and have faced a dark history of attempts to silence their voices in elections. “It's a new form of voter suppression, the Klan in three-piece suits rather than white hoods,” said the Rev. Timothy McDonald III of the First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, which has participated in souls to the polls events. “They know the power of the Black vote, and their goal is to suppress that power.” In previous elections, souls to the polls campaigns were festive, with vehicles and people parading to election offices during early voting windows. Churches would sometimes playfully compete to see which could bring the most voters, said McDonald, who described the GOP legislation as “spiteful.” In Georgia and elsewhere, Republicans say proposals to tighten voting access are meant to bolster confidence in elections, though they have been some of the loudest proponents of meritless claims that the election was fraudulent. The Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy group, has counted 165 bills in 33 states this year meant to limit access to voting. In Georgia, Republicans control state government and have introduced dozens of legislative measures that would restrict voting access. GOP state Rep. Barry Fleming is chief sponsor of a wide-ranging proposal that would ban Sunday early voting, require a photo ID for absentee voting, limit the time when an absentee ballot could be requested, restrict where ballot drop boxes could be placed and curb the use of mobile voting units, among other changes. In committee hearings, Fleming has cast the legislation as “an attempt to restore the confidence of our public in our election system.” He didn’t respond to an email or phone message requesting comment. Nse Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project that Abrams founded in 2014, called the GOP measures a backlash “to our multiracial, multilingual progressive majority that is winning elections." Biden beat former President Donald Trump by roughly 12,000 votes, becoming the first Democrat to win a presidential contest in Georgia since 1992. Biden received nearly double the number of absentee votes as Trump in a state that became a major target of Trump’s baseless claims of fraud. Biden's win there was confirmed in three separate counts, including one by hand. "These measures, in our opinion, are not based on any objective, data-driven, evidence-based assessment of the issue but solely with the intention to undermine Black voters and other communities of concern,” said Democratic state Rep. Michael Smith, chairman of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Policy Committee. Because Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office, at least some form of their proposals are likely to become law. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, has called for a photo ID requirement for absentee voting but has yet to back a specific proposal. His office said it was still reviewing the legislation. Republicans are trying to limit ways to vote that have been wildly popular. After states expanded access to mail-in and early voting during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 70% of all ballots cast nationwide came before Election Day. An estimated 108 million people voted by mail, early in person or by dropping off absentee ballots. In Georgia, over 4 million voters cast early or absentee ballots. “They realize if they continue to allow individuals to vote by mail, it is going to be an uphill battle for Republicans to win at the polls and maintain their position,” Democratic state Rep. Debra Bazemore said. At the federal level, Democrats are pushing for a sweeping overhaul of how Americans vote. House Democrats are expected to vote next week on a measure that would establish federal election standards like early voting periods, same-day voter registration and other policies that Republicans have dismissed as federal overreach. And they are expected to introduce another bill to restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that had triggered federal scrutiny of election changes in certain states and counties with histories of discrimination. Georgia was among the states that previously had to get approval for voting changes. “If left to their own devices, Republicans will try to limit the ability of minority voters to exercise their fundamental right to vote,” said U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat co-sponsoring the bill on federal election standards. “It's open season on voting rights in Georgia,” he said. ___ Izaguirre reported from Lindenhurst, New York. ___ Associated Press coverage of voting rights receives support in part from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Anthony Izaguirre And Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is moving slowly but surely toward reengaging with the Palestinians after a near total absence of official contact during former President Donald Trump’s four years in office. As American officials plan steps to restore direct ties with the Palestinian leadership, Biden’s national security team is taking steps to restore relations that had been severed while Trump pursued a Mideast policy focused largely around Israel, America's closest partner in the region. On Tuesday, for the second time in two days, Biden's administration categorically embraced a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that Trump had been purposefully vague about while slashing aid to the Palestinians and taking steps to support Israel’s claims to land that the Palestinians want for an independent state. The State Department said Tuesday that a U.S. delegation attended a meeting of a Norwegian-run committee that serves as a clearinghouse for assistance to the Palestinians. Although little-known outside foreign policy circles, the so-called Ad Hoc Liaison Committee has been influential in the peace process since Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. “During the discussion, the United States reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians and to preserve the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the State Department said in a statement. “The United States underscored the commitment to supporting economic and humanitarian assistance and the need to see progress on outstanding projects that will improve the lives of the Palestinian people, while urging all parties to avoid unilateral steps that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve,” it said. U.S. participation in the meeting followed a Monday call between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s foreign minister in which Blinken stressed that the new U.S. administration unambiguously supports a two-state solution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is close to Trump, has eschewed the two-state solution. Biden spoke to Netanyahu last week for the first time as president after a delay that many found suspicious and suggestive of a major realignment in U.S. policy. Blinken, however, has spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi twice amid ongoing concern in Israel about Biden's intentions in the region, particularly his desire to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. In Monday's call, Blinken “emphasized the Biden administration’s belief that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. The Trump administration had presented its own version of a two-state peace plan, though it would have required significant Palestinian concessions on territory and sovereignty. The Palestinians, however, rejected it out of hand and accused the U.S. of no longer being an honest peace broker after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moved the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and rescinded a long-standing legal opinion that Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate under international law, Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
