Merritt man charged with allegedly uttering threats – Yahoo News Canada

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The Canadian PressSpace station launch honours ‘Hidden Figures’ mathematicianCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A space station supply ship named after the Black NASA mathematician featured in the movie “Hidden Figures” rocketed into orbit Saturday, the 59th anniversary of John Glenn’s historic launch. Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus capsule — dubbed the S.S. Katherine Johnson — should reach the International Space Station on Monday following its launch from Virginia’s eastern shore. Johnson died almost exactly a year ago at age 101. “Mrs. Johnson was selected for her hand-written calculations that helped launch the first Americans into space, as well as her accomplishments in breaking glass ceiling after glass ceiling as a Black woman,” Frank DeMauro, a Northrop Grumman vice-president, said on the eve of liftoff. “A homework assignment for all of you is to go watch that movie after the Cygnus launch.” Johnson’s numbers contributed to the Feb. 20, 1962, flight in which Glenn became the first American to orbit the world. The film, released in late 2016, depicted the effort put forth by Johnson and other Black women at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, during the early days of space exploration. Langley is 100 miles (160 kilometres) from the launch site at Wallops Island. Northrop Grumman launched the 4-ton shipment for NASA in the early afternoon from Wallops, where temperatures were just above freezing. The Antares rocket was visible from the Carolinas to Connecticut, at least where skies were clear. This will be the space station’s second delivery in less than a week. A Russian capsule pulled up Wednesday with apples and oranges, among other things. “Oh, we love fresh food!!!” tweeted Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi. He noted that the space station flew over Virginia just 10 minutes ahead of Saturday’s launch. Noguchi and his six U.S. and Russian crewmates can expect more apples once the Cygnus arrives, along with tomatoes, nuts, smoked salmon, Parmesan and cheddar cheeses, caramels and coconut strips. The capsule also holds 120,000 tiny roundworms for a muscle experiment, as well as off-the-shelf computer equipment to increase data processing speed at the space station. Also flying: radiation detectors intended for NASA’s astronaut moon-landing program, and a new system to convert more of the astronauts’ urine into drinking water. It is Northrop Grumman’s 15th station supply run for NASA. SpaceX is NASA’s other shipper. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Marcia Dunn, The Associated PressInitiative de journalisme localUne patinoire plus grande qu’au Centre Bell!Un beau matin d’hiver, Michel Belley a pris sa pelle et a commencé à déblayer l’étang sur son terrain de Sutton. Sa conjointe Michèle Lacas croyait qu’il n’allait dégager qu’une petite surface pour patiner, mais il a plutôt transformé tout son étang de 73 m x 48 m en patinoire. Depuis septembre, le couple demeure à temps plein dans son chalet. Michel a voulu faire un test sur l’étang, déjà utilisé comme patinoire par d’anciens propriétaires. Malgré tout le travail que le déneigement représente, l’impressionnante glace a maintenant une surface plus grande que celle du Centre Bell, domicile du Canadien de Montréal. Pour l’entretenir, ils ont fabriqué une surfaceuse avec un bac de compostage, des tuyaux percés et un linge. Le bac est rempli d’eau chaude charriée depuis le chalet pour créer une surface glacée parfaite. À quatre personnes, ils sont capables de tout lisser en 90 minutes. M. Belley a aussi pris de la vitesse pour déneiger avec la souffleuse ou un petit tracteur, selon l’ampleur de la bordée de neige. Ils y ont ajouté quelque 650 ampoules DEL pour éclairer la patinoire une fois le soleil couché, offrant une ambiance plus qu’agréable. L’objectif était d’accueillir familles et amis, mais la COVID ne le permet pas pour le moment. Seuls leurs enfants âgés dans la vingtaine ainsi qu’un voisin et ses enfants viennent y patiner dans le respect des mesures sanitaires. Michel adore patiner, tandis que Michèle prend tranquillement de l’assurance. Éventuellement, lorsque la situation sociosanitaire le permettra, ils ouvriront leur étang aux gens du secteur et, qui sait, organiseront peut-être un tournoi amical de hockey. Cynthia Laflamme, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix de l’EstThe Canadian PressNewfoundland and Labrador reports 38 new cases of COVID-19, has 434 active casesST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador are reporting 38 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. All of the new cases are in the eastern health region, which includes St. John’s. They involve 14 people under 20 years of age, seven between 20 and 39-years-old, 13 people in their 40s, three in their 50s and one person over 70. Health officials are also reporting three presumptive positive cases in the eastern region which still need to be confirmed. The province currently has 434 active cases of the novel coronavirus. The province reported 60 new cases on Friday as it deals with an outbreak that is nearly two weeks old. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2021. The Canadian PressThe Canadian PressMoscow court rejects opposition leader Navalny’s appealMOSCOW — A Moscow court on Saturday rejected Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s appeal of his prison sentence, even as the country faced an order from a top European rights court to free the Kremlin’s most prominent foe. A few hours later, a judge in a separate case ordered Navalny to pay a fine for defaming a World War II veteran. During the first court hearing, Navalny urged Russians to stand up to the Kremlin in a fiery speech mixing references to the Bible and “Harry Potter.” Navalny, 44, an anti-corruption crusader and President Vladimir Putin’s most vocal critic, was arrested on Jan. 17 upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Russian authorities have rejected the accusation. Earlier this month, Navalny was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for violating terms of his probation while convalescing in Germany. He appealed the sentence and asked to be released. A Moscow City Court judge instead reduced the prison sentence to just over 2 1/2 years, deducting a month-and-a-half that Navalny spent under house arrest in early 2015. The sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Navalny has rejected as fabricated and the European ?ourt of Human Rights has ruled to be unlawful. Navalny has been held in Moscow’s Matrosskaya Tishina prison, but Russian news reports said that after losing his appeal, he would likely be sent to a prison in the western part of Russia within the next few days to serve out his sentence. His arrest and imprisonment have fueled a huge wave of protests across Russia. Authorities responded with a sweeping crackdown, detaining about 11,000 people, many of whom were fined or given jail terms ranging from seven to 15 days. In his speech at the hearing, Navalny referenced the Bible as well as “Harry Potter” and the animated sitcom “Rick and Morty” as he urged Russians to resist pressure from authorities and challenge the Kremlin to build a fairer and more prosperous country. “The government’s task is to scare you and then persuade you that you are alone,” he said. “Our Voldemort in his palace also wants me to feel cut off,” he added, in a reference to Putin. “To live is to risk it all,” he said, citing “Rick and Morty.” “Otherwise, you’re just an inert chunk of randomly assembled molecules drifting wherever the universe blows you.” Navalny also addressed the judge and the prosecutor, arguing that they could have a much better life in a new Russia. “Just imagine how wonderful life would be without constant lying,” he said. “Imagine how great it would be to work as a judge … when no one would be able to call you and give you directions what verdicts to issue.” He insisted that he was unable to report to the authorities in line with his probation requirements while he was convalescing in Germany after his poisoning, emphasizing that he returned to Russia immediately after his health allowed. “I wasn’t hiding,” he said. “The entire world knew where I was.” Navalny said he was an atheist before but has come to believe in God, adding that his faith helped him face his challenges. He said he believed the Bible phrase that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, and that he felt no regret about deciding to return home to Russia. “Even though our country is built on injustice and we all constantly face injustice … we also see that millions of people, tens of millions of people, want righteousness,” Navalny told the court. “They want the righteousness and sooner or later they will have it.” Asked about the impact of Navalny’s prison sentence on Russia’s politics, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the country’s “rich and multifaceted” political scene will develop regardless of the verdict. Russia has rejected Western criticism of Navalny’s arrest and the crackdown on demonstrations as meddling in its internal affairs. In a ruling Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights ordered the Russian government to release Navalny, citing “the nature and extent of risk to the applicant’s life.” The Strasbourg-based court noted that Navalny has contested Russian authorities’ argument that they had taken sufficient measures to safeguard his life and well-being in custody following the nerve agent attack. The Russian government has rebuffed the European court’s demand, describing the ruling as unlawful and “inadmissible” meddling in Russia’s affairs. Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported that the Russian Justice Ministry on Saturday sent a letter to the court asking it to revise its order. In the past, Moscow has abided by European Court of Human Rights rulings awarding compensations to Russian citizens who have contested verdicts in Russian courts, but it never faced a demand by the European court to set a convict free. In a sign of its long-held annoyance with the Strasbourg court’s verdicts, Russia last year adopted a constitutional amendment declaring the priority of national legislation over international law. Russian authorities might now use that provision to reject the ECHR’s ruling. After losing his appeal, Navalny had a second court hearing on charges of slandering a World War II veteran and was ordered to pay a fine of 850,000 rubles (about $11,500). Prosecutors asked for a 950,000-rubles ($13,000) fine. Navalny called the 94-year-old veteran and other people featured in a pro-Kremlin video last year as “corrupt stooges,” “people without conscience” and “traitors.” He rejected the slander charges, describing them as part of official efforts to disparage him. Navalny said at the hearing that his accusers “will burn in hell.” Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated PressThe Canadian Press10-man West Brom draws 0-0 at Burnley in Premier LeagueBURNLEY, England — West Bromwich Albion overcame Semi Ajayi’s first-half red card but wasted several scoring chances in a 0-0 draw against Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday. Mike Dean, refereeing his first match since asking for a break after receiving death threats on social media, dismissed Ajayi after the defender’s handball denied Matej Vydra from going clean through on goal. That left the relegation-threatened visitors to play with 10 men for the remaining hour but they had the clearer chances after the break, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Mbaye Diagne and Matheus Pereira all going close. Diagne clattered the top of the crossbar from close range while Pereira’s effort was blocked on the line by James Tarkowski, with West Brom settling for a draw that leaves them 11 points adrift of Premier League safety. Burnley is nine points clear of the drop zone. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated PressInitiative de journalisme localDe Louis Vuitton à Rose CocoTEXTE 2 DE 2 Sous l’aiguille de sa machine à coudre, Claudie Laisne a troqué les sacs à main de Louis Vuitton pour les couches lavables de Rose Coco. L’ancienne couturière de la marque de luxe a quitté la France avec son conjoint pour s’établir au Saguenay et réaliser leur rêve commun de vivre au Canada. Son conjoint a été recruté comme soudeur par l’équipementier saguenéen Canmec, lors des Journées Québec organisées à Paris. Le couple projetait alors de changer de pays et avait été séduit par plusieurs reportages sur le Canada. Il s’est installé à Chicoutimi en janvier 2020, et elle l’a ensuite rejoint en mars. Claudie Laisne a tout d’abord trouvé un emploi dans une résidence privée pour aînés de Chicoutimi, comme préposée à l’entretien. Après 15 ans à travailler comme couturière pour les Ateliers Louis Vuitton, en Normandie, près du mont Saint-Michel, elle s’était promis de ne plus travailler dans le domaine. Elle recherchait un autre milieu de travail qu’une imposante usine et le rythme de production qui l’accompagne. «Je ne voulais plus d’usines à 800 personnes», partage-t-elle, lorsque rencontrée à l’atelier de Rose Coco à La Baie. Une offre d’emploi de la petite entreprise sur laquelle elle est tombée a cependant attiré son attention. «Quand j’ai vu l’annonce, je me suis dit: “C’est un petit atelier, c’est pas du tout la même chose, c’est plus familial.” Donc ça m’a vraiment interpellée.» C’est ainsi qu’elle a rejoint l’équipe de Rose Coco en juin. Et elle ne regrette pas son choix. «J’ai toujours été habituée de bosser avec un rendement à faire, avec des objectifs tous les matins, c’est vraiment de la pression de rendement», laisse-t-elle tomber. Chez Louis Vuitton, à la moindre erreur de confection, les sacs à main de luxe prenaient la direction de la poubelle, hauts standards de la marque obligent. Claudie Laisne a appris à découvrir les couches lavables chez Rose Coco. «C’est un truc en France qui n’est pas encore réputé, vraiment, remarque-t-elle. Et du coup, j’aime bien faire ça, c’est intéressant, ça change tout le temps.» Si elle et son conjoint sont heureux de leur nouvelle vie professionnelle, la pandémie a cependant jeté une ombre au tableau de leur projet familial. L’aînée de leurs trois enfants, âgée de 19 ans, a préféré reprendre la direction de la France, se sentant isolée. En attendant de pouvoir partir à la découverte de leur nouveau pays, dans lequel ils n’avaient jamais mis les pieds avant d’immigrer, le couple se réjouit de l’accueil reçu jusqu’à maintenant. «Les Québécois en général sont vraiment, vraiment accueillants», souligne-t-elle. + RÉDUCTION D’AU MOINS TROIS TONNES DE DÉCHETS L’utilisation de couches lavables plutôt que des couches jetables permet de réduire la production de déchets d’au moins trois tonnes pendant les trois premières années d’un enfant, estime l’entreprise baieriveraine Rose Coco. Marianne Simard, cofondatrice de l’entreprise, souligne qu’un enfant peut être changé de couche de 6 à 12 fois par jour, selon son âge et les situations, pendant ses trois premières années. Ce qui représente l’utilisation de près de 2200 couches jetables par année, au minimum, totalisant trois tonnes de déchets pour les trois premières années de vie de l’enfant. «Avec une trentaine de couches lavables, un