White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and his team are headed to Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week for talks in a region simmering with tension after the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist. A senior administration official said on Sunday that Kushner is to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Saudi city of Neom, and the emir of Qatar in that country in the coming days.
The head of a U.S. biotechnology company that is developing one of the most promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates says Canada is not far behind other countries when it comes to receiving doses of its vaccine, despite criticism of the government's procurement plan from the Conservative opposition. "Canada is not at the back of the line," Noubar Afeyan, co-founder and chairman of Moderna, told CBC's Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton on Sunday. Afeyan said because Canada was among the first countries to make a pre-order with Moderna, the country is guaranteed to receive a certain portion of the company's initial batch of doses as long as the vaccine proves safe and effective and is given regulatory approval. "The people who were willing to move early on with even less proof of the efficacy have assured the amount of supply they were willing to sign up to," Afeyan said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live. "Nothing that happened subsequently can affect that." Moderna's mRNA vaccine is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials and preliminary data released two weeks ago show it appears to be 94.5 per cent effective. Millions of doses procured The federal government secured an agreement on Aug. 5 with Moderna for 20 million doses of its vaccine, with the option to procure an additional 36 million doses. The U.S. announced a deal for up to 500 million doses just days later while the U.K. and European Union inked deals with Moderna only in the past two weeks. In total, Canada has procured some 358 million doses from seven companies — the most per capita of any country in the world, according to research from Duke University's Global Health Institute. WATCH | Federal government pressured on when Canadians will get COVID-19 vaccine Despite that promising news, the Liberal government came under intense pressure this week to lay out a timeline for when Canadians will begin receiving an inoculation as countries like the U.S., U.K. and Germany have all announced plans to begin vaccinating their populations in December. Opposition politicians and some premiers argued Canada was falling behind other countries in its planning after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians would have to wait to get vaccinated because the first doses of any vaccine will go to people in the countries where the vaccines are being manufactured. Federal officials said on Thursday that if all goes well as many as three million Canadians — mainly those in "high-priority groups" — could be vaccinated in early 2021. One day later, Trudeau said that Canada is on track to vaccinate nearly every person who wants a shot by September 2021. But officials have provided few details about the government's plan to roll out a vaccine once Health Canada gives one the green light. Conservative critiques At a press conference on Sunday, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole repeated his view that Canada is behind other countries in procuring a vaccine. "While the Americans and the British are talking about mass vaccination throughout December and January, our government is now talking about getting Canadians vaccinated by September," O'Toole said. "We need to show Canadians that there is a plan for the vaccine." O'Toole said the Trudeau government only turned its attention to pre-ordering tens of millions of vaccine doses from companies such as Pfizer and Moderna in August after its collaboration between the National Research Council and Chinese vaccine maker CanSino collapsed following months of delays. "I would not have put all our eggs in the basket of China," O'Toole said. Regulatory approval pending Companies have compressed the time it normally takes to develop a vaccine by initiating the manufacturing of doses even before studies into their efficacy are completed as part of a global effort to develop COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible to bring the pandemic to an end. Moderna is in the process of applying for emergency-use authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Once the company obtains that authorization, Afeyan said it will begin shipping doses to countries that have made pre-orders, including Canada. Afeyan said he expects to start shipping the vaccine to Canada in the first quarter of 2021 and the quantity of shipments should increase through the second quarter and throughout the rest of the year. The company expects to be able to produce a total of 20 million doses by the end of 2020 and between 500 million and 1 billion doses throughout 2021. Moderna submitted early safety and pre-clinical data from Phase 1 and 2 trials with Health Canada last month as part of the regulator's rolling regulatory review process. Health Canada must approve any COVID-19 vaccine before it can be distributed to Canadians. Experts say Moderna's vaccine — which requires two shots taken 28 days apart — will be relatively easy to store and distribute because the vaccine can remain stable at normal fridge temperatures of 2 C to 8 C for 30 days. By contrast, another leading candidate manufactured by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer must be shipped and stored at -70 C. WATCH | Health Minister on how the federal government should address vaccine hesitancy: Health Minister Patty Hajdu said it's difficult to nail down a delivery date at the moment for any of the leading vaccine candidates because of the long list of uncertainties stemming from unfinished clinical trials, ongoing regulatory reviews, and manufacturing and logistical challenges related to distribution. "We're all anxious to get out of this mess as a world, but certainly as a country as well," Hajdu said. "As Canada's health minister, I'm staying focused on Canadians and on our own process, making sure our delivery plans are well laid out and that we have what we need in terms of being able to deliver on the variety of different kinds of vaccines." Hajdu added that her top priority is ensuring that Health Canada has what it needs to make sure the regulatory process proceeds smoothly so that any vaccines that are approved are safe and effective.
