Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says some COVID-19 public health measures will be eased on indoor fitness centres, school sports, and restaurants and bars, due to declining hospitalization numbers. The changes are to start Feb. 8.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says some COVID-19 public health measures will be eased on indoor fitness centres, school sports, and restaurants and bars, due to declining hospitalization numbers. The changes are to start Feb. 8.
India's foreign minister arrived in Bangladesh on Thursday ahead of a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid efforts to resolve the fate of 81 Rohingya refugees who are on a boat adrift in international waters. Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar will hold talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart on water sharing, trade and border issues, said two Indian officials in New Delhi. "Of course, the Rohingya refugee issue will come up during the Indian minister's day-long visit but the prime agenda will remain around Modi's upcoming visit," said a senior foreign ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Why do some long-term care residents who contract COVID-19 become seriously ill and die, while others show just mild symptoms, or none at all? That's a question one of Nova Scotia's top infectious disease experts is looking to answer with a study that's currently underway. "We know very little about immune systems in older adults — not just in Canada, but in the world," said Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease researcher and clinician at Dalhousie University in Halifax. "They are a very under-studied population of people, and therefore this particular study allows us to really get in there and understand immune responses to a brand new pathogen, or virus, that these folks have never seen before." Four long-term care facilities in the province are taking part in the study, including Northwood's campuses in Halifax and Bedford. Barrett said 356 people have agreed to participate. "The participants and their families have been incredibly generous with their time, with consent, and, of course, with their blood, which is where we get the immune cells to study their immune systems," she said. "It is orders of magnitude bigger than most immune studies of this type, which makes it one of our most powerful tools we have right now to study older people — not just for COVID, but immunity and frailty in general." Northwood's long-term care facility in Halifax, where 53 residents died after contracting COVID-19, is taking part in the study.(Robert Short/CBC) Blood samples were taken from residents before they got vaccinated against COVID-19, and samples will continue to be taken after their first and second doses to study their immune response. Samples are also being taken from both residents who have contracted and recovered from COVID-19, and from people who have never had the disease. This will allow researchers to compare the immune response in those who were never infected, those who were highly exposed but never infected, those who had moderate symptoms of COVID-19, and those who had severe symptoms. Studying vaccine responses Of the 65 people who died of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, 53 of them were residents at Northwood's Halifax facility. After a provincial review into the Northwood outbreak last year, experts recommended a more robust response to the spread of infection, like fewer shared rooms, better ventilation and more staff. Josie Ryan, Northwood's executive director of long-term care, said those recommendations have been addressed. But the review didn't help them understand why some residents were getting sick and others weren't. "You could have a person that was 100 years old that would go through the virus with very little symptoms, but yet somebody that was 70 would be significantly affected," she said. "So it was a mystery sometimes because you didn't know." Ryan is the executive director of long-term care at Northwood. The province started vaccinating long-term care residents for COVID-19 in January.(CBC) Ryan said now, about 95 per cent of Northwood's residents are vaccinated against COVID-19 and researchers will continue to monitor their immunity. "That's the big piece for me, to know if the seniors are protected by the vaccine," said Ryan. Beyond COVID-19 The COVID-19 pandemic has been the source of unspeakable tragedy, but Barrett said it also presented an opportunity to research the immune response of a group of people who are typically left out of these kinds of studies. The $1.9-million study is being funded through the Government of Canada through its COVID-19 Immunity Task Force. Barrett said this research will have "huge implications" beyond COVID-19. "We struggle to get funding to study immunity in older people, and one of the biggest killers of older people is infection, whether that's pneumonia, influenza or other infections," said Barrett. "So while this is about COVID, it's also about making more knowledge about immunity in older people, which is a huge part of keeping people healthy and living longer." Barrett acknowledged the study is a "silver lining that I know cannot make up for the heartbreak of people lost." "But certainly, it does help people to feel like we're making the best of a very bad situation, I think." MORE TOP STORIES
Honda Motor Co Ltd on Thursday unveiled a partially self-driving Legend sedan in Japan, becoming the world's first carmaker to sell a vehicle equipped with new, certified level 3 automation technology. The launch gives Japan's No.2 automaker bragging rights for being the first to market, but lease sales of the level 3 flagship Legend would be limited to a batch of 100 in Japan, at a retail price of 11 million yen ($102,000). Still, the new automation technology is a big step towards eliminating human error-induced accidents, chief engineer Yoichi Sugimoto told reporters.
