covid-19 surge continues on six nations
ANKARA, Turkey — The Turkish government accused Greece’s military Tuesday of harassing a Turkish research vessel in the Aegean Sea and said Turkey's military had responded to the alleged intimidation. The state-run Anadolu Agency reported that four Greek F-16 fighter jets harassed the TCG Cesme south of the Greek island of Lemnos, with one of them dropping a flare 2 nautical miles (3.7 kilometres) from the vessel. The news agency said Turkey’s military retaliated but it did not say how or when the incident took place. “It was an act of harassment, which our Greek neighbours carry out frequently,” Anadolu quoted Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar as saying. “We gave the necessary response in line with rules.” There was no immediate comment from Greece. Turkey dispatched the TCG Cesme in international waters of the Aegean until March 2 to do hydrographic surveying. Greece described the deployment as a provocative act. Akar said the vessel was dispatched to conduct scientific research concerning earthquakes, which are frequent in the region. The move came weeks after Greece and Turkey, which are NATO allies, resumed talks aimed at resolving long-standing disputes, including over energy rights. Turkish and Greek officials met in Istanbul on Jan. 25 to discuss the bilateral disputes after a five-year break. The talks followed months of tensions between Greece and Turkey over conflicting claims to energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean. The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was arrested in the United States and accused of helping her husband run his multibillion-dollar cartel and plot his audacious escape from a Mexican prison in 2015. Emma Coronel Aispuro, a 31-year-old former beauty queen, was arrested at Dulles International Airport in Virginia on Monday and is expected to appear in federal court in Washington on Tuesday. She is a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico. Her arrest is the latest twist in the bloody, multinational saga involving Guzman, the longtime head of the Sinaloa drug cartel. Guzman, whose two dramatic prison escapes in Mexico fed into a legend that he and his family were all but untouchable, was extradited to the United States in 2017 and is serving life in prison. And now his wife, with whom he has two young daughters, has been charged with helping him run his criminal empire. In a single-count criminal complaint, Coronel was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana in the U.S. The Justice Department also accused her of helping her husband escape from a Mexican prison in 2015 and participating in the planning of a second prison escape before Guzman was extradited to the U.S. Coronel’s attorney Jeffrey Lichtman declined to comment Monday night. As Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, Guzman ran a cartel responsible for smuggling mountains of cocaine and other drugs into the United States during his 25-year reign, prosecutors said in recent court papers. They also said his “army of sicarios,” or “hit men,” was under orders to kidnap, torture and kill anyone who got in his way. His prison breaks became the stuff of legend and raised serious questions about whether Mexico's justice system was capable of holding him accountable. In one case, he escaped through an entry under the shower in his cell to a milelong (1.6-kilometre-long) lighted tunnel with a motorcycle on rails. The planning for the escape was extensive, prosecutors say, with his wife playing a key role. Court papers charge that Coronel worked with Guzman’s sons and a witness, who is now co-operating with the U.S. government, to organize the construction of the underground tunnel that Guzman used to escape from the Altiplano prison to prevent his extradition to the U.S. The plot included purchasing a piece of land near the prison, firearms and an armoured truck and smuggling him a GPS watch so they could “pinpoint his exact whereabouts so as to construct the tunnel with an entry point accessible to him,” the court papers say. Guzman was sentenced to life behind bars in 2019. Coronel, who was a beauty queen in her teens, regularly attended Guzman’s trial, even when testimony implicated her in his prison breaks. The two, separated in age by more than 30 years, have been together since at least 2007, and their twin daughters were born in 2011. Her father, Ines Coronel Barreras, was arrested in 2013 with one of his sons and several other men in a warehouse with hundreds of pounds of marijuana across the border from Douglas, Arizona. Months earlier, the U.S. Treasury had announced financial sanctions against her father for his alleged drug trafficking. After Guzman was rearrested following his escape, Coronel lobbied the Mexican government to improve her husband’s prison conditions. And after he was convicted in 2019, she moved to launch a clothing line in his name. Mike Vigil, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s former chief of international operations, said Coronel “has been involved in the drug trade since she was a little girl. She knows the inner workings of the Sinaloa cartel.” He said she could be willing to co-operate. “She has a huge motivation, and that is her twins,” Vigil said. ___ Associated Press writers Christopher Sherman and Mark Stevenson in Mexico City contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