Accroître l’autonomie agroalimentaire, énergétique et en produits manufacturés du Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. C’est le projet dont la coopérative Système T souhaite être le fer de lance en unissant la classe politique derrière l’idée de faire de la région la deuxième FabRégion du Québec. Le concept a attiré l’attention de Jean Duplain, directeur général de la jeune coopérative fondée cet automne à Chicoutimi, lorsque le Bas-Saint-Laurent a décroché à la mi-octobre le titre de première FabRégion de la province et du pays. Le Bas-Saint-Laurent est en fait la quatrième FabRégion au monde, après deux régions françaises et une région mexicaine. Mais qu’est-ce qu’une FabRégion ? Une région qui s’engage à atteindre 50 % d’autonomie d’ici 2054 dans les secteurs de l’agroalimentaire, de l’énergie et de la production manufacturière. Jean Duplain a été séduit par le concept qui permettrait, à ses yeux, d’apporter une réponse aux enjeux de développement régional que connaît le Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. « C’est un concept qui fédère tout le monde autour d’une vision commune », expose-t-il. Le projet permettrait aussi de rassembler des initiatives déjà existantes dans différents secteurs. « La FabRégion, c’est vraiment une démarche de devenir adulte comme région en prenant sa destinée en main », explique le directeur général de la coopérative dédiée au soutien de projets qui s’inscrivent dans l’accélération de la transition socioécologique. Parrainage Pour la soutenir dans ses démarches, la coopérative pourra compter sur le parrainage du Bas-Saint-Laurent. Rachel Berthiaume, co-coordonnatrice au Living Lab en innovation ouverte au Cégep de Rivière-du-Loup, s’est montrée enthousiaste à l’idée. Celle qui a été impliquée dans la reconnaissance du Bas-Saint-Laurent comme FabRégion préfère en fait se donner le titre de « contamineuse en chef ». Car le partage est au coeur du concept de FabRégion. Il s’inscrit dans l’initiative FabCity, un réseau mondial d’innovation ouverte qui rassemble, depuis 2014, une trentaine de villes qui souhaitent augmenter leur autonomie en misant sur les échanges numériques. « Profitons du fait que la société s’est numérisée et profitons du fait qu’on est capables d’échanger de la connaissance pour pouvoir mieux produire localement », résume la chercheuse. La FabRégion du Bas-Saint-Laurent est elle-même parrainée dans son développement par la FabCity de Paris. Rencontre avec des élus régionaux Système T souhaite organiser une rencontre avec des élus du Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean après les Fêtes pour leur présenter le concept de FabRégion. Le soutien des élus, qui doivent signer une lettre d’appui, et la fédération de la communauté autour du projet sont essentiels pour intégrer le réseau. Si la mobilisation s’orchestre rapidement, le dossier de candidature de la région, appelé « déclaration », pourrait être présenté lors du prochain Sommet FabCity, sommet mondial du réseau qui doit avoir lieu en août 2021, à Montréal. Cet objectif semble réaliste aux yeux de Rachel Berthiaume. La région devra cependant faire vite si elle souhaite devenir la deuxième FabRégion du Québec et du pays, car le concept suscite aussi de l’intérêt dans d’autres régions depuis que le Bas-Saint-Laurent a décroché le titre. Le Québec pourrait même devenir la première « FabProvince » en devenant le « premier territoire interconnecté dans le monde », lance la contamineuse en chef, qui estime que l’intérêt envers le concept n’est pas étranger à la réflexion sur l’autosuffisance suscitée par la pandémie. Faire un état des lieux Le projet de FabRégion demande également de dresser un état des lieux sur le niveau d’autonomie du territoire. Un chantier important attend le Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean sur ce plan. « C’est fou, on n’a pas la réponse, à savoir on en est où au niveau de l’autonomie présentement ; là, c’est très difficile », constate Jean Duplain, qui a effectué de premières démarches en ce sens. Les constats tirés peuvent parfois être surprenants, partage Rachel Berthiaume, en donnant l’exemple de la production de viande bovine pour le Bas-Saint-Laurent. « On sait qu’on produit ce qu’on mange. Mais 80 % de ce qu’on produit est parti, s’en va ailleurs et ce qu’on consomme en boeuf arrive d’ailleurs. On s’entend qu’il y a un petit décalage ? », soulève-t-elle. Une fois l’état des lieux connu, la réflexion pour repenser la production agroalimentaire, énergétique et manufacturière peut être lancée. « Devenir une FabRégion et être autonome à 50 %, ça ne veut pas dire produire plus, résume la chercheuse. Ça veut dire produire différemment, avec ce qu’il y a déjà aussi, sur notre territoire. » \+ UNE OPPORTUNITÉ POUR RÉUNIR DES INITIATIVES EXISTANTES Le projet de faire reconnaître le Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean comme une FabRégion permettrait de réunir des initiatives déjà existantes qui visent à augmenter l’autonomie régionale, estime la directrice d’AgroBoréal. Le collectif Borée regroupe, par exemple, une dizaine d’acteurs qui mènent des projets liés à l’autonomie alimentaire, souligne en ce sens Isabelle T. Rivard, directrice du créneau d’excellence. Elle accueille favorablement l’idée que la région entre dans le réseau FabCity en devenant une FabRégion. « Nous, on n’aime pas quand on dédouble des choses. Essayer de regrouper ce qu’on fait déjà de bien, et le valoriser davantage, c’est un bon réflexe », estime-t-elle. Le collectif Borée a été lancé dans la région au début de l’année, lors du Sommet pour une alimentation durable. Saguenay, le Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) de la région, la Fédération régionale de l’Union des producteurs agricoles, l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi et le Cégep de Saint-Félicien en font partie, entre autres. AgroBoréal, au nombre des membres du collectif, offre des « facilités administratives » pour soutenir l’initiative. Le projet a d’ailleurs reçu des fonds publics pour assurer sa coordination. Les partenaires devront identifier les actions et stratégies à soutenir. « Ce sont tous des chantiers qui sont en montage ou en développement pour la plupart », explique la responsable du créneau, dont la mission est de soutenir l’innovation et le réseautage dans le domaine agroalimentaire régional. L’amélioration des systèmes de production en serre et l’accès à la commercialisation de la viande grâce aux abattoirs de proximité font partie des chantiers de réflexion et projets sur la table.Myriam Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
