Tens of thousands of airline industry workers are bracing for layoffs and furloughs on Thursday if Congress fails to pass a relief package aimed at alleviating the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. (Sept. 30)
Despite the U.S. having the world's highest number of COVID-19 cases, Canadian snowbird Elizabeth Evans is determined to head south next month. That's because her only winter home is parked at an RV resort in Williston, Florida."I don't have a [winter] home here," said Evans, who's currently living in her summer trailer at a campground in Niagara Falls. "I don't have any winter clothes."Evans is one of a number of snowbirds set on going to the U.S. this winter, despite the ongoing pandemic. But getting there may not be easy: To help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Canada-U.S. land border remains closed to non-essential traffic until at least Oct. 21.Evans believes the closure will be extended, so she plans to fly to Florida on Oct. 30 — two days before the campground where she's living closes for the season. "There's no way I am staying here," she said. "Even if I had to get on the plane buck-naked, I'd be on it."The Canadian Snowbird Association — which has more than 110,000 members — said it's hard to gauge at this point what percentage of its members will actually head south this winter. Some snowbirds have already nixed their plans, while others are undecided. "A significant portion of them are in a holding pattern, just to see what shakes out at the land border," said spokesperson Evan Rachkovsky.WATCH | Alberta snowbirds planning to spend winter at home:Some experts predict the Canada-U.S. land border could stay closed to non-essential travel until the new year. Although Canadians can still fly to the U.S., Rachkovsky said many snowbirds won't go without their cars but can't afford the big fees — between $1,500 and $6,000 — to ship their vehicles."It's not really an option for some of them to fly."Evans is one of those who would typically drive down to the U.S., which allowed her to transport her household supplies in her truck. She said she's can't ship her truck packed with luggage, so this year she's leaving it behind, along with many household necessities. But she's still bent on going to the U.S., even as health experts warn of a possible surge of COVID-19 cases in the fall. Evans said she plans to take precautionary measures such as social distancing and keep to her RV resort. "I will take the risk because I know how to protect myself, and everybody — at least in my resort — follows the rules," she said. "I'm more concerned about falling off my bicycle than I am of COVID."Escape winter while isolatingTravel insurance broker Martin Firestone said so far less than 10 per cent of his snowbird clients have made firm plans to go south this winter. He said those who are going say they will aim to avoid crowds, just as they would in Canada during the pandemic. "They're going to be prisoners in their developments or their condos," said Firestone, with Travel Secure in Toronto. "They're saying, 'I guess I'd rather sit down in Florida than sit here in Ontario and face the harsh climate.'"That about sums up Perry Cohen's itinerary. The snowbird — who is one of Firestone's clients — aims to head to his condo in Deerfield Beach, Fla., in early December as long as the COVID-19 case count remains low in that area.Cohen, who lives in Toronto, said he plans to take the necessary precautions and stick to his gated community — all while enjoying the warm weather. "Why would I want to be cooped up here when I can be there, out in the sunshine, in the fresh air?" he said. "You have more positives to go than to stay here."Cohen also plans to fly to Florida and has a car parked at his condo. He said an added reassurance for him is that he can now purchase COVID-19 medical insurance — just in case he or his wife did get the virus. "I like a complete package to know I'm looked after [if], God forbid, I have a problem."COVID-19 medical coverage returnsSeveral travel insurance providers recently restarted selling COVID-19 medical coverage, after dropping it in March when the pandemic began its global spread Firestone said that even with the coverage, snowbirds could face problems if the community where they're living has an outbreak. "The hospitals will get filled, the intensive care units will get filled, and then the fun will begin, regardless of whether you have insurance or not."Cohen argues Canada could also experience overrun hospitals. Currently, COVID-19 case numbers are surging in Ontario and Quebec. "You take a chance and go, because we can have the same problem here."
In the waning days of summer, afternoon traffic in Oyen, Alta., moved slowly along Main Street, easing along the weathered asphalt, past the low brick facade of the town office, farm equipment dealer and a cafe promising fresh pie and hot coffee. Alberta hasn't felt the heat of a boom in years. Roughly 850 workers — skilled trades, engineers and managers among them — have come to work on the Canadian leg of TC Energy Corp.'s Keystone XL pipeline.
A federal judge in Montana on Wednesday rejected an effort by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and Republican Party groups to block Montana counties from holding the general election mostly by mail, saying claims that such a system could be marred by widespread voter fraud is “a fiction.” “When pressed during the hearing in this matter, the plaintiffs were compelled to concede that they cannot point to a single instance of voter fraud in Montana in any election during the last 20 years,” U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen wrote.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden made their pitches to win over Black voters in the election, with Biden mockingly questioning: “This man is a savior of African Americans," he asked. "This man has done virtually nothing.” (Sept. 29)
Country star Mac Davis, who launched his career crafting the Elvis hits “A Little Less Conversation” and “In the Ghetto,” and whose own hits include “Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me,” has died. Davis had a long and varied career in music for decades as a writer, singer, actor and TV host and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006. “Thank you, dear Lord Jesus, for letting us know the man to whom you gave the most incredible talent,” said Reba McEntire in a statement.
The latest meeting between the Sipekne'katik First Nation and federal fisheries staff involved the band going over the details of their moderate livelihood fishery on Tuesday.Chief Mike Sack said the talks were "very positive" and he is optimistic about how things are going."It's just to help them completely understand where we're coming from with it and to answer any concerns they might have," he told reporters in Digby, N.S.Sack said the meeting did not involve Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, but that if they feel it would be helpful to have her physically at the table they will ask.The next meeting with fisheries staff is set for next Monday, Sack said.The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has had the fishery plan for some time now and has a good sense of what it entails, Sack said. But, he said their band has a few factors they are looking to iron out at the wharf, like catch amounts."We don't have all of our data yet," Sack said, "So you know, our future conversations will be about moving forward with this together." When Sack was asked about the recent criticism Jordan has faced in Ottawa over her handling of the situation, he said they have come a long way, "government to government."He added he was "delighted" that Jordan mentioned the importance of upholding First Nations' treaty rights during question period on Monday.Sipekne'katik launched what the band calls a self-regulated lobster fishery at a wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., on Sept. 17 — 21 years after the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Donald Marshall Jr.The landmark decision affirmed the Mi'kmaq right to earn a "moderate livelihood" from fishing. The court later said the federal government could regulate the Mi'kmaw fishery, but must justify any restrictions it placed on it.After more than a week of tension, confrontations with commercial fishermen in the area have eased recently.The First Nation's fishery in St. Marys Bay continued through the weekend and on Monday the fleet was expanded from seven to 10 boats, creating a total capacity of 500 traps. That's about the same capacity as two large commercial boats. But selling a catch without DFO approval requires a provincial government rule change, and so far Premier Stephen McNeil is staying out of the situation.He said the moderate livelihood still has to be officially defined by DFO."Until the national government who has charge of the fishery can come to a resolution with the Mi'kmaw nation and commercial fisheries, we don't have something to respond to because we don't know what the change would look like," McNeil told reporters Tuesday.Sack said they have had some back and forth with the province about a possible meeting and while nothing is confirmed yet, "we're looking to get in right away."Many commercial lobster fishermen have said they consider the new Sipekne'katik fishery in St. Marys Bay illegal and worry that catching lobster outside the mandated season, particularly during the summer spawning period, will negatively impact stocks.A fleet of commercial vessels removed 350 Mi'kmaw lobster traps from the water on the weekend of Sept. 19 to 20.But one Dalhousie University professor who studies fisheries management has said the Mi'kmaw fishery won't harm lobster stocks given its small scale.The Mi'kmaw fleet has been able to continue working over the past few days without arguments on the wharf with commercial fishers, their lines being cut, or other intimidation tactics that Sack said he'd heard about when the fishery launched."We're very grateful … we're not here to fight with anyone. We're here to do what we feel is right," Sack said. "I'm glad that the confrontations are over and hopefully they're completely done with."In light of this change, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs reduced their state of emergency over the matter to a state of readiness and closed their incident command centre, according to a release Tuesday.The situation in the Digby area will still be monitored by the assembly and their staff and if it escalates again or community members require more support, they will reopen the command centre.MORE TOP STORIES
Now that cold season has started, it may be time to take some symptoms off the COVID-19 checklist, says New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health. Dr. Jennifer Russell said her colleagues from across the country have talked about "streamlining" testing requirements to avoid a logjam of tests for people who end up simply having a cold. Several of the symptoms for COVID-19 overlap those of the common cold, including runny nose, sore throat, and headache. Those are three of the 10 symptoms British Columbia removed last week. "I know there's a level of confusion and again, we are working on it," said Russell.She said the system can handle the current situation, but if there's a spike in COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick, then the checklist may have to be scaled back. "So we're happy with where we are, but I think as we move into a time frame where the risks are going to be higher in terms of case numbers possibly increasing as we are seeing around the country, then I think it merits having that discussion," Russell said Tuesday afternoon. She said there's been "a surge in demand" for COVID-19 testing since children returned to the classroom. There were 837 more tests done for those under 20 during the first two full weeks of school than there were for the entire month before that, according to figures supplied by the department. The age group went from representing 27 per cent of all tests done in the month before to 43 per cent in the first two full weeks of classes. Schools are required to send students home when they display two or more symptoms of COVID-19. Those children are then required to self-isolate at home until a negative test is received. Days off sick up 132% in Anglophone SouthWhile a spokesperson for the Department of Education did not provide numbers when asked about school absences on Tuesday, the superintendent of the Anglophone South School District did. Zoë Watson explained that absences are coded based on a variety of reasons, including illness or medical appointment. She said the code for illness at K-8 was used 132 per cent more this month than in September 2019.Russell said Public Health has responded to the increase in demand by adding staff, increasing hours and making other changes, such as prioritizing call-backs for children. Russell said New Brunswick's testing capacity "is where we want it to be," but the length of time to notify people of their test results got bogged down by the increased demand. The goal had been 72 hours, but Russell said it was taking longer than that. Without mandatory masks, Infection control epidemiologist Colin Furness predicts that New Brunswick will see a lot more respiratory viruses. "I'm expecting more cold and flu in New Brunswick than I am in ... Toronto," he said. Since masks are mandatory in the Toronto area, he said, it's unlikely that the area will see many colds and flus, so any respiratory symptoms would have to be taken very seriously. "So in Ontario, I would say anything that looks like a respiratory illness is scary. In New Brunswick, I would say that 'Well, a cold is probably just a cold.'" Given the low case counts, Furness said masks are likely a hard sell in New Brunswick, but it's the best way to avoid students having to get a COVID-19 test every time they catch a cold."Your best way forward as a parent is to try and make sure that no one catches any cold at all. That's harder to do when people aren't wearing masks," he said. "If I were a parent in New Brunswick, I would be doubling down on hand sanitizer and physical distancing and all the things that we know work to keep us from getting sick — and flu shots for sure."Furness said the stress that parents feel when their child gets sick in New Brunswick would be different from what parents in Ontario may feel. Here, it's not a genuine fear of COVID-19, it's the hassle of having to prove that it's not. "It becomes a headache rather than this fear," he said.Whether it stays on the COVID-19 checklist or not, Furness said one of the most common symptoms at this time of the year isn't a great indicator of COVID-19 anyway. "COVID in kids tends to present asymptomatically — a runny nose is not associated with COVID," he said. "That's not to say that it's impossible for someone with a runny nose to have COVID. You can also have more than one virus at a time. But kids are typically asymptomatic. And so the whole concept of screening is a little bit misplaced."Yukon offers guideYukon health officials have recently come up with a colour-coded system to help parents.Green means go to school. That's when a child has no symptoms, or only symptoms of a previously-diagnosed condition.Yellow means a child has some symptoms and should stay home for 24 hours to see whether the symptoms resolve. They include a runny nose, fever, fatigue, sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea.A runny nose or congestion that persists, but is relatively mild and not worsening, means a child can go back to school after 24 hours — so long as they have no other symptoms. Vomiting or diarrhea, however, warrant keeping students home until those symptoms are gone.Red means a child has symptoms that warrant a COVID-19 test — or they could stay in self-isolation for at least 10 days before returning to school."Red" symptoms include coughing, a fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, and loss of taste or smell.British Columbia shortens listThe list of symptoms in British Columbia was shortened last week to remove many that overlap with the common cold, including sore throat, runny nose, headache, and fatigue."This was a recommendation from public health to remove some of the symptoms, given the very low probability of these symptoms by themselves indicating COVID," B.C.'s Ministry of Health said in an emailed statement to CBC."They are also very common in children, so there are concerns that it would unnecessarily exclude children," said the ministry.The following symptoms have been removed from the daily checklist: * Sore throat * Runny/stuffy nose * Headache * Fatigue * Loss of appetite * Muscle aches * Conjunctivitis (pink eye) * Dizziness, confusion * Abdominal pain * Skin rash or discolouration of fingers and toesParents are now asked to screen children for the following symptoms: * Fever * Chills * Cough or worsening of chronic cough * Shortness of breath * Loss of sense of smell or taste * Diarrhea * Nausea and vomiting
If there is a glimmer of a silver lining for Canada, the U.K. and its allies as they watch the brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters in Belarus, it's this: Russia probably doesn't want another Ukraine — and it certainly can't afford one.The imposition of sanctions by both countries Tuesday against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, his son and six other Belarusian government officials in the wake of a disputed presidential election was the outcome of a delicate diplomatic dance that took weeks — even though some European nations chose to remain wallflowers.Former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson said the Magnitsky-style sanctions would have had more punch if they'd been part of a wider multinational effort."In the case of Belarus, we have gone after the kingpins and we hit them where it hurts — their pocketbooks and ability to travel," he said. "It would have been better if it were a G7 rather than just Canada and the U.K., but I guess it's a reflection of EU solidarity."Some experts, meanwhile, say they think there's a better-than-even chance that — although they're not aimed at Russia — the economic penalties will prompt dialogue and lead to de-escalation."The Russians don't want another Ukraine," said Andrew Rasiulis, a former senior Canadian defence official now with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. "They don't want another problem on their border."While surface comparisons can be made between the situation in Belarus now and the six-year-old war in Ukraine, the geopolitical and economic landscapes are different, said Rasiulis, who once ran the Directorate of Nuclear and Arms Control Policy at the Department of National Defence.Unlike the Ukrainians who took part in the anti-government, post-election protests in Kyiv that preceded the Russian invasion and annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in 2014, those demonstrating in Minsk are not demanding closer association with the West or using much anti-Russian rhetoric. Belarusians are, primarily, rising up to demand good government.And Moscow is in a weaker economic position now than it was in 2014 — in part because of the punishing sanctions imposed after its seizure of Crimea and armed intervention in eastern Ukraine.For Belarus, getting hit by international sanctions following a presidential election is almost a regular thing.In 2006, in reply to a heavy-handed response to protests, the U.S. and European Union levelled sanctions on dozens of Belarusian individuals and state-run companies. The EU eased up in 2016 when Lukashenko released political prisoners, but Washington has maintained an array of restrictions on Belarusian officials, including the president himself.Penalizing the powerfulRobertson said the West has learned the hard way that targeted punishments, such as those imposed on Tuesday, will be more effective in the long run.Experts at the U.S.-based RAND Corporation and elsewhere have warned repeatedly over the past decade that targeting key Belarusian state-owned enterprises (such as chemical and petrochemical industries) and restricting the flow of capital would cause higher economic damage to the country as a whole and hurt many ordinary citizens.The chances of political concessions appear to be higher when you hit the business elite and the cronies, says one recent study by the think-tank.That report, which looked at Russia's influence in Eastern Europe and ways to contain it, said efforts to promote a more liberal Belarus were unlikely to succeed and could provoke a strong response from Moscow.Convincing the KremlinWilliam Courtney and Michael Haltzel, two noted U.S. experts on Eastern Europe, argued in a RAND Corporation blog post last month that western countries should support mediation and calls for a new presidential election with credible international monitoring.Russia, they said, is the key — and Moscow could be enticed to go along."A more democratic, Eastern Slavic state on Russia's border might be difficult for the Kremlin to accept, but the European Union and the United States could make clear that any improvement in relations with Moscow would depend on it not intervening coercively in Belarus," wrote Courtney, a former ambassador, and Haltzel, a former policy adviser to U.S. Senator (now Democratic presidential nominee) Joe Biden.Canada, Latvia and other western nations have called for mediation, said Rasiulis — who is convinced Moscow is more interested in keeping Belarus in its orbit than in Lukashenko's political survival.The Institute for the Study of War, another prominent U.S. think-tank, has warned that some of the Russian army units which took part in a recent joint military exercise may not have returned home from Belarus last week as planned.Rasiulis said that while it's clear Russian is keeping the option of force on table, he has a hard time believing Moscow would launch a violent crackdown because of how it would alienate the people of Belarus.
MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Supreme Court weighed Tuesday whether to go along with conservatives who argue that 130,000 voters should be removed from the rolls in the hotly contested presidential battleground state, while the Democratic attorney general defended not purging them.The Wisconsin case is one of several lawsuits across the country, many in battleground states, that seek to purge voters from registration rolls. It is being closely watched because President Donald Trump won the swing state by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016. However, the lawsuit was unlikely to be resolved by the state Supreme Court before the Nov. 3 election just five weeks away.Justices on the court controlled 4-3 by conservatives gave little indication during the hour-long oral arguments how they were leaning.The Wisconsin case hinges on whether voters who were identified as potentially having moved should be removed from the voter registration database. The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative law firm, argued that the state elections commission broke the law when it did not remove voters from the rolls who did not respond within 30 days to a mailing last year indicating they had been identified as someone who potentially moved.The commission wanted to wait until after the presidential election before removing anyone because of inaccuracies found while previously attempting to identify voters who may have moved.Because voters who moved were concentrated in more Democratic areas of the state, liberals argued that the lawsuit was meant to lower turnout on their side. Republicans countered that it was about reducing the likelihood of voter fraud and making sure that people who moved are not able to vote from their previous addresses.A circuit court judge ruled last year that the voters must be removed immediately, but a state appeals court overturned that in February.Many of the questions from justices on Tuesday revolved around whether it was the duty of the state elections commission, or local election clerks, to remove voters from the rolls. Justice Brian Hagedorn, part of the court's conservative majority who has sometimes sided with liberals, questioned whether the state elections commission had the legal authority to remove anyone from the registration list.Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul maintained that the elections commission was under no duty to treat as reliable the information it received about voters who may have moved. Kaul said the commission's only responsibility under the multi-state Electronic Registration Information Center agreement was to notify flagged voters that they may need to update their address.Rick Esenberg, attorney for the conservative group that brought the lawsuit, argued that state law clearly gives the elections commission the responsibility to maintain the voter list. When presented with the information about those who had moved, the commission had a duty to remove those who did not respond to the mailing, Esenberg said.No voters have been deactivated while the yearlong legal fight continues. Even if a voter has their registration deactivated, they can register again later or on Election Day when they show up at the polls. Absentee voting is underway in Wisconsin with more than 308,000 ballots returned already.The lawsuit is just one of several voting-related challenges across the country, many of them in battleground states.On Tuesday, hours after the Supreme Court arguments, a federal appeals court upheld a ruling that expanded the time that absentee ballots can be counted in Wisconsin. And on Monday, a judge in Georgia dismissed a similar voter purge lawsuit filed by two voters in Fulton County, which includes Atlanta. The lawsuit sought to force election officials to hold hearings that could have resulted in 14,000 voters being removed from the county’s voter rolls before the November general election.In Pennsylvania, a federal lawsuit filed by the conservative group Judicial Watch alleges that up to 800,000 registered voters should be classified as “inactive” and removed. That case is on hold until after the election. Judicial Watch also sued in North Carolina, saying not enough has been done to periodically remove inactive or permanently moved voters in that state.And in Michigan, a Republican activist sued in federal court to remove ineligible voters from 16 counties with “abnormally high” registration levels. The state recently sought to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the plaintiff had no standing to sue and, even if he did, federal law prohibits the systemic removal of ineligible voters within 90 days of the election. That case is pending.Removals or proposed removals, especially this close to an election, can be confusing and intimidating for voters and frequently aren’t based on reliable information, said John Powers, an attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, which has been fighting those efforts.“You’re scaring people and kicking eligible voters off the rolls, all of which undermines confidence in elections at time when that’s the last thing we need,” he said.___Associated Press writers Kate Brumback in Atlanta; David Eggert in Lansing, Michigan; Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Bryan Anderson in Raleigh, North Carolina, contributed to this report.___Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sbauerAPScott Bauer, The Associated Press
Kuwait on Wednesday laid to rest late ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, a Gulf Arab elder statesman who helped steer his nation through some of the region's most turbulent decades, in funeral rites closed to the public due to COVID-19 concerns. The only leader of fellow Gulf Arab states in attendance was the emir of Qatar, which has been boycotted by Saudi Arabia and its allies, including the United Arab Emirates, in a dispute that Sheikh Sabah, 91, tried until his death to resolve. Sheikh Nawaf takes the reins of the small wealthy nation, which holds the world's seventh-largest oil reserves, at a time when low crude prices and the coronavirus have strained the finances of a country with a cradle-to-grave welfare system.