WARSAW, Poland — Prosecutors in Poland say they have found no breach of law in an article about the role of Poles in the Holocaust and have dropped the case against the journalist who wrote it for a left-wing newspaper in October. The police questioned Katarzyna Markusz this month after a complaint that her article, “Polish participation in the Holocaust” in the Krytyka Polityczna daily, insulted the Polish nation. Anyone found guilty of breaching that law can face up to three years in prison. Critics took issue with a sentence that asked if Polish authorities will ever admit that there was widespread aversion to Jews before World War II and that “Polish participation in the Holocaust was a fact of history.” A spokeswoman for prosecutors in Warsaw said late Monday they found no breach of law in the text and discontinued the case. Markusz told The Associated Press Tuesday that it was the “only logical decision” that could have been taken, but added that the case should not have been opened at all. She said she only stated known facts. Poland’s conservative authorities don’t deny that some Poles harmed Jews during the Holocaust, but they believe the focus on Polish wrongdoing obscures the fact that most of these killings occurred under the orders and terror of German Nazis who brutally occupied Poland during World War II. Some 3 million of Poland's 3.3 million Jews were murdered during the war, as well as more than 2 million Christian Poles. The Germans punished anybody helping Jews with instant execution, yet thousands of Poles have been recognized by Israel for taking the risk to save Jews. In 2018, the right-wing government tried to make it a crime to falsely blame the Polish nation for Holocaust crimes, but the law was withdrawn after it sparked a diplomatic dispute with Israel. The Associated Press
The Timmins Public Library is offering a virtual information session about the Japanese practice of forest bathing. Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, allows participants to connect with nature, reduce stress and alleviate the feeling of loneliness, said a certified forest therapy guide Aimée Lavoie. Led by Lavoie, the upcoming event will discuss the history of forest bathing, its benefits and how it can be practised. It will be held via Zoom on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. “It’s a wellness practice that exploded in popularity in Europe and North America over the past five, 10 years,” Lavoie said. Mark Joron, who’s a woodland supervisor at EACOM Timber Corporation, will also be on hand, talking about the trails in Timmins that people can access if they want to get out to a forested area. Regular in-person forest bathing sessions can take up to four hours, while virtual sessions usually last for an hour, according to Lavoie. Some of the health benefits of forest therapy include reduced levels of stress and blood pressure, a boosted immune system and reduced impacts of anxiety and depression, Lavoie said. It can also be practised from one's backyard or indoors, just standing by a window. “By connecting with nature, we learn how to give back and how to find our place in nature again," she said. "People, who pay attention to the natural environment, come to love it and are proven to be more likely to be engaged in activities that protect the land or work for its wellbeing.” The Timmins library’s reference assistant Kayleigh Rideout said the library was initially planning to do in-person guided walks at Hersey Lake. Because of the pandemic, the event had to be shifted online, she said, but the library is hoping to have an in-person session in the future. Another possible event the library is considering is having a virtual walk, so people can join from their own spots whether it be on a trail or at home. “Not only does (Lavoie) know about forest bathing, she knows a lot about the Timmins forest in specific, which is really cool because you might be able to find some things about forest bathing online but it might not apply to our environment or our northern forest,” Rideout said. Timmins library also has several books about forest bathing that can be accessed online. Lavoie, who’s been training and practising forest therapy for almost a year, currently offers virtual forest therapy experiences through her business called Bunchberry Nature Walks. When pandemic restrictions are eased, she hopes to offer in-person guided experiences as well. “Forest therapy is about repairing our relationships with ourselves and each other, and with the land and nature,” she said. To register for the event, email [email protected] or call the library at 705-360-2623, ext. 8531. Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
La SPA des Cantons a lancé une collecte de fonds afin de payer les frais vétérinaires pour vacciner et stériliser les chats saisis la semaine dernière à Granby, mais aussi à Farnham. L’organisme de Cowansville a en effet procédé à deux saisies de chats, dont la plus importante de son histoire durant laquelle une centaine de félins ont été récupérés dans un appartement à Granby. À Farnham, trente chats ont aussi été pris en charge. «D’habitude on a les moyens de couvrir nos frais, mais à 130 chats, c’est du stock. On a réussi à en transférer une bonne partie, mais on a quand même des soins à faire.» En effet, avant de transférer des chats dans un autre refuge, la SPA des Cantons s’assure qu’ils sont vaccinés pour éviter de transporter des maladies ailleurs. À ces frais s’ajoutent les coûts reliés aux deux opérations. «Ça a coûté cher. Il y a beaucoup d’employés, ils font plus d’heures. Ça fait partie des opérations normales, alors on ne demande pas un surplus à la Ville», explique le directeur de l’organisme, Carl Girard. Il ajoute que le refuge ne fait pas d’argent avec l’adoption de chats. En enlevant les frais vétérinaires pour la stérilisation et les médicaments, il ne reste qu’une quarantaine de dollars. Puis, il faut retirer les