ROME — Rescuers on Sunday retrieved the body of an elderly woman, the third fatality in the Sardinian town of Bitti, which was partially buried a day earlier by mudslides after torrential rainfall. The Italian news agency LaPresse said that the corpse of the 89-year-old victim had washed downhill from near her home to the town basketball court. On Saturday, the bodies of the two other victims were found. One was a rancher who was caught up in the raging muddy waters on his way home; the other was a 90-year-old man in his home. The mud in the streets reached the second floor of many buildings. Rescue crews and residents on Sunday, walking on top of the heavily packed mud, found themselves flanking upper-story balconies in the town of 2,700 people in east-central Sardinia in the province of Nuoro. The floodwaters and mounds of mud overturned and smashed cars, leaving vehicles half-buried in dirt and debris. Geologists noted that the storm-triggered calamity was the latest of several similar ones, including one in November 2013 that claimed 19 lives, to afflict the Mediterranean island. They stressed that many inhabited areas were developed on geologically unstable terrain. Sardinia Gov. Christian Solinas on Sunday lamented what he said was “excessive bureaucracy” in the failure to implement projects, funded in the wake of the 2013 flooding, to make areas of the island geologically safe. The Associated Press
TORONTO — Independent reviews of the hundreds of inmates placed in segregation over the past year found only a handful were inappropriate, new government data indicate. According to the previously unpublished information from Correctional Service Canada, only two per cent of reviews by independent external decision-makers resulted in inmates moved out of isolation, and then not always right away. "There can be rare cases where the removal may not be immediate, for example, if the inmate refuses to leave or a transfer is pending for a suitable placement," the service said. "Our goal is to ensure they can be safely returned to a different environment, which in most cases is to a mainstream population." The data, viewed with skepticism by critics, indicate that external reviewers weighed in 1,475 times as of Nov. 1. Of those, 905 were triggered by inmates isolated for longer than the legally allowed stretches. One year ago, after the courts had repeatedly struck down administrative segregation used to isolate prisoners who posed a threat to themselves or others, the government implemented a new system called structured intervention units. Key changes included allowing inmates out of their cells for at least four hours a day, giving them a daily minimum of two hours of meaningful interaction with others, and putting an external oversight mechanism in place that can result in binding directives. Since then, reviewers have looked at the confinement conditions of about 740 individual inmates. The aim was to see whether authorities were abiding by the new rules, such as giving prisoners a chance to be out of their cells and interact with others. Overall, the reviews concluded authorities took all reasonable steps to meet their obligations in 79 per cent of the cases, the service said. Critics, however, have called the new system rebranded solitary confinement. For example, criminologist Anthony Doob, who led a government advisory committee on the issue, and colleague Jane Sprott, concluded the government was failing to live up to the legislated requirements. Among other things, their analysis found a sizable percentage of inmates had spent more than two months in confinement and few had received the mandated four hours daily out of their cells and two hours of human contact. Dr. Adelina Iftene, an assistant law professor at Dalhousie University, said the new data raise questions about the review process or IEDMs. "Either there is a lack of clarity on what exactly are the role and powers of the IEDMs, or the IEDMs are tigers without teeth, or the IEDMs are not fulfilling their role," Iftene said. "The implication remains that there may still be no effective oversight of placements in the SIUs." The tiny number of reviews resulting in directives to move an inmate from confinement also raises questions about the quality of the information fed to reviewers, Iftene said. "Did they know that so many people were effectively experiencing solitary confinement?" she said. "If so, how is it possible that they recommended removal from the SIUs only in two per cent of cases?" Whether individuals’ rights are being upheld is a yes or no question, Iftene added. There are no “reasonable steps.” Correctional Service Canada defended its approach, saying the new system is part of a "historic transformation" that can't happen overnight. "It takes time to instill cultural and transformational change," the service said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
If citizens disbelieve the institutions that count ballots and the organizations that accurately report on those results, it will impossible to agree on what a legitimate election looks like.
