Tyler Cook (Detroit Pistons) with a dunk vs the San Antonio Spurs, 04/22/2021
Tyler Cook (Detroit Pistons) with a dunk vs the San Antonio Spurs, 04/22/2021
Miles Bridges cleared from COVID-19 protocols for last two Hornets games
Fans sang and danced in George Square despite warnings against gathering due to coronavirus.
New Delhi [India], May 15 (ANI): Former Union Minister and Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury on Saturday hit back on Bharatiya Janata Party MP Meenakshi Lekhi for her remarks against the party and said Congress always stands with farmers and youth of the country.
Don Lemon is getting his name above the title on his late-night program on CNN. The WarnerMedia cable-news outlet will rename the two late-evening hours he has hosted for the past several years “Don Lemon Tonight,” replacing “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon.” CNN spokespersons did not respond immediately to queries seeking comment, but the new […]
BEIJING — China has canceled attempts to climb Mount Everest from its side of the world’s highest peak because of fears of importing coronavirus cases from neighboring Nepal. China’s official Xinhua News Agency says the closure was confirmed in a notice from China’s General Administration of Sport. The move reflects the abundance of caution China has taken in dealing with the pandemic. While China has mostly curbed domestic transmission of the coronavirus, Nepal is experiencing a surge with record numbers of new infections and deaths. China had issued permits to 38 people to climb Mount Everest this spring, and Nepal to 408 climbers. In Nepal, several climbers have reported testing positive for the coronavirus after they were brought down from the Everest base camp. The month of May generally has the best weather for climbing Everest. Scores have reached the summit this week and more are expected to make attempts later this month once the weather improves. Two climbers have died on the Nepalese side, one Swiss and one American. ___ THE VIRUS OUTBREAK: — Success story Taiwan faces its worst outbreak in pandemic — States, business sort out what new CDC mask guidance means — Cuba rolls out mass vaccines while awaiting study results — Southern European countries are racing to reopen their tourism services despite delays in rolling out a planned EU-wide travel pass ___ Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine ___ HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING: LONDON — Britain says it will host an international meeting next month to combat misinformation about coronavirus vaccines and build global confidence in their use. The U.K. government says officials, scientists and academics will meet virtually at the Global Vaccine Confidence Summit on June 2 to discuss ways to counter vaccine skepticism. Heidi Larson, director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says “no single government, academic institution or organization can tackle this challenge alone.” She adds to ensure the high levels of vaccine uptake needed to help end the pandemic, efforts must be made “to build trust across the various relationships – from scientists and health authorities to business partners and communities.” Britain has one of the world’s fastest vaccination campaigns, with more than two-thirds of adults receiving at least one dose since December. ___ WARSAW, Poland — Across Poland people are taking off masks and making toasts as restaurants, bars and pubs reopen for the first time in seven months. The reopening, limited now to the outdoor consumption of food and drinks, officially took place at midnight between Friday and Saturday. Many people on Friday couldn’t wait for midnight and were out on the streets of Warsaw and other cities hours earlier in the evening to celebrate. Bar owners say they were bombarded with reservation requests leading up to the opening. ___ LONDON — Britain is deploying public health officials, supported by the army, to distribute coronavirus tests door-to-door in two northern England towns to help contain a fast-spreading variant that threatens lockdown-easing plans. Cases of a strain first identified in India have more than doubled in a week. Government scientific advisers say the variant is likely more transmissible than the U.K.’s dominant strain, though it’s unclear by how much. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the variant “could be a serious disruption to our progress.” He says the next stage of lockdown-easing measures will take place as planned on Monday but warned the variant might delay plans to lift all restrictions on June 21. Labour Party lawmaker Yvette Cooper said the government had not barred visitors arriving from India until April 23, a decision that let in “many hundreds of new variant cases.” More than two-thirds of British adults have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine and 37% have had both doses. The government is shortening the gap between doses for people over 50 from 12 to eight weeks in a bid to give them more protection. ___ THE HAGUE, Netherlands — As coronavirus infections decline in parts of the world and the summer holiday season tentatively begins, the Dutch government has eased travel restrictions for a group of popular vacation destinations. Among the countries with a lower risk of infections that can be visited starting Saturday are Portugal, Malta, Ireland, Thailand, Rwanda, the former Dutch colonies of Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten and a large group of Greek islands. They previously were designated code orange, meaning the government advised only traveling there if it was urgently necessary. The Greek mainland and Crete remain under code orange. The destinations are now yellow code, meaning Dutch travelers can visit without having to undergo a COVID-19 test and go into self-isolation on their return. However, the foreign ministry is stressing that travelers still have to adhere to local rules and restrictions in the countries they visit, which can include showing a negative coronavirus test and self-isolating on arrival. ___ TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan has raised the COVID-19 alert level for the capital Taipei and the surrounding area of New Taipei city following its worst outbreak since the pandemic began. The level 3 alert announced Saturday requires people to wear a mask outdoors and limits indoor gatherings to five people and outdoor gatherings to 10 people. The alert remains in effect for two weeks. Health authorities said that 180 new locally spread cases had been confirmed through Friday, the majority in Taipei and New Taipei. The daily number of new cases had risen steadily from single digits early this week to 29 before the triple-digit jump announced Saturday. “The epidemic is gaining intensity,” Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said, while noting that more cases are being identified as authorities hone in on hot zones. Movie theaters, museums, indoor swimming pools and amusement parks were among the places ordered closed under the level 3 alert, as were community colleges and senior citizen activity centers. ___ NEW DELHI — India’s two biggest cities have reported a drop in daily infections but the government is warning that the devastating surge is spreading in rural areas, where nearly two-thirds of India’s 1.4 billion people live. India reported 326,098 new confirmed cases and 3,890 deaths in the past 24 hours, though experts say both figures are an undercount. The Health Ministry had reported 343,144 cases on Friday and 362,727 on Thursday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday warned people to take extra precautions as the virus was spreading fast in rural areas. He said the government was mobilizing all resources, including the military. News reports say villagers have been rushing the sick to nearby towns and cities for treatment because health care facilities are limited in the countryside. India’s capital has reported less than 10,000 new cases in a day for the first time in over a month. It recorded 8,506 cases in the past 24 hours. After a peak of 11,000 daily infections, Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital, has been reporting less than 2,000. ___ SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico has adopted guidance on facemasks from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that says fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks indoors or outside in most cases. Under revisions Friday to the state’s emergency public health order, masks are no longer required of fully vaccinated people in many public settings, though businesses and workplaces may still make face coverings a requirement for all. Public schools are still bound by universal mask requirements with allowances for meals, as the state gradually relaxes aggressive restrictions on public gatherings and some business operations. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says getting vaccinated is crucial to a safe future, with the statewide vaccination rate recently surpassing 50% for eligible residents 16 and over. ___ JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska legislative leaders have voted to make mask-wearing optional at the state Capitol and then shed their own face coverings after the vote. The decision by the Legislative Council followed new guidelines the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The council is composed of House and Senate leaders. Under the new policy, masks are optional in legislative facilities, with some exceptions. For example, lawmakers can require masks in their respective offices. The policy also further eases testing rules. ___ BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has further eased the state’s mask requirements. Edwards largely dropped the state mask mandate on April 27, but there were exceptions. Friday’s order drops the requirement for entry into state office buildings for people who are fully vaccinated. Masking is still required by the state in educational facilities from early childhood classes to universities, and at state correctional facilities and health care facilities. New Orleans, which had a tougher mask mandate than the state’s, also did away with the mask mandate for fully vaccinated people Friday, with similar exceptions. ___ Word from federal health officials that vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks in most situations may be leading to confusion among travelers. Masks are still required under a Transportation Security Administration rule that will run into mid-September unless it is revoked before then. The Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates airlines, felt the need to remind passengers of the TSA rule. It issued a statement late Friday to “remind the traveling public that at this time if you travel, you are still required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.” ___ NEW YORK — Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, says it won’t require vaccinated shoppers or workers to wear a mask in its U.S. stores, unless state or local laws say otherwise. Vaccinated shoppers can go maskless immediately, the company said. Vaccinated workers can stop wearing them on May 18. As an incentive, Walmart said it is offering workers $75 if they prove they’ve been vaccinated. Walmart says it won’t ask shoppers if they’ve been vaccinated. Workers, however, will need to tell the company if they’ve been vaccinated in order to go maskless. ___ JUNEAU, Alaska — The acting mayor of Anchorage says Alaska’s largest city is revoking its mask mandate, starting May 21. Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson’s office says masks no longer will be required in indoor or outdoor settings but that people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 are encouraged to wear masks. The decision follows guidance released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday for people who are vaccinated. Quinn-Davidson’s office says applying a mask mandate only to those who are not vaccinated in Anchorage would have created enforcement challenges and issues for businesses. Meanwhile, in Juneau, city officials ease mask wearing rules for people who are fully vaccinated. ___ LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas’ capital city is dropping its requirement to wear a mask to combat the coronavirus following loosened federal guidance and a new state law that will ban local mandates, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott said Friday. Scott said the city’s mask mandate will end Saturday, though private entities, hospitals and churches can still enforce their own requirements on employees and patrons. People entering City of Little Rock indoor facilities will still be required to wear a mask, the mayor said. “We strongly encourage residents to continue wearing face coverings in public until we reach the desired vaccination rate in our city, as outlined by healthcare professionals,” Scott said in a statement. The decision comes a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings. Arkansas dropped its mask mandate in March, but the governor allowed local governments to enforce their own. A new state law, however, takes effect in July that will ban any state or local mandates. ___ ATLANTA — Georgia’s 26 public universities and colleges do not currently plan to require students, faculty or staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the fall, according to guidance issued by the University System of Georgia. The 340,000-student university system in March asked all campuses “to plan for resuming normal operations for the Fall 2021 semester.” Thursday’s guidance says fully vaccinated people won’t have to socially distance or wear masks, while unvaccinated people “are strongly encouraged to continue” socially distancing and wearing a mask inside. The universities are supposed to make sure vaccinations are available, but schools won’t be “responsible for assessing current COVID-19 vaccination rates for their institution.” The university system said it had made the decisions in concert with the state Department of Public Health and that they were subject to change. The Board of Regents insisted on at least some in-person instruction in the fall and spring semesters. Those moves came despite resistance from some employees. ___ The Associated Press
The meeting is due to take place on Sunday
Welcome to the wild, wild West. This year pits three juggernauts and a recently-minted Cup winner in what should be the most fun first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ethiopia has again delayed its national election after some opposition parties said they wouldn’t take part and as conflict in the country’s Tigray region means no vote is being held there. The head of the national elections board, Birtukan Mideksa, in a meeting with political parties’ representatives on Saturday said the June 5 vote in Africa’s second most populous country would be postponed until a yet-unknown date, citing the need to finish printing ballots, training staffers and compiling voters’ information. Ethiopia last year delayed the vote, the first major electoral test for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, citing the COVID-19 pandemic. That heightened tensions with the Tigray region’s leaders, who declared that Abiy’s mandate had ended and defiantly held a regional vote of their own that Ethiopia called illegal. Since then, war in Tigray has killed thousands and led the United States to allege that “ethnic cleansing” against Tigrayans was being carried out in the western part of Tigray, a region of some 6 million people. The term “ethnic cleansing” refers to forcing a population from a region through expulsions and other violence, often including killings and rapes. The prime minister, who introduced sweeping political reforms after taking office in 2018 and won the Nobel Peace Prize the following year, has repeatedly vowed that this election would be free and fair. Abiy will keep his post if his Prosperity Party wins a majority of seats in the national assembly. The European Union recently said it would not observe the vote, saying Ethiopia failed to guarantee the independence of its mission and refused its requests to allow the importation of communications equipment. Ethiopia replied that external observers “are neither essential nor necessary to certify the credibility of an election.” Meanwhile, sometimes deadly ethnic tensions in other parts of the country of some 110 million people have led some to question how the election would be carried out, and the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress earlier this year pulled out of the vote. Several of its leaders remain behind bars after a wave of violence last year sparked by the killing of a popular Omoro musician. Late last month, five U.S. senators wrote to the U.S. special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, expressing concerns about Ethiopia’s ability to hold fair elections while the Tigray conflict continues. In response, Ethiopia’s national election board said it was “striving” to ensure the poll will be free. “Shortfalls are inevitable given factors such as population size, development deficits at all levels, a nascent democratic culture and an increasingly charged political and security environment,” it said. “We are deeply concerned about increasing political and ethnic polarization throughout the country,” the State Department said Friday. Ethiopia’s election board has said some 36.2 million people have registered to vote. It was hoped that up to 50 million would do so. The Associated Press
Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India], May 15 (ANI): A case of mucormycosis in which the patient had recovered from COVID-19 in late April has been reported at Max Hospital in Dehradun, said Uttarakhand Health secretary in-charge Pankaj Pandey.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran's judiciary chief, a hard-line cleric linked to mass executions in 1988, registered on Saturday to run in the Islamic Republic’s presidential election next month, a vote that comes as negotiators struggle to resuscitate Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers. The cleric, Ebrahim Raisi, is among the more prominent hopefuls — he garnered nearly 16 million votes in the 2017 election. He lost that race to Iran's relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani, whose administration struck the atomic accord. Raisi's close ties to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his popularity — due partly to his televised anti-corruption campaign — could make him a favorite in the election. Analysts already believe that hard-liners enjoy an edge as Rouhani is term limited from running again. The public has widely grown disenchanted with Rouhani's administration after 2018, when then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the nuclear deal. Raisi, wearing a black turban that identifies him in Shiite tradition as a direct descendant of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, offered fiery remarks to journalists at the Interior Ministry as he registered. He vowed that if he wins the June 18 vote, corruption will be “dried up.” “Those who founded and partnered with the current situation can’t claim they can change it,” Raisi said. “People are complaining about the current situation. They are upset. Their disappointment is on the rise. This should be stopped.” The 60-year-old sought to strike a populist note, urging the public to donate to his campaign and “turn their homes into election headquarters” as he wasn't wealthy. “We need individuals who believe in change,” he said. Raisi had been named as a possible successor to Iran’s 82-year-old supreme leader, leading some to suggest he wouldn’t run in the race. His entry immediately saw some hard-liners announce they would withdraw, raising Raisi's prominence further among the candidates. A February telephone survey conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Toronto-based organization IranPoll found Raisi with an approval rating of 27%, the highest among likely candidates. The survey found 35% undecided; the poll interviewed 1,006 Iranians and had a margin of error of 3.09%. “I think he’s someone that the system trusts, particularly Khamenei,” said Sanam Vakil, the deputy director of Chatham House’s Middle East and North Africa Program. “If you look at Raisi’s biography and background, it reads quite similar to that of the supreme leader’s. "If Khamenei is thinking about his legacy, he would probably be looking for someone who is similar to him and ideologically aligned with him and looking to protect what Khamenei has done over the last 30 years,” Vakil added. Activists hold a jaded view of Raisi. As the head of the judiciary, he oversees a justice system in Iran that remains one of the world's top executioners. United Nations experts and others have criticized Iran for detaining dual nationals and those with ties abroad to be used as bargaining chips in negotiations with the West. Then there's the 1988 mass executions that came at the end of Iran’s long war with Iraq. After Iran’s then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini accepted a U.N.-brokered cease-fire, members of the Iranian opposition group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, heavily armed by Saddam Hussein, stormed across the Iranian border in a surprise attack. Iran ultimately blunted their assault, but the attack set the stage for the sham retrials of political prisoners, militants and others that would become known as “death commissions.” Some who appeared were asked to identify themselves. Those who responded “mujahedeen” were sent to their deaths, while others were questioned about their willingness to “clear minefields for the army of the Islamic Republic,” according to a 1990 Amnesty International report. International rights groups estimate that as many as 5,000 people were executed, while the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq puts the number at 30,000. Iran has never fully acknowledged the executions, apparently carried out on Khomeini’s orders, though some argue that other top officials were effectively in charge in the months before his 1989 death. Raisi, then a deputy prosecutor in Tehran, took part in some of the panels at Evin and Gohardasht prisons. A tape of a meeting of Raisi and his boss meeting prominent Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri leaked out in 2016, with Montazeri describing the executions as “the biggest crime in the history of the Islamic Republic.” Raisi never publicly acknowledged his role in the executions while campaigning for president in 2017. After his loss, Khamenei appointed him as head of the judiciary in 2019. Raisi previously ran the Imam Reza charity foundation, which manages a vast conglomerate of businesses and endowments in Iran believed to be worth tens of billions of dollars. It is one of many bonyads, or charitable foundations, fueled by donations or assets seized after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. Analysts have speculated that Khamenei could be grooming Raisi as a possible candidate to be Iran’s third-ever supreme leader, who has final say on all state matters and serves as the country’s commander-in-chief. Within Iran, candidates exist on a political spectrum that broadly includes hard-liners who want to expand Iran’s nuclear program, moderates who hold onto the status quo, and reformists who want to change the theocracy from within. Those calling for radical change find themselves blocked from even running for office by the Guardian Council, a 12-member panel that vets and approves candidates under Khamenei’s watch. Other candidates who registered on Saturday, the last day of the registration, include Ali Larijani, a prominent conservative voice and former parliament speaker who later allied himself with Rouhani. Another hopeful is Mohsen Hashemi Rafsanjani, the eldest son of the late former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and a prominent reformist on Tehran's city council. Rouhani's senior Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri also registered, as did Central Bank chief Abdolanasser Hemmati. Several of the hopefuls have prominent backgrounds in the Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary force answerable only to Khamenei. Iran’s former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad registered Wednesday. The Guardian Council will announce a final list of candidates by May 27, and a 20-day campaign season begins the following day. ___ Associated Press writer Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report. Jon Gambrell, The Associated Press
Thousands of people have flocked to Kensington High Street to protest against the conflict in Gaza. The protest, which officially started at 12pm, saw demonstrators march from Hyde Park to the Israeli embassy in Kensington. A temporary stage has been set up by organisers where speakers, including Jeremy Corbyn, addressed crowds.
RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat addressing the Positivity Unlimited campaign also urged people to practice Yoga & Ayurveda.
The play-in field isn’t quite set. And nobody knows who’ll play anybody yet. Welcome to the final weekend of the NBA’s regular season, with every first-round playoff matchup — even every play-in game matchup — still undecided, and the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers needing two wins in the season’s final two days to avoid the play-in round. Even with the uncertainty, the Lakers are still the second-choice among FanDuel bettors to win the NBA title and the favorites to win the Western Conference. That's without them even knowing yet if they'll be in the postseason. FRIDAY DEVELOPMENTS — The NBA released the play-in schedule. The first two games in the East — No. 8 at No. 7, which will be Boston, and No. 10 at No. 9 will be Tuesday. In the West, those games will be Wednesday, with the only known slot being that San Antonio will be No. 10. The East play-in concludes Thursday, the West concludes Friday. (For those still learning the format, the 7 vs. 8 winner will be the No. 7 seed, the 9 vs. 10 loser is eliminated, and the 9 vs. 10 winner will play at the 7 vs. 8 loser for the No. 8 seed.) — Washington clinched the last remaining Eastern Conference play-in berth by beating Cleveland, a result that ended Chicago’s playoff hopes. The East play-in field will be No. 7 Boston, followed in some order by Charlotte, Indiana and Washington. — Dallas beat Toronto to clinch no worse than No. 6 in the Western Conference and will avoid the play-in round. — Memphis beat Sacramento, setting up a game at Golden State on Sunday that will essentially serve as a play-in to the play-in. The winner of the Grizzlies-Warriors game will be the No. 8 seed entering the West play-in round, while the loser will be No. 9 and must go 2-0 in the play-in games to make the playoffs. — Philadelphia clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference by beating Orlando. THE WEST The good news for the Lakers is LeBron James is listed as questionable for Saturday at Indiana, and the fact that he’s not listed as out probably means he’ll attempt to play for just the third time in his team’s last 29 games because of an ankle injury. The bad news is, the Lakers need two wins to escape No. 7, and even that might not be enough. The Lakers’ only hope is two wins — and a Portland loss to Denver on Sunday. If Portland wins its regular-season finale, the Lakers are play-in bound, regardless of anything else. Sunday’s Blazers-Nuggets matchup is interesting for both sides; the Blazers would avoid the play-in with a win, while the Nuggets are tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for the third-best record in the West at 47-24. The Clippers lost at Houston on Friday, notable because they slipped back to No. 4 in the West race (Denver holds the tiebreaker there) and now, no matter what, cannot play the Lakers in Round 1 of the playoffs. THE EAST The jostling to see who will finish eighth, ninth and 10th going into the play-in will be wild. Charlotte and Indiana are both 33-37, Washington is 33-38, yet all three clubs enter the weekend seeing scenarios that put them in any of the three available slots on the play-in bracket. Charlotte plays at New York on Saturday while the Pacers simultaneously play host to the Lakers. On Sunday, Indiana goes to Tampa, Florida to finish against Toronto while the Hornets play in Washington. If there are ties, Charlotte holds tiebreakers over both the Pacers and Wizards. Washington would win a tiebreaker over Indiana. The race for the No. 2 seed could end Saturday if Brooklyn beats Chicago and Milwaukee loses to Miami. Should both of those results happen, Brooklyn gets the 2 seed. Otherwise, that race goes to Sunday. Brooklyn is 46-24, a game ahead of 45-25 Milwaukee — but the Bucks hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. Brooklyn plays host to Cleveland on Sunday, while Milwaukee finishes at Chicago. And seeds 4, 5 and 6 in the East will go, in some order, to Atlanta (40-31), Miami (39-31) and New York (39-31). The Hawks finish Sunday against Houston. Miami plays Milwaukee on Saturday and Detroit on Sunday. New York plays Charlotte on Saturday and Boston on Sunday. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press
The weather service describes its forecast as a “broken record.”
The Municipality of Leamington is faced with a looming deadline, as council needs to come to terms with which police service they will contract next. On Tuesday, Leamington council will hold a virtual meeting — and police services are at the top of the agenda. Leamington is currently serviced by the Ontario Provincial Police. That service is set to end on June 9, a decision made last year by Leamington council in June 2020. Councillors voted to terminate the $5.4 million contract with the OPP due to dissatisfaction with the service. Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald told CBC News at the time the OPP refused to give them eight officers a shift, despite the municipality being willing to pay more. On Sep. 8, 2020, council approved the issuing of an RFP, or a request for proposal for police services. The purpose was to analyze all of the proposals which would result in a final report from MPM Consulting to council. The final report concluded that Windsor Police Services was the preferred proponent, but if council accepted the Windsor Police Service's proposal, a 13 per cent municipal tax rate increase in the first year or cuts to some current municipal services would be required. Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens was in favour of offering the Windsor Police Service to Leamington last year.(Dan Taekema/CBC) Last year, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens released a statement saying he would be happy to accommodate. "(The) City of Windsor / Windsor Police Service Board will be pleased to participate in any process that Leamington might set up to allow us to have a conversation with them about taking this on," read an emailed statement from the mayor. It is currently recommended that Leamington council does not accept proposals in response to the Request for Proposals for Police Services. The OPP will continue to offer its services in Leamington until June 9.
In a lifetime of working with horses, Gary Kidd, 73, had never adopted an untrained wild mustang before. But when the federal government started paying people $1,000 a horse to adopt them, he signed up for as many as he could get. So did his wife, two grown daughters and a son-in-law. Kidd, who owns a small farm near Hope, Arkansas, said in a recent telephone interview that he was using the mustangs, which are protected under federal law, to breed colts and that they were happily eating green grass in his pasture. In fact, by the time he spoke on the phone, the animals were long gone. Records show that Kidd had sold them almost as soon as he legally could. He and his family received at least $20,000, and the mustangs ended up at a dusty Texas livestock auction frequented by slaughterhouse brokers known as kill buyers. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times When asked about the sale, Kidd abruptly hung up. The Bureau of Land Management, which is in charge of caring for the nation’s wild horses, created the $1,000-a-head Adoption Incentive Program in 2019 because it wanted to move a huge surplus of mustangs and burros out of government corrals and find them “good homes.” Thousands of first-time adopters signed up, and the bureau hailed the program as a success. But records show that instead of going to good homes, truckloads of horses were dumped at slaughter auctions as soon as their adopters got the federal money. A program intended to protect wild horses was instead subsidizing their path to destruction. “This is the government laundering horses,” said Brieanah Schwartz, a lawyer for the advocacy group American Wild Horse Campaign, which has tracked the program. “They call it adoptions, knowing the horses are going to slaughter. But this way the BLM won’t get its fingerprints on it.” The bureau denies the allegations, noting that the government requires all adopters to sign affidavits promising not to resell the horses to slaughterhouses or their middlemen. But a spokesperson said the bureau had no authority to enforce those agreements or to track the horses once adopters had title to them. People who dump mustangs at auctions, the spokesperson said, are free to adopt and get paid again. It has been 50 years since Congress unanimously passed a law meant to protect wild horses and burros from wholesale roundup and slaughter and to ensure that they had a permanent, sustainable place on public land in the West. But decades of missteps, systemic problems and spiraling costs have put both the horses and the western landscape at risk. Wild horses once roamed North America in the millions, but as the open range disappeared in the early 20th century, they were nearly all hunted down and turned into fertilizer and dog food. When they were finally protected in 1971, there were fewer than 20,000 left. Once protected, though, the remnant herds started growing again — far faster than the government was prepared for. The bureau estimates that, left alone, wild-horse herds increase by about 20% a year. The bureau has tried for decades to stabilize numbers by using helicopters to round up thousands of mustangs annually. But the bureau has never been able to find enough people willing to adopt the untamed broncos it removes. So surplus mustangs — about 3,500 a year — have gone instead into a network of government storage pastures and corrals known as the holding system. There are now more than 51,000 animals in holding, eating up so much of the program’s budget — about $60 million a year — that the bureau has little left to manage mustangs in the wild. “It’s completely unsustainable,” said Terry Messmer, a professor of wildlife resources at Utah State University who has studied the program history. “I don’t think anyone who passed this law would be happy with how things turned out 50 years later.” The bureau declined to comment on the record for this article. Bureau leaders have repeatedly proposed culling the storage herds, but they have always been blocked by lawmakers mindful that a vast majority of voters do not want symbols of their heritage turned into cuts of meat. Enter the Adoption Incentive Program, which is built on the idea that paying adopters $1,000 a head is far cheaper than the $24,000 average lifetime cost of keeping a horse in government hands. The program nearly doubled the number of horses leaving the holding system, and the bureau called it “a win for all involved” that was helping “animals find homes with families who will care for and enjoy them for years to come.” The bureau’s once-sleepy adoption events were transformed. “It became a feeding frenzy. I have never seen anything like it,” said Carol Walker, a photographer who documents the wild herds of Wyoming. In February, she arrived at an event in Rock Springs, Wyoming, and found a line of trailers a half-mile long. When the gates opened, people rushed to sign up for adoptions without even inspecting the mustangs. “Those people weren’t there because they cared about the horses,” Walker said. “They were there because they cared about the money.” To be sure, tens of thousands of wild horses have been adopted over the years by people who kept and cared for them as the law intended. Some became ranch horses, some work with the Border Patrol, and one became a world champion in dressage. But the adoption program has hardly been selective. One man in Oklahoma was paid to take horses even though he had previously gone to prison for kidnapping and beating two men during a horse-slaughter deal gone bad. The program has rules meant to discourage quick-buck seekers. Adopters are limited to four animals a year and do not get full payment or title papers for 12 months. Even so, records show several instances where families like the Kidds banded together to get more than four horses. And numerous mustangs bearing the distinctive government brand began showing up at slaughter auctions after the one-year wait was up. “We used to see one or two mustangs occasionally, usually old ones that someone had owned for years, but suddenly the floodgates opened,” said Clare Staples, who founded a wild-horse sanctuary in Oregon called Skydog Ranch. Staples said she had helped find homes for more than 20 adopted mustangs that were dumped at auctions, apparently after having been given little care. Many were emaciated, with unkempt manes and untrimmed hooves, she said, and they often had parasites. The bureau has refused to provide lists of adopters. But an informal network of wild-horse advocates has pieced together what is happening by using donated money to outbid kill buyers at auctions. That way, they spare mustangs from slaughter and obtain title papers that detail the horses’ ownership history. The papers show that many adopters who quickly resell live in stretches of the Great Plains where pasture is cheap and people often derive a living from several sources. These adopters often took the maximum number of horses and sent them to auction soon after their final government payments cleared. Lonnie Krause, a rancher in Bison, South Dakota, adopted four horses in 2019, and so did his grandson. In an interview, he said he saw nothing wrong with sending the mustangs to auction and acknowledged that they would probably go to kill buyers. “It’s economics,” he said. “I can make about $800 putting a calf on my land for a year. With the horses, I made $1,000, then turned around and sold them for $500.” Krause said bureau employees had told him he was not breaking any rules. “Once you get title, they told me, there is no limitation; you can do whatever you want with them,” he said. Getting mustangs out of storage is critical for the bureau because its wild-horse program is in a crisis. The cost of storing horses has cannibalized the helicopter budget, and roundups can no longer keep pace with growing herds. There are now about 100,000 wild horses in the West — triple what the bureau says the land can support. If left unchecked, in another decade they could number 500,000. Managers warn that the growing herds could graze public lands down to dirt, which would devastate cattle ranchers — who compete for grass — and harm delicate desert landscapes and native species. For decades government auditors and scientific advisers have warned the bureau to move away from roundups and instead control populations on the range through fertility control drugs delivered by dart and other management tools that do not add horses to the holding system, but the bureau has never changed course, in part because the cost of storing horses has crippled its ability to do anything else. “We are at a make-or-break point,” said Celeste Carlisle, a member of the wild-horse program’s citizen advisory board and a biologist for a wild-horse sanctuary called Return to Freedom, which has pushed for alternatives to roundups. “We have to turn things around, or it will result in disaster.” At the kill-buyer auctions, people who love wild horses are scrambling to respond. One night last fall, Candace Ray, who lives near Dallas, was clicking through photos on the website of a nearby auction when she spotted 24 young, untamed mustangs. Within hours she was rallying hundreds of donors on Facebook. Ray cajoled a young couple who give riding lessons on their nearby farm, Cody and Shawnee Barham, to drive to the auction and do the bidding. The mustangs were all small and skittish. None had apparently ever been handled. Serial numbers branded on their necks showed they had been born free in Nevada, Utah or New Mexico. The Barhams kept bidding for hours. By midnight they had spent $16,000 in donations and owned 24 horses. When they got the title papers, the names of the adopters who sold the horses had been blacked out with marker. But holding the papers up to a light revealed the names and addresses of the Kidd family. The Barhams brought the mustangs to their farm, opened the trailer doors and let them run. The couple plan to train the horses to accept a halter and then find people who will give them “forever homes.” Cody Barham stood one recent morning watching the herd nibble in one of his fields, a grease-stained John Deere hat on his head and a 9 mm pistol on his hip (for snakes). He watched his wife walk quietly into the pasture with her outstretched hand holding a horse cookie. One of the braver mustangs, a little black stallion, approached to sniff. “Our goal is to get them to the point where you can just love up on ’em,” he said. “But after all they’ve been through, it might take them a while to trust people.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
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