autres frais, comme les soins quotidiens. «Les chats demandent beaucoup de soins. Les maladies félines sont souvent aériennes. Ça prend de la ventilation spéciale et plusieurs zones d’isolement parce que leur santé est fragile. Le moindrement que le chat est stressé, il tombe malade. C’est cinq fois plus d’ouvrage d’entretenir des chats que des chiens.» Devant cette montagne de frais qui vient d’exploser avec l’accueil d’autant de chats — sur les 130, une quarantaine sont à la SPA des Cantons — le refuge n’a eu d’autre choix que de lancer une collecte de fonds. M. Girard espère recevoir 5000 $ en don afin d’avoir un coussin pour les prochains soins imprévus. Le lien pour faire un don se trouve sur le site web de la SPA des Cantons ainsi que sur la page Facebook de cette dernière. Carl Girard précise qu’ils n’ont «pas besoin de dons matériels. Mondou à Québec nous a appelés pour nous donner de la litière. Ce que ça nous prend, c’est vraiment de l’argent parce que le vétérinaire, je ne peux pas le payer en litière. Et mes employés non plus.» La campagne a été lancée sur les réseaux sociaux samedi et, déjà, en quelques heures, 1500 $ ont été recueillis. Cynthia Laflamme, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix de l'Est
JUNEAU, Alaska — A non-profit health organization plans to donate some of the COVID-19 vaccine supplies it receives from the federal Indian Health Services to the City and Borough of Juneau. Juneau City Emergency Manager Robert Barr said the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium vaccine donation will be used during the borough's next mass vaccination clinic March 12 and 13, KTOO Public Media reported. The consortium and the city are partnering to help vaccinate a larger portion of the Juneau area’s eligible population, Barr said. “I think due to the progress that SEARHC has made throughout Southeast Alaska, they have some vaccines in the IHS allocation that can be delivered via these clinics,” Barr said. The consortium said in a statement that it maintains sufficient vaccine supplies for its patients, Alaska Native beneficiaries and their families. Juneau's vaccine eligibility was previously limited to front-line medical workers and people who are 65 and older. Eligibility has now been expanded to include many educators and child care workers, people age 50 and over, pandemic workers and those living in congregate facilities like prisons, shelters and psychiatric facilities. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The Associated Press
OSLO — Norway’s national soccer team will play its first “home” World Cup qualifying game at a neutral venue in Spain next month because of travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. The Norwegian soccer federation said Tuesday the game against Turkey on March 27 will be played in Malaga instead of Oslo. No fans will be allowed to attend. Norway will begin its World Cup qualifying program with a game at Gibraltar on March 24 before going to Spain to play Turkey three days later. The group also includes the Netherlands. The change in venue is the first in European qualifying to be forced by travel and quarantine rules. In Asia, only four World Cup qualifiers are going ahead next month — involving only eight of the 40 teams still involved. The rest of the program has been postponed to June because of current health protocols. FIFA has extended exemptions in mandatory release rules amid the pandemic so players worldwide can be refused permission by their clubs to join up with national teams. Norwegian club Molde played a Europa League home game in Spain last week, hosting Hoffenheim in Villarreal. The Spanish soccer federation had to approve both changes. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia's lieutenant-governor has sworn in new Liberal Premier Iain Rankin along with a cabinet that includes his rivals from the leadership race. Rankin was chosen as party leader earlier this month at a virtual convention in Halifax. Lt.-Gov. Arthur LeBlanc swore in the 17-member cabinet at the Halifax Convention Centre during a ceremony that was scaled back due to COVID-19 protocols. Top jobs went to the 37-year-old premier's leadership rivals, with Labi Kousoulis being named minister of Finance and the the minister of Inclusive Economic Growth, while Randy Delorey becomes the minister of Justice and the minister of Labour Relations. Geoff MacLellan, the former minister of Business who had said he's not reoffering in the next provincial election, was nonetheless appointed as the minister of the new department of Infrastructure and Housing. Kelly Regan was sworn in as deputy premier and retains her position as minister of Community Services, while taking on responsibility for the Department of Seniors. Rankin also announced he's creating an Office of Equity and Anti-racism as well as the Office of Mental Health and Addictions under the Department of Health and Wellness. The premier will also serve as the president of the executive council and as minister of intergovernmental affairs and regulatory affairs. He replaces former premier Stephen McNeil, who announced his retirement last August after 17 years in politics. Rankin captured his party's top job by billing himself as an agent of generational change and has vowed to be a collaborative leader. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. - - - This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