parent peut fonctionner», mentionne l’entrepreneuse. Les couches réutilisables peuvent être prérincées et ensuite lavées à la laveuse. Des programmes d’aide financière ont d’ailleurs été mis sur pied dans différentes municipalités de la province, dont à Saguenay, pour encourager les citoyens à réduire leur production de déchets en achetant des couches lavables. Myriam Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le QuotidienCBCHighway 1 closed after serious collision near McLean: RCMP(David Bell/CBC) A portion of Highway 1 just west of McLean, Sask. is closed after a serious crash. McLean is about 40 kilometres east of Regina. White Butte RCMP are at the scene and traffic is being re-routed. RCMP say delays may last for the next several hours but do not say if the both or one of the lanes are affected.CBCN.L. has 38 new cases of COVID-19, 21 new recoveries(Sherry Vivian/CBC) There are 38 new cases of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador on Saturday. Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 38 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, all within the Eastern Health region. There are also three presumptive positive cases, also in the Eastern Health region, but 20 of Saturday’s new confirmed cases are previously reported presumptive positive cases. There are 434 active cases of COVID-19 in the province as 21 more people have recovered from the virus. All of Saturday’s recoveries are in the Eastern Health region, according to a media release from the Department of Health. More cases continue to be found in young people, as 14 of Saturday’s cases were found in people under 20 years old. The remainder look like this: Seven between 20 and 39 years old. 13 between 40 and 49 years old. Three between 50 and 59 years old. One over 70 years old. In total, 106,829 people have now been tested in the province since March. That’s an increase of 3,175 in the last 24 hours. There are two people in hospital due to COVID-19. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and LabradorThe Canadian PressNova Scotia mass shooter’s spouse worried he was looking for her when killings beganHALIFAX — The spouse of the gunman who killed 22 people in Nova Scotia told police that she has had guilty feelings and wonders whether others died because she ran away from her partner when his rampage began last April.Lisa Banfield told police that she questions whether Gabriel Wortman went to locations she might have run to in order to get help and then killed people as he went along.The information is contained in a statement she provided to RCMP Staff Sgt. Greg Vardy on April 28, which was used as part of a police application for a search warrant. Previously released court documents related how Banfield had escaped after being assaulted by Wortman on the night of April 18.After her escape, Wortman began a killing rampage that only ended the next day after a police officer shot him dead at a gas station in Enfield, N.S.Banfield told police that in the days prior to the killings Wortman was “caught up with COVID-19,” was talking about death and said that he knew he was going to die.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2021. The Canadian PressThe Canadian PressCanadian rider Michael Woods moves into lead in French raceFAYENCE, France — Canadian Michael Woods won the second stage of the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var on Saturday, moving into the overall lead of the three-day race. It marked the first victory for the 34-year-old cyclist from Ottawa in the colours of Israel Startup Nation, his new team. “This was excellent and the team rode so well for me,” said Woods. “I’m just glad I could return the favour.” The Canadian, who was fourth in Stage 1 Friday, moved into the overall lead by two seconds ahead of Stage 1 winner Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands. Woods made his move on the last climb Saturday, outgunning Mollema in a sprint to the finish. “I felt good and I knew I had to commit to that climb,” he said. Fellow Canadian Hugo Houle, riding for Astana-Premier Tech, figured in an early break Saturday and finished 73rd in the stage. He moved up 22 points in the general classification to 82nd. The race ends Sunday with a 136-kilometre stage. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2021 The Canadian PressCBCChallenging body and mind: Film festival highlights overcoming obstacles — outdoors(Casey Dubois Media) Harvey Wright admits he was at rock bottom when he first considered climbing as a therapeutic hobby. After years of depression, anxiety and substance abuse, he started watching adventure videos online. “If I’m suffering alone on my couch, maybe I can go outside and have a different type of suffering and feel better,” Wright told CBC’s On the Coast. Five years later, he’s the one on the screen. “I started by watching climbing documentaries, and never thought I’d be the subject of one.” Wright is the focus of Crux: The Climb Towards Mental Health, a documentary premiering at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival which opened Friday and runs until Feb. 28. Harvey Wright rests after climb in