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Federal COVID update, Ontario tightens health restrictions: In The News for Jan. 5

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Jan. 5 ... What we are watching in Canada ... Chief public health officer Dr.

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Jan. 5 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam will join Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this morning for the first federal COVID-19 update of the new year.

The update follows Trudeau's phone call yesterday with B.C. Premier and Council of the Federation chair John Horgan, where the prime minister said he would hold a call with the premiers next week to discuss how governments are keeping citizens safe.

The surge in cases brought on by the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has forced multiple provinces to postpone non-urgent surgeries, reduce access to COVID tests and delay the return to in-person learning for students.

Trudeau's office says he and Horgan also discussed the Canada Health Transfer, and agreed to continue discussions with all provincial and territorial governments to ensure Canadians are supported by effective health-care systems.

Trudeau repeated his call for Canadians to get vaccinated against the virus as he received a booster shot at an Ottawa pharmacy Tuesday.

Quebecers 55 and over became eligible to book appointments for a third dose on Tuesday, while Saskatchewan announced it will open up fourth doses to people who are immunocompromised, provided it has been three months since their third shot.


Also this ...

Stricter COVID-19 measures are taking effect in Ontario today.

School classes will run remotely until at least Jan. 17, while most other measures, including business closures, are slated to last at least 21 days.

Hospitals are ordered to pause all non-urgent surgeries to free up staff to cover absences and the rising number of hospitalized virus patients.

Several kinds of business including cinemas, gyms, theatres and restaurants must close for indoor activities.

Some other businesses including retail stores and personal care services are limited to 50 per cent capacity.

Social gatherings are limited to five people indoors and 10 people outdoors.


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

NEW YORK _ Former U.S. President Donald Trump has cancelled a press conference he had planned to hold in Florida on the anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by his supporters.

Trump said in a statement Tuesday evening that he would instead be discussing his grievances at a rally he has planned in Arizona later this month.

Trump had been expected to use the press conference to rail against the congressional committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, when a mob of his supporters violently stormed the Capitol in an effort to halt the peaceful transfer of power, and to repeat his lies about the 2020 election.

Trump continues to falsely insist the election was ``stolen'' and that the ``real'' insurrection was on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020, the day Democrat Joe Biden won the votes that led to his 306-232 Electoral College victory. Federal and state election officials, Trump's own attorney general and numerous judges _ including some he appointed _ have all said repeatedly that the election was fair and that there is no credible evidence of serious fraud.

"In light of the total bias and dishonesty of the January 6th Unselect Committee of Democrats, two failed Republicans, and the Fake News Media, I am cancelling the January 6th Press Conference at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, and instead will discuss many of those important topics at my rally on Saturday, January 15th, in Arizona,'' Trump wrote.

Trump, whom one ally said had soured on the event because he felt it would not be covered fairly, had faced pressure to cancel from some who thought it was ill-advised, especially in an election year. Republicans are hoping to win back control of the House and Senate in this fall's midterm elections and some in the party fear the former president's ongoing obsession with the 2020 election and efforts to defend the rioters could turn off voters the party needs to win.

Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump friend and ally, told the news outlet Axios that he had urged Trump to cancel, telling him over a round of golf in West Palm Beach this weekend that ``there could be peril in doing a news conference. ... Best to focus on election reform instead.''

The event would have been Trump's second press conference since leaving office. While he has been banned from Twitter and other social media outlets, he has appeared regularly on conservative news outlets and held numerous rallies and other events.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

SEOUL, South Korea _ North Korea fired a suspected ballistic missile into the sea on Wednesday, the South Korean and Japanese militaries said, its first public weapons launch in about two months and a signal that Pyongyang isn't interested in rejoining denuclearization talks anytime soon and would rather focus on boosting its weapons arsenal.

The latest launch came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to further bolster his military capability _ without disclosing any new policies toward the United States or South Korea _ at a high-profile ruling party conference last week.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that North Korea fired a suspected ballistic missile toward its eastern waters on Wednesday morning. It said South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities were trying to analyze more information about the launch.

In an emergency video conference, members of South Korea's presidential national security team expressed concerns about the launch and said resuming talks with North Korea is important to resolve tensions, according to the presidential Blue House.

The Japanese Defense Ministry also detected the North Korean launch, saying the country likely fired a missile.

Between September and November, North Korea performed a spate of weapons tests in what experts called an attempt to apply more pressure on its rivals to accept it as a nuclear power state in the hopes of winning relief from economic sanctions. The weapons tested included a submarine-launched ballistic missile and a developmental hypersonic missile. Since its artillery firing drills in early November, North Korea had halted testing activities until Wednesday's launch.

The Biden administration has repeatedly said it is open to resuming nuclear diplomacy with North Korea ``anywhere and at any time'' without preconditions. The North has so far rebuffed such overtures, saying U.S. hostility remains unchanged.


On this day in 1998 ...

An ice storm began that devastated Quebec and eastern Ontario. It was caused by a moisture-laden front from the Gulf of Mexico stalling over Arctic air on the ground and lasted until Jan. 10. A state of emergency was declared after the ice downed power lines, forcing 100,000 people out of their homes. Millions were left without power, sometimes for weeks. The Canadian Forces sent in 16,000 troops, the largest peacetime deployment in the military's history. The storm caused more than two dozen deaths and over $1 billion in insurance claims.


In entertainment ...

OAKLAND, Calif. _ Reigning ``Jeopardy!'' champion Amy Schneider was robbed at gunpoint over New Year's weekend in Oakland, California.

Schneider, an Oakland resident, tweeted about the robbery to her 52,000 followers, saying she was shaken up but otherwise OK.

"Hi all! So first off: I'm fine. But I got robbed yesterday, lost my ID, credit cards and phone. I then couldn't really sleep last night, and have been dragging myself around all day trying to replace everything,'' the Oakland resident said in her post.

Oakland police said in a statement they were still investigating the armed robbery that occurred Sunday afternoon and had not yet made any arrests.

Schneider, the first transgender contestant to qualify for the Tournament of Champions, won again on Tuesday's show bringing her impressive winning streak to 25 consecutive victories, earning her $897,600 in winnings so far.

The game show issued a statement saying, ``We were deeply saddened to hear about this incident, and we reached out to Amy privately to offer our help in any capacity.''



LEBANON, N.H. (AP) _ First thought to be a lost dog, a German shepherd named Tinsley successfully led New Hampshire law enforcement to the site of its owner's late-night rollover crash.

Both the truck's occupants were seriously hurt, but thanks to Tinsley's dogged efforts, they quickly received medical assistance once police found the vehicle, WMUR-TV reported Tuesday.

"They could tell the dog was trying to show them something,'' said Lt. Daniel Baldassarre of the New Hampshire State Police. "He kept trying to get away from them but didn't run away totally.''

"It was kind of, `Follow me. Follow me.' And they did that and you know, to their surprise to see the guardrail damaged and to look down to where the dog is looking at, it's just, they were almost in disbelief,'' he said.

A New Hampshire state trooper and police from the nearby city of Lebanon arrived at the crash site late Monday, which was near a highway junction just across the state line in Vermont.

There were no further details on the condition of those injured in the single-vehicle crash.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 5, 2022

The Canadian Press