NEW YORK — An intoxicated driver slammed into Washington Square Park's landmark marble arch on Sunday, injuring a police officer who was parked there to protect it, police said. A Nissan Altima driven by 25-year-old Jeremy Molina, of Queens, crashed into the arch at the northern entrance to the Greenwich Village park shortly before 1:30 a.m., a police spokesperson said. The Nissan then hit a police car that was parked near the arch, police said. The officer in the car was taken to a hospital with neck and back pain. The arch was not damaged. Molina was arrested on charges including reckless endangerment, driving while intoxicated and refusing to take a breath test. It's not clear whether he has an attorney who could comment on the charges. The arch, designed by architect Stanford White and installed in 1892, commemorates the centennial of George Washington’s 1789 inauguration as president. It has been guarded by police officers since June, when its two statues of Washington were vandalized with red paint during weeks of protests against racial injustice. It is a familiar sight to audiences of movies including “When Harry Met Sally" and is a popular tourist attraction. The Associated Press
Ontario reported another 1,708 cases of COVID-19 and 24 more deaths due to COVID-19 on Sunday. The new cases include 503 in Peel Region, 463 in Toronto and 185 in York Region. There are 1,443 more cases marked as resolved. The Ontario health ministry says another 53,959 tests were completed in the last 24 hours. Labs are reporting that 3.7 per cent of the tests processed are positive.Public health officials said this week that they hope to build capacity in the system for up to 100,000 tests daily.Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were: * Ottawa: 79. * Durham Region: 73. * Waterloo: 63. * Hamilton: 60. * Windsor-Essex: 37. * Halton: 31. * Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 30. * Simcoe Muskoka: 30. * Niagara Region: 28. * Middlesex-London: 20. * Thunder Bay: 19. * Southwestern: 17. * Eastern Ontario: 10. * Brant County: 10.(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ontario health ministry's COVID-19 dashboard or in its daily epidemiologic summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit because local units report figures at different times.)The seven-day average for the number of new cases reported per day has reached a new high of 1,548, the highest it has been since the pandemic began. There are also 586 people in hospital, nine fewer than on Saturday. However, Saturday's hospitalization data saw an increase of 54 over a single day. Those hospitalizations are also nearly double what they were a month ago. There are 155 people in intensive care units as of Sunday and 99 of those individuals are on a ventilator, the same number as Saturday.The number of deaths in Ontario since the pandemic began has reached 3,648. A total of 503 of those deaths occurred this month.Of Sunday's deaths, one person was in his or her 50s, four people were in their 60s, three people were in their 70s and there were 10 people in their 80s and six in their 90s, respectively. 11 infections linked to Vaughan sports centreYork Region Public Health says that 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been linked to indoor soccer games at a Vaughan sports centre in mid-November.The public health region issued a notice on Sunday to alert the public about a cluster of confirmed cases that emerged after a group of 20 to 25 people played soccer at the TRIO Sportplex and Event Centre, 601 Cityview Blvd., on Nov. 11 and Nov. 15. "While the group wore masks during play, masks were not worn in the change rooms," the public notice said.Everyone who played soccer over both days are considered high-risk and have been told to isolate for 14 days. York Region was moved to the province's red control zone on Nov. 16, which prohibits the playing or practising of team sports except for training. York Region continues enforcement blitzOfficials also continued an enforcement blitz at businesses to make sure they were following public health protocols for the province's "red" zones. The rules limit indoor dining to 10 customers at a time with physical distancing in place. Gyms, meanwhile, can only have 10 patrons inside at once, while 25 people can attend outdoor classes.Officers inspected 256 businesses on Sunday and issued tickets at 16, a news release said.An L.A. Fitness location in East Gwillimbury, Ont., and the Trio Sportsplex in Vaughan, Ont., are among those facing charges.Authorities have inspected 867 businesses since Friday, laid 32 charges and completed 1,151 "compliance education activities," the release said.New regions moving into more restrictive zones MondayOn Friday, Ontario announced that five more regions would be moved into more restrictive zones on Monday at 12:01 a.m.They include: * Red-Control * Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. * Orange-Restrict * Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. * Yellow-Protect * Hastings Prince Edward Public Health. * Lambton Public Health. * Northwestern Health Unit.