China and Europe are winning the “global battery arms race,” seen as a key factor in determining which economies will dominate in a decarbonized future, a parliamentary committee heard Monday. The House of Commons natural resources committee has embarked on a study of “critical minerals” in Canada — a term referring to the raw materials like lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, aluminum and copper that go into making lithium-ion batteries, the standard workhorse of the electric vehicle (EV) and energy-storage world. Canada has a large domestic supply of these minerals, witnesses told the committee. But they aren't being mined in large amounts, they said. There is little ability in Canada to process the raw material into the components that ultimately go into producing batteries. “Relative to the European Union and Asia, Canadian battery metals supply chains are currently in their infancy,” said Liz Lappin, president of the Battery Metals Association of Canada. “However, with surging demand for battery metals to serve the expanding EV supply chain, the market opportunity for Canada is growing.” In January, the European Commission approved a $4.4-billion package by 12 member states for a project to boost Europe's "battery value chain." This month, Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt said it would build Europe’s largest energy-storage factory in Poland. Meanwhile, China controls four-fifths of the world's refining capacity for lithium-ion battery minerals, as well as over three-quarters of battery cell manufacturing capacity and almost two-thirds of component manufacturing, according to BloombergNEF. Simon Moores, the London, U.K.-based managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, said there has been a global rush to build up battery manufacturing capacity, illustrated by almost 200 specialized factories — what EV-maker Tesla calls “gigafactories” — popping up around the world that produce lithium-ion battery cells at scale and at low cost. “We are in the midst of a global battery arms race," said Moores. “These super-sized battery plants are becoming physical embodiments of a country’s industrial and technological ambition." A quarter of the cost of an EV is the lithium-ion battery, while four-fifths of the cost of the battery itself is the minerals, metals and chemicals that go into it, he said. Benchmark estimates that by 2030, China will hold 67 per cent of battery capacity and Europe will hold 18 per cent, while North America will hold 12 per cent. “While the world’s governments and automakers focus on building EVs and battery plants, a true leader is yet to emerge in building the supply chains to feed them,” said Moores. The federal government has touted EV manufacturing as a “critical” component of Canada’s climate plan. Automakers like GM and Ford have announced plans to build or retool large-scale EV manufacturing plants in Canada. The government has also talked up “critical minerals,” promoting a joint plan on the issue with the United States in summer 2020. Industry representatives say what's missing is more of a managed, coherent strategy to tie together all the different components of a battery supply chain. “There has to be effort to put in to just co-ordinating everything and making it one sensible, strategic package for developing this industry,” Jamie Deith, chef executive officer of Eagle Graphite Corporation, told the committee. “In other words — we should be doing this with intent and deliberately ... because that is what’s going to attract investors and what’s going to impress the end users, such as the automakers.” Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, has also tied a billion-dollar commitment from GM to build an all-electric delivery van in Ontario to the assumption that Canada is heading towards a fully domestic battery producing industry. Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan announced Monday that a new "federal-provincial-territorial task team" is developing an inventory of Canadian “critical minerals” that would help build an "integrated, all-Canadian critical minerals and battery value chain.” Canada is the world’s third-largest aluminum producer, fourth-largest cobalt producer and fifth-largest nickel producer, according to Natural Resources Canada’s “Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan,” released in 2019. The plan says the country is also “primed” to meet demand for graphite and lithium. Carl Meyer / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Carl Meyer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
WASHINGTON — A federal judge has ordered the wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to remain temporarily jailed after she was arrested and accused of helping her husband run his multibillion-dollar cartel and plotting his audacious escape from a Mexican prison in 2015. Emma Coronel Aispuro, a 31-year-old former beauty queen, appeared by video conference for an initial court appearance before a federal magistrate judge in Washington, D.C. The judge's order came after Coronel's attorney, Jeffrey Licthman, said he would consent to her temporary detention after her arrest at Dulles International Airport in Virginia. U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather explained the charges to Coronel, who spoke to the judge through a Spanish interpreter. She said prosecutors had provided sufficient reason to keep Coronel behind bars for now and noted that her attorney had consented to the temporary detention. Prosecutor Anthony Nardozzi said the U.S. government believed that Coronel should remain jailed, arguing that she “worked closely with the command-and-control structure” of the Sinaloa cartel, particularly with her husband. Nardozzi said she conspired to distribute large quantities of drugs, knowing that they would be illegally smuggled into the U.S. Nardozzi said Coronel had access to criminal associates, including other members of the cartel, and “financial