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A look at the history of ‘Silent Night’ as the carol turns 200

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CTVNews.ca Staff , with a report from CTV Atlantic Bureau Chief Todd Battis


Published Monday, December 24, 2018 10:00PM EST

One of the most enduring Christmas carols turns 200 years old this Christmas Eve.

“Silent Night” was written in German by the Catholic priest Joseph Mohr and his schoolteacher friend Franz Gruber between 1816 and 1818.

Originally called “Song From Heaven,” the carol debuted on Dec. 24, 1818 at the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.

U.S. musicology professor Sarah Eyerly writes that “Silent Night” was conceived at a time when Europeans were reeling from the Napoleonic Wars and widespread crop failure.

“Mohr’s congregation was poverty-stricken, hungry and traumatized, so he crafted a set of six poetic verses to convey hope that there was still a God who cared,” she writes.

The song quickly spread through western Europe and was performed in 1839 by a group of family singers at the Trinity Church on Wall Street in New York City.

“Silent Night” continued to be sung decades later. In 1914, when a Christmas truce was reached on the western front in the First World War, newspaper headlines referenced the tune.

In 1935, Bing Crosby released what may be the most famous version. His single, along with re-recordings, went on to sell more than 30 million copies.

Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra — even Boys II Men — have also covered the song, which has been translated into about 300 languages, including Inuktitut.

The Kroll Family Singers, from Austria, recently performed the song at Trinity Church in New York in order to mark the anniversary.

One of the singers, Elisabeth Frontull, said she believes its enduring popularity has to do with the fact that it’s “easy to learn.”

Sigrid Pichler, spokeswoman for New York City’s Austrian Tourist Office, said she believes the song “touches people deeply.”

“It’s a very simple song, it has an eternal message of peace,” Pichler added. “It is also something that the whole world needs to hear.”

With files from The Associated Press

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LIFESTYLES

University of Windsor establishes first Canadian transportation cybersecurity centre

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The University of Windsor will be the site of Canada’s first organization dedicated to countering threats to the connected transportation marketplace.

The SHIELD Automotive Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence will focus on developing the skills, innovations and policy to secure connected and autonomous vehicles.

Researchers will partner with industry, government and community stakeholders.

Co-founding and heading up the centre will be Dr. Mitra Mirhassani of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Dr. Ikjot Saini of the School of Computer Science.

In the past year, the two University of Windsor professors were both recognized as being among Canada’s top talents in the automotive cybersecurity field.

“Hardware and software vulnerabilities could put personal information and vehicle safety in jeopardy,” said Mirhassani.

“Transportation systems are especially susceptible to attacks from malicious actors due to the complexity, implementation costs and lifecycles of equipment and platforms.”

The SHIELD centre is a continuation of the Windsor region’s focus on developing its cybersecurity ecosystem.

The province has already designated the area as the regional tech development centre for cybersecurity and border logistics.

The cybersecurity centre got a further boost this week with the announcement of a memorandum of understanding with the Automotive Parts Manufacturing Association (APMA).

APMA and SHIELD will collaborate to develop market-based technologies to meet the needs of producers and consumers and build academic programs to address industry’s evolving requirements.

“We hope that this partnership will help to advance a cybersecurity culture shift in the industry in Canada,” said APMA president Flavio Volpe.

“There is much work to be done to protect our collective interest in advancing this country’s globally competitive automotive sector.”

The centre will also promote the sharing of knowledge among parties to advance standards and enhance policies in the field.

Part of the plan is to offer micro credentialing through the university’s Continuing Education programs.

“We plan to offer consultation and test services to small- and medium-sized Canadian companies that will help them stay up to date,” said Dr. Saini.

“Open-access publications and public webinars will widely share the latest information.”

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Hamilton police charge ‘Hugs Over Masks’ protest organizers in two separate events

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TORONTO — Hamilton, Ont., police say they have charged two organizers of an anti-mask protest group for holding events that allegedly violated public health rules.

Police say the events were held in downtown Hamilton on Jan. 3 and Jan. 10.

The force alleges that 40 people attended first event and 60 attended the second.

Current provincial restrictions limit gatherings to a maximum of 10 people outdoors.

Police say they informed the “Hugs Over Masks” organizers that the planned Jan. 10 gathering would result in charges, but they went ahead with the event.

They say a 27-year-old man and 38-year-old woman are facing charges under the Reopening Ontario Act that carry a minimum fine of $10,000 if convicted.

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Ontario issues stay-at-home order to start Thursday as Ford declares state of emergency

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Premier Doug Ford is declaring another state of emergency, effective immediately, in response to surging COVID-19 infection rates.

In a news conference on Tuesday, Ford announced Ontario is issuing a stay-at-home order, effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

It requires people to stay home except for essential activities such as accessing health care or shopping for groceries.

The new measures also include restricting the hours of operation for non-essential retail stores such as hardware stores to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Addressing big box stores, which are allowed to remain open, Ford said an inspection blitz is coming to ensure they are following proper protocols.

“I’m going to come down on them like an 800-pound gorilla,” he said.

Schools in Hamilton, Toronto, York, Peel and Windsor-Essex will not return to in-person learning until Feb. 10.

Other public health regions, including Halton and Niagara, will find out when students can return to class by Jan. 20.

Schools will now require students in grades 1-3 to wear masks and masks will be required outside where physical distancing can’t be maintained.

Child-care centres for non-school aged children will remain open.

The premier announced the restrictions shortly after the province released new projections that show the virus is on track to overwhelm Ontario’s health-care system.

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