new documentary Crux: The Climb Towards Mental Health. It’s one of more than 50 films, workshops and panel discussions to be held online this month to accommodate COVID-19 pandemic restrictions during the 24th annual festival focusing on the environment, mountain culture and adventure. Conquering and adapting to challenges is a thread that runs through this year’s programming. “This year, especially with the pandemic, the mental health conversation is more prominent than ever before,” said VIMFF program director Tom Wright. “In general, our festival is a lot more interested in deep, personal stories.” Multi-sport athlete Sam Danniels shapes a custom surfboard in the documentary Beyond the Break. His spinal injury makes it difficult to use an off-the-shelf board. The documentary Beyond the Break follows Sam Danniels’ journey to overcome spinal cord injuries, and his revelation in the waves near Tofino, B.C., on Vancouver Island. Invited to surf with friends at Mackenzie Beach, a Pacific storm rolled in, with wild, powerful storm swells. “[Waves] were just picking me up and that feeling of your stomach dropping was just totally remarkable,” he told CBC’s Early Edition. The experience hooked the multi-sport athlete on surfing, and led to a two-year safari of riding the waves at least once a month. A key part of the story was shaping his own surfboard to better overcome physical challenges. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” Danniels says. “I wanted badly to participate and I seem to have exhausted all reasonable mediums of acquiring a board built by someone else that was going to work well for me.” Sam Danniels surfing in the documentary Beyond the Break. Climber Harvey Wright found working with filmmakers and friends Casey Dubois and Zac Hoffman helped combat isolation brought on by the pandemic. “I’m not going to lie, the past year has been difficult on me, like it has been for a lot of people, and I’ve lost my way more than a few times this year,” he says. “It’s been beautiful, but also really messy. That’s life, but that’s also the relation climbing has to life. It’s not about getting to the top of something, conquering a mountain or summit, it’s really about the process, in which you move toward your fears and your discomfort, and you learn how to meet those things with an open heart and some compassion and some acceptance and tolerance for what is.” This year’s Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival program and tickets can be found online at: https://vimff.org/ReutersPope pays surprise visit to home of elderly Holocaust survivorPope Francis paid a surprise visit on Saturday to the home of Edith Bruck, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor and author, and paid homage to all those killed by Nazi “insanity”. Bruck, 89, who lives in Rome, was born into a poor Jewish family and spent time in a series of concentration camps, losing her father, mother and brother in them. A Vatican spokesman, who announced the visit after it ended, said the two spoke of her time in the camps and the importance that future generations be made aware of what happened.The Canadian PressThe latest news on COVID-19 developments in CanadaThe latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 3: 15 p.m. Saskatchewan is reporting three additional deaths among people who tested positive for COVID-19 and 193 new cases. The province says in its daily pandemic update that the seven-day average of new daily infections has dropped to 150, which it says works out to 12.2 cases per 100,000 people. It says that’s Saskatchewan’s lowest seven-day average in three months. Today’s update says 1,602 cases are considered active in the province, while 171 COVID-19 patients are currently in hospital. — 2: 50 p.m. The Nunavut government says there are six new COVID-19 cases in Arviat, the community with the territory’s only active infections. Arviat, which has a population of about 2,800 residents, has had 294 cases but 263 have recovered. That leaves 30 cases that remain active as of today. Nunavut has had 338 COVID-19 cases and one related death since the pandemic began. — 2: 30 p.m. Public health officials in Quebec City say they have closed an elementary school after discovering a suspected case of a COVID-19 variant. Regional Public Health Director Dr. Andre Dontigny says the school will remain closed until public health authorities have a better idea of the situation. All staff and students have been asked to get tested for COVID-19 over the weekend. Dontigny says public health has taken more aggressive measures over fears that the case is linked to a more transmissible variant of the novel coronavirus. Authorities say there are no confirmed cases of variants in the Quebec City area. There have been 22 confirmed cases of variants of concern in the province and an additional 286 cases are under investigation. — 2: 15 p.m. Manitoba is reporting three new deaths linked to COVID-19 today and 95 new cases of the virus. Two of the deaths are associated with an outbreak at Winnipeg’s Seven Oaks Hospital, while the third is connected to an outbreak at Actionmarguerite St. Boniface, a care facility elsewhere in the city. The province says in its daily pandemic update that Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate is 5.3 per cent, and that the rate is four per cent in Winnipeg. — 1: 45 p.m. Nova Scotia is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 and now has 18 active cases. Three of the new infections are in the Halifax area with one a close contact of a previously reported case, one under investigation and one case related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. The remaining case is in the western zone and is also related to travel outside the region. Health officials say one person is currently in hospital and is in intensive care. — 1: 20 p.m. Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 38 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 today. All are in the eastern health region, which includes St. John’s. Health officials are also reporting three presumptive positive cases in the eastern region, which still need to be confirmed. The province currently has 434 active cases of the novel coronavirus. — 12: 10 p.m. New Brunswick is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today. Health officials say all three are in the Edmundston region in the province’s northwest. They involve a person under 19, a person in their 80s and an individual in their 90s. The province currently has 87 active cases, with three patients hospitalized and one of those patients in intensive care — 11: 15 a.m. Quebec is reporting 769 new cases of COVID-19 today and 14 additional deaths linked to the disease, including four within the past 24 hours. The Health Department says the number of hospitalizations declined by 23 to 700. It says 120 people are in intensive care, a decline of seven. Health authorities say 15,386 doses of vaccine were administered on Friday for a total of 329,324. — 10: 45 a.m. Ontario is reporting 1,228 new cases of COVID-19 today along with 28 new virus-related deaths. The new case count represents a slight increase over the 1,150 new infections reported on Friday. Health Minister Christine Elliott says Toronto and neighbouring Peel Region continue to report the highest daily case counts, logging 331 and 228 respectively over the past 24 hours. York Region, which is set to return to the province’s colour-coded pandemic response framework at the red level on Monday, is reporting 132 new cases today. Toronto, Peel and the North Bay Parry Sound health unit are all set to remain under a stay-at-home order for the next two weeks. — This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2021 The Canadian PressCBCQuebec City primary school closes down after suspected case of COVID-19 variant(Jean-Michel Cloutier/Radio-Canada) Fearing the presence of a more contagious COVID-19 variant, public health officials in Quebec City have closed down a primary school in Cap-Rouge, a suburb on the west side of Quebec City. The local public health authority, the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale, is seeking to test all 283 students and more than 50 staff members at Marguerite-d’Youville primary school within the next 48 hours. Dr. André Dontigny, the local public health director, said there is “at least” one suspected case, and indicated it could have come from a parent that had tested positive for a variant strain. In those situations, he said, “we don’t [yet] have test results for the children, but they become critical contacts in the school environment,” he said. Three classes at Marguerite-d’Youville primary school, which runs from kindergarten to Grade 6, had been shut down since Feb. 9 because of positive cases, Dontigny said. All 14 classes at the school are now closed. The three coronavirus “variants of concern,” first identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil, are a focus of public health officials because they spread more easily, may cause more severe illness and because current vaccines may be less effective against them. A few dozen cases have so far been detected in Quebec, and a few hundred in Canada. ‘Calm before the storm’ The more aggressive procedures public health departments are taking against variants in schools — such as rapid shutdowns and increased testing — are welcome, said Heidi Yetman, the president of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers, which represents 8,000 English-language teachers. But she said she worries we’re in “the calm before the storm” and that variant cases in schools will increase. “A variant that spreads like this, it’s going to spread really fast inside a building like a school,” where there are closed rooms and frequent close contact, she said. “So that’s really concerning for us. We’re really worried that the variant will start spreading throughout schools and we’ll see more and more closures.” Dontigny said they were awaiting test results Saturday that will show whether one of the variants of concern is indeed present. He said staffing had been expanded at local facilities to ensure testing and screening happened promptly, and that screening any positive cases that emerge among the staff and students being tested this weekend for the variants