Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti says with the vaccine deployment and lockdowns, the reopening of society will likely take until spring of 2021 — and it won’t happen all at once, but in slow and steady stages.
Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti says with the vaccine deployment and lockdowns, the reopening of society will likely take until spring of 2021 — and it won’t happen all at once, but in slow and steady stages.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will leave Washington next Wednesday morning just before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration to begin his post-presidential life in Florida. Refusing to abide by tradition and participate in the ceremonial transfer of power, Trump will instead hold his own departure ceremony at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before his final flight aboard Air Force One. Officials are considering an elaborate send-off event reminiscent of the receptions he's received during state visits abroad, complete with a red carpet, colour guard, military band and even a 21-gun salute, according to a person familiar with the planning who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement. Trump will become only the fourth president in history to boycott his successor's inauguration. And while he has said he is now committed to a peaceful transition of power — after months of trying to delegitimize Biden's victory with baseless allegations of mass voter fraud and spurring on his supporters who stormed the Capitol — he has made clear he has no interest in making a show of it. He has not invited the Bidens to the White House for the traditional bread-breaking, nor has he spoken with Biden by phone. Vice-President Mike Pence has spoken with his successor, Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, calling her on Thursday to congratulate her and offer assistance, according to two people familiar with the call. Pence will be attending Biden's inauguration, a move Biden has welcomed. While Trump spends the final days of his presidency ensconced in the White House, more isolated than ever as he confronts the fallout from the Capitol riot, staffers are already heading out the door. Many have already departed, including those who resigned after the attack, while others have been busy packing up their offices and moving out personal belongings — souvenirs and taxidermy included. On Thursday, chief of staff Mark Meadows’ wife was caught on camera leaving with a dead, stuffed bird. And trade adviser Peter Navarro, who defended the president's effort to overturn the election, was photographed carrying out a giant photo of a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Staff are allowed to purchase the photographs, said White House spokesman Judd Deere.) Also spotted departing the West Wing: a bust of Abraham Lincoln. Stewart D. McLaurin, the president of the White House Historical Association, said he had reached out to the White House chief usher, who manages the building's artifacts with the White House curator, because of questions raised by the images. “Be reminded that staff have items of their own that they brought to the White House and can take those items home as they wish. Some items are on loan to staff and offices from other collections and will be returned to those collections,” he said in a statement. Earlier this week, reporters covering the president's departure from the South Lawn spotted staff taking boxes into the residence for packing up the first family's belongings. And on Friday the packing continued, with moving crates and boxes dotting the floor of the office suite where senior press aides work steps from the Oval Office in the West Wing. Walls in the hallways outside that once featured a rotating gallery of enlarged photographs of the president and first lady framed in gold suddenly were bare, with only the hooks that held the picture frames left hanging. Moving trucks pulled in and out of the driveway outside. While some people have been asked to stick around by the incoming administration, the White House has been reduced to a skeleton crew, with more scheduled to depart on Friday. That includes White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Come Monday, the press staff will be down to two. Trump will leave Washington with his future deeply uncertain, two weeks after his supporters sent lawmakers and congressional staffers scrambling for safety as they tried to halt the peaceful transition of power. While Trump was once expected to leave office as the most powerful voice in the Republican Party and the leading contender for its 2024 nomination, he has been shunned by much of the party over his response to the violence, which left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Trump is expected to be joined in Florida by a handful of aides as he mulls his future. ___ Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report. Jill Colvin And Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
Saskatchewan is reporting an increase of 386 COVID-19 cases and four deaths on Friday. The province said two deaths were in the 60 to 69 age group, one in the northeast and one in the southeast. Two others were in the 80+ age group, one in the Saskatoon zone and one in the southeast region. The new cases are in the following zones: Far northwest (46). Far north central (two). Far northeast (24). Northwest (45). North central (38). Northeast (36). Saskatoon (88). Central west (two). Central east (14). Regina (42). Southwest (one). South central (four). Southeast (30). Pending location (10). There were also four cases that were added to Saskatchewan's total due to out-of-province tests. The province said 210 people are in hospital, the most since the pandemic began. One hundred and seventy-five are receiving in-patient care while 35 are in the ICU. There are 4,010 known active cases in the province. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 320 or 26.4 per 100,000 people. The province said 3,455 tests were processed on Thursday. As of Friday, the province said 14,017 total vaccines have been administered in the province, with 2,032 doses given Thursday. Seniors aged 70 and up in Wakaw and Cudworth were getting vaccinated Friday, while seniors in Rostern and the surrounding area will have a clinic on Saturday. Vaccination clinics are also being held the north central region in Canwood, Shellbrook, Birch Hills, Debden, Blaine Lake, Candle Lake and Christopher Lake. CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — New NASCAR team Trackhouse Racing has brought entertainer Pitbull on as an ownership partner for an organization making its debut next month at the Daytona 500. Trackhouse made the Friday announcement with a video on Twitter in which the Grammy winner is featured dancing to an “I believe we will win” chant. He also holds signs that say: “Knuckle Up, Fight Hard. Buckle Up. Fight hard." The Cuban-American, known also as “Mr. Worldwide," joins NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan as celebrity owners entering NASCAR this year. Jordan is a part owner of 23XI Racing with Denny Hamlin. “I've been a fan of the NASCAR story since the movie ‘Days of Thunder,’" Pitbull said in a statement. “We are going to show the world NASCAR is not only a sport but a culture.” Pitbull noted the announcement coincided with his 40th birthday on Friday: “So get ready! Dale!” he ended with his signature tagline that translates to “Let's go!” Trackhouse was launched late last year by former driver Justin Marks, who struggled to find a charter that guarantees entry into every Cup Series race on the schedule. He ultimately leased one from Spire Motorsports to get his organization on the grid. The team has hired Daniel Suarez to drive the No. 99 Chevrolet but it will not be NASCAR's first pairing of a Latino driver and team owner. Juan Pablo Montoya, a Colombian, drove for Chip Ganassi Racing when it was part owned by Felix Sabates, a Cuban. Suarez is Mexican. Jenna Fryer, The Associated Press
