White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and his team are headed to Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week for talks in a region simmering with tension after the killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist. A senior administration official said on Sunday that Kushner is to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Saudi city of Neom, and the emir of Qatar in that country in the coming days.
The head of a U.S. biotechnology company that is developing one of the most promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates says Canada is not far behind other countries when it comes to receiving doses of its vaccine, despite criticism of the government's procurement plan from the Conservative opposition. "Canada is not at the back of the line," Noubar Afeyan, co-founder and chairman of Moderna, told CBC's Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton on Sunday. Afeyan said because Canada was among the first countries to make a pre-order with Moderna, the country is guaranteed to receive a certain portion of the company's initial batch of doses as long as the vaccine proves safe and effective and is given regulatory approval. "The people who were willing to move early on with even less proof of the efficacy have assured the amount of supply they were willing to sign up to," Afeyan said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live. "Nothing that happened subsequently can affect that." Moderna's mRNA vaccine is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials and preliminary data released two weeks ago show it appears to be 94.5 per cent effective. Millions of doses procured The federal government secured an agreement on Aug. 5 with Moderna for 20 million doses of its vaccine, with the option to procure an additional 36 million doses. The U.S. announced a deal for up to 500 million doses just days later while the U.K. and European Union inked deals with Moderna only in the past two weeks. In total, Canada has procured some 358 million doses from seven companies — the most per capita of any country in the world, according to research from Duke University's Global Health Institute. WATCH | Federal government pressured on when Canadians will get COVID-19 vaccine Despite that promising news, the Liberal government came under intense pressure this week to lay out a timeline for when Canadians will begin receiving an inoculation as countries like the U.S., U.K. and Germany have all announced plans to begin vaccinating their populations in December. Opposition politicians and some premiers argued Canada was falling behind other countries in its planning after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians would have to wait to get vaccinated because the first doses of any vaccine will go to people in the countries where the vaccines are being manufactured. Federal officials said on Thursday that if all goes well as many as three million Canadians — mainly those in "high-priority groups" — could be vaccinated in early 2021. One day later, Trudeau said that Canada is on track to vaccinate nearly every person who wants a shot by September 2021. But officials have provided few details about the government's plan to roll out a vaccine once Health Canada gives one the green light. Conservative critiques At a press conference on Sunday, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole repeated his view that Canada is behind other countries in procuring a vaccine. "While the Americans and the British are talking about mass vaccination throughout December and January, our government is now talking about getting Canadians vaccinated by September," O'Toole said. "We need to show Canadians that there is a plan for the vaccine." O'Toole said the Trudeau government only turned its attention to pre-ordering tens of millions of vaccine doses from companies such as Pfizer and Moderna in August after its collaboration between the National Research Council and Chinese vaccine maker CanSino collapsed following months of delays. "I would not have put all our eggs in the basket of China," O'Toole said. Regulatory approval pending Companies have compressed the time it normally takes to develop a vaccine by initiating the manufacturing of doses even before studies into their efficacy are completed as part of a global effort to develop COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible to bring the pandemic to an end. Moderna is in the process of applying for emergency-use authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Once the company obtains that authorization, Afeyan said it will begin shipping doses to countries that have made pre-orders, including Canada. Afeyan said he expects to start shipping the vaccine to Canada in the first quarter of 2021 and the quantity of shipments should increase through the second quarter and throughout the rest of the year. The company expects to be able to produce a total of 20 million doses by the end of 2020 and between 500 million and 1 billion doses throughout 2021. Moderna submitted early safety and pre-clinical data from Phase 1 and 2 trials with Health Canada last month as part of the regulator's rolling regulatory review process. Health Canada must approve any COVID-19 vaccine before it can be distributed to Canadians. Experts say Moderna's vaccine — which requires two shots taken 28 days apart — will be relatively easy to store and distribute because the vaccine can remain stable at normal fridge temperatures of 2 C to 8 C for 30 days. By contrast, another leading candidate manufactured by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer must be shipped and stored at -70 C. WATCH | Health Minister on how the federal government should address vaccine hesitancy: Health Minister Patty Hajdu said it's difficult to nail down a delivery date at the moment for any of the leading vaccine candidates because of the long list of uncertainties stemming from unfinished clinical trials, ongoing regulatory reviews, and manufacturing and logistical challenges related to distribution. "We're all anxious to get out of this mess as a world, but certainly as a country as well," Hajdu said. "As Canada's health minister, I'm staying focused on Canadians and on our own process, making sure our delivery plans are well laid out and that we have what we need in terms of being able to deliver on the variety of different kinds of vaccines." Hajdu added that her top priority is ensuring that Health Canada has what it needs to make sure the regulatory process proceeds smoothly so that any vaccines that are approved are safe and effective.
