Canada's health officials spoke about the recent change in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on the time between two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and how that may contribute to vaccine hesitancy in Canada.
LIVERPOOL, England — Liverpool’s woeful home form is developing into a full-blown crisis after Chelsea’s 1-0 victory on Thursday inflicted a fifth straight league loss at Anfield on the Premier League champions — the worst run in the club’s 128-year history. With Liverpool's title defence already over, this was billed as a battle for a Champions League place and Mason Mount’s 42nd-minute goal lifted Chelsea back into the top four. Chelsea’s previous win at Anfield, in 2014, effectively ended the title hopes of Brendan Rodgers’ side. This one was a blow to Liverpool’s chances of a top-four finish under Jurgen Klopp. Klopp’s side is four points adrift of Chelsea and with Everton and West Ham also ahead. Liverpool has now gone more than 10 hours without a goal from open play at Anfield. The hosts failed to register an effort on target until the 85th minute and Georginio Wijnaldum’s weak header was never going to beat Edouard Mendy. They have taken one point from the last 21 on offer at home since Christmas and scored just two goals, one of which was a penalty. None of Liverpool's established front three — Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino — impressed but the sight of Salah, the Premier League’s leading scorer, being substituted just past the hour mark was baffling. The Egypt international certainly thought so as he sat shaking his head, having been replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Chelsea, by contrast, looked full of threat with Timo Werner — a player Liverpool was interested in but decided it could not afford last summer — a constant problem. Despite one goal in his previous 17 league outings, he caused problems with his movement, drifting out to the left then popping into the middle to give Fabinho a real headache on his return to the side. The Brazil midfielder, replacing Nat Phillips after he became the latest centre back to pick up an injury, was partnering Ozan Kabak in Liverpool’s 15th different central-defensive starting partnership in 27 league matches. Faced with a statistic like that, it is perhaps understandable why there was a lack of cohesion at the back and Werner should really have profited. He fired one early shot over and then failed to lift his effort over Alisson Becker, back in goal after the death of his father in Brazil last week. Even when Werner did beat Alisson, VAR ruled the Germany international’s arm had been offside 20 yards earlier in the build-up. Liverpool’s one chance fell to Mane but Salah’s first-time ball over the top got caught under his feet and Mane missed his shot with only Mendy to beat. Chelsea was still controlling the game and caught Liverpool on the counterattack when N’Golo Kante quickly sent a loose ball out to the left wing, from where Mount cut inside to beat Alisson having been given far too much time to pick his spot. All five of Mount’s league goals have come away from home. Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel spent the first five minutes of the second half screaming at his players to press harder and play higher up the pitch but Liverpool’s players were equally vocal when Firmino’s cross hit the raised arm of Kante from close range. No penalty was awarded. Andy Robertson cleared off the line from Hakim Ziyech after Alisson parried Ben Chilwell’s shot as Chelsea continued to look more dangerous. Klopp’s attempt to change the direction of the game saw him send on Diogo Jota for his first appearance in three months, along with Oxlade-Chamberlain. Jota’s first touch was a half-chance from a deep cross but he was not sharp enough to take it. Werner, meanwhile, was doing everything but score as Alisson’s leg saved another shot as he bore down on goal. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
1. “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse” by Charlie Mackesy (HarperOne) 2. “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin’s Press) 3. “Believe IT” by Jamie Kem Lima (Gallery Books) 4. “Firefly Lane” by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin’s Griffin) 5. “I Love You to the Moon and Back” by Amelia Hepworth (Tiger Tales) 6. “A Court of Silver Flames” by Sarah J. Maas (Bloomsbury) 7. “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss (Random House) 8. “The Kaiser's Web” by Steve Berry (Minotaur) 9. “Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney (Candlewick) 10. “Kingdom of Shadow and Light” by Karen Marie Moning (Dell) 11. “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish” by Dr. Seuss (Random House) 12. “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster” by Bill Gates (Knopf) 13. “Bridgerton: The Duke and I” by Julia Quinn (Avon) 14. “Fox in Socks” by Dr. Seuss (Random House Books for Young Readers) 15. “Dr. Seuss's ABC” by Dr. Seuss (Random House Books for Young Readers) 16. “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch (Firefly Books) 17. “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss (Random House) 18. “Bridgerton: The Viscount Who Loved Me” by Julia Quinn (Avon) 19. “Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman (Random House Books for Young Readers) 20. “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig (Viking) 21. “The Pegan Diet” by Mark Hyman (Little, Brown Spark) 22. “Atomic Habits” by James Clear (Avery) 23. “Keep Sharp” by Sanjay Gupta (Simon & Schuster) 24. “Think Again” by Adam Grant (Viking) 25. “Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder” by Joanne Fluke (Kensington) The Associated Press