Jeudi soir, le député du caucus progressiste-conservateur Roman Baber envoie une lettre au premier ministre Doug Ford pour lui demander de mettre fin au confinement. Vendredi matin, Doug Ford annonce que le député Roman Baber ne fait désormais plus partie du caucus progressiste-conservateur et qu’il ne peut plus se présenter sous ce parti lors de prochaines élections. Que s’est-il passé? «Le remède tue le patient. Les hôpitaux de l’Ontario et la capacité des unités de soins intensifs sont meilleurs que ces trois dernières années. J’écris en mon nom et celui de mes constituants de North York et plaide pour les millions de vies et existences ruinées par les restrictions de la santé publique de l’Ontario.» Ce sont les premières lignes de la lettre qu’a envoyée le député de York Centre Roman Baber à Doug Ford, jeudi soir, où il insiste que le confinement ne fonctionne pas et qu’il engendre une «avalanche de suicides, de surdoses, de banqueroutes, de divorces et un immense impact sur les enfants». Selon le député, la crise est largement limitée aux foyers de soins de longue durée (FSLD). «Avec tous les résidents des FSLD en “zones rouges” qui seront vaccinés d'ici le 21 janvier, l’Ontario devrait mettre fin au confinement et à son impact catastrophique sur les Ontariens.» « En propageant de la désinformation, il sape les efforts inlassables de nos travailleurs de la santé de première ligne en cette période critique [...]. » — Doug Ford Le lendemain matin, quelques heures à peine après avoir reçu la lettre du député, Doug Ford publie une déclaration: «En vigueur immédiatement, M. Baber ne siégera plus en tant que membre du caucus progressiste-conservateur et n’aura plus l’autorisation de se présenter aux élections en tant que membre du parti.» «Propos irresponsables» Le premier ministre souligne être le premier à reconnaître «l’impact dévastateur» de la COVID-19 sur la population. «Toutefois, en tant que premier ministre, ma priorité numéro un est la santé et la sécurité de tous les Ontariens. Nous devons respecter les conseils et les recommandations des experts en santé publique et du médecin hygiéniste en chef de l’Ontario.» Doug Ford juge ses propos irresponsables. «En propageant de la désinformation, il sape les efforts inlassables de nos travailleurs de la santé de première ligne en cette période critique, et il met les gens à risque. Je ne mettrai pas en péril la vie d’un seul Ontarien en ignorant les conseils de la santé publique.» Roman Baber est le président du comité permanent de la justice. Ce titre devrait lui être retiré dès la reprise des travaux parlementaires, prévue le 16 février. Dès lors, le député siégera en tant qu’élu indépendant et se joindra aux autres députés exclus par le premier ministre, soit Randy Hillier, Belinda Karahalios et Jim Wilson. Excuses demandées Plusieurs affirmations incluses dans la lettre de M. Baber s’avèrent non véridiques. Le bureau de la ministre de la Santé Christine Elliott a envoyé, en réaction à la lettre de Roman Baber, une série de quatre pages où il fait une vérification des faits allégués par le député et corrige même une erreur d’orthographe. Dans son courriel, le ministère de la Santé demande des excuses de la part de M. Baber «à chaque membre de la famille, travailleur de première ligne et partenaire de soins de santé, qui continuent tous de faire face aux effets dévastateurs de la COVID-19 chaque jour». L’Association canadienne pour la santé mentale (ACSM) a publié un communiqué de presse où elle affirme que le député Baber a «mal interprété» les statistiques de l’ACSM à propos de l’augmentation des suicides au cours de la pandémie. L’Association affirme appuyer «sans équivoque» les mesures sanitaires de la province.Émilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
Doug Liman's “Locked Down,” one of the first and most ambitious films to be conceived and shot during the pandemic, is, like our own quarantine experiences, erratic, a little absurd and sporadically delightful. Unlike our time in quarantine, it has Chiwetel Ejiofor and Anne Hathaway. This, not a small difference, is crucial in “Locked Down," an energetic romantic comedy-slash-heist movie that makes a game entry into the emerging genre of COVID-19 movies. Liman, the director of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith," “The Edge of Tomorrow” and “The Bourne Identity,” has always, in a movie world of lumbering, oxygen-depleted action films, had a knack for more agile and playful films that give A-list performers ample room to breathe. That serves “Locked Down” well, with Hathaway and (especially) Ejiofor making a charming pair, even as they play a couple that, just before lockdown began, have had it with each other. The script is by Steven Knight ("Eastern Promises," “Peaky Blinders”), who penned an early breakout for Ejiofor in the very good, London-set “Dirty Pretty Things.” Knight wrote “Locked Down," which debuted Thursday on HBO Max, in July, and by September, they were filming in London with COVID on-set protocols —mainly shooting in a townhouse, on empty city streets and a culminating scene at Harrods. That things build to a semi-ridiculous heist is fitting; the whole movie feels stolen. It also feels very March-April 2020. There are pajama pants, baking plans and Zoom calls (Ben Stiller, Ben Kingsley and Mindy Kaling make remote cameos playing characters seen only through the computer screen). “Locked Down" points to one problem of pandemic movies: So much has changed so fast that some of the novelties of last spring now feel dated and stale. But seeing two terrific performers like Ejiofor and Hathaway in such circumstances lends them a far less familiar glamour. Knight's lively and verbose script (he also wrote the even-more-confined “Locke”) gives the actors a kind of quarantine-screwball atmosphere rich in claustrophobia and shut-in frustration. The experience is causing Linda (Hathaway) and Paxton (Ejiofor) to doubt much in their lives. Linda, who has initiated the break-up, runs the London division of a global corporation. After being ordered to fire her staff by Zoom, she begins to question her career. Paxton's never got going. A biker and poet who occasionally reads to his locked-down block from the middle of the street, he's never risen above delivery man, his record tarnished by a long-ago crime. For a while, they're both monologuing around the house in between videoconference confessions, but their existential distress eventually syncs up, and “Locked Down” — like someone finally settling into a pandemic rhythm — takes shape. “Locked Down" is inevitably, and intentionally, of the moment. But I hope some of its off-the-cuff spirit lasts after the pandemic. So much Hollywood moviemaking is laboriously preordained. The largest studios have release calendars planned out years in advance. Little is spontaneous and, as a consequence, films that feel connected to their time are hard to find at the studio level. Hopefully the COVID-made movie is soon a relic, but its fleet-footedness sticks around. “Locked Down,” a Warner Bros. release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for language throughout and some drug material. Running time: 118 minutes. Three stars out of four. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped nine of her most trusted allies in the House to argue the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Democrats, all of whom are lawyers and many of whom have deep experience investigating the president, face the arduous task of convincing skeptical Senate Republicans to convict Trump. A single article of impeachment — for “incitement of insurrection” — was approved by the House on Wednesday, one week after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. At the time, lawmakers were counting the votes that cemented Trump’s election defeat. As members of the House who were in the Capitol when it was attacked — several hiding under seats as rioters beat on the doors of the chamber — the Democrats are also witnesses to what they charge is a crime. So are the Senate jurors. “This is a case where the jurors were also victims, and so whether it was those who voted in the House last night or those in the Senate who will have to weigh in on this, you don’t have to tell anyone who was in the building twice what it was like to be terrorized,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the managers. It is unclear when the trial will start. Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate. It could be as soon as next week, on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office. The managers plan to argue at trial that Trump incited the riot, delaying the congressional certification of the electoral vote count by inciting an angry mob to harm members of Congress. Some of the rioters were recorded saying they wanted to find Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the count. Others had zip ties that could be used as handcuffs hanging on their clothes. “The American people witnessed that,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., one of the managers. “That amounts to high crimes and misdemeanours.” None of the impeachment managers argued the case in Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when the Senate acquitted the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House impeached Trump in 2019 after he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden’s family while withholding military aid to the country. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, another manager, says the nine prosecutors plan to present a serious case and “finish the job” that the House started. A look at Pelosi’s prosecution team in Trump’s historic second impeachment: REP. JAMIE RASKIN, MARYLAND Pelosi appointed Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee, as lead manager. In a week of dramatic events and stories, Raskin’s stands out: The day before the Capitol riots, Raskin buried his 25-year-old son, Tommy, after he killed himself on New Year’s Eve. “You would be hard pressed to find a more beloved figure in the Congress” than Raskin, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was the lead manager during Trump’s first trial. He worked closely with Raskin on that impeachment investigation. “I know that part of what gives him strength to take on this burden that he now carries is knowing that this is something that would be enormously meaningful to his son.” REP. DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO DeGette, who is serving her 13th term representing Denver, is a former civil rights attorney and one of Pelosi’s go-to allies. The speaker picked her to preside over the House during the first impeachment vote in 2019. DeGette said Pelosi trusted her to do it because she is “able to to control the passions on the floor.” She says she was surprised when Pelosi called to offer her the prosecutorial position but quickly accepted. “The monstrosity of this offence is not lost on anybody,” she says. REP. DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence and public defender, is in his sixth term in Congress and is a senior member of the Judiciary panel. He was heavily involved in Trump’s first impeachment and was one of three original authors of the article that the House approved on Wednesday. He and California Rep. Ted Lieu began writing the article together, in hiding, as the rioters were still ransacking the Capitol. He tweeted out a draft the next morning, writing that “I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.” REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels, where he has been an outspoken critic of Trump's handling of Russia. He was a litigator in private practice before he was elected to the Texas legislature and came to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. Julian Castro ran in the Democratic primary for president last year. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA Swalwell also serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels and was deeply involved in congressional probes of Trump’s Russian ties. A former prosecutor, he briefly ran for president in 2019. “The case that I think resonates the most with the American people and hopefully the Senate is that our American president incited our fellow citizens to attack our Capitol on a day where we were counting electoral votes, and that this was not a spontaneous call to action by the president at the rally,” Swalwell said. REP. TED LIEU, CALIFORNIA Lieu, who authored the article of impeachment with Cicilline and Raskin, is on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs panels. The Los Angeles-area lawmaker is a former active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force and military prosecutor. “We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic,” he said. DEL. STACEY PLASKETT, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Because she represents a U.S. territory, not a state, Plaskett does not have voting rights and was not able to cast a vote for impeachment. But she will bring her legal experience as a former district attorney in New York and senior counsel at the Justice Department — and as one of Raskin's former law students. “As an African American, as a woman, seeing individuals storming our most sacred place of democracy, wearing anti-Semitic, racist, neo-Nazi, white supremacy logos on their bodies and wreaking the most vile and hateful things left not just those people of