Here's the latest for Thursday February 18th: Cruz comes back to Texas; GameStop hearing on the hill; Democrats release immigration plan; NASA rover lands on Mars.
Here's the latest for Thursday February 18th: Cruz comes back to Texas; GameStop hearing on the hill; Democrats release immigration plan; NASA rover lands on Mars.
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
Un convoi composé d'un autobus et d'une vingtaine de voitures s'est rendu, le 3 mars, à l'Hôpital de la Cité-de-la-Santé de Laval pour manifester son appui envers le personnel de la santé. «Ça fait maintenant un an qu'ils sont au travail à combattre cette pandémie, mentionne Sonia Ethier, présidente de la Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) qui a organisé l'événement. Nous voulions saluer leur travail et leur rappeler à quel point ils sont importants.» L'événement était organisé conjointement avec la Fédération de la Santé du Québec (FSQ-CSQ) et la Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire (FPSS-CSQ). «Les employés des services de garde d'urgence ont aussi fait un travail remarquable, ajoute Mme Ethier. Ils arrivent tôt et partent tard du travail, tout en ayant une responsabilité importante. Ils travaillent sans relâche au détriment de leur santé et au risque de ramener le virus à la maison.» Les membres présents sur place n'ont d'ailleurs pas manqué l'occasion de faire du bruit à plusieurs reprises pour se faire entendre par leurs collègues qui travaillent à l'intérieur des installations de la Cité-de-la-Santé. La CSQ a aussi profité de cette occasion pour rappeler que les négociations des nouvelles conventions collectives n'avançaient pas. Les organisations syndicales souhaitent d'ailleurs que le gouvernement provincial améliore leurs conditions de travail. «Après un an et demi de négociations, il n’y a toujours aucun article de signé, affirme Claire Montour, présidente de la FSQ-CSQ. Nous avons rejeté à l’unanimité une proposition globale. Nous n’avons pas fait ça par caprice, mais bien parce que nous voulons obtenir de meilleures conditions de travail, une vraie reconnaissance du travail d’infirmière, d'infirmière auxiliaire et d'inhalothérapeute.» Mme Ethier précise quant à elle que le regroupement syndical avait réajusté ses demandes au printemps dernier pour prendre en compte le contexte économique auquel la province doit faire face en raison de la pandémie. Cela n'a toutefois pas mené vers un débouché dans les négociations. «On est ici pour demander du respect pour notre personnel, conclut-elle. On veut un ratio personnel-patients, des équipes stables et la fin du temps supplémentaire obligatoire. On veut arrêter de se promener dans tous les sens et mettre fin aux agences de placement. Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
MONTREAL — A well-known Quebec lawyer says she's mounting a legal challenge to provincial laws that don't grant common-law spouses the same rights as married couples in the event of a breakup. Anne-France Goldwater said today Quebec family law treats unmarried women as having less value than their married counterparts because they aren't entitled to the same alimony and property rights. Goldwater previously argued the issue all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled in 2013 that Quebec's family law regime was constitutional and did not have to be changed, even though the court found there was discrimination against common-law couples. The case, known as "Eric and Lola," involved a woman and her former lover, a prominent Quebec businessman who contended he should not have to pay alimony because they were never legally married. Goldwater, who represented "Lola" in the case, has filed a new motion in Quebec Superior Court contesting the constitutionality of all the articles relating to family law in Quebec's Civil Code as well as the section of the provincial Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms that deals with rights and obligations of married and civil union spouses. The case she's arguing concerns a common-law couple called "Nathalie" and "Pierre," who were together 30 years and have four children. Goldwater told reporters today the years that have passed since the Supreme Court of Canada decision have reinforced the need for the law to change. She notes in her court submission that successive provincial governments have promised to reform the province's family law without ever doing so. "Quebec family law perceives non-married women and their children as having less value than married families and it's even worse for women who are common law without children," Goldwater said. "Why are Quebec women not equal under Quebec law?" she said. The 2013 Supreme Court decision noted that while there was discrimination toward common-law couples, it could be allowed under a section of the Canadian charter which allows for the limitation of rights in certain circumstances. Goldwater says she believes the current situation represents a form of "systemic sexism" that has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, which she says has had a disproportionate impact on women. "Why do we have to have a pandemic to convince the leaders that women are economically disadvantaged?" she said. Under Quebec's current law, common-law spouses aren't entitled to alimony, division of the family patrimony or the right to occupy the home after the split. While any children stemming from the relationship have a right to support, the fact that the parent doesn't get alimony or a share of the wealth will result in a lower standard of living for the children, Goldwater says. She argues this creates "two sets of rules" for children: one for those whose parents married, and another for children whose parents were common-law spouses. Like others before it, Premier Francois Legault's government has promised to reform the province's family law, which has not been overhauled since 1980. Goldwater says the change could be made with the "stroke of the pen," namely by adding de facto spouses to the definition of couple and family, as was done for same-sex spouses when they were granted the same rights and benefits as heterosexual married couples in Quebec. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Pierre Saint-Arnaud, The Canadian Press
