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Residential schools cast long shadow on LGBTQ2 community in northern Ontario



Evangelical group ran residential schools, now provides counselling and programs for Indigenous youth

An evangelical Christian group, which operated some of the last Indian residential schools in Canada, continues to run youth programs in northern Ontario that members of the LGBTQ2 community say convey a harmful message and may be costing lives.

Northern Youth Programs calls itself “a conservative Mennonite para-church organization” with a vision “that disciples of Jesus Christ will be made in every Aboriginal community in Canada.” 

The organization closed its last residential school, Stirland Lake, in 1991, and now runs Bible camps, retreats and counselling services in Dryden, Ont. American missionary families associated with the group often fly into remote First Nations, including to Wapekeka First Nation after the suicide crisis there in 2017.

But conservative, Bible-based teachings on homosexuality may be contributing to the suicide crisis in northern Ontario First Nations, not lessening it, say LGBTQ2 youth familiar with the pressures of evangelical Christian teachings.

“It really is a tough topic to navigate around, especially if you’re young,” said Janine Frogg, 22, from Wapekeka First Nation, a small community of about 400 residents located about 500 kilometres north of Dryden.

“I heard that people are saying, ‘God isn’t accepting of gay people or homosexual people,’ and I think that’s what causes a lot of pressure and trauma.”

Frogg, who grew up in Sioux Lookout, Ont., said her family was supportive when she came out as a lesbian to them about a year and a half ago.

“In our communities up north that follow the church more, that’s where all the pressure comes from, I think — this homophobia,” she said.

It’s the kind of pressure that can have tragic consequences said Frogg’s friend and fellow Nishnawbe Aski Nation youth council member, Ashley Bach.

“I was in foster care out West, with a non-Native family, and I went through [similar] church groups, and it was awful,” said 26-year-old Bach, who is bisexual and two-spirit from Mishkeegogamang First Nation, about 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont. “I mean, I tried to kill myself multiple times during that period.”

‘It isn’t hopeless’

Bach said she wants young people to know that “while it felt like my situation wouldn’t get better, it did, and I am learning to love myself now — that it isn’t hopeless. Things can get better for youth going through this right now, too.”

It’s a critical message, as Bach, now living in Ottawa and thriving as a postgraduate student, worries about the young people back home who may be exposed to teachings like those contained in Northern Youth Programs’ booklet called Freedom from Destructive Spirits.

“These unclean spirits can cause all kinds of sexual sins such as homosexuality, perversions and lust,” the booklet states. “This uncleanness is a result of rebellion in man’s heart. God hates this kind of uncleanness and will punish it.”

In a statement to CBC News, Northern Youth Programs said its message to LGBTQ2 youth is: “We love you as you are. So does God. You’re a unique person.”

When asked to clarify how the materials about unclean spirits and God’s punishment align with the message that God loves everyone, Northern Youth Programs CEO Norman Miller said, “We support and love those that choose to commit sin, and so does God.”

Is it conversion therapy?

It’s a circular argument that is familiar to Kristopher Wells, Canada Research Chair for the Public Understanding of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth at MacEwan University.

Telling LGBTQ2 people that homosexuality is a choice and a sin is an attempt to fundamentally deny or change who they are, Wells said, and that could be construed as a form of conversion therapy, a practice that is against the law in Ontario when it involves minors.

“Conversion therapy is any attempt to fix, change, repair or repress a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” Wells said.

It has been classified as torture, banned by professional organizations, restricted by governments and outlawed by several countries around the world. (Canada introduced legislation banning conversion therapy last spring, but the bill died with the prorogation of Parliament in August.)

“If it starts from an anti-LGBTQ2 ideology, that there’s something fundamentally wrong with being an LGBTQ2 person, then it’s… an unethical and harmful practice that should be banned,” he said.

In response to the allegation Northern Youth Programs may be practising conversion therapy, Miller said, “We are not focused on or interested in changing their [LGBTQ2 youth] sexual orientation or gender identity.”

In 2017, Northern Youth Programs hired Vancouver-based Journey Canada for LGBTQ2 awareness training for its staff, according to Miller. 