The pandemic is forcing charitable organizations to find new ways to fundraise for the holidays, bringing a challenging year to an end in New Brunswick.It's the 25th year for the Lions Club annual food and toy drive in New Maryland, about 10 minutes south of Fredericton.Any other year, volunteers would spend three consecutive nights parading through the village with Santa Claus collecting donations from residents. The donations would later be distributed to families in the area. The fundraiser is a holiday favourite during the leadup to Christmas. It was viewed as the kickoff to the festive season.But, because of the pandemic, there's no parading this year.Instead, organizers spent months finding ways to make the fundraiser work within the pandemic guidelines.Alex Scholten, one of the organizers of the fundraiser, said the event is too important to the community to cancel."We knew that the need was going to be particularly acute this year," Scholten said, adding that the committee started having meetings about the fundraiser back in the spring.Last year, the fundraiser raised enough to provide 233 families with food hampers in the community. Enough toys were received to donate some to organizations outside of the community.Instead of having a parade through the village, the organizers set up a no-contact drive-thru for people to donate to the cause. Scholten said he was concerned that it wouldn't have the same response, but after a few hours on Saturday he was pleased with the efforts from the community."We know that COVID has had a big impact on people's lives, their employment, and it's really heartwarming to see the donations still coming in."There are still two more opportunities for the community to drop off donations through the no-contact setup before the food and toys are distributed on Dec. 12 — also in a drive-thru manner to abide by the pandemic guidelines.Fundraiser challengesThe Salvation Army in Fredericton is also working through changes to its annual fundraisers this season.The organization is working with fewer volunteers and locations for its kettle campaign because of restrictions.In a typical year, there would be 400 people volunteering, but right now there are only 175 volunteers helping out.The campaign is only in eight locations so far this year in the city, but once the Fredericton region goes back to the yellow phase, Maj. Dan Dearing said they will have 15 locations. Dearing said it's been challenging, but the generosity from the community is still there."We have to respect our government protocols," Dearing said. "We have a responsibility to do that in the context of still raising funds to meet the needs of people."Another popular fundraiser for the Salvation Army is the Santa Shuffle five-kilometre run. It is normally held on the first Saturday of December.Last year, 260 people signed up for the event in Fredericton and raised over $12,000. Like many road races this year, the event has gone virtual. Runners can sign up and complete the run between Dec. 5-12.Between the campaigns and efforts from community groups, the Salvation Army in Fredericton is hoping to fundraise $150,000 this year. That is the same as last year's goal.
TOKYO — The cost of the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics is estimated to be just under US$2 billion, or about 200 billion yen.Japan’s Kyodo news agency and the Yomiuri newspaper both reported the figure Sunday, citing unnamed sources close to Games organizers.The sources were granted anonymity because Games organizers have not publicly divulged the losses incurred as a result of thje postponement.The reported cost of the delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic is in line with repeated estimates over the last several months. The organizers, the Tokyo metro government and the Japanese national government are expected to report next month how the costs will be shared.The International Olympic Committee has said it would chip in about $650 million to cover some of the costs of the delay, but has offered few public details.Tokyo is becoming very expensive.The official cost of putting on the Tokyo Olympics is $12.6 billion. However, a government audit last year said it was probably twice that much. All but $5.6 billion is public money.Tokyo said the Games would cost $7.3 billion when it won the bid in 2013.The $2 billion only adds to the total. A University of Oxford study published early this year — calculated before the postponement — said Tokyo was the most expensive Summer Olympics on record and the meter is still running.The IOC and organizers have been campaigning over the last several months to convince sponsors and a skeptical Japanese public that the Olympics can be held safely in the middle of a pandemic.The Olympics are to open July 23, 2021, followed by the Paralympics on Aug. 24. They involve 15,400 athletes and ten of thousands of officials, judges, staff, VIPs, sponsors as well as media and broadcasters.IOC president Thomas Bach, who was in Tokyo earlier this month, has said a vaccine and improved rapid testing would help pull off the Olympics. But he cautioned they are not “silver bullets.”Athletes are expected to be closely monitored, held in quarantine-like conditions, discouraged from sightseeing and encouraged to leave as soon as they finish competing.Some fans are expected at the events, but it is unclear if many spectators from abroad will be allowed to attend.Japan has controlled COVID-19 better than most countries, but has seen a spike over the last several weeks in Tokyo and elsewhere. Tokyo set a one-day record for new infections Friday with 570. About 2,000 deaths in Japan have been attributed to COVID-19.—-More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsStephen Wade, The Associated Press