should take 24 hours. Students and staff must remain in isolation for the time being. Earlier this month, public health authorities in Montreal closed down both the primary and secondary schools at Collège Stanislas, a private school in Outremont, after an outbreak in which some of the cases were found to involve the variant known as B117, first detected in the U.K.ReutersCuban anti-Communist anthem featuring Gente de Zona goes viral, sparks state furyA group of Miami-based Cuban musicians including reggaeton duo Gente de Zona launched an impassioned anti-Communist anthem this week that has gone viral, sparking a furious state response. Gente de Zona, Yotuel of hip-hop band Orishas fame and singer-songwriter Descemer Bueno collaborated on the song with two rappers in Cuba, Maykel Osorbo and El Funky, who are part of a dissident artists’ collective that sparked an unusual protest against repression outside the culture ministry last November. “Homeland and Life” repurposes the old slogan “Patria o Muerte” (“Homeland or Death”) emblazoned on walls across the Caribbean country ever since Fidel Castro’s 1959 leftist revolution and expresses frustration with being required to make sacrifices in the name of ideology for 62 years.Local Journalism InitiativeErin car rally protest urges town to reconsider wastewater plantERIN – A car rally in Erin Saturday had a big turnout from locals and those from nearby municipalities to drive home a message – they aren’t on board with a wastewater treatment plant in Erin. Saturday morning saw the protest start at the Erin Legion Branch with cars driving in a continuous loop down to the proposed wastewater plant site at 10th Line and Wellington Road 52 then back into Erin. Supporters decked out their cars with toilet paper, plungers, homemade fish and one even pulling a trailer with a dummy sitting on a toilet. Ken Cowling, who has been marching in protest at the proposed site for two months, is adamant the plant is bad for the area and said he’s read a lot about issues at other plants. “The plants in Tottenham, Shelburne and Bradford have failed, all of them had failures and Bradford got fined,” Cowling said. A concern from residents and conservation groups is the impact it will have on coldwater brook trout that inhabit the West Credit River where treated effluent will be dumped. Ann Seymour from the West Credit River Watch said the plan is flawed because 7.2 million litres of effluent will be dumped into too small of a site which will raise the temperature and impact a nearby brook trout spawning location. “Growth is understood but this is excessive,” Seymour said. “We would like the Town of Erin to reconsider the volume of effluent going into the river.” Residents from towns downstream of the river also came out for the car rally. Cowling said there were supporters from Belfountain, Forks of the Credit, Caledon and other towns as this plant will impact their communities too. “This is a downstream water source and they’re putting 7.2 million litres of effluent in there that doesn’t remove microplastics or endotoxins or medicinal ingredients,” Cowling explained. Some residents question what the cost to homeowners will be to hook up to the sewer system. Previous estimates from the town put the cost to residents up to $20,000 but this could depend on the amount of government funding the project receives. Locals Larry Scott and Bob Gibson, who took part in the car rally, both agreed they don’t think this is an honest estimate and are concerned they’ll be stuck with a huge bill for something they don’t even want. The Town of Erin has been working toward building a wastewater plant for nearly 25 years to address projected housing growth and to get current residents off the septic system. Mayor Allan Alls said in an email the plant is an essential addition to the community. “The Town of Erin is behind many other communities of our size and it’s time for us to make this important investment to grow in a measured way over the next 20 years,” Alls said. He further said he fully appreciates concerns and welcomes input at all stages of the project. “I am committed to ensuring these concerns are addressed, particularly those regarding the environmental impacts of the project,” Alls said. “This project is moving forward with one of the strictest sets of environmental requirements in Canada, and has been supported by a series of comprehensive assessments and studies from leading independent experts.” Cowling was beaming with pride seeing the turnout and support for this cause. He said he’s been putting in long days to respond to requests to signs, even falling asleep at his computer in one case. “It’s not just Ken the trout fisherman against this,” Cowling said. Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.comThe Canadian PressTrudeau to hold first meeting with new U.S. President Biden virtually on TuesdayPrime Minister Justin Trudeau will hold his first meeting with newly minted U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday. Trudeau’s office issued a statement saying the two leaders will hold their first bilateral meeting virtually, but provided few other details. A statement from the White House says members of the two cabinets will also convene on Feb. 23. It will be the first official meeting between the two countries since Biden took office on Jan. 20. Trudeau’s office says the leaders intend to discuss “shared priorities” as well as efforts to address the global COVID-19 pandemic. Both sides are touting the long-standing partnership between the U.S. and Canada, but bones of contention have already emerged during Biden’s tenure in the White House. They include his cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline and stated intention to pursue Buy American policies. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2021. The Canadian PressThe Canadian PressFormer NHL coach Babcock takes over behind the bench at University of SaskatchewanSASKATOON — Mike Babcock, who coached the Detroit Red Wings to a Stanley Cup title and the Canadian men’s team to two Olympic medals, is taking over the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s team. Huskie Athletics chief athletics officer Dave Hardy announced Saturday that Babcock will lead the Huskies on a full-time volunteer basis for the next two seasons. Babcock, a Saskatoon native and former Huskies player, replaces Dave Adolph, who announced his retirement Dec. 7 after 27 years coaching Saskatchewan. Babcock joins the Huskies after spending the past 17 seasons in the NHL, including guiding the Red Wings to the Stanley Cup championship in 2008. He also coached Anaheim and Toronto. Babcock was fired 23 games into the 2019-20 season while in his fifth campaign with the Maple Leafs. Babcock coached Canada to Olympic gold medals in men’s hockey in 2010 and 2014, and was also behind the bench for Canada’s 1997 world junior championship and world title in 2004. “I am excited to work with Huskie athletes, back in my hometown, at the university where I had the opportunity to play under legendary coach Dave King,” Babcock said in a statement. “This is a special place for me, and I look forward to having the chance to help develop these young men. Saskatchewan has provided me many opportunities in my life and my career, and I am truly excited about the opportunity to give back.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2021. The Canadian PressCBCSabrina Clark, mother of 2, identified as Saskatoon’s 2nd homicide victim of 2021(Submitted by Kristen Clark ) A family is devastated and two young children are without a mother after Saskatoon’s second homicide of the year. Sabrina Marie Clark, who also went by Sabrina Sanderson, was the woman found dead at a home in the 700 block of 33rd Street West on Thursday, according to family. Her mother, Kristen Clark, says the loss has been heartbreaking for everyone who knew the young mother, who she says was stabbed to death. Police had previously said officers, including personnel from the major crimes and forensic identification units, were called to the home at around 5 p.m. on Thursday with reports the body of a 29-year-old woman had been found there. They say they’re now treating the death as a homicide, but have not released any further details, including the name of the victim. In an interview on Saturday, Clark told CBC News Sabrina went back to school in 2017 after the birth of her own daughter and was striving to be a good role model. “She wanted to be a good mom for her kid and show her that school was important,” she said. But around that time, Sabrina became involved with crystal methamphetamine, Clark says. Police say they were called to the home on 33rd Street W. shortly after 5 p.m. on Thursday. While she struggled with drugs, family was incredibly important to Sabrina, Clark says, and she’s being remembered fondly by those in her life. ‘She did everything’ for children Clark says her daughter will always be remembered as a person who was there for her kids and worked to provide for her family, noting Sabrina’s children were her world. “She did everything with them, and for them,” she said, crying. “She was a good mother — I don’t know how I’m going to tell her kids,” a six-year-old and a one-year-old. Sabrina Clark, left and her mother, Kristen Clark, in happier times. Kristen says she wants to know why anyone would hurt her daughter, noting the young woman is being remembered as good mother who would do anything for her kids. Clark describes the shock of her daughter’s death as a “bad dream,” and says she needed to catch herself in a chair after a police officer delivered the news. “I was shaking. I can’t quit crying. I couldn’t sleep last night … thinking about, ‘how? Why? What? Who?’ “I just want my baby back.” Saskatoon police say no arrests have been made in the killing yet. Clark says she’s had good communication with police through the investigation so far. Asked what she would say to the person who killed her daughter, she responded: “Why did you do that? Why did you hurt my baby?” Police have asked anyone with information about Sabrina’s death to contact them at 306-975-8300 or Saskatoon Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 to report the information anonymously.
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