JUNEAU, Alaska — A state vaccine task force on Wednesday vastly expanded eligibility for people to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in Alaska, adding those 55 to 64 and people 16 and older who meet certain criteria. That criteria includes being considered an essential worker, living in a multigenerational household, being at or at possible high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or living in communities lacking in water and sewer systems, the state health department said in a release. Gov. Mike Dunleavy called expanding eligibility significant in efforts to protect Alaska residents and to help restore the state's economy. State health officials previously emphasized vaccinating those 65 and older. Individuals who have previously been eligible remain so. More than 100,000 first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are expected for the state and Indian Health Service allocations this month, the department said. Also, 8,900 doses of the one-shot Johnson and Johnson Janssen vaccine are expected to arrive within the next two weeks, the department said. The number of vaccines do not include military allocations or those for programs involving pharmacies and federally qualified health centres. The state's chief medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, said the vaccine supply is not yet sufficient to make it widely available to everyone who wants it. She said it is being offered to groups “who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, who are at risk for severe illness or death or who work in essential jobs." She added: "Some Alaskans may be more vulnerable to this disease than others due to their unique health or life circumstances. Offering vaccine is one step we can take now to help address these inequities.” The Associated Press
There were two deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the province on Wednesday. Both deaths were in the 80 plus age group and were located in Regina and Saskatoon. The number of deaths related to COVID-19 in the province is now 389. The North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. This was among 121 new cases reported in Saskatchewan. North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 19 active cases. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 30 active cases and North Central 3 has 15 active cases. There are currently 153 people in hospital overall in the province. Of the 133 reported as receiving in patient care there are 14 in North Central. Of the 20 people reported as being in intensive care there is one in North Central. The current seven-day average 154, or 12.5 cases per 100,000 population. The high was 312 reported on Jan. 12. Of the 29,059reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 1,431 are considered active. The recovered number now sits at 27,239after 180 more recoveries were reported. The total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic is 29,059 of those 7,437 cases are from the North area (3,024 North West, 3,259 North Central and 1,154 North East). There were 1,358doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered yesterday in Saskatchewan bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 81,597. There were 232 doses administered in the North Central zone yesterday. The other zones where vaccines were administered were in the North West, Far North Central, Central East, Far North Central, Far North East, Saskatoon and Regina. According to the province as of March 2, 50 per cent of Phase 1 priority healthcare workers received a first dose. This percentage includes healthcare workers from long term care and personal care home facilities. Pfizer shipments for the week of March 1 have arrived in Regina (3,510) and Saskatoon (3,510). North Battleford (2,340) and Prince Albert (4,680) shipments are expected by end of day March 3. There were 2,588 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan on Feb. 28. As of today there have been 582,829 COVID-19 tests performed in Saskatchewan. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
After Mateo Perusse-Shortte, experienced racism while playing his sport, he and his mom decided to plan a hockey diversity group in Quebec.
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The Colorado Rapids signed 16-year-old forward Darren Yapi to a five-year contract, the youngest player to sign a pro deal in the club's history. The team announced the deal with the home-grown player Wednesday. It includes a club option for an addition season. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Yapi spent last season training with the Rapids first team along with the Colorado Springs Switchbacks, the club's affiliate in the second tier USL Championship. He signed a deal with the Switchbacks on July 31, leading to his pro debut on Aug. 1 at 15 years old. Yapi ended up earning Rapids Academy player of the year honours. “He possesses all the necessary qualities to reach the very top of the game and we’re excited to see Darren’s continued growth at the club,” Colorado general manager said Pádraig Smith in a statement. From the Denver area, Yapi joined the Rapids Academy during the 2016-17 season in the under-12 age group. He becomes the 14th Rapids Academy player to sign a Homegrown contract with Colorado. Yapi made three appearances for the U.S. under-17 youth national team during the UEFA development tournament in February last year. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
The Town of Kensington is reminding snowmobilers in the area that sidewalks and roads are off-limits. The Kensington police chief and the mayor have both noticed snowmobiles that aren't keeping to their designated paths within the community, and they want to raise awareness about what's allowed. "I suspect that it could be just a matter of not being ... informed as well as they need to be and not recognizing that there's a safe corridor to travel off the streets in Kensington," said Mayor Rowan Caseley. The mayor believes having snowmobiles travelling on the sidewalks is dangerous. "You could be hitting somebody that's walking," he said. "It also packs down the snow on the sidewalks and makes it slippery for the other people." Kensington Mayor Rowan Caseley stands by the sign that tells snowmobilers where they can safely travel in the town. (Laura Meader/CBC) Casely stressed that the town and its businesses do appreciate having snowmobiles around. "We do have a corridor marked off between the train station and the downtown … where operators can travel and get to the downtown core to get their gas and coffee, etc.," he said. "Travelling on streets is certainly frowned upon — and I think it's actually probably illegal." New snowmobilers less familiar? The president of the Kensington Area Snowmobile Association said the snowmobilers who are cutting away from the designated corridor could be unaware of where they're allowed to go. "We're seeing a lot of new snowmobiling this year, a lot of people that haven't snowmobiled in years or haven't snowmobiled at all," said Russell Jollimore. "These people need to be made aware of the dos and don'ts." Jollimore said that as soon as the Kensington police chief spoke to him about the issue, he posted a reminder on the group's Facebook page. He noted that the town has set aside parking for machines near the gas station and the train station. "People can walk, you know, a few hundred feet to get to their restaurant or down for their coffee or or whatever. They don't need to be going up and down the side of the road. That's just not acceptable." More from CBC P.E.I.
