Tag Archives: chief

Chauvin violated policy in pinning Floyd’s neck after he stopped resisting, police chief testifies

The Minneapolis police chief testified on Monday that now-fired officer Derek Chauvin violated departmental policy in pinning his knee on George Floyd’s neck and keeping him down after Floyd had stopped resisting and was in distress.

Continuing to kneel on Floyd’s neck once he was handcuffed behind his back and lying on his stomach was “in no way, shape or form” part of department policy or training, “and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values,” Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said.

Arradondo, the city’s first Black chief, fired Chauvin and three other officers the day after Floyd’s death last May, and in June called it “murder.” At that time, the police chief said Floyd’s death was not due to a lack of training and that “Chauvin knew what he was doing.”

Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death on May 25. The white officer is accused of pinning his knee on the 46-year-old man’s neck for nine minutes, 29 seconds, as Floyd lay face-down in handcuffs outside a corner market, where had been accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $ 20 bill for a pack of cigarettes.

De-escalating should be ‘layered’ into use of force

Under questioning from prosecutor Matthew Frank, Arradondo said it’s the police department’s policy that officers should consider minimizing physical force during an arrest even while force is being used to restrain a suspect.

“The goal is to resolve the situation as safely as possible. So you want to always have de-escalation layered into those actions of using force.” the police chief said.


Assistant Minnesota Attorney General Matthew Frank speaks as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill discusses motions before the court on Monday in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. (Court TV/The Associated Press)

Chauvin, who had been on the force for 19 years, failed to follow his training in several respects, Arradondo said. He could tell from Floyd’s grimaces that Chauvin was using more than the maximum “light-to-moderate” pressure an officer is allowed to use on someone’s neck.

The officer did not relent in using force even as Floyd fell unconscious and he did not provide mandated first aid to a dying Floyd, Arradondo said.

“It’s contrary to our training to indefinitely place your knee on a prone, handcuffed individual for an indefinite period of time,” he said.

Arradondo’s testimony came after the emergency room doctor who pronounced Floyd dead testified that he theorized at the time that Floyd’s heart most likely stopped because of a lack of oxygen.

Dr. Bradford Langenfeld, who was a senior resident on duty that night at Hennepin County Medical Center and tried to resuscitate Floyd, earlier took the stand at the beginning of Week Two at Chauvin’s murder trial.

WATCH | ER doctor describes efforts to resuscitate George Floyd:

Dr. Bradford Langenfeld told the murder trial of a former Minneapolis police officer that paramedics found George Floyd without a pulse when they brought him to the ER. 1:59

Langenfeld said Floyd’s heart had stopped by the time he arrived at the hospital. The doctor said that he was not told of any efforts at the scene by bystanders or police to resuscitate Floyd but that paramedics told him they had tried for about 30 minutes.

Under questioning by prosecutor Jerry Blackwell, Langenfeld said that based on the information he had, death by asphyxiation was “more likely than the other possibilities.”

The defence argues that Chauvin did what he was trained to do and that Floyd’s use of illegal drugs and his underlying health conditions caused his death.

Chauvin lawyer Eric Nelson questioned Langenfeld about whether some drugs can cause hypoxia, or insufficient oxygen. The doctor acknowledged that fentanyl and methamphetamine, both of which were found in Floyd’s body, can do so.

The county medical examiner’s office ultimately classified Floyd’s death a homicide — that is, a death at the hands of someone else.

Opioid antidote of no use during cardiac arrest

The full report said Floyd died of “cardiopulmonary arrest, complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” A summary report listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use under “other significant conditions” but not under “cause of death.”

Under cross-examination from Nelson, Langenfeld said Floyd’s carbon dioxide levels were more than twice has high as levels in healthy person, and he agreed that that could be attributed to a respiratory problem. But on questioning from the prosecutor, the doctor said the high levels were also consistent with cardiac arrest — the stopping of the heart.

Langenfeld also testified that neither he nor paramedics administered a drug that would reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The doctor said giving Narcan once a patient is in cardiac arrest would provide no benefit.

The doctor also told the court that paramedics made no mention that Floyd may have suffered a drug overdose before he was brought to the hospital.

Floyd’s treatment by police was captured on widely seen bystander video that sparked protests that rocked Minneapolis and quickly spread to other U.S. cities and beyond and descended into violence in some cases.

WATCH | Knee on George Floyd’s neck ‘uncalled for,’ veteran officer says:

At the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, the officer with the most seniority on the Minneapolis Police Department said the use of force on George Floyd was ‘uncalled for’ and ‘totally unnecessary.’ 0:55

Langenfeld said that “any amount of time” a patient spends in cardiac arrest without immediate CPR decreases the chance of a good outcome. He said there is an approximately 10 per cent to 15 per cent decrease in survival for every minute that CPR is not administered.

The city of Minneapolis moved soon after Floyd’s death to ban police chokeholds and neck restraints. Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey also made several policy changes, including expanding requirements for reporting use-of-force incidents and documenting attempts to de-escalate situations.

Prosecutors have already called supervisory officers to build the case that Chauvin improperly restrained Floyd. A duty sergeant and a lieutenant who leads the homicide division both questioned Chauvin’s actions in pinning Floyd to the ground.