means to generate a serious risk of flight.” If convicted, she could face more than 10 years in prison. Her arrest was the latest twist in the bloody, multinational saga involving Guzman, the longtime head of the Sinaloa drug cartel. Guzman, whose two dramatic prison escapes in Mexico fed into a legend that he and his family were all but untouchable, was extradited to the United States in 2017 and is serving life in prison. And now his wife, with whom he has two young daughters, has been charged with helping him run his criminal empire. In a single-count criminal complaint, Coronel was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana in the U.S. The Justice Department also accused her of helping her husband escape from a Mexican prison in 2015 and participating in the planning of a second prison escape before Guzman was extradited to the U.S. As Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, Guzman ran a cartel responsible for smuggling mountains of cocaine and other drugs into the United States during his 25-year reign, prosecutors said in recent court papers. They also said his “army of sicarios,” or “hit men,” was under orders to kidnap, torture and kill anyone who got in his way. His prison breaks became the stuff of legend and raised serious questions about whether Mexico's justice system was capable of holding him accountable. In one case, he escaped through an entry under the shower in his cell to a milelong (1.6-kilometre-long) lighted tunnel with a motorcycle on rails. The planning for the escape was extensive, prosecutors say, with his wife playing a key role. Court papers charge that Coronel worked with Guzman’s sons and a witness, who is now co-operating with the U.S. government, to organize the construction of the underground tunnel that Guzman used to escape from the Altiplano prison to prevent his extradition to the U.S. The plot included purchasing a piece of land near the prison, firearms and an armoured truck and smuggling him a GPS watch so they could “pinpoint his exact whereabouts so as to construct the tunnel with an entry point accessible to him,” the court papers say. Guzman was sentenced to life behind bars in 2019. Coronel, who was a beauty queen in her teens, regularly attended Guzman’s trial, even when testimony implicated her in his prison breaks. The two, separated in age by more than 30 years, have been together since at least 2007, and their twin daughters were born in 2011. Her father, Ines Coronel Barreras, was arrested in 2013 with one of his sons and several other men in a warehouse with hundreds of pounds of marijuana across the border from Douglas, Arizona. Months earlier, the U.S. Treasury had announced financial sanctions against her father for his alleged drug trafficking. After Guzman was rearrested following his escape, Coronel lobbied the Mexican government to improve her husband’s prison conditions. And after he was convicted in 2019, she moved to launch a clothing line in his name. Mike Vigil, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s former chief of international operations, said Coronel “has been involved in the drug trade since she was a little girl. She knows the inner workings of the Sinaloa cartel.” He said she could be willing to co-operate. “She has a huge motivation, and that is her twins,” Vigil said. ___ Associated Press writers Christopher Sherman and Mark Stevenson in Mexico City contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
MIAMI — Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Efrain Álvarez is on the 48-man preliminary roster for both the United States and Mexico for the Olympic men’s soccer qualifying tournament in North and Central America and the Caribbean. Now 18, Álvarez played for the U.S. at an under-15 tournament in 2016, then switched to Mexico and played for El Tri at the 2019 Under-17 World Cup. He attended U.S. national team training in December but did not appear in the exhibition against El Salvador in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The U.S. roster also included included Red Bull Salzburg midfielder Brenden Aaronson, Barcelona forward Konrad De La Fuente, PSV Eindhoven defender Chris Gloster and Norwich forward Sebastian Soto. The rosters released Tuesday by CONCACAF are nonbinding, and U.S. coach Jason Kreis may announce a training camp roster on Friday. Final 20-man rosters are due March 8. The U.S., which failed to qualify for the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, opens Group A against Costa Rica on March 18 at the CONCACAF tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Americans play the Dominican Republic on March 21 and complete Group A on March 24 against host Mexico. The top two teams in each group advance, and the semifinal winners qualify for the Olympics. Qualifying was postponed from last March due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and FIFA has kept the same eligibility rules that were first established, saying players must be born after Jan. 1, 1997. Clubs are not required to release players to teams for qualifying, so many top young players are expected to miss the tournament. Among those not on the U.S. roster are Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Gio Reyna and Josh Sargent. For the 16 nations reaching the Olympics, each may include three players over the age limit. The CONCACAF qualifiers will join Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Egypt, France, Germany, Ivory Coast, Japan, New Zealand, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Spain. The preliminary roster: Goalkeepers: Drake Callender (Miami), Matt Freese (Philadelphia), Jonathan Klinsmann (LA Galaxy), JT Marcinkowski (San Jose), David Ochoa (Salt Lake), Brady Scott (Austin) Defenders: Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy), George Bello (Atlanta), Kyle Duncan (New York Red Bulls), Marco Farfan (LA), Justen Glad (Salt Lake), Chris Gloster (PSV Einhoven, Netherlands), Aaron Herrera (Salt Lake), Aboubacar Keita (Columbus), Fredrick Kessler (New England), Maurico Pineda (Chicago), Donovan Pines (D.C.), Bryan Reynolds (Roma, Italy), Miles Robinson (Atlanta), James Sands (New York City), Auston Trusty (Colorado), Sam Vines (Colorado) Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Red Bull Salzburg, Austria), Efrain Álvarez (LA Galaxy), Cole Bassett (Colorado), Gianluca Busio (Kansas City), Caden Clark (New York Red Bulls), Johnny Cardoso (Internacionale, Brazil), Hassani Dotson (Minnesota), Brooks Lennon (Atlanta), Djordje Mihailovic (Chicago), Keaton Parks (New York City), Andres Perea (Orlando), Brandon Servania (Dallas), Tanner Tessmann (Dallas), Eryk Williamson (Portland), Jackson Yueill (San Jose) Forwards: Frankie Amaya (Cincinnati), Cade Cowell (San Jose), Konrad De La Fuente (Barcelona), Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland), Jesus Ferreira (Dallas), Jonathan Lewis (Colorado), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg, Germany), Benji Michel (Orlando), Ricardo Pepi (Dallas), Sebastian Saucedo (Pumas, Mexico), Sebastian Soto (Norwich, England) ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Health authorities in Newfoundland and Labrador are reporting 15 new cases of COVID-19 today. Officials say all of the new infections involve people in the eastern health region, where an outbreak has been spreading through the metro St. John’s area. Authorities say 50 people have recovered from the virus since Monday, leaving 372 active reported cases of COVID-19 across the province. Newfoundland and Labrador's active infection rate is now 71 cases per 100,000 people. Five people are in hospital because of the disease, and officials say two of those people are in intensive care. Public health says the outbreak in the St. John's region was traced to the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant, which was first discovered in the United Kingdom, and the province has been in lockdown since Feb. 12. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Security officials testifying at Congress' first hearing on the deadly siege of the Capitol cast blame and pointed fingers on Tuesday but also acknowledged they were woefully unprepared for the violence. Senators drilled down on the stunning security failure and missed warning signs as rioters loyal to former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, in a misguided attempt to stop lawmakers from certifying President Joe Biden's election. Five people died in the attack, including a Capitol Police officer. The security officials lost their jobs, and Trump was impeached by the House on a charge of inciting the insurrection, the deadliest attack on Congress in 200 years. Trump was ultimately acquitted by the Senate. Here are some takeaways from the testimony: FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE Intelligence warnings of an armed uprising by extremist groups heading to the Capitol didn't rise to the level of alarm — or even get passed up the chain of command — in time for the Jan. 6 attack. Crucially, a key warning flare from the FBI field office in Norfolk, Virginia, of a “war” on the Capitol was sent the night before to the Capitol Police's intelligence division. But then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testified that he only learned about it the day before Tuesday's hearing. Instead, Sund said he was bracing for demonstrations on par with other armed protests by mobs of Trump’s supporters in the nation's capital in November and December after the presidential election. “No entity, including the FBI, provided any intelligence indicating that there would be a co-ordinated violent attack on the United States Capitol by thousands of well-equipped armed insurrectionists,” he testified in written remarks about a conference call the day before the attack. The Democratic chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, said, “There was a failure to take this threat more seriously.” HE SAID, HE SAID As hundreds of rioters stormed the Capitol, breaking into the iconic building's windows and doors, sometimes in hand-to-hand combat with police, there are conflicting accounts from the security officials over what happened next. Sund, who had raised the idea of calling on the National Guard for backup days earlier, specifically recounted a 1:09 p.m. phone call he made to the then-sergeant-at-arms of the House, Paul Irving, his superior, requesting National Guard troops. Sund said he was told they would run it up the chain of command . Irving said he has no recollection of the conversation at that time and instead recalls a conversation nearly 20 minutes later. He said the 1:09 p.m. call does not show up on his cellphone log. As the riot escalated, Sund was “pleading” with Army officials for Guard troops in another phone call, testified Robert Contee III, the acting chief of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, whose officers had arrived for backup. Contee said he was “stunned” at the delayed response from the military. Defence Department officials have said they offered National Guard troops days earlier but were rebuffed. Pentagon officials are scheduled to testify to the Senate next week. COMMON FACTS: ‘A PLANNED INSURRECTION’ At the start of the hearing, coming 10 days after Trump was acquitted by the Senate on the impeachment charge of inciting the insurrection, some common facts were agreed to. Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the chair of the Rules Committee, asked the security officials if there was any doubt the riot was a planned attack and carried out by white nationalist and extremist groups. None of the witnesses disputed the characterization of the facts of Jan. 6. Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin read an alternative account, of mostly peaceful protesters festive that day, that he encouraged colleagues to consider. But in closing, Klobuchar restated the testimony: “There was clear agreement this was a planned insurrection.” ONE OFFICER'S PERSONAL STORY The hearing opened with Capitol Police Capt. Carneysha Mendoza, a 19-year veteran of the force, delivering a compelling personal account of being called at home that day as she was spending time with her 10-year-old before the start of her shift. She rushed to the Capitol only to find “the worst of the worst” scene of her career. A former Army veteran, she recounted the deadly mayhem, fending off rioters inside the building’s stately Rotunda, inhaling gas and suffering chemical burns to her face she said still have not healed. Her Fitbit recorded four hours of sustained activity, she said. The next night and following day she spent at the hospital consoling the family of Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after the attack. “As an American, and as an Army veteran, it’s sad to see us attacked by our fellow citizens,” Mendoza told the senators. TRUMP'S SHADOW The former president was hardly a presence at the first hearing. Instead, senators largely set aside their sharply partisan ways to drill down on the facts of what happened that day — on how to prevent it from happening again. Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., pointedly asked for the name of the commander in chief of the armed forces that day who was ultimately responsible for the military and security of the country. That drew out the former president's name. Among the senators on the panels are two of Trump's staunch allies who led the effort to overturn Biden's election victory — Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. ___ Associated Press writers Mary Clare Jalonick, Michael Balsamo and Lolita Baldor in Washington and Nomaan Merchant in Houston contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
With the threat of COVID-19 variants growing every day, the OMA says more restrictions are needed to get it under control. But it will be a difficult sell for thousands feeling pandemic fatigue. Matthew Bingley reports.