The Maimonides Geriatric Centre transferred most of its patients with COVID-19 to local hospitals on Sunday in an effort to contain an outbreak that has already killed 10 people.Public health authorities decided on Saturday to move 20 coronavirus patients offsite after growing concern that a cramped and poorly ventilated ward was contributing to the outbreak.Two patients, whose conditions are more severe, are going to the Jewish General Hospital and 18 less severe cases will go to Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal. Ten other patients who are recovering from infections will remain at Maimonides. Patient attendants and nurses from the facility will accompany the infected residents to hospital.The number of COVID-19 infections at Maimonides has jumped dramatically since the beginning of the month.Roughly a dozen staff members have also tested positive, despite taking the required safety precautions, health officials said.That raised suspicions about air circulation in the ward where COVID-19 patients are treated, which has become crowded as the outbreak worsened."We think that if we put too many acute cases together in the same area on one floor, it is possible that the ventilation is not strong enough to ventilate properly," said Francine Dupuis, the associate CEO of the health authority that oversees Maimonides.Dupuis added it was possible the outbreak at Maimonides will lead to new public health guidelines for long-term care homes, namely that they should avoid grouping many COVID-19 patients together in small spaces."These are nursing homes — they were not built for acute care," she said.Families remain concernedThe milder cases, who were sent to Hôtel-Dieu, are expected to return to Maimonides within eight to 10 days."When they are considered rehabilitated they can go back to their residence," Dupuis said.But an advocacy group for families of residents at Maimonides says health authorities still need to do more to contain the outbreak at the facility.They are calling for all staff members to be tested for the virus. The group is also concerned about low staffing levels and a shortage of N95 surgical masks."We're not out of the woods because there are issues that are not being addressed yet," said Joyce Shanks, a spokesperson for the advocacy group and whose father is a resident at the facility. Since the beginning of the second wave, 10 people have died of COVID-19 at Maimonides, according to the latest figures provided by the Quebec government.Last week, a staff member at Maimonides told CBC Montreal that nurses were being instructed to work in both hot zones and non-COVID wards ("cold zones"). The provincial government has tried to limit the number of health care staff who work in both hot zones and cold zones as the practise was blamed for hundreds of deadly outbreaks in long-term care homes this spring.Regional health officials denied the nurse's allegation.
York Region Public Health says 11 confirmed COVID-19 cases are linked to the playing of soccer indoors at a Vaughan sports centre in mid-November.In a public notice issued on Sunday, the public health unit said the cluster of cases emerged after a group of people played soccer at the TRIO Sportplex and Event Centre, 601 Cityview Blvd., on Nov. 11 and Nov. 15. An investigation has found that 20 to 25 people in all were there."While the group wore masks during play, masks were not worn in the change rooms," the public notice said.The public health unit was told about the first confirmed case on Friday, and since then, a total of 11 cases have been confirmed. These include: 8 cases from Toronto; one case from York Region: one case from Simcoe-Muskoka Region; and one case from Peel Region.All of the people who played soccer over the two days are considered high-risk and all have been advised to go into isolation for 14 days. People who develop symptoms are urged to get tested and to continue to isolate until they obtain their test results.York Region Public Health says it is tracing the contacts of the 11 people who have tested positive.On Monday, Nov. 16, York Region moved to the province's red-control zone, which means team sports cannot be practised or played except for training.