“We found the training to increase our awareness of the challenges faced by LGBTQ youth, and consequently increased our sense of compassion,” he said.

‘Even if it’s supposed to be loving, it can still be very harmful’

Bach said churches need to reconsider whether telling LGBTQ2 people that expressing their sexuality is against God’s will can be considered compassionate.

“You can be saying that in a way that is intended with love … and with the intention of protecting people from going to hell, but the outcome, even if it’s supposed to be loving, it can still be very harmful,” Bach said.

Melody McKiver, a two-spirit Anishinaabe youth worker and a member of Lac Seul First Nation, says homophobia and transphobia have “devastating effects” in remote First Nations in northern Ontario.

McKiver said anti-LGBTQ2 views appear to be much more widespread in rural and remote areas than the cities where she lived before moving to Sioux Lookout five years ago. 

Many churches and some people who practise traditional Anishinaabe spirituality convey harmful messages to LGBTQ2 youth and claim that’s in keeping with traditional First Nations beliefs against homosexuality, McKiver said.

Communities need more soul-searching

“I would challenge that, and I would like to see more allies in the community challenging that, too,” McKiver said. “Too often those statements are left standing, and the communities need to do more soul-searching. Our youth are struggling and just asking for respect.

“It doesn’t have to be that way. Our communities have the ability to be as loving and affirming as I believe that our values have always taught.”

Grand Council Treaty 3, which represents 28 First Nations, in northern Ontario, recently announced a change to its traditional Anishinaabe governance structure, adding an LGBTQ2S council that will be a part of all decision-making within the nation.

“Personally, I know many people from the LGBTQ group. I’ve worked with them, and I don’t know the realities of their lives,” said Ogichidaa (Grand Chief) Francis Kavanaugh. “We need them in our governance to provide their perspective, to let them know the nation loves them and so they don’t feel left out.”

The grand chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), representing 49 communities in Ontario’s remote north, told CBC News that anti-LGBTQ2 messages will no longer be tolerated in its territory.

“For any organization that works with us, that promotes those views, they’re not welcome. They’re not welcome in NAN,” Alvin Fiddler said.

But some communities within NAN could be directing their federal funding dollars toward Northern Youth Programs through NAN’s own suicide prevention program, Choose Life. Under the initiative, individual First Nations within NAN have the authority to choose and hire their own service providers.

Mishkeegogamang First Nation, for example, recently advertised a recreational program for youth run by Beaver Lake Camp. Former chief Connie Gray-McKay posted on Facebook that the camp was sponsored by Choose Life. 

Fiddler said NAN will look at developing policies and protocols to prohibit homophobic service providers from interacting with young people. That might not be easy.

Northern Youth Programs’ legacy is long and entrenched in remote First Nations where the group’s residential schools date back to 1962, the last one closing in 1991 after a dispute with First Nations leaders over harsh disciplinary practices, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) final report. 

“Rather than giving up biblical principles, we decided to stay within our guidelines [on the use of corporal punishment],” the TRC quotes the school’s director as saying. 

Fiddler recalls the story of the “hockey stick uprising” at Stirland Lake residential school in 1987. That’s when students hit staff members with hockey sticks and pieces of firewood. Fifty-nine students were expelled, and one was convicted with assault causing bodily harm. 

The reality that staff could get away with holding students down and beating them “black and blue” with a leather strap but students were made into criminals for fighting back was a turning point in attitudes about the Northern Youth Programs-affiliated residential schools, according to the TRC.

Homophobia as a residential school legacy

McKiver, who was part of TRC’s advisory circle on LGBTQ2 issues, sees a link between the lessons learned at those schools and the challenges facing LGBTQ2 youth in northwestern Ontario.

The segregation of the genders at the schools, the indoctrination into Christian beliefs and the sexual violence at the schools left a long shadow, McKiver said. There is also the history of a prolific pedophile in the region.

Ralph Rowe, a former Anglican priest was convicted of nearly 60 sex crimes and is believed to have sexually assaulted as many as 500 boys in remote First Nations scattered across the north.

McKiver said people traumatized by childhood sexual abuse, either by Rowe or at residential schools, often associate sexual violence with any adult LGBTQ2 person.

“It’s a really damaging narrative that equates LGBTQ people with pedophiles, and I think a lot of direct work needs to be done to dismantle that stereotype,” McKiver said. “And I think it’s something that’s widely believed across the region, and it’s something that’s not true.”

McKiver asks people to consider what they’d want for LGBTQ2 members of their own families as they make decisions about what services should be available to young people and who should be providing them.

As the father of an LGBTQ2 child, Fiddler said he is trying to do just that.

“As a human being, as a dad, we need to support our children and show our love and acceptance for them, and they need to know they’re part of the family,” Fiddler said.

Both Frogg and Bach welcome the statements and support from their leaders, as even as they say more work needs to be done to keep all NAN youth safe from anti-LGBTQ2 attitudes and actions.

They are part of a growing online community of LBGTQ2 youth that support each other in becoming more fully themselves.

“There are more youth and adults wanting to follow traditional [Nishnawbe] teachings and beliefs,” Frogg said. “That’s what the youth are hearing, and they’re becoming more accepting of each other and themselves.”

“For me, that meant it was OK to be myself.”


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Blacks, Latinos in California cited for minor offenses at higher rates than whites: study




Blacks, Latinos in California cited for minor offenses at higher rates than whites: study

Blacks and Latinos in California are cited for minor non-traffic infractions at far higher rates than their white counterparts, a new study found.

The findings, released Wednesday by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, found that black adults were up to 9.7 times more likely to be cited for minor offenses like loitering or jaywalking.

Latinos, meanwhile, were up to 5.8 times more likely to receive citations than white adults in the same jurisdiction.

The study analyzed data for non-traffic citations issued by California’s 15 largest law enforcement agencies between July 2018 and December 2019.

“We spend millions of dollars discriminatorily enforcing these non-traffic infraction laws against black and Latinx people,” Elisa Della-Piana, the group’s legal director, said in a statement.

“The fines and fees are largely uncollectable, but the debt burden, warrants and arrests cause significant harm.”

In Los Angeles, black residents were 3.8 times more likely to be cited for non-traffic infractions than whites between 2017 and 2019, receiving 30 percent of all such citations by the LAPD during that time span despite comprising 7 percent of the population, the study found.

The LAPD also issued 63 percent of all “loitering-standing” citations to black residents, the study found.

Data from police in Long Beach, meanwhile, showed that black adults were 3 times more likely to be issued infractions from 2017 through 2019 — comprising 36 percent of all of citations issued despite making up just 11 percent of the city’s population.

A similar pattern was also found in San Diego, where black adults were 4 times more likely to be written up for minor infractions than white residents, data showed.

“The results are harmful,” according to the study’s authors. “As other studies have documented, even brief encounters with the police can be traumatic, and officers are often more disrespectful to Black and Latinx people.”

No one who received a citation was fined less than $100, with most getting penalized between $250 and $500, the study found.

The LAPD did not respond to a request for comment on the study by the Los Angeles Times, the newspaper reported Wednesday.

A spokesman for police unions in San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles, meanwhile, insisted cops are not biased while on the job.

“When it comes to enforcing the laws, we focus on behavior — not color, not race, not creed, not religion and not sexual orientation,” spokesman Tom Saggau told The Mercury News.

“Police don’t create the laws, and if these attorneys don’t want quality-of-life crimes enforced, they should talk to legislators.”


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Air Canada orders first batch of 25,000 rapid COVID-19 testing kits




New tests can detect coronavirus within as little as 5 minutes

Air Canada has ordered its first batch of rapid tests to detect the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. 0:00

Air Canada has ordered 25,000 testing kits that can detect COVID-19 in someone in as little as five minutes, a key hurdle for an industry that’s desperately trying to make it safe and possible for travellers to fly again.

The first batch of tests will be for employee volunteers, now that the devices by Abbott Laboratories have been approved for use in Canada by federal health and safety authorities, the airline said Thursday.

Current tests have to be administered at testing centres, which have been plagued by long lineups, and results can take days.

The new test is faster and requires a nasal or throat specimen to be collected from a patient on a swab and inserted into an analyzer to detect the presence of the virus. Positive results come back in as little as five minutes. Negative results can take about 13 minutes to verify.

The airline is moving ahead with the plan after a testing phase when it partnered with McMaster University and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority to test arriving international travellers at Toronto’s Pearson airport.

“Preliminary results from the study indicate testing can help protect customers and facilitate the safe relaxation of government travel restrictions,” Air Canada said.

More than 13,000 tests

Since the test began on Sept. 3, more than 13,000 travellers have been tested.

More than 99 per cent of the tests came back negative. Of the less than one per cent that came back positive, more than 80 per cent were identified on the initial test, while the rest were detected with a followup test seven days later.

“We believe testing will be key to protecting employees and customers until such time as a COVID-19 vaccine is available,” said Air Canada’s chief medical officer, Dr. Jim Chung. 

“Rapid testing is also a means to enable governments to relax current blanket travel restrictions and quarantines in a measured way while still safeguarding the health and safety of the public.”

Airlines have been hit harder than many other industries, as fears of the virus have walloped demand for travel, and border restrictions have limited the number of flights that airlines are even allowed to offer.


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Students suspended over recording of Calgary school principal using N-word




Calgary Catholic School District says word used ‘strictly for educational purposes’

Multiple students from St. Michael School in Calgary have been suspended after a portion of a conversation between a group of Black students and their principal was shared online. 

The audio recording in question catches the principal uttering a racial slur.

“So how come it’s OK for you to say [the N-word]?” principal Lianne Anderson asked a group of Black students, questioning their use of the word.

Principal Lianne Anderson was recorded using the N-word with a group of Black students. CBC News has bleeped the audio. 0:06

One of the students shared the recording with a family member, who posted it online, calling the principal’s choice to use the N-word “unacceptable.”

The Calgary Catholic School District is defending Anderson’s actions and said the principal chose to use the word “strictly for educational purposes.”

“The word was more so used in a situation to explain, like, ‘If it’s not OK for me to use the word, why is it OK for you to use the word?'” said district spokeswoman Sandra Borowski. “I think the whole point was to kind of clarify that, bottom line, the use of the word is just generally unacceptable for anyone.”

Adora Nwofor, an anti-Black racism activist and coach in Calgary, said this type of response illustrates the need for more anti-racism training in schools. 

“To use the N-word without saying ‘N-word,’ if you are not part of the oppressed population, is oppression,” Nwofor said. “To police Black people on the use of a term that we are taking back for ourselves is not really the correct response.”

Multiple students have since been suspended for violating the school’s code of conduct. 

“I definitely understand that there is, you know, the possibility that it’s coming across that the students are being disciplined for the use of that word,” said Borowski. “But at the end of the day, they’re only being disciplined for having recorded a conversation, taking clips out of context and posting that conversation online. So it’s unfortunate that the topic of a negative racist term is the focus of the conversation.”

The student code of conduct states that “making, possessing, selling, accessing or sharing any audio, visual or audiovisual recording of any individual without the individual’s consent unless the recording is of a public space or an event open to the public” is considered to be “unauthorized” by the school district. 

Nwofor, who also is a leader for the local Black Lives Matter chapter, said the conversation never should have happened, because Black people are allowed to use the word if they choose. 

“It is a word that we are reclaiming that was used to oppress people, and if you are not Black and you are using that word, you are using it as an oppressor and it means you have privilege,” she said. “If you have privilege and you use that word, you are being an oppressor and you’re being racist, quite frankly.” 

A case of ‘taking that power back’

Alberta activist and education consultant Sagal Yusuf said hearing this story makes her emotional, because she remembers situations just like it happening to her during her school days. 

“It’s supposed to be, you’ve taken the power that [the word] has to be violent and to be used against you and you use it in a completely different context, and you’re using it as a way of expressing affection for somebody else,” she said.

“When someone else uses it who is not Black, who is white, especially someone in a position of power like this, you are basically saying, ‘I’m taking that power back from you … and I’m going to use it in the same manner that it was used in the past, to put you in a traumatic and violent state.'”