TORONTO — The top doctor for one of Ontario's COVID-19 hot spots says paid sick days and relief for businesses could be built into the province's pandemic response system to help mitigate a third wave. Peel Region's Dr. Lawrence Loh says resistance to strict public health measures often stems from lack of relief. He says the province should consider looking at how support policies could be part of Ontario's tiered restrictions system, taking effect when regions are in certain categories. The government did not immediately respond to requests for comment but has previously said that it isn't looking to implement its own sick leave police because some relief is available through a federal benefit. Loh's suggestions came during a discussion hosted by the Ontario Medical Association that looked ahead to the next stage of the pandemic. The medical association has called for Ontario to tighten COVID-19 restrictions in light of more infectious variants spreading in the province. The group representing physicians has recommended banning indoor restaurant dining and other non-masked indoor activities for regions in the red tier of the province's pandemic system. Loh and his counterpart in Toronto sought to extend strict shutdown measures and a stay-at-home order for their regions last week, arguing the spread of variants and recent reopening of schools made it too risky to ease restrictions. The province granted their request, extending the strictest measures for those two regions, as well as North Bay, Ont., until March 8. The COVID-19 hot spot of York Region, however, saw restrictions ease as it was moved to the red, or second-strictest, tier of the province's pandemic response system. York's top doctor had sought the loosening of measures, saying his region was not seeing “explosive growth" of variants that were first detected in December. Dr. Karim Kurji said last week that there was a "reasonable handle" on variant cases, arguing the need for strong measures needed to be balanced with economic and mental wellbeing. The province's economic reopening began earlier this month. The government has said, however, that it has created an "emergency brake" measure that allows it to swiftly move regions into lockdown if cases spike. On Tuesday, the Opposition called for the government to clearly define what would trigger the use of that brake measure. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the government loosened public health restrictions too soon, without a clearly defined plan. Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca and Green party Leader Mike Schreiner also expressed confusion over the parameters of the measure. Health Minister Christine Elliott said the measure considers a public health unit’s increase in case numbers, variants of concern and health system capacity. She argued it was used when the province decided last week to keep Toronto, Peel Region and North Bay under the stay-at-home order for two more weeks. Ontario reported 975 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and 12 more deaths from the virus. The province said 16,252 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered since the previous update, for a total of 585,707 doses total. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
(Yukon Energy - image credit) Yukon Energy is one step closer to having the largest battery storage site in the North. The utility has reached a deal to lease land for its $31-million grid-scale battery project in Whitehorse. "It's an important milestone as we work our way through this project," said Andrew Hall, president of Yukon Energy Corporation. The site will be located near the top of Robert Service Way and close to the Alaska Highway. It will sit on Kwanlin Dün First Nation Settlement Land that overlaps with the traditional territory of the Ta'an Kwäch'än Council. Initially there was opposition from the public to having the site by Yukon Energy's Takhini substation on the North Klondike Highway. Battery will help secure electricity grid Yukon Energy says the battery storage project will add security to its grid system. "The main benefit of a battery is to be able to help us meet peak demands, particularly during an emergency," said Hall. "If, say, [on] a really cold winter day one of our hydro units has a problem and shuts off, the advantage of the battery is, within milliseconds, it can go to full output and provide power to keep the grid stable and avoid an outage." He said the battery project will also be used on winter days to avoid running diesel. The battery project will benefit both the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta'an Kwäch'än Council, said Hall. "I think there are a number of opportunities for this project. Firstly, there is obviously the lease of the land. That will go to Kwanlin Dün for the site we selected," he said. Beyond that, he added, "There may be an opportunity for an investment associated with the battery." Hall said there will be procurement and contract opportunities for both First Nations in the future. In a news release, Chief Doris Bill of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation said the battery project is another step toward stabilizing Yukon's isolated grid and reducing the territory's reliance on fossil fuels for back-up power generation. "Our development corporation Chu Niìkwän's investment in this project will lead to increased opportunities for Kwanlin Dün First Nation citizens and improve access to clean, stable electricity for all Yukoners." The federal government is contributing $16.5 million and Yukon Energy's investment will be $14.5 million when the battery site is completed in the fall of 2022.
