Tag Archives: Group

Police intelligence finds possible plot to breach U.S. Capitol by ‘identified militia group’ on Thursday

Capitol Police say they have intelligence showing a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol this  Thursday, nearly two months after a mob of supporters of former U.S. president Donald Trump stormed the iconic building to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden’s victory.

The threat appears to be connected to a far-right conspiracy theory, mainly promoted by supporters of QAnon, that Trump will rise again to power on March 4. That was the U.S.’s original presidential inauguration day until 1933, when it was moved to Jan. 20.

The revelation was detailed in a statement from the Capitol Police. It comes at the same time the acting police chief is testifying before a House subcommittee.

“The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats toward members of Congress or toward the Capitol complex,” the agency said in a statement. “We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4.”

Police did not name the militia group in the statement on Wednesday.

The statement differs from an advisory that was sent to members of Congress by the acting House sergeant-at-arms this week, saying Capitol Police had “no indication that groups will travel to Washington, D.C. to protest or commit acts of violence.”


A scene from the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

House rises for the week 

The House abruptly finished its work for the week Wednesday afternoon, moving up work that had been scheduled for Thursday. 

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer notified lawmakers late Wednesday of the sudden schedule change. An aide who was granted anonymity to discuss the matter said the decision was made due to the threats. 

Capitol Police say that they have stepped up security around the Capitol complex since January’s insurrection, adding physical security measures such as fencing topped with razor wire around the Capitol and members of the National Guard who remain at the complex.

The statement said the agency was “taking the intelligence seriously” but provided no other specific details on the threat.

Some consider March 4 ‘the real inauguration day’

News of the threat came as the Capitol police and other law enforcement agencies are taking heat from Congress in contentious hearings this week on their handling of the Jan. 6 riot. They were prepared for a protest and were badly under-prepared for the riot. It took hours for reinforcements to come and by then Trump supporters had roamed the halls of the U.S. Capitol for hours.

March 4 is considered by some to be the “real inauguration day,” though there has not been nearly the amount of online chatter that occurred before Jan. 6 from extremist groups.

So far, about 300 people have been charged with federal crimes for their roles in the riot. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died.

Thousands of accounts that promoted the Jan. 6 event that led to a violent storming of the U.S. Capitol have since been suspended by major tech companies like Facebook and Twitter, making it far more difficult for QAnon and far-right groups to organize a repeat of the mass gathering on Thursday.

Twitter banned more than 70,000 accounts after the riots, while Facebook and Instagram removed posts mentioning “stop the steal,” a pro-Trump rallying cry used to mobilize his supporters in January.

The conservative social media platform Parler, which many of Trump’s supporters joined to promote false election fraud conspiracy theories and encourage friends to “storm” the Capitol on Jan. 6, was effectively booted off the internet for several weeks following the siege when Amazon suspended its web-hosting services, and Apple and Google removed it from their app stores. 

Since his defeat, Trump has been promoting lies that the election was stolen from him through mass voter fraud, even though such claims have been rejected by judges, Republican state officials and Trump’s own administration.

He was impeached by the House after the Jan. 6 riot on a charge of incitement of insurrection but was acquitted by the Senate.

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CBC | World News

Police intelligence finds possible plot to breach U.S. Capitol by ‘identified militia group’ on Thursday

Capitol Police say they have intelligence showing a “possible plot” by a militia group to breach the U.S. Capitol this  Thursday, nearly two months after a mob of supporters of former U.S. president Donald Trump stormed the iconic building to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden’s victory.

The threat appears to be connected to a far-right conspiracy theory, mainly promoted by supporters of QAnon, that Trump will rise again to power on March 4. That was the U.S.’s original presidential inauguration day until 1933, when it was moved to Jan. 20.

The revelation was detailed in a statement from the Capitol Police. It comes at the same time the acting police chief is testifying before a House subcommittee.

“The United States Capitol Police Department is aware of and prepared for any potential threats towards members of Congress or towards the Capitol complex,” the agency said in a statement. “We have obtained intelligence that shows a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4.”

Police did not name the militia group in the statement on Wednesday.

The statement differs from an advisory that was sent to members of Congress by the acting House sergeant-at-arms this week, saying Capitol Police had “no indication that groups will travel to Washington, D.C. to protest or commit acts of violence.”


