Four Big Tech CEOs - Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Sundar Pichai of Google and Tim Cook of Apple - are testifying on their companies’ practices on the issue of market dominance in the industry. (July 29)
Cars with B.C. licence plates are so rare in Blaine, Wash., these days that immigration lawyer Len Saunders does a double take every time he sees one.Saunders says the city just south of Surrey with a population of about 5,500 people has turned into a ghost town since the border closed in March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic."There are no Canadians in this town," he said. "For a town along the border that relies on Canadian customers, it's shocking to see."Prior to the pandemic, Blaine and Point Roberts, Wash., which shares a border with Tsawwassen, were both crawling with British Columbians searching for cheap gas, groceries and mail services, where they can pick up packages ordered online from American retailers.Blaine city manager Michael Jones says after five months without Canadian visitors, the municipality's finances have taken a wallop."We're forecasting about an 11 per cent reduction in our general fund revenue, which is primarily driven by tax dollars," he said."We're currently at the same staffing numbers that we were at the beginning of the year but we expect to see some very significant budget cuts next year."Point RobertsPoint to Point Parcel in Pt. Roberts was thriving before COVID-19 hit, but the border closure forced manager Beth Calder to lay off seven of her 10 employees.Calder says on a good day, she now receives about 50 packages a day, which is down from the 400 that were coming through her warehouse six days a week earlier this year."It's not something we can survive for extended periods of time," she said. "We are definitely not making enough money to cover all of our expenses."The border will remain closed for non-essential travel at least until Aug. 21 and she fears it may stretch into the holiday shopping season."Our best time of the year is from September through to the end of December," she said. "That usually helps to carry us through the next few months of the next year."ClosuresCalder says she isn't aware of any competitors that have gone out of businesses during the pandemic, but many have drastically cut their hours or closed temporarily.In Blaine, Saunders says he's aware of at least three restaurants that have gone under."You can go to a restaurant in this area and there's no waiting, even on a Saturday," he said. "It's a ghost town."Washington state has a population of 7.6 million, slightly higher than B.C.'s 5.1 million but the state has 64,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 15 times higher than in B.C.Jones says even if the border reopens, Canadians may be reluctant to travel to the U.S. if infection rates remain high."I can appreciate a Canadian perspective where you have a much lower count," he said. "It makes me wonder why would someone come visit a place with a higher risk of the virus." CBC Vancouver's Impact Team investigates and reports on stories that impact people in their local community and strives to hold individuals, institutions and organizations to account. If you have a story for us, email email@example.com.
Monday was a tough day for Bill Morneau and a good day for those who want to speculate about whether Bill Morneau will continue to be the finance minister for much longer.First came word that Mark Carney, the highly regarded and dapper former governor of the Bank of Canada, has been advising Justin Trudeau as the Liberal government turns its attention to rebuilding the economy. Then came a report from the Globe and Mail that alleged "clashes" between Trudeau and Morneau and suggested Carney was one of several candidates to replace him as finance minister.Trudeau offered his full support for Morneau on Tuesday, but that is unlikely to discourage rumours.Speculating about a cabinet shuffle is rarely a good use of anyone's time — the number of people who are directly aware of what the prime minister is thinking about his cabinet on any given day is usually in the single digits. It's not too early to assess Morneau's time as finance minister — an era that has been as eventful and perhaps even important as it has been ungraceful. But, for Trudeau, the question is whether the finance minister of the last five years is the right finance minister for the next, pivotal year.Questions about Morneau's future had already been revived before Carney entered the scene. As the Canada student service grant crumbled under the weight of the WE affair, some of the wreckage fell on the finance minister's head and, for the second time, Morneau found himself having to explain why he hadn't managed his personal affairs in an unimpeachable fashion — reminding everyone, in the process, that he is a very wealthy man.A similar sequence played out three years ago when Morneau made a push for tax reform. The first problem in that case was the government's slow and insufficient response to the concerted campaign against the finance department's proposals. Then reporters started looking into Morneau's own financial assets.It turned out he had failed to disclose a numbered company he owned — a company that owned a villa in France, though he had disclosed the villa. Then it was discovered he hadn't put his investment holdings in a blind trust. On that issue, Morneau was ultimately found to have not breached the Conflict of Interest Act, but by then he had already divested himself of his family's business in an attempt to end questions about his ethical standing.Whatever else might be said of the finance minister, he has now twice turned out to be oblivious to his own vulnerabilities (though the same could be said of his boss).Though he has gotten more comfortable in the public square, Morneau is not a naturally gifted or exciting politician. That's not a moral failing. But it can be a problem for someone who is working in politics.In the first four years, his biggest moments came in private settings. In June 2016, less than a year into the job, Morneau got the provinces to agree to expand the Canada Pension Plan. A year later, he negotiated new health accords with the provincial governments. In 2018, he led the government team that negotiated the purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline.Opinions may differ on whether any or all of those deals were particularly good or bad, but they were assuredly not insignificant. Morneau is said to be valued internally and an important voice for fiscal restraint. He is one of the few Liberals with significant experience in business. For good or otherwise, his budgets have also produced a handful of potential legacy items — from gender-based analysis to "superclusters" to the Canada Infrastructure Bank.Shifting goal postsFor all the grief directed at Morneau for the larger-than-promised deficits that the Liberal government ran between 2015 and 2019, it's also possible he has presided over a significant shifting of the goal posts on fiscal policy. In late July, the editorial board of the Globe and Mail declared that, "austerity wasn't the right path before the pandemic, and it can't be the road chosen after it."The unprecedented spending that Morneau oversaw this spring will be studied by historians and economists for decades to come. Though the marks from impartial observers have generally been favourable, there have been complaints. Morneau himself has acknowledged that the commercial rent assistance program could have been better designed. A more generous wage subsidy, launched earlier, might have also prevented some of the early job losses.That wage subsidy was reportedly one of several points of dispute between Morneau and Trudeau — with the Globe's sources casting Trudeau in a better light. One counterargument goes that debates between prime minister and finance minister are natural and healthy. Trudeau and Morneau apparently worked well enough together through the first four years, but a real clash of styles now could bode ill.Difficult decisionsThe recent damage to Morneau's credibility might be difficult to overcome — it's possible the ethics commissioner will come back this fall with a ruling that Morneau violated ethics rules on at least one count. But the act of replacing one's finance minister in the midst of an economic crisis carries some risk too.Either way, the burden on the finance minister over the next year could be significant, both internally and externally. The task of transitioning away from emergency supports and reforming employment insurance to handle a larger number of recipients will be fraught with the potential for trouble. Going into next year's budget there will be difficult decisions to make about how new spending is directed and then those choices will have to be defended — as hard as 2020 has been, the task of beginning to shape the post-2020 world might be even more profound.It's very easy to speculate that someone other than Morneau might be better equipped to deal with that.Liberals might be excited by Carney's resume and star power, but there were Liberals who were excited about Michael Ignatieff too. Chrystia Freeland might seem like a leading candidate, but she also seems to be serving the prime minister well as his official deputy. Treasury Board president Jean-Yves Duclos, a former economist, might be a policy wonk's dream — and he has increasingly come to the fore as a spokesman for the government — but it might be hard to imagine him interacting with Bay Street. It's fun to guess. But beyond the speculation and gossip, a wounded prime minister is looking to seize a unique moment and set a new agenda over the next year. His choice of finance minister will be no small part of that.
There is a lot riding on Quebec's back-to-school plan, the latest version of which was revealed Monday by Education Minister Jean-François Roberge. Broadly stated, it has to accomplish two things: return as many students to the classroom as possible this fall, and do this without triggering a devastating second wave of infections that could imperil the provincial health-care system.Roberge took an initial crack at squaring this circle in June, releasing a plan that made no mention of masks and proposed keeping students in small groups to limit outbreaks.The upside of that plan was that it made clear to parents there was going to be in-class education in September, which, along with vital implications for the development of children, has significant economic and social consequences.The downside was that the plan was light on details and was quickly eclipsed by the rapidly evolving science on COVID-19.Earlier this week, after weeks of increasingly urgent questions from teachers and parents, Roberge announced major revisions to the government's strategy for mitigating the risks of returning to school.While the new plan addresses many of the major concerns of health experts, there are some notable holes they hope will be addressed in subsequent revisions. Landmark studyThe biggest issue about the first draft of Roberge's back-to-school plan was the absence of any mask requirements for students. Ministry officials were working from the assumption, not unreasonable at the time, that children are not potent vectors of the disease. In July, however, researchers from South Korea published an early version of a study that found children and teens aged 10-19 transmit the virus as much as adults do. It also found that while children under the age of 10 can spread the virus, they don't do so as much as older children.The study, which analyzed case histories of nearly 60,000 people who had been in contact with a COVID-19 patient, helped confirm numerous smaller studies that came to similar conclusions."It has really changed people's approaches, especially when it comes to wearing masks," said Dr. Earl Rubin, who heads the infectious disease unit at the Montreal Children's Hospital. The updated version of Quebec's plan, released Monday, is in line with the latest research: students in Grade 5 and up will have to wear a mask almost everywhere inside, unless they're seated at their desks.Given that infection rates are still relatively high in Quebec, some experts have suggested students should wear their masks in the classroom as well, at least for the start of the year."I think is the time to push maximum intervention to reduce the risk of viral transmission," said Dr. Matthew Oughton, an infectious disease specialist with the McGill University Health Centre."Once we have a sense of how things are doing in school, then there can be some room for flexibility."The other big change from the June draft is doing away with the concept of "bubbles."Initially, it was thought keeping students in small sub-groups of six would limit the size of outbreaks. But many teachers worried bubbles would be a nightmare to enforce, and medical experts said their value was minimal. "Whether you have small bubbles or not, the entire class would be quarantined if there was a case in the classroom," said Dr. Caroline Quach, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at the Sainte-Justine children's hospital in Montreal.Instead of bubbles, students will be able to interact with anyone in their class, but not with students from other classes. Positive reception, but some fuzzinessThe reaction, so far, to Roberge's updated plan has been fairly positive from teachers, administrators and opposition politicians. "When you compare it with what was presented in the spring, this one is a lot more coherent," said Josée Scalabrini, president of the Fédération des syndicats de l'enseignement, an association of 34 teachers unions.Unlike in Ontario, there has been no outcry (yet) over Quebec's intention to keep class sizes at their usual pre-pandemic levels.Public health authorities in Toronto are recommending schools there reduce class size as much as possible in order to limit transmission, especially in younger grades where masks are not mandatory. The Ontario government has refused to budge from its plan to return to full-size classes in the fall, but opposition is growing. A petition demanding smaller class sizes in elementary schools has gathered more than 200,000 signatures. Quach, who has provided advice to the Quebec government over the course of the pandemic, acknowledged that more students in a classroom means a higher risk of transmission."Yes, we could decrease the size of classes, but then you would need more teachers, which I think is not possible at this point in time," she added.Quach believes full-size classes can be relatively safe if a number conditions are met, including low community transmission and rapid testing and tracing. She also suggested that having desks in rows with students facing forward, rather than toward each other, could limit the dispersion of droplets, which is thought to be the main way the virus spreads outside medical settings.Quebec's guidelines, though, make no mention of how to position desks. Once inside the classroom, students will be able to remove their masks and won't be required to distance from each other (but will have to stay two metres away from their teacher).Rubin, who also advised the government on its back-to-school plan, called the absence of guidelines on class size "confusing.""Sometimes there are 30 kids in the class," he said. "What are the physical parameters of that room that will allow 30 kids to sit, and how far apart will they be from the next student?"Rubin said it will take one to two incubation periods of the virus — the equivalent of two to four weeks — before public health officials will be able determine the effect that reopening schools will have on infection rates. Like the first school plan, he added, this latest version is also likely to change, depending on what happens in those first few weeks."The thing with [COVID-19] is what we know today may be different than tomorrow and certainly different than yesterday," Rubin said. "Things are always changing and, because of that, the recommendations will change."
Executive director of Alliance Canada Hong Kong, Cherie Wong, told the House of Commons special committee on China-Canada relations on Tuesday that Hong Kong is not only a foreign issue, and delivered five demands for action to the Canadian parliament including providing humanitarian support to Hong Kongers, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Chinese and other communities fleeing prosecution and invoking sanctions against Hong Kong and Chinese officials for human rights atrocities.
LOS ANGELES — “America's Got Talent” topped the ratings last week, but it faces the absence of Simon Cowell, seriously injured in an electric bicycle accident.Cowell, the NBC talent contest's creator and linchpin of its judging panel, underwent surgery for a broken back last Saturday, just before the show kicked off its live episodes this week.Kelly Clarkson, who came to fame as the first “American Idol” winner when Cowell judged the singing contest, was to step in as his temporary replacement.Fox News Channel continued its summer ratings romp, with Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity's shows combining to hold nine of the top 20 prime-time slots among all viewers.Broadcast networks, mostly relying on scripted reruns with a sprinkling of reality and game shows, were in their usual seasonal slump.In prime-time last week, CBS topped broadcasters with an average of 3.7 million viewers. NBC had 2.7 million viewers, ABC had 2.3 million, Fox and Univision had 1.3 million, ION Television had 1.1 million and Telemundo had 930,000.Fox News Channel led among cable networks, averaging 3.09 million viewers in prime time. MSNBC had 1.97 million, CNN had 1.34 million, HGTV had 1.27 million and TLC had 1.22 million.ABC’s “World News Tonight” led the evening newscasts, averaging 8.4 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 7.5 million, and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.3 million.For the week of Aug. 3-9, the top 20 programs, their networks and viewerships:“America’s Got Talent,” NBC, 6.16 million.“NCIS,” CBS, 4.91 million.“America's Funniest Home Videos,” ABC, 4.41 million.“Celebrity Family Feud,” ABC, 4.4 million.“60 Minutes Presents,” CBS, 4.14 million.“Tucker Carlson Tonight” (Monday), Fox News, 4.08 million.“FBI,” CBS, 4.06 million.“Tucker Carlson Tonight” (Friday), Fox News, 4.01 million.“Hannity” (Wednesday), Fox News, 3.98 million.“Hannity” (Tuesday), Fox News, 3.97 million.“Tucker Carlson Tonight” (Tuesday), Fox News, 3.96 million.“Young Sheldon,” CBS, 3.95 million.“Tucker Carlson Tonight” (Wednesday), Fox News, 3.89 million.“Yellowstone,” Paramount, 3.83 million.“Hannity" (Thursday), Fox News, 3.81 million.“World of Dance,” NBC, 3.81 million.“Hannity” (Monday), Fox News, 3.73 million.“Great AtHome Videos,” CBS, 3.71 million.“Blue Bloods,” CBS, 3.71 million.“Tucker Carlson Tonight” (Thursday), Fox News, 3.66 million.“Big Brother” (Wednesday), CBS, 3.66 million.“The Rachel Maddow Show” (Thursday), MSNBC, 3.59 million.Lynn Elber, The Associated Press
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is expected to mark a political milestone today: his final time rising in the House of Commons as leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. Today's Commons sitting is one of two scheduled for August, but the second comes after party members will elect Scheer's replacement, bringing an end to the long and sometimes painful process for Scheer that began just after last fall's federal election. It is perhaps fitting for Scheer that he counts among his legacies the fight to ensure Parliament's work could continue during an unprecedented time.
MOSCOW — Russia on Tuesday became the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine, a move that was met with international skepticism and unease because the shots have only been studied in dozens of people.President Vladimir Putin announced the Health Ministry's approval and said one of his two adult daughters already was inoculated. He said the vaccine underwent the necessary tests and was shown to provide lasting immunity to the coronavirus, although Russian authorities have offered no proof to back up claims of safety or effectiveness.“I know it has proven efficient and forms a stable immunity,” Putin said. “We must be grateful to those who made that first step very important for our country and the entire world.”However, scientists in Russia and other countries sounded an alarm, saying that rushing to offer the vaccine before final-stage testing could backfire. What's called a Phase 3 trial — which involves tens of thousands of people and can take months — is the only way to prove if an experimental vaccine is safe and really works.By comparison, vaccines entering final-stage testing in the U.S. require studies of 30,000 people each. Two vaccine candidates already have begun those huge studies, with three more set to get underway by fall.“Fast-tracked approval will not make Russia the leader in the race, it will just expose consumers of the vaccine to unnecessary danger,” said Russia’s Association of Clinical Trials Organizations, in urging government officials to postpone approving the vaccine without completed advanced trials.While Russian officials have said large-scale production of the vaccine wasn't scheduled until September, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said vaccination of doctors could start as early as this month. Officials say they will be closely monitored after the injections. Mass vaccination may begin as early as October.“We expect tens of thousands of volunteers to be vaccinated within the next months,” Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that bankrolled the vaccine, told reporters.The vaccine developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow with assistance from Russia's Defence Ministry uses a different virus -- the common cold-causing adenovirus -- that’s been modified to carry genes for the “spike” protein that coats the coronavirus, as a way to prime the body to recognize if a real COVID-19 infection comes along.That’s a similar technology as vaccines being developed by China’s CanSino Biologics and Britain’s Oxford University and AstraZeneca — but unlike those companies, Russian scientists haven't published any scientific information about how the vaccine has performed in animal tests or in early-stage human studies.Dmitriev said even as Russian doctors and teachers start getting vaccinated, advanced trials are set to start Wednesday that will involve “several thousand people” and span several countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and possibly Brazil.The Associated Press couldn't find documentation in the Russian Health Ministry's records indicating that permission to start the advanced trials was granted. The ministry has not responded to a request for comment.Putin said one of his daughters has received two doses, and had minor side effects such as slight fever, and is now “feeling well and has a high number of antibodies.” It wasn't clear if she was one of the study volunteers.The Health Ministry said in a statement Tuesday that the vaccine is expected to provide immunity from the coronavirus for up to two years, citing its experience with vaccines made with similar technology.However, scientists around the world have been cautioning that even if vaccine candidates are proven to work, it will take even more time to tell how long the protection will last.“The collateral damage from release of any vaccine that was less than safe and effective would exacerbate our current problems insurmountably,” Imperial College London immunology professor Danny Altmann said in a statement Tuesday.The World Health Organization has urged that all vaccine candidates go through full stages of testing before being rolled out, and said Tuesday it is in touch with the Russian scientists and “looks forward to reviewing” Russia’s study data. Experts have warned that vaccines that are not properly tested can cause harm in many ways — from harming health to creating a false sense of security or undermining trust in vaccinations.Becoming the first country in the world to approve a vaccine was a matter of national prestige for the Kremlin as it tries to assert the image of Russia as a global power. Putin repeatedly praised Russia’s effective response to the outbreak in televised addresses to the nation, while some of Moscow’s top officials – including the country’s prime minister and Putin’s own spokesperson – became infected.And the U.S., Britain and Canada last month accused Russia of using hackers to steal vaccine research from Western labs. Russia has denied involvement.Russia has so far registered 897,599 coronavirus cases, including 15,131 deaths.The Gamaleya Institute’s director, Alexander Gintsburg, raised eyebrows in May when he said that he and other researchers tried the vaccine on themselves before the start of human studies.Those trials started June 17 with 76 volunteers. Half were injected with a vaccine in liquid form and the other half with a vaccine that came as soluble powder. Some in the first group were recruited from the military, which raised concerns that servicemen may have been pressured to participate. The test was declared completed earlier this month.“It’s a too early stage to truly assess whether it’s going to be effective, whether it’s going to work or not,” said Dr. Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at England's University of Southampton.It's not Russia's first controversial vaccine. Putin has bragged that Russian scientists delivered an Ebola vaccine that “proved to be the most effective in the world” and “made a real contribution to fighting the Ebola fever in Africa.” However, there is little evidence either of the two Ebola vaccines approved in Russia was widely used in Africa. As of 2019, both of those vaccines were listed by the WHO as “candidate vaccines.”___AP medical writers Maria Cheng in London and Lauran Neergaard in Alexandria, Virginia, contributed to this report.Vladimir Isachenkov And Daria Litvinova, The Associated Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. on Aug. 12, 2020:There are 120,421 confirmed cases in Canada._ Quebec: 60,718 confirmed (including 5,697 deaths, 53,135 resolved)_ Ontario: 40,194 confirmed (including 2,786 deaths, 36,456 resolved)_ Alberta: 11,772 confirmed (including 216 deaths, 10,552 resolved)_ British Columbia: 4,111 confirmed (including 195 deaths, 3,444 resolved)_ Saskatchewan: 1,479 confirmed (including 20 deaths, 1,294 resolved)_ Nova Scotia: 1,071 confirmed (including 64 deaths, 1,007 resolved)_ Manitoba: 547 confirmed (including 8 deaths, 360 resolved), 15 presumptive_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 268 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 263 resolved)_ New Brunswick: 177 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 168 resolved)_ Prince Edward Island: 36 confirmed (including 36 resolved)_ Yukon: 15 confirmed (including 13 resolved)_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases_ Total: 120,421 (15 presumptive, 120,406 confirmed including 8,991 deaths, 106,746 resolved)This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2020.The Canadian Press
DENVER — A police department in suburban Denver faced a new set of investigations and legal problems Tuesday as scrutiny mounts over the death last year of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man put into a chokehold by officers, and other run-ins with people of colour.McClain's parents sued the Aurora Police Department and paramedics who injected their son with a sedative, saying they were seeking both accountability for the loss of a “beautiful soul” and to send a message that “racism and brutality have no place in American law enforcement.”Soon afterward, the Colorado attorney general announced a civil rights investigation into the department, the first under a new police reform law passed after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis set off global protests. The office of Attorney General Phil Weiser said it's been looking into whether Aurora officers have been depriving people of their constitutional rights for several weeks and it's separate from a probe into McClain’s death, which Gov. Jared Polis ordered in June.They are among several investigations into Aurora police, which have drawn outrage amid a national reckoning over racial injustice and police brutality.Also Tuesday, the city manager and new police chief said an outside firm would review the department, including its policies and practices on use of force and discriminatory policing. The City Council already has begun an investigation of Aurora's policies on using force and ketamine, the sedative injected into McClain.“We embrace this opportunity for change and are committed to evolve for the betterment of our profession, our community and the residents we serve," Police Chief Vanessa Wilson, who was named to the post last week, said in a statement.The city declined to comment on the lawsuit from Sheneen McClain and Lawayne Mosley, who accused police of a longstanding pattern of racism and brutality.They allege that their son was unlawfully stopped on the street and that officers later sought to justify their aggressive treatment of McClain by filing an assault charge and making a notation in a police report suggesting he was connected with a gang.McClain’s parents said their son, a massage therapist, was a creative and peaceful man who played his violin for cats at shelters to ease their loneliness and wouldn't swat a fly.On Aug. 24, 2019, police stopped McClain as he walked wearing a ski mask and headphones after getting a 911 call reporting him as “sketchy.” His family said he wore the mask because he had a blood condition that caused him to get cold easily.Police body-camera video shows an officer getting out of his car, approaching McClain and saying, “Stop right there. Stop. Stop. ... I have a right to stop you because you’re being suspicious.”In the video, the officer turns around McClain, who seems startled, and repeats, “Stop tensing up.” As McClain tries to escape his grip, the officer says, “Relax, or I’m going to have to change this situation.”Other officers join to restrain McClain, and he begs them to let go, saying, “You guys started to arrest me, and I was stopping my music to listen.”Police put him in a chokehold, and paramedics gave him 500 milligrams of ketamine to calm him down, which the lawsuit says was too much for someone weighing about 140 pounds (65 kilograms).Police say McClain refused to stop walking and fought back when officers tried to take him into custody and that they thought he was trying to take an officer's gun, which the lawsuit disputes.McClain suffered cardiac arrest and was later taken off life support. A prosecutor said last year that there wasn't enough evidence to charge the officers, which the state attorney general is now reviewing.The lawsuit says two officers reported that all three of them put their weight on McClain after a chokehold. One officer estimated the collective weight to be over 700 pounds (320 kilograms).The lawsuit comes just over a week after police faced outrage for putting four Black girls on the ground and handcuffing two of them while investigating a suspected stolen car. It was later found not to be stolen.Wilson, who was interim chief, took the permanent job last week and said she’s committed to rebuilding trust and wants to empower police to think about whether they're acting on biases.She's called McClain's death tragic and said she was “angry and disgusted” by the girls’ treatment. She's taken some steps to hold officers accountable.After the girls were handcuffed, she requested an internal investigation. A prosecutor is also reviewing the officers' actions.As interim chief, she told police in response to McClain's death that they no longer had to contact a person reported as suspicious if they weren't committing a crime.When photos surfaced of police reenacting the chokehold used on McClain, she moved quickly to fire three officers, including one involved in stopping McClain.____Nieberg is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. AP reporter Thomas Peipert contributed to this report.Colleen Slevin And Patty Nieberg, The Associated Press
Rami Kassem's nephew narrowly avoided the deadly explosion that killed more than 100 people last week, and injured thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands — he was home sick from work that day."It was a nightmare for the people over there, and bad dreams and nightmares for me and my family here," said Kassem.When 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, warehoused at the capital's port — which has been stored there for six years without safety measures — exploded, it levelled the port and collapsed buildings within a three-kilometre radius.As soon as he saw the first images, Kassem phoned his loved ones 9,000 kilometres away. "The first thing you do is to call your family to make sure they are all safe, one by one, my aunts, my uncles, my brothers, my friends." Kassem, who co-owns the coffee shop Javaroma in Yellowknife, is working with the local Islamic centre to fundraise for Islamic Relief Canada. The group is on the ground providing meals, hygiene kits and health care to people sheltering in schools, mosques and churches. "You tear when you look at the destruction after they built the country. You feel very bad. You remember those bad days that Lebanon was like this, in the wartime in the 70s and 80s."All of Kassem's family are safe but their business was damaged in the explosion."I have to support my family, but nothing is enough. With this and the harbour closed, we don't know what's going to happen," said Kassem."There are people that can't even stay in their homes." Images of the city in ruin are haunting Kassem, who lived through civil war and was shot near the heart by a sniper in 1985. Kassem's parents flew from Palestine in 1948 and became refugees in Lebanon. Kassem was born as a refugee there and was "stateless" until he became a Canadian citizen in 2001.The support flowing into Beirut makes victims of the blast "feel like they are not by themselves in the whole world," he said.Someone even drove from Hay River to Yellowknife to give Kassem support to send back home, he said. "Slowly, slowly, people will overcome, so long as Lebanese people feel there is support coming from their own people, from Canadians as well, the Canadian government, it means a lot to them," he said."We are human at the end of the day."Emergency relief Even before the blast, Lebanon was grappling with hyperinflation, food insecurity, political corruption, and the COVID-19 pandemic.Hassan Husseini, a Lebanese-Canadian expert in middle eastern politics, said despite widely acknowledged corruption affecting the Lebanese government, Canadians should not be discouraged from donating to relief organizations. "The need is so great that we need people to continue to find the best and most secure, trustworthy way to get the money [to Beirut]," he said. Husseini said there are organizations like the Canadian Red Cross and Islamic Relief Canada, which has a strong network in Lebanon.The Canadian government first offered $5 million in aid, which Husseini said was "grossly inadequate and an insult.""If you look at what other countries have given so far, Canada's contribution is on the very low end," he said. Many in the Lebanese and Arab community, and the labour movement pressured Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to give more assistance to Lebanon, he said. Canada has now committed another $25-million for humanitarian aid. Husseini said shortages of necessities like food and fuel, most of which are imports, will be made worse by the badly damaged port. "This is catastrophic for a people who have gone through a terrible economic crisis," Husseini said, adding that involves 30 years of corruption.Husseini's relatives know one port worker who died, leaving behind three children and a widow. He went to work that day for 5,000 Lebanese pounds — about the equivalent of two Canadian dollars, he said.Rebuilding a 'very beautiful' cityAfter the immediate emergency response, donations received by Islamic Relief Canada will go toward long-term rebuilding, according to the group's websiteKassem, in Yellowknife, reminisces about his city when it was rebuilt after."Once they built Beirut, it became like a star — very nice, very beautiful, good businesses. Every time I go back home for a visit I walk around the area and it brings you a nice good feeling.""Are they able to build it again? That's the question right now. I hope it's going to happen, but I'm not sure," Kassem said.
Parents are only two days away from having to decide whether to enrol their children in online or in-class instruction at Ottawa's English-language boards, but educators say the plans are still in flux.The public and Catholic boards, which both released more details of their plans Monday, are promising online learning will be more structured this fall than what previously rolled out during the pandemic, with five hours of daily learning drawn from the Ontario curriculum and clearer expectations about evaluations. The two plans differ, however, on how students will connect to their classes.The Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) said students learning from home will still be part of a classroom and get guidance from a classroom teacher at the start of the day.Tom D'Amico, OCSB director of education, said in-class teachers won't be simultaneously responsible for online students."One of the things that our teachers' union [has] indicated to us in our dialogues is they do not want the classroom teacher responsible at the same time for instructing and supervising students at home and in front of them," D'Amico told CBC's Ottawa Morning."Our distance learning won't involve the teacher teaching like you might see in a university lecture hall."Instead, students at home will have access to "a combination of educators" who may come from different parts of the district, D'Amico said.The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) plan for online classes is based on maintaining students' connections with their own schools, but the board may create "virtual classrooms" involving students from across the district if enrolment numbers are especially high.Both boards said students at home and in school will be able to interact with each other using online tools, and they'll provide Chromebooks for students who don't have access to a computer. Susan Gardner, president-elect for the Ottawa-Carleton Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (OCETFO), said while online learning is required for a safe return to school, it's also a "stop-gap" and no one's preferred option.She said the biggest question for her members is exactly who will be responsible for delivering the OCDSB's at-home version of the curriculum."Will it be the teacher who is in the classroom teaching? Is that person also going to be responsible for doing the remote learning? Or is it going to be someone else?" Gardner said.She said her understanding is the OCDSB will provide training to avoid the steep learning curve some teachers experienced during the sudden switchover to online learning in March.Both boards say remote learning will incorporate activities to avoid a full five-hour period of screen time every day.All high schoolers partially onlineThe Ministry of Education will have both boards split high school classes into cohorts that will attend class for either the first two days of the week or the last two days of the week, alternating Wednesdays.The objective is to keep class sizes in secondary schools between 12 and 17 students. In the days away from the classroom, students will have five hours of instruction and activities. "It's going to be new for everyone and challenging," said Stephanie Kirkey, interim president of the local bargaining unit for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation.Kirkey said teachers want to make sure they get adequate training on the specific suite of programs that their board wants them to adopt.She said teachers will also require more time if their lessons are meant to be relevant to students both in the school setting and at home."Our teachers really want to do the best job they can," Kirkey said."They care deeply about students and providing quality education to them. And so ensuring they have enough preparation time to deliver both in-class and remote learning opportunities to students will be really important."
Recent developments: * Another OC Transpo bus driver has contracted COVID-19. The driver last worked Aug. 7. * All COVID-19 outbreaks have ended at city-run long-term care homes. * Plans are in the works to open another COVID-19 testing site in Ottawa in the coming weeks, and potentially a drive-thru site.What's the latest?Ottawa Public Health reported six new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, while six more are now considered resolved. However, the number of COVID-19 patients in Ottawa hospitals jumped to 15, the highest number since mid-June.Parents with children attending Ottawa's English-language schools are only two days away from having to decide whether to enrol their children in online or in-class instruction this fall. Educators say the plan is still in flux.Meanwhile, public health officials say they're running through a number of scenarios to prepare parents and teachers about what they can expect come September, including what happens if there's an outbreak at a school.WATCH | Limiting close contacts more important than ever as return to school looms, OPH saysRingette could be on thin ice this fall: the City of Ottawa Ringette Association says low registration could make it difficult to pay ice costs, especially if there's a COVID-19 outbreak.OC Transpo says another of its bus drivers has tested positive for the virus. The driver was on two buses on Aug. 6 and 7 that served routes 5, 18, 19, 20, 92, and 98.How many cases are there?There have been 2,656 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa since the pandemic began and 264 people have died of the respiratory illness.The majority of cases in the city — 2,246 — are classified as resolved.In all, public health officials have reported nearly 4,100 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with more than 3,500 cases resolved.COVID-19 has killed 102 people in the region outside Ottawa: 52 in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 17 in other parts of eastern Ontario and 33 in the Outaouais.Experts analyzing blood tests said last week the number of people infected with the coronavirus in Ontario could be four times more than previously confirmed and in Quebec, more than twice as many.What's open and closed?Ottawa is in Stage 3 of Ontario's reopening plan, which means more businesses are open including dine-in restaurants and movie theatres.Indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 are now allowed in that province but attendees must follow physical distancing guidelines.Quebec has similar rules, with its cap on physically distanced gatherings in public venues now up to 250 people, allowing smaller festivals.The Canada Science and Technology Museum reopens Friday and the Canadian Museum of Nature Sept, 5, following other national museums.Most Ottawa Public Library branches will be open for in-person browsing and computer use next week. Elementary students in Ontario will be heading back to school full time come September, while most high school students will split their time between the classroom and online learning, depending on the board. Individual boards have started to release further guidance and OPH says they are running through various scenarios to prepare teachers and parents for the return to the classroom.WATCH | Parents push for 'creative thinking' in back-to-school planDistancing and isolatingThe novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes on another person or object. People don't need to have symptoms to be contagious.That means physical distancing measures such as working from home, meeting others outdoors as much as possible and keeping distance from anyone they don't live with or have in their circle, including when you have a mask on.Masks are now mandatory in indoor public settings in all of eastern Ontario and Quebec, where transit officials and taxi drivers are now required to bar access to users over age 12 who refuse to wear one.Masks are also recommended outdoors when you can't stay the proper distance from others.Anyone who has symptoms or travelled recently outside Canada must self-isolate for at least 14 days.Anyone waiting for a COVID-19 test result in Ontario must self-isolate at least until they know the result. Quebec asks people waiting to only self-isolate in certain circumstances.People in both provinces should self-isolate if they've been in contact with someone who's tested positive or is presumed to have COVID-19.Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly urges self-isolation for people with weakened immune systems and OPH recommends people over 70 stay home as much as possible. Top medical officials say people should be prepared for the possibility COVID-19 restrictions last into 2022 or 2023.What are the symptoms of COVID-19?COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a dry cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pinkeye. Children can develop a rash.If you have severe symptoms, call 911.WATCH | Concerns about online learning top of mind for some teachersWhere to get testedIn eastern Ontario:In Ottawa any resident who feels they need a test, even if they are not showing symptoms, can be tested at one of three sites.Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.In the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area, there is a drive-thru centre in Casselman that can handle 200 tests a day and assessment centres in Hawkesbury and Winchester that don't require people to call ahead.Others in Alexandria, Rockland and Cornwall require an appointment.In Kingston, the Leon's Centre is hosting the city's test site. Find it at Gate 2.Napanee's test centre is open daily for people who call for an appointment.You can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville or Trenton by calling the centre and in Picton by texting or calling.The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit asks you to get tested if you have a symptom or concerns about exposure.It has a walk-in site in Brockville at the Memorial Centre and testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment.There are test clinics in five Renfrew County communities this week.Its residents should call their family doctor and those without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 to register for a test or if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not.In western Quebec:Outaouais residents now can get a walk-in test in Gatineau five days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond and at recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.They can call 1-877-644-4545 to make an appointment or if they have other questions.As of mid-August, there were longer wait times for test results here compared to some other regions of Quebec.First Nations:Local communities have declared states of emergency, put in a curfew or both.Akwesasne has had 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Most are linked back to a gathering on an island with a non-resident who wasn't showing symptoms at the time.It has a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 80 kilometres away is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. It's 100 miles or 160 kilometres away on the American side.Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse. Face coverings are now mandatory in its public buildings.People in Pikwakanagan can book an appointment for a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259.Kitigan Zibi is planning for an Aug. 29 election with changes depending on the status of the pandemic at that time. It plans on starting to open schools and daycares next month.For more information
REGINA — The Saskatchewan government is leaving it up to school divisions to decide whether to make masks mandatory when classes reopen in September.Some teachers, doctors and parents have voiced concerns over the government's back-to-school plan, which doesn't make masks mandatory for students like several other provinces. People have also called for reduced class sizes and better building ventilation.Education Minister Gord Wyant said while 10 school divisions have stated they want a mask policy, others have not."Schools are very diverse," he told a press conference Tuesday.For example, he said, some rural schools don't have a lot of staff and students, so physical distancing isn't a problem.Wyant said the government respects decisions made by the province's 27 local school boards, which have each been tasked with developing their own safety protocols to protect against the spread of COVID-19. Those have been approved by the Ministry of Education.The Opposition NDP said the Saskatchewan Party government put together the worst back-to-school plan in the country.The government said it has spent about $2 million on buying disposable masks for schools that want them.It also announced Tuesday further guidelines for school boards to consider when it comes to putting together blueprints for classroom learning. Models should address how students can be grouped together and how many can be with a teacher.Divisions are to consult with public health officials, as well as their schools, added Wyant.For schools that opt for masks, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said Grade 4 to 12 students should wear them in busy areas such as hallways and on buses. For Grade 9 to 12 students, masks could also be worn in classrooms when there isn't enough space to stay far apart.Shahab said mask-free time will also be important, like during recess.He said schools will likely reopen when there is slightly higher transmission rate of COVID-19 in the province, compared to a few months ago. On Tuesday, health officials announced 29 new infections.Shahab said that in the fall, there will likely be more expectation for people to wear masks in public, and it should be no different in schools."We don't expect COVID transmission to increase generally, as long as we all keep doing what we're doing."He said it's a good idea for parents to teach their children how to wear masks.However, Shahab said masks are only one tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and schools should employ other efforts too, like reducing crowding.This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 11, 2020Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
There are less than four weeks left until the first day of school, but school bus driver Mary Hemphill still isn't sure if she'll be returning to her job. Hemphill, who works in York Region, says she loves her job and wants to go back, but feels rattled by the prospect of coming within inches of so many students with the risk of contracting COVID-19 still very much a concern."My biggest concern is that the buses tend to be overcrowded at the best of times, and there's been no mention of pulling back the number of students on the buses," she told CBC Toronto. "I can't afford to get sick. I'm 68, and in my bubble I have a family member who is a two-time cancer survivor," she said. Hemphill's situation reflects two of the biggest unknowns when it comes to school buses this year: How many parents will be willing to let their kids ride the bus? And how many drivers will be willing to get behind the wheel?Drivers 'on the fence' In its back to school plan, Ontario warns that buses may be called on to operate "closer to capacity" this September — which, on larger buses, can be upwards of 70 students. The exact numbers won't be clear until parents make their decisions about whether to send their children to school and what kind of transportation they'll use to get them there."At this point, we don't have the numbers for how many students are going to be on each individual bus," said Nancy Daigneault, the executive director of the School Bus Ontario Association, which represents operators. As parents fill out surveys sent by their school boards, Daigneault says many drivers have indicated that, like Hemphill, they are waiting to hear how many students they'll be expected to drive before making their final decision about coming back. "I think we're going to get more clarity… depending on bus capacity," she said. "I think there's a lot [of drivers] still on the fence right now." Debbie Montgomery, who represents about 1,300 Greater Toronto Area bus drivers in her capacity as president of Unifor 4268, put it more bluntly, telling CBC Toronto there's a "phenomenal amount of concern." "A school bus doesn't have the square footage of a classroom," she said. "And our school bus drivers could be transporting three classrooms." Driver shortages 'always a possibility'Bus driver shortages have been an issue in the GTA, chalked up in the past by advocates to tough working conditions and low pay. Kevin Hodgkinson, general manager of the Toronto Student Transportation Group, says drivers don't typically commit to working until the routes on offer have been presented to them. This year, he says, that process has been delayed and won't happen in Toronto until the last week of August, leaving about two weeks until the first day of class. Shortages are "always a possibility," he said, adding that it's too soon to tell what this year will look like.To prepare for a driver shortage, Hodgkinson said the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic District School Board are considering the possibility of a "phased approach.""The students with special needs, we would prioritize... And then the students who are into the regular classes, their busing may not start for however many weeks after school starts. So parents may be responsible for transportation of those students," he said. The mentality, Hodgkinson said, is to "prepare for the worst and hope for the best," adding: "I don't think anyone feels comfortable this September." Extra cleaning and PPE The government's back to school plan also lays out a number of safety measures on school buses, including extra disinfecting, assigned seats for students and providing PPE for drivers. Hemphill says that she's been told she'll do that twice-daily cleaning herself as well as a weekly deep clean, which she says she has yet to hear the details of. She was also disappointed that the provincial plan included no mention of a plexiglass barrier. As the anxious countdown to back to school continues, she's been reaching out to her local political representatives, but says she hasn't been impressed by the responses she's gotten. "It's the same rhetoric we get every time: 'We have the best plan.'" she said. After hearing about the added duties this year, former Brampton school bus driver Phyllis Wells came to this conclusion: "If I weren't retired already, I'd retire now." Bus drivers, Wells said, are "very badly treated, very badly paid, and on top of all that now they have to put their lives on the line."
Many recent COVID-19 cases have been linked to social gatherings and parties, often involving young people.Jacques Martiquet, 24, however, says social experiences are necessary, especially for young people and there are ways it can be done safely.Martiquet is a self-proclaimed party expert and holds the title of chief celebration scientist at Vyve, a company that helps organizations plan drug-and-alcohol-free social events.Vyve has developed its own safe party plan — a plan that calls for gatherings but with plenty of social distancing and handwashing, limited numbers and no risky behaviours like sharing food and drinks."We like to call it social dis-dancing," Martiquet said. "We like to promote the message that you can still engage, you can still share joy with one another while social distancing."Martiquet said maintaining social connections during the pandemic is essential for mental well-being.His company tried to craft Zoom dance parties for companies at first, but found they just didn't stack up to the real thing.So they tried something different: physically distanced bike rides, hikes and other activities with small numbers of attendees where social connection can be had while obeying health guidelines.There's even a "safety dance marshal," he said, in bright reflective clothes and wielding a whistle to make sure distancing rules are followed."We're creating this positive emotion that actually boosts compliance," Martiquet said. "So we like to say we're an unofficial task force for promoting socially distant fun."There are no alcohol or drugs allowed at Vyve's events. The venue is always outdoors, at a beach or park. Invites and numbers are controlled. "This is not the Third Beach drum circle where it's complete mayhem," Martiquet said.Health officials have generally discouraged large gatherings but Martiquet feels telling people to stay at home all the time will lead to negative consequences over the duration of the pandemic, especially when it comes to mental health.Dr. Mark Lysyshyn, deputy chief medical health officer with Vancouver Coastal Health, said there have indeed been many cases recently of young people catching COVID-19 and large parties are a major driver of that.That said, he agrees with many of Martiquet's precautions for hosting parties responsibly: hosting outside events, controlling numbers, avoiding food sharing and avoiding drugs and alcohol are all advisable."People like getting together with other people," Lysyshyn said. "We want to find the ways to do that."Lysyshyn said he believes experienced event planners can be counted on to plan events safely.People without that experience can do it too, he said, if they follow public health guidelines. Not just some of them, he added: all of them."If you really do all those things, then yeah, we think you can have safe events," he said. "That's why we put those rules out there."
In a 4 1/2-minute radio speech on Aug. 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's surrender in World War Two, telling his subjects he had resolved to pave the way for peace by "enduring the unendurable". Seventy-five years later, the unresolved legacy of the conflict haunts Tokyo's ties with China and South Korea, even as the countries cope with a COVID-19 pandemic that is forcing Japan to scale back its Aug. 15 ceremony for war dead. In Japan, consensus over the war's legacy is elusive.
Chart-topping Grammy winners The Weeknd and Roddy Ricch are set to perform at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards this month. MTV announced Tuesday that Colombian singer Maluma and Latin boy band CNCO will also perform at the Aug. 30 event, which was originally to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Previously announced performers include BTS, Doja Cat and J Balvin, while Keke Palmer will host the awards show.
As people struggle with the coronavirus pandemic, many have been forced to take a look at their lives and re-evaluate, including Saskatoon's Jarret Kenke. "I need to start making my own plan," said Kenke, a competitive kayaker, "and focus on my education and becoming a firefighter-paramedic."Kenke had hoped go to the Tokyo Olympics with Team Canada. Then COVID-19 hit, delaying the Olympics by at least a year. That forced Kenke to re-evaluate, and he ultimately decided that it was time to hang up his Olympic paddle. "It kind of hits me in waves," he said. Olympic dreams die hard, and Kenke said some days he feels ripples of regret, after coming so close to being able to compete with Team Canada.Other days, he said he feels a growing excitement over starting a new chapter. "For the first time in my life I'm putting something else on the front seat … not always having to juggle other things with paddling. I'm having a lot easier time … with my life now."Kenke drew on his deep connection to the water in making this difficult decision, weighing the pros and cons, while in self-isolation at his cabin in northern Saskatchewan.Being a world-class athlete in Saskatchewan usually means — as it certainly did in Kenke's case — that you have to spend a lot of time away from home, depleting savings to have access to the best coaches and training facilities. Kenke said he spent a lot of time at that cabin up north looking out at the lake, thinking about "what was best for me, my fiancée and my family."Add in the uncertainty over COVID-19 and whether it will ease for the Olympics next year, and for Kenke, the decision was clear — it was time to end the journey and begin focusing on career and family. Love of the sport What isn't ending though, is Kenke's love of the sport. "I'm planning to try [to] make it to some national championships and … help the team in the best way I can," he said. He's also committed to helping younger athletes develop their skills in Saskatoon and offering motivation as others make their bid for the national team. Plus, he's enjoying being out on the water again, with no pressure. "I think I smile a bit more," he said. "It's not as grueling and painful and, you know, you go out when you want to, and it feels good."I think it's been huge really to just be able to go on the water and just enjoy things."
Ontario reported an additional 33 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the fewest on a single day in the province since March 19.Health Minister Christine Elliott noted that 21 cases that had been reported by Toronto Public Health already on previous days were removed from today's update before it was released.Windsor-Essex was the only public health unit to reach double digits, with 10 cases confirmed there on Monday. Southwestern Public Health had the second-most, with 8. Twenty-two health units reported no further cases at all.Premier Doug Ford said this is "impressive.""We see the number of cases declining right across the province … but we can't take our eye off the ball for a second," Ford said at a new conference Tuesday afternoon."The most impressive thing about those numbers is the amount of people we are testing as well — we're well in the 20,000, closer to 30,000 some days, so that's what's impressive."I just want to thank the people of Ontario for doing an incredible job and following the protocols and the guidelines from the Chief Medical Officer," Ford added.All of the figures used in this story are found in the Ministry of Health's daily update, which includes data from up until 4 p.m. the previous day. The number of cases for any particular region on a given day may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, which often avoid lag times in the provincial system.Ontario has now seen a total of 40,194 confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus since the outbreak began in late January. Of those, about 90.7 per cent are considered resolved by public health officials. An additional 75 infections were marked resolved in today's update.There are currently some 952 active, confirmed cases of COVID-19 provincewide. The majority are limited to seven public health units, all in the southern reaches of the province: * Toronto Public Health: 167 * Ottawa Public Health: 140 * Peel Public Health: 126 * Windsor-Essex County Health Unit: 120 * Chatham-Kent Health Unit: 74 * York Region Public Health Services: 66 * Southwestern Public Health: 64Ontario's official death toll from the illness remained steady for a second straight day and sits at 2,786. A CBC News count based on regional data puts the real toll at 2,824.New long-term care home for Toronto's Humber River HospitalOn Tuesday, Ford announced that a new long-term care home will be built at Toronto's Humber River Hospital's Finch site in months, not years.The project is part of the province's Accelerated Build Pilot Program. Details were provided by Ford, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care; Barbara Collins, President and CEO of Humber River Hospital; and John Tory, Mayor of Toronto."We're getting our seniors of wait lists, we're building more homes that feels like home and giving our loved ones the dignity and care they deserve," Ford said during a news conference at the hospital."We're building a better long-term care system for Ontario and it starts right here, right now."By working with Humber River Hospital and Infrastructure Ontario, the province intends to build up to 320 new long-term care beds at this site by the end of next year.The government says it plans to spend $1.75 billion on long-term care homes over the next five years.COVID-19 highlights need for more long-term care bedsTory said the announcement "is nothing but very, very good news for Toronto."He said while COVID-19 has taught many lessons, a major takeaway for Toronto is the need for more long-term care beds."Some of our city's most vulnerable, frail seniors were heavily impacted upon at the start of the pandemic [and] we tragically lost far too many seniors, and many others continue to deal with the lasting effects of COVID-19," he said."Today's announcement .. is another significant step forward when it comes to more and better long-term care beds being made available to the people of Toronto and Ontario."City of Vaughan temporarily laying off 1,100 workersOn Tuesday the City of Vaughan, located north of Toronto, announced it's laying off 1,100 employees on a temporary basis — a direct result of COVID-19"Due to a shortage of work in some departments caused by the extraordinary circumstances related to COVID-19, the City of Vaughan came to the difficult but necessary decision to temporarily lay off some employees in April," the city said in a statement. "Staff who were impacted by these changes were notified in April."
Newfoundland and Labrador has no new cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday afternoon.The total caseload for the province remains at 268. In total, 263 people have recovered. Three people have died from the virus. So far, 27,379 people have been tested for the virus since March, including 329 since Monday. The latest numbers came in a press release from the Department of Health and Community Services, with the next in-person briefing scheduled for Wednesday.The two active cases in the province are a man and woman, both between the ages of 20 and 39, in the Eastern Health region. The woman flew from Toronto to St. John's as part of filming for the Hudson & Rex television series and tested positive on Friday. Her specific role related to the show is not clear, and producers have declined to elaborate, citing privacy concerns. The man, who was the new confirmed case on Monday, is a cast member."This cast member was the only person who was in close contact with the individual who tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, August 7. This incident is contained and both individuals have been self-quarantining and will continue to do so for the full 14 days," producer Paul Pope s,aid in a statement Monday.In a further update provided Monday afternoon a spokesperson for Shaftesbury — the show's production company — said no Hudson & Rex personnel are considered close contacts with Monday's case.Filming resumed Monday, and took place in St. John's along a portion of the Mundy Pond Trail. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
The State Department's internal watchdog has found that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not act improperly last year when he approved billions of dollars in arms sales to Saudi Arabia without the consent of Congress. The State Department Office of Inspector General concluded in a report released Tuesday that Pompeo had the legal authority to declare an emergency and bypass Congress under the Arms Export Control Act. Republicans joined with Democrats in Congress to oppose the sales, but President Donald Trump, who has made close relations to Saudi Arabia a priority, vetoed resolutions in July 2019 to block the transfers and there were not enough votes to override him.
“The Story of Gardening” might sit (heavily) on a coffee table, but it transports the reader out into the yard or the park with some new perspectives and ambitions. “We can picture the garden-owner gradually beginning to derive pride, status and pleasure from the plot that it was within his power to make fertile and beautiful,” write the authors, Penelope Hobhouse and Ambra Edwards, imagining humankind’s very first gardens. The authors show gardening to be an age-old struggle to appreciate and amplify nature’s beauty while also imposing order on it.
MONTREAL — An investigation by Quebec's human rights commission into the death of a seven-year-old girl in Granby, Que., last year has identified failures at all stages of the clinical and legal process designed to protect her.The girl's April 2019 death sparked outrage across the province and raised questions about the effectiveness of Quebec's youth protection system, leading to a number of investigations. Last March, the girl's father and stepmother waived their right to a preliminary inquiry on charges related to the death and opted to proceed directly to trial.In its recommendations published Tuesday, the rights commission called on the youth protection system to ensure children are regularly met and have a chance to express themselves freely before decisions are made about their future.It also recommended the government address a high turnover of staff in the system, create a training program on youth protection law for students entering the field and ensure daycare workers are trained on how to report suspected abuse.Suzanne Arpin, the rights commission's vice-president, said in a statement, "Children should not be victims of breakdowns in services and repeated changes in workers. Children deserve to be known by the people who must protect them."The commission noted, however, that because of the confidential nature of elements of its investigation, the portions directly concerning the Granby girl's situation will not be made public.Quebec's junior health minister welcomed the recommendations.Lionel Carmant said in a statement he intends to see them implemented, noting youth protection in the Granby area has already changed its way of doing things since the girl's death.The girl's stepmother, detained since her arrest, is accused of second-degree murder and forcible confinement. The father faces charges of negligence causing death, child abandonment and failure to provide the necessities of life. He was released on bail Sept. 5.The girl died April 30, 2019, one day after she was found in troubling circumstances at the family home.Her death triggered multiple investigations, including by the coroner, police, and regional health officials who oversee youth protection in Quebec's Eastern Townships.The government also ordered hearings into the youth protection system as a whole, which concluded in May. A final report is due by Nov. 30.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 11, 2020.The Canadian Press
An expecting mother in St. John's is facing an uncertain year ahead, as she fears her maternity leave benefits are at risk due to the pandemic disruptiing her ability to accumulate the necessary qualifications."I'm hoping that I'll make [the hours requirement] in time, but I'm 32 weeks now and I ended up going off with my [first] daughter at 34," Samantha McLennon, who works at a salon, told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show."I can't gather up those hours in two weeks, so that means I got to try and push it as far as I can to my due date."In order to qualify for Canada's employment insurance maternity leave benefits, a woman has to have worked at least 600 hours in the 12 months prior to her leave — rules that don't take into account COVID-19. As a hair stylist, public health regulations shut down McLennon's entire industry for months. Since reopening, she said customers haven't been filling up her chair, and she has seen as few as two people over the course of a shift. McLennon isn't paid hourly, and needs a constant flow of clients to get by."The days can definitely be a struggle in what you're actually getting," she said.McLennon said she has heard similar concerns from other expecting mothers, and has yet to hear anything concrete back from the federal government, despite reaching out to local MPs like Seamus O'Regan and Jack Harris for help."It's a bit upsetting, really," she said."I see lots of moms on [Facebook] and I know I'm not the only one out there that is struggling. And they're reaching out too and we're not getting anything back. We're just getting told to wait and wait. But you know what? A baby doesn't wait … and bills don't wait either."'It's not a normal year'At the start of the pandemic, Canada's EI system was suspended and replaced by Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Other expecting or new mothers have come forward with their concerns about being left out any safety net, and the federal government has vowed to help — although exact details of that help have been scant."Just make it a little bit easier for us to get [benefits]," McLennon said."It's not a normal year ... I feel like there should be some kind of leeway with the hours or something."McLennon said she doesn't have many child care options that would allow her to return to work early, as finding care for an infant and her 14-month-old daughter would be a challenge. For the time being, she said all she can do is wait to hear a response from Ottawa."You're still going to work everyday wondering what's going to happen, or if anything is going to reduce the hours," she said. "All you can do is hope that they come up with something."The CERB program is in its final weeks, and the federal government is expected to announce more details of changes to the EI system, including relaxing some rules like the number of hours required to receive support payments. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada said during a special parliamentary committee meeting on Canada-China relations on Tuesday that the organization prepared two reports in the past three years documenting a “disturbing and intensifying” pattern of Chinese interference, threats and intimidation against activists and human rights defenders in Canada.