Veteran Philippine journalist Maria Ressa, who runs a website known for its tough scrutiny of President Rodrigo Duterte, took the witness stand for the first time on Thursday to counter tax evasion charges that she maintains were politically motivated. Ressa, a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2018 for fighting media intimidation, is facing several government lawsuits that have stoked international concern about harassment of journalists in the Philippines, a country once seen as a standard bearer for press freedom in Asia. Speaking to reporters after testifying for two and a half hours in Manila, Ressa asked the government to allow journalists to work freely and independently.
BRUSSELS — An inquiry into claims that the European Union’s border and coast guard agency was involved in illegally pushing back migrants has cleared Frontex of links to most of the incidents but has been unable to establish what happened in five cases, according to the official report into the allegations. The report is by a special working group set up to investigate media allegations that staff, ships or aircraft working with Frontex took part in or were near more than a dozen pushback incidents in the sea between Greece and Turkey last year. Its findings will be the focus of an extraordinary meeting of the agency’s management board on Friday. Frontex, which is responsible for patrolling the external borders of the 27-nation EU, has rejected the pushback allegations and said that its own internal inquiry could find no evidence to substantiate the claims. Greece, which is in charge of operations involving co-ordinating Frontex on its territory, has also denied reports of pushbacks by its border officers. Pushbacks are forcibly preventing people from entering a country when they might want to apply for asylum. They are contrary to refugee protection agreements, which say people shouldn’t be returned to a country where their life and safety might be in danger due to their race, religion, nationality or political views. They also contravene EU law and policy. The working group cleared Frontex of any wrongdoing in 8 cases, but said in five cases “it has not been possible to completely resolve the incidents beyond any reasonable doubt,” according to part of the restricted report, dated March 1 and seen by The Associated Press. Investigators could not determine whether the people involved in the five incidents were picked up by Turkish authorities or made it safely onto Greek soil. “There is no indication of anybody injured, reported missing or having died in connection with the respective incidents,” the report said. The probe, by experts from seven European countries and the European Commission, was set up weeks after reports of collective migrant expulsions were revealed in an October joint investigation by media outlets Bellingcat, Lighthouse Reports, Der Spiegel, ARD and TV Asahi. ___ Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration Lorne Cook, The Associated Press
A Dartmouth MLA has launched a petition in support of more accessible mental health and addictions services for her constituents. Three downtown clinics — Connections Dartmouth on Portland Street, Belmont House on Alderney Drive and a clinic on Wyse Road — are preparing to consolidate and move to a single building in Portland Hills as their respective leases expire this year. Nova Scotia Health has said the new location is fully accessible and on a bus route. However, Susan Leblanc, the MLA for Dartmouth North, has said the move could create hardships for some people getting from her area to the new location. Leblanc is seeking public support for a satellite clinic in her constituency, something health authority officials have said is being considered. Serving people where they live Leblanc said bringing the services closer to where people live makes it even more likely people will reach out for help. "An investment in a community means that the community is being seen and that somebody is making an effort to make their life easier, that they matter as much as everyone else," she said. Gathering signatures for a petition means Leblanc can bring the issue to the floor of the Nova Scotia legislature during the spring sitting. MLAs return to Province House next week. A spokesperson for the health authority said talks continue with potential partners for a satellite clinic, but there are no firm plans yet. While clinicians are doing community outreach with clients, the health authority would like to see a situation similar to what happens in north-end Halifax, where mental health services are available within family practice settings. MORE TOP STORIES
When Michael Cnudde, who has autism, learned that lawyers for the man accused of Toronto's deadly van attack in 2018 would be using the disorder as a defence for their client, his immediate reaction was: "How dare they?" Yet despite the rejection of that argument on Wednesday by Ontario Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy, who found Alek Minassian guilty on all 10 counts of first-degree murder, there is still concern that the trial itself further stigmatized the autistic community. "There's a lot of damage that's been done already," said Cnudde, who dismissed the defence's arguments as "junk science." Minassian, who was also found guilty of 16 counts of attempted murder, had pleaded not guilty to all charges. His lawyers argued that he was not criminally responsible for the deaths and violence he wrought