colour who were in the room traumatized, but so many people of colour around this country," she said Friday. REP. JOE NEGUSE, COLORADO Neguse, in his second term, is a rising star in the Democratic caucus who was elected to Pelosi’s leadership team his freshman year in Congress. A former litigator, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee and consulted with Raskin, Cicilline and Lieu as they drafted the article the day of the attack. At 36, he will be the youngest impeachment manager in history, according to his office. “This armed mob did not storm the Capitol on any given day, they did so during the most solemn of proceedings that the United States Congress is engaged in,” Neguse said Thursday. “Clearly the attack was done to stop us from finishing our work.” REP. MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA Like Neguse, Dean was first elected when Democrats recaptured the House in 2018. She is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is a former lawyer and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She says she hopes the prosecutors can convince the Senate and the American people “to mark this moment" with a conviction. “I think I bring to it just the simple fact that I’m a citizen, that I’m a mom and I’m a grandma," Dean said. "And I want my children, my grandchildren, to remember what we did here.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
FORT FRANCES, ONT., — A 30-year-old man in Fort Frances is facing a series of break and enter related charges. On Jan. 11, shortly after 8 a.m., Rainy River Ontario Provincial Police responded to a break and enter at a local business on First Street East in Fort Frances, according to a police news release. As a result, Thomas Atkinson, 30, of Fort Frances was charged with break and enter, theft under $5,000, mischief under $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime and possession of heroin. A day later, on Jan. 12, police responded again to a break and enter report at a pharmacy in Fort Frances shortly after 2 p.m. As a result, Atkinson was charged with break and enter, theft under $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime. On Jan. 13, police attended a break and enter at two separate pharmacies in Fort Frances. Atkinson was taken into custody and charged with two counts of break and enter and two counts of possession of property obtained by crime. Police say the investigation remains ongoing and anyone with information regarding the break and enters is urged to call OPP at 1-888-310-1122. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
After being notified about two weeks ago that COVID-19 vaccines were available to healthcare workers in Durham Region, Katie Millage, a personal support worker (PSW) on the memory care floor at Douglas Crossing, jumped at her chance to sign up for the vaccine. “I’m just feeling so grateful and hopeful to be one of the first individuals in Uxbridge to receive the vaccine,” says Millage, who got the shot on Monday at the Oshawa Hospital Vaccination Clinic. “For the first time I feel like the end of COVID-19 is in sight.” At press time on Tuesday evening, however, Uxbridge had 11 active COVID-19 cases. Five of those cases are currently being treated in hospital, and many of these cases are linked to an outbreak at the Uxbridge Cottage Hospital. A statement from the Markham Stouffville Hospital said that Uxbridge residents could be assured that the safety of patients, healthcare workers and the community is the top priority. “In consultation with Durham Region Public Health, an outbreak was declared on the inpatient unit at the Uxbridge site on December 24, 2020. Six staff members and six patients have tested positive for COVID-19. Staff are at home recovering and the COVID-19 patients in the hospital are in isolation and being monitored closely.” With the holiday season now over, health experts are reminding everyone that it is now more important than ever to follow appropriate public health guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19. With over a week of record high daily case counts in Ontario, the number of long-term care home outbreaks is also at a record high. Slow vaccine rollout is a concern to many of those same experts. More than 70 per cent of the provincial supply is reportedly sitting in freezers right now. As of Monday night, approximately 50,000 doses of the vaccine had been administered in Ontario. Retired general Rick Hillier, chief of the Ontario Vaccine Task Force, said on Tuesday that less than 35,000 doses remain in freezers. Hillier said those doses were held back to ensure that second doses would be available 21 days after the initial doses were administered. Hillier also noted that by the end of this weekend, the initial shipment of vaccines will be exhausted, and the new shipment, expected to arrive later this week, will be fully administered by the end of next week. A post-holiday season surge in case numbers is expected over the next few weeks.Justyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos
Whether you drive, walk or cycle on Woodbine Avenue, there’s a community meeting regarding road safety and bike lanes on Jan. 18. Hosted by Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford, residents will learn about new proposed design changes to the street to prioritize road safety and bike lane maintenance at the meeting. “Since I was elected city councillor in December 2018, I’ve been clear that I’ll work with the community to find ways to improve the road design to reduce congestion and cut-through traffic on surrounding streets,” Bradford said. Bike lanes on Woodbine Avenue were installed in fall 2017. Since that time the lanes have been a source of heated debate, the councillor added. There was a large public meeting in April 2019 and since then there has been extensive consultation on a new design for the lanes. The new design will focus on the stretch of Woodbine Avenue between Kingston Road and Gerrard Street East. “I’m inviting the community to attend the meeting to learn more about the proposal and share their input,” Bradford said. City staff will be in attendance to present the proposed design and accompanying drawings. They will also answer any questions residents have. The community meeting takes place on Monday, Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. via Zoom video conference. To register for the meeting and to submit questions in advance, please contact Bradford’s office at email@example.comAli Raza, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Beach Metro News