NEW YORK — An intoxicated driver slammed into Washington Square Park's landmark marble arch on Sunday, injuring a police officer who was parked there to protect it, police said. A Nissan Altima driven by 25-year-old Jeremy Molina, of Queens, crashed into the arch at the northern entrance to the Greenwich Village park shortly before 1:30 a.m., a police spokesperson said. The Nissan then hit a police car that was parked near the arch, police said. The officer in the car was taken to a hospital with neck and back pain. The arch was not damaged. Molina was arrested on charges including reckless endangerment, driving while intoxicated and refusing to take a breath test. It's not clear whether he has an attorney who could comment on the charges. The arch, designed by architect Stanford White and installed in 1892, commemorates the centennial of George Washington’s 1789 inauguration as president. It has been guarded by police officers since June, when its two statues of Washington were vandalized with red paint during weeks of protests against racial injustice. It is a familiar sight to audiences of movies including “When Harry Met Sally" and is a popular tourist attraction. The Associated Press
ATLANTA — Bishop Reginald Jackson stepped to the microphone at a drive-in rally outside a church in southwest Atlanta as his voice carried over a loudspeaker and the radio to people gathered in, around and on top of cars that filled the parking lot.“Let’s keep Georgia blue," Jackson said. “Let’s elect Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock to the United States Senate.” The presiding bishop of more than 400 African Methodist Episcopal churches in Georgia added a pastoral flourish as horns honked and supporters cheered: “If I have a witness, somebody say amen!"As Georgia becomes the nation’s political hotspot this winter before twin runoff elections Jan. 5 that will determine control of the Senate, faith-based organizing is heating up.Conservative Christians are rallying behind Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, while Black churches and liberal-leaning Jewish groups are backing Democratic challengers Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. The Democrats' fates are seen as intertwined in a state that this year turned blue in the presidential election for the first time since 1992 by a razor-thin margin.“These runoffs are critically important,” Jackson said. “We want to make sure there is no decrease in turnout.”Across Georgia, the African Methodist Episcopal Church is implementing a program designed to ensure its members, and Black voters overall, cast ballots in the runoff — focusing on votes by mail and early in-person voting. Pastors at each church remind tens of thousands of congregants every week to apply for an absentee ballot and of early voting dates, Jackson said in an interview. Each local church also follows up with congregants to make sure they have a plan to vote.The New Georgia Project, a nonpartisan voter mobilization group founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams, who ran for governor in 2018, is also preparing to tap the influence of faith communities in stoking turnout.Rev. Billy Honor, director of faith organizing at the group, said the conservative Christian Faith & Freedom Coalition — founded by former Georgia GOP chairman Ralph Reed — has long positioned Georgia “as the home of evangelical fundamentalist types when it comes to the political space."“But the truth is, for a very long time, there has been an active, effective movement of progressive-minded, justice-centred clergy” who have worked in the state on voting rights, health care and other issues, Honor added. He said Warnock was part of that work before his candidacy. Warnock is senior pastor at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, the congregation led by the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.Meanwhile, Loeffler and Perdue can expect to benefit from a conservative Christian base that has long boosted the state’s Republicans. Faith & Freedom made Georgia one of its top three spending targets in a $50 million get-out-the-vote program during the general election and plans increased organizing for the runoffs.The reach of "the evangelical vote in Georgia is very large and very strong,” Timothy Head, the group’s executive director, said in an interview.Head noted that while President Donald Trump kept a strong hold on white evangelical voters this year, Perdue out-performed Trump in Georgia during the general election. President-elect Joe Biden may have won over some evangelicals by contrasting his character with that of Trump, Head said, but he argued that the same sort of case would be harder for Democrats to make against Loeffler and Perdue.Another faith-focused conservative group, the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council, is holding trainings and pastor briefings before the runoffs. The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, whose president advised Trump’s reelection campaign on Catholic outreach, has announced a $4.1 million plan to boost Loeffler and Perdue through a partner political action committee.Religious issues already have become a campaign flashpoint in the runoff. The GOP has resurfaced excerpts from past Warnock sermons to assail him as insufficiently supportive of the military as well as anti-Israel. The Democrat signed a letter last year comparing Israel's policy toward Palestinians to “previous oppressive regimes" and criticized it in a 2018 sermon, while also calling for a two-state solution in the region.Warnock pushed back in a recently released television ad, saying the attacks are “trying to scare people by taking things I’ve said out of context from over 25 years of being a pastor.”One group criticizing Warnock as too left-leaning on Israel, the Republican Jewish Coalition, is also mobilizing on behalf of the GOP incumbents.Jewish Democrats in Georgia predicted that the GOP attack on Warnock’s Israel record would fall flat, citing his record of friendship with the Jewish community through his pulpit at Ebenezer.Sherry Frank, president of the Atlanta section of the National Council of Jewish Women, said she sees “no doubt in the Jewish community about (Warnock’s) stance on Israel and anti-Semitism.” Frank's group is conducting nonpartisan voter turnout work for the runoffs.Georgia’s Jewish Democrats also see, in Ossoff and Warnock, candidates whose joint push for the Senate harkens back to a tradition of Black and Jewish leaders working together during the civil rights movement. Warnock has a bond with a prominent Atlanta rabbi whose predecessor at the synagogue was close with King.Warnock is viewed “as the inheritor" of King’s legacy, said Michael Rosenzweig, co-chair of the Georgia chapter of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, which has endorsed both Democrats. “And to the extent that Jews were supportive of the civil rights struggle and supportive of (King), I think they look supportively on Rev. Warnock.”Ossoff, who is Jewish, has defended Warnock against GOP criticism over Israel and fondly recalled his own connection to the late Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia civil rights leader who endorsed Ossoff before his death in July. In October, Ossoff said he and Lewis talked during their first meeting about “the bond between the Black and Jewish communities, marching alongside rabbis and young Jewish activists in the mid 1960s ... and how important it was that these communities be brought together."