City dwellers have been fleeing Manhattan since the pandemic broke. As such, the demand for summer bungalows has increased.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden's first address to a joint session of Congress will look like no other in recent memory. The traditional speech for the new president, set for April 28, will unfold against the backdrop of heightened security in the aftermath of the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot and ongoing coronavirus protocols. It will be designated a National Special Security Event, according to a Capitol official involved in the planning and granted anonymity to discuss the situation on Wednesday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi extended the invitation to Biden late Tuesday “to share your vision for addressing the challenges and opportunities of this historic moment.” The White House said that Biden accepted the invitation. The speech will come just before Biden's 100th day in office and will provide him an opportunity to update the American public on his progress toward fulfilling his promises. It will also give him a chance to make the case for the $2.3 trillion infrastructure package he unveiled recently, which the House is aiming to pass by July 4. But security remains tight at the Capitol, patrolled by National Guard troops and surrounded by fencing, after a mob loyal to then-President Donald Trump stormed the building in January in a deadly riot to try to undo Biden's election victory. At the same time, pandemic restrictions will limit in-person access to the speech, which is typically broadcast live and in prime time to American households. Rather than gathering all lawmakers at once in the House chamber, as traditionally happens, there will be limits set on the number of representatives and senators allowed in the chamber under the COVID-19 social distancing protocols. Lawmakers will also be seated in the upstairs visitors gallery spaces rather than solely in the seats on the House floor. And instead of inviting special visitors, family or friends, a coveted ticket in Washington, no guests of representatives or senators will be allowed. Social distancing restrictions have been in place during the pandemic, requiring House lawmakers to conduct floor votes and other business in smaller groups, rather than convening hundreds in the chamber at once. Masks are required, and the public visitors galleries, usually filled for such an event, have been closed during most of the pandemic. Presidents don't deliver a State of the Union address to Congress until their second year in office. Lisa Mascaro And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran's supreme leader on Wednesday dismissed initial offers at talks in Vienna to save Tehran's tattered nuclear deal as “not worth looking at,” attempting to pressure world powers after an attack on the country's main nuclear enrichment site. The comments by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all matters of state in the Islamic Republic, came after a day that saw Iran's president similarly ratchet up pressure over the accord. European powers meanwhile warned Tehran of a planned formal round of negotiations its actions were “particularly regrettable” and “dangerous.” The talks already have been thrown into disarray by a weekend attack on Iran's main Natanz nuclear enrichment site suspected to have been carried out by Israel. Tehran retaliated by announcing it would enrich uranium up to 60% — higher than it ever has before but still lower than weapons-grade levels of 90%. "The offers they provide are usually arrogant and humiliating (and) are not worth looking at,” the 81-year-old Khamenei said in an address marking the first day of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan in Iran. He also criticized the U.S. and warned time could be running out. “The talks shouldn’t become talks of attrition,” Khamenei said. "They shouldn’t be in a way that parties drag on and prolong the talks. This is harmful to the country.” Speaking to his Cabinet, an impassioned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the first-generation IR-1 centrifuges that were damaged in Sunday's attack would be replaced by advanced IR-6 centrifuges that enrich uranium much faster. “You wanted to make our hands empty during the talks but our hands are full,” Rouhani said. Rouhani added: “60% enrichment is an answer to your evilness. ... We cut off both of your hands, one with IR-6 centrifuges and another one with 60%.” Rouhani also accused Israel of being behind the Natanz attack. “Apparently this is a crime by the Zionists. If the Zionists take an action against our nation, we will respond,” he said, without elaborating. In Jerusalem at a Memorial Day commemoration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to reference Iran. “We must never remain apathetic to the threats of war and extermination of those who seek to eliminate us,“ he said. Israel has not claimed the attack, though it rarely does in its ongoing shadow war against Tehran. The talks in Vienna are aimed at finding a way for the United States to re-enter Tehran’s nuclear agreement with world powers and have Iran comply again with its limits. The accord, which former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from in 2018, prevented Iran from stockpiling enough high-enriched uranium to be able to pursue a nuclear weapon in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. Rouhani in his comments Wednesday insisted Iran is still hoping that the Vienna talks lead to a negotiated settlement over its program — and the accompanying lifting of punishing sanctions. Khamenei as well said he believed in his negotiators, but kept up the pressure on the West in his remarks Wednesday night. “They must do what we say first, and we are assured that it’s done, then we will do what is we are required to do," he said. France, Germany and the United Kingdom, all parties to the nuclear deal, only hours earlier issued a joint statement Wednesday expressing their “grave concern” over Iran’s decision to increase enrichment. “This is a serious development since the production of highly enriched uranium constitutes an important step in the production of a nuclear weapon,” the countries said. “Iran has no credible civilian need for enrichment at this level.” China and Russia also took part in the deal. Saudi Arabia, a regional rival to Iran, similarly issued a statement, saying enriching at that level “could not be considered a program intended for peaceful purposes.” “The kingdom calls on Iran to avoid escalation and not to subject the security and stability of the region to more tension, and to engage seriously in the current negotiations,” Saudi Arabia said. Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful, though the West and the International Atomic Energy Agency says Tehran had an organized military nuclear program up until the end of 2003. An annual U.S. intelligence report released Tuesday maintained the American assessment that “Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities that we judge would be necessary to produce a nuclear device.” Iran previously had said it could use uranium enriched up to 60% for nuclear-powered ships. However, the Islamic Republic currently has no such ships in its navy. Iran had been enriching up to 20% — even that was a short technical step to weapons-grade levels. The deal limited Iran's enrichment to 3.76% Officials initially said the higher enrichment would begin Wednesday. However, an early Wednesday morning tweet from Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi, suggested it might come later. He later posted a letter addressed to IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi warning against “any adventurism by (the) Israeli regime” targeting Iranian nuclear sites. “The most-recent cowardly act of nuclear terrorism will only strengthen our determination to march forward and to replace all (damaged) centrifuges with even more advanced and sophisticated machines,” Gharibabadi wrote. IAEA inspectors visited Natanz on Wednesday on their first trip since the sabotage, the agency said, without elaborating on what they found. The weekend attack at Natanz was initially described only as a blackout in the electrical grid feeding above-ground workshops and underground enrichment halls — but later Iranian officials began calling it an attack. Alireza Zakani, the hard-line head of the Iranian parliament’s research centre, referred to “several thousand centrifuges damaged and destroyed” in a state TV interview. However, no other official has offered that figure and no images of the aftermath have been released. ___ Associated Press writers Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran; Ilan Ben Zion in Jerusalem; David Rising in Berlin and Malak Harb in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report. Jon Gambrell, The Associated Press
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THREE RIVERS — Matt Clendinning's recent incident with his café's Pride flag has encouraged him to help the rest of the community to fly the rainbow flag "as proudly as I do." The owner of The Lucky Bean cafe in Montague plans to buy about 100 Pride flags to give to businesses across the community. He also hopes to receive support from Three Rivers council, who he addressed during a regular meeting on April 12. "It wouldn't have felt right to not speak up," he said. Clendinning has always used his business, which also has a location in Stratford, as a way to offer a welcoming space. One way he does that is by flying a Pride flag outside to show unity with LGBTQ+ community members, he said. A few weeks ago he took the flag down temporarily because it was becoming tattered and needed replacing. Before the new flag went up, Clendinning was ending his workday and was approached by a passerby. "You finally took the gay flag down," the passerby said to him. The passerby's tone was congratulatory, and he made a point of saying he hadn't supported Clendinning's business up to that point because of the Pride flag. Clendinning didn't entertain the interaction for very long, but it has stuck with him ever since. "I was just completely shocked and taken aback that that kind of thing would be said," he told council. "That's just not a very good way to word that." Clendinning intends to submit a few requests for decisions to Three Rivers for ways it could show support either in Montague or across the municipality. This could include flying Pride flags at town-owned buildings or painting a rainbow-coloured crosswalk somewhere (Clendinning recommends at the intersection near his cafe on Main Street). In 2016, the former council of Montague had declined a request from Pride P.E.I. to fly a Pride flag. Clendinning wasn't living on P.E.I. at the time, and Montague has since amalgamated along with neighbouring communities into Three Rivers. "Moving here, I know that it's a rural community and I know that there's some potential, leftover old-school mentalities," Clendinning said. He'll be submitting some requests this week, so they'll likely go before council in the near future. A few members of council were in full support of finding ways to show unity with its LGBTQ+ residents. "We're all a family. They're our sons, they're our daughters, they're our friends. It's time to move forward, folks," Coun. Larry Creed said. Mayor Edward MacAulay said the presentation was timely and that he hopes council will support Clendinning's requests, considering Three Rivers is increasingly becoming home to more diverse communities. "This is the kind of community that Three Rivers is going to become," MacAulay said. Clendinning had mostly addressed council as a formality and to share his experience; he plans to buy flags for businesses on his own initiative. Each one costs about $20, and he's looking into sourcing them locally if possible, he said. "It's very simple. It's just a flag," he said. "And not to belittle it, but if they can't get behind that then we've got bigger problems." Twitter.com/dnlbrown95 Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