YELLOWKNIFE — Residents of the Northwest Territories who are from Norman Wells and Fort Simpson can now self-isolate at home if they leave the territory. A previous public-health order required anyone who left N.W.T. to isolate for 14 days in Yellowknife, Fort Smith, Hay River or Inuvik. The territory's chief public health officer, Dr. Kami Kandola, says the order was changed because Norman Wells and Fort Simpson both have a wastewater surveillance program to test for COVID-19. The two communities also have adequate medical resources to support new infections. Kandola says only residents of Normal Wells and Fort Simpson will be allowed to self-isolate there. They must also submit a self-isolation plan to the territory's public-health office. There are currently two active cases of COVID-19 in the territory. The Canadian Press
Newfoundland and Labrador's minister responsible for the status of women says there's been a recent increase in calls to the province's domestic violence help line but there are services available to help women living with violence. Lisa Dempster says the increase in calls is concerning, but she's encouraged that women are reaching out for help, despite the public health restrictions in place. "While we are in lockdown, you do not have to feel you are locked down at home with an abuser, so we do know that there's been some increase in calls," she said. Dempster didn't give specific details about how many more calls the line is receiving. The domestic violence help line was launched in June. When someone calls or texts, the system will automatically detect the region they're in and connect them with a trained professional at the nearest transition house. If necessary, they can then be connected to services, like women's centres or police, for further help. Non-profit groups said they saw a significant increase in domestic violence calls during the early stages of the pandemic. We know that some of the calls coming in are more focused on physical violence. - Lisa Dempster Dempster said the pandemic has had a greater effect on women, and restrictions can create added pressure for women living with violence. As a result, the types of calls the line is receiving has also changed, she said. "Prior to the pandemic, we would get various calls to the line, could be around financial abuse, different types," she said. "But right now — and we know the pandemic has been really difficult for many people and it's not impacted all of us equally — we know that some of the calls coming in are more focused on physical violence." During an election, the government is in caretaker mode, but Dempster is still the minister, and she says has been checking in with staff in the department at least once a week. She said the increase in calls began within the past week. "Yesterday, maybe, when I learned there had been an increase, I felt compelled to get out, to do my part to hopefully reach some women that are in unsafe situations," she said. Help available for women experiencing violence The minister urged women not to stay in an unsafe situation at home because of the public health restrictions in alert levels 4 and 5. "To women who are struggling with violence in their lives today, I want you to know that help is available," she said. "There are services right across this province, and when you feel you are ready and you feel that it's safe for you to reach out, there are organizations waiting to help you." Dempster said transition houses across the province are open and have room to accept women in need. She said, on average, the transition houses are now at about 55 per cent capacity. "While we've made good strides and we're moving in the right direction, certainly there is progress that can be made," she said. "We're grateful that we have fared better than many other provinces. Still, we have our own issues — all is not well and we need to get out and we need to talk about those. We need to hear from folks out in the community and we need to put whatever services in place that we can to support them." The province's domestic violence help line is 1-888-709-7090, and can be reached by call or text, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador's chief electoral officer is defending his decision to hand-deliver some ballot kits to people in his St. John's, N.L., neighbourhood. Bruce Chaulk said Thursday he sees no problem in the fact he personally delivered ballots to about six people, including Progressive Conservative Leader Ches Crosbie and Liberal Finance Minister Siobhan Coady. Chaulk said in some cases he had prepared ballot kits for candidates who didn't live in their districts. "I had the kits done and could drop them in the mail, but looking at the addresses I thought I could just drop them off on the way home," he said in an interview. He said the personal service wasn't requested; he did it on his own initiative. "I don't think it's much of an issue," Chaulk said about delivering ballots to Crosbie and Coady. "Both live in my neighbourhood. They are literally around the corner." Elections NL moved to special mail-in ballots after cancelling in-person voting on Feb. 12 following a surge in COVID-19 cases in the capital region. Since then, concerns have been expressed about whether voters would receive their ballots in time to have them back in the mail by the March 12 deadline. Robyn LeGrow, the Tory candidate for St. John's Centre, took issue with Chaulk's decision to hand-deliver some ballots. She said the service contrasts starkly with that provided to people in remote areas of Labrador who are concerned they won't receive their ballots in time or won't be able to understand them because they are not translated into their Indigenous language. "You're hearing about the person responsible for all of this having no problem with going around and hand-delivering," LeGrow said in an interview Thursday. "It just shows his disregard for the disenfranchisement of the people I've talked about." Memorial University political science professor Amanda Bittner said Chaulk's actions do not look good considering the concerns expressed by rural voters. "Meanwhile the (chief electoral officer) is hand-delivering ballots to those who are already privileged and live in the same upper-middle class neighbourhood as him," Bittner wrote in an email. "There is a perception that he did something wrong because this was wrong. It is not appropriate for the chief electoral officer to be facilitating the franchise for a select group, hand-picked by himself." Ballots must be postmarked by March 12, and Chaulk recommends that voters not wait until the last day to send them. He said many people have skipped the mail and put their ballots in the Election's NL mail slot. "They are hand-delivering them back," he said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. — By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton. The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Results of a study led by Metro Vancouver's transit operator reveal copper on high-touch surfaces is lethal to bacteria. A statement from TransLink says the findings of the industry-leading trial show copper products kill up to 99.9 per cent of all bacteria within one hour of surface contact. As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TransLink was the first transit agency in North America to test copper on high-touch surfaces. The pilot study was launched after unrelated studies showed copper is both durable and effective at killing germs. Phase 1 of the pilot, which was fully funded by mining firm Teck Resources, began last November and continued for five weeks on surfaces of two buses and two SkyTrain cars. A second phase will begin in the coming months using a larger sample to verify the results, testing copper over a longer period on more transit vehicles, and focusing tests on the most effective products identified from Phase 1. TransLink interim CEO Gigi Chen-Kuo says they are excited to find out more about the impact of copper on viruses such as the ones that cause COVID-19. "This research could help us, other transit agencies, and anyone with surfaces in shared public spaces keep high-touch areas as clean as possible,” she says in the statement. The project stems from a partnership between TransLink, Teck, Vancouver Coastal Health, the University of British Columbia and the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. Teck funded the initial phase as part of its Copper & Health program and the company will also support Phase 2. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
A Montreal man who filed a complaint with Quebec's Human Rights Commission alleging racial profiling by Montreal police says the commission's investigation into the incident was flawed and incomplete. Brian Mann and his girlfriend Tayana Jacques each received $444 tickets for excessive noise and were charged with obstruction of justice after an incident on St-Laurent Boulevard in April 2018. The couple filed a complaint with the commission and, in a decision in January, the commission concluded there was no evidence of profiling. Mann told reporters at an online news conference Thursday the decision was "completely bogus." "It was a complete sham. If you look at what they wrote in the actual report, it doesn't mention anything that we submitted to them, any of the facts," Mann said. He said the commission never interviewed him or Jacques about the incident, or other any other eyewitnesses who came forward. He also said commission investigators never watched a cellphone video that captured part of the incident. The written decision from the commission only makes reference to a single police report as the basis for its conclusion. "It was swept under the rug, taking one police officer's report and blanketing over a whole, very complicated situation," Mann said. Jacques died in an accident in 2019 but Mann is continuing the fight. 'Talking too loudly' Mann and Jacques were walking on St-Laurent on a Saturday morning to get breakfast. They said they were chatting and laughing when two police officers pulled up beside them. The officers told them they were "talking too loudly" and disturbing the peace. Mann said that Jacques was then handcuffed and searched. He said when he questioned why officers were doing that, more officers arrived, threw him to the ground and pepper-sprayed him. The Human Rights Commission said Mann and Jacques refused to identify themselves to officers and that Mann was "aggressive" and resisted arrest. Tayana Jacques, Mann's girlfriend at the time of the incident, passed away after an accident in 2019. Mann said Jacques was determined to proceed with the Human Rights complaint because she believed she and Mann had done nothing wrong.(Verity Stevenson/CBC) The decision also said officers concluded that Mann and Jacques were intoxicated. The eyewitness cellphone video that Mann submitted to the commission doesn't show the lead-up to the arrest, but it does show six officers subduing Mann and throwing him to the ground. Commission accepts police version of events Mann and Jacques alleged that officers overreacted because Jacques was Black, and that Mann was a victim of discrimination by association. The commission disagreed. "The evidence shows the officers had a valid reason to intervene with the suspect (Mann)," the decision said. "The actions of the officers toward the suspect in the pursuit of their intervention, in particular the use of force, were linked, according to the evidence gathered, with his refusal to collaborate, his strong resistance and his aggressiveness," the report says. Although the commission accepted at face value the police contention that Mann was behaving aggressively, that allegation was never tested in court. All charges against Mann and Jacques were eventually dropped. Mann said Thursday that prosecutors tried to make a deal with Jacques before she died, offering to drop the obstruction of justice charge if she'd agree to pay the fine for excessive noise. He said she refused because she believed she and Mann had done nothing wrong. Rushed investigation? Fo Niemi, director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations, which assisted Mann with his complaint, said he's worried the commission rushed its investigation. Niemi said the Human Rights Tribunal, which adjudicates cases when recommendations made by the commission aren't followed, has recently thrown out several complaints because of unreasonable delays. Niemi thinks those tossed complaints may have affected the investigation into Mann and Jacques's case. "We're concerned that because of the delays, the commission is fast-tracking its investigation to the point of intentionally omitting evidence that was brought to its attention," Niemi said. Judicial review only recourse Niemi wrote to the head of the Human Rights Commission asking that the commission take another look at Mann's case. The commission responded with a letter explaining that there's no appeal process for its decisions and that Mann's only recourse would be to seek a judicial review of the decision in Quebec Superior Court. Niemi noted that legal fees for such a review can be high but Mann insisted he wants to go ahead with it. "I'm willing to do whatever it takes to have this case reopened or reheard," Mann said. Brian Mann speaks to reporters via Zoom Thursday. Mann said the Human Rights Commission's decision tarnishes his reputation because it leaves the impression that he did something wrong.(CBC News) "I'll find the money, it's not a problem. Who cares about money? This is about what's right and what's wrong," he said, noting that it's what Jacques wanted before she died. Mann said he's also concerned the commission's decision leaves the impression that he did something wrong, despite all charges against him being dropped. "It tarnishes my reputation, it makes me feel like I'm not protected by the Human Rights Commission, which is mandated to review things like this," Mann said. Commission insists investigation 'rigorous, impartial' A spokesperson for the commission told CBC in an email that it couldn't comment on the case because of confidentiality. "We can state however that the Commission's investigative work is done rigorously and impartially, in accordance with our guidelines," the email said. The guidelines include collecting all relevant information necessary to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bring the dispute to court. The guidelines also state that the decision on whether the evidence is sufficient is a "discretionary administrative decision." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