Two decades after the Japanese trading card game became the biggest thing in schoolyards around the world, Pokemon cards are fetching six figures at auction in a boom that appears to have been fueled by coronavirus pandemic lockdowns. "When COVID-19 hit, a lot of Gen X and Millennials were looking for things to do and we found a lot of these guys and girls started playing Pokemon again because they grew up with it," said Joe Maddalena, executive vice president at Texas-based Heritage Auctions. Maddalena said boxes of the 1999 U.S. first edition base set had sold for around $400,000 at auction in recent months
A comprehensive municipal short-term-rental licencing bylaw in Tiny Township could soon require the 300 or so such rental property owners to pay up to $600 in fees. A staff report coming up at this Wednesday's committee of the whole meeting will present to council with the details of an STR licencing bylaw that requires registration, completion of all safety codes, insurance, code of conduct and signage among other features. The bylaw also proposes a demerit point system to penalize offenders. The staff report also proposes the hiring of a full-time municipal bylaw enforcement officer for eight months this year at a cost of $51,000. Further, to help with the implementation of the STR licencing program, staff are proposing sourcing out the role to Granicus – Host Compliance, a company that provides digital solutions for short-term rental monitoring, compliance, and enforcement. The cost to do so is almost $36,000. A representative from the company will also make a presentation about its services at the same meeting. The proposed STR licencing program is being presented at the regular meeting of council the same evening. If ratified, staff will begin the hiring process and start drafting the bylaw, as well as launch an online survey to gather resident feedback. Among other deputations and presentations that same day is one by Tiny resident Joel Rubinovich. His letter to council is shedding light on three matters. Rubinovich is concerned about traffic-related signage, specifically the lack of uniformity in sizes and placement. The second issue in his letter concerns debris on roads. "There has been debris, mainly consisting of loose stones at (Green Point and Marchildon Roads) for at least the five years that I have been aware of," writes Rubinovich. The third point in his letter is around installation of street lights at the corner of County Road 6 and Green Point Road. "I think that most inspections are carried out during daylight hours," writes Rubinovich. "The problem mainly exists at night when there is no light except for headlights. As a result, it is easy to miss the turn." As well, council will receive a presentation from MHBC Planning outlining the process the consultant will follow to update the township's zoning bylaw. The review will look at zoning around second units, bunkies and accessory structures, home occupations, home industries, backyard chickens, outdoor residential lighting, on-farm diversified uses, cannabis cultivation, and short-term rentals, etc. The entire process will involve two public consultation sessions and other opportunities for residents to provide feedback. Council will also look at approving a draft budget that proposes a 1% blended (municipal, county, and education) tax rate increase. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. on Feb. 24 and will be streamed live via the township's YouTube channel. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
TORONTO — Disney Plus is introducing viewers to its older sibling: a new streaming hub named Star. After establishing itself as the family-friendly home to Disney, Pixar and Marvel movies, the Disney Plus platform is opening the gates to a dedicated space for more grown-up tastes. Within its existing platform, more than 150 TV series and 500 movies will be available to Canadians on Star's Tuesday launch date — but it comes with a catch. Some buzzy titles from Disney-owned U.S. streaming platform Hulu are still missing, and you can't subscribe to Star without being signed up for Disney Plus. It's part of a move by Disney to raise monthly subscription fees for all users while presenting them with more programming from Disney-owned ABC television, 20th Century Studios and the FX channel. Monthly rates will jump from $8.99 to $11.99 for Canadian subscribers who sign up starting Tuesday, while the price increase will take effect for existing subscribers over the summer. Star will appeal to viewers who once might've enjoyed roaming the aisles of the video store searching for older comedy, drama and action flicks. Many of its titles stretch back decades — major franchises "Alien," "Planet of the Apes" and "Die Hard" among them. The slate of TV shows include Jennifer Garner action series "Alias" and "Family Guy," as well as retro classics "Hill Street Blues" and "M.A.S.H." On the newer side, Disney will grant access to a few Hulu productions that never saw the light of day in Canada. Most notably, teen drama series "Love, Victor," a spinoff of the film "Love, Simon," will be available on launch date. However, as per usual, an array of complicated rights deals with Canadian broadcasters and streaming companies mean that many other Disney-owned shows and movies won't be on the platform. And what's missing may seem glaringly obvious to contemporary viewers hoping for the hottest new Hulu hits. For instance, "Framing Britney Spears," the buzzworthy Hulu documentary that set social media afire earlier this month, isn't on Star at this time. Neither is "Run," the Sarah Paulson thriller or last year's horror-comedy "Bad Hair." Other popular Hulu series are tied up in licensing deals elsewhere, including "The Handmaid's Tale" with Crave and "Pen15" with CBC Gem. Add to that Disney's complicated relationship with FX programming, which is coming to Star in drips and drabs. Some of the biggest FX