because his autism spectrum disorder (ASD) left him incapable of determining that his actions were morally wrong. Autism activists expressed outrage at the unsubstantiated defence. During the trial both Autism Ontario and Autism Canada released statements denouncing the defence's attribution of their client's actions to his "autistic way of thinking." WATCH | Defence misunderstands autistic people, PhD student says: While Malloy dismissed the defence's argument, she did determine ASD qualifies as a "mental disorder" under Section 16 of the Criminal Code. That section allows a defendant to claim they were not criminally responsible for a crime committed "while suffering from a mental disorder that rendered the person incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of the act or omission or of knowing that it was wrong." But Malloy's ruling that ASD should be a consideration under Section 16 is in itself troubling, says Cnudde. "Even raising that possibility is concerning. It just further raises the issue of one day, this happening all over again," said Cnudde, who is communications and resource development specialist at Autism Ontario but was speaking on behalf of himself. Doris Barkley of Stratford, Ont., whose 23-year-old son Ryan has autism, says she believes a lot of people who heard ASD used as a defence will now have a faulty opinion of people with autism, that "they can be evil like this and want to kill others. "And I think that's where a lot of damage has been done," she said. WATCH | Remembering the victims: Pandora's box In a statement, Autism Ontario said while it was relieved by the verdict, it was also concerned about the damage already inflicted on the community. The organization said the case has forced it to push back against the stigma it thought it had made progress on removing over the past few decades. "We are concerned about the potential ramifications of this defence being used in future cases and the difficulties it will cause for autistic people and their families," Margaret Spoelstra, executive director of Autism Ontario, told CBC News in an interview. She fears that "the Pandora's box is open on this," and that there could be "long-term implications." "I think that is an additional barrier to inclusion," Spoelstra said. "Having this story attached to autism adds another barrier to people finding opportunities and acceptance in their community." WATCH | Family members, victim and Crown attorney react to judge's decision: Backlash from the case Dermot Cleary, board chair of Autism Canada, said he believes the trial and the autism defence has certainly made life more difficult for those with the disorder. "Once the charges are laid and once the defence is articulated through the media, there's a perception on the part of some viewers that it's true, that there's some basis in truth, otherwise it wouldn't have been uttered," he said. He said his organization has received an inordinate number of anecdotes and experiences of those with ASD who say they have been dealing with a backlash from the case. In her ruling, Malloy said there was no other Canadian case dealing directly with whether ASD is a "mental disorder." But Cleary said her decision to characterize it as such motivates his organization to see what can be done to take a closer look at her description and whether "it can be made to more accurately reflect those on the spectrum." "The last thing we want to see is this exploited again, as it was done here. Because, you know, in balancing the benefit to the defence of one individual at the cost of the stigma to half a million Canadians, to me, that just does not seem like a good way to proceed." Criminal defence lawyer Karen McArthur, who was not involved in the case, said she doesn't believe, however, courts will now be besieged with ASD defences. But she said the autism community should be prepared for heightened scrutiny of the disorder itself, and the extent to which those with autism may have a diminished understanding of their acts. That this defence was raised "will send ripples across changing seas, as to whether or not autism diminishes one's understanding of their acts or their ability to control same," she said. "This may cause hardship for the autism community in the immediate future." Voula Marinos, an associate professor in the department of Child and Youth Studies at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., says she doesn't believe this case "will open the floodgates," but that ASD could be used in sentencing of lesser crimes. "This is what you're most likely to see that someone being found guilty of an offence and at sentencing they introduce ASD as a mitigating factor," she said.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — A Dutch court ruled Thursday that a deeply religious father who kept some of his children isolated from the outside world for years in a remote farmhouse can't stand trial on charges including child sexual abuse because he has been incapacitated by a stroke. The decision came after prosecutors last month asked the court in the northern city of Assen to drop the case because the 68-year-old suspect wasn't fit to stand trial. It brings to an end a case that made headlines around the world after one of the man's sons raised the alarm and authorities discovered the father had been living for years with six of his children in the farmhouse in the eastern Netherlands. At a preliminary hearing in January last year, prosecutors portrayed the father, identified only as Gerrit Jan van D., as a deeply religious man who saw his family as “chosen by God” and did everything in his power — including physical beatings and other punishments — to keep them from succumbing to what he considered malign outside influences. The court ruled Thursday that a 2016 stroke had so badly affected the father's ability to communicate that continuing with the case would breach his fair trial rights. “He doesn't sufficiently understand what is happening in the courtroom,” court spokesman Marcel Wolters said in a video statement. The six children who were kept on the farm are now all young adults. Three older siblings had earlier left the family’s isolated life. Their mother died in 2004. The Associated Press
