Squirt the kitten found a new best friend!
Squirt the kitten found a new best friend!
U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock urged Gulf states to step up next Monday when the world body seeks to avert a large-scale "man-made" famine in Yemen by raising $3.85 billion for humanitarian operations in the war-torn Arabian Peninsula country for 2021. The United Nations describes Yemen as the world's largest humanitarian crisis, with 80% of the people in need.
TERRACE, B.C. — The family of a pregnant Indigenous woman who alleges she was turned away from a northern British Columbia hospital and later gave birth to a stillborn baby says a review of the incident must be made public. Sarah Morrison has alleged she was denied maternity services at Kitimat General Hospital on Jan. 27 and had to travel to another facility 65 kilometres away in Terrace, where she delivered a stillborn infant. Dustin Gaucher, Morrison's uncle, says the results of a review by the Northern Health Authority must be released publicly to prevent it from "hiding the truth," adding that no one in his family including Morrison has been contacted to assist with the probe. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the review shortly after Morrison's family accused the Kitimat hospital of turning her away and alleged anti-Indigenous racism. Northern Health says in a statement that the findings won't be made public because provincial legislation prohibits release of results and recommendations from quality of care reviews. A spokeswoman for the health authority says the legislation is meant to promote open discussion and full participation with health-care professionals in order to determine if any changes should be made to future practices. Gaucher says if the review results are not released, little will come of it except his family will "relive our trauma." "This review is just that. The people out there want answers, but nobody gets any answers," he said in an interview. Morrison and her partner have filed a statement of claim in B.C. Supreme Court alleging the Northern Health authority, several doctors, Kitimat General Hospital and Mills Memorial Hospital used racial stereotypes and failed to provide emergency care. None of the allegations have been proven in court and no statements of defence have been filed. Northern Health said in a statement on Feb. 12 that it could not comment on the case for privacy reasons, but its board has endorsed a review of allegations of racism in health care at its hospitals. "We do wish to express that the loss of a child is tragic and our hearts go out to the family." Its statement said the review will seek guidance from Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, B.C.'s former representative for children and youth, who wrote a report about anti-Indigenous racism in the province's health-care system. Mills Memorial has said the health authority would respond on its behalf. None of the others named in the lawsuit could be reached for comment. (CFTK) This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Oshawa MPP Jennifer French is calling on the province for a public inquiry into two of Durham’s long-term care and retirement homes that saw significant COVID-19 outbreaks. In a recent letter to Premier Doug Ford, French asked for the province to support Durham Regional Council’s recent call for an investigation into Sunnycrest Nursing Home in Whitby and ThorntonView Long Term Care Home in Oshawa. An outbreak was declared at Sunnycrest Nursing Home on Nov. 23, 2020. In total, there were 195 COVID-19 cases in which 30 residents died. The outbreak at ThorntonView Long Term Care Home began on Nov. 28, 2020 and saw a total 152 cases in which 18 residents died. “The reality faced by loved ones in long term care, their caregivers and their families has been particularly distressing and often tragic,” she writes, adding she was proud to be able to work alongside surviving family members who have been grieving while advocating for change in the wake of the horrible loss of Orchard Villa Retirement Community in Pickering. Orchard Villa was the first long term care home in Durham to see a significant outbreak in the first wave of the pandemic in spring of 2020. The outbreak began on March 31, 2020 and lasted until June 11, 2020. In total, there were 306 cases and 71 deaths. “Unfortunately, as Ontarians have seen across their home communities, situations like Orchard Villa are unfolding every day,” she continues. “Families are being devastated every day. Vulnerable loved ones are suffering every day.” French says it is “beyond disappointing” that an inquiry was not called during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It has been very upsetting to see that lessons were not learned, supports were not put into place and our most vulnerable have not been protected.” Speaking with The Oshawa Express, French says families of loved ones are desperate for answers. “Families and communities are distraught that things were not put in place, supports were not put in place, staffing levels were not improved – all the recommendations from the first wave that could have been implemented as we headed into this unfortunate next chapter,” she says. “People are dying, people are suffering, and families are beside themselves.” French says the province relied too much on the vaccine as the “strategy” when it came to protecting seniors. While she says it’s important to ensure the vaccine continues to be distributed and administered, she notes that can’t be the only plan. “The calls for more staffing, the calls for investment in training, in disease protocols… we haven’t been doing that.” She notes families are “terrified,” especially with the more quickly-spreading variants that are starting to circulate. “We don’t know what we’re headed into, but we do need to be prepared. We need to be ready,” says French. “You don’t want to lose anyone you love, but if you have to lose them, you don’t want to lose them in a way that people are dying in this pandemic. It is not a nice way to die – isolated, alone and in pain and with all the other pieces of desperation, or starvation, or dehydration. It is unthinkable what we are subjecting our loved ones to.” Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express