titles, notably "American Horror Story" and "Pose," are part of an ongoing licensing deal with the FX Canada channel, owned by Rogers Communications Inc. That goes for acclaimed miniseries "Mrs. America" and "Fosse/Verdon," too. "We will have some FX content," assured Greg Mason, vice president of marketing at Walt Disney Studios Canada, pointing to biker gang drama "Sons of Anarchy" as one example. "It will be a little bit of a blend for a while and we're going to see how that unravels." Mason said the goal is to raise Star's movie selection to 800 titles by the end of the year, while bulking up the amount of original programming. For parents, Disney has expanded its ratings control system so that children's account profiles can be locked out of content deemed inappropriate for their age level. For instance, parents of young teenagers could filter out R-rated content, which in the case of the Marvel catalogue would make the more violent Wolverine action film "Logan" invisible on their profile. "Every parent is different for what they're after for their children," Mason said. "We wanted to give them that flexibility." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021 David Friend, The Canadian Press
Le Club de motoneige du fjord a battu un record d'adhésions alors que 350 droits d’accès à ce club ont trouvé preneurs pour la présente saison, et ce, en dépit de l’absence des Américains dans les sentiers. Selon Gérald Gagné, président du club, la présence d’une épaisse couche de neige au Bas-Saguenay fait en sorte que beaucoup de motoneigistes se déplacent du Saguenay pour y pratiquer leur activité préférée, tout comme des gens de Charlevoix. « On pensait que ce serait plus difficile. On a battu des records, puisque l’an passé on avait 280 membres. Il s’est vendu plus de motoneiges. Ça appelle des autres régions pour venir faire de la motoneige », déclare celui qui est impliqué dans le bénévolat depuis plusieurs années. Le Club du Fjord figure parmi ceux qui ont adhéré à Objectif 2020. M. Gagné croit qu’il est préférable d’attendre la fin de la saison avant de poser un diagnostic, mais il croit déjà qu’il faudra apporter des modifications. « On a frappé une mauvaise année pour la transition. Normalement, on a huit pieds de neige au Bas-Saguenay et on en a seulement quatre cette année. » Selon lui, ce ne sont pas tous les clubs qui connaissent les mêmes conditions d’entretien. Certains oeuvrant en montagne plutôt qu’en terrain plat doivent assumer des frais d’entretien supplémentaires pour tirer de lourds équipements derrière les surfaceuses. Pour le moment, M. Gagné préfère retenir ses commentaires tout en ajoutant que le nouveau mode de financement comporte des avantages pour les petits clubs ayant beaucoup de kilométrage de sentiers à entretenir. « Auparavant, de petits clubs avaient 35 kilomètres de sentiers à entretenir avec 1800 membres pendant trois semaines. » Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
YEREVAN, Armenia — Thousands of protesters calling for the resignation of Armenia’s prime minister demonstrated in the centre of the capital, Yerevan, on Tuesday, the third protest in a week. Police cordons guarded the government buildings near Republic Square and accompanied Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan when he walked from one building to another as demonstrators shouted “traitor!” The demonstrations revive a wave of protests against Pashinyan that arose in November after he signed a cease-fire with Azerbaijan that ceded territory occupied by Armenian forces. The deal ended a six-week war over the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh territory in which thousands died. The protests had died down during the worst of the winter. The Associated Press
Italy has given Square Inc, the mobile payments firm of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, and China's Tencent a conditional green light to invest in Italian start-up Satispay, a source close to the matter told Reuters. Satispay said in November that new investors would provide fresh funds by subscribing to a 68 million-euro ($82.57 million)capital increase and acquiring a minority stake for 25 million euros. Square and Tencent, which plan to invest 15 million euros each in Satispay, needed Rome's backing as the government has the right to block unwanted bids in strategic industries such as banking, telecoms and health
In Florian Zeller’s “The Father,” Anthony, 80, in the grip of dementia, is a captain ready to go down with the ship. Overhearing his daughter and son-in-law contemplating a nursing home, he curses them as “rats” abandoning him. Pacing his London apartment in a bath robe, he mounts a noble resistance. “I am not leaving my flat!” he shouts. But if the battle lines are clear for Anthony, little else is. Every time Anthony leaves a room, when he re-enters, the light has shifted, the furniture is rearranged and sometimes even the people are different. In staging and perspective, “The Father” mimics the disorientation of dementia. Anthony, a regally theatrical man played by Anthony Hopkins, is an actor who every time he takes the stage, the scene has changed before him. Timelines, settings and faces are all kaleidoscoped by a splintered memory. His ship — his flat — might not even be his. “The Father,” which opens in theatres Friday, is Zeller’s directorial debut but he’s a well-known French playwright and author who’s here adapting his own play, one that’s been put on around the world. (On Broadway, the father, named Andre, was played by Frank Langella. In London, it was Alfred Molina.) Dementia is often seen on screen but usually from the viewpoint of an intimate watching their loved one