___Schor reported from Washington.___Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.Elana Schor And Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentine police searched the home and office of Diego Maradona's personal doctor on Sunday as part of investigations into the death of the 60-year-old soccer star, which caused a wave of grief across the country.Reporters saw several police officers stationed at the door of the offices of neurologistDr. Leopoldo Luque in Buenos Aires' Belgrano neighbourhood.Court investigators have been taking declarations from Maradona's relatives, according to a statement from the San Isidro prosecutor's office, which is overseeing a probe into the medical attention Maradona received prior to his death on Wednesday.It said investigators were trying to secure Maradona's medical records.Maradona was buried Thursday in a private ceremony attended by only two dozen people following a vigil at the presidential palace where tens of thousands of weeping fans lined up to filed past his coffin.Maradona died of a heart attack in a house outside Buenos Aires where he had been recovering from a brain operation Nov. 3. He had suffered from a long series of medical issues, some related to overindulgence in drugs and alcohol.The Associated Press
PARIS — France’s highest administrative court on Sunday ordered a rethink of a 30-person attendance limit for religious services put in place by the government to slow down the spread of coronavirus. The measure took effect this weekend as France relaxes some virus restrictions, but it faced opposition by places of worship and the faithful for being arbitrary and unreasonable. Even before the ruling, several bishops had announced they would not enforce the restrictions and some churches were expected to defy it. The Council of State has ordered that Prime Minister Jean Castex modify the measure within three days. French churches, mosques and synagogues started opening their doors again to worshippers this weekend — but only a few of them, as France cautiously starts reopening after its latest virus lockdown. Many people expressed irritation outside several Paris churches where priests held services for groups that numbered over 30. “People respected social distancing perfectly, each to his place and with enough space so I don’t think there’s anything to worry about here,” Laurent Frémont told The Associated Press on his way home after Mass. To attend Mass, they had to book tickets online and give their names on their way in. However, the church’s protocol didn’t seem to help limit the number of people inside the building. Asked whether they would stay if the crowd was too large, most said they would. “I really think you couldn’t do better from a sanitary point of view,” said Humbline Frémont. For some, the new rules stirred up fears. French Catholics were sharing rules and recommendations on social media for how to behave if the police arrive at a church for a head count. Farid Kachour, secretary general of the group running the mosque of Montermeil, a heavily immigrant suburb northeast of Paris, says that his mosque simply wouldn’t open with too few people permitted. “We can’t choose people” allowed to enter for prayer. “We don’t want to create discontent among the faithful,” he said. Kachour noted that Muslims pray five times a day, further complicating the situation. To respect the rules, the mosque would need 40 services a day to allow all the faithful to pray, he said. Places of worship were allowed to continue during France’s latest nationwide lockdown, which is coming to an end in December, but regular prayer services were banned due to health concerns. Around the world, some religious services have been linked to coronavirus clusters, including superspreading events. France has reported over 52,000 virus-related deaths, the third-highest pandemic death toll in Europe after Britain and Italy. “Non-essential” shops reopened in France on Saturday, museums and cinemas will reopen on Dec. 15 but bars and restaurants will stay closed for indoor dining until Jan. 20. ___ Alex Turnbull and Elaine Ganley contributed to this report. __ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
For City Cinema in Charlottetown, the pandemic has meant overcoming obstacles. Now there are more.In order to reopen in July, the theatre had to make a number of changes in order to comply with public health orders. Plexiglas was installed, stickers placed on the ground and seats marked off.Attendance steadily improved through the summer months."The last couple of months, we've really kind of hit a stride and had several sellout shows," said Marshall Harrington, the cinema's manager. "And we were in a good situation for December to continue that trend."They had three films lined up that were set to debut in theatres in December. City Cinema had already sold tickets and bought ads promoting the screenings.Films were set to run every night of the week, an increase from four nights a week the theatre was doing before.Releases suspendedBut, on Wednesday, days before the showings were set to begin, Harrington got an email from the studio responsible for those movies, saying that they were suspending the releases to theatres. "What they told us was that due to quite a few theatre closures across Canada, they cancelled their theatrical runs of these films in Canada. So they, unfortunately, had to pull those titles from our schedule," he said. "It was deflating." That left Harrington scrambling to fill the gaps. The theatre managed to find replacements, but the loss of the three films, as well as the situation around COVID-19, mean City Cinema has to return to the four showings per week.For the cinema, it's another challenge in an already challenging year. "We've had our challenges with reopening and adjusting to local health guidelines and trying to follow them as best we can," said Harrington."It's just another challenge that we need to overcome," he said.'We didn't see any hurt in keeping them'At a time when theatres around the world are hurting because of the pandemic, Harrington said the move to pull the films was one that City Cinema didn't quite understand. "From our perspective, we didn't see any hurt in letting us keep the titles. But … they just pulled the whole run across Canada. So there really wasn't much we could do."We do understand it from their perspective. They're looking at it as a big picture. But … for us, we didn't see any hurt in keeping them," he said. But, despite this, Harrington said he's looking forward to the December lineup. More from CBC P.E.I.