Ontario's police watchdog is investigating after it says a 45-year-old man was shot dead by police in Toronto. The Special Investigations Unit says officers went into a downtown apartment building to conduct an investigation around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday. It says shortly afterwards, the officers went into a third-floor unit and had an "interaction" with a resident. The agency says two officers fired their guns, and the man was struck. He died in hospital soon after. The SIU says it has assigned five investigators and three forensic investigators to the case, which involves two subject officers and seven witness officers. Toronto police, meanwhile, say they were in a downtown building searching for a missing person when the incident occurred. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
On Tuesday the maintenance supervisor at Riverview Gardens woke up excited as Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health woke up “pumped” and ready to go. Dr. David Colby inoculated Rick Walker with the COVID-19 vaccine at the John D. Bradley Convention Centre at 9:30 a.m. It was the first vaccine given to a local person that is not a long-term care resident and it is also the first Pfizer vaccine to be issued locally. “It’s like a train coming down the tracks. It (COVID) is going to come to you sooner or later,” Walker said. “I am excited to be a part of the solution honestly.” Chatham-Kent hopefully saw the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic when long-term care residents got their first doses of the Moderna vaccine in late January. Second doses for those residents started Monday. Now all staff in long-term care homes and the primary caregivers of its residents are able to receive their immunization. Riverview Gardens staff and caregivers were the first up, with more than 300 doses expected to be doled out. “This is an absolute milestone. This is ground zero,” Colby said. Walker said he would encourage all other Chatham-Kent residents to get the vaccine. “You always have (COVID) in the back of your mind. But this is the solution where we can get to the end of this and I firmly believe that.” “Who would have ever guessed that when we were celebrating New Year’s in 2020 what was to lie ahead of us? And here we are. It’s time to rid Chatham-Kent of this pestilence, it's the way to do it,” Colby said of getting vaccinated. Chatham-Kent reported 18 active cases Tuesday after five recoveries and one new case were reported on Tuesday morning. Fairfield Park long-term care home in Wallaceburg has one active case of COVID-19 among its residents and one active case among staff left active. The cumulative total of cases for Fairfield sits at 100 and now new ones were reported this week. The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance outbreak in the Medicine Unit remains active with 24 cumulative cases. Two patients are still in the hospital with the virus. Four staff are off work after testing positive for COVID-19, but not all are related to the outbreak. Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell underscored the U.S. economy's ongoing weakness Tuesday in remarks that suggested that the Fed sees no need to alter its ultra-low interest rate policies anytime soon. “The economic recovery remains uneven and far from complete, and the path ahead is highly uncertain,” Powell said in testimony to the Senate Banking Committee. Powell's comments are in contrast to the increasing optimism among many analysts that the economy will grow rapidly later this year. That outlook has also raised concerns, though, about a potential surge in inflation and has fueled a sharp increase in longer-term interest rates this year. Most economists say they think the Fed’s continued low rates, further government financial aid and progress in combating the viral pandemic could create a mini-economic boom as soon as this summer. Powell acknowledged the potential for a healthier economy. But he stressed the personal hardships caused by the pandemic, especially for unemployed Americans. “As with overall economic activity, the pace of improvement in the labour market has slowed,” Powell said. “Although there has been much progress in the labour market since the spring, millions of Americans remain out of work.” Powell's focus on the economy's challenges reflects his reluctance to send any signal that the Fed is considering pulling back on its efforts to boost economic growth and hiring. The Fed cut its benchmark short-term interest rate to nearly zero last March in response to the pandemic recession. It is also purchasing $120 billion a month in bonds in an effort to hold down longer-term rates. Powell reiterated that those purchases will continue until “substantial progress” has been made toward the Fed's goals of low unemployment and stable inflation at about 2% annually. The economy may improve rapidly later this year, Powell said, "but the job is not done yet, the job is not done.” Powell also downplayed concerns about rising longer-term interest rates and potentially higher inflation, which some analysts worry will result from a burst of spending and growth if the pandemic is brought under control later this year. The Fed chair also refused to endorse or condemn President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion economic rescue package, which is beginning to make its way through Congress. When asked by Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., if he would “be cool” with Congress approving or voting down Biden's proposal, Powell said, “By either being cool or uncool, I would have to be expressing an opinion. ... which I'm not doing." The divide in Congress in regard to the state of the economy was clearly on display, a key part of the debate over the stimulus. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, chairman of the committee, spoke of Americans facing eviction, struggling small businesses, and state and local governments that need financial assistance. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., however, noted that 18 states have unemployment rates below 5% and argued that incomes have recovered to pre-pandemic levels. “We are well past the point where our economy is collapsing,” Toomey said. “In fact our economy is growing rapidly ... There's also real danger that we have overheating ... that can lead to inflation.” Powell has previously endorsed government spending in general to offset the impact of the recession. Fed chairs typically avoid commenting on specific legislation. The Fed chair also acknowledged that prices could rise later this year if Americans engage in a burst of spending as the coronavirus comes under control. But Powell emphasized that he doesn't expect sustained price increases. Inflation has been held down for decades by greater international competition, growing online commerce, and other trends that take time to change, he said. In response to a question from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Powell said, "We do expect that inflation will move up. But we don’t expect the effects on inflation will be particularly large or persistent.” Powell's remarks to the Banking Committee are coming on the first of two days of semiannual testimony to Congress that is required by law. On Wednesday, he will testify to the House Financial Services Committee. His testimony comes as the economy is showing gradual improvement in key areas, with manufacturing and retail sales rebounding despite a stagnant job market. Still, the steady rise in interest rates has unsettled the stock market. On Monday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq index tumbled a steep 2.5% as the yield on the 10-year Treasury note surged to nearly 1.37%. At the start of the year, the 10-year yield was below 1%. Powell attributed that increase to optimism about a potential acceleration in growth. “In a way it's a statement of confidence on the part of markets that we will have a robust recovery," Powell said. In response to a question from Toomey, Powell acknowledged that “there is certainly a link” between the Fed's low-interest rate policies and rapid price increases for stocks, homes, and some commodities. But he also attributed much of the price gains that have occurred to rising optimism. For now, interest rates remain, by historical standards, exceedingly low. As recently as the fall of 2018, for example, the 10-year yield briefly topped 3%. But for the past year, the economy and the markets have drawn strength from near-record-low borrowing rates. Many analysts are bullish about the prospects for this year. On Monday, Michelle Meyer, an economist at Bank of America, raised her forecast for growth this year to 6.5%. That would be the strongest calendar year economy growth since 1984. Still, the job market remains essentially stalled, with employers adding an average of just 30,000 jobs a month in the past three months. The economy is about 10 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic level. Powell was also asked about the prospects of the Fed creating a digital currency, a move that is gaining steam among other central banks. Powell said the Fed is “looking carefully at whether to issue a digital dollar.” Fed governor Lael Brainard said last year that the central bank has conducted “in-house experiments” on a digital currency, as a complement to cash. Providing a digital dollar would ensure “the public has access to a range of payments options,” she said. Christopher Rugaber And Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
(Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada - image credit) Quebec's COVID-19 vaccination campaign is slowly ramping up, with those born in 1936 and earlier in the general population able to get shots as early as next week. The government specified that an exception will be made for people aged 70 and over who act as a primary caregiver for someone aged 85 and over. This means that a younger spouse of someone who meets the criteria may also be eligible. Premier François Legault made the announcement during Tuesday afternoon's COVID-19 briefing at Montreal's Olympic Stadium. The atrium of the stadium, once home to the Montreal Expos, has been converted into a vaccination site. WATCH | Here's what the vaccination centre looks like at Montreal's Big O: The province's first COVID-19 vaccines were administered in Quebec on Dec. 14, and the inoculation campaign has since focused on residents in long-term care homes and private seniors' homes, as well as health-care workers. So far, more than 350,000 Quebecers have received shots, accounting for less than four per cent of the population. The pace of the province's vaccination efforts has garnered criticism, including from Ottawa, and last month's drastic reduction in the number of doses delivered from Pfizer-BioNTech didn't help matters. In recent weeks, the province has been prepping several vaccination sites, including the one at the Big O and the Palais des congrès in downtown Montreal. "This is great news," Legault said, calling vaccines "our best hope to win this battle." "We have vaccinated everyone in CHSLDs [long-term care homes] and we are seeing the results; there are almost no deaths in CHSLDs." But with more contagious variants on the rise, Legault said that "numbers could change very quickly if we let our guard down." Premier François Legault laid out the latest vaccine targets at a briefing on Tuesday. Target for next 2 weeks The campaign will begin in Montreal, but Quebecers across the province can make appointments as of Thursday. Legault said it is preferable to make an appointment online at quebec.ca/vaccincovid. Those who do not have internet access or someone who can help them can call 1-877-644-4545, also as of Thursday. Once patients get the vaccine, they will be given another appointment for a second dose. The announcement didn't go as far as some expected. Earlier in the day, sources had told Radio-Canada that the vaccine would be available to people over 80 across the province starting March 1 and to those 70 and over in Montreal. Legault said the younger age groups will follow in the coming weeks but urged those born after 1936 not to try to make an appointment yet. There are roughly 200,000 people in Quebec who were born in 1936 or earlier, and about 60 per cent of them live with family or on their own. Vaccinating that group is expected to take about two weeks, the province said.