recede away. Michael Haneke’s “Amour,” with Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, which likewise remained set within an elegant apartment, gazed with a cold, clear eye on a great love violently fading. Haneke’s film had larger reverberations because of its actors — both titans of French film approaching the end — and Zeller has likewise suggested — or rather insisted on — real-life echoes. Hopkins, 83, shares his character’s name, and “The Father” could be taken as a late, self-aware wail from a magnificent performer. Zeller has also cast Olivia Colman as Anthony’s caretaking daughter, Anne, and another Olivia, Olivia Williams, as who Anne sometimes appears to Anthony. To me, these winks reinforced the feeling that “The Father” is a clever concept, not a profound film. Terrifically acted and finely crafted though it is, it’s a brilliant but hollow exercise in perspective that calls more attention to its artful orchestration than it does life or loss. And yet, few, if any films, have so fully illuminated the nightmare and confusion of dementia. Rather than gawk at it, “The Father” puts us smack in the middle of Anthony's personal hall of mirrors. We are just as unmoored as he is, left to figure out what's real and what's not as scenes are played and then, with shifting details, replayed: Anne coming home with chicken for dinner; her husband, Paul (Rufus Sewell), sitting with the newspaper; an interview with a prospective nurse (Imogen Poots). In every encounter, Anthony struggles for comprehension. He's doubtful when facts don't line up, and outraged when he's contradicted. Sometimes, pangs of realization seem to flit across his face when he's at a loss he can't resolve. The stranger he finds in the apartment tells him he's Anne's husband. The flat, the man tells him, isn't his. His wristwatch (another pun) keeps going missing. To see Hopkins play all these ever-fluctuating turns of mood is riveting. He has grasped, at least for a proud man like Anthony, how one's ego keeps fighting a battle it doesn't know is already lost. The resentment for a reality that won't cohere. “What is this nonsense?” asks Anthony, furious. For an actor so intense, so rigorously unsentimental, this is his Lear. Yet “The Father” often feels like a clinical puzzle to work out. By the time the fog clears — for us, not Anthony — and the splices of memory become synced, a final scene pushes “The Father” into territory beyond the simulation of Anthony's condition. A late scene brings a rush of heartbreaking clarity. It clears up the specifics of Anthony's situation while also pondering what, perhaps, there's still to cling to when everything else slips away. “The Father,” a Sony Pictures Classics release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for some strong language, and thematic material. Running time: 97 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
Every month, Awesome Kingston gives away a $1000 micro-grant to a local project pitched by its creator. These days, the pitch party is happening virtually, but the outcome is still the same. No-strings-attached money is given to the winner to help them develop the projects that Awesome Kingston thinks will help keep Kingston awesome. Nick Lorraway and Natalie Woodland were the February winners with The Home Standards Project, an assessment tool for renters to help identify issues and bylaw violations at their rental property. After Nick and Natalie suffered through terrible conditions while living in the student district here in Kingston, they decided to do something about it. The pair say the goal of The Home Standards Project is to provide a tool to help people understand minimum bylaw standards and advocate for themselves with more self assurance. "No one likes to ask their landlord to do something, especially if they were like ours, aggressive and rude," the pair said. "We want to help empower people to demand these repairs. Like being someone in their corner." "This is really an open secret at Queen’s," Nick and Natalie shared. "Everyone pretty much lives in subpar housing. We began discussing solutions to this early last summer, Queen's Backing Action on Climate Change (QBACC) had been keen to pursue a housing related project, and we decided that a website would be the best medium." The pair say they applied for the Awesome Kingston microgrant simply because costs for the project started adding up. "We’ve decided we want to make this project as good as possible and as professional as possible from the get go, because there’s obviously a connection between the professionalism of a site and the ability for us to get people to use it," they shared in an email to Kingstonist. "A lot of our project is based around legitimacy, who is legitimate to demand repairs, what is a legitimate repair, what are legitimately provided through the bylaw standards, so it's important to have a site that reflects that seriousness and shows that we know what we’re talking about." The Home Standards Project hopes to educate people on their rights, and minimum standards rental units should be kept to. "Minimum standards are there for a reason, anything below is a health and safety risk and, frankly, not something that belongs in our city," the pair explained. "If you want to be a landlord, great, but it’s not just about collecting rent cheques. You need to make sure that maintenance is regularly conducted and the unit is above the minimum standard. Because if you’re not doing that, you’re not a landlord, you’re a slumlord." "This is an endemic problem," they continued. "We want to expand to other cities, we think that this is something that needs to exist and getting it into the hands