ATLANTA — Bishop Reginald Jackson stepped to the microphone at a drive-in rally outside a church in southwest Atlanta as his voice carried over a loudspeaker and the radio to people gathered in, around and on top of cars that filled the parking lot.“Let’s keep Georgia blue," Jackson said. “Let’s elect Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock to the United States Senate.” The presiding bishop of more than 400 African Methodist Episcopal churches in Georgia added a pastoral flourish as horns honked and supporters cheered: “If I have a witness, somebody say amen!"As Georgia becomes the nation’s political hotspot this winter before twin runoff elections Jan. 5 that will determine control of the Senate, faith-based organizing is heating up.Conservative Christians are rallying behind Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, while Black churches and liberal-leaning Jewish groups are backing Democratic challengers Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The Democrats' fates are seen as intertwined in a state that this year turned blue in the presidential election for the first time since 1992 by a razor-thin margin.“These runoffs are critically important,” Jackson said. “We want to make sure there is no decrease in turnout.”Across Georgia, the African Methodist Episcopal Church is implementing a program designed to ensure its members, and Black voters overall, cast ballots in the runoff — focusing on votes by mail and early in-person voting. Pastors at each church remind tens of thousands of congregants every week to apply for an absentee ballot and of early voting dates, Jackson said in an interview. Each local church also follows up with congregants to make sure they have a plan to vote.The New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan voter mobilization group founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor in 2018, is also preparing to tap the influence of faith communities in stoking turnout.Rev. Billy Honor, director of faith organizing at the group, said the conservative Christian Faith & Freedom Coalition — founded by former Georgia GOP chairman Ralph Reed — has long positioned Georgia “as the home of evangelical fundamentalist types when it comes to the political space."“But the truth is, for a very long time, there has been an active, effective movement of progressive-minded, justice-centred clergy” who have worked in the state on voting rights, health care and other issues, Honor added. He said Warnock was part of that work before his candidacy. Warnock is senior pastor at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, the congregation led by the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.Meanwhile, Loeffler and Perdue can expect to benefit from a conservative Christian base that has long boosted the state’s Republicans. Faith & Freedom made Georgia one of its top three spending targets in a $50 million get-out-the-vote program during the general election and plans increased organizing for the runoffs.The reach of "the evangelical vote in Georgia is very large and very strong,” Timothy Head, the group’s executive director, said in an interview.Head noted that while President Donald Trump kept a strong hold on white evangelical voters this year, Perdue out-performed Trump in Georgia during the general election. President-elect Joe Biden may have won over some evangelicals by contrasting his character with that of Trump, Head said, but he argued that the same sort of case would be harder for Democrats to make against Loeffler and Perdue.Another faith-focused conservative group, the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council, is holding trainings and pastor briefings before the runoffs. The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, whose president advised Trump’s reelection campaign on Catholic outreach, has announced a $4.1 million plan to boost Loeffler and Perdue through a partner political action committee.Religious issues already have become a campaign flashpoint in the runoff. The GOP has resurfaced excerpts from past Warnock sermons to assail him as insufficiently supportive of the military as well as anti-Israel. The Democrat signed a letter last year comparing Israel's policy toward Palestinians to “previous oppressive regimes" and criticized it in a 2018 sermon, while also calling for a two-state solution in the region.Warnock pushed back in a recently released television ad, saying the attacks are “trying to scare people by taking things I’ve said out of context from over 25 years of being a pastor.”One group criticizing Warnock as too left-leaning on Israel, the Republican Jewish Coalition, is also mobilizing on behalf of the GOP incumbents.Jewish Democrats in Georgia predicted that the GOP attack on Warnock’s Israel record would fall flat, citing his record of friendship with the Jewish community through his pulpit at Ebenezer.Sherry Frank, president of the Atlanta section of the National Council of Jewish Women, said she sees “no doubt in the Jewish community about (Warnock’s) stance on Israel and anti-Semitism.” Frank's group is conducting nonpartisan voter turnout work for the runoffs.Georgia’s Jewish Democrats also see, in Ossoff and Warnock, candidates whose joint push for the Senate harkens back to a tradition of Black and Jewish leaders working together during the civil rights movement. Warnock has a bond with a prominent Atlanta rabbi whose predecessor at the synagogue was close with King.Warnock is viewed “as the inheritor" of King’s legacy, said Michael Rosenzweig, co-chair of the Georgia chapter of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, which has endorsed both Democrats. “And to the extent that Jews were supportive of the civil rights struggle and supportive of (King), I think they look supportively on Rev. Warnock.”Ossoff, who is Jewish, has defended Warnock against GOP criticism over Israel and fondly recalled his own connection to the late Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia civil rights leader who endorsed Ossoff before his death in July. In October, Ossoff said he and Lewis talked during their first meeting about “the bond between the Black and Jewish communities, marching alongside rabbis and young Jewish activists in the mid 1960s ... and how important it was that these communities be brought together."___Schor reported from Washington.___Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.Elana Schor And Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said on Sunday that his “top priority” is a plan for COVID-19 vaccines, adding “there is no plan for the economy if we don’t have rapid testing and vaccines as swiftly as possible.”