WHITEHORSE — Yukon's premier says COVID-19 vaccine uptake has been "fantastic" as just over half the territory's residents have received their first dose, but he's concerned about rising numbers of variants elsewhere in Canada. Sandy Silver says the territory is focusing on meeting its goal of vaccinating 75 per cent of the population to reach herd immunity before lifting current restrictions despite zero cases in Yukon. He says a clinic for everyone aged 18 and over opened in Whitehorse this week and mobile clinics are returning to smaller communities to provide second shots to people over 60. Silver says as of Monday, 11,503 Yukon residents had received their first shot while second shots were administered to about half that number. He joined chief medical health officer Dr. Brendan Hanley in saying numbers on vaccine uptake would not be provided for specific areas to prevent pitting communities against each other. Hanley is urging residents to continue taking all precautions as clinics go "full tilt" in the territory. "If cases, and particularly variants, lead to increased COVID our risk of importing variants will go up day by day," he says. Seventy-one Yukoners have recovered from the illness and one person has died since the pandemic began. Hanley says 850 people were immunized in the mass clinic on Tuesday, and he would be among those lining up for a shot in the arm on Wednesday. Yukon and other territories have received a higher allocation of vaccine doses because remote areas have limited access to specialized care. "While we recognize that immunizing the territories is the right thing to do for Canada this incredible opportunity should provide us with extra motivation to step up and get a vaccine," Hanley says. However, he says "vaccine hesitancy is a reality" and it will be important to address people's questions so they're comfortable being immunized in order to protect everyone. Hanley says despite four weeks without any active cases, the restrictions will remain because the territory is in a "nebulous" time and on guard against variants. "This is a huge consideration for us because regardless of whether we have zero or 10 cases right now we are always managing risk of importation," he says. "Vaccine uptake is so critical to getting to a place where we can be much more confident about being able to propose a solid framework for opening up." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Quebec provincial police say a man in his 50s is dead after the small plane he was flying crashed into a lake in Gore, northwest of Montreal. Provincial police spokesman Sgt. Stephane Tremblay says the man was the only person aboard the plane. He says witnesses who saw the crash, which took place around 8:30 a.m., called emergency services. The pilot was removed from the plane by the local fire department and transported to hospital, where he was declared dead. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says it has sent a team of investigators to determine the cause of the crash of the Wag-Aero amateur-built aircraft. Tremblay says provincial police investigators are on the scene to determine whether any crimes were committed and the coroner's office is also investigating to determine the cause of the death. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne told a parliamentary committee Wednesday that he informed Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan of allegations of misconduct against Gen. Jonathan Vance during a “hostile” closed-door meeting three years ago. Walbourne’s remarks appear to contradict Sajjan’s own testimony to the same committee Feb. 19, when he said he was as surprised as anyone when Global News first reported Vance’s alleged misconduct in early February. At that time, Sajjan repeatedly refused to confirm media reports that Walbourne raised allegations against Vance when the minister and ombudsman met in March 2018. Sajjan cited confidentiality and also said any allegations brought to him were taken seriously and referred to the appropriate authorities. Walbourne, whose testimony is protected by parliamentary privilege, used his opening statement to the House of Commons' defence committee to publicly confirm the conversation for the first time. “Yes, I did meet with Minister Sajjan on March 1, 2018,” he said. “Yes, I did directly tell him about an allegation of inappropriate sexual behaviour made against the chief of defence.” Global News has reported that Vance allegedly had an ongoing relationship with a woman he significantly outranked. He is also accused of having made a sexual comment to a second, much younger, soldier in 2012, before he became commander of the Armed Forces. Vance, who turned over command of the military in January after more than five years in the job, has not responded to requests for comment by The Canadian Press and the allegations against him have not been independently verified. Global says Vance, who as defence chief oversaw the military’s efforts to root sexual misconduct from the ranks, has denied any wrongdoing. Military police are now investigating the allegations against Vance. They have also launched an investigation of Vance’s successor as defence chief, Admiral Art McDonald, who temporarily stepped aside last week in response to unspecified allegations of misconduct. Walbourne did not spell out the specifics of the allegation that he presented to Sajjan, and confirmed earlier reports that no formal complaint was filed. However, he said he came to possess “irrefutable, concrete evidence” about Vance, which is what led him to raise the matter with the minister. Walbourne told the committee Sajjan refused to look at the evidence and later cut off all contact until the former ombudsman’s resignation on Oct. 31, 2018. Walbourne also said he asked Sajjan to keep the matter in confidence until they could figure out how to handle the allegation, but that the minister instead told the Privy Council Office, which asked the ombudsman for information about the complainant. Walbourne, who initially declined an invitation to appear before the committee before being formally summoned to testify, said he refused to provide that information because the complainant had not given permission to do so. The former ombudsman, who has repeatedly decried a lack of independence for the office, went on to draw a link between his meeting with Sajjan three years ago and the Department of National Defence cutting off his financial and staffing authorities. The ombudsman’s office was being investigated at that time following a whistleblower’s complaint. Walbourne was adamant the complaint had no merit, and instead alleged that it was used as an excuse to put pressure on him and his team. Asked if there was any attempt by the government to cover up for Vance, Walbourne said: “I don’t know if it was an attempt at a coverup, but I know it was a full-court press to get rid of me.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Five Canadians highlight this year's NBA Rising Stars Team World roster. Nickeil Alexander-Walker (New Orleans), RJ Barrett (New York), Brandon Clarke (Memphis), Luguentz Dort (Oklahoma City), and Mychal Mulder (Golden State) were named to the team Wednesday. Because of COVID-19, there will be no actual Rising Stars game played on what's being condensed into a one-day event Sunday. Of the six countries represented on the World Team roster, Canada led the way with the five players. Miami's Precious Achiuwa (Nigeria), Washington's Deni Avdija (Israel) and Rui Hachimura (Japan), Denver's Facundo Campazzo (Argentina) and Oklahoma City's Theo Maledon (France) round out the World Team roster. NBA all-star and Pelicans forward Zion Williamson and last year's rookie of the year Ja Morant of the Grizzlies headline the U.S. Team. They're joined by LaMelo Ball (Charlotte), Anthony Edwards (Minnesota), Tyrese Haliburton (Sacramento), Tyler Herro (Miami), De'Andre Hunter (Atlanta), Keldon Johnson (San Antonio), Michael Porter Jr. (Denver), and James Wiseman (Golden State). The league's assistant coaches selected four frontcourt players, four guards and two additional players at any position for each team. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — Canadian and American rescuers are describing a tightly choreographed effort in heaving Atlantic seas that saved 31 seafarers early Wednesday before an offshore scallop dragger sank off Nova Scotia. The hoisting of the crew aboard the 39-metre FV Atlantic Destiny onto helicopters began late Tuesday night and extended into the next morning after the ship caught fire at sea south of Yarmouth, N.S. Lt.-Cmdr. Edward Forys, commander of a United States Coast Guard fixed-wing aircraft that flew above the scene, outlined the close co-operation of the two countries in the frightening seas. "It (the Atlantic Destiny) was taking on water when we arrived and they didn't have any power or ability to steer," Forys said Wednesday in an interview from the coast guard base in Cape Cod, Mass. "So they were bobbing in the water and it was imperative we started to get people off that ship." He estimated that winds were gusting from the northwest at more than 90 kilometres per hour, with sea swells of between five to seven metres pitching the stricken ship up and down as the hoists were lowered. The lieutenant-commander said that at first, Canadian Forces CH-149 Cormorant helicopter lowered two of its search and rescue technicians on board the floundering vessel. He said the Cormorant carried out the first hoists, followed by lifts conducted by two American Jayhawk helicopters, with a total of 27 people brought into the rescue aircraft. The 43-year-old officer said it was the most hoists during one incident he's witnessed in his 13-year career with the coast guard. Each time the basket came down to lift up crew, the two Canadian search and rescue technicians on board would help them strap in, as the teams from the two countries communicated by radio and international hand signals, Forys said. As this was going on, the American and Canadian fixed-wing aircraft were relaying information from the helicopters back to command centres on shore to provide updates on the condition of the survivors and indicate where they needed to be taken. Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens of the search and rescue co-ordination centre in Halifax, confirmed the Atlantic Destiny sank at 10:36 a.m. Wednesday morning after succumbing to damage it sustained in the fire. Owens said 27 crew members were taken to Yarmouth by the three helicopter crews during the night, where they received medical attention, food and accommodations. The remaining crew members, as well as two search and rescue technicians who were on board, were transferred at about 8 a.m. from the fishing vessel to the Canadian Coast Guard ship Cape Roger, Owens said, adding that they were on their way to shore on Wednesday afternoon. The rescue co-ordination centre said it had received a call from the ship around 8 p.m. Tuesday night reporting there was a fire on board and that it had lost power and was taking on water as it drifted in the rough seas and powerful winds. Ocean Choice, the owner of the ship, said other offshore fishing vessels, including the Cape LaHave, Maude Adams and the Atlantic Protector, took part in the rescue effort. "They're professional seamen and we have an experienced captain and crew members that handled this incredibly well," Ocean Choice CEO Martin Sullivan said in an interview Wednesday. “The collective efforts of our crew and all those who came to assist the crew and the vessel resulted in the best possible outcome for this situation,” Blaine Sullivan, the president of Ocean Choice, said in a statement. “We are sincerely thankful to everyone that helped ensure that every single crew member is safe and accounted for.” Ocean Choice said an investigation into what caused the fire will begin in the coming days, adding that no injuries were reported as a result of the fire. The company said the Atlantic Destiny, one of six of its offshore fishing vessels, harvests and freezes sea scallops. Its home port is Riverport, N.S. The Atlantic Destiny was involved in a similar incident in 2017 when its main engine broke down, causing a blackout on the ship while it was southwest of Nova Scotia. No injuries were reported. Martin Sullivan said the trawler had a major overhaul about a year ago and the ship was signed off by a classification society, which inspects and certifies vessels on behalf of Transport Canada. Meanwhile, Forys said the teams returning from the international rescue were tired but satisfied by Wednesday's outcome. "This is a major case," the lieutenant-commander said. "This is one of the search and rescue cases you'll remember." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. — With files from Sarah Smellie in St. John's, N.L. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Michael Tutton and Danielle Edwards, The Canadian Press
Saskatchewan reported 121 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths on Wednesday. Both deaths were people in the 80-plus age group, with one each from the Regina and Saskatoon zones. There were also 180 recoveries reported Wednesday, bringing the total number of recoveries to 27,239. There are 1,431 known active cases in the province. So far there have been 389 COVID-related deaths. The new cases Wednesday are in the following provincial zones: Far northwest (two). Far northeast (40). Northwest (six). North central (six) Northeast (three). Saskatoon (17). Central west (two). Central east (seven). Regina (35). Southwest (one). There are 153 people receiving care in hospital, with 20 of them in intensive care. The Regina zone has the most known active cases in the province with 431. Saskatoon zone active cases have dropped to 264. The province processed 2,588 COVID-19 tests on Tuesday. Saskatchewan's per capita rate is 489,658 tests performed per million population. The national rate is 647,827 tests performed per million population. The seven-day average of daily new cases in Saskatchewan is 12.5 new cases per 100,000. Vaccinations The province administered 1,358 more COVID-19 vaccine doses over the past day in the following zones: far north central (21), far northeast (11), northwest (six), north central (452), central east (351) Saskatoon (391) and Regina (126). The total number of vaccine doses administered in the province stands at 81,597. As of March 2, 50 per cent of Phase 1 priority health-care workers had received a first dose, the province said. Pfizer shipments for the week of March 1 have arrived in Regina (3,510) and Saskatoon (3,510). North Battleford (2,340) and Prince Albert (4,680) shipments are expected by the end of Wednesday. (CBC News Graphics) CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
ÉMILIE PELLETIER Initiative de journalisme local — Le Droit La santé publique de l’Ontario rapporte de moins en moins de cas de coronavirus depuis près d’une semaine. Le plus récent bilan de la santé publique fait état, mercredi, de 958 cas de COVID-19 enregistrés la veille. C’est la deuxième journée de suite que la province rapporte moins de 1000 infections quotidiennes. L’Ontario a enregistré jusqu’à présent 552 cas du variant de la COVID-19 provenant du Royaume-Uni, 27 de l’Afrique du Sud et trois du Brésil. En tout, 303 763 infections à la COVID-19 ont été répertoriées dans la province. Mardi, 52 613 tests de dépistage ont été effectués à travers l’Ontario, où plus de 11 millions de tests ont été effectués jusqu’à présent. Décès Au cours de la journée de mardi, la COVID-19 a emporté 17 Ontariens, portant le bilan à 7014 décès causés par ce virus depuis le début de la pandémie. Mardi, 668 personnes étaient hospitalisées pour soigner des symptômes de la COVID-19. Parmi ces patients, 274 étaient aux soins intensifs avec des symptômes plus graves, dont 188 sous respirateur. FSLD En foyers de soins de longue durée (FSLD), trois résidents et neuf employés ont reçu un diagnostic de COVID-19, mardi. La province ne rapporte aucun décès causé par le coronavirus dans ces établissements au cours des dernières 24 heures. En FSLD, 3745 résidents et 11 employés ont perdu la vie en raison du virus. Mardi, un nombre record de 27 398 Ontariens ont roulé leur manche pour recevoir une dose du vaccin contre la COVID-19. Jusqu’à maintenant, 266 710 personnes ont reçu leurs deux doses du vaccin contre la COVID-19 en province. En date de mardi à 20h30, un total de 754 419 doses du vaccin y avaient été administrées. Émilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau signalled Wednesday that Canada will stand up for an Ottawa sociology professor facing trial in France as human-rights advocates renewed calls for the Liberal government to intervene. The prime minister's words left Hassan Diab's supporters wishing Trudeau had been more forceful in pledging assistance. In late January, France ordered Diab to stand trial for a decades-old synagogue bombing, a move his lawyer called the latest misstep in a long odyssey of injustice. The Canadian government has been communicating with officials in France about the case and will continue to do so, Trudeau said during a news briefing Wednesday. "It has been a priority for us to make sure that we're standing up for our citizens all around the world, with countries that are challenging, but also with our allies," he said. "And those conversations will continue." Canadians would rightly expect their prime minister and government to stand up for a falsely accused citizen, said Donald Bayne, Diab's Ottawa lawyer. "But what does that ambiguous phrase mean?" Born in Lebanon, Diab became a Canadian citizen in 1993, working in Ottawa as a university teacher. The RCMP arrested him in November 2008 in response to a request by France. French authorities suspected Diab was involved in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue that killed four people and injured dozens of others, an accusation he has consistently denied. After lengthy proceedings that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, Diab was extradited to France, where he spent three years behind bars, including time in solitary confinement. In January 2018, French judges dismissed the allegations against him for lack of evidence and ordered his immediate release. Trudeau said later that year that what Diab went through "never should have happened." Diab's supporters have long argued he was in Beirut — not Paris — when the attack took place and that his fingerprints, palm prints, physical description and age did not match those of the suspect identified in 1980. Earlier this year, Bayne called the French move to have Diab stand trial "a travesty of justice," saying the latest analysis of handwriting evidence in the case makes the argument for pursuing his client even weaker. Diab, 67, is now back with his wife and young children in