of as many people as possible can lead to better living conditions and hopefully a more equal playing field for renters. Our aim is to support groups on the ground like Katarokwi (Kingston) Union of Tenants." "Katarokwi (Kingston) Union of Tenants, are actively getting people off the street, and helping people living in subpar conditions, and just all around doing amazing work with no government support, often paying out of their own pocket. We hope to support them, and empower individuals to speak up and demand their rights." The pair say they will also use the microgrant for advertising. "So far we have only used social media but we want to get off line and try to meet people where they’re at," Nick and Natalie said. "That includes print and radio advertisements, which cost a lot more than just a Facebook share." "We want to be a disruptor, to change the face of renting in this city and to do that we need to get the word out in a meaningful way, and that means advertising, and that burns money." Another major goal of the project is expansion. The pair say if these problems are happening here, they're happening elsewhere. "From what we’ve seen in Kington, 2,730 violations (where people indicated a violation) were found in three weeks from 183 units. When we include people who indicated 'unsure,' that number rises to 4,007. These are full assessments, where people actually generated a report --- over a thousand used the tool, but not everyone generated a report." Nick and Natalie say that every unit assessed has at least one violation. "The stock of rental housing isn’t the only issue in this city. Ensuring that the quality of (often low income) housing remains above standard needs to be a priority. We’ve heard from people that are making a decision to live outside instead of in some of this housing and that is fundamentally unacceptable. It is that bad." The website leads people through their apartment, room by room, and asks questions about the quality of certain aspects. For example, in the kitchen there would be questions about leaky taps and countertop space, as well as general questions about windows and walls. Once the user completes the assessment, the website can generate a report that contains all of the violations indicated, cross referenced with the bylaw that says it needs to be kept at standard. "We provide a page on next steps, with some resources on what to do if the landlord is uncooperative, but it really does depend on the individual to send the report and demand the repairs," the entrepreneurs said. "We are planning on adding more resources, like responses to uncooperative landlords, email templates, tips for talking to your landlord, and more information on rental law." "The intention is that this is a tool to be used that can support people in their efforts to get repairs, but it needs to be led by them." Read the The Home Standards Project pitch on the Awesome Kingston website. How does Awesome Kingston work? The trustee group is made up of community-minded individuals who want to help make Kingston a more awesome city by volunteering time and money to Awesome Kingston. Each of the trustees provides $100 to make up the $1,000 microgrant every month. The venues for the pitch parties are provided to the organization at no charge, allowing them to put all the monies collected from the trustees into the grant. It is as simple as local people helping to get local ideas off the ground to keep Kingston Awesome! Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
(Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press - image credit) For 22-year-old Nova Scotian Drake Batherson it's been a highly unusual hockey season so far. That shouldn't come as any surprise as the 2020-21 NHL season is unlike any other. Due to COVID-19, the start of the season was delayed and then divisions were realigned, with all seven Canadian teams, including Batherson's Ottawa Senators, moved into the North division. "When we're at home we are not allowed to go to any teammate's house, you just have to hang out by yourself all day," said Batherson, who plays right wing. "When we go on the road we are ordering food right to our rooms, but we usually have a players lounge with Ping-Pong tables and stuff to keep us busy." Batherson during warm-up prior to an NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 16, 2021. The youthful Senators have struggled to find their game so far. They have only five wins in 20 games, but two of those wins have come against Toronto, currently the top team in the NHL standings. One of those wins against the Maple Leafs was a comeback by the Senators, who rallied to win 6-5 in overtime after trailing 5-1. "That was a crazy game with a lot of ups and a lot of downs," said Batherson. "It was pretty special to be a part of that. I haven't been part of a comeback like that in a long time, it was great." Batherson has family ties in Cape Breton and in the Annapolis Valley. He was born in Indiana where his father Norm (originally from North Sydney and a former star at Acadia University) was a professional hockey player. The family then moved to Europe where Norm's pro career continued. They moved back to Nova Scotia when Drake was eight years old and that's when his hockey skills started to blossom. The Ottawa Senators drafted Batherson when he played for the Cape Breton Eagles. After spending one season with the Valley Wildcats of the Maritime Junior Hockey League, he then moved up to play with the Cape Breton Eagles. He got to play in front of many family members at Centre 200, including his great uncle, musician Matt Minglewood. Batherson, who's younger sister Mae plays hockey at Syracuse