TORONTO — Independent reviews of the hundreds of inmates placed in segregation over the past year found only a handful were inappropriate, new government data indicate. According to the previously unpublished information from Correctional Service Canada, only two per cent of reviews by independent external decision-makers resulted in inmates moved out of isolation, and then not always right away. "There can be rare cases where the removal may not be immediate, for example, if the inmate refuses to leave or a transfer is pending for a suitable placement," the service said. "Our goal is to ensure they can be safely returned to a different environment, which in most cases is to a mainstream population." The data, viewed with skepticism by critics, indicate that external reviewers weighed in 1,475 times as of Nov. 1. Of those, 905 were triggered by inmates isolated for longer than the legally allowed stretches. One year ago, after the courts had repeatedly struck down administrative segregation used to isolate prisoners who posed a threat to themselves or others, the government implemented a new system called structured intervention units. Key changes included allowing inmates out of their cells for at least four hours a day, giving them a daily minimum of two hours of meaningful interaction with others, and putting an external oversight mechanism in place that can result in binding directives. Since then, reviewers have looked at the confinement conditions of about 740 individual inmates. The aim was to see whether authorities were abiding by the new rules, such as giving prisoners a chance to be out of their cells and interact with others. Overall, the reviews concluded authorities took all reasonable steps to meet their obligations in 79 per cent of the cases, the service said. Critics, however, have called the new system rebranded solitary confinement. For example, criminologist Anthony Doob, who led a government advisory committee on the issue, and colleague Jane Sprott, concluded the government was failing to live up to the legislated requirements. Among other things, their analysis found a sizable percentage of inmates had spent more than two months in confinement and few had received the mandated four hours daily out of their cells and two hours of human contact. Dr. Adelina Iftene, an assistant law professor at Dalhousie University, said the new data raise questions about the review process or IEDMs. "Either there is a lack of clarity on what exactly are the role and powers of the IEDMs, or the IEDMs are tigers without teeth, or the IEDMs are not fulfilling their role," Iftene said. "The implication remains that there may still be no effective oversight of placements in the SIUs." The tiny number of reviews resulting in directives to move an inmate from confinement also raises questions about the quality of the information fed to reviewers, Iftene said. "Did they know that so many people were effectively experiencing solitary confinement?" she said. "If so, how is it possible that they recommended removal from the SIUs only in two per cent of cases?" Whether individuals’ rights are being upheld is a yes or no question, Iftene added. There are no “reasonable steps.” Correctional Service Canada defended its approach, saying the new system is part of a "historic transformation" that can't happen overnight. "It takes time to instill cultural and transformational change," the service said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
If citizens disbelieve the institutions that count ballots and the organizations that accurately report on those results, it will impossible to agree on what a legitimate election looks like.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said on Sunday that his “top priority” is a plan for COVID-19 vaccines, adding “there is no plan for the economy if we don’t have rapid testing and vaccines as swiftly as possible.”
Trade union Verdi on Sunday called on workers at a German Amazon warehouse to strike for the second time in a week to disrupt the processing of orders following the 'Black Friday' discount shopping sales on Nov. 27. Scheduled to begin on Monday's night shift and finish at the end of Tuesday's late shift, the strike follows a three-day walkout between Thursday and Saturday last week in which more than 500 workers took part, Verdi said.. Verdi has been organising strikes at Amazon in Germany - the company’s biggest market after the United States - since 2013, along with other unions hoping to force the e-commerce company to recognise collective bargaining agreements that apply to retail employees at other firms.
Mummers might already wear masks, but they still have to abide by other COVID-19 restrictions. Having thousands of people disguised in doilies stroll down the streets of St. John's just doesn't jive with a recommendation from provincial health officials to only go mummering with close contacts this year. The annual Mummers Parade is moving online, along with most of the regular festival events leading up to it."Everything that we do, typically, is back. It's just in a digital platform," said Mummers Festival Executive Director Lynn McShane.No parade in pandemicA typical parade day starts with a "rig up," where people pick through tables of clothes to find a costume. This year, starting at 1:30 p.m. NT on Dec 12, organizers will be on Facebook Live offering up tips and ideas for what to wear.The parade itself will be replaced by a video of people in their mummering best. The festival is asking anyone who wants to be in it to dress up, record themselves, and send in a snippet by Dec 1.The parade day stream will end with a virtual concert.McShane said hosting most of the festival on the internet opens up possibilities for who can take part. "People who are not residents of Newfoundland and Labrador are just loving the opportunity to be able to join in from afar," she said. There are presentations, panel discussions and crafting lessons planned in the two weeks ahead of the parade.All the events and most of the required supplies are free, but donations are encouraged.Bring your own boot"The thing with mummering is eventually you take off your mask, so in terms of this year and COVID, I don't know if it offers much protection," Ryan Davis said in an interview ahead of his online ugly stick workshop Saturday. In past years, he's taught people how to put the instrument together in person.Festival volunteers predrilled the sticks and punched holes in bottle caps to ease at-home assembly. Participants could register and pick up a kit in St. John's containing all the ugly stick essentials at no charge — they just needed to have an old boot or sneaker for the bottom.For people who didn't have a kit from the festival, Davis offered up alternatives.He said they're not an essential mummering accessory, but they do amplify the experience."It's actually great if you want to go mummering because you don't want to take your nice guitar or your fancy instrument," Davis said."This is something you can beat up and beat around, so in that way, it's great for mummering."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
A man is dead after he crashed his vehicle into the Princes' Gates at Exhibition Place early Sunday, Toronto police say. Police said they were called to the area of Lakeshore Boulevard West and Strachan Avenue at 4:19 a.m.. The man was driving at high speed and slammed into the gates. He was pronounced dead at the scene.Police have not released his age. Officers are currently investigating the crash.
Get some fresh air, they said. Be active in the great outdoors, they told us. But what seemed like a simple solution in this pandemic winter of our discontent has become trickier with new and ongoing health restrictions to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. Consider, for example, skating at the community rink. "The restrictions apply to rinks just like anywhere else in the city," said Laura Cunningham-Shpeley, executive director of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues. "We can't have more than 10 people gather on the ice at one time on these rinks. We can't have any sports of any kind happening on the ice. There won't be any bathrooms or rink shacks open, at this point until Dec. 15," she told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM on Friday. On Tuesday, the Alberta government announced a swath of mandatory measures in response to the record-high levels of active and new cases of COVID-19 in the province. Indoor social activities are banned and outdoor activities can't exceed 10 people. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, has even said that a backyard gathering means no access to the home for warming up or using the washroom. The measures have also halted all team sport activities, which includes pick-up games of shinny. On the bright side, face masks are standard garb for downhill ski enthusiasts, which is good news for Edmonton's Snow Valley where they're mandatory at all times — even on the slopes. "You know, a run at Snow Valley is very quick," Tim Dae, spokesperson for the ski hill, told Edmonton AM on Friday. "To be flipping it on and off, I would find that somewhat annoying. So just keep it on." As a small hill — Dae estimates it has about 10 "ski-able" acres — Snow Valley is limiting the number of skiers on the hill at any one time. There are no such daily limits at Marmot Basin in Jasper, and vice-president Brian Rode said that business is booming for this time of year. "A very busy day would be about 3,500 people," Rode told Edmonton AM. "In November, a typically early-season Saturday, we might see 1,200 to 1,500. … Last Saturday, we saw 2,400." At both ski hills, masks, distancing and indoor capacity limits are being carefully enforced in lineups, rental areas, concessions and inside the chalet. "The only time you don't need to wear a mask is when you're actually skiing or snowboarding down the hill," Rode said about Marmot's protocols. "People have been very good about it. They're physically spacing themselves in the lineup. They're wearing masks." To encourage people to stay outdoors, Snow Valley has set up an outdoor tent that sells hot chocolate, snacks and the like, while Marmot — which has reduced its chalet capacity by 50 per cent — has tent-covered seating areas on its patios and extra outdoor food concessions and barbecues. "People do have choices," Rodes said. "What we don't accommodate indoors because of the reduced seating, we're making up for as best as we can in the outdoor spaces." Back at the rinks, Cunningham-Shpeley said some community leagues are simply holding off opening their ice surfaces. But those that have opened are using some creative strategies to allow winter fun to happen in a safe fashion. People should reach out to their league to find out what protocols are in place, she said. "Whether it be through a sign-up app that people have to sign up online for a slot an hour, that they can come skate, or just allowing people to come in and … bring your regular stick and just do some skills. Because shinny just can't happen right now," she said. "Until after Dec. 15, until we know more, the leagues are really trying to keep Edmontonians safe." Of the city's skating surfaces, only Victorial Oval is currently open. Skaters are urged to bring a mask and hand sanitizer, maintain physical distance and leave personal belongings at home.