OTTAWA — Canada's chief medical officer of health says British Columbia's decision to seek legal advice on limiting travel reinforces the message that it isn't the time to go on vacation across the country. Dr. Theresa Tam says stopping non-essential travel would be a difficult decision for the province, but it could reduce COVID-19 by cutting the number of contacts. Premier John Horgan said Thursday his government was seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel. Other provinces and territories, including those in Atlantic Canada, have required travellers to self-isolate upon arrival or get authorization to travel. Horgan said he and other premiers have made the case for Canadians to stay home during the pandemic, but people continue to travel. The issue has been discussed for months and it's time to determine if the government can act, Horgan added. B.C.'s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said Thursday that she's not sure if she has the authority to limit out-of-province travel nor was she considering such an order. "We do have requirements that people who come in to British Columbia must follow the rules in place here, and that is something that is continuing to be reinforced," she said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
Government attorneys and municipalities fighting over the 2020 census asked a judge Friday to put their court case on hold, as Department of Justice attorneys said the Census Bureau for now will not release numbers that could be used to exclude people in the U.S. illegally from the process of divvying up congressional seats. Department of Justice attorneys and attorneys for a coalition of municipalities and advocacy groups that had sued the Trump administration over the 2020 census asked U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to suspend their court case for 21 days so the administration of President-elect Joe Biden can take power and decide how to proceed. “Such a stay would permit the incoming Administration to evaluate the Census Bureau’s and the Department of Commerce’s operations and assess, among other things, the interests of the United States and its litigating positions in light of Plaintiffs’ claims in this case,” the attorneys said in a court filing Friday. The Trump administration attorneys said the Census Bureau would not be releasing figures related to two orders from Presidential Donald Trump before the change in administrations. Trump's first order, issued in 2019, directed the Census Bureau to use administrative records to figure out who is in the country illegally after the Supreme Court blocked his administration’s effort to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census questionnaire. In a separate order last year, Trump instructed the Census Bureau, as part of the 2020 count of every U.S. resident, to provide data that would allow his administration to exclude people in the U.S. illegally from the numbers used for divvying up congressional seats among the states. An influential GOP adviser had advocated excluding them from the apportionment process in order to favour Republicans and non-Hispanic whites, even though the Constitution spells out that every person in each state should be counted. Trump’s unprecedented order on apportionment was challenged in more than a half-dozen lawsuits around the U.S., but the Supreme Court ruled last month that any challenge was premature. The court filing also said the Trump administration would not be releasing the numbers used for apportioning congressional seats among the states, and determining the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal funding, before the change in administrations. A hearing in the case was scheduled for later Friday. Meanwhile, a group of Democratic lawmakers are joining civil right groups in calling for U.S. Census Bureau director Steven Dillingham's resignation after a watchdog agency said he had set a deadline for pressured statisticians to produce a report on the number of people in the U.S. illegally. Dillingham on Wednesday ordered an indefinite halt to the efforts to produce data showing the citizenship status of every U.S. resident through administrative records after facing blowback from civil rights groups and concerns raised by whistleblower statisticians about the accuracy of such figures. A report by the Office of Inspector General on Wednesday said bureau workers were under significant pressure from two Trump political appointees to figure out who is in the U.S. illegally using federal and state administrative records, and Dillingham had set a Friday deadline for bureau statisticians to provide him a technical report on the effort. After the release of the inspector general's report, leaders of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, Asian Americans Advancing Justice and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights called for Dillingham's resignation. Democratic lawmakers in Congress have followed suit in the past two days, saying Dillingham has allowed the Trump administration to politicize the 2020 census. “The Trump administration waged a damaging campaign against the census with the intent of manipulating the results to be politically advantageous for the President and the Republican Party,” said U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire in a statement. “Census Director Steven Dillingham’s failure to put country over loyalty to the President allowed these transgressions to occur and he therefore should resign." U.S. Rep. Judy Chu of California said in a statement that communities of colour have borne the brunt of attacks on the census. “Officials like Steven Dillingham who cannot put the needs of the nation over the demands of a twice impeached President should resign," said Chu, who chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia said in a statement that Dillingham “has now demonstrated he was willing to carry out Mr. Trump’s xenophobic campaign to manipulate the Census despite clear congressional and plain constitutional mandate to count all persons." Dillingham's five-year term is finished at the end of the year. The Census Bureau did not immediately respond to a request for comment. ___ Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP. Mike Schneider, The Associated Press
The lawyer for a man who admitted to earning money by putting a teenager to work in the sex trade said lockdowns at a Toronto jail — where he’s spent most of the past year — along with harsh conditions imposed by the pandemic should make a big dent in the ultimate sentence meted out. Moses Gregory, 24, of Toronto, had earlier pleaded guilty to procuring sexual services, along with charges related to a police chase through Innisfil three years ago. During a court appearance through a video feed from the Toronto South Detention Centre, where he has been held since Jan. 19, 2020, Gregory apologized to a “naive” teenager he put to work as an escort and those he has wronged. ”I hope to contribute some way to society and I want to be a proper father to my daughter,” he told the Ontario Superior Court in Barrie. “I hope one day you could forgive me for the damage I caused.” Crown attorney Lynn Shirreffs was seeking a three-year sentence for the charge of procuring sexual services in addition to breaching a recognizance and probation, dangerous driving, and escape by flight. South Simcoe police earlier indicated its criminal investigation bureau launched an investigation in January 2018 into human trafficking involving an 18-year-old woman, resulting in the procuring charge, which is related to the control of another person to engage in sexual acts to derive financial gain. Gregory was also accused of fleeing from police the previous December when he narrowly missed running over an officer’s foot, court heard. Much of Wednesday’s sentencing hearing focused on the credit Gregory would get for the time he spent in jail waiting for his day in court. His lawyer, David Heath, argued just about all the time he’s spent in what has been described in the media as “Toronto’s worst jail,” which was also the subject of an Ontario Human Rights Commission report, should go against the ultimate sentence. Gregory told the court there have been ongoing lockdowns at the jail due to the pandemic. He said he has had trouble accessing a phone to call his lawyer, hadn’t had a shower in three days, had been unable to have family visits for months, and was in segregation over Christmas from Dec. 9 to 27 because of a COVID outbreak. “We should have the basic human contact,” he told the court. Shirreffs said Gregory exploited the young woman to provide his only source of income at the time, wanting her to perform certain sexual acts against her wishes. She said he had a business, associates and a plan that he executed. The woman is now struggling to survive and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, Shirreffs added. Heath said Gregory did make some progress in jail and tried to upgrade his education, adding that whatever the judge’s determination, he would eventually be released from jail. The lawyer said future risks could be reduced if his client could access programming. “What can we do to assist with an inevitable reintroduction to the community?” Heath said is the question that should be asked. Justice Susan Healey will deliver her sentence on Feb. 4.Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, barrietoday.com
The Canadian Coast Guard has established a first-of-its-kind division to elevate safeguards against human-caused deaths and injuries to whales in B.C. waters. Staffed 24/7, the Marine Mammal Desk will report sightings in real time to advise vessel traffic on the activities of whales to help reduce collisions and net entanglements. The information will be shared with enforcement agencies for rapid responses to vessels in restricted areas like the Southern Resident Killer Whale Interim Sanctuary Zones. “I’m so proud that today Canada will be home to the first Marine Mammal Desk. This is an exciting innovation that will allow us to track and report of whale sightings in real time. The Southern Resident Killer Whale is an icon of our pacific coast, and we want to see its population protected – and revived – for generations to come,” Bernadette Jordan, minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard said. Data is channeled to the desk from an array of sources, including radar, real-time vessel movement information and the Automatic Identification System, in addition to on-water CCG vessels, light stations and aircraft of three government agencies, CCG, Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The Marine Mammal Desk became operational at the end of October, 2020, and is staffed by five specially trained officers. It is located in Sidney, B.C. within the CCG’s Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre (MCTS). Ocean Wise Conservation Association collaborated on the project’s development and is contributing its B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network (BCCSN) to the streams of data. The 20-year old network is today driven mainly by a citizen-action app called the Whale Report Alert System (WRAS) that allows mariners to send and receive data on whale locations. Jessica Scott, Ocean Wise’s BCCSN manager and applied research biologist said it’s critical authorities have the tools to enforce compliance of restricted areas, as noise from vessel traffic interferes with the animals’ echolocation causing them to avoid eating and sometimes mating. “They need quite places to take a break,” she said. “This is going to be an amazing tool for everybody.” With ship strikes, she said humpbacks are affected especially hard in B.C. “They’re slow and spend a lot of time on the surface. It’s quite under-reported because these ships are so big they won’t even know necessarily that they struck a whale, and then the carcasses sink.” Between 2004 to 2011 there were about 30 humpback collisions reported in B.C. waters. The bulk of the reports came from small vessels less than 15 metres in length. Scott said it’s rare for vessels to strike a killer whale. “But with the endangered southern residents, there’s only 74 individuals left. So even the loss of one could have major implications on the recovery of that species.” Vessels are required to keep a minimum distance of 400 metres from killer whales. The public is asked to call the DFO Marine Mammal Incident Reporting Hotline at 1-800-465- 4436, to report whale sightings or instances of whales being harassed or disturbed. Mariners unable to reach the incident reporting hotline can call CCG’s Marine Mammal Desk at 1-833-339-1020 or CCG radio. Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View
MOOREFIELD– The Township of Mapleton is putting support behind the Rothsay rendering plant as the company goes through an appeal process relating to expansion. The Rothsay plant in Moorefield processes poultry and pork by-products into finished products for use in pet food and supply feed mills. The townships are sending letters of support but Mapleton mayor Gregg Davidson will be reading a letter at an environmental tribunal. In a phone call, Davidson said the plant, which is located in Mapleton, has not only been an important employer for 50 years but an integral part of the agrifood industry. He explained pork and poultry farming is a major industry in North Wellington County making the Moorefield rendering plant crucial to the area. “You need to have places like (Rothsay) because otherwise those carcasses just get buried on the property or get sent to landfill,” Davidson said. “It’s part of that circular economy and Darling is part of that whole chain.” Plant manager Duff Moore also stressed the plant as an essential service to the food and feed industry “by environmentally sustainable conversion of input by-product materials from food processing into value added proteins and fats in order to keep pace with the growth in poultry as a consumer protein of choice.” Davidson said because the plant is located in Mapleton, the township is going beyond sending a letter and he will be at the tribunal meeting. He said they’re not getting into the technical merit of the ECA but advocating for them on their economic value to the community. Davidson said he doesn’t believe the plant will close if the tribunal doesn’t favour Darling but he’s hopeful success could mean more jobs for the region which Moore backs up. “Indirectly via economic growth as the amended ECA approves additional plant capacity which is critical to the growth of agribusiness in the region and province,” Moore said. “As an essential business this added capacity helps ensure the sustainability of food and feed production in Canada.“ Moore said via email the plant has upgraded its processing equipment which requires a new environmental compliance approval (ECA). “The upgraded processing equipment which has been completed and operational since Nov 2020 serves to increase the throughput rate in order to more efficiently, effectively and sustainably service the consistently growing poultry industry in Ontario,” Moore said. Rothsay’s parent company, Darling Ingredients, is appealing some new conditions, particularly odour emission limits, in the ECA which Moore said aren’t sustainable. “Darling filed a legal appeal to the amended ECA recently issued in an effort to have certain conditions changed to address regulatory and science based inconsistencies that do not appear to provide an environmental benefit,” Moore said. “Not addressing these inconsistencies has the potential to challenge our ability to comply with the ECA.” Moore sent a letter to three Wellington County municipalities – Minto, Wellington North and Mapleton – seeking support for the company as an important employer in the industry. Moore said the plant employs 110 full-time workers who mostly live in the surrounding area. Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