NEW YORK — Testing a novel release strategy, Universal Pictures' animated sequel “The Croods: A New Age” had one of the best opening weekends of the pandemic, grossing $14.2 million over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. Whereas new releases have traditionally lasted around 90 days in theatres, Universal has mapped out a shorted theatrical window in deals with major chains AMC and Cinemark that gives the studio the option to move new releases to premium video-on-demand after just 17 days. “The Croods: A New Age” is expected to shift to the home before Christmas for a $20 rental. For an industry reeling from the pandemic, it's part of wider changes seeping through the industry. “The Croods: A New Age” grossed $9.7 million Friday-Sunday, which rivals even the weekend start for “Tenet” in October. Warner Bros. didn't break down the three-day weekend figures for “Tenet,” which began preview screenings in the U.S. on a Monday, but said it grossed $20.2 million in its first week in U.S. theatres plus its first two weeks in Canadian theatres. While the opening for “The Croods: A New Age” was something Hollywood hadn’t seen in months — a movie that outperformed expectations — it was still only a sliver of what the industry usually sees in the typically busy holiday movie season. Last year, “Frozen II” led all films over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend with $123.7 million, while “Knives Out” scored $41.7 million Since “Tenet” opened, most larger releases have been postponed or detoured to digital, sometimes while still playing in theatres overseas. The Walt Disney Co. steered “Mulan” to a premium purchase on Disney+, but opened in China and elsewhere. Next month, Warner Bros. will release “Wonder Woman 1984” simultaneously on HBO Max and in theatres. Disney has uprooted the Pixar animation “Soul” to its streaming platform. That's left smaller films to lead what's left of the box office — about 40% of the normal number of theatres. Most have tapped out around $4 million on opening weekend. The Kevin Costner and Diane Lane film “Let Him Go” debuted with $4.1 million in ticket sales from 2,454 locations earlier this month. The body-swap horror movie “Freaky,” with Vince Vaughn, has been No. 1 the last two weekends after debuting with $3.7 million. One of the biggest differences is that Universal spent more heavily to market the $65 million “Croods” sequel from DreamWorks Animation. It played in 2,211 locations, or about half the usual amount for such a release. Overseas, the film grossed $20.8 with almost all of that — $19.2 million — coming from China. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
COVID-19 continues to force school divisions to make changes in how they deliver education.On Saturday and Sunday, multiple schools in different divisions announced changes ranging from classroom shutdowns to outright school closures. In Regina, one case of COVID-19 was reported in a person at Grant Road School, which will now be closed until Dec. 7. Regina Public Schools said close contacts were informed and given information about isolation.COVID-19 cases were found at École Elsie Mironuck School, Dr. L.M. Hanna School, Ruth M. Buck School and Thom Collegiate. Affected students at École Elsie Mironuck School and Ruth M. Buck School will begin remote learning and will not return to school until Dec. 10. Affected students at Dr. L.M. Hanna School will begin remote learning and will not return to school until Dec. 8. Affected students at Thom Collegiate will begin remote learning and will not return to school until Dec. 4.Two cases in Regina Catholic SchoolsRegina Catholic Schools announced a case of COVID-19 at Miller Comprehensive Catholic High School and a case at Archbishop M.C. O'Neill Catholic High School.The affected classrooms at Miller Comprehensive were closed and students in those classrooms will begin learning remotely. All other classrooms remain open.At O'Neill, the person who tested positive for COVID-19 attended class two days before the school switched to the hybrid model. Students in the affected classrooms were told to isolate until 11:59 p.m. Dec. 2. Classmates of the individual in the hybrid model are to isolate until 11:59 p.m. Dec. 10.All other classrooms at O'Neill remain open.To the north, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools announced two positive cases at Bishop James Mahoney High School, two cases at Bethlehem Catholic High School, one cases at École Sister O'Brien School and two cases at Holy Cross High School.Saturday evening, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools announced one more positive case at the Holy Cross High School and one at St. Joseph High School. The affected cohorts are to switch to online instruction as of Monday.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentine police searched the home and office of Diego Maradona's personal doctor on Sunday as part of investigations into the death of the 60-year-old soccer star, which caused a wave of grief across the country.Reporters saw several police officers stationed at the door of the offices of neurologistDr. Leopoldo Luque in Buenos Aires' Belgrano neighbourhood.Court investigators have been taking declarations from Maradona's relatives, according to a statement from the San Isidro prosecutor's office, which is overseeing a probe into the medical attention Maradona received prior to his death on Wednesday.It said investigators were trying to secure Maradona's medical records.Maradona was buried Thursday in a private ceremony attended by only two dozen people following a vigil at the presidential palace where tens of thousands of weeping fans lined up to filed past his coffin.Maradona died of a heart attack in a house outside Buenos Aires where he had been recovering from a brain operation Nov. 3. He had suffered from a long series of medical issues, some related to overindulgence in drugs and alcohol.The Associated Press
TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors signed free agents Alex Len and DeAndre' Bembry on Sunday.Terms of the deals weren't divulged.The seven-foot, 250-pound Len averaged eight points and 5.8 rebounds in 55 games last season (12 starts) with Atlanta and Sacramento. The Ukrainian-born centre has appeared in 467 career games (183 starts) with Phoenix, Atlanta and Sacramento, averaging eight points and 6.3 rebounds,.He was selected in the first round, No. 5 overall, by Phoenix in the 2013 NBA draft.Bembry. a six-foot-five, 210-pound forward, averaged 5.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.3 steals in 43 games (four starts) last season with Atlanta. Bembry appeared in 189 career games (23 starts) with the Hawks, who selected him in the first round, No. 21 overall, in the 2016 NBA draft.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020The Canadian Press
RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro — who sometimes has embraced the label “Trump of the Tropics” — said Sunday he’ll wait a little longer before recognizing the U.S. election victory of Joe Biden.Speaking to reporters while casting a ballot in municipal races, he also echoed President Donald Trump's allegations of irregularities in the U.S. vote.“I have my sources of information that there really was a lot of fraud there,” he said. “Nobody talks about that. If it was enough to define (victory) for one or the other, I don't know.”Asked if he would recognize Biden's victory, he said, “I am holding back a little more.”He also expressed doubts about Brazil's current electronic voting system, which he has suggested is vulnerable to fraud. He has urged the country to go back to a paper ballot system for the 2022 presidential election.The conservative Brazilian leader has appealed to the same sort of right-wing populist base in Brazil that Trump has courted in the United States, and has welcomed comparisons to the U.S. president.Like Trump, he has embraced unproven treatements for the new coronavirus and has campaigned to ease restrictions meant to combat it, arguing the economic loss is more damaging than the illness itself.The Associated Press