University, capped off a successful junior career as a key member of Canada's gold medal winning team at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. Batherson scored a team-leading seven goals. The last two seasons saw Batherson split his time between Ottawa and their AHL affiliate in Belleville. This season he has been in the Senators lineup for every game. Batherson (19) celebrates his goal against Czech Republic goaltender Josef Korenar (30) during second-period semifinal IIHF World Junior Championship hockey action in Buffalo, N.Y. on Jan. 4, 2018. The schedule is just one of many major adjustments teams and players have had to make this season due to COVID. Daily testing is one of the regular protocols for players. "I've had one every single day since early December," said Batherson, who has four goals and 10 points this season. "It's every single day in the morning and we get our results early in the evening." The 60-game condensed schedule also means less practice time for teams and many back-to-back games. The Senators had a two-week-long road trip where they played some of their worst hockey of the season. But now the team, including Batherson, is playing much better. Heading into Tuesday night's game against Montreal, Batherson has scored goals in three of the Senators' last four games. MORE TOP STORIES
BERLIN — The number of suspected far-right incidents in the German military surged to 477 last year from 363 in 2019, parliament's commissioner for the military said Tuesday. Eva Hoegl stressed as she presented her annual report that “soldiers are not under general suspicion and the absolute majority does a responsible job every day." But she said the number of incidents involving far-right extremism are a source of concern and show that “there's a lot to do.” “There's no place for far-right extremism in the army,” Hoegl wrote in the report. “We need investigations, sanctions and prevention — in a consistent, complete and fast way.” Hoegl demanded that more staff be hired to speed up investigations. The report comes at a time of broader concerns that Germany has not done enough to tackle right-wing extremism within its Bundeswehr military in general. The country's special forces, the KSK, have faced particular scrutiny after numerous allegations of far-right extremism in recent years. As a consequence of far-right scandals involving the special forces, the defence minister disbanded one of the KSK's units in July and vowed to to further investigate extremism and implement reforms. The rise in far-right extremism in the army mirrors a growing overall number of anti-Semitic, anti-migrant or homophobic attacks in Germany. In 2020, 183,777 soldiers served in the German military, 23,066 of them women. The Associated Press
pebble mine denied permit in victory for tribes and planet
Environmental campaigners stressed the need for the incoming Biden White House to put in place permanent protections for Alaska's Bristol Bay after the Trump administration on Wednesday denied a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine that threatened "lasting harm to this phenomenally productive ecosystem" and death to the area's Indigenous culture.
In its record of decision on the long-fought industrial gold and copper mining project, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cited "Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act," the Anchorage Daily News reported
"USACE determined that the applicant's plan for the discharge of fill material does not comply with Clean Water Act guidelines and concluded that the proposed project is contrary to the public interest."
The decision was hailed by a chorus of conservation groups. "Sometimes a project is so bad, so indefensible, that the politics fall to the wayside and we get the right decision," said SalmonState executive director Tim Bristol. "That is what happened today."
"The Pebble Mine was always the wrong mine in the wrong place," said Adam Kolton, executive director of Alaska Wilderness League. "The fact that President Trump resurrected and promoted it prior to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ultimately denying the permit isn't worth dwelling on," he said, referring to the president's intervention in the matter
"What matters today," Kolton continued, "is that the world's most productive salmon fisheries are safer and the tribes, fishermen, and communities that depend on a healthy Bristol Bay can breathe a sigh of relief."
World Wildlife Fund previously released a video explaining "why the proposed mine doesn't stand up to a fact check." The group described Bristol Bay as "the lifeblood that sustains every species calling the region home," including harbor seals, hundreds of bird species, and brown bear. The watershed is also critically important to tribes and the salmon upon which they've relied for millennium. Bristol Bay also hosts the planet's most productive salmon fishery
With such impacts at stake, Marc Fink, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, called the rejection "a huge victory for wild salmon, the Iliamna, lake seal, and other imperiled wildlife that call this spectacular place home."
The administration's rejection follows the September release of secret recordings between Tom Collier, CEO of Pebble Limited Partnership, and Ronald Thiessen, president and CEO of Northern Dynasty Minerals, which owns Pebble, that revealed the goal was not a 20-year project the 20-year operation publicly promised by the developers, but instead to create a project of "unstoppable" growth with a timeline of possibly 200 years. The executives instead were looking at "unstoppable" growth and a timeline of possibly 200 years