TORONTO — A quarantine screening officer in Oakville, Ont., is facing charges of sexual assault and extortion. Regional police say the accused was trained by the Public Health Agency of Canada and worked for a private security company. Police allege the 27-year-old officer told a woman at a home she was in violation of a quarantine order. They allege he demanded a fine be paid in cash, and sexually assaulted her when she refused. Police say the accused goes by the name Hemant and has been suspended. They won't identify the security company. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Ontarians aged 80 and older will start receiving COVID-19 vaccines in the third week of March, with the province planning to target seniors in decreasing five-year age increments until 60-year-olds get the shot in July. Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, the head of the province's vaccine rollout, announced the timeline Wednesday while noting the schedule is dependent on supply. He did not provide details on when residents younger than 60 could expect a vaccineAn online booking system and service desk will become available on March 15 and people in that 80 and older age range, or those booking for them, can access it, Hillier said.Residents will be notified about the availability of vaccines through media announcements, flyers delivered to households and phone calls from health units, said Hillier, who asked that families and community groups help those 80 and over book their shots."Let's make sure we look after them and help them get that appointment," he said.Ontario aims to vaccinate adults aged 75 and older starting April 15, and those 70 and older starting May 1.People aged 65 and older will be vaccinated starting June 1, and those 60 and older can get their shots the following month. Vaccinations in populations considered high-risk, including Indigenous adults, will be ongoing as the province targets seniors in the general population.Essential workers will likely begin getting their shots in May if supply allows, but the government is still deciding who will be in that group.Critics said the government was taking too long to launch the online booking portal and get seniors their shots. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said it's "terrifying" that vaccines for those 80 and older won't be available until mid-March given that the province has recently loosened public health restrictions. "Seniors, particularly vulnerable folks, need to know the information. When is it coming? What are the basics? And why is the province of Ontario so far behind," Horwath said."There's no doubt this rollout is being botched by the Ford government."Liberal health critic John Fraser said the government seems unprepared for the broader distribution of vaccines."People want answers. They didn't get any answers this morning, other than it's taking longer than we thought it would, and we're actually not ready," Fraser said.Hillier said he would have liked to see the booking system up and running sooner but noted that it hadn't been required for the high-priority populations the province has so far focused on vaccinating, such as those in long-term care.He added that some private-sector companies with large operations have offered to vaccinate their essential workers, their families and communities when the time comes and the province intends to take up those offers."We will take advantage of all of it," Hillier said.Shots will be administered at pharmacies, mass vaccination sites, mobile units and smaller sites depending on the public health unit. The transition to vaccinate the broader population will ramp up as the province completes its high-priority vaccinations over the next week, Hillier said. The vaccine rollout will enter a "transition phase" next week, with inoculations resuming among patient-facing health care workers. Shots were paused for that group late last month as the province focused on vaccinating long-term care residents amid a shortage in dose deliveries.Second doses have also begun in some fly-in First Nations communities. Vaccine supply will determine whether Ontario meets Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's pledge that all Canadians who want a COVID-19 will have one by September, Hillier said. "I'd love to say, yeah, you know, by Labour Day weekend we're gonna have every single person in Ontario who is eligible and who wants a vaccine to have one. I'm a little bit reluctant to do that, because it depends on the arrival of those vaccines," Hillier said. "I say this, if the vaccines arrive in the numbers required, we'll get them into the arms of the people of Ontario."A total of 602,848 vaccine doses have been administered in the province so far.Ontario reported 1,054 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and nine more deaths linked to the virus.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
Le concept de microforêt se répand petit à petit pour répondre à la bétonisation de nos existences. Au risque de détourner ce qui définit une forêt.