A smattering of followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory gathered near the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, the day the movement had predicted former President Donald Trump's return to office, but they were far outnumbered by security forces deployed to deter any possible attack. National Guard troops patrolled inside the fence encircling the Capitol, the scene of a deadly insurrection by Trump supporters that killed five people. John and Karyn Carson, who took time off work and came from California to see Trump be inaugurated for a second term, were undaunted.
Toronto frontline worker Tim MacFarlane talks about being among the hidden-homeless population and how the pandemic is exacerbating the situation for many.
Accommodations in Cape Breton are feeling the effects of tighter pandemic restrictions in other parts of the province. Nova Scotians are being asked to avoid non-essential travel to and from the Halifax Regional Municipality and parts of Hants and Lunenburg counties after a growing number of COVID-19 cases. For some year-round accommodations along Cape Breton's Cabot Trail, the changes introduced last week have resulted in a rash of cancellations. "We were just getting really excited actually, the snow finally hit ... and then boom, these new restrictions," said Bricin Lyons, co-owner of the Highlands Hostel in Cape North. Thousands of dollars refunded Lyons said he's lost most of his bookings for this month. His partner spent two days going through reservations and refunding thousands of dollars. The hostel — a converted, 100-year-old church — has been operating at 50 per cent capacity, which means it fills up quickly. Lyons is hoping that means some would-be visitors from non-restricted areas of Nova Scotia will snap up the open spaces. "These bookings were huge for us," he said. "We're trying to get through a winter here, so it's tough." The view from Knotty Pine Cottages during fall in Ingonish Beach, N.S.(Brittany Wentzell/CBC) The owner of Knotty Pine Cottages near Ski Cape Smokey is also losing bookings. David Li and his wife have owned the brightly coloured cottages for four years. Li said he's lost about a third of his March business, starting with the cancellation of a mountain biking event at Ski Cape Smokey last weekend due to the new restrictions. Since then, he's also lost bookings for March break. Li predicted those cancellations will only rise once he takes a look at the remaining reservations. "We have to look at each individual booking, so if a customer is from Halifax, we have to call them, we have to cancel them," said Li. Unexpected silver lining Kody Fraser will also be taking a look at his bookings to see where customers are coming from. Fraser is the co-owner of Valley View Chalets in Margaree Valley. The chalets opened just a couple weeks before the first lockdown in 2020. "Most [customers] are good to message me, but I do have to touch base with some just as a reminder," he said. Kody Fraser says his business is seeing snowmobilers who normally travel to New Brunswick, but are instead choosing to come to Cape Breton because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.(Submitted by Kody Fraser) But there might not be many bookings to cancel as Fraser has been welcoming visitors he didn't expect to see when the chalets opened last year — snowmobilers from the southwestern part of the province. That's been a silver lining in an unpredictable year for tourism. "That's actually been a bit of a boom for us, which was kind of surprising," said Fraser. 'Nobody is going to be able to keep up' Fraser said most of the snowmobilers are from the Annapolis Valley and the South Shore and normally go to New Brunswick to snowmobile. Now they've flocked to Cape Breton and he said many want to come back. "It just didn't occur to them, I guess, and now they're saying, 'Well, geez, this is great.'" Lyons is also looking for the silver linings. He believes when people get vaccinated against COVID-19 and more of the province opens up, places like Cape Breton will get a banner year for tourism. "Nobody is going to be able to keep up," he said. "Everyone is going to want to get out." MORE TOP STORIES:
The U.S. government has been slow to approve licenses for American companies like Lam Research Corp and Applied Materials Inc to sell chipmaking equipment to China semiconductor giant SMIC, sources said, as the impact of a global chip shortage spreads. Many licenses for U.S. suppliers to ship an estimated $5 billion dollars' worth of equipment and materials have not come through, according to more than half a dozen industry sources, though numerous companies submitted applications soon after the Chinese company was blacklisted in December.
NYON, Switzerland — Liverpool and Leipzig are going to Budapest for a second time in the Champions League round of 16 next week. UEFA confirmed on Thursday that Liverpool’s home second-leg game will also be at Puskas Arena in the Hungarian capital next Wednesday. The Puskas Arena — which is a European Championship venue at the end of this season — has become UEFA’s main neutral venue during the COVID-19 pandemic. Leipzig’s home game in the first leg was also played in the empty stadium in Budapest on Feb. 16 because of travel restrictions between England and Germany. Liverpool won 2-0. It also hosted Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Manchester City in the Champions League, and Wolfsberger vs. Tottenham in the Europa League last month. It will stage Molde vs. Granada in the Europa League on March 18. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Minnesota-based Polar Semiconductor makes chips for automakers and is booked beyond capacity. "Most of the capital expenditure has been going into advanced nodes," said Tyson Tuttle, chief executive of Silicon Laboratories Inc, which designs automotive chips to be made on older technology.
Federal Liberal government staffers were worried that a donation of medical-grade masks for Korean War veterans in Canada would send the wrong message as the country grappled with shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) at the outset of the pandemic. The Republic of Korea, commonly known as South Korea, shipped more than one million face masks to veterans around the world last May as a "token of appreciation" for those who fought in the 1950-53 conflict on the Korean peninsula. Some 35,000 KF94 masks, the Korean equivalent of the gold standard N95 respirator, were shipped to Canada to be distributed to the 5,900 surviving veterans of the war. The South Korean government said it wanted to help these elderly Canadian Armed Forces veterans — their average age is 88 years old — at a time when masks were scarce in Canada and the novel coronavirus was claiming the lives of hundreds of seniors in Canada's long-term care homes. "We know how difficult it is to obtain this personal protective gear in Canada at this moment," Ambassador Yun Je Lee, the consul general of the Republic of Korea in Montreal, told CBC News at the time. "This can never match the warm hands you extended to us, but we hope this will help you overcome the current crisis." Behind the scenes, however, federal political staffers worried that helping to facilitate the donation might lead to awkward comparisons with the plight of Canadian health care personnel struggling to acquire PPE to protect themselves at work. The federal government's PPE procurement efforts at the time were beset by problems with shaky supply chains in China and a protectionist push in the U.S. to reduce shipments to other countries. Jake McDonald holds up a package of masks sent to him by the Republic of Korea. McDonald served in the Korean War at the age of 17.(Dave Laughlin/CBC) According to documents tabled at the House of Commons health committee last week, the government staffers urged Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) to downplay the South Korean announcement and relegate news of the donation to a social media post to avoid media inquiries. One staffer floated the idea of redeploying the masks to meet other needs. While procurement agents previously had ignored warnings about shortages in the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS) and rebuffed an offer from U.S. industrial giant Honeywell to supply Canada with N95 masks, by May it was abundantly clear that the country did not have enough PPE on hand for doctors and nurses working on the front lines. Supplies were stretched so thin that some health care workers were sanitizing their masks in microwaves. "I worry about the optics around the government of Canada facilitating the distribution of N95s in settings where they are not recommended for use when doctors are pulling all the stops to stretch the existing supply that they have," wrote Sabrina Kim, then the issues advisor to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in a May 20 email. "I submit for your consideration that some low key social media expressing Canada's thanks (rather than a news release) would invite fewer questions about N95 mask distribution, testing & healthcare priorities. Just my 0.02$!" she added. Kathleen Davis, a senior foreign policy adviser in the Prime Minister's Office, agreed with Kim that a plan to issue a news release thanking the South Korean government should be scrapped to avoid generating what she called "unnecessary controversy." "Agree with this, for what it's worth," she wrote. Andrew MacKendrick, a communications planning staffer in the Prime Minister's Office, asked if Health Canada or the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) raised any red flags about this donation to a relatively small subset of the Canadian population at a time when there were supply demands elsewhere. "Are there any issues with Health/PHAC that these donations are going to specific places vs. to PHAC and then area of greatest need?" Andrew MacKendrick, a communications staffer in the Prime Minister's Office, asked John Embury, the director of communications to Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay. Travis Gordon, a senior policy adviser in Health Minister Patty Hajdu's office, said the federal government couldn't easily intercept the donation to make up for shortfalls elsewhere. "Given that it's a donation, I suppose we can't redirect them to where they are sorely needed (hospitals)," Gordon wrote. "We will just try to avoid this spinning into a story about how some vets in some LTC homes will get N95s while doctors in hospital are limited to one per day," he added. "Please let us know if any interesting media Qs come your way on mask grade/distribution." In total, 35,000 face masks were sent out in bags like this one to Korean War veterans across Canada.(Eddy Kennedy/CBC) John Brassard, the Conservative critic for veterans affairs, said it's "egregious" that the government was even considering "confiscating" masks destined for elderly war veterans. "It tells me just how miserably unprepared the Canadian government was in terms of PPE and providing PPE to front line health care workers, including doctors," Brassard told CBC News. "It was a gift. A gift from the South Korean government to elderly Canadian war veterans who served in the Korean conflict. The fact they were even thinking about confiscating this gift, it's disturbing." After pushback from his colleagues, Embury ultimately dropped plans to release a statement to the media celebrating the donation and the diplomatic gesture. "No problem, we will pull the plug," he wrote on May 20. He also said he would ask the South Korean embassy to hold off on publicizing the donation until after the prime minister's scheduled press conference on May 21 so that Trudeau could avoid questions from the media. "Asked them to delay releasing their NR until after the PM's news conference, but no guarantee on that," he said. "Great thanks," Kim said in response. On May 21, the prime minister announced support for off-reserve Indigenous communities in the morning. A ceremony commemorating the face mask donation was later held at the South Korean embassy in Ottawa. MacAulay did not attend that ceremony but the department's deputy minister, Walt Natynczyk, was on hand. "They were clearly embarrassed by the PPE situation. They were trying to tamp down this news release, and hold off. They didn't want the prime minister to be asked about it because they didn't want him to be embarrassed," Brassard said. Reached by phone, Embury said VAC had planned to send out a news release but the South Korean embassy "jumped out ahead of us" and released one of its own, "and we just rolled with the punches." He said a press release was "only one possible channel" to acknowledge the donation, and MacAulay later had a private Zoom call with the South Korean ambassador to thank him for the donation. "We didn't have any reluctance to publicize the gift of masks," Embury said. The donation ultimately received scant coverage in the mainstream press until CBC News in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador profiled some grateful Korean War veterans at the end of June, nearly a month after the masks had first arrived in Canada. "I feel very proud that they remembered some of the guys that were over there. A lot of the guys never came back," one recipient, Jake McDonald, said of the South Korean donation.