MADRID — The Spanish region of Catalonia is postponing regional elections planned for Feb. 14 until May 30 because of a strong surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. The new date was agreed on by the region’s parliamentary parties Friday and formally announced later by the regional government. It says the change will give authorities more time to bring the virus spread under control and people a better chance to vote. The virus incidence rate in Catalonia on Thursday was at 561 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is high but still below Spain's national average of 575. The region has imposed strict movement restrictions between towns and non-essential stores can only open Monday to Friday. Critics of the date change say pro-independence governing parties in Catalonia hope it might weaken the electoral impact of highly popular Spanish Socialist Health Minister Salvador Illa, who recently announced his candidacy. Polls suggest Illa could upset the balance of power in the region. Separatist parties currently control the Catalan government. The separatist movement, which is supported by roughly half the region's 7.5 million residents, wants to create a republic for the wealthy northeast corner of Spain. The region’s political situation is still heavily dominated by the jailing in 2019 of nine political figures for their role in a secession push two years earlier. Catalonia has been operating without a president since former leader Quim Torra was barred from public office last year for disobeying the country’s electoral law in 2019 — when he displayed banners in a public building calling for the imprisoned separatists to be released. The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Canada's international development minister says the world's first inoculation of a refugee against COVID-19 this week is an important milestone in ending the pandemic everywhere. Karina Gould told The Canadian Press in a statement that it was encouraging to see the rollout of new vaccinations because "it brings an early glimmer of hope to the most vulnerable people right across the globe as we fight this terrible pandemic." A woman living in the northern Jordanian city of Irbid who had fled northern Iraq became the first United Nations registered refugee to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday. Before the pandemic, Canada committed $2.1 billion in security, humanitarian and development funds to help Jordan and neighbouring Lebanon cope with the massive influx of refugees they face due to the crises in Syria and Iraq. Since the pandemic began, Canada has committed more than $865 million to the ACT-Accelerator, a global effort to ensure low- and middle-income countries have equitable access to medical treatments during the pandemic. It has also committed $220 million to its partner initiative, the COVAX Facility, to help buy vaccine doses for low- and middle-income countries. "While we're fighting for the health of our own citizens, I am committed to ensure we're not leaving the rest of the world behind," said Gould, who was appointed Friday as the co-chair of the COVAX international engagement group. The appointment will see Gould working with the Indonesian foreign minister, the Ethiopian health minister and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which has emerged in the last two decades as the major distributor of vaccines to poor countries. "Canada has invested $865 million into global health efforts against COVID-19 and continues to make equitable access to a vaccine and health solutions to the pandemic a reality for all, including refugees living in precarious conditions," said Gould. In an updated mandate letter released Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Gould to work with new Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau and other cabinet colleagues to "reinforce international efforts to ensure that people around the world have access to health interventions to fight COVID-19, including vaccines, therapeutics and strengthened health systems." Rema Jamous Imseis, the Canadian representative for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said if refugees aren't vaccinated, they run the risk of infecting people in their host countries. "If you want to defeat the pandemic, you have to include refugees in the vaccine rollout around the world," she said. "That's sort of the bigger context and what we're doing is calling on all governments, Canada included, to ensure that refugees and other displaced populations are included." Jordan is also the home to the Zaatari refugee camp, one of the world's largest, less than 15 kilometres from the Syrian border. It is home to almost 80,000 people, including more than 40,000 children, fleeing the carnage of Syria's decade-long civil war and the unrest sparked by Islamic militants in Iraq. Canada has deployed hundreds of military personnel to northern Iraq and neighbouring Kuwait as part of a Western effort to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Canada supplies the commander of the NATO training mission in northern Iraq that is trying to professionalize Iraqi security forces to protect its own citizens from ISIL. "COVID has essentially been an emergency on top of an emergency for refugees around the world," said Jamous Imseis. "Canada came out early and strong as one of the donors to the COVAX initiative," she added. "But we also need Canada to use its influence with his friends and other countries around the world to ensure that that basic principle of equitable and global access to vaccines for everyone is something that we're all working towards." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021. Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press
Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Friday that while there is still “a lot of back and forth on the data,” Health Canada is poised to make a decision on the Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in the “near future.” She said, however, that decision on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is “a little further out.”