NAIROBI, Kenya — Ethiopia's announcement that it has completed its military offensive in its defiant Tigray region “does not mean the conflict is finished,” the U.N. refugee chief said Sunday, adding he is very concerned about the fate of nearly 100,000 Eritrean refugees there amid reports that some have been abducted.If confirmed, such treatment of refugees in camps close to the Tigray border with Eritrea “would be major violations of international norms,” Filippo Grandi told reporters. “It is my strong appeal for the prime minister of Ethiopia for this situation to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”Nearly a month of fighting between Ethiopian federal forces and Tigray regional ones has threatened to destabilize Ethiopia, the linchpin of the strategic Horn of Africa, and its neighbours. The involvement of Eritrea in the conflict has been alleged by refugees and the now-fugitive Tigray leaders but, like much in the sealed-off region, has not been verified.Meanwhile, in a rare report from inside the Tigray capital of Mekele, the International Committee of the Red Cross said a major hospital in northern Ethiopia, Ayder Referral Hospital, is lacking body bags while some 80% of its patients have trauma injuries.“The influx of wounded forced the hospital to suspend many other medical services so that limited staff and resources could be devoted to emergency medical care,” it said.Hospitals and health centres in the Tigray region are running “dangerously low” on supplies to care for the wounded, it added. Food is also running low, the result of the Tigray region being cut off from outside aid for almost a month.The ICRC also said 1,000 Eritrean refugees have arrived in Mekele from their refugee camps near the Eritrean border, looking for food and other help.Eritrea, which watchdogs call one of the world's most repressive countries, has remained almost silent on the allegations by the Tigray regional leaders that it has been involved in the conflict at the invitation of Ethiopia and its Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, whose government has denied it.Overnight, the U.S. Embassy in Eritrea said six explosions were heard in the capital, Asmara. It followed an embassy report of another “loud noise, possibly an explosion” on Friday, nearly two weeks after the Tigray regional leader confirmed firing missiles at the city.The latest explosions came just hours after Abiy declared victory in his government’s fighting against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which has run the northern Tigray region. The army said it was in “full control” of Mekele but the government said TPLF leaders remain on the run.The U.S. has accused the TPLF of seeking to “internationalize” the deadly conflict in which aid groups say several hundred people have been killed, including civilians.Communications remain almost completely severed with the Tigray region of 6 million people, and the U.N. has been unable to access it with aid. Fears are growing about the atrocities that might emerge once transport and other links are restored.It has been impossible to verify claims made by the warring sides.Nearly 1 million people have been displaced, including about 44,000 who fled into Sudan. The camps that are home to the 96,000 Eritrean refugees have been in the line of fire.“We need first and foremost access” to Tigray, Grandi said, adding that his U.N. colleagues in Addis Ababa are in discussions with the government there. Abiy's government has promised a “humanitarian corridor" managed by itself, but the U.N. has stressed the importance of neutrality.Asked about refugees' allegations that Ethiopian security forces have blocked people from fleeing the conflict into Sudan, the U.N. refugee chief said his team had not raised that issue with Ethiopia's government. But refugees told him about the “many checkpoints” and pockets of insecurity they faced as they fled.“We have not heard of any systematic sealing-off,” Grandi said. “But certainly there are growing difficulties."Most people travelled with nothing, Grandi said, and many are farmers who were forced to flee at harvest time, creating a “very difficult situation for them.”Even before it declared victory in the conflict, Abiy's government was urging the refugees to return and promised to protect them. But many of the refugees have said they were running from the deadly violence of Ethiopian forces and attacks from the direction of nearby Eritrea.“Of course, I'm not encouraging people to return,” Grandu said, adding that refugees told him they fear possible retaliation and intercommunal violence and need security assurances before they can go home.The U.N, refugee agency is asking for almost $150 million in aid over the next six months to support up to 100,000 refugees.Cara Anna, The Associated Press
TOKYO — The cost of the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics is estimated to be just under US$2 billion, or about 200 billion yen.Japan’s Kyodo news agency and the Yomiuri newspaper both reported the figure Sunday, citing unnamed sources close to Games organizers.The sources were granted anonymity because Games organizers have not publicly divulged the losses incurred as a result of thje postponement.The reported cost of the delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic is in line with repeated estimates over the last several months. The organizers, the Tokyo metro government and the Japanese national government are expected to report next month how the costs will be shared.The International Olympic Committee has said it would chip in about $650 million to cover some of the costs of the delay, but has offered few public details.Tokyo is becoming very expensive.The official cost of putting on the Tokyo Olympics is $12.6 billion. However, a government audit last year said it was