CORNWALL – The affects of Easter weekend gatherings are beginning to show in the region’s COVID-19 cases. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit region added 107 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, which Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis attributed, in large part, to private gatherings over Easter. The increased numbers, reported on April 12th, pushed the active case tally for the region to 453, and the overall tally to 3,807 since the pandemic began. Roumeliotis said that the EOHU’s contact tracing over the past weekend indicated that most of the new cases are due to family gatherings over Easter. “This is exactly what we’re seeing right now,” he explained. “One of the things we are worried about moving forward is kids being home, getting together, then going back to school with even higher rates.” Roumeliotis said that the latest cases included many school-aged children. He explained that from a peak of 170 cases in school-aged children in January, the numbers dipped to just 34 in February. “In March, we went up to 96, and in April we are up to 99,” Roumeliotis said. At the current rate for April, if left unchecked by further restrictions, the region could have seen nearly 250 cases in school-age children by the end of the month. “That’s one of the reasons we were worried about schools,” he said, adding that he supported the provincial move to remote learning after this week’s Spring Break. Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced earlier on Monday that schools are to switch to remote-learning when classes resume April 19th. “I do agree with the school closures,” Roumeliotis said, explaining that he still believed schools are safe. “[Schools] have the precautions in place. The problem arises that the more [cases] you have in the community the more it will pierce into the schools and the more it will disrupt the schools.” So far this month, seven schools have been ordered closed by the EOHU due to higher case numbers. Over 40 per cent of the 87 schools in the EOHU region have at least one positive COVID-19 case. According to Ontario Ministry of Health data, there are 56 students and 13 staff who have tested positive for the virus in the past 14 days. The largest cluster of cases are the École secondaire catholique de Casselman where 10 students and two staff members are positive for COVID-19. Looking at local numbers, South Dundas has seen no new cases diagnosed in the past week, leaving the municipal tally at 75 cases overall. The number of active cases has dropped to just four. North Dundas has increased to 111 total and seven active cases; South Stormont has 250 total and 30 active cases; North Stormont has had 90 total and 17 active cases. A week into “emergency brake” and less than a week into a stay-at-home order, there are no signs of the curve of new infections slowing yet. The region’s seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 people is at 120, and the reproductive rate is 1.26, which is higher than Ottawa (1.25) and Toronto (1.16). Vaccination clinics continue to operate out of the six main centres in the region, the closest points for South Dundas include Winchester and Cornwall. As of April 12th, almost 34,000 doses of vaccine, primarily the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, have been given. Approximately 16 per cent of the total population of the EOHU region have received at least one dose of vaccine. The only groups that have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine are residents of long-term care and retirement homes. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
The officer who shot dead Daunte Wright in Minneapolis will be charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Mirroring adoption trends for DevOps and cloud native technologies, BoxBoat reports momentum for BoxOps, its platform for DevSecOps managed services
Botswana has banned the importation of poultry and poultry products from South Africa after an outbreak of avian influenza was detected on a chicken farm in South Africa, the agriculture ministry said on Wednesday. South Africa said on Tuesday that around 300 birds died of avian flu at the commercial chicken-layer farm in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, with samples from the farm testing positive for the H5 strain. "As a result, the import of domesticated and wild birds, their products (meat, eggs and feathers), from South Africa is banned with immediate effect," Botswana's Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security said in a statement.
CBS News President Susan Zirinsky is stepping down after two years on the job, making it the second of the three broadcast news divisions to lose its leader in the past couple of months. Zirinsky told CBS News staff at the network's morning news meeting on Wednesday, according to someone there who spoke on condition of anonymity because it was an internal gathering. “I am absolutely not leaving CBS,” said Zirinsky, a longtime news producer at the network, said at the meeting.
Oscar Health, Inc. ("Oscar") (NYSE: OSCR), the first health insurance company built on a full stack technology platform, today announced that Dr. Okiki Louis will become President of Oscar Medical Group (OMG), effective April 26, 2021. OMG is a collection of physician-owned practices and offers high-quality, compassionate and patient-centered care. OMG physicians and nurse practitioners provide virtual urgent care and virtual primary care services to members.