Apple supplier Foxconn said it expects first-quarter revenue to rise more than 15% from a year earlier, boosted by strong iPhone sales and robust demand for electronics during lockdowns worldwide to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. The world's largest contract electronics manufacturer has previously forecast strong demand for the new iPhone 12, saying its business will be supported by "stronger than expected" sales for smartphones and for telecommuting devices amid a coronavirus-induced work-from-home trend. Taiwan-based Foxconn, in a short statement on Thursday, said it expects consumer electronics revenue, which includes smartphones and smart watches, to rise more than 15% in the January-March quarter from a year earlier.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Thursday, March 4, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 77,572 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,091,700 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 5,519.103 per 100,000. There were 129,330 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,611,680 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 80.09 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 4,472 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 24,757 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 47.279 per 1,000. There were 1,800 new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 35,620 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 69.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 966 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,596 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 79.405 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 14,715 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.6 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 6,054 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 35,291 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 36.163 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 61,980 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 56.94 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 7,424 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,741 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 43.255 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 46,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 17,382 new vaccinations administered for a total of 472,710 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.245 per 1,000. There were 100,620 new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 638,445 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 74.04 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 27,398 new vaccinations administered for a total of 754,419 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 51.359 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 903,285 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 83.52 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,966 new vaccinations administered for a total of 80,171 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 58.221 per 1,000. There were 8,190 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 116,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 8.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 68.73 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 1,361 new vaccinations administered for a total of 81,597 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 69.20 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 74,605 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 109.4 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 10,229 new vaccinations administered for a total of 255,283 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 57.992 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 274,965 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 92.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 6,627 new vaccinations administered for a total of 289,809 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 56.476 per 1,000. There were 18,720 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 382,740 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.72 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 990 new vaccinations administered for a total of 18,158 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 435.12 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 96.07 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 19,775 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 438.285 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 103.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 5,327 new vaccinations administered for a total of 13,393 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 345.84 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 23,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 62 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 56.04 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
BRUSSELS — The European Union's top court dealt a blow to Barcelona, Real Madrid and two other Spanish soccer clubs on Thursday by upholding a decision from the bloc's executive arm ordering they should pay back illegal state aid. In its final ruling, the European Court of Justice cancelled a previous legal decision two years ago by a lower EU court that found the clubs’ tax regime was lawful, and said the action brought by Barcelona is “definitively rejected." In 2019, the Luxembourg-based General Court annulled a decision by the European Commission dating back to 2016 ordering the clubs to repay several million euros in tax compensations. The EU's executive arm had found at the time that public support measures granted by Spain to several professional soccer clubs gave them an unfair advantage over other teams, in breach of EU state aid rules. When the General Court annulled the decision, it said the commission had not proved the tax regime constituted an unlawful economic advantage. But the ECJ ruled that the lower court committed an error in law and observed that the measures which also benefited Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao indeed constituted an aid scheme covering an unspecified amount of money and time, and was not linked to a specific project. The Commission said the four clubs were treated as non-profit organizations and paid a 5% lower tax rate on profit than rivals during more than 20 years, without an objective justification. It said the money to be recovered would be limited to 5 million euros ($6 million) per club but that the precise amount should be fixed by Spanish authorities. Barcelona has been going through a turbulent week after former president Josep Bartomeu appeared before a judge following a night in jail while being investigated for possible irregularities during his administration. Bartomeu and other officials were arrested on Monday after Catalan police raided Barcelona’s headquarters in a search and seizure operation. The arrests came less than a week before the club holds presidential elections. Barcelona is coming off its first season without a trophy since 2007-08 and has a debt of more than 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), largely because of the coronavirus crisis. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Samuel Petrequin, The Associated Press
During the past six months of making grocery and alcohol deliveries around downtown Toronto, Taryn Ellis has racked up an estimated $500 in parking tickets while performing what she considers to be an essential service. "We try to park right in front of the building, run in, deliver, come back out," said Ellis. "Sometimes I'll be gone two minutes and I'll have a parking ticket on my car." Ellis, who started working as a full-time courier in 2019, says her job has become more difficult during the pandemic due to a substantial increase in orders and what she calls the "extreme" enforcement of bylaws by parking officers. Those challenges are greatest in dense downtown areas like Liberty Village, she explained, where there are few legal parking spaces near the high-rise buildings where she frequently makes deliveries. Her typical solution has been to park in "no parking" or loading zones, usually leaving a hand-made "out for delivery" sign on the dashboard of her yellow SUV. Finding a legal parking spot is sometimes not a feasible option, she said, especially when that would mean hauling large orders of groceries or heavy boxes of bottles across multiple blocks. "I know what I'm doing is wrong," Ellis said. "But it'll just make my job so much easier if the city puts something in [place] about this." Existing parking zones 'helpful,' but too few, driver says Toronto bylaws allow delivery and courier vehicles to stop in some areas where normal parking is prohibited. However, drivers are not allowed to leave their vehicles unattended if they go into a building. WATCH | CBC Toronto reporter Nick Boisvert speaks with delivery drivers frustrated with limited parking The city operates a limited number of delivery vehicle parking zones where they can park for up to 30 minutes. The city also runs a Courier Delivery Zone pilot project, which allows couriers to park for a certain amount of time, usually 15 or 30 minutes. "There aren't very many," said Shaniece Sylva, another courier who delivers groceries using her own private vehicle, of the downtown parking zones. "Those are very helpful." Some major logistics companies, including Purolator, are testing new delivery models, including electric cargo bikes.(CBC / Radio-Canada) Like Ellis, Sylva said couriers do not have access to legal and convenient parking in many parts of the city. "Usually, if I am parked illegally it's only because there is no other parking around or I would have to walk quite far to do the delivery," Sylva said. City exploring changes Ellis is asking the City of Toronto to consider bylaw changes that would give couriers and delivery people the right to temporarily park in otherwise illegal zones or for the city to establish additional delivery zones in high-traffic areas. She has started a petition asking the city to make those changes. The City of Ottawa offers a similar program through its "business identity card permit," which allows the drivers of delivery vehicles to park in certain restricted zones for up to 15 minutes for $130 annually. Toronto considered a similar program in 2011 with a proposed $600 annual fee, but the plan was never adopted. Staff with the city are now considering possible changes to delivery and parking regulations as part of Toronto's Freight and Goods Movement Strategy, which seeks to improve safety and efficiency given the increasing number of delivery vehicles on city streets. "The city has recognized this for years," said Mike Layton, who represents Ward 11, University-Rosedale, one of two city councillors on the Toronto Parking Authority committee. Layton said the city will have to work with delivery companies to develop new models that consider a range of factors, including commerce, traffic, road safety and the environmental impact of delivery vehicles. He listed a wider adoption of cargo bikes and the creation of distribution centres from which smaller vehicles could be deployed as possible options. In some neighbourhoods, he said dedicated delivery parking zones could also make sense. "This past 12 months has just given us a cause to put more of our energies into trying to resolve it sooner rather than later," Layton added.
RED DEER, Alta. — Some employees of a pork processing plant in central Alberta that shut down after a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility are afraid to go back to work, the union president says. Olymel's facility in Red Deer was shut down Feb. 15 because of the COVID-19 outbreak that claimed three lives and infected 515 workers. The company announced late Wednesday it had been given approval to gradually reopen by Alberta Health. Slaughter operations are scheduled to resume today and cutting room operations on Friday. The plant processes about 10,000 hogs per day. UFCW 401 president Thomas Hesse said he received no word from the company that the plant was reopening. "Obviously the bottom line for Olymel is they're just putting pigs ahead of people," Hesse in an interview Wednesday. "What you've got is a frightened workforce. There's this enormous amount of fear and anxiety, and now a layer of grief on top of that, and they expect employees to jump to attention and parade back to work." The union represents about 1,800 workers at the plant. Hesse said the union interviewed between 600 and 700 workers who indicated they were afraid to return to work. He said that wasn't done by Olymel, Alberta Health Services or Occupational Health and Safety. Hesse said he expects some workers will take advantage of their right to refuse unsafe work. "I have no confidence in the safety of the workplace," he said. Olymel said the reopening will come with a number of strict measures. Alberta Health experts will be on site when operations resume and will offer rapid testing. The company said 1,370 employees at the plant have been tested since Jan. 1. The company says it has added more space to the facility to enhance physical distancing. Additional staff have been assigned to monitor and enforce the updated measures, Olymel said. Employee groups have been recalled to take part in training sessions covering all implemented health measures, adjustments and the action plan developed for reopening. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. — By Bill Graveland in Calgary The Canadian Press