Dozens of Americans are rolling up their sleeves for a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine; The lastest shots are tweaked to guard against a worrisome mutated version of the virus. (April 12)
Dozens of Americans are rolling up their sleeves for a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine; The lastest shots are tweaked to guard against a worrisome mutated version of the virus. (April 12)
NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus unveiled on Thursday a phased rollback of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions over the next month, including a shortened curfew and a reopening of all schools next week. But the island will demand the compulsory display of proof of vaccination, virus testing or convalescence from COVID-19 in areas where people gather in numbers — including restaurants and churches — together with mask-wearing and social distancing. A strict, two-week lockdown has curbed the record-high number of infections, although some health officials had wanted restrictions to be slightly extended. Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou told a news conference that the primary purpose of the rollback that starts May 10 is to “lift the spirits of the public after months of sacrifices,” without jeopardizing public health by abolishing all restrictions at one go. He said some restrictions will remain in place until at least the end of June, when authorities hope to have 60-65% of the population vaccinated. As of next week, people will no longer need to secure text message permission to leave home. There will be caps on capacity at bars, restaurants, malls and parks that will be gradually increased from 30% to 50% over the next few weeks. Retail stores, gyms and hair dressing salons will also reopen. But Ioannou said people will need to display to police either a vaccination card, a health services text message proving convalescence from COVID-19 or a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours prior to an outing at any place where people gather en masse. Some exceptions will be made, including for going to supermarkets, pharmacies, beaches, parks and outdoor farmers' markets where people will be simply required to wear masks and keep distances. Ioannou said the measure will be “temporary” and authorities are working on a smartphone application to simplify the procedure. Authorities said already a third of Cyprus’ population of roughly 875,000 people have received at least one shot as part of a ramped-up vaccination program that’s seen as key to buoying the tourism-reliant country’s chances of attracting more vacationers. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has given a commercial fishing wharf in Nova Scotia to a First Nations entity over objections from the local harbour authority. Ownership of the Tickle Wharf in Canso was transferred this spring for $1 to the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs. As part of the handover, DFO spent $346,000 repairing the wharf in 2020. The transfer was opposed by the Canso Harbour Authority, which manages the small but historic port on the province's Eastern Shore. Chair Robert Anderson said the authority repeatedly asked DFO to maintain the L-shaped wharf located on the community's outskirts. "We didn't agree with the divestiture," Anderson told CBC News. "We were trying to get money from them for years to try to do the necessary repairs to it and they wouldn't give us any money. It is being used by the fishers at the other end of town here." 'We wanted to maintain the lease' The transfer came at the end of what had been a routinely renewed five-year lease between DFO's small craft harbours division and the harbour authority. The lease expired March 31, 2021. Anderson said the harbour authority's opposition to the transfer has nothing to do with First Nations. "No, it's not that," he said. "We had the lease in place since we formed the harbour authority and the wharf was being used by the local fishers. We wanted to maintain that lease. We wanted it renewed." The wharf in Canso is the second recent transfer to First Nations in Nova Scotia. The Canada Creek Wharf on the Bay of Fundy in Kings County was given to the Annapolis Valley First Nation for $1 after DFO spent $1.9 million on improvements in 2019. "We're always looking at ways to make sure that we're best serving communities. And that's one of the ways we're doing it," Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan told CBC News. Could be used for moderate livelihood It is not clear exactly what will happen to the Tickle Wharf in Canso. The legal entity given ownership is Kwilmu'kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office, the consultation and treaty advocacy body of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs. The office's director of consultation, Twila Gaudet, declined to reveal plans for the wharf, but said it could be used in pursuit of treaty fishing rights. "At this point, decisions on how these [wharfs] will be used have yet to be made public. There is always a potential that the decision could be to use it for moderate livelihood purposes," Gaudet said in a statement. Tickle Wharf deemed surplus in 2018 DFO said the wharf transfer is not connected to treaty fishing rights but was a standard divestiture like any other asset under the department's small craft harbours division. The Tickle Wharf was deemed "low activity," declared surplus in 2018 and offered to other federal agencies, levels of government, and First Nations. The Kwilmu'kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office expressed an interest in acquiring the property and the transfer was negotiated, DFO said in a statement. "These transfers were conducted as part of a small craft harbour's divestiture process and are not related to the Marshall decisions or the implementation of a moderate livelihood fishery by First Nations," DFO said in a statement. Local fishermen must vacate wharf in 5 years Anderson said the handful of commercial fishermen who use the wharf today have five years before they have to find another place to tie up. He said DFO has indicated there is room for them elsewhere in Canso. "After the period ends in five years, they'll tie up at the wharf down in town, which is quite a ways away from their home, you know, to go check in on the boat," he said. MORE TOP STORIES
OTTAWA — Liberal MP Anthony Housefather says the federal government will not be taking part in 20th-anniversary events for an international conference where Israel was singled out for condemnation. In a Twitter post today, the lawmaker says Ottawa confirmed it will avoid the gathering in South Africa known as Durban IV, which he says "continues to be used to push anti-Israel sentiment and as a forum for anti-Semitism." The United States and Australia have also stated they will steer clear of events commemorating the 2001 Durban Declaration. The coming event, slated for Sept. 22 and authorized by the United Nations, will mark 20 years since the World Conference on Racism in Durban. The initial conference was consumed by clashes over the Middle East and the legacy of slavery, prompting the U.S. and Israel to walk out during a meeting over a draft resolution that censured Israel and likened Zionism to racism. B'nai Brith Canada chief executive Michael Mostyn says he is "very encouraged" that Ottawa continues to boycott what his group calls a "profoundly flawed" process tinged with anti-Semitism. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The top U.S general for Africa is warning that a growing threat from China may come not just from the waters of the Pacific but from the Atlantic as well. U.S. Gen. Stephen Townsend, in an interview with The Associated Press, said Beijing is looking to establish a large navy port capable of hosting submarines or aircraft carriers on Africa’s western coast. Townsend said China has approached countries stretching from Mauritania to south of Namibia, intent on establishing a naval facility. If realized, that prospect would enable China to base warships in its expanding Navy in the Atlantic as well as Pacific oceans. “They’re looking for a place where they can rearm and repair warships. That becomes militarily useful in conflict,” said Townsend, who heads U.S. Africa Command. “They’re a long way toward establishing that in Djibouti. Now they’re casting their gaze to the Atlantic coast and wanting to get such a base there.” Townsend's warnings come as the Pentagon shifts its focus from the counterterrorism wars of the last two decades to the Indo-Pacific region and threats from great power adversaries like China and Russia. The Biden administration views China's rapidly expanding economic influence and military might as America's primary long-term security challenge. U.S. military commanders around the globe, including several who may lose troops and resources to bolster growth in the Pacific, caution that China's growing assertiveness isn't simply happening in Asia. And they argue that Beijing is aggressively asserting economic influence over countries in Africa, South America and the Middle East, and is pursuing bases and footholds there. “The Chinese are outmanoeuvring the U.S. in select countries in Africa," said Townsend. “Port projects, economic endeavours, infrastructure and their agreements and contracts will lead to greater access in the future. They are hedging their bets and making big bets on Africa.” China's first overseas naval base was built years ago in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa and it is steadily increasing its capacity. Townsend said as many as 2,000 military personnel are at the base, including hundreds of Marines who handle security there. “They have arms and munitions for sure. They have armoured combat vehicles. We think they will soon be basing helicopters there to potentially include attack helicopters,” said Townsend. For some time, many have thought that China was working to establish a Navy base in Tanzania, a country on Africa's eastern coast, that has had a strong, longstanding military relationship with Beijing. But Townsend said it appears there's been no decision on that yet. He said that while China has been trying hard to get a base in Tanzania, it's not the location he's most concern about. “It's on the Indian Ocean side," he said. “I want it to be in Tanzania instead of on the Atlantic coast. The Atlantic coast concerns me greatly," he said, pointing to the relatively shorter distance from Africa's west coast to the U.S. In nautical miles, a base on Africa's northern Atlantic coast could be substantially closer to the U.S. than military facilities in China are to America's western coast. More specifically, other U.S. officials say the Chinese have been eyeing locations for a port in the Gulf of Guinea. The Defence Department's 2020 report on China's military power, said China has likely considered adding military facilities to support its naval, air and ground forces in Angola, among other locations. And it noted that the large amount of oil and liquefied natural gas imported from Africa and the Middle East, make those regions a high priority for China over the next 15 years. Henry Tugendhat, a senior policy analyst with the United States Institute of Peace, said China has a lot of economic interests on Africa's west coast, including fishing and oil. China also has helped finance and build a large commercial port in Cameroon. He said that any effort by Beijing to get a naval port on the Atlantic coast would be an expansion of China's military presence. But the desire for ocean access, he said, may be primarily for economic gain, rather than military capabilities. Townsend and other regional military commanders laid out their concerns about China during recent congressional hearings. He, along with Adm. Craig Faller, head of U.S. Southern Command, and Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, are battling to retain their military forces, aircraft and surveillance assets as the Pentagon continues to review the shift to great power competition. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin is conducting a global posture review to determine if America's military might is positioned where it needs to be, and in the right numbers, around the world to best maintain global dominance. That review is expected to be finished in late summer. Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press
A former Saskatoon police officer has joined the ranks of "crackpots" who spread COVID-19 misinformation online, says a professor who specializes in social media. University of Regina professor of educational technology and media Alec Couros says these conspiracy theorists will do their best to "leverage" the statements made in an eight-minute Facebook video by former officer Nathan Lynchuk. "They reject most science. They reject most experts. But when they find a dissenter, they latch onto them because it fits their particular narrative," Couros said. Lynchuk was identified at a recent anti-mask children's festival in downtown Saskatoon. A crowd of maskless parents hugged and talked without physical distancing while their kids played games and got their faces painted. Saskatoon police have issued nearly a dozen tickets so far to those in attendance for violating public health laws. The current legal maximum gathering size is 10 people. In the Facebook video posted this week, Lynchuk said he was assigned temporary desk duty and told he'd have to be tested while the matter was investigated. Lynchuk said he decided to quit. A large crowd attended a maskless children's festival at a downtown Saskatoon park on Saturday in violation of public health laws which limit outdoor gatherings to 10 people. No tickets have been issued.(CBC) Lynchuk said the children's event was simply a group of "normal people" who believe in freedom. He dismissed the seriousness of COVID, saying most people who contract it don't get sick. He said he didn't want to follow the government's agenda anymore. "I haven't been believing in what's being enforced," Lynchuk. Lynchuk could not be reached for comment Thursday. Couros said Lynchuk is "parroting" many of the anti-science conspiracy theories floating around the internet. Couros said any message from a former police officer will have an impact, but that he hopes it will be limited. "It becomes very powerful, especially for those who already believe and who already drink this Kool-Aid. It may bring a few people over, but most people will probably see right through this," he said. Public health physician Dr. Cory Neudorf said COVID-19 being a major threat should be obvious to everyone, especially to police officers and other front-line emergency responders. He said Lynchuk's video makes it harder to educate the public and keep everyone safe. "It just adds to confusion for people. I don't think this is the view of the majority of police or their leadership," Neudorf said. University of Regina professor Alec Courose says COVID-19 conspiracy theorists will latch on to anyone in authority who makes a statement matching their anti-science beliefs.(Submitted by Alec Couros) Neudorf said COVID-19 restrictions are an attempt to keep people safe, similar to impaired driving or speeding laws. He said they need to be enforced to be taken seriously. Neudorf agreed laws must not infringe on freedoms unnecessarily, but said COVID-19 laws are a temporary, reasonable response to a global threat. The Saskatoon Police Service declined to comment on Lynchuk or the video, but did say in an email that police are "committed to upholding and enforcing the restrictions under the Public Health Order in our community's fight against COVID-19." The Saskatchewan Health Authority also sent an email response. It said the SHA is "highly concerned" about these continued "freedom" rallies and anti-masking events spreading misinformation. "This is not only offensive but dangerous, as it publicly downplays the significant risk of harm and death created by community transmission of this virus," read the statement.
OTTAWA — The federal government is being asked to give new and soon-to-be moms a Mother's Day gift by closing a hole in the safety net preventing some from having their maternity leave fully covered. As is, eligible workers need a minimum number of hours on the job to qualify for employment insurance benefits, including maternity and parental leave. But many moms have been unable to work because of pandemic-related job losses, and been caught by the EI safety net. When a new mother receiving regular benefits gives birth, they have to file a new claim for maternity and parental benefits, meaning they need to meet the hours requirement anew, even though they have been unable to work because of the pandemic. Opposition critics say they worry new parents might be forced to stay home without income support, or potentially be forced to look for work before they're ready and able. The Conservatives are asking the Liberals to allow expecting mothers to qualify for their full employment insurance parental leave, even if they are currently receiving federal unemployment aid. The call follows a similar request made by the federal New Democrats to Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough that said a current workaround to allow unemployed mothers to qualify for EI wasn't working. Qualtrough told the House of Commons on Thursday that she would look at how to improve the EI system for workers, and mothers in particular. "Women, of course as we know, they've been hit the hardest through this pandemic," Qualtrough said in question period. "We are there for all Canadian workers, women in particular, and we are committed to modernizing our EI system to be even more there for them." It was just ahead of Mother's Day last year that the Liberals dealt with another unexpected flaw in the pandemic safety net where women who identified as pregnant on their EI applications weren't automatically moved over to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Since the EI system kicked back up in late September, just over 298,000 parents have received maternity and parental leave benefits for a combined value of nearly $2.7 billion, according to the latest federal data. A handful of mothers-to-be worried they won't be able to qualify for their full benefits told Conservative critic Raquel Dancho their stories during a virtual roundtable on Thursday morning. Some spoke about not knowing how they would pay the bills, expressed frustrations at ongoing parental leave issues, and highlighted how they're now scrambling to make the hours hoping that they can work enough. "These are real situations with women and men ... trying to figure out how to do this at a very uncertain time," Dancho said at the end of the roundtable. "It's an overwhelming time as it is, let alone now, and I think a lot of you really nailed it when you said, you know, parents have dealt with so much this year and now this is just one more thing and deeply unfair." Federal officials had come up with a workaround to the hours issue, giving a blanket, one-time credit to applicants who weren't able to work because of the pandemic and needed federal aid. In a letter last month to Qualtrough, NDP critic Daniel Blaikie noted some expectant mothers had the credit applied to their EI claims even though they had enough hours, which then made it impossible for them to have enough hours to access their maternity leave once their baby comes. He suggested the government consider giving expecting parents an option to set aside their one-time credit of insurable hours to use instead for qualifying for maternity and parental leave. "It's so frustrating to not see any kind of co-ordinated and systematic policy response on the part of the government," Blaikie said in an interview. "There's more than one way to solve this problem. What you need is that will and the volition on the part of government to make it a priority, and I can't figure out why that's not something that they're willing to focus in on." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
The Canadian dollar hit its highest level in almost four years on Thursday, buoyed by high commodity prices The loonie was changing hands at 82.08 cents US early in the afternoon, its highest level since September 2017. Two broad trends are combining to push the loonie higher. First, the improving outlook for the global economy coming out of COVID-19 has pushed up prices for commodities that Canada has a lot of. Lumber prices have hit record highs due to a construction boom, and the price of a barrel of the North American oil benchmark, known as West Texas Intermediate, topped $65 US this week, its highest level since the pandemic started. The price of wheat has hit its highest price since 2013, and copper prices are at a nine-year high, too. An index of commodity prices has risen by 37 per cent in the past six months alone Bank of Canada economist Doug Porter noted recently. "This six-month run rivals anything we have seen in the past 50 years," he said. Booming commodity prices are a boon for Canada's economy, which is pushing up the value of the country's currency. Potential of higher rates That commodity boom is happening as Canada's central bank shows signs of hiking its benchmark interest rate far sooner than most other countries. At its policy meeting last week, the Bank of Canada said it would slow its pace of bond buying, a sign it thinks the economy may soon need less stimulus. Trading in financial instruments known as swaps, that bet on rate decisions, implies the market thinks the Bank of Canada may hike rates as many as two times by the end of next year. "Meanwhile, you have the U.S. Federal Reserve showing no inclination to go down that route," said David Doyle, economist and market strategist with Macquarie Group, in an interview with CBC News. If Canada raises its rate while other countries do not, that makes Canada look more attractive for investors as a place to put their money to work. So money would pour into the country, and by extension, push up the value of the currency. "The Canadian dollar tends to respond positively to those circumstances," Doyle said. Audrey Childe-Freeman, a foreign exchange strategist with Bloomberg Intelligence, thinks Canada's currency could be poised for further gains. "In a … currency market that's gone back to being mainly driven by yields and growth prospects, and providing … commodity prices consolidate or push up more, we believe the loonie may continue to outperform," she said in a recent note to clients.
The municipality of North Cowichan, B.C., is stepping up patrols of the region's forest reserve, after an increase in timber theft in the area, which lies 70 kilometres north of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Since January, approximately 100 trees, including Douglas fir and Western red cedars have been poached and local residents and officials believe the spike is likely tied to the surge in lumber prices. North Cowichan resident Larry Pynn stumbled upon a large cedar tree stump along slabs of crudely cut wood while he was out for a walk two weeks ago in a forested area known as Stoney Hill. "I immediately thought that this had to be the work of a poacher," he said in an interview with CBC News. "Something like this is not being taken for firewood. It's a valuable tree." Pynn estimated the tree was 87 years old because he counted the rings on the remaining stump. At least four Western red cedars and dozens of Douglas fir trees have been cut down and removed in a number of areas within the forest reserve in North Cowichan. (Submitted by Larry Pynn) Not far from it, the mossy ground had been torn up by what appeared to be ATV tracks. Local officials say it's not clear who took the tree or how they managed to get it out of the woods, but it is one of several large trees that have been poached since the beginning of the year in the North Cowichan Municipal Forest Reserve. Community forest The 5,000-hectare forest is owned by the municipality and is part of the coastal Douglas fir ecosystem, which is considered endangered because of logging and development. While the area has been logged in the past, the activity is on hold while the community and nearby First Nations discuss how to manage the forest going forward. Municipal officials say they have learned of several timber thefts in recent months, including one incident where 50 Douglas fir trees were taken. "It was definitely a concentrated effort," said Shaun Mason, the municipal forester for North Cowichan. "That is something we haven't seen in the past before and what is more concerning is that other areas are popping up despite our efforts to try and curb it." The municipality says it has stepped up patrols and increased signage as a result of the increasing number of trees being poached.(Briar Stewart/CBC) Mason said patrols are now taking place in the forest seven days a week, up from about once a week. However, he said it is a challenge to try to cover a vast and densely wooded area. The municipality is also considering installing cameras at certain locations in the forest. Under North Cowichan's bylaws, a person can be fined $200 if they "remove forest products without a permit." Penalties questioned When it comes to trees taken from provincial Crown land, the penalty could be as much as $1 million, but legal experts say those who are caught are usually fined just $173. "It's really important that people feel that if they are caught, that there will be real consequences and a $200 penalty doesn't cut it," said Andrew Gage, a lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law who reviewed a provincial database that detailed the fines levied by the province. The B.C. ministry responsible for forests said that in the past 10 years, it has issued 728 penalties to people who removed or destroyed Crown timber without authorization. Together, the fines totalled more than $500,000. WATCH: Resident Larry Pynn describes why he thinks trees are being stolen: Soaring lumber prices In North Cowichan, officials are considering increasing the financial penalties to try to deter theft at a time when lumber prices are soaring and even selling firewood can be lucrative. According to the provincial government, the current price for two-by-fours of B.C. spruce, pine or fir is $1,420 per thousand board feet. In 2020, the average price was $570. Cedar, which is more valuable, is currently going for $1,700 per thousand board feet. Dozens of Douglas fir trees have been found cut down in numerous sites in the forest reserve.(Submitted by Larry Pynn) Terry Sunderland, a professor in the faculty of forestry at the University of British Columbia, said he believes rising prices are the main driver for timber theft, and it is crime of opportunity with low technical requirements: the only equipment a poacher would need is a chainsaw and a way to haul the wood out, such as a pickup truck. He said in order to move and sell timber legally, wood has to be imprinted with a stamp issued by the province. However a growing demand for bespoke products like rustic tables could be fuelling a black market. Damage left behind For Icel Dobell, a North Cowichan resident who roams the forest reserve daily and is co-founder of a local group trying to preserve it, the issue is much bigger than just the missing trees. Those who are hauling away the wood are driving trucks and quads into sensitive ecological areas. Icel Dobell has been organizing a movement to permanently protect the community forest and is disappointed someone has been logging it on their own. (Briar Stewart/CBC) "The biggest issue is this damage, this destruction," she said referring to the muddy ruts in the ground. She also wants to see an increase in penalties, but said the community is mobilizing and keeping an eye on the woods. "More and more people are watching and so hopefully that will be another deterrent." WATCH: Tree thefts spark calls for more enforcement:
Taxi drivers and Uber drivers perform the same work, but Uber's categorization as a tech company has contributed to the historical stigma against taxi drivers.
EDMONTON — Alberta's top doctor says it's very likely that second doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be offered within less than four months of the first as supplies ramp up. The province authorized a 16-week interval in order to get as many people protected with their first shots as possible while vaccine shipments remained uncertain. For Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the drug makers say the gaps between doses should be three weeks and one month, respectively. "I want to be clear that that four-month interval was always a maximum," Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday. "We were never planning to require a wait of four months. It was really about we would not have anyone go beyond four months, but if we can offer it sooner, we will." People on immunosuppressive drugs, like chemotherapy, are already being offered their second shots in a shortened time frame, Hinshaw said. She noted that for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, there is evidence that a 12-week wait between doses is more effective than a shorter interval. As of Monday, all Albertans born in 2009 and earlier will be able to book their first shot. On Thursday, some 100,000 people born in 1991 and earlier booked their first vaccine appointments. After that, the province will be able to start offering followup doses, Hinshaw said. So far, 1.73 million doses of vaccine have been given in Alberta. Alberta recorded 2,211 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths on Thursday. There were 654 people in hospital, including 146 in intensive care. More than 11 per cent of tests came back positive. Hinshaw also reiterated that the province is no longer testing every positive COVID-19 swab for variants. Instead, labs are testing a representative sample. "This frees up crucial lab capacity to ensure that people get their COVID-19 test results back as soon as possible, which is the most important thing we can do with our lab capacity to minimize further transmission." She added that anyone with a positive test should assume they have contracted a variant, as variants are now dominant in the province. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. — By Lauren Krugel in Calgary. The Canadian Press
The Atikamekw community of Manawan, 250 km north of Montreal, is grieving after a father and son died in a car accident on the only road leading to the community — a gravel road that's been flagged to the province as dangerous for decades. The Sureté du Quebec confirmed Thursday that Jonas Dubé, 29, and his son Weyko Jacob, 7, were found dead Wednesday inside their overturned vehicle in the Milieu River near a bridge on Chemin Manawan, an 86 km logging road which connects Manawan to the town of Saint-Michel-des-Saints. 86 kilometers of forest road separate Manawan from the nearest municipality, Saint-Michel-des-Saints. (Anne-Marie Yvon/Radio-Canada) "It's terrible to live these things. These deaths were avoidable," Paul-Émile Ottawa, chief of the Atikamekw Council of Manawan, told CBC in an interview Thursday. Ottawa estimates nearly 100 people have died in accidents on that road since it opened 50 years ago. He says the road has seven bridges, all of which are one lane only. It's also known for its many dangerous curves. "People have nicknamed the curves after forestry workers who died in car accidents on them," Ottawa said. Ottawa said the Atikamekw Council has been asking the provincial Transport Ministry for decades to do something about the road. He said the ministry finally agreed a few years ago, and plans have been drawn up to eventually pave it. Ottawa said in the meantime the ministry has promised to rebuild the gravel road with a more solid foundation, which he said would greatly improve safety. He said work would would likely start next year. Provincial police are investigating the crash to try to determine the cause. Community also dealing with covid outbreak Ottawa said losing a father and young son is hard enough but the deaths have also disrupted efforts to deal with a major COVID-19 outbreak in the community, with 12 confirmed cases. Jonas Dubé's wife is a nurse at the health clinic in Manawan, which is currently trying to manage a covid-19 outbreak. (Radio-Canada) He said Jonas's wife is a nurse, who is now off work to grieve. "To lose a member of our personnel who's trained to do testing and vaccination, that's affecting our health service's efforts to control the outbreak," he said. The Masko-Siwin Health Centre posted on its Facebook page Thursday that it was cancelling COVID-19 screening for the day because of the deaths. The council is collecting donations for the family and offering psychological counselling services to people in the community. Manawan was also home to Joyce Echaquan, a woman who died in hospital in Joliette last fall, just hours after filiming staff at the hospital insulting her with racist comments.
BRUSSELS — The European Union on Thursday authorized the United States, Canada and Norway to join a major military project aimed at speeding up the deployment of troops and military equipment around Europe. At a meeting in Brussels, EU defence ministers gave the greenlight for the three to join the 27-nation bloc’s “military mobility” project, led by the Netherlands and aimed at easing bureaucratic procedures that slow troop deployments considerably, whether by land, sea or air. “Their expertise will contribute to the project and, with it, to improving military mobility within and beyond the EU,” the bloc’s foreign policy chief and meeting chairman, Josep Borrell, said in a statement. “It will make EU defence more efficient and contribute to strengthen our security.” More than 70,000 U.S. military personnel are stationed in Europe, partly to help reassure Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland that they will be defended in case of any aggression from Russia. Canada is leading a NATO battlegroup stationed in the region, near Russia’s border, and Norway is involved, too. A priority for the military alliance is to be able to move troops and equipment rapidly. Beyond border red tape, the smooth deployment of forces is also often hindered by ill-adapted infrastructure, like roads and bridges unable to handle heavy vehicles and tanks, airstrips too short for certain kinds of warplanes and ports too shallow to allow some ships to dock. It’s the first time that the EU will allow outside countries to join its official system of military projects and is a sign of improving EU-NATO co-operation. German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer described the move as “a quantum jump in our concrete co-operation.” She said bringing the countries in is "an enormous step regarding the practical ability of the European armed forces. And we see this as another big step regarding trans-Atlantic connectivity and in the co-operation of European Union and NATO.” The Associated Press
A B.C. couple have won more than $1 million in lottery money in less than a year after winning big in both Lotto 6/49 and the Set For Life scratch card game.
The first Albertan to die from a rare blood clot condition linked to a COVID-19 vaccine was turned away from an Edmonton hospital two days before her death, a family friend says. Lisa Stonehouse, 52, died Saturday at the University of Alberta Hospital. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said Tuesday that a woman in her 50s died of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. Hinshaw did not identify the woman, but family members confirm that Stonehouse was Alberta's first fatal case. Wilfred Lowenberg, a friend, said Stonehouse was turned away from the emergency department at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital. Two days later, she was admitted to the Strathcona Community Hospital. She was later transferred to the U of A Hospital with a blood clot in her brain. "The vaccine was supposed to save lives and it ended up taking hers," Lowenberg told CBC News on Wednesday. "Even if there is only a one-in-a-million chance for someone to develop a blood clot from AstraZeneca, I personally think that's too many." The family is asking Covenant Health, the Catholic health-care provider that manages the Grey Nuns, to investigate why she was turned away, Lowenberg said. Investigation ongoing An internal investigation is ongoing, Covenant Health said in a statement Wednesday. "We offer our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones at this difficult time," the statement said. "Covenant Health, in collaboration with Alberta Health Services, is actively investigating all circumstances surrounding [Stonehouse's] visit to the emergency department, and have assured the family we are looking into their concerns." It's estimated that VITT occurs in one in every 100,000 to 250,000 vaccinations, according to Hinshaw. Stonehouse is the second person in Alberta with a confirmed case. More than 253,000 doses of AstraZeneca or CoviSHIELD/AstraZeneca have been administered in the province. Last month, Quebec reported Canada's first death of a patient after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. On Wednesday, a second VIIT death was confirmed, in New Brunswick. In a statement, Hinshaw said the risk of COVID-19 is far greater than the risk of VITT. She said Albertans ages 50 to 59 diagnosed with COVID-19 are 350 times more likely to die from that infection than to experience VITT after an AstraZeneca vaccine. Felt sick right after shot Stonehouse got her shot on April 21. Almost immediately, she felt stiff and sick, Lowenberg said. She felt increasingly unwell and developed an unbearable headache. On April 29, with her symptoms worsening, she called Health Link but was told she was likely dealing with a normal vaccine reaction, Lowenberg said. Later that night, her daughter drove her to the ER at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital in southeast Edmonton, Lowenberg said. Her head was throbbing, and she was weak and vomiting. Stonehouse was sent home to rest, Lowenberg said. On April 30, her daughter again drove her to the ER, this time at the Strathcona Community Hospital in Sherwood Park. She was admitted. A CT scan showed a blood clot had formed, triggering a fatal bleed in her brain. Stonehouse was transferred to the U of A Hospital, but in the ambulance she suffered a seizure and was intubated, Lowenberg said. The following day, she was taken off life support. Daughter, 19, has lost both parents Lowenberg said the family wants to know why Stonehouse was "summarily dismissed" during her initial visit to the ER at the Grey Nuns. He wonders if the 12-hour delay in care contributed to her death. The only reason she took the vaccine is because she wanted to travel the world with Jordan. - Wilfred Lowenberg Stonehouse's daughter, Jordan, 19, has now lost both her parents. Stonehouse's husband of 17 years, Morrie, died in January 2019 after a brain aneurysm. Lowenberg said Stonehouse, a bookkeeper, had an infectious laugh. He said she was selfless, intelligent, witty and "amazing." Stonehouse had big plans for life after the pandemic. "The only reason she took the vaccine is because she wanted to travel the world with Jordan," he said. "She wanted to take Jordan to all the places that her and Morrie had gone to. She wanted to spend her life with her daughter, just enjoying life."
FREDERICTON — Two more North Atlantic right whales have been spotted in Canadian waters, prompting the first season-long closure of a specific fishing area. Two of the endangered whales were detected on Tuesday by a Fisheries Department aircraft that was conducting right whale aerial surveillance in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. As a result, an area east of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine is closed to fishing activities until Nov. 15, while some surrounding areas will close at 5 p.m. on Saturday until further notice. DFO provided a 72-hour notice because of the weather forecast and to allow time for fishing gear to be removed. The crab fishing area known as 12F, east of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine, remains under a 15-day closure that began after the first whale of the year was spotted in late April. There are an estimated 366 North Atlantic right whales in existence. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. The Canadian Press
SAINT-MICHEL-DES-SAINTS, Que. — A man and a child were found dead on Wednesday after their car went off the road and plunged into a river in Quebec's Lanaudiere region. Quebec provincial police confirmed today that the bodies of Jonas Dubé, 29, and Weyko Jacob, 7, were discovered in the submerged car in St-Michel-des-Saints, about 170 kilometres north of Montreal. The Atikamekw band council of Manawan said in a press release the father and son were members of the community who had been missing since Tuesday night. A citizen called police at about 1 p.m. on Wednesday about a car that had skidded off the road and gone into the water. Officers on the scene found the car upside down and underwater and called in fire and rescue services, who discovered the bodies. Police say a collision specialist is investigating the cause and time of the accident, which took place sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon. A mechanical inspection has been ordered for the car. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. The Canadian Press
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a backlog of more than 250,000 surgeries in Ontario, including cancer operations, forcing patients to wait for procedures that could save their lives.
TORONTO — A finding that wine from the West Bank can be labelled as a product of Israel was not reasoned properly and should now be thrashed out again, the Federal Court of Appeal has ruled. As a result, the appellate court said the politically sensitive case, which at one point threatened to put Middle East politics on trial, should go back to the Complaints and Appeals Office of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. "The administrative decision maker must demonstrate that its interpretation of the relevant provisions is consistent with their text, context and purpose," Chief Justice Marc Noel said. "Here this demonstration is totally lacking." The case arose in 2017, when Dr. David Kattenburg, of Winnipeg, raised concerns that wines produced by Psagot and Shiloh Winery, located in the West Bank, were from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, not Israel itself. He argued the wines should not, under Canadian law, be branded as Product of Israel. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency initially sided with him. However, the agency reversed course after some Jewish groups protested and Global Affairs Canada said the West Bank could be considered Israeli territory under the Canada-Israel free trade agreement. In July 2019, a Federal Court judge found the settlements were not part of the State of Israel and the labelling was therefore misleading and deceptive. She sent the case back to the food inspection agency, saying Canadian consumers needed to know exactly what they were buying. "One peaceful way in which people can express their political views is through their purchasing decisions," then-judge Anne Mactavish wrote, prompting the federal government to appeal. In its analysis, the Federal Court of Appeal said the food agency was required to interpret and apply Canadian laws to decide whether the wine labels were indeed false or misleading. The view of Global Affairs that the West Bank falls under the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement played a "determinative role" in the food agency's decision that the labelling was legal, Noel said. However, that was not enough to decide whether the agency's ruling had been reasonable, he said. "We simply have no idea how the agency construed its legislation in coming to the conclusion that the labels are compliant," Noel said. Noel said the agency, in taking a fresh look at the case, will want to hear from the affected parties, including Psagot, which had been unaware of the case until it reached Federal Court. Noel also made it clear the agency is not bound by Mactavish's reasons. "It will be open to the agency, as the decider of the merits of the labelling issue, to come to whatever outcome it thinks appropriate, provided that its interpretation and application of the relevant provisions to the facts in issue can be seen to be reasonable," Noel said. Psagot bills itself as an award-winning winery 15 minutes north of Jerusalem. It says its wines are produced by Israelis under auspices of an Israeli company in an Israeli community subject to Israeli law in Israeli territory. "Put simply, Psagot Winery proudly produces wines that are products of Israel," it says. The winery said it was pleased the Federal Court of Appeal had now sent the case back to the food agency with direction the lower court's decision was not binding, and that Psagot can make submissions. Some Jewish groups called the ruling a victory, with one saying the case was "part of a broader campaign to boycott Israel and Israeli goods." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
This item is part of Watching Washington, a regular dispatch from CBC News correspondents reporting on U.S. politics and developments that affect Canadians. What's new There's new political muscle in the United States pushing for a return to more regular travel between Canada and the United States after more than a year of pandemic-related disruptions. The top member of the U.S. Senate, Chuck Schumer, has written a letter to members of the Biden administration making several demands regarding the border. He's asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for four things. One is a detailed Canada-U.S. plan — released as soon as possible — explaining what rules and health-related benchmarks will guide the return to non-essential travel. He said this should add clarity and transparency to a process that's confused and frustrated people. And in the interim period, he immediately wants to see Canada and the U.S. allow more people to travel. Schumer wants the definition of essential travellers expanded to include vaccinated people who have property, educational, medical or business reasons for crossing the border. He also wants clarity for boaters and, finally, he wants a safety plan for border agents including access to testing, vaccines and protective equipment. Why it matters to Canadians and cross-border travellers Other lawmakers from Schumer's border state of New York have been making similar calls with little sign of progress. Neither national government has made it a priority to articulate a reopening plan for the border. But Schumer's entry into the debate is a sign of increased pressure on the national governments to at least begin articulating their longer-term intentions. "Having endured one of the deadliest chapters in New York's history, the residents along the border are ready to turn the page and re-establish the familiar links to their loved ones, their property and their prosperity," Schumer's letter said. "It is now incumbent on the federal government to do their part and aid their desperate desire to fully rebuild and recover. This recovery cannot be done, and I will not rest, until bilateral collaboration to safely reopen the United States and Canadian land border is an utmost priority and a plan for a full reopening is publicly released." Sen. Chuck Schumer says New Yorkers want life to return to normal. Indoor dining is expanding closer to full capacity this week, and here Schumer takes a bite of a sandwich at Junior's restaurant in Times Square in New York City on Thursday. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters) One reason for Schumer's optimism about reopening is the progress the U.S. has made on residents receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Nearly 50 per cent of adults in New York state are fully vaccinated, and indoor dining is expanding this week to near-full capacity in New York City. The United States remains far ahead of Canada in its share of fully vaccinated residents. However, with vaccine hesitancy becoming an issue in many states, the pace is slowing down, and Canada is steadily catching up in the rate of residents having received a first dose.
Prince Edward Island's Chief Public Health Office is reporting two more cases of COVID-19 on the Island Thursday. Both people are in their 20s, said a written release from the province. One travelled outside Atlantic Canada and one travelled within Atlantic Canada. A news release said one of the cases is linked to three new public exposure sites: Walmart Charlottetown May 4 from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Home Depot Charlottetown May 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Tim Hortons/Esso in Borden-Carleton May 5 from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. The news release says anyone who was at these locations during the time periods should closely monitor for symptoms and get tested if symptoms develop. This brings the number of active cases on P.E.I. to nine. There have been 185 positive cases in total, with two hospitalizations and no deaths. Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.