PARIS — France’s highest administrative court on Sunday ordered a rethink of a 30-person attendance limit for religious services put in place by the government to slow down the spread of coronavirus. The measure took effect this weekend as France relaxes some virus restrictions, but it faced opposition by places of worship and the faithful for being arbitrary and unreasonable. Even before the ruling, several bishops had announced they would not enforce the restrictions and some churches were expected to defy it. The Council of State has ordered that Prime Minister Jean Castex modify the measure within three days. French churches, mosques and synagogues started opening their doors again to worshippers this weekend — but only a few of them, as France cautiously starts reopening after its latest virus lockdown. Many people expressed irritation outside several Paris churches where priests held services for groups that numbered over 30. “People respected social distancing perfectly, each to his place and with enough space so I don’t think there’s anything to worry about here,” Laurent Frémont told The Associated Press on his way home after Mass. To attend Mass, they had to book tickets online and give their names on their way in. However, the church’s protocol didn’t seem to help limit the number of people inside the building. Asked whether they would stay if the crowd was too large, most said they would. “I really think you couldn’t do better from a sanitary point of view,” said Humbline Frémont. For some, the new rules stirred up fears. French Catholics were sharing rules and recommendations on social media for how to behave if the police arrive at a church for a head count. Farid Kachour, secretary general of the group running the mosque of Montermeil, a heavily immigrant suburb northeast of Paris, says that his mosque simply wouldn’t open with too few people permitted. “We can’t choose people” allowed to enter for prayer. “We don’t want to create discontent among the faithful,” he said. Kachour noted that Muslims pray five times a day, further complicating the situation. To respect the rules, the mosque would need 40 services a day to allow all the faithful to pray, he said. Places of worship were allowed to continue during France’s latest nationwide lockdown, which is coming to an end in December, but regular prayer services were banned due to health concerns. Around the world, some religious services have been linked to coronavirus clusters, including superspreading events. France has reported over 52,000 virus-related deaths, the third-highest pandemic death toll in Europe after Britain and Italy. “Non-essential” shops reopened in France on Saturday, museums and cinemas will reopen on Dec. 15 but bars and restaurants will stay closed for indoor dining until Jan. 20. ___ Alex Turnbull and Elaine Ganley contributed to this report. __ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
A man is dead after he crashed his vehicle into the Princes' Gates at Exhibition Place early Sunday, Toronto police say. Police said they were called to the area of Lakeshore Boulevard West and Strachan Avenue at 4:19 a.m.. The man was driving at high speed and slammed into the gates. He was pronounced dead at the scene.Police have not released his age. Officers are currently investigating the crash.
Pour compenser les pertes engendrées par les accords de libre-échange, les producteurs laitiers recevront le reste des versements dus en trois ans dès cette année et ceux de la volaille se contenteront d’une enveloppe de 691 millions de dollars sur 10 ans selon la ministre fédérale de l’Agriculture, Marie-Claude Bibeau. Les producteurs de lait seront les premiers à passer à la caisse à travers la Commission canadienne du lait qui se chargera de la distribution des fonds. Le gouvernement fédéral leur avait promis l’année dernière une aide de 1,75 milliard de dollars sur une période de huit ans. Selon l’exemple de la ministre Bibeau, un producteur laitier ayant 80 vaches touchera environ 38 000 dollars par an, soit en moyenne 468 millions de dollars pour près de 10 400 fermiers au Canada. Quelque 4800 producteurs de volailles et d’œufs attendent des versements de ce programme d’aide destiné à la mise en marché pour apaiser leurs tensions de trésorerie. L’Accord de partenariat transpacifique (PTPCG), l’Accord économique et commercial global (AECG) et l’Accord Canada–États-Unis–Mexique (ACEUM) ont coûté aux producteurs et transformateurs près de 10 % de part de marché pour le seul secteur laitier selon le député bloquiste Louis Plamondon. Seuls ces producteurs laitiers ont reçu un premier versement pour les deux premiers accords et sont toujours dans l’attente du second chèque pour l’année 2020. Il n’y a pas encore d’échéancier précis pour le nouvel accord Canada-Etats-Unis-Mexique, a précisé la ministre Bibeau en conférence de presse, annonçant des « des compensations pleines et équitables pour le nouvel ALENA. » Elle a réitéré l’engagement du fédéral à protéger le système sous gestion de l’offre afin que la production canadienne exposée à la concurrence internationale ne paie pas trop cher. « Nous avons conclu une entente avec le Royaume-Uni. Comme promis, aucune part de marché sous gestion de l’offre n’a été cédée. Notre engagement est ferme. Aucune autre part de marché sous gestion de l’offre ne sera sanctifiée par notre gouvernement dans les accords commerciaux à venir », a-t-elle soutenu, plaidant pour les communautés rurales et la sécurité alimentaire. « Uniquement pour les producteurs laitiers, ce sont des manques à gagner permanents de l’ordre de 450 millions de dollars par année que les concessions leur coûtent. Pour l’ensemble des productions et de la transformation sous gestion de l’offre, on est clairement au-dessus du demi-milliard de dollars », avait indiqué jeudi le porte-parole du Bloc Québécois en matière d’agriculture, Yves Perron, à l’introduction d’un projet de loi sur les futures négociations commerciales. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français