The Calgary Catholic School District said all its staff are required to provide welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments that respect diversity. 

“Each of our staff members are part of our faith development, in other words a Catholic community of caring, where we teach values based on faith, caring, respect, responsibility, trust and family. Staff also attend a mandatory annual boundaries presentation, which outlines appropriate staff behaviour,” the district said in an email to CBC News. 

The district said it has also recently formed a committee that examines and addresses racism and discrimination.

“[We are] currently looking into providing additional support that will create a better understanding and ability to recognize derogatory and or racist language.”

Board has ‘zero tolerance for any instances of racism’

Borowski said the school board takes these situations seriously. “We do say that we have zero tolerance for any instances of racism and discrimination at our schools.”

Nwofor said she understands why there might be rules about using the word at a school, and said if there is zero tolerance, then the principal should never have said the word. 

“I would tell the authority figure the correct way to handle it is to say, ‘We have a zero N-word policy here, and we are going to discuss with your guardians about how to move forward.'”

The Calgary Catholic School District said the principal is not facing any disciplinary actions. Nwofor said that’s not fair.

“That principal should be reprimanded, there should be a very high cost to using that word,” she said. “What the white children who are privileged are seeing is that it’s OK to say it. They’re seeing that they’re not going to get in trouble — it’s the Black kids who are going to get in trouble.”

Yusuf said there are plenty of ways the principal could have had a discussion with the students about the word without actually using it. 

“Given the context that we’re living through, you have to be completely, deliberately trying to ignore everything in order for you to be able to use the word. If it was a sincere discussion, if she wanted more information about the use of the word, it’s very simple to use … ‘the N-word,'” she said.

“If it was supposed to be an educational thing, if it was supposed to be something where they can have a discussion, you don’t actually have to use the word.”


For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.


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Three men discovered dead in backyard




Three men discovered dead in backyard

Los Angeles authorities are investigating after three men in their 30s were found dead in a backyard.

LA County sheriff’s deputies received a call shortly after 3 a.m. Thursday from a woman at Norwalk home, where the trio was found unresponsive, NBC Los Angeles reported.

One man was discovered in the pool, while two others were out of the water in the backyard, CBS LA reported.

Firefighters also responded and attempted life-saving measures on the victims, but the men were all pronounced dead at the scene, Fox11 reported.

No information was released about the circumstances surrounding the deaths.


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Kylie Jenner: I Registered 50K People to Vote! I’m Saving America!




It wasn’t a huge shock to see that Kylie Jenner posted thirst traps to save democracy by encouraging people to vote.

Laugh if you want, but … it’s working.

Kylie's Face

It’s not like Kylie Jenner needs an excuse to flaunt her incredible body in a bikini … but she used her powerful curves for a good cause.

On Monday, September 28, she took to Instagram to grab eyes and attention with her gorgeous body.

Her caption encouraged all of her followers to register to vote, using the same influence that she used to become a makeup mogul to try to save America.

Kylie Jenner IG voting promo 2020

Apparently, Kylie’s curvaceous reminder to register to vote worked.

TMZ reports that Kylie’s post drew in massive traffic to

As a result, the site was inundated with a 1500% boost of traffic driven from Instagram.

Kylie 2020

Over 48,000 potential new registered voters arose from one Instagram post. The number is likely continuing to rise.

That is, folks, about fifteen times the normal amount of traffic that sees.

Phrased another way, received an 80% increase in total users of its voter registration and verification tool between one day and the next.

Kylie Jenner's Sailor Cleavage

Before anyone speculates that these numbers are inflated by other factors, such as this being the week of the first debate, these metrics are not a mystery.

Only about 2,900 users took the leap from Instagram to the registration verification tool on Sunday.

This was out of 174,000 to use that tool that day from any source. So yes, it seems clear that Kylie sent them.

Kylie Jenner Voter Registration

Believe it or not, only about 138 million out of 328 million Americans voted in 2016.

It is truly an indictment of our system that anyone, from politicians to celebrities to influencers, has to beg people to vote.

That said, in many cases, voters are not demotivated because of some intrinsic personality flaw, but because of campaigns designed to discourage them, including voter disenfranchisement.

Kylie Jenner Gropes Herself

This year has shown unprecedented enthusiasm for early voting, driven by both the COVID-19 pandemic and by the absolute horrors of the Trump Administration.

Four years ago, fewer than 10,000 Americans had voted early. This year, so far, more than 1 million have cast their ballots.

This year has the highest rate of early voting in US history.

Kylie Jenner 2020

One thing of interest is that Kylie has not technically endorsed any candidate. In 2016, she voiced her support for Hillary Clinton.

It’s no mystery who Kylie is voting for, as with the rest of her family, but she has yet to officially state that she’s supporting Biden.

The general consensus is that Kylie may be keeping quiet out of misplaced respect for brother-in-law Kanye West and his farcical Presidential run. 

Kylie Jenner's Cleavage in 2020

(LOL, can you imagine having to talk to Kanye with a straight face? Kim roped her entire family into an uncomfortable position by marrying him)

Some may say that the numbers using the site, impressive though they may be, aren’t enough to tilt an election in either direction.

While it’s true that the electoral college awards disproportionate voting power to sparsely populated rural states, a massive show of voter enthusiasm can overcome even the greatest electoral roadblocks.

Kylie Jenner: The Cleavage

Additionally, there is more than just the presidency at stake right now.

Yes, deposing one a brainrotten maniac who openly gives instructions to white supremacist groups is the highest priority.

But senate races, government races, and other key items on the ballot can come down to just a few thousand votes. Winning back the White House is only part of the solution to save our country from ruin.


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Pope Francis refuses to meet with Mike Pompeo before election




Pope Francis refused to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo because he doesn’t want to meet with “political figures” during elections, and after the nation’s top diplomat criticized a deal the Vatican is negotiating with China, according to a report.

The Vatican on Wednesday turned down Pompeo’s request for an audience with the pope after the secretary of state earlier this month accused the Holy See of jeopardizing its “moral authority” if it extends an agreement with China over the nominations of bishops, Politico reported.

“Two years ago, the Holy See reached an agreement with the Chinese Communist Party, hoping to help China’s Catholics. Yet the CCP’s abuse of the faithful has only gotten worse. The Vatican endangers its moral authority, should it renew the deal,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter Sept. 19.

Pompeo also blasted Catholic Church leadership during a religious freedom conference organized by the US Embassy to the Holy See in Rome this week, saying it should be at the forefront of human rights.

The Vatican’s top diplomats – Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Foreign Minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher – confirmed the pope turned down Pompeo’s request for an audience on Thursday, saying he didn’t want the Catholic Church to be pulled into the US election, Reuters reported.

“Yes, he asked. But the pope had already said clearly that political figures are not received in election periods. That is the reason,” Parolin said.

The Vatican's Secretary of State, Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin (right) meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The Vatican’s Secretary of State, Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin (right) meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The China deal “is a matter that has nothing to do with American politics. This is a matter between Churches and should not be used for this type of ends,” Parolin said.

The two-year-old deal between the Vatican and Beijing is expected to be renewed this month.

Parolin defended the agreement and said the Vatican hopes it would advance religious freedom and allow for “normalization” of the Catholic Church community in China that has seen its members driven underground if they recognize the pope.

Parolin and Gallagher said the Vatican was taken by “surprise” over Pompeo’s public criticism of the church.

“Normally when you’re preparing these visits between high-level officials, you negotiate the agenda for what you are going to talk about privately, confidentially. It’s one of the rules of diplomacy,” Gallagher said.

Pompeo, asked if he was “picking a fight” with the Vatican, said, “That’s just crazy.”


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Barber shoots at clients complaining about missed appointments




Barber shoots at clients complaining about missed appointments

An irate Florida barber shot at two clients who confronted him about not keeping their appointments, police said.

John Digiovanni, 35, of Boca Raton, was arrested Wednesday on two counts of attempted murder after a man told police he shot at him and his friend in the parking lot of the First United Methodist Church, WPTV reported.

The victims told detectives Digiovanni had scheduled appointments to cut their hair but didn’t show up for them in the past two weeks, police said.

One of the scorned customers reached out to Digiovanni on Monday about making the appointments and not keeping them, prompting the barber to start yelling and threatening him, police said.

The men then asked Digiovanni to meet them later that night to discuss what was bothering him before agreeing to meet at the church, police said.

One of the men told police Digiovanni began yelling from his car when he arrived at the church, while the victim insisted he just wanted to talk, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

But Digiovanni hopped out of his car and pointed a gun at one of the men, police said. He then shot at both of his clients before returning to his car, where he squeezed off one more round before driving away.

Investigators said video evidence backed up what the victims told detectives, but police didn’t specify whether the encounter was recorded by the victims or was caught on a surveillance camera, the newspaper reported.

No injuries were reported and neither man was struck, police said.

Digiovanni remained held without bail Thursday at the Palm Beach County Jail, online records show.


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Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Thursday




Ottawa offering to send Canadian Red Cross into COVID-19 hot spots; new restrictions take effect in Quebec

As parts of Canada grapple with the onset of a second COVID-19 wave, sources say the federal government is offering to send the Canadian Red Cross into hot spots, while Quebec is giving police new legal tools to help enforce stricter public health measures taking effect in the province’s designated red zones.

Ottawa has been reaching out to hard-hit regions recently experiencing outbreaks and surges, said a senior government official who was speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The official said so far the government has made contact with British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, and with Toronto, Ottawa, Windsor-Essex and Peel Region in Ontario, with plans to talk to Winnipeg on Thursday.

Depending on an individual region’s needs, the Red Cross could provide logistical support for testing centres and long-term care homes, help in isolating infected individuals, assist with feeding and caring for the sick and offer psychological aid, said the official.

The work would be covered by the $100 million in new funding the federal government gave the Red Cross back in May.

Over the summer, Health Canada worked with the Red Cross — a charity that receives funding from the Canadian government and has a long history of responding to disasters — to build up a civilian workforce to deploy during regional outbreaks in the event of a second wave of infections in the fall.

The organization has already helped to deliver food to temporary foreign workers isolating in southwestern Ontario and deployed to Quebec long-term care homes.

Meanwhile, three regions — Greater Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches — are now under stricter COVID-19 measures, as the provincial government attempts to slow the surge of new coronavirus cases.

The new restrictions, announced earlier this week, took effect at 12:01 a.m. ET on Thursday and are set to last until Oct. 28 in those regions, which have been designated as red zones under the province’s COVID-19 alert system.

The restrictions include: a ban on home gatherings (with some exceptions, such as a single caregiver allowed per visit); the closure of all bars, casinos and restaurants, except for takeout; the closure of libraries, museums, cinemas and theatres; and mandatory masks during demonstrations.

Quebec has strengthened its COVID-19 restrictions, especially for areas under the provincial red zone designation, and have provided legal tools for police to enter homes and break up unsanctioned gatherings. 3:39

Speaking during a late-afternoon news conference on Wednesday, Premier François Legault said the negligence of a few has led to the crackdown. “Lives are at stake. We want to keep our children in schools,” he said. “We also want to protect our health network.”

To that end, the premier said police in the red zones will be issuing $1,000 fines to those who violate the newly strengthened public health rules. With fees, those fines will top $1,500.

With the crackdown on house guests, police are authorized to demand proof of residency and if residents refuse entry, officers will be able to obtain warrants faster through a new, virtual system that was established in collaboration with the Crown, the premier said.

Normally the process for obtaining a warrant can take a day or two, but that won’t work when police want to break up parties that very same evening, Legault said. He said people who shrug off the rules and host parties are “putting the lives of other people in danger.”

Quebec reported 838 new cases of COVID-19 but no new deaths Wednesday. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 74,288 confirmed cases and 5,834 people have died in the province.

What’s happening in the rest of Canada

As of 7:15 a.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had 158,758 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 134,971 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,333.

In , health authorities say they are expecting new daily cases of COVID-19 to reach 1,000 in the first half of October, as the province confirmed another 625 new infections on Wednesday.

According to Adalsteinn Brown, the dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, the number of new cases reported daily are doubling every 10 to 12 days. That means the province could see a “remarkably high surge” in the coming weeks.

Ontario has put a lot of effort into ramping up its COVID-19 testing, but experts say contact tracing is lagging woefully behind and it may be too late to fix the problem. 2:01

He said the growth in infections was initially limited to the 20-39 age group, however cases are now climbing in every age group.

“Although we see a large amount of infections among younger people right now, this is likely starting to spill over into older age groups, which is where we see the most tragic and most challenging consequences for health and for the health-care system,” said Brown.

With the country bracing for caseload spikes, Health Canada regulators on Wednesday approved the ID NOW rapid COVID-19 testing device.

The Abbott Laboratories-backed molecular devices can be administered by trained professionals at places like pharmacies, walk-in clinics and doctors’ offices without the need for a laboratory to determine if someone is infected with the virus.

Ottawa has signed an agreement to buy millions of rapid-test devices for COVID-19, but it hasn’t been approved by Health Canada. The technology promises to detect the virus in less than 15 minutes and many are pushing to speed up its approval. 1:56

The point-of-care devices can give results in 15 minutes and could result in millions more tests for communities dealing with a surge in coronavirus cases.

To date, the vast majority of tests have been done at public health clinics, with samples then sent to laboratories for analysis — a process that can take days.

What’s happening around the world

According to Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 33.9 million. More than one million people have died, while over 23.6 million have recovered.

In the , the two largest school districts in the country are rolling out ambitious and costly plans to test students and staff for the coronavirus, bidding to help keep school buildings open amid a rise in infections among the nation’s school-age children.

New York City is set to begin testing 10 to 20 per cent of students and staff in every building monthly beginning Thursday, the same day the final wave of the district’s more than one million students returns to bricks-and-mortar classrooms for the first time in six months.

“Every single school will have testing. It will be done every single month. It will be rigorous,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in announcing the plan as part of an agreement with the teachers’ union to avert a strike. At least 79 Department of Education employees have died from the virus.

With an estimated 100,000 to 120,000 tests expected each month, each costing between $78 US and $90 US, New York City’s school-based testing plan goes well beyond safety protocols seen in most other districts.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Unified School District has launched a similarly comprehensive, $150-million US testing program to help determine when it will be safe to resume in-person instruction. The district began the school year remotely in August for all 600,000 students. The New York and Los Angeles systems are respectively the nation’s largest and second-largest school districts.

In , Madrid will carry out a national order restricting mobility in large Spanish cities with rapid virus spread, but its regional president announced Thursday she will fight the Spanish government’s resolution in the courts because she deems it arbitrary.

Spain’s official gazette on Thursday published the Health Ministry order that gives the country’s 19 regions two days to implement limits on social gatherings and shops’ opening hours, and restrict trips in and out of any large cities that have recorded a two-week infection rate of 500 cases per 100,000 residents.

Countrywide, only Madrid and nine of its suburban towns met the criteria as of Thursday.

Spain’s central government and regional officials in Madrid have been at odds for weeks over how to respond to the pandemic while the spread of the virus in the Spanish capital surged to the highest level in Europe’s second wave of infections.

The centre-right Madrid government has resisted the stricter measures in the city of 3.3 million and its suburbs for fears of damaging the economy. Regional chief Isabel Diaz Ayuso also claims that Spain’s national left-wing coalition is targeting Madrid for political reasons and disregarding her efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

has reported 86,821 new coronaviruses cases and another 1,181 fatalities, making September its worst month of the pandemic.

The Health Ministry’s update raises India’s total caseload to more than 6.3 million and 98,678 dead. India added 41 per cent of its confirmed cases and 34 per cent of fatalities in September alone.

India is expected to become the pandemic’s worst-hit country within weeks, surpassing the United States, where more than 7.2 million people have been infected.

The government announced further easing of restrictions Oct. 15. Cinemas, theatres and multiplexes can open with up to half of seating capacity, and swimming pools can also be used by athletes in training.

The government also said India’s 28 states can decide on reopening of schools and coaching institutions gradually after Oct. 15. However, the students will have the option of attending online classes.


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