Ottawa as his lawyers in France appeal the latest decision. Alex Neve, former secretary-general of Amnesty International Canada, said in January it is "cruel and baffling" that French authorities continue to suspect Diab. Neve said the Canadian government must become involved at the highest political levels and not simply stand aside on the grounds that justice must be allowed to run its course. Justin Mohammed, a human rights law and policy campaigner with Amnesty Canada, said Wednesday the organization was encouraged by Trudeau's remarks but stressed that Canada must not co-operate with extradition requests that prolong Diab's ordeal. "It would be unconscionable to return him to face trial in France given the way his case has proceeded.” The Ottawa-based International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group has called on Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau to intervene with their French counterparts "to put a stop to this endless, Kafkaesque affair." The group, which represents dozens of civil-society voices, also wants the prime minister to commit to not extraditing Diab to France a second time. It also says Canada must reform its extradition laws to ensure no one else is forced to go through what Diab has endured. Tim McSorley the group's national co-ordinator, said Wednesday that while the prime minister's words were encouraging, Trudeau missed an opportunity to "clearly and publicly denounce the ongoing miscarriage of justice being faced by Hassan Diab." Early last year, Diab filed a lawsuit accusing the Canadian government of negligent investigation and malicious prosecution, saying federal officials violated his constitutional guarantees of freedom of movement, liberty and security of the person. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
Legislators in more than 20 states have introduced bills this year that would ban transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams in public high schools. Yet in almost every case, sponsors cannot cite a single instance in their own state or region where such participation has caused problems. The Associated Press reached out to two dozen state lawmakers sponsoring such measures around the country as well as the conservative groups supporting them and found only a few times it’s been an issue among the hundreds of thousands of American teenagers who play high school sports. In South Carolina, for example, Rep. Ashley Trantham said she knew of no transgender athletes competing in the state and was proposing a ban to prevent possible problems in the future. Otherwise, she said during a recent hearing, “the next generation of female athletes in South Carolina may not have a chance to excel." In Tennessee, House Speaker Cameron Sexton conceded there may not actually be transgender students now participating in middle and high school sports; he said a bill was necessary so the state could be “proactive.” Some lawmakers didn't respond to AP's queries. Others in places like Mississippi and Montana largely brushed aside the question or pointed to a pair of runners in Connecticut. Between 2017 and 2019, transgender sprinters Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood combined to win 15 championship races, prompting a lawsuit. Supporters of transgender rights say the Connecticut case gets so much attention from conservatives because it’s the only example of its kind. “It’s their Exhibit A, and there’s no Exhibit B -- absolutely none,” said Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and a prominent trans-rights attorney. The multiple sports bills, he says, address a threat that doesn’t exist. There’s no authoritative count of how many trans athletes have competed recently in high school or college sports. Neither the NCAA nor most state high school athletic associations collect that data; in the states that do collect it, the numbers are minimal: No more than five students currently in Kansas, nine in Ohio over five years. Transgender adults make up a small portion of the U.S. population, about 1.3 million as of 2016, according to the Williams Institute, a think-tank at the UCLA School of Law that specializes in research on LGBTQ issues. The two dozen bills making their way through state legislatures this year could be devastating for transgender teens who usually get little attention as they compete. In Utah, a 12-year-old transgender girl cried when she heard about the proposal, which would separate her from her friends. She’s far from the tallest girl on her club team, and has worked hard to improve her times but is not a dominant swimmer in her age group, her coach said. “Other than body parts I’ve been a girl my whole life,” she said. The girl and her family spoke with The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to avoid outing her publicly. Those who object to the growing visibility and rights for transgender people, though, argue new laws are needed to keep the playing field fair for cisgender girls. “When the law does not recognize differences between men and women, we’ve seen that women lose,” said Christiana Holcomb, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed the Connecticut lawsuit on behalf of four cisgender girls. One of those girls, Chelsea Mitchell, defeated Terry Miller -- the faster of the two trans sprinters -- in their final two races in February 2020 The ADF and others like it are the behind-the-scenes backers of the campaign, offering model legislation and a playbook to promote the bills most of them with common features and even titles, like the Save Women’s Sports Act. When asked for other examples of complaints about middle or high school transgender athletes, ADF and the Family Policy Alliance, cited two: One involved a Hawaii woman who coaches track and filed a complaint last year over a trans girl competing in girls’ volleyball and track. The other involved a cisgender girl in Alaska who defeated a trans sprinter in 2016, then appeared in a Family Policy Alliance video saying the trans girl’s third-place finish was unfair to runners who were further behind. Only one state, Idaho, has enacted a law curtailing trans students’ sports participation, and that 2020 measure is blocked by a court ruling. Chase Strangio, a transgender-rights attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, notes that in several states with proposed sports bans, lawmakers also are seeking to ban certain gender affirming health care for transgender young people “This is not about sports,” he said. ”It’s a way to attack trans people.” Some states' school athletic organizations already have rules about trans participation in sports: 19 states allow full inclusion of trans athletes; 16 have no clear-cut statewide policy; seven emulate the NCAA's rule by requiring hormone therapy for trans girls; and eight effectively ban trans girls from girls’ teams, according to attorney Asaf Orr of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Texas is among those with a ban, limiting transgender athletes to teams conforming with the gender on their birth certificate. That policy came under criticism in 2017 and 2018, when trans male Mack Beggs won state titles in girls’ wrestling competitions after he was told he could not compete as a boy. While Beggs, Miller and Yearwood were the focus of news coverage and controversy, trans athletes more commonly compete without any furor -- and with broad acceptance from teammates and competitors. In New Jersey’s Sussex County, trans 14-year-old Rebekah Bruesehoff competes on her middle school field hockey team and hopes to keep playing in high school. "It’s all been positive,” she said. “The coaches have been really helpful.” While New Jersey has a trans-inclusive sports policy, Rebekah is distressed by the proposed bans elsewhere – notably measures that might require girls to verify their gender. “I know what it’s like to have my gender questioned,” Rebekah said. “It’s invasive, embarrassing. I don’t want others to go through that.” The possibility that any athlete could have to undergo tests or examinations to prove their gender was among the reasons that Truman Hamburger, a 17-year-old high school student in North Dakota, showed up at the statehouse to protest a proposed ban. “Once you open up that door on gender policing, that’s not a door you can easily shut,” he said. Sarah Huckman, a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of New Hampshire, ran track and cross country for three years at Kingswood Regional High School in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, after coming out as trans in 7th grade. Huckman showed great talent in the sprints and hurdles, but was not dominant on a statewide level. In her senior year, she won several events in small and mid-size meets, and had 6th place and 10th place finishes in the Division II indoor state championships. The proposed bans appall her. “It’s so demeaning toward my group of people,” she said. “We’re all human beings. We do sports for the love of it.” ___ Associated Press reporters covering statehouses across the U.S. contributed to this report. David Crary And Lindsay Whitehurst, The Associated Press
Ahuntsic-Cartierville - La vaccination contre la COVID-19 semble prendre son envol sans trop de turbulences, malgré quelques petits problèmes dans les premiers jours de la campagne, notamment au site de vaccination des Galeries Normandie. En raison d’un problème informatique, entre 200 et 300 places excédentaires ont été ouvertes pour des rendez-vous cette fin de semaine au site de vaccination des Galeries Normandie. Le Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) du Nord-de-l’Île-de-Montréal a donc dû contacter les personnes qui s’étaient inscrites à ces rendez-vous afin de les déplacer. Cette opération a nécessité le blocage de la prise de rendez-vous au site des Galeries Normandie pendant quelques heures mardi. Une lectrice du JDV avait contacté le JDV en constatant qu’on ne lui offrait par la possibilité de se faire vacciner à cet endroit. Le CIUSSS explique avoir pris le temps de joindre tous les usagers pour lesquels il fallait déplacer le rendez-vous avant de rouvrir les inscriptions aux Galeries Normandie. La résidante qui avait contacté le JDV a confirmé, par la suite, qu’elle avait finalement pu prendre rendez-vous pour sa vaccination aux Galeries Normandie. Des scènes de cohue avaient aussi été rapportées dans les premières heures de la campagne. On avait notamment vu des files importantes se former devant le centre de vaccination la semaine dernière.. L’approvisionnement en doses devrait s’accélérer dans les prochaines semaines, alors que le Canada vient d’approuver un troisième vaccin, celui d’Astra Zeneca. D’ici la mi-mars, le vaccin sera d’ailleurs également offert en pharmacie a annoncé le gouvernement du Québec. Si vous faites partie des groupes prioritaires déjà appelés, et que vous désirez prendre rendez-vous EN LIGNE pour vous faire vacciner, cliquez ici. Si vous faites partie des groupes prioritaires déjà appelés, et que vous désirez prendre rendez-vous PAR TÉLÉPHONE pour vous faire vacciner, cliquez ici. Simon Van Vliet, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal des voisins
Protesters attempting to protect some of the last stands of old-growth forest on southern Vancouver Island are facing arrest if a logging company gets court approval to disband their camps this week. Forestry company Teal-Jones has filed an application with the Supreme Court of British Columbia for an injunction to remove the Fairy Creek blockade at various entry points to its Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 46 near the community of Port Renfrew. The region encompasses the pristine old-growth forest at the headwaters of Fairy Creek with yellow cedars thought to be 1,000 years old, as well as other remaining groves on the Gordon River, Camper Creek and in the Upper Walbran Valley. A court decision is likely following an online hearing Thursday, said Kathleen Code, who is helping organize the defence against the injunction on behalf of the blockade residents. Activists from eight different camps have been blocking the logging company’s road building and forestry crews from accessing the area since August, Code said. “We want (the court) to disallow the injunction but that’s a very rare occurrence,” said Code. “So, our plan is to ask for an extension of three weeks, so that we can better prepare our defence.” Video courtesy of the Fairy Creek Blockade The group of forest defenders, the Rainforest Flying Squad, also hopes to file its own cross injunction against Teal-Jones, she said. “It’s a separate legal process that will have us filing an injunction against Teal-Jones themselves and bringing in the B.C. government as a third party,” Code said. “This way, we hope to make them accountable for the decades-long mismanagement of our forests.” Teal-Jones wants the court to prohibit the blockades until at least Sept. 4 and authorize the RCMP to arrest or remove protesters violating the order. The police force would determine when to enforce the potential order. Teal Cedar, a division of Teal-Jones, and its contractors have experience significant business disruption due to the blockades that threaten the company’s right to harvest timber but also the continued operation of its mills, the court application said. The company values the logs in TFL 46 to be worth $9 million, or approximately $19.4 million if turned into manufactured product. Teal Cedar also said it advised the Pacheedaht First Nation of its planned harvesting activities in its traditional territory, and after surveying the cut blocks, the nation told the company it’s permitted to harvest in those areas. However, Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones and some of his family are supporting the blockade and battle to protect the ancient temperate forest, Code said. Should the Teal-Jones application succeed, each individual forest defender will make the decision about whether they will risk arrest in the battle to protect the old-growth forest, she said. “But don't think Teal-Jones is going to waste any time,” Code said, adding the blockade isn’t about halting all forestry operations. “I want to make it really clear. We are not anti-logging,” she said. “We only obstruct areas where the old growth exist. “It's irreplaceable, and once you clear cut it, you have destroyed all of those ecosystems, destroyed the water systems, and you've destroyed the wildlife and their habitats.” Protests are being planned in various communities across the province on Thursday to protect Fairy Creek old-growth forest and in solidarity with the camp activists, Code said. Quadra Island resident Geraldine Kenny said a staggered, COVID-19-appropriate, “Last Stand” protest will be taking place in front of the office of North Island MLA Michele Babchuk in Campbell River all day. Support for the protest is coming in from communities around the North Island, said Kenny, a member of Sierra Quadra. “We want to show MLA Michelle Babchuk that her constituents … have fundamental concerns with regard to the government she represents and its protection of old-growth forests.” The Quadra senior has been trying to protect B.C. ancient temperate rainforests for three decades, and there’s precious little left, she said. Regardless of where people live on Vancouver Island, or in the province, the need to protect the last remaining stands of old growth is critical. “I started in 1987 with the Carmanah and the Walbran (forests), and here I am, a septuagenarian, and I’m still at it,” Kenny said, adding the argument of the necessity of intact forests to maintain biodiversity still holds true. “It’s old hat, and we’ve heard it so many times,” Kenny said. “However, the critical component now is climate change … maintaining old-growth forests is our best security and our best defence against global warming. “So, I want to stand as a forest defender and as a witness so that these trees, this ecosystem is preserved." Rochelle Baker / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Rochelle Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
Le Canada reçoit ses premières doses mercredi, mais le choix de ses destinataires fait l’objet de directives contradictoires de Santé Canada et du Comité consultatif national de l’immunisation. Une partie sera périmée après le 2 avril prochain. Selon la dernière mise à jour de ses recommandations, le comité ne recommande pas l’utilisation du vaccin d’Astra Zeneca contre la COVID-19 chez les personnes âgées de 65 ans et plus, « en raison des données insuffisantes ». Le CCNI a indiqué que « les réponses humorales étaient plus faibles chez les personnes de 65 ans et plus que chez les personnes de 18 à 64 ans, d’après des données non publiées » qui lui avaient été présentées. Le vaccin d’Astra Zeneca peut être administré « sans aucune hésitation » aux personnes âgées de 65 ans et plus selon la conseillère scientifique en chef Mona Nemer qui soutient qu’il « empêche les hospitalisations et les décès. » En conférence de presse mardi, l’administratrice en chef de la santé publique du Canada, Dre Teresa Tam, ne s’est pas étendue sur le sujet, se contentant de rappeler le caractère consultatif des recommandations qui ne sont pas nécessairement des directives officielles. Le comité a également précisé que l’intervalle entre la première et la deuxième dose du vaccin Astra Zeneca pourrait avoir une incidence sur l’efficacité du vaccin, l’efficacité étant moindre si l’intervalle est inférieur à 12 semaines. Ce volet n’a pas été débattu non plus. L’urgence de tirer la situation au clair Contrairement au Canada, certains pays comme la France où la confusion persiste ont autorisé l’administration du vaccin d’Astra Zeneca sans limite d’âge. Selon les autorités responsables de la distribution des vaccins, 300 000 des premières doses livrées au Canada seront périmées après le 2 avril. L’Alberta et l’Ontario s’abstiennent encore d’utiliser ce troisième vaccin approuvé sur le sol canadien. Le Québec sera fixé sur la conduite à tenir à l’issue des recommandations de ses experts. « Les avis contradictoires… doivent être clarifiés avant la livraison du vaccin aux provinces, et les Canadiens méritent de comprendre les impacts de cette décision », a déclaré la porte-parole du Parti conservateur en matière de santé, Michelle Rempel. Les conservateurs au comité de la santé ont demandé que la lumière soit faite sur les avis contradictoires des experts. Ce vaccin d’Astra Zeneca développé en partenariat avec l’université d’Oxford est « plus facile à transporter, à entreposer et à manipuler que les vaccins à ARNm (les vaccins de Pfizer et Moderna) et, par conséquent, pourrait être plus facile à utiliser pour une distribution plus large par l’intermédiaire des pharmacies et des prestataires de soins de santé primaires. » Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français