probably twice that much. All but $5.6 billion is public money.Tokyo said the Games would cost $7.3 billion when it won the bid in 2013.The $2 billion only adds to the total. A University of Oxford study published early this year — calculated before the postponement — said Tokyo was the most expensive Summer Olympics on record and the meter is still running.The IOC and organizers have been campaigning over the last several months to convince sponsors and a skeptical Japanese public that the Olympics can be held safely in the middle of a pandemic.The Olympics are to open July 23, 2021, followed by the Paralympics on Aug. 24. They involve 15,400 athletes and ten of thousands of officials, judges, staff, VIPs, sponsors as well as media and broadcasters.IOC president Thomas Bach, who was in Tokyo earlier this month, has said a vaccine and improved rapid testing would help pull off the Olympics. But he cautioned they are not “silver bullets.”Athletes are expected to be closely monitored, held in quarantine-like conditions, discouraged from sightseeing and encouraged to leave as soon as they finish competing.Some fans are expected at the events, but it is unclear if many spectators from abroad will be allowed to attend.Japan has controlled COVID-19 better than most countries, but has seen a spike over the last several weeks in Tokyo and elsewhere. Tokyo set a one-day record for new infections Friday with 570. About 2,000 deaths in Japan have been attributed to COVID-19.—-More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsStephen Wade, The Associated Press
A man is dead and another man is in hospital in serious condition after a double shooting in downtown Oshawa, Durham police say.The shooting happened in the area of Simcoe Street South and Athol Street. Emergency crews were called to the scene at about 10:30 a.m. Several people called police to report gunfire.Police believe the shooting may have happened inside a residence or on a rooftop.When officers arrived, they found one man without vital signs. He was taken to hospital, where he died of what police believe are gunshot wounds.Police then found a second man initially considered to be in life-threatening condition. He has been taken to a trauma centre in Toronto and is now listed in serious condition.Const. George Tudos, spokesperson for Durham Regional Police Service, said police are trying to determine where the shooting actually took place and what led to the violence."We still don't know exactly where the scene is," Tudos told reporters on Sunday."It's uncertain right now whether it was indoors, outside, on the rooftop, or in the alleyway. But we do have numerous scenes right now that we have secured and we're going to be looking at that."He added that there were witnesses and police have talked to them to get a better sense of what happened. Police are not looking for any outstanding suspects right now, he said.Tudos said the police force is using its helicopter, Air1, to search rooftops for evidence.Police have not released the name or age of the man who died and are notifying next of kin.Tudos said there is no threat to public safety.Durham police's homicide unit has been notified and detectives are expected at the scene shortly.Police have taped off a large area as officers continue to investigate. There is a heavy police presence downtown.Roads continue to be closed in the area.
New HIV infections are at their lowest rate since the disease first hit British Columbia, according to top researcher Dr. Julio Montaner.Last year, on Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, Montaner declared the epidemic of HIV/AIDS over in B.C. because infection rates had fallen so low. This year, despite concerns that COVID-19 restrictions would get in the way, the spread of HIV has declined even further. Montaner is the executive director and chief physician at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and the head of the HIV/AIDS Program at St. Paul's Hospital.He was instrumental in turning HIV infections from a death sentence to a manageable condition. Now, he is concerned the success he has helped create in B.C. is not happening elsewhere. "The rest of the country and the rest of the world are falling behind," said Montaner. In April, after pandemic restrictions came into place, Montaner and others were concerned. HIV testing rates fell and people struggled to access health care. After four decades of hard work on the AIDS pandemic, to Montaner, it was "unthinkable."Now, he worries, we squandered the opportunity to prepare for the second wave of COVID this past summer, when new COVID infections were low. "We wasted the summer celebrating our success without taking responsibility collectively that we need to be cautious," he said. "I am very concerned that the way things are going with shutdowns and lockdowns and competition for health-care resources."Montaner worries B.C. is not up to speed on contact tracing, hasn't managed to expand testing and implement rapid testing, approaches he calls "game-changers" in controlling HIV."We don't seem to learn from the past," he said. "It's very frustrating."Fight against HIV/AIDS 'in peril'Montaner is hopeful incoming U.S. President Joe Biden will show leadership internationally on HIV/AIDS.He blames the lack of leadership under President Donald Trump, the financial crisis, and now COVID, for stalling the global effort. "We have the threat of COVID today that, unfortunately, has taken all of the oxygen out of the room and made it so HIV services are in jeopardy." said Montaner. He says the next step is to "recapture the imagination" of world leaders who have let HIV/AIDS fall off the agenda. "We know what to do. All we have to do is implement it." To hear the complete interview with Dr. Julio Montaner on CBC's The Early Edition, tap the audio link below: