Complaints against the outgoing Governor General Julie Payette include unwelcome physical contact with staffers, that caused some to feel threatened, multiple sources say.
Complaints against the outgoing Governor General Julie Payette include unwelcome physical contact with staffers, that caused some to feel threatened, multiple sources say.
Several provinces were preparing to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, as Canada's chief public health officer expressed optimism over vaccines ahead of the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 crisis.The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic last March 11, and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said it's been a difficult 12 months marked by hardship and sacrifice."Yet, as the months have gone by, I have also witnessed the remarkable courage, strength, and generosity demonstrated by Canadians," she wrote in a statement."Through it all, it is the incredible support that Canadians have shown for one another that has impressed me the most."Tam expressed optimism that brighter days were coming, thanks to the recent approvals of the Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines."This week has been a very good week for Canada's COVID-19 vaccination programs," she wrote.The anniversary comes as all provinces are expanding their mass vaccination programs and some are loosening restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick are among the provinces preparing to lift restrictions on Monday after weeks of stable or declining cases. A stay-at-home order in Ontario's Toronto, Peel and North Bay regions will lift on Monday, while five Quebec regions, including Quebec City, will be downgraded from red to orange on the province's colour-coded regional alert system.All of New Brunswick will transition to the less-restrictive "yellow" alert level Sunday at midnight, meaning residents can expand their contacts from 10 to 15 people and team sports activities may resume.Canada's two biggest cities will remain under fairly strict restrictions, however. Toronto — and neighbouring Peel Region — will enter the "grey lockdown" category, which will allow more retailers to open, with restrictions, but leaves gyms, personal care services and indoor restaurant dining closed.The greater Montreal region remains a red zone, which means an 8 p.m. curfew is still in effect.Tam said the addition of the two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster and help ease the worries surrounding supply disruptions or setbacks.In a long message, Tam said it is not that it is not possible to directly compare the efficacy of different vaccines to one another."Each vaccine was studied in a separate trial conducted at different times, using different populations and conditions," she wrote.She said the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, manufactured by Janssen, was shown to be 66 per cent effective overall in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, while the AstraZeneca vaccine was found to have an efficacy of 62 per cent in generally preventing "symptomatic COVID-19." Both vaccines, she said, were found to protect against severe disease, meaning that those who got COVID-19 after the shot were much less likely to get seriously ill. Currently, Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization does not recommend that the AstraZeneca vaccine be given to those aged 65 or over due to limited data, but Tam stressed that the recommendations could change.She noted both the new vaccines are easier to transport than those produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which require freezer storage. With Canada set to receive more than 900,000 COVID-19 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines this week, many provinces are ramping up their vaccination campaigns.Health authorities across British Columbia will start booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments Monday for people 90 years old and older and Indigenous residents over the age of 65.Quebec, which has been booking vaccine appointments for seniors 70 or 80 and over depending on the region, will speed up the pace this week as more mass vaccination centres open across the province after focusing mainly on hard-hit Montreal last week. Quebec counted 707 new cases of the virus on Sunday, and seven more deaths. Ontario reported administering 30,192 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, for a total of 890,604 doses handed out so far. That province logged 1,299 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, and 15 added deaths. Manitoba counted 56 new cases of the virus and two more deaths. Saskatchewan, meanwhile, reported 116 more cases and two more deaths due to COVID-19, including a person who was under 20 years old. Alberta logged roughly 300 new cases of the virus Sunday, though the province said a system upgrade meant precise numbers weren't available. Farther east, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island each recorded two new cases of COVID-19. The government said it would receive more than 14,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, which will be sent to five different parts of the province.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021 Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
The Champions League talking points ahead of the first set of second-leg matches in the round of 16 on Tuesday and Wednesday: JUVENTUS VS. PORTO (first leg: 1-2) Álvaro Morata is finding his best form at the right time for Juventus. Morata had not scored in the league since December and was sidelined recently with illness but the Juventus forward has scored three times in his last two matches -- including in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Lazio. Morata has scored six goals in this season’s Champions League, two more than teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. The 36-year-old Ronaldo was given some much-needed rest at the weekend and went on only for the final 20 minutes, which should leave him fresh for Tuesday's match against Porto. Juventus has been dealing with illness and injuries. Coach Andrea Pirlo hopes Giorgio Chiellini and Matthijs de Ligt will recover in time to play Porto. Forward Paulo Dybala is still sidelined, while Rodrigo Bentancur is also out after contracting the coronavirus. Porto also has some injury problems, including defender Pepe with a right leg ailment. DORTMUND VS. SEVILLA (3-2) Borussia Dortmund’s 4-2 loss to Bundesliga rival Bayern Munich at the weekend could leave its mark for Tuesday’s visit from Sevilla. Star striker Erling Haaland, who scored twice in Dortmund’s 3-2 win over Sevilla in the first leg, was taken off early with stud marks on the back of his right ankle after a nasty challenge from Jérôme Boateng. Although Haaland told Dortmund coach Edin Terzic “it wouldn’t be a big problem.” The loss in Munich marked the end of Dortmund’s four-game winning run across all competitions. The team was without Jadon Sancho, Raphaël Guerreiro and Gio Reyna. All three face a race to be fit for Tuesday. Sevilla has been struggling since the first-leg loss to Dortmund, losing three of its four matches since then. It is coming off a loss to relegation-threatened Elche in the Spanish league, and was eliminated by Barcelona in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey despite a 2-0 first-leg win. PSG VS. BARCELONA (4-1) Barcelona seems like a different team to the one which played so badly in the second half at home to PSG. Ronald Koeman’s lineup is 16 games unbeaten in the league and the defence appears to be considerably stronger now that he has ditched the ineffective 4-3-3 formation for a 3-5-2 system which offers his central defenders more protection. Veteran defender Gerard Pique is a doubtful starter for the game, however, after hurting his knee midweek. A lot will rest Wednesday on Barça’s French defenders Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti, with PSG is almost at full strength. Goal-scoring winger Angel Di Maria is back from injury and Neymar is close to a return after getting back to training. PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino may see no valid reason to drop the 4-2-3-1 formation which worked so well in Spain, with Kylian Mbappe helping himself to three goals despite playing wide and not as the central striker. Even though PSG defends a big lead at Parc des Princes, there may be some nerves about facing Lionel Messi in top form once again. PSG went out after losing 6-1 in Spain in 2017 having won the home leg 4-0. But this Barcelona lineup is not as strong as the 2017 squad, and PSG is more resilient now. LIVERPOOL VS. LEIPZIG (2-0) The teams return to neutral territory at the Puskas Arena in Budapest with Liverpool's two-goal cushion perhaps not as commanding as it seems given the team's recent problems, particularly in its injury-hit defence. The pressure is on the soon-to-be-deposed English champions because winning the Champions League might be the most likely route back into the competition for next season. Juergen Klopp's squad currently sits outside the Premier League's top four. Leipzig is on a six-game winning run in the Bundesliga and briefly took over top spot on Saturday. Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann omitted Angeliño from the team that beat Freiburg 3-0, but dampened hopes the Spanish winger will return in time for Liverpool. Uncharacteristic defensive lapses helped Liverpool in the first leg. The game is again taking place in the Hungarian capital due to German restrictions on visitors amid the coronavirus pandemic. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Chinese private equity firm Primavera Capital Group, an early investor in billionaire Jack Ma's Ant Group, is raising a new U.S. dollar-denominated fund of up to $5 billion, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The firm, an avid investor in China's tech startups, is targeting $4 billion for its fourth dollar fund, with a hard cap at $5 billion, said the people, who declined to be identified as information related to the fundraising is confidential. Primavera, which has offices in Beijing and Hong Kong, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Grand Valley will contribute a larger slice of the pie as a conservation authority asked for more funding to make up for a pandemic-related shortfall. “This is probably one of the most difficult budgets we have had in recent years,” said Chris White, chair of the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA). “COVID-19 and its ongoing impact on the conservation authority has made it a moving target.” The overall increase to the municipal levy is 2.5 per cent. The Town of Grand Valley’s levy allocation represents an increase of 5.3 per cent. This is impacted by how the conservation authority levy is prorated for the participating watershed municipalities. The town will pay a general levy of $33,396 for 2021 to the conservation authority as directed by the council. The town paid $31,711 to the organization in 2020. “The Town of Grand Valley’s property assessment is growing at a faster pace than other watershed municipalities, which is why it is higher than the overall 2.5 per cent municipal levy increase,” said Lisa Stocco, manager of communications for the conservation authority. This equates to an average of about $11.09 per watershed resident, an increase of 12 cents per watershed resident compared to the 2020 budget. This comes as staff from the authority presented a draft budget to the town. They proposed a $32 million budget with reserves of $2 million. The town is part of 26 municipalities or regions, in the Grand River watershed, transferring money to the authority. The GRCA board approved the budget on Friday, Feb. 26. Municipalities will contribute $12.2 million in the general municipal levy to the conservation authority in 2021, about 38 per cent of the conservation authority’s total budget. “We recognize that our municipal partners, a major source of our funding, continue to face significant challenges,” said White. “Our staff and our board worked hard to ensure the budget was balanced. In 2021, COVID-19 will continue to pose challenges as we continue to work through the global pandemic.” These include $1 million in special projects, $31 million to expenditures, and a general municipal levy of $12,225.00. “The GRCA provides critical flood mitigation services, as well as unparalleled outdoor recreation opportunities, which continue to be vital to ensuring the health and well-being of the residents in our communities throughout the Grand River watershed,” said White. They also received federal and provincial grants such as $700,000 from the water and erosion control infrastructure (WECI) program and $640,000 from the source protection program grant. Included in this is a capital spending budget for water quality management equipment, software systems and gauge equipment for its flood forecasting and warning program, as well as significant maintenance for dams and dikes. “In 2021, WECI funds will be applied to the costs associated with the capital and maintenance of these structures,” said Stocco. “We are planning a WECI project in 2021 for Luther Dam to replace the stop logs. Major upgrades were completed to Luther Dam in 2012.” It also includes funds for regular maintenance, major repairs and new construction. Some of the major capital projects planned within the conservation areas include expanding the north side gatehouse, new fencing at Elora Gorge, and bridge replacement and Harris Mill masonry repairs at Rockwood. The GRCA continues to work on the updates and implementation of a drinking water source protection plan for each of the four watersheds in the Lake Erie source protection region, including the Grand River watershed. Along with supporting municipalities and other agencies in implementing the plans, the focus in 2021 will continue to be completing updates to the Grand River Source Protection Plan. This includes the development of water quantity policies, updating water quality vulnerability assessments, and developing the annual progress report for the Grand River Source Protection Plan. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
The city's official youth advisory body is calling for free menstrual products to be made available in all public schools across Ontario. Amid the movement to end "period poverty", Toronto's Youth Cabinet launched a petition asking for the province to fully fund menstrual products in all publicly-funded elementary and secondary schools by the end of 2021, saying the matter comes down to equity, privacy and accessibility. "This is really a human rights issue.... It's really important that we make sure we take down any barriers that prevent people who menstruate from succeeding, and one of those barriers may be accessibility to period products," said Vanessa Erhirhie, a member of the educational working group with the Toronto Youth Cabinet. The Ryerson University student said the products should be normalized and considered essential in all washrooms, adding that it shouldn't be a scramble to access a tampon or a pad when they're needed. "We don't go to our locker for toilet paper and it should be the same for menstrual products," she said. She says while products are available in some schools, they are often found at the front desk or the guidance counsellor's office, which still causes people stress and requires effort to access them. The cabinet is asking that menstrual products be readily available in female washrooms, male washrooms and gender-neutral washrooms. Two-thirds of Canadians impacted by inaccessible products The online petition, which has garnered over 10,700 signatures as of Sunday, details how the lack of access to menstrual products can negatively impact students' school attendance, their social and emotional well-being, as well as contribute to the stigma that is attached to menstruation. "Providing all students with convenient access to free menstrual products helps to support their full participation in school activities, reduces stigma and promotes gender equality," the petition reads. A 2019 report conducted by Plan International Canada found that a third of Canadian women under the age of 25 say they've struggled to afford menstrual products, and almost two-thirds of people aged 14 to 55 missed out on an activity because of their periods and the lack of access to menstrual products. Stephen Mensah, education lead for the Toronto Youth Cabinet, emphasized the need for the province not only to mandate free menstrual products, but to fund the overall initiative, including literacy on menstrual health to help end the stigma. "No one should feel stigmatized over something that is a normal part of life.... Menstrual products are a necessity, not a luxury," said Mensah . 'School boards cannot do this on their own' The cabinet said the demands of this social movement should have been met a long time ago, but lack of funding remains an issue. In 2019, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Canada's largest school board, passed a motion to ensure free menstrual products in their schools. But Mensah said he has spoken to student trustees from the TDSB who say the move hasn't been fully rolled out yet. "School boards cannot do this on their own," said Mensah. "[They] lack the funding to necessarily sustain [this] for a long period, and to ensure all schools and all of their students can benefit from it. I think this enforces the need for the province to fully fund this initiative." Mensah pointed to other provinces, including British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, which have made menstrual products free in all public schools. In late January, the Ottawa Carleton District School Board voted unanimously to make tampons and pads available in its washrooms by September 2022. Mensah said it's high time Ontario followed suit. The Youth Cabinet will officially launch their initiative on Monday, which happens to be International Women's Day, in a joint statement with the province's four major teachers unions, the Ontario Human Rights Commission and other provincial stakeholders. "We really want to send a clear, unified message to the province that this is something that needs to be done, and most importantly, it needs to happen now," said Mensah.
Ontario pharmacists start a COVID-19 vaccine program this week at 330 locations to provide the AstraZeneca vaccine to customers aged 60 to 64 as lockdown restrictions ease in two major regions.
Orangeville Transit is getting government funds to help it ride out the pandemic. The transit authority will receive $81,309 as part of the $150 million the provincial government provides to municipalities. “The $150 million noted by the report was just announced on Monday,” said Doug Jones, general manager of infrastructure services. “It is to offset operational losses due to COVID-19. The transit hub is a capital expenditure and is not eligible for this funding.” Council requested town staff to investigate the possibility of using the Edelbrock Centre as a transit hub. This came after councillors reversed their decision on the Broadway hub in a 4-3 vote on Nov. 23, after hearing numerous concerns from downtown businesses and the BIA. This allocation builds upon the first phase of the federal and provincial Safe Restart Agreement announced in summer 2020. It was developed to help municipalities deliver critical services during COVID-19. “The town has received Phase 1 SRF funding of $96,000 for the 2020 fiscal period,” said Nandini Syed, treasurer. “We have also received $1.5 million in ICIP (Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program) funding.” The first phase of Safe Restart funding for transit flowed $700 million to municipalities in 2020, and to date, $1.5 billion in funding has been allocated. As part of the Safe Restart Agreement funding, municipalities need to work with the province to explore options to ensure transit is safe, sustainable, affordable and integrated, both during the COVID-19 pandemic and after. "We heard from municipalities, and we are responding to their need for more support as COVID-19 continues to result in lost revenue and additional costs for transit systems," said Caroline Mulroney, minister of transportation. The town also received an ICIP grant of $2.09 million, of which 26.67 per cent is the responsibility of the municipality. The federal and provincial governments provide the other 73 per cent. “These funds will be utilized to purchase new buses to accommodate the system going to an expanded four-route system, new transit station, new transit shelters and stop amenities and finally for a specialized transit service, not until 2024,” said John Lackey, manager of transportation and development. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
Freezing temperatures and a lack of appropriate snow pants didn't stop one family from tobogganing down a hill. Brad Brown and his son, Dylan, slid down Murray’s Mountain Park wearing swim trunks. The challenge was part of the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Ontario. Brown said ride down wasn't the only chilly part. “My son looking at me trying to push off, and I told him to wait,” said Brown. "He’s pointing behind me, I look up, and there’s the mascot standing there with a bucket of cold water. He threw it on me just as I went down the hill.” He had an idea they would throw ice water on him as they were talking about it before. He thought it would happen as he made his way down, but they splashed at the top. Despite everything, Brown said it was worth it. “I’d do it again, absolutely,” said Brown. “It’s for a great cause.” Brown is one of the basketball coaches for Special Olympics Dufferin. He is also involved in curling and bocce ball. His son is an athlete with autism. He and his colleagues, of about four coaches, participated in various activities. As a group, they set a goal of $3,000 and raised $6,020. He set a goal of $300 himself and has surpassed the amount with $460. His son raised $430 himself as well. Special Olympics sports are modified so athletes can play at their level and pace. “A lot of these special athletes don’t have a whole lot,” said Brown. “A lot of our athletes are older, in their 30s, 40s and 50s, some of them. They look forward to these (games). It’s such a fabulous organization and cause because a lot of them can’t play regular sports.” About 70 per cent of the funds raised will be sent to Special Olympics Dufferin, with the remaining 30 per cent going to the parent organization, Special Olympics Ontario. His colleagues dipped in a lake or river to raise awareness and money for the organizations. He would have been in the annual event in Shelburne but wanted to stay local to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
His sleeves were rolled up as he sat straight in the chair with his head up high. Geoff Green was one of the first people in the community to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Alder Recreation Centre on Wednesday, March 3. “It was quick, fast and painless,” said Green. “The reason I’m here is because my mother is in Avalon Retirement Lodge and I am an essential caregiver to her and her alternate decision-maker. I have to be immunized in case something happens.” The clinic was held by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph (WDG) Public Health, Dufferin County and the Town of Orangeville. Mayor Sandy Brown encourages residents to vaccinate. “These vaccines have been vetted by public health officials all over the world, multiple times for their safety and efficacy,” said Brown. “I think we should step up and get the vaccination as soon as possible so we can get back to our normal lives.” Brown plans to receive the vaccine when the eligibility requirements expand to place him in line. About 250 people were vaccinated. They plan to ramp it up 2,500 doses a day later on. Pre-registration is available for those in the aforementioned eligible priority groups who are interested in receiving the shot. Public health had 15,000 calls inquiring about the shot. “We’re blending in the next group of health-care workers and then some of it is aged-based prioritization,” said Danny Williamson, communications specialist for WDG Public Health. “We do want to press ahead. The goal is to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible.” The cost to administer the vaccine to a patient is covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). It is preferred to have an Ontario health card present, but a birth certificate, driver's licence or passport will be accepted. The second dose is usually administered 28 to 35 days out. Anywhere from 21 to 42 days is OK. Residents in the WDG Public Health region can attend a clinic elsewhere provided they remain in the area. Green isn’t the only one to be vaccinated in his family. His mother and daughter also received the shot. “My daughter is a communications disorder assistant,” said Green. “She is a front-line worker, so she got her first dose on Friday and has her second dose in two and a half weeks.” Only select Dufferin residents received their vaccine shot on the first day. Adults who were 80 years of age and older who live in WDG, Indigenous people, those who live in a long-term-care home or are essential support staff in long-term care were eligible to have the shot. “We want to make sure our vulnerable people are taken care of,” said Brown. “The elderly and those in long-term care facilities, public health officials and front-line workers need to be vaccinated.” The health unit follows the directives of the province and, as such, they will follow its decisions as to when the broader public can be vaccinated. “I haven’t missed a day of work because of COVID since it started,” said Green. “I work for the railway. They have stringent rules in place that we have to follow. I’m looking forward to a family vacation next February when everything gets back to normal.” “We have a good understanding of our shipment schedule through March and it’s about 3,500 doses per week,” said Williamson. “That’s all Pfizer. Beyond that, we are not sure. Vaccine supplies are on an upwards trajectory. We started out with 975 does of Pfizer, the first week we got it in January.” Staff at the centre will begin vaccinating the broader public as supply expands. The centre will be supplemented by mobile clinics later on. Those who sign up will have their contact information shared to public health for booking appointments. This can be done at www.wdgpublichealth.ca or by calling 1-800-265-7293. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 9:30 p.m. ET on Sunday March 7, 2021. There are 886,574 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 886,574 confirmed cases (30,268 active, 834,067 resolved, 22,239 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,489 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 79.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 18,880 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,697. There were 26 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 245 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 35. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 58.52 per 100,000 people. There have been 25,159,921 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,006 confirmed cases (91 active, 909 resolved, six deaths). There was one new case Sunday. The rate of active cases is 17.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 19 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 201,814 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 141 confirmed cases (26 active, 115 resolved, zero deaths). There were two new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 16.29 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of nine new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 112,416 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,659 confirmed cases (29 active, 1,565 resolved, 65 deaths). There were two new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 2.96 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 18 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 366,679 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,455 confirmed cases (36 active, 1,391 resolved, 28 deaths). There were two new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.61 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 25 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 242,695 tests completed. _ Quebec: 292,631 confirmed cases (7,100 active, 275,059 resolved, 10,472 deaths). There were 707 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 82.8 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,891 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 699. There were seven new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 79 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 122.13 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,452,036 tests completed. _ Ontario: 308,296 confirmed cases (10,389 active, 290,840 resolved, 7,067 deaths). There were 1,299 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 70.51 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,480 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,069. There were 15 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 87 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.96 per 100,000 people. There have been 11,205,314 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 32,225 confirmed cases (1,130 active, 30,188 resolved, 907 deaths). There were 56 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 81.93 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 366 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 52. There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 12 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.76 per 100,000 people. There have been 541,269 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 29,709 confirmed cases (1,517 active, 27,794 resolved, 398 deaths). There were 116 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 128.7 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,062 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 152. There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 13 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 33.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 590,938 tests completed. _ Alberta: 135,837 confirmed cases (4,949 active, 128,974 resolved, 1,914 deaths). There were 300 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 111.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,333 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 333. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 43.28 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,445,307 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 83,107 confirmed cases (4,975 active, 76,752 resolved, 1,380 deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 96.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,653 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 379. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 25 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.07 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.81 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,969,444 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,232 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (one active, 41 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 2.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,849 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 381 confirmed cases (25 active, 355 resolved, one deaths). There were four new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 63.53 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 24 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,852 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 7, 2021. The Canadian Press
U.S. crowd-safety company Evolv Technology said on Sunday it is combining with blank-check firm NewHold Investment Corp to go public in a deal that will value it at about $1.7 billion. Evolv is backed by investors including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and venture capital firm General Catalyst. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter, and the company expects to trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker "EVLV", according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news.
BEIJING — China’s foreign minister warned the Biden administration on Sunday to roll back former President Donald Trump’s “dangerous practice” of showing support for Taiwan, the island democracy claimed by Beijing as its own territory. The claim to Taiwan, which split with the mainland in 1949, is an “insurmountable red line,” Wang Yi said at a news conference during the annual meeting of China’s ceremonial legislature. The United States has no official relations with Taiwan but extensive informal ties. Trump irked Beijing by sending Cabinet officials to visit Taiwan in a show of support. “The Chinese government has no room for compromise,” Wang said. “We urge the new U.S. administration to fully understand the high sensitivity of the Taiwan issue” and “completely change the previous administration’s dangerous practices of ‘crossing the line’ and ‘playing with fire,’” he said. President Joe Biden says he wants a more civil relationship with Beijing but has shown no sign of softening Trump’s confrontational measures on trade, technology and human rights. Surveys show American public attitudes turning more negative toward China, which is seen as an economic and strategic competitor. Wang gave no indication how Beijing might react if Biden doesn't change course, but the ruling Communist Party has threatened to invade if Taiwan declares formal independence or delays talks on uniting with the mainland. The State Department later reiterated that the Biden administration's support for Taiwan was rock-solid and that the U.S. stood with its regional friends and allies, including “deepening our unofficial ties with democratic Taiwan.” “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives," said the statement issued late Sunday in Washington. Wang’s comments in a wide-ranging, two-hour news conference reflected Beijing’s increasing assertiveness abroad and rejection of criticism over Hong Kong, the northwestern region of Xinjiang and other sensitive topics. Wang defended proposed changes in Hong Kong that will tighten Beijing's control by reducing the role of its public in government. He dismissed complaints that erodes the autonomy promised to the former British colony when it returned to China in 1997. The changes announced Friday follow the arrest of 47 pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong under a national security law imposed last year following months of anti-government protests. Beijing needs to protect Hong Kong’s “transition from chaos to governance,” Wang said. The proposal would give a pro-Beijing committee a bigger role in picking Hong Kong legislators. That would be a marked reduction of democracy and Western-style civil liberties in Hong Kong. Mainland officials say they want to make sure the territory is controlled by people deemed patriots. “No one cares more about the development of democracy in Hong Kong than the central government,” Wang said. He said the changes will protect the “rights of Hong Kong residents and the legitimate interests of foreign investors.” Also Sunday, Wang rejected complaints Beijing’s treatment of predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang amounts to genocide. Human rights researchers say more than 1 million people, many of them members of the Uyghur minority, have been sent to detention camps. Chinese officials say they are trying to prevent extremism. “The so-called existence of genocide in Xinjiang is absurd. It is a complete lie fabricated with ulterior motives,” Wang said. He blamed “anti-China forces” that he said want to “undermine the security and stability of Xinjiang and hinder China’s development and growth.” Joe McDonald, The Associated Press
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Sunday March 7, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 57,567 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,387,189 doses given. Nationwide, 565,719 people or 1.5 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 6,298.772 per 100,000. There were 316,360 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,938,570 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 81.24 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. In the province, 1.61 per cent (8,427) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 5,850 new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 41,470 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.7 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,105 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 13,281 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 83.724 per 1,000. In the province, 3.32 per cent (5,273) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 1,170 new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 15,885 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 10 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 83.61 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 6,657 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 38,676 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 39.631 per 1,000. In the province, 1.48 per cent (14,395) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 11,700 new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 73,680 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 52.49 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. In the province, 1.56 per cent (12,142) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 9,360 new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 56,135 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 60.11 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 16,124 new vaccinations administered for a total of 548,136 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 64.06 per 1,000. There were zero 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 85.85 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 30,192 new vaccinations administered for a total of 890,604 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 60.63 per 1,000. In the province, 1.85 per cent (271,807) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 183,460 new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 1,086,745 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.95 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 2,106 new vaccinations administered for a total of 89,728 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 65.162 per 1,000. In the province, 2.20 per cent (30,334) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 124,840 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 71.87 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 1,428 new vaccinations administered for a total of 91,884 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 77.924 per 1,000. In the province, 2.38 per cent (28,011) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 18,540 new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 93,145 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 98.65 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 7,717 new vaccinations administered for a total of 290,391 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 65.967 per 1,000. In the province, 2.07 per cent (90,937) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 51,480 new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 326,445 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 88.96 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 311,208 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 60.646 per 1,000. In the province, 1.69 per cent (86,865) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 385,080 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 80.82 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 21,097 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 505.547 per 1,000. In the territory, 18.75 per cent (7,826) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 16,100 new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 35,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 84 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 60.28 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. In the territory, 10.10 per cent (4,558) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 16,200 new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 35,300 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 78 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 56.02 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 13,911 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 359.216 per 1,000. In the territory, 13.28 per cent (5,144) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 2,500 new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 26,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 68 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 52.69 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 7, 2021. The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES — In a wide-ranging interview aired Sunday, Harry and Meghan described painful discussions about the colour of their son’s skin, losing royal protection and the intense pressures that led the Duchess of Sussex to contemplate suicide. The interview with Oprah Winfrey was the couple’s first since they stepped down from royal duties and the two-hour special included numerous revelations likely to reverberate on both sides of the Atlantic. Harry told Winfrey that he felt trapped by royal life and was surprised that he was cut off financially and lost his security last year. He also said he felt his family did not support Meghan, who acknowledged her naivete about royal life before marrying Harry, as she endured tabloid attacks and false stories. Meghan, who is biracial, described that when she was first pregnant with son Archie, there were “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born.” The statement led Winfrey to ask “What,” incredulously and sit in silence for a moment. In a rare positive moment in the interview, Harry and Meghan revealed their second would be a girl. The interview opened with Winfrey gushing over Meghan’s pregnancy and lamenting that COVID-19 protocols kept them from hugging. The interview was in the United States a full day before it will air in Britain. The revelations aren't over: Winfrey teased additional bits of the interview would be shown Monday morning on CBS. In response to a question from Winfrey, Harry said he wouldn’t have left royal life if not for his wife, the actor formerly known as Meghan Markle who starred in the TV drama “Suits.” He said their relationship revealed the strictures of royal life. “I wouldn’t have been able to, because I myself was trapped,” Harry said. “I didn’t see a way out. “I was trapped, but I didn’t know I was trapped,” Harry said, before adding, “My father and my brother, they are trapped.” Harry acknowledged that he does not have a close relationship presently with his brother William, who is heir to the throne after their father, Prince Charles. Harry disputed rumours that he intentionally blindsided his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, with his decision to split. He suspects the rumours came from the institution. “I’ve never blindsided my grandmother,” he said. “I have too much respect for her.” Meghan, too, was complimentary toward the queen, despite saying at one point she realized some in the palace were willing to lie to “protect other members of the family.” “The queen has always been wonderful to me,” Meghan said. Winfrey at various points in the interview ran through headlines about Meghan and at one point asked about the mental health impact. Meghan responded that she experienced suicidal thoughts and had sought help through the palace’s human resources department, but was told there was nothing they could do. Meghan said she grew concerned about her son not having a royal title because it meant he wouldn't be provided security. Meghan said digesting everything during while pregnant was “very hard.” More than the “prince” title, she was the most concerned about her son’s safety and protection. “He needs to be safe,” a teary-eyed Meghan recalled. “We’re not saying don’t make him a prince or princess, whatever it’s going to be. But if you’re saying the title is going to affect their protection, we haven’t created this monster machine around us in terms of click bait and tabloid fodder. You’ve allowed that to happen, which means our son needs to be safe.” Meghan said it was hard for her to understand why there were concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin colour. She said it was hard for her to “compartmentalize” those conversations. Harry, too, said there are lasting impacts about Meghan's treatment and his relationship with his family. “There is a lot to work through there,” Harry said about his relationship with his father. “I feel really let down. He’s been through something similar. He knows what pain feels like. And Archie is his grandson. I will always love him, but there is a lot of hurt that has happened.” Harry said the royal family cut him off financially at the start of 2020 after announcing plans to step back from his roles. But he was able to afford security for his family because of the money his mother, Princess Diana, left behind. Sunday's interview special opened with Meghan describing how naive she was about the ground rules of royal life before she married her husband, Harry, nearly three years ago. “I didn’t fully understand what the job was,” she said. She also noted that she did not know how to curtsy before meeting Queen Elizabeth II for the first time, and didn't realize it would be necessary. “I will say I went into it naively because I didn’t grow up knowing much about the royal family,” Meghan said. “It wasn’t something that was part of conversation at home. It wasn’t something that we followed.” Meghan said she and Harry were aligned during their courtship because of their “cause-driven” work. But she did not fully comprehend the pressure of being linked to the prestigious royal family. “It’s easy to have an image of it that is so far from reality,” she said. “And that’s what was really tricky over those past few years, is when the perception and the reality are two very different things. And you’re being judged on the perception, but you’re living the reality of it. There’s a complete misalignment and there’s no way to explain that to people.” The couple married at Windsor Castle in May 2018, and their son, Archie, was born a year later. At the top of the interview, Winfrey said no topic was off limits and that Meghan and Harry were not being paid for the special. Royal interviews that aren't tied to a specific topic are rare, and prior televised sessions have often proved problematic. Prince Andrew’s 2019 BBC interview about his links with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein led to his own departure from royal duties after he failed to show empathy for Epstein’s victims. Harry and Meghan’s departure from royal duties began in March 2020 over what they described as the intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media toward the duchess. In Britain, the interview is seen as poorly timed. It will air while Harry’s 99-year-old grandfather Prince Philip remains hospitalized in London after undergoing a heart procedure. It is unclear what public reaction, if any, the queen and other royal family members will have to Sunday’s interview. The U.K.'s Sunday Times newspaper, citing an anonymous source, reported that the queen would not watch it. ___ Kelvin Chan in London contributed to this report. Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press
Toyota Motor Corp's first venture capital fund is investing in startups that help the Japanese automaker refine everyday processes by bringing sharper supply-chain management and robotics to the factory floor, a fund executive said. The Silicon Valley-based Toyota AI Ventures fund, with $200 million under management, has so far invested in 36 early-stage startups, including self-driving car software firm Nauto, factory video analytics company Drishti and air mobility firm Joby Aviation. Toyota, the world's largest automaker by vehicle sales, and many car companies such as Volkswagen AG are funnelling money into startups to help gain an edge in artificial intelligence as investor interest shifts to self-driving cars.