A scene from the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

An advisory sent earlier this week to members of Congress by Timothy Blodgett, the acting House sergeant-at-arms, said that the Capitol Police had “no indication that groups will travel to Washington D.C. to protest or commit acts of violence.”

But that advisory was updated in a note to lawmakers Wednesday morning. Blodgett wrote that the Capitol Police had received “new and concerning information and intelligence indicating additional interest in the Capitol for the dates of March 4th – 6th by a militia group.”

In her testimony to the House panel, acting Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman said her investigators had collected “some concerning intelligence,” but declined to provide any details publicly, saying it was “law enforcement sensitive” and that she would provide a private briefing for the subcommittee members.

Capitol Police say that they have stepped up security around the Capitol complex since January’s insurrection, adding physical security measures such as fencing topped with razor wire around the Capitol and members of the National Guard who remain at the complex.

The statement said the agency was “taking the intelligence seriously” but provided no other specific details on the threat.

Some consider March 4 ‘the real inauguration day’

The announcement comes as the Capitol police and other law enforcement agencies are taking heat from Congress in contentious hearings this week on their handling of the Jan. 6 riot. They were prepared for a protest and were badly under-prepared for the riot. It took hours for reinforcements to come and by then Trump supporters had roamed the halls of the U.S. Capitol for hours. March 4 is considered by some to be the “real inauguration day,” though there has not been nearly the amount of online chatter that occurred before Jan. 6 from extremist groups.

So far, about 300 people have been charged with federal crimes for their roles in the riot. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died.

Thousands of accounts that promoted the Jan. 6 event that led to a violent storming of the U.S. Capitol have since been suspended by major tech companies like Facebook and Twitter, making it far more difficult for QAnon and far-right groups to organize a repeat of the mass gathering on Thursday.

Twitter banned more than 70,000 accounts after the riots, while Facebook and Instagram removed posts mentioning “stop the steal,” a pro-Trump rallying cry used to mobilize his supporters in January.

The conservative social media platform Parler, which many of Trump’s supporters joined to promote false election fraud conspiracy theories and encourage friends to “storm” the Capitol on Jan. 6, was booted off the internet following the siege.

Since his defeat, Trump has been promoting lies that the election was stolen from him through mass voter fraud, even though such claims have been rejected by judges, Republican state officials and Trump’s own administration.

He was impeached by the House after the Jan. 6 riot on a charge of incitement of insurrection but was acquitted by the Senate.

Lawmakers to be briefed Wednesday afternoon

Rep. Adriano Espaillat, a Democrat from New York, said he was “very concerned” about potential threats Thursday and wasn’t sure whether the Capitol Police were adequately prepared to respond.

“I believe that there should be additional resources assigned to their efforts to sweep for explosives, for example,” he said. “And I don’t know to what degree that’s being done right now.”

Lawmakers were expected to be briefed later Wednesday by Capitol Police leadership in a closed session.

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CBC | World News

None of Ottawa’s new travel rules apply to the largest group of people entering Canada — truckers

None of the federal government’s recently announced new travel measures — which include COVID-19 testing upon arrival — apply to the largest group of people regularly entering Canada: Commercial truck drivers.

Of the 10 million entries into Canada since March 21, 2020, close to half — 4.6 million — were made by commercial truck drivers crossing by land, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

Because truck drivers deliver essential goods across the border during the pandemic, the government has exempted them from quarantine and all COVID-19 test requirements. Ottawa says it’s exploring tests for truckers at the border but has not yet presented concrete plans.

Meanwhile, some Canadian truck drivers want more protections now, as highly contagious COVID-19 variants spread rapidly in the United States

“You hear how this thing is spreading like wildfire,” said long-haul trucker Luis Franco of Calgary, who transports goods to the U.S. four to five times a month. 

“I’m very concerned about my family when I come back,” Franco said. “I don’t want to get them sick.”


Close to half the entries into Canada since March 21 have been made by truck drivers crossing by land, according to the Canada Border Services Agency. (Rob Gurdebeke/The Canadian Press)

Even though truck drivers are exempt from quarantine, they must follow other protective measures such as wearing masks, social distancing and answering health questions at the border. 

Despite following all the rules, Franco said he still feels unsafe because he encounters many people at U.S. rest stops who don’t take precautions.

“A lot of the Americans like in the southern states, or in the western states, they don’t believe in COVID,” he said. “You walk into a truck stop or fuel up, or to do whatever you got to do and [it appears as though] 80 per cent of the people, they’re not wearing masks, they’re not social distancing.”