“Totally unnecessary,” Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the longest-tenured officer on the force, testified Friday. He said once Floyd was handcuffed, he saw “no reason for why the officers felt they were in danger, if that’s what they felt, and that’s what they would have to feel to be able to use that kind of force.”

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CBC | World News

Environment a chief suspect in mystery neurological disease found only in N.B.

Doctors in New Brunswick are being told to be on the lookout for symptoms of an unknown neurological disease that appears to be a new condition found only in the province and is believed to be linked to environmental causes.

At a public health update on COVID-19 Thursday, Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health fielded a number of questions about the mystery disease that was originally identified in the province in 2015.

In an internal memo obtained by Radio-Canada, sent on March 5 by the office of the chief medical officer of health to the New Brunswick Medical Society and to associations of doctors and nurses, the department highlighted a cluster of 42 cases of a progressive neurological syndrome of unknown origin.

Symptoms similar to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

The disease has symptoms similar to those of the rare and fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, but “testing so far has ruled out known prion diseases,” the memo stated.

The first case of the disease was diagnosed in 2015, according to the memo. Three years later, in 2019, 11 additional cases were discovered, with 24 more cases discovered in 2020 and another six in 2021. Five people have died.

The symptoms are similar to those of prion diseases, which include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and some of its variants, including mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

However, despite many similarities, tests for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease have so far ruled out known prion diseases, the March 5 public health memo states.

Scientists are currently looking into the possibility that this is a new variant of a prion disease — or a new disease entirely.

On Thursday, Russell confirmed it is “most likely a new disease,” and noted “we haven’t seen this anywhere else” in Canada.

The cases have been reported to Health Canada’s Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease surveillance system, which determined that the rising number of cases should now be considered a cluster, Russell said.

At that point, she said, the March 5 memo was sent out to the province’s health-care professionals.


Moncton neurologist Dr. Alier Marrero said the leading hypothesis so far is that the disease is caused by something environmental. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

Doctors suspect environmental link

According to preliminary data from a research group on the subject, headed by neurologist Alier Marrero of Moncton’s Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre, the disease is not genetic.

“We don’t know yet where this is coming from,” but the leading hypothesis so far is that it’s environmental, Marrero said in an interview with CBC News on Thursday.

“We believe it is acquired from exposure to something in the environment … either food, water … toxins.”

Over the course of the six years since the disease first appeared in New Brunswick in 2015, case numbers have grown steadily and “clustered” in the Moncton and Acadian Peninsula areas of the province. 

“We have seen clustering of cases in some areas and we don’t know why,” Marrero said. 

According to the Public Health memo, the median age of the cases is 59 years, although female cases tend to be younger, with an average age of 54. Cases are distributed equally among men and women, the memo said. 

The symptoms of the disease are typically not very specific in the initial stages.

“It’s usually behavioural changes … for instance, an excess of anxiety, a little bit of irritability, unexplained pains in the limbs, muscle spasms, insomnia,” Marrero said.

As the disease progresses over a course of 18 to 36 months, loss of balance and co-ordination have been observed, and “sometimes patients have abnormal and rapidly progressing brain atrophy.”

No public health threat

However, Marrero and Russell both stopped short of calling the cases a public health threat. 

“Fear is usually bad advice because it will paralyze us,” Marrero said. “We are working very hard to figure this out, so we can stop it, so we can treat it.”

He advised that if anyone suspects they have symptoms of the disease, they should report them to their doctor, who will then refer them to the clinic.  

Symptoms that might appear to be related to the disease could actually be caused by another condition, he said. 

“For instance the patient could have multiple sclerosis, they could have Alzheimer’s disease … or some other condition that could be known and treated. So it’s important that they get referred and evaluated.”

Russell agreed.

“Right now, it’s just about awareness, making sure that physicians are watching for neurological symptoms like this so they can refer them to be assessed,” she said.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us in terms of trying to determine the cause.”   

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CBC | Health News

Capitol police failed to properly lock down Congress Jan. 6: acting chief

Police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection did not properly lock down the building and were unsure of the rules for using deadly force against the rioters, according to the acting chief of the Capitol Police.

In a statement submitted for a House hearing Thursday, Yogananda Pittman provides new details about the law enforcement response to the Capitol riot and the problems that hobbled the police’s response. The statement fills in crucial new details as lawmakers begin investigating what went wrong the day of the attack.

Pittman emphasizes the heroism of officers during the “ugly battle” on Jan. 6 and states that Capitol Police had compiled an internal intelligence assessment ahead of the insurrection, when thousands of pro-Trump rioters stormed Congress as lawmakers were certifying Joe Biden’s presidential win.

That assessment, she wrote, warned that militia members, white supremacists and members of other extremist groups were likely to participate, that demonstrators would be armed and that it was possible they would come to the Capitol to try to disrupt the vote.

“Based on the assessment, the Department understood that this demonstration would be unlike the previous demonstrations held by protesters with similar ideologies in November and December 2020,” Pittman states in her prepared remarks.


Acting U.S. Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman pays respects to officer Brian Sicknick who died as a result of the Jan. 6 riot. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times via The Associated Press)

Pittman to detail police department’s ‘internal challenges’ 

The department also took additional measures to beef up security because of the threat, including calling in additional officers and stepping up protection for key members of Congress.

Pittman details additional steps taken for Jan. 6 by the specialized dignitary protection unit, which protects congressional leaders. She said those agents had been assigned assault-style rifles for Jan. 6. The department also deployed “counter surveillance agents” to observe locations around Washington, including the Ellipse downtown where a rally supporting Trump was held.

Capitol Police had also intercepted radio frequencies being used by some of the more organized rioters who brought walkie-talkies to communicate with each other. Pittman says the police had been monitoring their communication.

But Pittman also says the department faced “internal challenges” as it responded to the riot. Officers didn’t properly lock down the Capitol complex, even after an order had been given over the radio to do so.

She also says officers didn’t understand when they were allowed to use deadly force, and that the less-than-lethal weapons that officers had were also not as successful as they believed they would be.

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How a 22-year-old woman helped bring down the Tokyo Olympics chief

When a 22-year-old Japanese college student launched an online campaign against the powerful Tokyo Olympics chief and the sexist remarks he made, she was not sure it would go very far.

But in less than two weeks, Momoko Nojo’s #DontBeSilent campaign organized with other activists and gathered more than 150,000 signatures, galvanizing global outrage against Yoshiro Mori, the president of Tokyo 2020.

He quit last week and has been replaced by Seiko Hashimoto, a woman who has competed in seven Olympic Games.

The hashtag was coined in response to remarks by Mori, an octogenarian former prime minister, that women talk too much. Nojo used it on Twitter and other social media platforms to gather support for a petition calling for action against him.

“Few petitions have got 150,000 signatures before. I thought it was really great. People take this personally too, not seeing this as only Mori’s problem,” said a smiling Nojo in a Zoom interview.

Her activism, born from a year studying in Denmark, is the latest example of women outside mainstream politics in Japan taking to keyboards to bring social change in the world’s third-largest economy, where gender discrimination, pay gaps and stereotyping are rampant.


Japan’s Olympic Minister, Seiko Hashimoto, right, talks with Yoshiro Mori at a meeting in December. Hashimoto has been named Mori’s replacement as president of the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee. (Associated Press)

‘Good opportunity to push for gender equality in Japan’

“It made me realize that this is a good opportunity to push for gender equality in Japan,” said Nojo, a fourth-year economics student at Keio University in Tokyo.

She said her activism was motivated by questions she has often heard from male peers like, “You’re a girl, so you have to go to a high school that has pretty school uniforms, don’t you?” or “Even if you don’t have a job after graduating from college, you can be a housewife, no?”

Nojo started her nonprofit “NO YOUTH NO JAPAN” in 2019, while she was in Denmark, where she saw how the country chose Mette Frederiksen, a woman in her early forties, as prime minister.

The time in Denmark, she said, made her realize how much Japanese politics was dominated by older men.

Keiko Ikeda, a professor of education at Hokkaido University, said it was important for young, worldly people to raise their voice in Japan, where decisions tend to be made by a uniform group of like-minded people. But change will come agonizingly slowly, she said.

“If you have a homogeneous group, it’s impossibly difficult to move the compass because the people in it don’t realize it when their decision is off-centre,” Ikeda said.

Proposal dismissed as PR stunt

Nojo dismissed a proposal this week by Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party to allow more women in meetings, but only as silent observers, as a poorly-executed PR stunt.

“I’m not sure if they have the willingness to fundamentally improve the gender issue,” she said, adding that the party needed to have more women in key posts, rather than having them as observers.

In reality, Nojo’s win is only a small step in a long fight.

Japan is ranked 121st out of 153 countries on the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Index — the worst ranking among advanced countries — scoring poorly on women’s economic participation and political empowerment.

Activists and many ordinary women say drastic change is needed in the workplace, and in politics.

“In Japan, when there’s an issue related to gender equality, not many voices are heard, and even if there are some voices to improve the situation, they run out of steam and nothing changes,” Nojo said.

“I don’t want our next generation to spend their time over this issue.” 

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CBC | Sports News

Tokyo Olympics chief apologizes, but won’t resign over sexist comments

Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori on Thursday apologized for making sexist remarks about women, saying he retracted the comments and would not resign, despite calls for him to step down on social media.

The hashtag “Mori, please resign” was trending on Twitter in Japan on Thursday morning and some users on the platform were calling on sponsors to pressure the Tokyo organizing committee into dropping Mori from the top post.

The 83-year-old Mori, a former Japanese prime minister and head of the Tokyo organizing committee, acknowledged that his comments that women board members talked too much were “inappropriate” and against the Olympic spirit.

Mori made the sexist comments at a Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) board of trustees meeting this week, according to a report in the Asahi newspaper.

“If we increase the number of female board members, we have to make sure their speaking time is restricted somewhat, they have difficulty finishing, which is annoying,” said Mori, according to the Asahi report.

WATCH | Understanding the Tokyo Olympics’ pandemic ‘playbook’:

With less than six months to go to the Tokyo Olympics, organizers have said the Games will go on no matter what. Now, they’ve released some preliminary guidelines explaining how that will happen. 1:37

“We have about seven women at the organizing committee but everyone understands their place.”

The JOC decided in 2019 to aim for more than 40 per cent female members on the board, but there are just five women among the board’s 24 members.

Japan persistently trails its peers on promoting gender equality, ranking 121 out of 153 nations surveyed in the 2020 global gender gap report of the World Economic Forum.

In a hastily called press briefing, Mori tried to explain himself, at first apologizing, then later saying that he did not necessarily think that fretting over the number of women in high-ranking positions was what was important.

“I don’t talk to women that much lately so I don’t know,” Mori said, when asked by a reporter whether he had any basis for saying that women board members talked too much during meetings.

Mori’s defiant response is unlikely to tamp down public criticism, and anger over his comments is likely to further alienate a Japanese public that has grown wary of Tokyo’s attempts to hold the Games during a pandemic.

Nearly 80 per cent of the Japanese public opposes holding the Games as scheduled in July, according to the most recent poll.

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CBC | World News

Tokyo Olympics chief faces storm over comments about women

Derogatory comments about women made earlier in the week by Yoshiro Mori, the president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee and a former prime minister, could force him to resign.

It’s one more problem the postponed Tokyo Olympics don’t need as organizers and the International Olympic Committee try to pull off the games in the midst of a pandemic. They are to open on July 23.

The organizing committee said Thursday it did not have a statement but expected to have one later in the day.

In an online meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee board of directors earlier in the week, Mori was reported by the daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun saying women talk too much in meetings. His comments have created a storm in Japan where women are grossly under-represented in politics and in board rooms.

In an interview with the Japanese newspaper Mainichi published on Thursday, the 83-year-old Mori apologized and suggested he could resign.

“I had no intention to disrespect women,” Mainichi reported him saying. “I believe I must carry out my responsibility, but if calls for my resignation grow, I may have to resign.”

He added: “It was careless of me, and I would like to apologize.”

WATCH | Understanding the Tokyo Olympics’ pandemic ‘playbook’:

With less than six months to go to the Tokyo Olympics, organizers have said the Games will go on no matter what. Now, they’ve released some preliminary guidelines explaining how that will happen. 1:37

On Tuesday in a online meeting, Asahi reported him saying: “Women are very competitive. When one of them raises her hand, they probably think they have to say something, too. And then everyone says something.”

His comment came when he was asked about the presence of few women on the board of the Japanese Olympic Committee.

“If we are going to have more women directors, someone has remarked, then meetings go on for a long time unless we restrict the comments. I’m not saying who that is.”

The Tokyo Olympics he leads are already swamped with problems.

About 80 per cent of Japanese in polls says the games should be postponed or cancelled in the midst of a pandemic. They also have spoken out on rising costs that may total more than $ 25 billion US to put on these Olympics.

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New coronavirus variant may be more deadly — but more evidence is needed, U.K.’s chief scientist says

There is some evidence that a new coronavirus variant first identified in southeast England carries a higher risk of death than the original strain, the British government’s chief scientific adviser said Friday — though he stressed that the data is uncertain.

Patrick Vallance told a news conference that “there is evidence that there is an increased risk for those who have the new variant.”

He said that for a man in his 60s with the original version of the virus, “the average risk is that for 1,000 people who got infected, roughly 10 would be expected to unfortunately die.”

“With the new variant, for 1,000 people infected, roughly 13 or 14 people might be expected to die,” he said.

But Vallance stressed that “the evidence is not yet strong” and more research is needed.

WATCH | Boris Johnson discusses coronavirus variant:

While saying the variant of the coronavirus first detected in the U.K. may be associated with a higher degree of mortality, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it’s also putting additional pressure on the nation’s health-care system. 1:42

The findings come from a paper released on Friday by the U.K. government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) on the variant known as B117.

The team acknowledged there are “important limitations to the data,” which was based on a relatively small sample size of 2,583 deaths among 1.2 million tested individuals, with 384 deaths likely tied to infections of the variant.

“It should be noted that the absolute risk of death per infection remains low,” the NERVTAG team wrote in the paper.

The researchers also did not find evidence of increased mortality tied to the variant for hospitalized individuals specifically.

The variant has spread to several countries around the world — including Canada, where chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said on Friday there have been 31 confirmed cases. Tam said there have also been three confirmed cases of the variant first found in South Africa.

In Ontario, local public health officials are concerned by the presence of an unidentified variant among an outbreak at the Roberta Place Long-Term Care Home in Barrie — where more than 90 per cent of residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Dominik Mertz, who is based out of McMaster University in Hamilton, agreed the paper is just a first step and requires more confirmation.

“To my knowledge, this is the first study that suggests a higher mortality with the B117 variant, while previous data suggested no difference,” he said, noting the study’s limited sample size. 

“Hence, we remain uncertain whether B117 results in more severe infections.”

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease physician in Toronto and a member of Ontario’s vaccine distribution task force, agreed the uncertainty makes it difficult to draw conclusions on the increased deadliness of the variant.

“Other preliminary data did not demonstrate that this was the case,” he added. “Regardless, it’s best to be cautious and ensure we take steps to limit the transmission of this in Canada.”

In contrast to that uncertainty, Vallance said, there is growing confidence that the variant is more easily passed on than the original coronavirus strain. He said it appears to be between 30 and 70 per cent more transmissible.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s technical lead on COVID-19, said studies were underway to look at the transmission and severity of new virus variants.

She said so far “they haven’t seen an increase in severity” but that more transmission could lead to “an overburdened health care system” and thus more deaths.

British officials say they are confident that the vaccines that have been authorized for use against COVID-19 will be effective against the new strain identified in the country.

But Vallance said scientists are concerned that variants identified in Brazil and South Africa could be more resistant to vaccines, adding that more research needs to be done.

WATCH | An inside look at the U.K.’s mass vaccination program:

CBC News gains access to a unique inoculation site in the U.K., where vulnerable groups are being prioritized. 1:51

Concerns about newly identified variants have triggered a spate of new travel restrictions around the world. Many countries have closed their borders to travelers from the U.K., which itself has halted flights from Brazil and South Africa.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there could be further restrictions.

“We may need to go further to protect our borders,” he said.

Similarly, Bill Blair, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, said Friday that the variants are a concern and one of the reasons the government requires all international travellers to be swabbed within 72 hours of departure to Canada. 

Blair said further options to discourage people from making unnecessary trips include:

  • More restrictions on international travel.
  • Additional quarantine measures.
  • Greater enforcement.

“A loophole frankly does exist because the Americans previously had not placed any restriction on international flights coming into the U.S.,” Blair said. “We’ll be working with the Americans on developing new reciprocal measures that can further protect Canadians.*

The U.K. has recorded 95,981 deaths among people who tested positive for the coronavirus, the highest confirmed total in Europe.

The country is currently in a lockdown in an attempt to slow the latest surge of the coronavirus outbreak. Pubs, restaurants, entertainment venues and many shops are closed, and people are required to stay largely at home.

The number of new infections has begun to fall, but deaths remain agonizingly high, averaging more than 1,000 a day, and the number of hospitalized patients is 80 per cent higher than at the first peak of the pandemic in the spring.

Johnson, who has often been accused of giving overly optimistic predictions about relaxing coronavirus restrictions, sounded gloomy.

“We will have to live with coronavirus in one way or another for a long while to come,” he said, adding that “it’s an open question” when measures could be eased.

“At this stage you’ve got to be very, very cautious indeed,” he said.

Vallance agreed. “I don’t think this virus is going anywhere,” he said. “It’s going to be around, probably, forever.”

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CBC | Health News

In recorded phone call, Trump pressed Georgia election chief to ‘find’ votes for him

U.S. President Donald Trump badgered and pleaded with Georgia’s election chief to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the state, suggesting in a telephone call that the official “find” enough votes to hand Trump the victory.

The conversation Saturday was the latest step in an unprecedented effort by a sitting president to pressure a state official to reverse the outcome of a free and fair election that he lost. The renewed intervention and the persistent and unfounded claims of fraud by the first president to lose reelection in almost 30 years come nearly two weeks before Trump leaves office and two days before twin runoffs in Georgia that will determine control of the Senate.

Trump confirmed in a tweet Sunday that he had spoken with Georgia’s secretary of state, Republican Brad Raffensperger, who tweeted that claims Trump made during the call were untrue.

Audio snippets of the conversation were posted online by The Washington Post. A recording of the call was later obtained by The Associated Press from a person who was on the call.

LISTEN | Trump demands Georgia officials ‘find’ votes in recoded phone call:

The U.S. president is heard pleading with Georgia’s election chief to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the state, according to audio clips obtained by The Washington Post. 1:30

The president, who has refused to accept his loss to the Democratic president-elect, is heard telling Raffensperger at one point: “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

Georgia certified election results showing that Biden won the state’s Nov. 3 election by 11,779 votes.

The White House referred questions to Trump’s re-election campaign, which did not respond Sunday to an emailed request for comment. Raffensperger’s office did not respond to a text message seeking comment.

Biden senior adviser Bob Bauer said the recording was “irrefutable proof” of Trump pressuring and threatening an official in his own party to “rescind a state’s lawful, certified vote count and fabricate another in its place.”

“It captures the whole, disgraceful story about Donald Trump’s assault on American democracy,” Bauer said.


Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks during a news conference on Dec. 14 in Atlanta. (John Bazemore/The Associated Press)

At another point in the conversation, Trump appeared to threaten Raffensperger and Ryan Germany, the secretary of state’s legal counsel, by suggesting both could be criminally liable if they failed to find that thousands of ballots in Fulton County had been illegally destroyed. There is no evidence to support Trump’s claim.

“That’s a criminal offence,” Trump says. “And you can’t let that happen.”

Trump has repeatedly attacked how Raffensperger ran Georgia’s elections, claiming without evidence that the state’s 16 electoral votes were wrongly given to Biden.

“He has no clue!” Trump tweeted of Raffensperger, saying the state official “was unwilling, or unable” to answer questions about a series of claims about ballot handling and voters that have been debunked or shot down by judges and election authorities.

Raffensperger’s Twitter response: “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true. The truth will come out.”

Senate runoffs

There was no widespread fraud in the election, which a range of election officials across the country, as well as Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, have confirmed. Republican governors in Arizona and Georgia, key battleground states crucial to Biden’s victory, have also vouched for the integrity of the elections in their states. Nearly all the legal challenges from Trump and his allies have been dismissed by judges, including two tossed by the Supreme Court, which includes three Trump-nominated justices.

The Senate runoffs pit Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Democrat Raphael Warnock and Sen. David Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff. With the Senate up for grabs, the candidates and outside groups supporting them have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the contests, deluging Georgia with television ads, mail, phone calls and door-knocking efforts.


Republican Sen. Kelly Loefflerspeaks during a campaign event in McDonough, Ga., on Sunday. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Loeffler said she had not decided whether to join Republican colleagues in challenging the legitimacy of Biden’s victory over Trump. The Democratic candidates whose wins Tuesday would help clear roadblocks for the new administration’s agenda awaited a campaign visit from vice-president-elect Kamala Harris.

Trump has persisted in attacking top Georgia Republicans over his election loss in the state, raising fears that his words could cause some Republicans to stay away from the polls.

“I believe that we will win on Tuesday because of the grassroots momentum, the unprecedented movement energy in Georgia right now,” Ossoff told CNN’s State of the Union. He said “it feels in Georgia like we are on the cusp of a historic victory.”


Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff speaks at a campaign event in Savannah, Ga., on Sunday. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Loeffler, when asked about siding with the growing group of Senate Republicans seeking to contest the Electoral College count, said she was “looking very closely at it, and I’ve been one of the first to say, everything’s on the table.” She told Fox News Sunday that “I’m fighting for this president because he’s fought for us. He’s our president and we’re going to keep making sure that this is a fair election.”

Warnock, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta who has continued to preach as he campaigns for office, seemed to allude to the runoff in a message delivered Sunday. He told viewers watching remotely due to the pandemic that they are “on the verge of victory” in their lives if they accept that God has already equipped them with the ability to overcome their adversaries.

“When God is with you, you can defeat giants,” said Warnock, who ended the early morning service by also encouraging Georgians to vote on Tuesday. “It’s so very important that your voice be heard in this defining moment in our country,” he said. “I would not be so presumptuous as to tell you who to vote for.”


Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock gestures at a campaign event in Savannah on Sunday. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Loeffler was appointed to fill a vacancy when Republican Johnny Isakson resigned his seat, and she will be in the Senate, win or lose this coming week, until the election is certified. Perdue’s seat will temporarily be vacant after his term expires Sunday at the end of six years.

Harris was scheduled to be in Savannah on Sunday afternoon. Trump and Biden plan to campaign in the state Monday, in last-minute efforts to mobilize voters after more than 3 million people cast ballots early.

The president continues to create turbulence for Loeffler and Perdue by questioning Biden’s narrow victory in Georgia and the reliability of the state’s election systems.

Trump also tweeted that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, also Republicans, “have done less than nothing. They are a disgrace to the great people of Georgia!” The president last week called on Kemp to resign; the governor dismissed it as a “distraction.”


Gov. Brian Kemp, left, greets Trump in Marietta, Ga., in March 2020. (Alex Brandon/The Associated Press)

Despite the attacks, Loeffler said she believed voters would heed Trump’s expected plea during his upcoming visit that they should turn out.

“He’s going to tell voters the same thing: You have to get out and vote Georgia, because this is too important,” Loeffler said.

Perdue, who is in quarantine because he was exposed to a staff member with the coronavirus and won’t appear with Trump at the Monday rally, said he would have joined the electoral challenge in the Senate if he had been in Washington. “I’m encouraging my colleagues to object. This is something that the American people demand right now,” he told Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures.

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1st COVID-19 vaccine could be delivered to distribution points by end of month, logistics chief says

Federal officials today explained how they plan to roll out millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses in the coming weeks as Ottawa launches its mass inoculation campaign.

The initial supply of the doses will be limited — just three million Canadians are expected to get shots in the first three months of 2021. Millions more doses are expected to arrive as the supply chain stabilizes.

One of the principal challenges facing the immunization effort is the distribution of vaccines that must be kept at very low temperatures – well below those that a standard commercial refrigerator can offer.

The Pfizer vaccine, which is expected to get the green light from Health Canada as early as this month, needs to be kept at approximately -80 degrees Celsius to remain stable. The Moderna product, another vaccine that uses groundbreaking messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, must be kept at -20 degrees Celsius.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, a former NATO commander in Iraq, is leading vaccination logistics and operations at a new national operations centre in the Public Health Agency of Canada.

While the country is facing unprecedented “logistical complexities,” he said, the military and its partners will be ready to deploy vaccines as soon as they are approved in Canada.


A person in Mainz, Germany gets a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as part of the product’s clinical trial. Public health officials said as many as three million Canadians will be vaccinated in the first three months of 2021 (Reuters)

Fortin said the national operations centre isn’t waiting for Health Canada’s sign-off to begin preparations. The Pfizer product will be delivered by that company directly to provincial and territorial distribution points as early as the end of the month.

The federal government already has secured the cold storage required for this product. All of the provinces have indicated where the Pfizer-specific fridges should be placed and 14 distribution points nationwide will be ready to receive the vaccine starting on Dec. 14, Fortin said.

WATCH: Six million doses to arrive in Canada in the first three months of 2021

Dr. Njoo tells reporters the federal government is expecting 6 million doses of first two vaccines to arrive in Canada after approvals within the first quarter of the new year. 1:35

A senior official, speaking to CBC News on a not-for-attribution basis, said Alberta, B.C., Ontario and Quebec will get two such delivery sites each, with one in each of the other provinces. A plan for the territories is still being finalized, the official said.

The shots likely will be distributed on a per capita basis, the official said, much like how federally procured personal protective equipment has been issued to those jurisdictions throughout this pandemic. Some observers have said provinces dealing with higher caseloads should get priority access to vaccine shots at first.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said Thursday a per-capita distribution plan will disadvantage his hard-hit province. He also raised concerns about Ottawa’s plan to take the lead on inoculating Indigenous people. “This hurts Manitobans, to put it mildly,” he told reporters.

Eventually, there will be 205 “points of issue” locations across the country where health care professionals can administer the vaccine, Fortin said. It will be up to the provinces and territories to specify where and when individual Canadians will be inoculated.

WATCH: Maj.-Gen. Fortin says simulation tests will be held at vaccine distribution sites

Major General Danny Fortin says ‘table top exercises and rehearsals’ are planned for vaccine distribution sites prior to COVID 19 immunization. 0:52

Fortin said at least one “dry run” has been executed so far, with more planned in the days ahead, to ensure things run smoothly once this vaccine hits our shores from manufacturing hubs in the U.S. and abroad. These practice runs will ensure officials are comfortable with what Fortin called the “very unique requirements” of this Pfizer vaccine.

Preparing for the worst

Fortin said he’s actively planning for multiple worst-case scenarios, such as bad weather, cyber attacks and fires at distribution hubs. IBM, the information technology company, said in a blog post published on Thursday that it had uncovered “a global phishing campaign” targeting the U.S. COVID-19 vaccine distribution mission, Operation Warp Speed.

“We’re very much executing a whole-of-nation approach. The size and scope and scale of this problem is unprecedented and there’s a number of factors at play,” Fortin said.

“I like the idea of being ready before the Christmas timeframe, so we are certain to be ready when it comes in January.”

The general said his team is in daily contact with Pfizer and the company is “comfortable” with the plan that Canada has crafted. Pfizer has said it won’t ship product to a country that isn’t ready to receive a vaccine that is so temperature-sensitive.

Pfizer review ‘progressing really well’: Health Canada

Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, said Thursday that the regulatory review of Pfizer’s vaccine is “progressing really well” and her department has the “majority of information” it needs from the company to certify that it’s safe and effective.

In an interview with CBC’s Power & Politics, Sharma said the final approval could come in the next 7 to 10 days. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is set to meet on Dec. 10 to decide on an emergency use authorization (EUA) for that shot and Sharma said Canada is following a similar timeline.

Canada has placed orders with Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech for 20 million doses of the two-dose vaccine, with options for millions more in the months to follow. The company has reported its vaccine was 95 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 among clinical trial participants who had no evidence of prior infection.

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said Canadians shouldn’t be fixated on the exact date when Pfizer gets the nod from Canadians regulators.

“I think we shouldn’t be so obsessive with the actual delivery of the vaccines themselves, the dates and so on. I think what’s really important is the fact we’re planning, preparing, doing exercises,” he said.

“We’re doing the dry runs, the soft launch so that once the vaccine technically arrives, everyone will be comfortable, we’ll be trained to actually utilize the vaccine.” 

The Moderna vaccine, which is expected to secure regulatory approvals after the Pfizer product, will be imported into Canada by the federal government, largely through private shipping companies. Ottawa will in turn divide up the product for the provinces and territories.

The government is now finalizing “end mile” contracts with logistics firms — the companies that will transport the Moderna vaccines to centres where Canadians can go for a shot.

On Monday, the Massachusetts-based company applied to the FDA for its EUA for the American marketplace. Data from the company’s final clinical trial are encouraging, demonstrating the vaccine is 94.1 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19 and 100 per cent effective at preventing severe cases of the disease.

Two other companies, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical division, Janssen, have also submitted their vaccines for regulatory approval. Sharma said those companies still need to submit “large chunks of information” before a final decision can be made.

Njoo said the federal government is now refining who is best suited to get an early dose of a vaccine — early guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) suggests seniors in long-term care homes and frontline health care workers will be among the first to get a shot.


Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is pushing the federal government for more details on its vaccine rollout plan. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and his party’s health critic Michelle Rempel Garner held a news conference this morning to discuss an opposition day motion that will call on the government to release its plan by Dec. 16.

O’Toole accused the government of failing to provide Canadians with a plan and a timeframe for vaccine distribution.

“Without a concrete timeline for vaccines, businesses won’t have the confidence to reinvest in their operations and rehire Canadians who have been laid off during the pandemic,” he said.

“Without a reliable timeline, or details, provinces have the impossible task of establishing complex supply chains with no lead time.”

The motion calls for a status update on:

  • How each type of vaccine will be safely delivered, stored and distributed to Canadians.
  • The date on which each vaccine type will be first deployed in Canada and the rate of vaccinations anticipated by month.
  • Any planned federal guidance with respect to the deployment of the vaccine by priority group, such as front-line health workers and seniors.
  • The plan to distribute the vaccine to Indigenous communities, members of the Canadian Armed Forces and veterans.

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Calgary’s emergency management chief says Alberta needs a 28-day ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown to battle COVID-19

The chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency says the province has hit a turning point in the COVID-19 battle.

From outside of his home on Sunday, Tom Sampson told CBC he feels defeated — the daily virus numbers are filling up hospitals, hurting mental health and the economy. Sampson says the time to act is now and there is no time for half measures.

The CEMA chief called for a 28-day “circuit breaker” lockdown, adding it should happen now to salvage the holiday season. 

A circuit breaker lockdown is a short period of more stringent restrictions with a defined end point where non-essential services are shut down in order to reduce spread, allowing the system to catch up to the number of cases.

WATCH | CEMA Chief Tom Sampson talks about the need for a circuit breaker lockdown

Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief Tom Sampson spoke to CBC on Nov. 15, 2020, about the need for a circuit breaker lockdown. 0:52

While it’s not ideal for the economy now, nor is it ideal to pull kids from school, Sampson said waiting could take a worse toll.

“A circuit breaker, in my opinion, is required — a hard one,” Sampson said. “I think people can do anything that you ask them to do if they know there’s a defined period to it, also. And in that sense, I don’t think we should delude ourselves. 14 days is one cycle. You know, you need two cycles to really break COVID, in my opinion.”

Sampson said he realizes a complete lock down is controversial, and added it’s the last thing he wanted to have to say.

“We can’t get people to hear us — simply not having people over and keeping your distance, washing your hands, wearing a mask and those sorts of things — it’s just not cool to violate those,” Sampson said. “You put others in danger and we can’t seem to get it right now. Maybe our government-mandated shutdown is the way to go.”

In a series of tweets on Saturday, Sampson described the rising infections as an incoming tsunami. 

“I implore you to listen to our learned physicians who are sounding the alarm,” he wrote. 


Alberta reported 991 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, after reporting a record of more than 1,000 cases Saturday. The province has continued to break records for active cases and hospitalizations over the past few weeks.

There are 9,618 people who currently have COVID-19 in the province, 262 of whom are in hospital. As of Friday, more than 3,500 of those cases were in Calgary. 

On Thursday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney introduced some new restrictions for cities in the province including a two-week ban on indoor sports and fitness classes and earlier closing times for restaurants and bars. 

The premier has continued to urge citizens exercise “personal responsibility” ahead of mandatory constraints. The new restrictions will not be monitored by law enforcement, Kenney said. 

A spokesperson for the premier said Sunday that the government has been clear that its “priority is protecting both lives and livelihoods,” and pointed to the series of new measures announced by Kenney on Thursday. 

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has said the city has “essentially zero” power to enforce restrictions when citizens disregard the rules, and has asked the province to reinstate public health enforcement powers and boost contact tracing. 

Sampson said the province’s latest round of measures don’t go far enough, but the City of Calgary can’t fight the pandemic with its State of Local Emergency alone.

“States of local emergency are very, very powerful,” Sampson said. “You can do almost anything you want. You can even conscript people. But they don’t deal with saying: I’m going to shut down this business or that piece of our infrastructure for a period of time, it doesn’t deal with it. And so that’s a provincial call.”

Economy depends on controlling the spread

Trevor Tombe, an associate professor of economics and research fellow at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, said countries that have experienced the greatest economic contraction are the ones with the highest case counts. 

“For the benefit not just of our own health and our lives, but for our livelihood as well, the focus needs to be on controlling the spread, bringing case counts down,” Tombe said. 

Despite the freedom Albertans have to go to restaurants, bars and shopping centres, some are choosing not to participate in the economy for their own health and safety. 

“Independent of what the government chooses to do, there’s going to be an increasing number of people who choose to stay home and not engage or not go and frequent different businesses,” Tombe said. “Our own behaviour imposes costs on others when we transmit the virus. This is what economists refer to as an externality. So even folks behaving in a way that just minimizes their own risk may not be going far enough.” 

Many businesses won’t have the reserves to pull through another lockdown, he said. The federal government may need to step in and renew supports.

Amir Atteran, a professor of law and public health at the University of Ottawa, said provinces that are seeing surges in COVID-19 cases are failing in their response — and it’s time for federal action.

“We can’t have individual provinces deciding not to act, selfishly, and I do apply that word to Jason Kenney, such that the rest of us have to bail them out. We’re in this together,” he said. 

Atteran said the federal government could set minimum standards, like a mask mandate, that provinces can implement.

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