It's an easy throw-and-go assembly.
All Nato troops expected to leave Afghanistan before 11 SeptemberMinisters discuss ending 20-year military campaign amid warnings of possible al-Qaida resurgence The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, left, and Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, talking before a meeting at Nato headquarters in Brussels. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AP
Beaudreau will return as deputy to Secretary Deb Haaland after serving nearly seven years there under former President Barack Obama, becoming the first person to lead the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which oversees offshore oil and gas activity. In addition to Beaudreau, the White House nominated conservationist Shannon Estenoz to serve as assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks and Winnie Stachelberg, an executive vice president at the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, as assistant secretary for policy, management and budget.
U.S. investment in research and development has reached its lowest level decades while that in the rest of the world has soared, the head of a U.S. Senate committee warned at a hearing on proposed subsidies to the tech industry to help the United States better compete with China. Senate Commerce committee chair Maria Cantwell told the committee on Wednesday the proposed "Endless Frontier Act" had been the stimulus for a big debate about America's competitiveness. Federal investment in research and development is at its lowest in 45 years when measured against GDP, Cantwell said.
It follows a similar move from Tesco 14 months ago
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Shares of Amicus Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FOLD) were soaring 9.7% higher at 12:07 p.m. EDT on Wednesday. The big gain came after Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Kristen Kluska upgraded Amicus stock to overweight from neutral. In this case, Cantor Fitzgerald's Kluska likes the prospects for Amicus because she thinks the company's gene therapy candidates are promising based on recent clinical updates.
Manufacturers of Remdesivir are to reduce the price to less than Rs 3,500 by the end of this week.
Air Canada on Wednesday joined rival WestJet Airlines in extending a three month suspension of sun-destination flights to the Caribbean and Mexico, as the country wrestles with a surge in dangerous virus variants. The country's largest carrier said it will extend the suspensions through the end of May, an Air Canada spokeswoman said by email. Onex Corp-owned WestJet said on Tuesday it would extend its sun-flight suspensions until June 4.
CALGARY, Alberta, April 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the United Way of Calgary and Area selected AltaLink as the recipient of the 2020 President’s Award as part of its annual Community Impact Awards. The President’s Award honours exceptional contribution to the United Way and the local community. “AltaLink is an incredible example of corporate leadership in the community – their entire team takes social good to heart, which we have seen first-hand for the past 20 years of partnership,” says Karen Young, President and CEO, United Way of Calgary and Area. “I am proud of their commitment, their tenacity, and their unwavering support for people in need of a hand up during challenging times. Thank you to the entire team for everything you have done for Calgary and the surrounding area.” Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AltaLink adapted quickly to move its annual employee giving campaign, Powerful Giving, to a virtual format. The 2020 campaign ran from October 26 to November 2, and the theme was ‘Essential to our Community.’ AltaLink employees, contractors and retirees rallied to make it AltaLink’s most impactful campaign to date, participating in online events in record numbers, collecting more than 5,100 items as part of a collection drive and volunteering in the community as part of AltaLink’s Days of Caring initiative. With all donations matched dollar for dollar by AltaLink’s shareholders, at the end of the campaign AltaLink was proud to announce a record-breaking more than $1 million in donations to charities across the province. “Since the start of the pandemic, our employees have continued to work safely as an essential service to keep the lights on for Albertans, and I’m incredibly proud of how they brought that same energy to our 2020 giving campaign,” said Gary Hart, AltaLink’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “This award is a reflection of the innovation, commitment and giving spirit that our team demonstrated in support of our communities, so it is an honour to receive this special recognition from the United Way of Calgary and Area.” AltaLink has been holding its Powerful Giving annual campaign since 2002, and is proud to have raised more than $8.5 million to support the communities where we live and work. Headquartered in Calgary, with offices in Edmonton, Red Deer and Lethbridge, AltaLink is Alberta's largest electricity transmission provider. AltaLink is partnering with its customers to provide innovative solutions to meet the province’s demand for reliable and affordable energy. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, AltaLink is part of a global group of companies delivering energy services to customers worldwide. For more information please contact:Scott SchreinerVice President, CommunicationsAltaLink Management Ltd.Phone: 403.880.0275E-mail: email@example.com