Watch: Truck driver Luis Franco talks about the dangers trucker face

Calgary-based Luis Franco says the essential worker exemptions for border crossing truck drivers like himself are dangerous. He makes four to five trips into the U.S. every month, where he says too many people aren’t taking COVID-19 seriously. He worries he could be infected and bring the virus — or one of the highly-contagious new variants — into Canada, and into his own home. He wants to see the federal government take action, to either enforce rapid testing at the border or to give truckers priority for the COVID vaccine. 2:02

As an added protection, Franco wants the government to test truckers for COVID-19 each time they cross into Canada. 

“A lot of us could very well be asymptomatic,” he said.

Franco’s not alone. More than 100 Canadian science and health experts have signed a petition calling for the federal government to implement strict border measures, including COVID-19 tests for everyone entering Canada — including essential workers. 

“Canada faces a very significant risk of an escalated new, variant driven COVID wave,” says the petition. 

Ottawa explores testing truckers

On Jan. 29, eight days after the petition was launched publicly, the government announced it was toughening up its border measures.

Effective Feb.15, travellers entering Canada by land must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test at the border. And starting on Feb. 22, they will also be required to take another COVID-19 test on arrival, as well as one near the end of their 14-day quarantine.

However, truckers and other essential workers — who are already exempt from quarantine — are exempt from the new test requirements.

On Sunday, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said the government is also exploring the introduction of COVID-19 tests for essential workers crossing the border.

“We’re working very closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada and also with our provincial health authorities to [look] at implementing a system of regular testing to help protect those essential workers and truck drivers that are coming into the country and also to ensure that they’re not the source of any new infection,” Blair said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live.

But infectious disease specialist, Dr. Jeff Kwong said the government needs to take action now.

“It only takes a handful of [truckers] to be infected when they’re coming back and then they’re seeding infections here in Canada,” said Kwong, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. 


Infectious disease specialist, Dr. Jeff Kwong said the government needs to take immediate action to start testing truckers at the Canadian land border. (CBC)

Kwong recommends Ottawa immediately introduce COVID-19 rapid tests for essential workers crossing the land border. Rapid tests are known to be less sensitive than regular COVID-19 tests, but provide results within minutes.

“Just do a test at the border. If they’re positive, then don’t go home to your family,” Kwong said. “I’m not sure why it hasn’t been implemented.”

Following the swift spread of a new COVID-19 variant in the United Kingdom in December, several European countries began demanding that truck drivers entering from the U.K. provide proof of a negative COVID-19 rapid test.

What about vaccinating truckers?

Long-haul truck driver Leanne Steeves said she also feels unsafe when transporting goods to the U.S., which has the highest COVID-19 case count across the globe. Steeves is diabetic which puts her at a higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19.

“It’s scary,” said Steeves who lives in Woodbridge, Ont. “We have to go to the states, we have to go to California, we have to go to Florida, you know what I mean? We’re going through these bad [COVID-19] areas.”

Despite the risks, Steeves isn’t a fan of testing truckers because she believes it would create a logistical nightmare. 

“The wait at the border would be insane,” she said. 


Leanne Steeves and her husband Gerald are both long-haul truck drivers who make frequent trips to the U.S. during the pandemic. Steeves said she would like truck drivers to get top priority for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Submitted by Leanne Steeves)

Teamsters Canada — which represents more than 15,000 long-haul truck drivers — agrees with Steeves, which is why the union recommends the government instead test truckers at truck stops and rest areas. It also wants truck drivers given top proriority for COVID-19 vaccinations. 

“More needs to be done to protect drivers as new and potentially more dangerous variants emerge,” said Teamsters spokesperson, Christopher Monette in an email. 

Truck drivers Franco and Steeves agree they should be vaccinated as soon as possible. However, neither of them are in the top priority group for their province, meaning they could wait months for their shots.

“If we can help protect ourselves a little bit more by having the vaccine [now], that’d be awesome,” said Steeves. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada did not respond to a request for comment on prioritizing vaccinations for truckers. 

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CBC | Health News

Toronto Six romp past Connecticut to clinch top seed in Isobel Cup group

The Toronto Six have clinched the first seed in their group at the National Women’s Hockey League Isobel Cup playoffs.

The Six obtained top seed following a 6-0 victory over the Connecticut Whale in round-robin play at the Herb Brooks Arena.

Toronto Six forward Mackenzie MacNeil scored a pair of goals in the victory. Sarah-Eve Coutu Godbout, Taylor Woods, Taytum Clairmont and Mikyla Grant-Mentis also scored a goal.

The Six will play the fourth-seeded team in Thursday’s semifinals, either the Buffalo Beauts or the Boston Pride. Both teams will play each other Monday to determine the final seed for this week’s semifinal games.

WATCH | MacNeil pockets 2 in Toronto Six win:

MacNeil led the way as the Six shutout Connecticut 6-0 in NWHL round robin play. 0:39

The winner of the semifinals will play in Friday’s championship game.

Toronto is the first Canadian team to participate in the NWHL and is playing in its inaugural season.

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CBC | Sports News

Bangladesh moves second group of Rohingya refugees to remote island

Bangladesh started moving a second group of Rohingya Muslim refugees to a low-lying island in the Bay of Bengal on Tuesday, despite opposition from rights groups worried about the new site’s vulnerability to floods.

The United Nations says it has not been involved in the relocation but urged the government to ensure no refugee is forced to move to Bhasan Char island, which only emerged from the sea 20 years ago.

“We are ready to receive the new arrivals,” Navy Commodore Abdullah Al Mamun Chowdhury said from the island of the 1,804 Rohingya being moved in seven ships.

A first group of more than 1,600 Rohingya, members of a minority group who have fled from Myanmar, were relocated from their rickety camps near the Myanmar border to Bhasan Char earlier in the month.

Storms regularly hit the Bangladesh coast. In 1991, nearly 143,000 people were killed when a cyclone whipped up a 4.5-metre tidal surge.

The government has built a 12-kilometre embankment to protect the island along with housing for 100,000 people. It dismisses the risks.

“The island is completely safe,” Foreign Minister Abdul Momen told Reuters.

The government also says the relocation is voluntary but some refugees from the first group have spoken about being coerced to go.


Rohingya refugees wait in a naval ship to be transported to an isolated island in the Bay of Bengal. (Mahmud Hossain Opu/The Associated Press)

The human rights group Amnesty International also expressed concern.

“(A) lack of transparency in the consultation process with refugees, and allegations from within the community about cash incentives being offered to Rohingya families to relocate to Bhashan Char as well as use of intimidation tactics are making the relocation process questionable,” the group said.

Momen rejected such doubts.

“The Rohingya people who have shifted there are very happy with the arrangement. Some evil groups are spreading negative propaganda,” he said.

Two Rohingya men on board one of the ships heading to the island from the port of Chittagong told Reuters they were moving to their new home voluntarily. One said he was joining relatives already there while the other was moving with his wife and six children.

“There is so much suffering and conflict in the camp,” said one of the men. “We are going there in the hope of a better life.”

Reuters is withholding their names given the controversy around the move among the community, with many keen to stay on the mainland.

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CBC | World News

California’s governor accused of COVID-19 hypocrisy after restaurant dinner with large group

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said this week he made a “bad mistake” by attending a friend’s birthday dinner during a spike in coronavirus cases and promised to “own it” and move forward. But there was more to the story than he revealed.

Photos obtained by Fox 11 in Los Angeles show the governor in the company of multiple lobbyists and raise questions about how truthful Newsom was in claiming the dinner was outdoors.

The images threaten his credibility at a time when he and health officials are pleading with Californians to stay home and not gather with friends and relatives outside their households.

Los Angeles County Health Director Barbara Ferrer, whose county is facing the possibility of a three-week lockdown if cases continue on their current trajectory, called Newsom’s decision to attend the dinner “a big mistake” that she trusts won’t happen again.

Jack Pitney, a professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College, said “in the future, when critics of lobbyists make their case, this dinner will be Exhibit A.”

Newsom attended the dinner on Nov. 6 at the French Laundry, one of the most expensive restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. His administration didn’t acknowledge it until a week later, when a reporter was tipped and asked about it.


Newsom, a Democrat, apologized on Monday and described the dinner as having been outdoors. But the photos show Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, sitting maskless around a crowded table of 12 inside a room that was enclosed on three sides.

The fourth side was open, though the woman who took the photos and provided them to Fox 11 said a sliding glass door eventually was closed after Newsom’s group became loud. The woman was not identified by the station.

Nathan Click, a spokesperson for Newsom, did not address whether the room was closed off and why the governor maintained the dinner was outdoors.

Mask use questioned

The restaurant is in Napa County, which at the time of the dinner was allowed to offer limited indoor service. It is now among 41 counties that can only serve outdoors.

California’s coronavirus guidance for restaurants does not describe in detail what counts as outdoor dining, but many have set up tents that create spaces enclosed on three sides. The guidelines do say that people at the same table don’t have to socially distance, though Newsom repeatedly has encouraged people to do so when around those outside their households.

Newsom’s office has not responded to repeated questions from The Associated Press about whether the governor wore a mask when not eating or drinking or whether he was tested following the dinner.

Last month, his office tweeted, “Going out to eat with members of your household this weekend? Don’t forget to keep your mask on in between bites.”

The full list of attendees has not been disclosed, but it’s known Newsom was seated among at least three lobbyists, including two top officials for the California Medical Association (CMA), an organization that represents and lobbies for 50,000 doctors and has recently tweeted messages including #StayHome and #WearAMask.

Spokesman Anthony York confirmed CMA CEO Dustin Corcoran and senior vice-president Janus Norman were in attendance.


The dinner was held for the 50th birthday of Jason Kinney, a friend of Newsom’s as well as a lobbyist. His firm, Axiom Advisers, has high-profile clients including energy companies, Facebook and Netflix, and the California Building Industry Association. Kinney used to lobby for the California Medical Association and served on Newsom’s transition team in 2019.

The three-star Michelin restaurant offers a $ 350 US tasting menu and separate $ 450- and $ 850-per-person menus for parties of up to 12 people. It’s not clear what Newsom’s party had but he said he and his wife paid for their meals.

Critics, including Republican state senator Shannon Grove, quickly noted the disconnect between dining at a fancy restaurant when so many Californians are unemployed.

Legislators took trip to Hawaii

While Newsom faces heat for his decision, some state lawmakers — both Republicans and Democrats — are being criticized for going to Hawaii this week for the annual Independent Voter Project conference as California’s nearly 40 million residents are told to avoid travel.

A full list of legislators has not been made public, but two Southern California Assembly members, Democrat Blanca Rubio and Independent Chad Mayes, issued statements Wednesday acknowledging their participation.

Both said it is an important gathering for public policy discussions and that this year’s conference was especially salient because it focused on reopening the economy. They said all participants adhered to strict health safety protocols.

Hayes said he was impressed with Hawaii’s Safe Travels program for visitors and “will strongly advocate that California implement a similar program to help breathe new life into our tourism economy.”

Pitney, the Clarement McKenna College professor, said by ignoring recommendations on travel and gatherings, Newsom and the legislators reinforce “the perception that there’s one rule for the elites and one rule for the rest of us.”

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Manchester United takes down PSG in Champions League group stage

Marcus Rashford sprinted toward the corner flag inside an empty Parc des Princes and slid on his knees in celebration, just like two seasons ago.

Another trip to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. Another late winner for the Manchester United striker.

In a heavyweight contest on the opening night of the group stage, United reproduced its stunning exploits from the 2018-19 competition by beating PSG away thanks to Rashford’s 87th-minute strike in a 2-1 win on Tuesday.

It was an eerily similar scenario to 18 months ago, when United arrived in the French capital heavily depleted and 2-0 down from the first leg of the teams’ last-16 match. It was Rashford who clinched an unlikely 3-1 win — and progress to the quarterfinals — with a stoppage-time penalty.

PSG, last season’s beaten finalist, already has work to do if the Qatar-owned team is to realize its long-held ambition of being European champion for the first time.

Lionel Messi’s Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus are up and running already, though.

Messi scored a penalty to set Barca on its way to a 5-1 win over Hungarian outsider Ferencvaros as the Spanish team began the rebuild of its reputation in Europe’s elite competition, two months after an embarrassing 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals last season.

Ronaldo was missing for Juventus after testing positive for the coronavirus last week, but the Italian champion had a worthy replacement in Alvaro Morata as the striker scored twice in a 2-0 win at Dynamo Kyiv.

There were wins for Lazio, Leipzig and Club Brugge, while Chelsea and Sevilla drew 0-0 and two group-stage newcomers — Rennes and Krasnodar — drew 1-1.

Shortage of fans

There were no fans at the Parc des Princes, one of three stadiums — along with Barcelona’s Camp Nou and Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge — to be without spectators for the return of the Champions League because of the coronavirus.

Other games were sparsely attended, with nearly 16,700 spectators watching Zenit St. Petersburg lose 2-1 to Brugge, 14,850 seeing Juventus win in Kyiv, and 5,000 attending the Rennes-Krasnodar game.

A sluggish PSG certainly could have done with some backing from its supporters, with United proving more than a match for the home team despite having a makeshift centre-back pairing of Axel Tuanzebe and Victor Lindelof while Paul Pogba started on the bench.

United went ahead through midfielder Bruno Fernandes’ twice-taken penalty midway through the first half but conceded when Anthony Martial rose to clear Neymar’s corner from the left, only to glance a header past his own goalkeeper, David de Gea, in the 55th.

Rashford had already been denied by PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas when he collected a pass from Pogba and smashed a low, angled shot inside the far post from the edge of the penalty area.

In the other game in Group H, Leipzig — a surprise semifinalist last season — beat Istanbul Basaksehir 2-0 in front of just under 1,000 fans thanks to two first-half goals by Spanish defender Angelino.

Barcelona youngsters shine, Juventus rolls

Messi now has 116 goals in the Champions League, and extended his run of scoring at least one goal in the competition in 16 consecutive seasons.

It was also a special night for two players nearly half his age, with 17-year-olds Ansu Fati and Pedri also scoring for Barcelona against Ferencvaros — a club making its first appearance in the group stage in 25 years.

Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele were the other scorers for Barcelona, which lost defender Gerard Pique to a straight red card with about 20 minutes left. Ihor Kharatin scored Ferencvaros’ lone goal from the resulting penalty.

Messi and Ronaldo — two players who have been at the top of the world game for more than a decade — are in the same Champions League group for the first time and are set to meet next week when Juventus hosts Barca.

Juventus coped well without Ronaldo in Kyiv, with Morata — a recent arrival from Atletico Madrid on loan — scoring twice in the second half.

Brugge, Lazio grab wins

U.S. national team goalkeeper Ethan Horvath is one of a record 10 Americans eligible for the group stage with various clubs. He didn’t get off to the best of starts.

Horvath, who plays for Brugge, was credited with an own-goal against Zenit after a shot by Dejan Lovren hit the post and bounced in off the back of the diving goalkeeper.

Brugge grabbed a stoppage-time winner from Charles De Ketelaere, though, and joins Lazio on three points in Group F.

The Italian team, which is playing in the Champions League group stage for the first time in 13 years, beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 through goals by Ciro Immobile and Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro as well as an own-goal by Dortmund goalkeeper Marwin Hitz.

Erling Haaland scored for Dortmund.

In Group E, all four teams are on one point. Chelsea finally got its six major summer signings on the field together but couldn’t find a way past stubborn Sevilla.

Rennes took the lead against Krasnodar through striker Serhou Guirassy’s penalty in the 56th, but conceded three minutes later when left back Cristian Ramirez’s long-distance strike beat goalkeeper Alfred Gomis at the near post.

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CBC | Soccer News

Hollywood’s Natalie Portman leads star-studded group bringing NWSL expansion club to L.A.

Actress Natalie Portman and venture capitalist Kara Nortman lead a group that will bring an expansion National Women’s Soccer League team to the Los Angeles area in 2022.

The team, tentatively named Angel City, will bring the league to 11 teams. Louisville FC will join the nine current NWSL clubs next season.

Portman and Nortman are joined by gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman, the cornsortium’s president in the majority-female group. Others involved include actors Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner and Uzo Aduba.

Tech entrepreneur and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, the husband of tennis star Serena Williams, is the lead investor through his firm Initialized Capital. Portman, Nortman and Uhrman all have a financial stake in the team.

“I think it’s so important to have role models and and heroes that are women for kids — both boys and girls — to see. And, it’s just such an incredible sport in that it really is a team sport,” Portman said in an interview with The Associated Press. “You see one woman’s success and all the others are cheering her on because one woman’s success is the whole team’s success.”

Among the founding group are more than a dozen former players, including Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach and Julie Foudy, as well as other female business leaders.

Portman said she heard Wambach, a former U.S. national team forward, speak at a Time’s Up event and started thinking about how female athletes are regarded in society. Then she and Nortman met Becca Roux, the executive director of the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association.

“We started going to games and we just got so into it. And it was just kind of a revolution to see my son and his friends, these little 8-year-old boys at the time, wanting to wear their Rapinoe jerseys. And Alex Morgan jerseys. I was like, ‘Wow, this would be a different world.’ It wasn’t unusual to them at all,” Portman said.

Youth sports non-profit group on board

There were hints that the group was coming together last year when Portman, Gardner, Longoria and other celebrities went to a national team exhibition game at LAFC’s stadium before the World Cup.

The women also reached out to a local supporters group that has been campaigning to bring a team to Los Angeles. The plan is to bring on additional investors as the team takes shape.

“We knew that there would be a strong and passionate supporters group here to support this. And from there it was about, `How do we do this in the right way? How do we do this differently?”‘ Uhrman said.

The group is partnering with the LA84 Foundation, a non-profit formed after the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics that promotes youth sports. Angel City also announced its formal support of the foundation’s Play Equity Fund, aimed at helping kids in minority and underserved communities.

“We believe these players need to be playing on one of the best stages in the world. But we also know that we have the power and the platform and the voice to make a meaningful impact in our community,” Uhrman said. “And so it’s important for us to do that from Day 1. In the same way that we are building to put 11 incredible players on the field from Day 1.”

The NWSL, which began play in 2013, was the first professional team sport to return to action in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, with the Challenge Cup tournament in Utah. The semifinals are set for Wednesday.

The official name of the Los Angeles club, and where it will play, are expected to be announced later this year.

“The growth trajectory of the NWSL is incredibly exciting, but we also need to be strategic and thoughtful about how fast we expand and the communities we partner with,” NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird said in a statement Tuesday. “We’ve long sought the right partner in L.A considering the NWSL fanbase that already exists in the region and the massive interest in women’s soccer in general.”

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CBC | Soccer News

Exploitation, abuse, health hazards rise for migrant workers during COVID-19, group says

A group representing migrant workers in Canada is demanding better protections after two men died from COVID-19, hundreds more have been infected and complaints mount over dangerous work and housing conditions.

A new report paints a grim snapshot of workers who fear for their health and livelihoods after arriving in Canada to perform work the federal government has described as vital to the country’s food supply.

The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change heard complaints from more than a thousand workers on a variety of issues, including a lack of access to protective equipment, crowded conditions that don’t allow physical distancing, poor access to proper food during quarantine and unfair gouging on wages and meal costs.

The group’s executive director, Syed Hussan, said dismal housing and working conditions have been reported for years, but during the pandemic, they’re even more dangerous.

“Two workers are already dead, hundreds are sick, at least two are in ICU. And we don’t know what tomorrow will bring,” he told CBC News.

Hussan said most migrant workers don’t report conditions out of fear of reprisal, or because they don’t have the ability to do so. They want the federal government to give them permanent resident status so they can assert their right to a safe workplace.

“If you leave a job right now, or you refuse unsafe work, you face termination, homelessness, deportation and you can’t come back in the future. Permanent residence status takes away those limitations on you so you can keep yourself safe,” Hussan said.

$ 50M to help cover costs

Each year about 60,000 foreign workers come to Canada.

In April, the federal government announced $ 50 million to help farmers and fish processors who are bringing in temporary foreign workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Under that program, employers are eligible for up to $ 1,500 per foreign worker to help cover the costs of complying with a mandatory two-week quarantine upon their arrival in Canada.

Employers must provide accommodation for the employees during the self-isolation period and pay the workers during the 14-day period.

At the time, Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said the funds were to help employers carry out the “vital” work of feeding the nation while protecting the health and safety of Canadians.

“The men and women who work in our food supply chain are essential to ensuring Canadians have access to a variety of high quality food at a reasonable price. In many regions in the country the production of food, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables, relies on the contribution of experienced temporary foreign workers right from planting season to harvest,” she said at the time.

A spokesperson for Agriculture Canada said If an employer is found to not have been compliant with requirements under the Quarantine Act or the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, they would no longer be eligible for the $ 1,500. If they have already received reimbursement, they are required to repay the funding.

‘Crisis from within a crisis’

The alliance will officially release its report, called “Unheeded Warnings: COVID-19 and Migrant Workers,” at a noon ET news conference today with foreign workers speaking out about their experiences.

Calling the heightened dangers “a crisis from within a crisis,” the report calls for immediate action to address the “fundamental discrimination and exploitation built into Canada’s temporary immigration programs.” 

“Until then, there will always be more abuses to expose, indignities to denounce and demands for change to be made,” it reads. 

The report says the workload for many foreign hires has intensified during COVID-19, and that some employers are forcing workers to go at “breakneck speed.”

“As fewer workers are coming in, or workers’ arrivals are delayed, migrant workers already here have seen dramatic work intensification: 128 workers reported working for weeks without a day off, being forced to work long hours, and suffering increased strains, injuries and sickness due to increased pace of work,” the report says.

As employment and labour laws often exclude migrant workers, there are no rights to minimum wage, overtime pay, hours of work, breaks, days off, or collective bargaining, the report states.

Farms are ‘rigorously’ inspected

Bill George, chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association, said he is not aware of any unsafe conditions or inappropriate pay issues described in the report. He said bunkhouses are “rigorously” inspected twice a year by local health units and are also subject to inspections by provincial and federal authorities.

“If there were problems, I’m sure they were corrected. But I haven’t seen, to my knowledge, any fines being levied against any grower for violating the new rules as far as housing is concerned.”

George said during the pandemic, challenges are not limited to foreign workers.

“It’s not just the migrant workers. It’s any workplace in Ontario that’s going to have challenges with outbreaks going forward this year until we have a vaccine. I think it’s just important that the employer as well as employees follow the best safety protocols in place and limit the spread of COVID-19.”

Workers cited in the report also alleged increased acts of racism from employers, local shops and some community members who treated them like they were “disease carriers.”

The report says 209 migrant workers reported increased intimidation, surveillance and threats from employers, “often under the guise of COVID-19 protocols.”

Reports of anti-Black racism

The report also noted a higher number of complaints from Caribbean workers, who are mostly Black men.

“Racism, and specifically anti-Black racism, underpins workers’ experience,” the report states.

Other complaints outlined in the report include:

  • Workers who could not physically distance during the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Canada.
  • Lack of access to health care and information.
  • Unfair wage and meal cost clawbacks.
  • Crowded housing conditions after quarantine without essential sanitization.
  • Lost income becaue of border closures and extended travel times.
  • Lack of ability to send remittances (payments) to family at home.

CBC News has not verified the complaints in the report.

NDP MP Jenny Kwan says the government must do more to protect foreign workers.

“We say we value them and we need them for our economy, and yes we do. But we also need to ensure that we follow on that when they come to Canada. They should be able to return home safe and sound,” she said.

NDP calls for pathway to residency

Kwan said the federal government must also offer a pathway to permanent resident status under the principle of “good enough to work, good enough to stay.”

Kwan also said the government needs to step up enforcement to make sure employers are treating workers safely and humanely.

Service Canada can carry out inspections, with or without notice, to verify and employer’s compliance with the program, including within the first 14 days of the temporary foreign worker’s arrival.

Between March 1 and May 29, there were 585 inspections, according to a spokesperson for Carla Qualtrough, the minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion.

Penalties for not complying with the new conditions include fines of up to a $ 1 million and bans on hiring foreign workers up to a permanent ban.

The government has not yet responded to a request for information on what penalties, if any, have been imposed to date.

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Toronto FC to start small group training sessions Monday

Toronto FC plans to up its training on Monday, going from individual workouts to small group sessions.

Major League Soccer, which suspended play on March 12 due to the global pandemic, announced Friday that teams had the green light to start voluntary small group training providing their plans are approved by the league and don’t conflict with local heath or government policies.

Atlanta United and Sporting Kansas City also plan to begin small group training sessions Monday.

Individual outdoor player workouts at team training centres have been allowed since May 6.


It took some clubs longer than others to get the necessary approval for the individual training, with Montreal, Chicago Fire FC, the New York Red Bulls, New York City FC and D.C. United not getting the green light until last week.

The San Jose Earthquakes have yet to resume training.

The league is reportedly looking at resuming play later this summer in one hub, possibly the Orlando area.

Players must physically distance

MLS says players will maintain physical distancing protocols in the small group training. The protocol calls for a maximum of six players in a group, with physical distancing rules coming into play.

Clubs can divide each full field into two halves, assigning a group of players to each segment. Each half-field can be split up into six zones, spaced at least 10 feet (three metres) apart. Only one player may be in a zone at any given time.

Players can pass the ball and shoot on goal within a group, providing they maintain physical distancing.

Other rules include barring goalkeepers from spitting on their gloves, which must be sanitized after each training.

The training sessions remain closed.

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