Le bilan lavallois de la COVID-19 est désormais de 1912 cas actifs selon les données émises par le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de Laval. Cela représente une baisse de 211 cas actifs par rapport à la veille. Il s’agit toutefois d’une augmentation de 126 cas confirmés, ce qui porte le total à 20 018 citoyens lavallois touchés depuis le mois de mars 2020. Au total, 792 personnes (+2) sont décédées du virus sur l’île Jésus. Parmi les Lavallois actuellement touchés, 93 sont hospitalisés, dont 25 aux soins intensifs. 92 employés du CISSS de Laval sont quant à eux absents du travail en raison de la COVID-19. Fabreville-Est/Sainte-Rose connait la plus faible augmentation du jour avec seulement huit nouveaux cas confirmés. Il est le seul secteur lavallois à se retrouver sous la barre des 10 cas supplémentaires. Il est suivi par Duvernay/Saint-François/Saint-Vincent-de-Paul et Sainte-Dorothée/Laval-Ouest/Laval-Les Îles/Fabreville-Ouest/Laval-sur-le-Lac qui ajoutent 19 et 15 cas à leur total respectif. Ce dernier présente le plus bas taux d'infection des 14 derniers jours à Laval avec 628 cas par 100 000 habitants. Vimont/Auteuil (+20) est quant à lui le secteur avec le moins de nouveaux cas en chiffres absolus (409) sur cette même période. À l'inverse, Chomedey (+44) demeure le plus affecté de l'île Jésus, que ce soit en chiffres absolus (843) ou en taux d'infection (885 cas par 100 000 habitants). De son côté, Pont-Viau/Renaud-Coursol/Laval-des-Rapides constate que 22 nouveaux résidents ont été touchés par le virus en date du 15 janvier. *** Prendre note que tel qu’indiqué sur le site Web du CISSS de Laval, ces données par secteur incluent l’ensemble des cas des citoyens testés positifs à la COVID-19, qu’ils résident dans des milieux fermés ou ailleurs dans la communauté. Les milieux fermés incluent des milieux de vie comme les centres d’hébergement et de soins de longue durée (CHSLD), les résidences privées pour aînés (RPA), les ressources intermédiaires (RI), ainsi que les centres correctionnels. Les données présentées sont calculées en fonction du lieu de résidence. Le CISSS tarde à déterminer le foyer de 27 cas jusqu’ici.Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
Bay Bulls council adopted two new plans of very different purpose during its January 11 public meeting. The first was for an Asset Management policy that isn’t actually quite ready to roll out yet. “We’ve been working on the Asset Management Policy now since last summer and we’re just about nearing completion, but as part of the formal process, the Town must adopt a policy,” said Town CAO Jennifer Aspell immediately prior to council taking a unanimous vote to adopt the policy. “So, we should have the actual program itself finished in the next couple of months.” The Town also voted to adopt a Harassment Prevention Plan as an official policy. Deputy Mayor Wendy O’ Driscoll explained the Newfoundland and Labrador Occupational Health and Safety Act mandates that every workplace have such a plan and provide harassment prevention training. Part of the motion was for all members of council and staff to complete the training. Councillor Joan Luby asked if it would be mandatory. O’ Driscoll said that it would, and that the Town was looking at how the training would be rolled out. She added that, as per the policy, a report would be made available to the alleged harasser within 90 days. Luby asked if this period could be shortened to 30 days. CAO Aspell said that it would depend upon the nature of the complaint, and that 90 days was a pretty standard time period. Next, Luby asked who would review the alleged harassment complaint, and Aspell said a third party would do it. Finally, Luby noted that, as per the policy, the record of complaint would be kept on file for 10 years following the investigation. She asked if this could be shorted to four years — the length of a council term. Aspell said that 10 years was a standard practice. She also noted that even though someone may only be on council for four years, a staff member may be on staff for much longer. Luby said she felt 10 years is a bit long. Luby asked if any other councillors had questions, but there were no takers, though councillor Eric Maloney said questions may arise during the actual training sessions. Aspell said that a policy, once adopted, can be revised if necessary. Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
A federal judge denied Apple Inc's bid to set aside or reduce a $502.8 million patent infringement verdict favoring VirnetX Holding Corp, and awarded interest and royalties that could boost Apple's total payout in two lawsuits above $1.1 billion. In a decision issued on Friday, U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder in Tyler, Texas rejected Apple's request for a new trial and several other claims. These included that VirnetX's award should not exceed $113.7 million, and that jurors should have been told the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had deemed VirnetX's claims "unpatentable."