TUCSON, Ariz. — It is now illegal in Tucson, Arizona, to enforce dress code or grooming policies that discriminate against hair texture and hairstyles in the workplace and public schools, officials said. The Tucson City Council voted Tuesday to adopt the Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, or CROWN Act, joining multiple cities across the country in passing the ordinance, the Arizona Daily Star reported. The ordinance has been part of a national campaign promoted by Dove, the National Urban League, Color Of Change and Western Center on Law and Poverty. It also prohibits workplace discrimination based on headdresses worn for cultural or religious reasons. “We want to be sure there are no barriers for people in the workplace and in schools,” said Annie Sykes, president of Tucson’s Black Women’s Task Force. “These barriers are usually rooted in discrimination and prejudice.” Sykes cited a study showing that Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from work because of their hair and 80% more likely to feel like they have to change their hair to fit in at work. “Your hair is your crown and it connects us to our culture and to our ancestry,” said Desiree Cook, a licensed hair stylist and founder of the local organization, I AM YOU 360. “So we ask that those crowns are honoured, whether it be in schools, in the community or the workplace.” The Tucson ordinance will be enforced through the human relations section of the city code and will apply to any facility or business with public accommodations, officials said. Violations can bring civil penalties. The Associated Press
Small businesses will continue to benefit from provincial relief after the current small and medium enterprise (SME) relaunch grant program concludes at the end of March. The SME grants will be followed by the Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit. Up to $10,000 will be available under the benefit to small- and medium-sized businesses impacted by the pandemic and restrictions, according to the Alberta government last week. Under the SME grants up to $20,000 is available to businesses and non-profits with fewer than 500 employees and that have experienced revenue loss amid restrictions. The additional $10,000 under the new benefit can be used to offset COVID costs, including buying personal protective equipment, paying bills or hiring staff, according to the government. According to the provincial government, the benefit can also be used to pay rent, replace inventory or expand online operations. The new benefit will be available to business owners who can demonstrate they’ve lost at least 60 per cent of their revenue as a result of the pandemic. The benefit will cover 15 per cent of their lost monthly revenue, up to $10,000, according to the Alberta government. Funds distributed through the benefit won’t need to be repaid, with further parameters for the program to be unveiled in April. The benefit program has a $120 million budget. According to the Alberta government, as of last week more than $359 million has been distributed to more than 50,000 businesses through the SME program. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
MILAN — It was a lockdown well-spent for Daniel Del Core. The German designer chose the unlikely moment when the world was reeling from the coronavirus last spring and the luxury sector was experiencing its deepest profit drops ever to conceive a new brand, under the Italian surname he inherited from his immigrant grandfather. And he defied yet another piece of conventional wisdom, launching Del Core with a live runway show during the otherwise digital Milan Fashion Week of womenswear previews for the next cold weather season. Just 40 invited guests were socially distanced in the basement of Milan’s city archives, boxes of files replaced by trays of plants: the seed of a new collection that is taking root. Rapid COVID tests were offered at the entrance, in full awareness that the pandemic prevails and that live events are the exception, not the rule. For anyone immersed in the new fashion ritual of zoom previews and interviews, a real live runway show was a reminder of what has been mostly missing -- energy, the swish of textiles, the gasp of novelty -- since local transmission of the virus was first detected outside of Asia near Milan just over one year ago, during runway previews for Fall-Winter 2020-21. Del Core tapped his experience as Gucci events designer, focused on one-off creations for VIPs and red-carpet stars, and his love of nature for the launch of his “Collection 0” that was strong on sculptural drama and looks that demand notice. Would-be tuxedo tails were slightly off kilter, the tail creating asymmetrical line down the side of jackets. Feather-heeled sandals peeped from beneath trousers. Belted, the jacket became a minidress, worn with lace fishnet stockings. Strappy tops were laced up the side, worn over miniskirts. The oversized bow of a suit jacket tied prettily next to the cheek. The ready-to-wear palate was rigorously monotone, in strong shades including tangerine, lavender, teal and black. Japanese culture received more than a few nods, with a kimono mini, a frontal Obi belted jacket and leg-revealing botanical print dress in silk, finished generously with feathery wisps. Fantastical eyewear included single-lens colored shields, and platform sandals appeared to be covered with creeping organic matter, effects that were part sci-fi, part Harajuku. “Mutant glamour,” the collection notes called it. The mood grew increasingly intense with evening wear, with sculptural details including a velvet bubble ruffle on an off-shoulder dress, giant ruffled and bell-shaped sleeves like a mushroom on a crystal-encrusted dress. Accordion pleats created a cape-like effect on a tightly fitted dress, layered with lace. Circular pleated fans bloomed from the bodice of a pleated number like so many lily pads. “A merging of human savoir-faire and the splendor of mother nature ignites the re-emergence into the natural through the deftly man-made, in luscious fabrications of silk, wool, taffetas, brocade, jacquard and fil coupe,’’ the collection notes said. Seemingly stunned by what he had accomplished, the 32-year-old designer was too emotional to do more than exchange greetings back stage, and wipe back tears. “Beauty is not static,” his collection notes conclude. Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — A new report says too many federal inmates in isolation aren't getting a few hours a day out of their cells, pushing them into territory that could be described as inhuman treatment or even torture. Citing federal data, the report says nearly three in 10 prisoners in isolation units didn't have all or any of the four hours out of their cells they are supposed to get, for two weeks at a time. A further one in 10 were kept in excessive isolation for 16 days or longer, which by international laws and Canadian rulings constitutes cruel treatment. The findings suggest the federal prison system is falling well short of the guidelines the Liberals ushered in for "structured intervention units" designed to allow better access to programming and mental-health care for inmates who need to be kept apart from other prisoners. Prisoners transferred to the units are supposed to be allowed out of their cells for four hours each day, with two of those hours engaged in "meaningful human contact." The report by two criminologists says there needs to be better oversight of how the units are managed, adding the results show Canada commits "torture by another name." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden plans to distribute millions of face masks to Americans in communities hard-hit by the coronavirus beginning next month as part of his efforts to ensure “equity” in the government’s response to the pandemic. Biden, who like Donald Trump’s administration considered sending masks to all Americans, is instead adopting a more conservative approach, aiming to reach underserved communities and those bearing the brunt of the outbreak. Trump’s administration shelved the plans entirely. Biden’s plan will distribute masks not through the mail, but instead through Federally Qualified Community Health Centers and the nation’s food bank and food pantry systems, the White House announced Wednesday. The Departments of Defence, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture will be involved in the distribution of more than 25 million American-made cloth masks in both adult and kid sizes. The White House estimates they will reach 12 million to 15 million people. “Not all Americans are wearing masks regularly, not all have access, and not all masks are equal,” said White House COVID-19 co-ordinator Jeff Zients. The White House is not distributing safer N95 masks, of which the U.S. now has abundant supply after shortages early in the pandemic. The cloth masks adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and "certainly they meet those requirements set by our federal standard,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. Biden hinted at the move Tuesday during a virtual roundtable discussion Tuesday with four essential workers who are Black, saying he expected his administration to send millions of masks to people around the country “very shortly.” Biden has asked all Americans to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his term, pointing to models showing it could help save 50,000 lives. He also required mask-wearing in federal buildings and on public transportation in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. In late January, a Quinnipiac poll showed that 75% of Americans said they wear a mask all the time when they go out in public and are around others, and an additional 12% said they wear a mask most of the time. Biden has made a virtue of his public displays of mask-wearing, drawing direct contrast with Trump, who only rarely was seen covering his face while president. Biden has also required the use of masks around the White House, unlike Trump, whose White House was the scene of at least three outbreaks of the virus. Psaki suggested earlier this month that logistical concerns underpinned the decision to scale back the plans to send masks to all Americans. “I think there are some underlying questions about how you target them — the masks — where they go to first; obviously, it couldn’t happen immediately,” she said. — Associated Press writer Hannah Fingurhut contributed to this report. Zeke Miller And Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
CALGARY — The CEO of Crescent Point Energy Corp. says the company is poised to benefit from rising oil prices after two years of transformation through selling assets, cutting debt and reducing costs. The Calgary-based company's move last week to buy producing light oil shale assets in Alberta for $900 million from Royal Dutch Shell reflects that confidence, Craig Bryksa said. "We have built an asset portfolio that is well-positioned to benefit from a rising price environment given our light oil weighting and high netbacks," he said on a Wednesday conference call with analysts to discuss the company's fourth-quarter results. "We expect to generate $375 (million) to $600 million of excess cash flow this year at US$50 to US$60 WTI (West Texas Intermediate) prices." The company plans to devote most of that cash flow to paying down debt, he said, adding that it will evaluate increasing returns to shareholders over time. Shell is to receive $700 million in cash and 50 million Crescent Point shares under the deal and will wind up owning an 8.6 per cent stake in Crescent Point if it closes as expected in April. The companies say the assets are producing around 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from more than 270 wells. About 57 per cent of production is condensate, highly valued as a diluent blended with oilsands bitumen to allow it to flow in a pipeline. Analysts said the company beat their fourth-quarter estimates on production and average selling prices although both measures fell compared with the same period in 2019. "CPG closed the chapter on a highly successful year in its business transformation toward becoming a more sustainable producer generating significant free cash flow, which should be complemented by the upcoming (Shell) acquisition," Desjardins analyst Chris MacCulloch wrote in a report. Crescent Point reported producing 111,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, about 90 per cent crude oil and petroleum liquids, in the fourth quarter, down from 145,000 boe/d in the fourth quarter of 2019. It attributed the drop to capital spending cuts enacted early in 2020 as oil prices fell. It's average realized fourth-quarter oil price was $49.40 per barrel, down from $65.27 in the year-earlier period. It reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $51 million or 10 cents per share, compared with a loss of $932 million or $1.73 per share in the same period of 2019. On Wednesday, it confirmed 2021 production guidance released with the Shell announcement last week of about 134,000 boe/d, as well as a 2021 capital budget of about $600 million (both assuming the deal is closed). That's up from Crescent Point's average output of 121,600 boe/d during 2020 and down from actual 2020 capital spending of $655 million. The company reported net debt of about $2.1 billion at year-end, paid down by over $615 million during the year. It said it also removed about $60 million in budgeted operating expenses in 2020. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:CPG) Dan Healing, The Canadian Press
"State of Terror" will be out this fall.
(Steven Kennedy/marinetraffic.com - image credit) The Transportation Safety Board says a fishing vessel that went down off the coast of Nova Scotia in 2018 was overloaded with fish, ice, fuel and freshwater, leading to its sinking. In its investigation report released Wednesday, the board said the Atlantic Sapphire should have been carrying no more than 41 long tons of cargo. When it sank around 11 p.m. on Dec. 13, 2018, the trawler was loaded with over 60 long tons, putting it about 46 per cent over capacity. One long ton is the equivalent of about 1,016 kilograms. "On the occurrence voyage, the crew caught a full load of fish in less time than on any other trip that year, so there was more fuel, freshwater, and ice on board than usual," the report said. "The crew did not appreciate the risk to the vessel's stability created by this excess weight, and as a result, the crew did not take precautions against the risk of downflooding and capsizing." Vessel was overloaded before last catch Based on evidence collected after the sinking, including interviews with the three-person crew — all of whom were rescued by another fishing boat — the board determined the boat was already overloaded when the crew hauled in a final catch of haddock weighing seven long tons. Sea conditions caused a "slight rolling motion," which was enough to bring water onto the main deck, which then cascaded into the fish hold through an open hatch. The crew was busy loading the final catch into pens below deck when the 18.6-metre fibreglass vessel first starting taking on water, so "the situation was not recognized until the fish hold began to downflood," the report said. Capacity guidelines ignored Investigators found the cargo limit for the Atlantic Sapphire was laid out by Transport Canada in a "stability booklet" that was available to crew members, said they hadn't consulted the information in at least a year. Up until its sinking, ignoring those guidelines hadn't had "any apparent impact on safety, indicating that an adaption to the loading procedure had likely evolved over time," the report said. The report added that the boat's owner, Nova's Finest Fisheries Inc. of Middle West Pubnico, N.S., hadn't been ensuring compliance with the capacity guidelines. "Consequently, the risks associated with the loading practices on the day of the occurrence, particularly given the extra freshwater and fuel on board, were not fully appreciated by the crew," it said. No one from Nova's Finest Fisheries was immediately available to comment on the board's findings. Work-rest requirements not met The investigation also found the crew hadn't been meeting the work-rest schedule required by federal regulations. Those requirements, the report said, would have been challenging for any three-person crew to accomplish. "When meeting the regulatory requirements with a crew of three, the time remaining for fishing operations is minimal: about four hours with two crew on deck and another three hours with one crew on deck," the report said. "Such a minimal amount of time allocated to fishing is not feasible in most operations." The board pointed out that Nova Scotia has no provincial regulations for fishing vessel operations, nor a minimum crew complement. In 2020, the board identified the need for co-ordinated regulatory oversight between the federal government and provinces as a key safety issue. MORE TOP STORIES
Toronto Mayor John Tory has announced all public events will be cancelled until July, including Canada Day, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Long-term plans for industrial development between Sexsmith and the County of Grande Prairie may change slightly due to public feedback. Sexsmith council voted to make some changes to the draft Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) during its meeting last week. The changes would shift planned development to the northeast of current town boundaries south to the area closer to Viterra, said mayor Kate Potter. “We were really appreciative of the residents who said, ‘These are some concerns we see,’ and I think those were addressed,” Potter said. Potter noted the IDP is a long-term plan for a period of perhaps 50 to 100 years, and no development is imminent. Eighteen people attended two sessions in November to review the draft IDP and several questioned why certain lands were designated for industrial growth, said Rachel Wueschner, Sexsmith’s chief administrative officer. The area east and northeast of town boundaries was designated for industrial development under the draft IDP. Attendees suggested development be shifted closer to the Emerson Trail due to existing infrastructure there, including a high-grade road. Potter said while the eastern area may not currently have a through road, land access may be established over a long-term period. Attendees further suggested the current plans may negatively impact the landscape and agricultural lifestyle east of town. Potter said the land isn’t being re-designated at this time. Council did support moving some planned development, from two quarter-sections on the northeast of town borders to the Viterra area, partly because the northern area contains wetlands, Potter said. In accordance with feedback, council also voted to recognize a link between range roads 61 and 63 as a priority road. Range Road 63 runs west of Sexsmith and is entirely in the county, and improvements could make it easier for large trucks to transfer from Range Road 61 (a truck route) to 63, she said. The designation of a priority road means the county and town will communicate with each other regarding future plans for road improvements, she said. Following council’s changes, Potter said the matter will go back to negotiations between the town and county. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
(Jeremy Cohn/CBC - image credit) A quarantine screening officer employed by a private security company hired and trained by Canada's federal health agency has been charged after allegedly demanding a cash fine from an Ontario resident and then sexually assaulting her when she refused to pay. Halton Regional Police say the accused, a 27-year-old Hamilton man whose full name is Hemant, went to the Oakville home on Feb. 18 to carry out a quarantine compliance check, telling the resident she was in violation of a quarantine order. Under Canada's Quarantine Act, designated screening officers regularly visit travellers' quarantine locations to ensure they are complying with the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirements. The officers are not police and cannot issue a ticket or conduct an arrest, nor can they demand payment of any kind. Police allege the accused demanded the resident pay a fine in cash. "When the victim declined to pay, she was sexually assaulted by the accused," said a police news release issued Wednesday. Police also said he worked for one of four private security firms hired to help enforce isolation orders. The force said it will not identify the name of the security company where the man was an employee, but say he has been suspended. The accused, who now faces charges of sexual assault and extortion, has been released from custody. He is set to appear in court in Milton, Ont. on March 23. The investigation was prompted by a complaint from the alleged victim, said police spokesperson Const. Steve Elms, who had no other details. The Public Health Agency of Canada did not immediately respond to a request to comment. All people entering Canada are required to isolate for 14 days. Designated screening officers visit quarantine locations to confirm the person is where they said they would be in quarantine when they arrived in the country. Failure to comply can result in fines. Screening officers, contracted by the Public Health Agency of Canada, are not police officers and have no authority to issue a ticket or arrest anyone. As a result, police said, screening officers should never be demanding payment of any kind during a quarantine-compliance check. Police said other people might have been victimized and urged anyone who might have had a similar experience to contact their local police. Issues have previously arisen with quarantine guards. Last year, private security contractors at a quarantine hotel in Melbourne, Australia, were accused of sleeping with guests, the Herald Sun reported.
Les investisseurs parieraient aujourd’hui sur de futures hausses des cours, tout en étant conscients que l’envolée actuelle ne reflète pas l’activité économique réelle.
MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his nation's top counterintelligence agency Wednesday to redouble its efforts to address what he described as Western attempts to destabilize Russia. Speaking at a meeting of top officials of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, the main KGB successor agency, Putin pointed at the “so-called policy of containment of Russia,” charging that it includes efforts to “derail our development, slow it down, create problems alongside our borders, provoke internal instability and undermine the values that unite the Russian society.” The Russian president added that those activities by foreign powers, which he didn't name, are aimed at “weakening Russia and putting it under outside control.” The United States and its NATO allies have rejected similar previous claims by the Kremlin that they were seeking to undermine Russia. Russia's relations with the West plummeted to post-Cold War lows following Moscow's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea and Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The recent arrest of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and a sweeping crackdown on protesters demanding his release has been another source of tension. Navalny, Putin's most prominent critic, was arrested on Jan. 17 upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Russian authorities have rejected the accusation and accused Navalny of co-operating with Western intelligence agencies — claims which he has ridiculed. Earlier this month, Navalny was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for violating terms of his probation while convalescing in Germany. The sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Navalny has rejected as fabricated and the European ?ourt of Human Rights has ruled to be unlawful. Navalny's arrest has fueled a wave of protests that drew tens of thousands to the streets across Russia. The authorities have detained about 11,000 people, many of whom were fined or given jail terms ranging from seven to 15 days. In the wake of the demonstrations, the Kremlin-controlled parliament has toughened the punishment for disobeying police and introduced new fines for funding demonstrations. Putin on Wednesday signed those new bills into law. Without naming Navalny, Putin assailed those in Russia who allegedly serve foreign interests. “It's necessary to draw a line between natural political competition, competition between political parties, ideological platforms, various views on the country's development, and the activities that have nothing to do with democracy and are aimed at undermining stability and security of our state, at serving foreign interests,” he said. The Russian president emphasized the need for the FSB to shield the parliamentary election set for September from any "provocations." Putin hailed the agency for disrupting the activities of foreign spies, maintaining it unmasked 72 foreign intelligence officers and 423 of their informants. He ordered the FSB to tighten the protection of the country's latest military technologies, saying, “You all understand that we have a lot to safeguard.” Putin also commended the FSB for its efforts to combat terrorism. He said it prevented 72 terror attacks last year. He instructed the agency to “uncover contacts between terrorist groups and foreign special services.” “Unfortunately, anything goes, and they also use terrorists,” Putin said without elaborating. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador health authorities say a fifth person in the province has died from COVID-19. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald teared up and paused for a moment during today's pandemic briefing and asked people to focus on the future. Officials are also reporting eight new cases of COVID-19 and say six people are in hospital with the disease. All of the infections announced today are in the eastern health region of the province, which includes the capital, St. John's, and where an outbreak has been flaring for several weeks. Officials say the outbreak was caused by the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom. Fitzgerald says though case numbers have been low over the past few days, the province remains in lockdown and people must stay on guard. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press