CHARLOTTETOWN — Prince Edward Island announced the start of a COVID-19 testing pilot project Tuesday for travellers arriving in the province by air. Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison told reporters the four-week project will assess the feasibility of using rapid tests on travellers. Air travellers will have two swabs taken when they land on the Island: one for a rapid test and another that will be sent for confirmation at a provincial laboratory. Morrison said the test on arrival does not exclude travellers from the mandatory 14-day isolation period for people arriving from outside the province. She said authorities are looking to detect COVID-19 cases among travellers more quickly. Morrison said it would likely be at least six weeks before conditions in the Atlantic region are stable enough to allow for travel within the four-province bubble that existed until rising case numbers ended it in November. She said the province is looking closely at other jurisdictions as they loosen restrictions to monitor the spread of various variants of the virus. No new cases of COVID-19 were reported in P.E.I. on Tuesday, leaving just one active reported infection. The province has had a total of 115 cases since the pandemic began. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
Microsoft Corp has notified 60 customers that their data was likely compromised in the suspected Russian hacking campaign centered on Texas-based software firm SolarWinds Corp, the company’s president told U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday. In prepared remarks, Microsoft's Brad Smith told the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the company believed some of the methods the hackers used to break into target networks have yet to be made public and that “the attacker may have used up to a dozen different means of getting into victim networks during the past year.” Smith said that several other organizations – including unidentified foreign government agencies – had also been breached.
Comment expliquer le manque de confiance d’une majorité de Français dans les partis politiques ? Résultats d’une comparaison européenne.
NEW YORK — One of the world's better known fans of mystery novels, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is now writing one. Clinton is teaming up with her friend, the Canadian novelist Louise Penny, on “State of Terror,” which has a plot that might occur to someone of Clinton's background: A “novice” secretary of state, working in the administration of a rival politician, tries to solve a wave of terrorist attacks. The novel comes out Oct. 12, and will be jointly released by Clinton's publisher, Simon & Schuster, and Penny's, St. Martin's Press. “Writing a thriller with Louise is a dream come true," Clinton, who has expressed admiration for Penny and other mystery writers in the past, said in a statement Tuesday. "I’ve relished every one of her books and their characters as well as her friendship. Now we’re joining our experiences to explore the complex world of high stakes diplomacy and treachery. All is not as it first appears.” Penny, an award-winning author from Quebec whose novels include “The Cruelest Month” and “The Brutal Telling,” said in a statement that she could not “say yes fast enough” to the chance of working with Clinton. “What an incredible experience, to get inside the State Department. Inside the White House. Inside the mind of the Secretary of State as high stake crises explode," she said. "Before we started, we talked about her time as Secretary of State. What was her worst nightmare? ‘State of Terror’ is the answer.” Fiction writing and worst-case scenarios have become a favourite pastime for Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. He collaborated with James Patterson on the million-selling cyber thriller “The President is Missing,” and on a new novel, “The President's Daughter,” which comes out in June. Hillary Clinton, secretary of state during Barack Obama's first term, has written a handful of nonfiction works. They include the memoir “Living History"; “Hard Choices,” which covered her time with Obama, who defeated her in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary; and “What Happened,” which focuses on her stunning loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 election. “State of Terror” appears to draw not just on her years as secretary of state, but on her thoughts about the Trump administration's “America First” foreign policy. According to Simon & Schuster and St. Martin's, the main character is “tasked with assembling a team to unravel the deadly conspiracy, a scheme carefully designed to take advantage of an American government dangerously out of touch and out of power in the places where it counts the most.” Financial terms were not disclosed. Clinton was represented by the Washington attorney Robert Barnett, whose other clients include Obama and Bill Clinton. Penny was represented by David Gernert, whose New York-based Gernert Company has worked with, among others, John Grisham, Stewart O'Nan and Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Quebec will begin vaccinating the general population next week, beginning with Montreal-area seniors aged 85 and up, Premier Francois Legault said Tuesday. All seniors in the province born in 1936 or earlier will be able to make an appointment for vaccination through an online portal or by telephone as early as Thursday, Legault told reporters at Montreal's Olympic Stadium, a future mass vaccination site. The premier said the province's vaccination plan is well underway: all long-term care residents, about half of residents in seniors homes and almost 200,000 health-care workers have received a first dose. The province has not begun giving second doses. If all goes according to plan, all of Quebec's oldest and most vulnerable seniors should be vaccinated within a few weeks, the premier said. "We finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not so far away." Legault, however, said Quebecers must continue to be careful, warning that it takes about three weeks for the vaccine to reach full effectiveness. In the meantime, Quebec will have to contend with an ever-rising number of COVID-19 variant cases, as well as a spring break week that authorities fear could cause new cases to bound upwards. "We must avoid gatherings to avoid a third wave," Legault said. Health Minister Christian Dube said on Twitter that Quebec is expecting to receive more than 107,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 28,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine this week, which he said will allow the province to accelerate the pace of immunizations. The province reported 739 new cases Tuesday and 13 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including one that occurred in the past 24 hours. COVID-19-related hospitalizations dropped by nine, to 680, and the number of intensive care patients rose by three, to 120. The number of suspected cases of coronavirus variants continued to rise on Monday, up to 484 from 415 the day prior, according to Quebec's government-mandated public health institute. The number of confirmed cases remained unchanged at 23. Quebec has reported a total of 10,330 deaths linked to the virus and 283,666 infections. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press