An Ottawa man says he missed out on a much-needed part-time job this summer because it took nearly two months to get a records check from the Ottawa Police Service.Efrem Berhe said he was offered a federal government job after graduating with a master's degree in April, but knew the security clearance would likely take months due to his extensive travel history. To make ends meet while he waited, he decided to do some part-time work.Berhe, who graduated from Western University with a degree in management and a specialty in international business, launched a startup providing career consulting to young people, but after a few months found it wasn't bringing in enough money."So I decided to do Uber on the side," Berhe said.> Beyond the financial, I think the [mental] stress was, I guess, harsher. \- Efrem BerheUber requires its Ottawa drivers to complete a one-time vulnerable sector check with local police — the same check required of anyone looking to work or volunteer in a position of authority, including prospective camp counsellors, doctors, school bus operators and taxi drivers.Berhe said he applied for his records online on Aug. 1. After weeks of waiting to get an in-person appointment to verify his ID, and after a call to his city councillor, Berhe finally got his check on Friday."It took me two months … to get my appointment. But it only took me less than five minutes to verify my ID — which I showed them through the glass windows," he said. "It was very frustrating." Berhe said he managed to get by financially with his startup and the Canada emergency response benefit, or CERB."Beyond the financial, I think the [mental] stress was, I guess, harsher," he said. "The stress of not being able to do something … especially having to wait to get services, I think was more frustrating."The Ottawa police website states that the service is currently scheduling appointments for online applications received in early May.When asked in early September about the delay, an Ottawa police spokesperson said in an email it was due to the station's "lobby capacity" and the need to comply with health regulations during the pandemic."We are scheduling appointments to minimize the number of people that would attend as 'walk-in.' This also prevents long wait times," wrote the spokesperson.In an email Monday, Ottawa police said "some in-person services have resumed in June, but records checks remain a service online and by appointment only."Berhe said Tuesday he's still waiting on his security clearance to begin his government job, which he hopes will happen "in the coming weeks."OPP wait times 4-6 weeksPeople living in regions outside Ottawa can get their records checked by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), who state on their website that wait times are four to six weeks.The service is also verifying IDs in person, after people apply for their checks online, OPP Const. Lori Lobinowich said Tuesday."It's changed but it hasn't changed," Lobinowich said, explaining that in the past, people had to go to their local detachment to start the process. Now, applicants are asked to go in person to verify their ID, only after the records check process is complete."We do have a delay as well. It's just in the processing," she said.
Fire Prevention Week is coming up — and the Charlottetown fire department is asking residents to be careful while cooking.The week runs Oct. 4th to 10th this year, and the theme is "Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen."The majority of home fires start in the kitchen, mostly with the ignition of food or other cooking materials such as oil or grease, according to the National Fire Protection Association.And in Prince Edward Island's capital city, that adds up to a lot of fire calls."In the last year, we have had approximately 85," said Cindy MacFadyen, a fire prevention officer with the city of Charlottetown.Those 85 fire calls did not all involve actual flames; some were in response to smoke alarms set off when meals went wrong."It's very important to have smoke alarms in your house for that very reason," MacFadyen said.Some tips to prevent fires starting in the kitchen: * Don't leave the room while cooking. * Use a timer. * Don't cook while sleepy. * Have a clear cooking area. * Watch out for loose-fitting clothing. * Keep a lid close to smother any small grease fires. * Have a fire extinguisher handy."One of the big things we come across is big sleeves hanging over the burner," MacFadyen said. She recommends cinching them with elastics or ties so that your clothing doesn't catch on fire.MacFayden said some types of cooking are riskier than others. "The open flame, the open grease pot — some people are getting back to that," she said, adding that it is better to use a deep fryer controlled by a thermostat than a pan full of fat to cook foods such as French fries.If a small grease fire begins, MacFayden said, place a pot over the top of the cooking vessel or use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames."Some people use baking soda, but the pot cover right there will control your flame," she said.MacFayden said a lot of restaurants have overhead fire prevention systems and are controlled a "little bit better." In homes, she said, people can be more "carefree."She said she has seen entire homes lost to a fire that started in the kitchen.No school visits or open houseOn another topic, Charlottetown students won't get the chance to check out fire trucks this year due to COVID-19.Restrictions put in place for the pandemic means Charlottetown firefighters won't be going into schools to talk to students or offering open houses. Instead, educational information packages will be provided to schools and community groups."As soon as this is over, we will be in the schools and the school can come here and get on the fire trucks and the whole bit," she said. "I'm just hoping this will soon be over because the education these children get through fire safety — [it] is just hard to believe what they pick up and how they take it home to the parents."She said she has heard of children who saw a fire prevention presentation at school and went home to make sure their parents knew the basics and tested their smoke alarms. "It's actually quite cute," she said.A virtual program on fire prevention is being provided to kindergartens in the city, but she said that given how busy teachers are, she doesn't know if they will have the time to present it.More from CBC P.E.I.
A federal judge on Tuesday halted major fee increases for citizenship and other immigration benefits three days before they were to take effect, saying the last two chiefs of the Homeland Security Department were likely appointed illegally. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White found Kevin McAleenan improperly leapfrogged to acting secretary when Kirstjen Nielsen resigned in April 2019. The judge said McAleenan, as Customs and Border Protection commissioner, was seventh in line to assume the acting role under rules of succession at the time.
The first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden deteriorated into bitter taunts and near chaos Tuesday night as Trump repeatedly interrupted his opponent with angry — and personal — jabs that sometimes overshadowed the sharply different visions each man has for a nation facing historic crises. In the most tumultuous presidential debate in recent memory, Trump refused to condemn white supremacists who have supported him, telling one such group known as Proud Boys to “stand back, stand by.” There were also heated clashes over the president's handling of the pandemic, the integrity of the election results, deeply personal attacks about Biden's family and how the Supreme Court will shape the future of the nation’s health care.
An international team of researchers found that in some people with severe COVID-19, the body goes rogue and attacks one of its own key immune defences instead of fighting the coronavirus. There are two main arms of the immune system.
The Yalcin brothers had only opened their west Toronto bistro for about six months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Now, with sales down between 70 and 85 per cent from before COVID-19, co-owners Ali and Tolga Yalcin said they've been trying to adjust financially, while also working tirelessly to install safety measures and keep the number of patrons low to allow for physical distancing. "We quit trying to plan months ahead — it's days and weeks now," said Ali Yalcin. "Since April, we've had to rethink this whole idea of what a restaurant is, and how we can operate safely." But as of Wednesday, protocols around restaurants and bars across Toronto are changing once again.City council voted unanimously to approve a number of additional measures aimed at curbing a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Under these new rules, restaurants and bars will now have to reduce the number of patrons from 100 to 75, reduce the number of people at a table from 10 to six, collect contact information from each patron at a table, and lower background music to the level of conversation.The proposal was introduced earlier this week by the city's Medical Officer of Health,Dr. Eileen de Villa, and quickly drew support from Mayor John Tory and Board of Health Chair Joe Cressy. "We know that if you reduce the total number of people [in a restaurant], you reduce the likelihood of potential slips in personal protective measures and therefore reduce the likelihood of the transmission of the virus," de Villa said during the council meeting Wednesday. Additionally, on Sept. 25, the Ontario government also introduced a new set of rules, including moving the last call at bars and restaurants, including nightclubs, to 11 p.m. Owners say they're constantly adjusting With the changing rules and regulations, the Yalcin brothers said they are constantly trying to adjust. "We've gone through so many transitions that I feel like we're just always trying to get ahead of the game," said co-owner Tolga Yalcin. Now they're bracing for another hit."All these new rules, they're welcome, but at the same time, we're thinking of the business side," said Ali Yalcin. Tory calls for year-round outdoor dining But there's a glimmer of hope for business owners like the Yalcins.Knowing the newly-approved measures will affect businesses — especially those already struggling — Tory called for enhanced support for restaurants, a motion that was also passed unanimously by council."I realize that these public health measures ... will have a negative impact on businesses that were struggling before, trying to keep the lights on and trying to keep people employed," Tory told reporters Wednesday. Despite the impact, Tory said it's crucial to put health and safety protocols first. "A healthy economy requires healthy people," Tory said. Under the umbrella of Toronto's CaféTO program, the mayor says city staff will work with businesses to introduce and support year-round outdoor dining. Other recommendations will require city council to: * Support the province in any actions it takes with the insurance industry to support small and medium-sized business by preventing astronomical increases in their insurance policies and premiums. * Advise the Ontario government to extend the regulation that allows those with liquor licences to continue selling beer, wine and spirits as part of a food order for takeout or delivery.Toronto COVID-19 bylaws extended The city's COVID-19 bylaws will also be extended until its first meeting in 2021.That includes the bylaws mandating physical distancing in public spaces, mandatory masks, public health measures for bars and restaurants and temporary COVID-19 amendments that cover apartment buildings. All of the these bylaws were set to expire on Thursday.The new rules come after Toronto Public Health identified COVID-19 clusters and outbreaks at several restaurants and bars in the downtown core. City officials also shuttered a handful of restaurants along King Street West for failing to protect the public and their staff.De Villa said it's now up to everyone to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. "This is not the time to panic. It is the time to act," she said at a city hall news briefing on Monday. Ontario could see 1,000 new cases per day Meanwhile, Ontario health authorities forecasted Wednesday that the province could see 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day by mid-October. Despite predictions that Ontario's trajectory will mimic that of Melbourne, Australia, which is currently under strict lockdown measures, health officials say they will continue to monitor the effectiveness of measures introduced across Ontario earlier this month. Asked if the province is taking a pause on introducing enhanced measures, Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, said public health officials are "continuing to assess the situation," since much of the province isn't seeing dramatically increasing numbers of cases. "If you do things too aggressively province-wide … there's a whole area outside of Toronto that is saying, 'Why is this impacting us?'"
Recent developments: * Ottawa's top doctor is urging residents to limit close contacts as the "alarming" rise in COVID-19 cases continues. * Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group is cutting 40 per cent of its staff at TD Place, saying it's "the harsh result of a brutal pandemic." * The NCC has cancelled its Gatineau Park fall shuttle buses for the year.What's the latest?September ends with 64 new COVID-19 cases in Ottawa, capping off a record-breaking month — and what the city's medical officer of health called "an alarming increase."Dr. Vera Etches urged residents Wednesday to stick strictly to a few close contacts, or risk letting the illness spiral out of control.Two more people have died from COVID-19, while 19 patients are currently being treated in hospital.The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group is cutting 40 per cent of its staff at TD Place, a move its CEO called "the harsh result of a brutal pandemic" as limits on gatherings continue to hammer the entertainment and sports industries.Health Canada has approved the ID NOW rapid COVID-19 testing device, which promises results in 15 minutes without the need to send samples to a lab.The federal government just announced Tuesday it would buy some 7.9 million of these tests.The National Capital Commission has now cancelled its annual fall shuttle bus program to Gatineau Park to see the fall colours, saying it wants to discourage crowding in the park.How many cases are there?As of the most recent OPH update on Tuesday, 4,322 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. That includes 685 known active cases, 3,350 resolved cases and 287 deaths.Overall, public health officials have reported more than 6,500 cases of COVID-19 across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with more than 5,100 of those cases considered resolved.COVID-19 has killed 104 people in the region outside Ottawa: 52 people have died in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 34 in the Outaouais and 18 in other parts of eastern Ontario. What's open and closed?Some public health rules are being rolled back because of the second wave of the pandemic.Ottawa and Kingston, Ont., public health officials are ordering anyone with symptoms or who has been identified as a close contact of someone who's tested positive to immediately self-isolate or face a fine of up to $5,000 per day in court.Kingston has also tightened its distancing rules in city parks and increased fines.Ottawa will resume ticketing drivers who park longer than allowed in unmarked areas and bring back public skating at five city arenas tomorrowIt's also closing the McNabb Arena respite centre for people without housing on Friday and expanding services at nearby support centresAs of Monday, visitors to long-term care homes in Ottawa will be restricted to staff, essential visitors and one or two caregivers only.Private, unmonitored gatherings across Ontario are now limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.Quebec has introduced tighter restrictions in the province's "orange zones," which now includes the Outaouais.WATCH | Experts call for earlier versions of social 'bubble':Distancing and isolatingThe novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something.People can be contagious without symptoms.This means precautions such as working from home, keeping your hands and frequently-touched surfaces clean socializing outdoors as much as possible and keeping distance from anyone you don't live with or have in your social circle, including when you have a mask on.Ottawa's medical officer of health is pleading with residents to reduce the number of people they're in close contact with as new cases of COVID-19 continue to surge, this week asking residents to see very few people they don't live with.Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in all of eastern Ontario and Quebec, including transit services and taxis in some areas.Masks are also recommended outdoors when you can't stay the proper distance from others.Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.Most people with a confirmed COVID-19 case in Quebec can end their self-isolation after 10 days if they have not had a fever for at least 48 hours and has had no other symptom for at least 24 hours.Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible. 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 cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. Children can develop a rash.Getting tested any sooner than five days after potential exposure may not be useful since the virus may not yet be detectable, says OPH.If you have severe symptoms, call 911.Where to get testedWait times and lines have been long at many of the area's test sites, causing some to reach capacity before closing time or even before opening.There have also been delays processing tests at laboratories.Ontario health officials have said they're trying to add more test capacity.WATCH | U of O student still waiting for contact-tracing call:In eastern Ontario:The Ontario government recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, or if you've been told to by your health unit or the province because of your work.Most of Ottawa's testing happens at one of four permanent sites, with additional mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.A test clinic is expected to open at the Ray Friel Recreation Complex in Orléans, likely by mid-October.People without symptoms, but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select Ottawa pharmacies.WATCH | Focus on targeted lockdowns if needed:In the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, there are drive-thru centres in Casselman and Limoges and a walk-up site in Hawkesbury that doesn't require people to call ahead.Its medical officer of health says the Casselman centre will be moved to reduce its impact on traffic.Others in Alexandria, Rockland, Cornwall and Winchester require an appointment.In Kingston, the city's test site is now at the Beechgrove Complex near King Street West and Portsmouth Avenue.Napanee's test centre is open daily for people who call ahead.People can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville, Picton or Trenton by calling the centre. Only Belleville and Trenton run seven days a week and also offer online booking.The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit has walk-in sites in Kemptville and Brockville. There are permanent testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment, along with pop-up sites by appointment in Carleton Place today and Perth Friday.Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor. Those without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 for a test or if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not.People can also visit the health unit's website to find out where testing clinics will be taking place each week.In western Quebec:Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.They can call 1-877-644-4545 if they have other questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms. People without symptoms can also get a test.First Nations, Inuit and Métis:Akwesasne has had 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases, most linked to a gathering on an island in July.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 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.Inuit in Ottawa can also call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.People in Pikwakanagan can book an appointment for a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse.For more information
Quebec Premier François Legault says the negligence of a few means the province has to crack down on public health rules in red zones in an effort to curb the rising spread of COVID-19. "Lives are at stake. We want to keep our children in schools," Legault said. "We also want to protect our health network."Aside from exceptions such as a visiting caregiver, the premier said people who host gatherings or parties are violating the law and the police will be able to issue fines on the spot.New regulations for homeowners, protestersIf a homeowner does not comply when the police ask to enter the home, Legault said, officers will be able to obtain a warrant by telephone. He said warrants will be issued quickly, using a virtual system in collaboration with the Crown.He referred to the warrants as "portable," as they allow police to act quickly. People who gather in homes can be fined $1,000 per person. He said protestors who refuse to wear masks will also be fined $1,000 and those portable warrants will be used if needed.Legault said all gatherings will be banned, even outside. Recently, the cap was set at 25 people, but the premier said that rule no longer applies in red zones."Police officers will start by trying to disperse the gatherings, but if people don't co-operate, fines can be given," he said.Travelling restrictions between regionsThe premier said people from red zones cannot travel to orange zones to eat in a restaurant and will face fines if they do.Legault said restaurants will not be required to verify residency, but police can issue a ticket if they catch people dining outside of their region. He said people should not travel between regions to pick up groceries or run similar errands. Heading off to orange or yellow zones is acceptable if people are visiting a hunting cabin or something of that nature, he said, but they must bring all their provisions with them.Legault made no mention of roadblocks, something that occurred this spring.Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault said there is a concern about people going to other zones to gather, and in that respect, fines of up to $6,000 are possible.She said the idea is not to issue as many fines as possible, but to ensure people are staying in their zones and decreasing the spread of COVID-19.For now, elected officials from places like Charlevoix and Portneuf do not believe that barriers are necessary to keep people from red zones like Montreal and Quebec City out.
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration's top intelligence official said Tuesday that he has declassified Russian intelligence alleging damaging information about Democrats during the 2016 election even though he acknowledged it might not be true.The announcement, just hours before the first presidential debate of this November's election, drew harsh criticism from lawmakers who accused National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe of politicizing intelligence.In a letter Tuesday to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Ratcliffe said that in late July 2016, U.S. intelligence agencies obtained “insight” into Russian spycraft alleging that Hillary Clinton, who was running for president, had “approved a campaign plan to stir up a scandal against” Trump.But Ratcliffe added that American intelligence agencies do “not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.”The announcement was a startling break from convention given that the nation's intelligence chiefs are generally loath to publicly discuss sensitive government intelligence, particularly when that information is unconfirmed — as Ratcliffe himself admits is the case here. But Trump himself has been eager to install loyalists in the role of intelligence director, and Ratcliffe and his predecessor, Richard Grenell, have authorized a series of disclosures in recent months aimed at undermining the Russia investigation and providing a political advantage to Trump.Graham signalled Tuesday that he intended to ask former FBI Director James Comey about the issue when Comey testifies before the committee, which has been doing its own inquiry into the origins of the Russia probe.Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, called Ratcliffe's decision “disturbing," especially this close to a presidential election.Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a member of the intelligence committee, accused Ratcliffe of abusing his position as the nation's top spy.“His politicization of intelligence, including through selective releases to political allies, damages the country and undermines the intelligence community he purports to lead," Wyden said in a statement. “Ratcliffe is even willing to rely on unverified Russian information to try to concoct a political scandal — a shocking abdication of his responsibilities to the country.”Wyden said the information being released amounted to “rumint” or intelligence based on rumours. Ratcliffe responded with a second statement claiming the intelligence was not Russian disinformation. He said he'd be briefing Congress in coming days about the “sensitive sources and methods by which it was obtained.”Ratcliffe said he was providing the intelligence to the Judiciary Committee related to the FBI's “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation in 2016 and 2017 into links between Trump associates and Russian officials. Comey is to testify to the committee on Wednesday.In his letter to the committee, Ratcliffe said that according to handwritten notes by former CIA Director John Brennan, Brennan briefed President Barack Obama and other senior national security officials on the intelligence, including the “alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on July 26, 2016 of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisors to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services.”Nick Shapiro, former CIA deputy chief of staff to Brennan, said Russian interference in the 2016 election was “real, intense and unprecedented in scale and scope.”Shapiro said the meddling was authorized personally by Russian President Vladimir Putin to hurt Clinton and to promote the electoral prospects of Trump. “The intelligence on this is incontrovertible and the analysis unimpeachable,” Shapiro said.He said the intelligence community's assessment of Russian interference on behalf of Trump has been corroborated numerous times. That includes in the CIA’s own review when Secretary Mike Pompeo was the CIA director as well as in the bipartisan Senate intelligence committee review and report by former special counsel Robert Mueller.“Trump’s own head of counterintelligence has publicly stated that the Russians are once again helping Donald Trump,” Shapiro added. "Ratcliffe should be ashamed of his blatant politicization of his position.”Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of the House intelligence committee, also denounced Ratcliffe’s action. “Ratcliffe’s decision to release Russian intelligence he concedes may be false is an obvious domestic political errand with an election weeks away,” Schiff tweeted. “But his acknowledgment that it was derived from sensitive sources and methods—which he may now have compromised—is just inexcusable.”___Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Deb Riechmann, The Associated Press
Donald Trump says he disagrees with the scientists who say a vaccine will not be widely available this year, and that it has become a political issue.