OCALA, Fla. — Austin Ernst won the Drive On Championship on Sunday for her third LPGA Tour title, pulling away to beat fellow former NCAA champion Jennifer Kupcho by five strokes at Golden Ocala. Tied for the lead with Kupcho after each of the first two rounds and a stroke ahead entering the day, Ernst closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the wire-to-wire victory at 15-under 273. “I think it’s just really cool to be in the heat of it all week and to be able to perform the way I did,” Ernst said. “To hit the shots I hit, and to shoot the scores I shot, I think it’s just kind of testament to me, that I can do this week in and week out and just if I have a little belief myself kind of what I can do.” Kupcho, coming off a closing eagle Saturday, had a double bogey and three bogeys in a 74. Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., finished in a tie for 44th place at 2-over 290. Calgary's Jaclyn Lee finished in a tie for 62nd after shooting a 7-over 295. Following sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda in the first two events of the year, Ernst gave the United States three straight victories to open a season for the first time since 2007. “I think the difference this week even just the last week was I just fully committed to believing in what I do and that it’s good enough,” said Ernst, who missed the cut last week in the Gainbridge LPGA with rounds of 75 and 72. “I think this week proved that it’s more than good enough. It was fun to walk up and know that I was going to win. I haven’t had that yet, so that was fun.” The 29-year-old former LSU star from South Carolina, showing her school spirit Sunday with a purple shirt, also won the 2014 Portland Classic and the 2020 NW Arkansas Championship. She won the NCAA title in 2011. With brother Drew — a former player at Coastal Carolina — working as her caddie, Ernst birdied Nos. 4-7 to get to 17 under, but dropped back with bogeys on Nos. 12 and 13. “Walked to 14 and Drew just told me, `Hey, you’re playing great. Just keep doing what you want to do and let’s just make a few birdies coming in,'" Ernst said. “Didn’t make any birdies, but played well coming in, and that made it easy.” Kupcho birdied 10 and 12 to pull within three strokes of Ernst, then bogeyed 14, made the double bogey on the par-3 15th and bogeyed 17. She played most of the back nine in the opening round Thursday with a migraine that blurred her vision. “I set myself up after 12 to be able to make a little bit of a move,” Kupcho said.” I just missed a pretty easy up-and-down, honestly, on 13, and obviously missed the putt on 14. ... But I didn’t really think it was over until I hit the tee shot on 15. Everyone hits bad shots. It’s just unfortunate that’s when mine came for the week.” Winless on the tour, the former 23-year-old former Wake Forest star from Colorado won the NCAA title in 2018 and the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019. “Just work on getting stronger and continuing to focus on my game,” Kupcho said. “Pretty much the same thing I did over the off-season. I think it will be nice to have a little bit of a break for sure for a couple days.” Jenny Coleman made it a 1-2-3 U.S. finish, closing with a 71 to get to 8 under. “It helps boost my confidence and know I have the game to be out here and I deserve to be out here,” the 28-year-old former Colorado player said. In Gee Chun of South Korea was fourth at 7 under after a 69. Switzerland's Albane Valenzuela was another stroke back after a 73. Nelly Korda, tied with Ernst and Kupcho for the first-round lead, had weekend rounds of 76 and 75 to tie for 28th at even par. Jessica Korda shot a 71 to tie for eighth at 4 under. The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The United States and South Korea have reached agreement in principle on a new arrangement for sharing the cost of the American troop presence, which is intended as a bulwark against the threat of North Korean aggression, both countries announced. The State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs said Sunday the deal includes a “negotiated increase” in Seoul’s share of the cost, but it provided no details. The Bureau wrote on Twitter that the agreement, if finalized, would reaffirm the U.S.-South Korean treaty alliance as “the linchpin of peace, security and prosperity for Northeast Asia.” South Korea’s Foreign Ministry on Monday issued a similar statement, saying the two countries are seeking to tentatively sign the deal. It said the agreement came after three days of face-to-face talks in Washington. The U.S. keeps about 28,000 troops in South Korea to help deter potential aggression from North Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War. But how much South Korea should pay for the American military presence was a thorny issue in bilateral relations under the Trump administration, which often asked its Asian ally to drastically increase its share. In 2019, the allies struck a deal that required South Korea to pay about $924 million (1.04 trillion won) for the U.S. troops presence, an increase from $830 million in the previous year. But negotiations for a new cost-sharing plan broke down over a U.S. demand that Seoul pay five times what it previously had paid. The State Department said in a statement that the increase in the South’s share of the cost was “meaningful" but was not more specific. The Wall Street Journal, which was first to report the agreement, said it would last through 2025. South Korea's Foreign Ministry said it couldn't immediately confirm the report. In its statement, the State Department said: “America’s alliances are a tremendous source of our strength. This development reflects the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to reinvigorating and modernizing our democratic alliances around the word to advance our shared security and prosperity.” Many conservatives in South Korea worried that then-President Donald Trump might use failed cost-sharing negotiations as an excuse to withdraw some U.S. troops in South Korea as a bargaining chip in now-stalled nuclear talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The U.S. and South Korea had also halted or cancelled some of their military exercises in recent years to support the nuclear diplomacy, which eventually fell apart due to disputes over U.S.-led sanctions on North Korea. On Monday, the South Korea and U.S militaries kicked off annual military drills that would last for nine days. South Korea’s military said the drills are command post exercises and computerized simulation and don’t involve field training. It said the allies reviewed factors like the status of COVID-19 and diplomatic efforts to resume the nuclear talks with North Korea when it decided to hold the drills. It's unclear how North Korea would respond to the drills. In the past, the North often called regular U.S.-South Korea drills an invasion rehearsal and responded with missile tests. Lee Jong-joo, South Korea's Unification Ministry spokeswoman, said Monday that Seoul hopes Pyongyang would act flexibly and wisely in response to its efforts to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula. The prospect for a new cost-sharing plan has been heightened as the Biden administration has been seeking to bolster its alliance with South Korean and other countries. South Korea began paying for the U.S. military deployment in the early 1990s, after rebuilding its economy from the devastation of the Korean War. The big U.S. military presence in South Korea is a symbol of the countries’ alliance but also a source of long-running anti-American sentiments. ___ Associated Press writer Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report. Robert Burns And Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
While the federal Liberal government vowed in its 2015 election campaign to end water advisories in Indigenous communities by the end of March 2021, a recent report from the auditor general says they haven’t taken action to make this happen. Auditor General Karen Hogan says 100 water advisories have been lifted since the Liberals came to power, but 60 remain across 41 communities. “I am very concerned and honestly disheartened that this longstanding issue is still not resolved,” said Hogan, who presented her report to parliament in late-February. “Access to safe drinking water is a basic human necessity. I don’t believe anyone would say that this is in any way an acceptable situation in Canada in 2021.” She attributes this situation in part to an outdated funding model that hasn’t been changed in 30 years, as well as the lack of a regulatory regime similar to those in settler communities. “Until these solutions are implemented, First Nations communities will continue to experience challenges in accessing safe drinking water,” Hogan’s report reads. Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller, whose government has contributed $3 billion to address the issue, acknowledged in December that the government would not meet its target. He says he accepts the report’s findings and that the government is committed to fully funding operating and maintenance costs. Although COVID-19 is to blame for some of the delays, Hogan’s report says that delays were apparent in early-March 2020. Miller didn’t provide a concrete date by which the AG’s recommendations will be fully implemented. “While there are some plans in place or under development, those solutions won’t be in place until at least 2025; that’s a very long time for a community to go without safe drinking water,” said Hogan. In a statement, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde called on the government to make ending water advisories an urgent priority. “Access to safe, clean water is more important now than ever to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep us all safe,” said Bellegarde. “I want to see significant and sustained investments in water treatment and water distribution for First Nations, a renewed commitment by the federal government to end boil water advisories within realistic timelines and real investments in First Nations infrastructure to close the infrastructure gap by 2030.” Chief Bellegarde highlighted the importance of water to Indigenous people, not only as a source of sustenance but spiritually. “Water is sacred to First Nations and key to the health and well-being of all living things,” he said. “We must see the human right to safe drinking water prioritized by our government partners. Sustained funding, including investments in operations and maintenance that reflect the true costs, not formula-driven numbers, is the only way to address long-standing issues and ensure safe drinking water for our people and nations.” NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says the AG’s findings demonstrate the Liberals’ flakiness when it comes to upholding Indigenous rights. “There is no excuse that anyone in our country doesn’t have access to clean drinking water, particularly the first people of this land,” he said. This sentiment was also expressed by Conservative Indigenous Services critic Gary Vidal. “Government success isn’t measured by funding announcements, it’s measured by outcomes, and it is unacceptable that any Canadian is without clean drinking water,” said Vidal. “The Liberals like to make eye-catching promises in order to win elections but their consistent failure to deliver on these promises is undermining trust and hurting reconciliation.” The water advisories are based on quality tests and fall into three categories — boil water advisories, which require the water to be boiled for consumption, and use in cooking and cleaning; do not consume advisories, which means the water can only be used for adult bathing; and do not use. Most advisories fall into the boil category, according to Hogan’s audit. According to reporting from APTN, 15 percent of First Nations homes depend on water delivered to them in trucks, while thousands rely on cisterns attached to their homes. That’s because the government’s $1.74 billion dedicated to water infrastructure in First Nations communities doesn’t include enough funds for the pipelines needed to bring water from the treatment plants directly to people’s homes. Perry Mcleod, a water treatment plant operator in Peepeekisis First Nation in Saskatchewan, said he’s found dead mice, snakes and a car battery in water cisterns he’s cleaned. “They’re always testing positive for E. coli and bacterias and whatever,” said Mcleod. “There’s standing boil water advisories on all the cisterns and we’re never going to lift it, until we get water trucked, or our water piped to every household.” Jeremy Appel is a LJI reporter for Alberta Native News. Jeremy Appel, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alberta Native News
Nominations for this year’s Everyday Hero Awards are now open. The Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) is looking for the school community to select a person who went above and beyond in the school system. Nominations are open until March 26 and are collected digitally. “This year more than ever, it is important to host these awards to celebrate folks in our system, have something positive to look forward to, and also to recognize those individuals who go beyond what is expected of them to contribute to a positive and thriving learning and working environment,” said board chair Martha MacNeil. Winners will be honoured during a virtual ceremony on May 10 at 7 p.m. More information at the virtual ceremony will be communicated by the board closer to the date. The first ceremony was held for the 2007 to 2008 school year. The board of trustees established the Everyday Hero Awards to celebrate staff, students and community members in our school system. “The Everyday Hero Awards are important to our Board because their goal is to publicly recognize those individuals in our school system who continually go above and beyond for students and staff,” said MacNeil. Eligible candidates for the awards include UGDSB employees, students, community members or volunteers. Nominations can be for an individual or for a group that has made a difference to the school system. “When nominating an individual or group, people should reflect on whether the nominee performs their duties at a high level at all times, has made a significant school or system-related achievement, or has a unique circumstance that would be considered worthy of recognition,” said Megan Sicoli, communications administrative officer. Criteria for the award include the performance of duties at a high level, a significant school or system-related achievement, a specific innovation or achievement of substantial value or importance to the system, or a unique circumstance considered worthy of recognition by the board. “Nominators should also consider that the selection committee takes into consideration not only the achievements of the nominee but also the quality of the nomination package,” said Sicoli. “That said, before submitting their nomination package, nominators should look at whether they have supporting documentation from more than one person or organization and that their nomination package was put together with quality and care.” Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
A new food delivery service offers an alternative selection of fresh food right to your door. Orangeville Vegan Meals provides healthy vegan and gluten-free meals. This includes green curry, baked orange tofu with broccoli and rice, chunky lentil stew, vegan cookies and brownies and more. “One of my favourite things is to cook,” said Blake Speers, owner of Orangeville Vegan Meals. “I wanted to do that on a wide scale. I was inspired by catering companies, but I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do.” With Orangeville Vegan Meals, families can buy ready-made meals or freeze them and not spend time cooking in a kitchen. Those interested can visit orangevilleveganmeals.com, view a menu and check out products worth trying. Orders should be in by Wednesday at noon for delivery on Thursdays between 4 and 8 p.m. The menu changes every week. Delivery to Orangeville, Alton and Mono is complimentary, while a $50 order minimum is required for Erin, Hillsburg, Elora, and Fergus residents. Speers has been vegan for six years now. She does not miss cheese or meat. She became a vegan after noticing there was a lot of cholesterol in eggs and meat that can clog arteries. “In vegan meals, there’s no cholesterol at all,” said Speers. “Your cholesterol is monitored by your own body.” Foods that are high in saturated and trans fats increase blood cholesterol levels, she said adding it may increase one's risk of developing heart disease. She developed the business at the end of August 2020, working with two to three cooks and two delivery drivers who dropped off her food to families in Dufferin Country. “It was like a dream come true because I was doing social media for other people, but then I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for it, if I wanted to have a company,” said Speers. “Once I thought about the idea, I was inspired to create the social posts and websites. I find it fun, mostly.” She rents out a commercial kitchen in Orangeville to make all the food, saying that the business has been good so far. “It keeps growing,” said Speers. “The most popular items have been the green curry and banana bread.” Other menu items include vegan cheeses, cookies, soups and burrito bowls. She previously cooked healthy meals for families with a busy lifestyle working as a nanny for five years. Speers plans to attend farmers markets in the summer to showcase her palette of food. “I went to one last year called the Mom’s Market at Hockley Valley, and I also went to one at GoYoga last summer.” When not in the kitchen or practising yoga, Speers can be found at one of her favourite Mexican or Thai restaurants. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner