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VICTORIA — British Columbia youths aged 12 to 17 years old could soon be getting COVID-19 vaccines, and possibly before the end of the school year.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says they’re looking at ways to immunize young people with their first dose by the end of June now that Health Canada has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those 12 and older.

She says the province is looking at best ways to provide the vaccine to young people, including the option of running clinics in schools.

Henry says she understands some people have concerns about vaccine risks, especially for those who are pregnant and youth, but all Health Canada-approved vaccines are safe.

B.C. reported 572 COVID-19 cases today, the first time case counts have been below 600 since March, and there have been no new deaths.

However, the number of people in hospital remains high at 481, with 161 of those people in intensive care.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press



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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — "We're looking for Nancy Pelosi's laptop," FBI agents told Marilyn Hueper after briefly handcuffing her.

Hueper shot back: "That still doesn't explain why you're in my home. Or in Homer, Alaska."

The search for the House speaker's laptop had taken a U.S. Capitol Police officer thousands of miles away from home for an FBI raid on Hueper's home, looking for something stolen during the Jan. 6 insurrection — and the person who did it.

The agents would walk out of Hueper's home with iPads, cellphones and a pocket-sized copy of the Declaration of Independence. They took a laptop, but it wasn't from Pelosi's office. And it's possible they may have the wrong person altogether — even though Hueper looks strikingly similar to the thief.

The Justice Department’s massive prosecution of those who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 has not been without its problems, including this potential instance of mistaken identity. And as Republicans are increasingly seeking to minimize the insurrection and play down the horror of the day, any missteps by federal prosecutors could be used in that effort to discredit what actually happened.

Federal prosecutors have charged more than 400 people, the largest undertaking by the department, including scores of defendants who posted images of their crimes online and boasted about breaking into the hallowed building. Some are facing serious charges and considerable prison time.

Hueper and her husband first came to officials’ attention this year when Alaska Airlines in February banned the couple for refusing to wear masks on a flight, according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press. Then two other people called in tips saying they recognized Hueper in photos that authorities had released of suspects wanted for storming the Capitol.

The insurrectionists sought to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden's victory. Hundreds of officers were injured and five people died after the riot, including a Capitol Police officer.

Supporters of then-President Donald Trump ransacked offices, rifled through lawmakers’ papers and desks, smashed through glass, shattered windows and tore down signs. Among the items stolen: the laptop from Pelosi’s office, her lectern, an iPad belonging to Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn and other electronics.

But the volume of people inside the Capitol building, along with the lack of arrests made at the time of the riot, has made it difficult to identify people, even with the glut of social media evidence. Federal agents have dug through thousands of social media posts, gotten sweeping warrants to obtain information on cellphones in the area of the Capitol, used facial recognition tools and obtained logs of devices that signed into the congressional Wi-Fi during the riot.

But by far the most effective tool for federal agents has been old-fashioned tips. Many of the rioters have been ratted out by their friends and family members.

The warrant, obtained by the AP, identifies Hueper as the woman who took the laptop.

But they’re wrong, Hueper insists. She told the AP that another woman wearing her same coat and with a similar hairstyle was inside the Capitol during the insurrection, not her. She admits she was in Washington, D.C., for Trump's rally that day but says she didn't get any closer than 100 yards (91 metres) from the Capitol and spent part of the day being lost in an unfamiliar city.

She said agents showed her one photo of the woman inside the Capitol, and they looked so similar that Hueper wondered if someone had used photo-editing software to put her in the photograph.

The warrant details how FBI agents located an image showing Hueper wearing similar clothing in a photo on her husband's Instagram account. It said Hueper's husband had also posted photos of them near the Capitol. "BEST OF 2020," he wrote in one, showing her from behind nearing the building. "Marilyn approaching the Capital. As Patriots, there is a righteous revolution to take back our country … To be there was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. STOP THE STEAL!"

Hueper said an agent came back with a different and larger photo of the woman, which showed the suspected thief wearing a black sweater with large white snowflakes on it. The agent asked where in the house they could locate the sweater.

Hueper said she reiterated she wasn’t inside the building. "No. 2, why didn't you show me this photo to start with? Because we can both obviously see here this is a different person."

Plus, she said, the sweater was hideous.

Hueper said she grabbed the photo and held it next to her face, asking the female agent to look at both closely, "Me. Her. Me. Her," she told the agent. Hueper said the agent grabbed the paper and walked off.

Both women were wearing black Columbia down coats. However, in a photo posted on her husband's Facebook page from Jan. 6, Hueper is shown wearing a black face mask, a green blouse open at the collar and a light green scarf. The surveillance video released by the FBI shows the sought-after woman wearing the black sweater with a snowflake print and dangling earrings. Also, the woman in the photo has detached earlobes, while Hueper says hers are attached.

After insisting, Hueper was shown the front page of the warrant but not allowed to thoroughly read the document, she said. She read it only after receiving a copy as the dozen or so agents and Capitol Police officer left.

According to the search warrants, agents could collect any electronics that might be suspected to have been involved, items stolen from the Capitol, a laptop with descriptors and a serial number — "which they didn't find," she said — and any paperwork related to planning violence.

Hueper said she has not heard back from federal authorities, nor have agents returned her laptop, two iPads, two cellphones or the 50-cent pocket-sized Declaration of Independence booklet they confiscated April 28.

She has not been arrested. Justice Department officials would say only that the investigation is ongoing.

But she decided to go public with her story, just in case.

"I better go online and protect myself before they call me in and make me this person," she said.

___

Balsamo reported from Washington.

Mark Thiessen And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press





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Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino, second from top right, leads participants in a virtual citizenship ceremony held over livestream due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on Canada Day 2020.

One third of the working age population in Ontario was born outside Canada; in Quebec, the number is one in six. Absent those people, you could lop 20 per cent off Ontario’s GDP and 10 per cent off Quebec’s output, according to a recent report by Scotiabank.

Immigration is an economic imperative for a country with a low birth rate and an aging population, that is speeding towards a worker-to-retiree ratio of two-to-one in the next decade or so.

But we are in the middle of a global pandemic that has restricted mobility between countries.

How does Canada maintain the steady stream of new workers that are needed to grow the economy?

Marco Mendicino, the ebullient immigration minister, has an ambitious plan to make up for last year’s shortfall by bringing in 1.2 million new residents over the next three years, including 401,000 arrivals in 2021. He said he remains confident we will hit that target, despite the new waves of the virus sweeping the globe.

Canada attracted 184,000 new residents last year, far short of the target of 341,000 but still an eye-popping number in the circumstances. If you wondered who was flying in the middle of the pandemic, now you know.

Mendicino plans to galvanize this year’s effort by opening a pathway to permanent residence for 90,000 people who are already in Canada on temporary visas as students or workers in sectors classified as essential by the government. From Thursday, the department of immigration will start accepting applications for its six new limited time streams, including those who have been in the frontlines in hospitals and long-term care homes. For French-speaking applicants, there are no intake caps, the government said.

The “domestic immigration” initiative is a smart move that has buy-in from opposition parties. “It’s welcome. Many of these people are 50 per cent processed already, so that means less resources are used. Most are already contributing to Canada, such as the truck drivers taking life-saving supplies coast to coast,” said Conservative immigration critic, Jasraj Singh Hallan.

Opposition criticism is limited to the Liberal government’s managerial competence. Hallan is critical of Ottawa’s ability to process 400,000 new applications, given the lengthy backlogs that still exist in the system. “They set targets but are never able to meet their targets,” he said.

Still, it suggests the consensus around immigration as a positive contributor to Canadian society still exists. In its last year in office, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government brought in 271,833 new residents. During its time in power, the Conservatives oversaw the arrival of 2.8 million new Canadians, mainly from countries like India, China, Pakistan and the Philippines. In his book Right Here, Right Now, Harper said governments that “make immigration legal, secure and in the main economically driven” will see it have high levels of public confidence.

Mendicino said he never takes that confidence for granted. This year, the target is to have 232,500 new residents, or 58 per cent, enter under the economic class stream; 103,000, or 26 per cent, under the family reunification stream and around 65,000, or 16 per cent, under the refugee and humanitarian classification — percentages that are broadly consistent with the Harper years. “We feel we have the mix right,” said Mendicino.

But how comfortable are Canadians going to be with hundreds of thousands of newcomers arriving from countries that are currently COVID hotspots?

Public opinion polls suggest that, while Canadians remain broadly in favour of mass immigration as an economic driver, there is trepidation about increasing the level while there is still uncertainty about the future course of the pandemic.

A Leger poll last October suggested 52 per cent of respondents wanted to see a lower level of immigration maintained for at least a year. A Nanos poll in November said only 17 per cent wanted more immigration in 2021 than in 2020.

Mendicino says the government is extremely concerned about securing Canada’s borders, including by banning flights from hotspots – a move that reduced international air traffic that was already down 90 per cent year on year by another third. “But in the long-term, we are very much committed to ensuring that we can attract highly-skilled talented people, so we can retain our competitive advantage,” he said.

 Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.

The Conservatives may yet opt to call for lower levels of immigration because of the pandemic. In his leadership campaign, Erin O’Toole said that in the aftermath of COVID, it may be necessary to temporarily reduce skilled immigration “as it would be unfair to applicants if there are no employment prospects.”

If the Conservative leader does opt for a lower immigration target, it will be because he thinks it will sell politically, rather than because of any economic imperative.

The survey of private sector economists used by the Department of Finance in last month’s budget forecasts that unemployment will return to pre-pandemic levels next year.

The pervasive nature of immigration in this country means opinion is more enlightened than elsewhere. It’s hard to be snobbish when most of us are a generation or less removed from steerage and economy class.

At the same time, the influx of hundreds of thousands of people when the virus is still mutating does not seem to be a prudent course of action.

Canadians may yet conclude that you can have too much of a good thing.

• Email: jivison@postmedia.com | Twitter:



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WASHINGTON — The Army plans to put a civilian in charge of the command that conducts criminal investigations, a response to widespread criticism the unit is understaffed, overwhelmed and filled with inexperienced investigators, officials familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

The decision, expected to be announced Thursday, reflects recommendations made by an independent commission in the wake of violent crimes and murders at Fort Hood, Texas, including the death of Vanessa Guillén, whose remains were found about two months after she was killed.

According to officials, the Army Criminal Investigation Command, or CID, will be separated from the Provost Marshall General’s office, and instead of being run by a general officer it will be overseen by a yet-to-be-named civilian director. The move is designed to improve the capabilities of the command and address the findings of the Fort Hood commission.

The CID will be responsible for criminal investigations, and the Provost Marshal office will continue with separate duties.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the decision before it was made public, said immediate changes would be implemented at three Army installations considered high-risk to increase qualified staffing and help improve relationships with local law enforcement. It’s unclear which installations will be affected.

Longer-term changes would address how to improve the criminal investigations to better deter crime.

More than two dozen Fort Hood soldiers died in 2020, including in multiple homicides and suicides. Guillén’s death and other cases prompted the independent review, which found that military leaders were not adequately dealing with high rates of sexual assault, harassment, drug use and other problems at the base. The review also concluded that the Army CID was understaffed, badly organized and had too few experienced investigators.

Members of the independent review panel told Congress members in March that the CID investigators lacked the acumen to identify key leads and "connect the dots."

Christopher Swecker, chairman of the review panel, said the agents were "victims of the system," which he said failed to train them and often had them doing administrative tasks. And he said the base leadership was focused on military readiness, and "completely and utterly neglected" the sexual assault prevention program. As a result, he said, lower-level unit commanders didn't encourage service members to report assaults, and in many cases were shaming victims or were actually the perpetrators themselves.

During the hearing, lawmakers grilled the CID commander, who told them that she is "seizing this moment" to correct the staffing and resource problems within her agency that led to sweeping failures in tracking and solving cases.

"We can and we will do better," Maj. Gen. Donna Martin told the House Armed Services subcommittee on military personnel at the time. She said the Army was working to restructure and modernize the CID, and was considering adding more civilian investigators and creating special teams that could respond to major criminal cases when needed at any base. Martin is leaving the job, in a routine rotation.

The change by the Army mirrors a similar shift by the Navy in 1992, in the aftermath of the Tailhook scandal, when Navy and Marine officers sexually assaulted dozens of women at a hotel in Las Vegas. As a result of sweeping condemnation of the Navy’s investigation into the matter, leaders transformed the military-led Naval Investigative Service into the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and appointed a civilian director.

Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press



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WASHINGTON — Democrats are revising key sections of their sweeping legislation to overhaul U.S. elections, hoping to address concerns raised by state and local election officials even as they face daunting odds of passing the bill through Congress.

The changes would give states more time and flexibility to put new federal requirements in place after some election officials complained that the proposed timelines were burdensome. The bill would be the largest overhaul of U.S. elections in a generation and touches on almost every aspect of the electoral process.

The tweaks are a small step forward for Democrats, who have said the legislation is a top priority while they hold Congress and the presidency. President Joe Biden has said the bill — which would create automatic voter registration nationwide, promote early voting, require more disclosure from political donors and restrict partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, among other changes — would "restore the soul of America" by giving everyone equal access to the vote.

The legislation faces an uncertain future in the evenly split Senate, however. Republicans are universally opposed and argue it is a federal overreach designed to cement Democratic majorities. And Democrats themselves are not united on the measure, as West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin has not yet signed on.

As one of Biden’s top priorities, the legislation could eventually prompt Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to try to change filibuster rules that require 60 votes to pass most bills in the Senate. But the party is not yet united on that move, either, and a decision about what to do isn't expected soon.

Still, Democrats are moving forward on the legislation in hopes that they will ultimately find a way to pass it. The House approved its version of the 800-plus-page measure in March, and the Senate Rules Committee is expected to vote on it next week.

The revisions to the bill, which would be adopted through the committee process, would extend deadlines for certain election and voting changes, ease requirements and add waivers in some cases.

Democrats hope the changes will shore up support among some state and local election officials who worry that a few of the voting reforms could be costly to implement. They also said some of the deadlines were unrealistic. For instance, Democrats are planning to drop the requirement that local election offices provide self-sealing envelopes with mail ballots and cover the costs of return postage.

Instead, Democrats plan to require the U.S. Postal Service to carry mail ballots and ballot request forms free of charge with the federal government picking up the tab.

The bill, known as the For the People Act, has long been a priority for Democrats. They say a recent round of restrictions pushed by Republican state lawmakers in states like Florida and Arizona underscores the importance of Congress enacting minimum standards for elections.

Rep. John Sarbanes, the lead sponsor of the House bill, praised Senate colleagues for addressing concerns raised by election officials and urged senators to move quickly.

"Time is of the essence," said Sarbanes, a Democrat from Maryland. “We must advance this widely supported and transformational democracy reform package."

In the updated bill, states could apply for an extension to start automatic voter registration and would have more time to implement same-day registration at polling places and comply with new voting system requirements. Some election officials had complained the previous deadlines were unrealistic.

The new version also provides smaller jurisdictions some flexibility when it comes to meeting the requirement to provide 15 days of early voting, and it no longer mandates early voting on the Monday before an election. Some election officials had said they would prefer to use that day to prepare for in-person voting and instead start early voting a day earlier.

Democrats also amended a requirement that election officials give voters 10 days to fix an issue with their ballot signature. Some officials said the mandate could interfere with their ability to meet state deadlines to certify elections. The revised bill would require election officials to provide at least a three-day window after ballots are due.

___

Cassidy reported from Atlanta.

Christina A. Cassidy And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press



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YELLOWKNIFE — The Northwest Territories says it will offer vaccinations against COVID-19 to young people between 12 and 17 starting Thursday. 

The territory, which has only been using the Moderna vaccine, recently exchanged some of that for doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech product, which Health Canada has now approved for anyone as young as 12.

An N.W.T. news release says just over 1,100 Pfizer doses arrived in the territory from British Columbia on Tuesday.

COVID-19 cases are rising in Yellowknife and students were sent home earlier this week due to an outbreak at an elementary school.

That means the Pfizer vaccine will be available through online bookings for 12- to 17-year-olds in the capital. 

It will not be offered to adults in the territory, but the Moderna vaccine is still available.

“Introducing a second product into the NWT's inventory will allow for a more flexible, sustainable, and reliable COVID-19 vaccine program,” the release says.

It also says more Pfizer doses are expected to arrive in the N.W.T. in the coming weeks. 

“The (government of the) NWT decided on this proactive measure to expand vaccine eligibility, in part because of the increased prevalence of more contagious and deadly variants of concern, which pose a threat to the unvaccinated population and health system capacity.”

There were two dozen active COVID-19 cases in the Northwest Territories on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2021. 

The Canadian Press



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People watch a Long March 5B rocket, carrying China's Tianhe space station core module, as it lifts off from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in southern China's Hainan province on April 29, 2021.

On this date last year, China conducted the first launch of its Long March 5B rocket, a new version of the slightly troubled Long March 5 vehicle. The 5B is designed to carry voluminous payloads, and it was called into service to carry two important capsules to orbit. One was a prototype for a manned spacecraft to carry Chinese astronauts; the other was a “re-entry” capsule designed to be able to bring home cargoes from future Chinese space stations.

The “crewed” spacecraft, without human passengers, is said to have performed well and eventually landed safely in Inner Mongolia. The cargo boat malfunctioned coming home and was lost.

Relatively little heed was paid to the fate of the Long March 5B rocket itself, which caused alarm amongst U.S. military sky trackers when its orbit unexpectedly began to degrade, creating the possibility that debris might survive the heat of re-entry and land anyplace along the rocket’s ground track. That’s just what it seems to have done,

raining bits of metal down on the Ivory Coast

. There was no harm to persons or property damage. Despite the loss of one of the two payloads and the haphazard discarding of the booster, China declared the mission a success.

The second-ever Long March 5B mission lifted off on April 29 of this year, and it carried a much more precious cargo — Tianhe, an inhabitable module that is supposed to form the core of China’s third space station. The launch was broadcast live on Chinese television, and by all accounts the Tianhe module was

placed in the correct orbit

.

But once again the rocket it rode on has been chucked aside like a beer can, and once again skywatchers are trying to guess where and when it will come down. This is expected to happen on May 9 or 10, but the object is travelling at nearly 28,000 km/hr and it is impossible to pinpoint the exact moment when the atmosphere will latch onto it and snatch it earthward.

This being a watery world, the rocket is most likely to splash into the Pacific. (Its flight path, happily, hardly interacts with Canadian soil.) But it seems obvious that China doesn’t know or care. The other spacefaring countries took steps to make sure large objects didn’t reach the surface uncontrolled after Skylab, the original space station, fell helplessly upon the Australian outback in 1979. CBC News interviewed an astrophysicist yesterday who gave them a quote to make any reporter jealous: “It’s just considered bad practice to throw large pieces of metal from the sky.”

“Bad practice” might be another way of saying “defiance of one’s natural duty to his fellow man.” The Long March 5B problem illustrates some features of the Chinese progress that is supposed by some to be about to leave the Western world devastated. Broadly speaking, the Chinese space program is trying to replicate accomplishments that NASA had mastered 40 or 50 years ago; the follow-up joke “Can NASA still do those things?” may be very natural, but NASA is flying solar-powered helicopters around Mars right now.

The beer-can approach to rocketry seems like a sign that China is in a hurry to catch up, and its glam new space station might have military applications. It would be a surprise if it didn’t. The ethical norms being asserted against China were once ignored by the space-pioneering countries, or little thought of; the Chinese state, silent about its rocket refuse, might claim that it is entitled to act in a 1960s way in learning 1960s spaceflight. Then again, maybe it has simply had two unfortunate accidents with the two launches of this model of vehicle. Is Red China a backward country, or an incompetent one, or both?

 A badge of China's Lunar Exploration Program is seen on an employee's uniform before the launch of the Long March-5 Y5 rocket at Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan Province, China, on Nov. 23, 2020.

There is a 1971 UN treaty to handle situations like this: its full name is the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects. This treaty creates procedures allowing states to claim and recover money for such damages from other states. It’s only been invoked once, and the country that did it is Canada, which billed the Soviet Union $6 million when the nuclear reactor from the Kosmos 954 satellite fell on Great Slave Lake and the surrounding area in 1977.

I know that sentence about a Soviet reactor falling on the Territories, spalling the wilderness with lethal nuggets of radioactive material, will come as news to younger readers. (Unless they’re in, or from, the far north. Those folks know I haven’t misremembered a Cold War thriller as history.) It was such a big news story at the time that there was an entire Saturday Night Live episode about mutant lobsters predicated on it.

Then, in a matter of months, it vanished into the oubliette into which the deep state somehow tosses these things. Canada ended up getting only $3 million from the Soviets, covering part of the cost of the joint U.S.-Canada cleanup effort, but it was thought very worthwhile to establish the reality of the

Space Liability Convention

. Better dust it off just in case.

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AUSTIN, Texas — Texas would ban abortions after as early six weeks — before many women know they are pregnant — and allow private citizens to enforce the rule through civil lawsuits against doctors and others under a measure given preliminary approval by the GOP-dominated state House on Wednesday.

The move would have Texas join about a dozen other Republican-led states to pass so-called "heartbeat bills” which have been mostly blocked by federal courts.

A similar version has already passed the state Senate, and any differences will have to be negotiated before the bill goes to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. The governor has suggested he would sign it into law.

The Texas bill would ban abortions after the first detection of an embryonic "heartbeat.” Advanced technology can detect an electric signal flutter as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, even though the embryo isn’t yet a fetus and doesn’t have a heart. An embryo is termed a fetus beginning in the 11th week of pregnancy, medical experts say.

"Once that heartbeat is detected, that life is protected," said Rep. Shelby Slawson, the House sponsor of the measure said before the bill passed 81-63. "For far too long, abortion has meant the end of a beating heart."

A unique provision in the Texas bill prohibits state officials from enforcing the ban.

Instead, it allows anyone, even someone outside of Texas, to sue a doctor or anyone else who may have helped someone get an abortion after the time limit, and seek financial damages. Supporters of the measure hope that provision would survive the legal challenges that have doomed similar laws elsewhere..

"The Texas Heartbeat Act is novel in approach, allowing for citizens to hold abortionists accountable through private lawsuits. The bill does not punish women who obtain abortions," Texas Right to Life said in a statement.

But critics say that provision would allow abortion opponents to flood the courts with lawsuits to harass doctors, patients, nurses, domestic violence counsellors, a friend who drove a woman to a clinic, or even a parent who paid for a procedure.

And they argue that it would violate state constitutional requirements that civil lawsuits can be filed only by impacted parties. Under the bill, a person filing the lawsuit would not need any personal connection to the abortion in question.

The House version prevents a rapist, or someone who got a woman pregnant through incest, from filing a lawsuit over a late abortion.

The bill has been opposed by medical groups.

"Regardless of our personal beliefs about abortion, as licensed physicians in Texas, we implore you to not weaponize the judicial branch against us to make a political point," a group of 200 doctors wrote to House leadership on Monday.

A tearful Rep. Donna Howard, a Democrat, said it will force women into "dark corners" when seeking abortions.

"We do not want to return to a time when women had to hide in the shadows and risk their very lives with unsafe procedures," Howard said.

Texas law currently bans abortion after 20 weeks, with exceptions for a woman with a life-threatening medical condition or if the fetus has a severe abnormality.

Proponents of these so-called "heartbeat bills" are hoping for a legal challenge to eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court, where they look for the conservative coalition assembled under President Donald Trump to end the constitutional right to abortion protected under the high court's landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

Jim Vertuno, The Associated Press





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OTTAWA — Opposition parties rejected a call from Conservatives for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to fire his chief of staff over the handling of a complaint against Canada’s former top soldier.

The Tories’ motion called for Katie Telford to lose her job after a committee heard from a former Trudeau adviser suggesting that in 2018 she knew of a complaint involving former defence chief Jonathan Vance.

Trudeau has defended Telford by saying no one in his office knew the issue was of a “Me Too” nature.

The Conservatives contend that is not true and say if Telford failed to tell her boss about the complaint she should be dismissed.

Their motion was defeated by a vote in House of Commons of 209 to 122.

The NDP has said while it wants to hear Telford testify about what she knew of the Vance complaint, it believes it was the responsibility of Trudeau and his defence minister to take action, not an unelected staffer.

The New Democratic Party has also accused Conservatives of going after the only woman involved in the matter — something Tory deputy leader Candice Bergen called “sexist” for suggesting powerful women be held to a different standard than men in the same roles.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2021

The Canadian Press



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ST. LOUIS — A review of the investigation that brought down former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens three years ago uncovered evidence that the prosecutor in charge concealed evidence that could have helped Greitens, the head of the office that oversees lawyers’ professional conduct alleges.

Alan Pratzel, Missouri’s chief disciplinary counsel, contends in a court document obtained by the St. Louis Posts-Dispatch that there is probable cause to believe that St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner concealed details about the Greitens investigation from her subordinates regarding notes taken during interviews with witnesses and that she failed to disclose favourable evidence to Greitens' lawyers.

The disciplinary case was under seal until Tuesday, after Gardner’s lawyers had a chance to respond to the allegations.

Gardner's lawyer, Michael Downey, said in a court filing that Gardner didn't hide her role in the investigation and that she produced all of the notes that were taken during witness interviews. He called the claims "another attempt by Ms. Gardner's political enemies — largely from outside St. Louis — to remove Ms. Gardner and thwart the systemic reforms she champions."

Gardner's office said in a statement that she complied with the law during the Greitens investigation.

"Despite several investigations attempting to uncover illegal wrongdoing by her office in this case, none has ever been found," it said. "We are confident that a full review of the facts will show that the Circuit Attorney has not violated the ethical standards of the State of Missouri."

The Missouri Supreme Court, which presides over Pratzel’s office, decides disciplinary cases involving lawyers. No hearing date has been set. The court could decide to take no action or punish Gardner with a reprimand, suspension or revocation of her law license.

Greitens had been governor for a little over a year when he was indicted in February 2018 on a charge of felony invasion of privacy that accused him of taking a compromising photo of a woman during an extramarital affair and threatening to use it as blackmail if she spoke of the relationship.

Gardner abruptly dismissed the case during jury selection that May when she was faced with having to testify about her involvement in the investigation. Gardner, a Democrat, later brokered Greitens' resignation in exchange for dropping an unrelated felony computer tampering charge against the Republican governor.

In July 2018, members of Greitens' defence team filed an ethics complaint alleging that Gardner conspired with her private investigator, William Don Tisaby, to lie in sworn testimony about the investigation, and that she solicited false testimony from him. The complaint also alleged that Gardner failed to turn over evidence to Greitens' defence team.

Tisaby was later indicted on multiple counts of perjury and evidence tampering. His criminal case is still pending.

Greitens announced in March that he will seek the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2022.

The Associated Press