Calgary MLA Muhammad Yaseen is proposing the province declare rodeo the official sport of Alberta, calling it an important thread in the rich cultural fabric of the province. Yaseen has presented a private member's bill to the legislative standing committee. The UCP MLA for Calgary-North, and parliamentary secretary for immigration, says rodeo is not just about competition, but for many in the province, it's about identity, income and culture. "Alberta has the richest rodeo culture in all of Canada," Yaseen told the Calgary Eyeopener. "Ranchers are compassionate stewards of the land and their livestock. So it's a cultural thing." Yaseen says it's the culture of rodeo that best defines this province. "I have had the chance to live in rural Alberta many years ago in connection with my oil and gas work, and there I became very familiar with the rural culture, a culture of hospitality and collaboration, a culture of generosity and co-operation, with rodeo being the most favourite sport," he said. "This is many moons ago, but it still goes on with the same spirit. And I think it's a good time to recognize this as an official sport." Yaseen cited the economic importance of rodeo events, and not just in rural areas. "Don't forget, we have the biggest rodeo here in Calgary," he said. Yasee acknowledged that rodeo on its own is not one sport but a group of sports under the umbrella of rodeo. Yaseen is not the first MLA to suggest embracing the rodeo brand for the province. In 2008, Liberal Party leader Kevin Taft introduced a similar motion, but it did not move forward. Yaseen hopes his bill will have more traction. Calgary-North MLA Muhammad Yaseen has brought forth a private member's bill to declare rodeo Alberta's official sport.(UCP) "Well, that motion, to the best of my recollection, the motion by member Taft was a private member's motion … and it received overwhelming support," he said. "But that was not a binding motion, and it's just a private member's motion. I don't think it was a bill as it is being done now." It's a topic that is sure to bring on debate, as member's of CBC's Unconventional Panel confirmed during Wednesday's Calgary Eyeopener. Listen to the full panel discussion on the Calgary Eyeopener here: Calgary writer and columnist Val Fortney has covered rodeo events during her newspaper career, even travelling with the chuckwagon drivers on tour one summer. "It was an absolutely fascinating look into a culture that exists in this province that we see in Calgary for those 10 days, every Stampede, that is just so distinct," she told the panel. "When I heard about this, I thought, yeah, a lot of people are not going to like this, and I know the animal rights activists aren't going to like it. The urban people say, you know, we play hockey. You know, what about curling … It's an interesting idea. It's a nod to the past and to part of a very deeply ingrained, very distinct and different culture that you can find only in Alberta — that revolves around a sport." Darryl Stanier, the founder of FMI Logistics, said while he's not the biggest rodeo fan himself, he can see the merits of the rodeo brand. "What better way to support the branding of Alberta, steeped in tradition and heritage," he said. "Our pioneer forefathers were involved in the cattle drive, and bringing livestock into this part of the country. They, with the First Nations people, came together in 1902 for the first rodeo in Canada, and the first formal stampede in 1912." Stanier credited Yaseen with having a vision for Alberta. "It celebrates our heritage and it's clearly what Alberta is about. It's an awesome branding program. I think it's genius," he said. Khalil Kabani, a barber and northeast community leader, is not a fan of rodeo — or telling the world that that's what Alberta is all about. Part of it is animal rights issues, and part of it is the idea of leaving the past behind. A young cowboy finds the perfect vantage point during bull riding rodeo action at the Calgary Stampede in 2019.(Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press) "A lot of people don't love the rodeo, and I'm one of them," he said. "But if, and I think this is a very big if, we have to declare a sport that is the official sport to Alberta, then I think it needs to be a little bit more inclusive, something that's affordable and maybe being able to reach out there to the masses." Kabani suggests that canoeing or paddle boarding would be a better indication of what Albertans engage in. "Where Alberta was 100 years ago to where Alberta is right now is two different things," he said, adding he is not opposed to the tradition of the Stampede itself. "The Stampede is a wonderful thing, and if we do a few tweaks here and there, like the calf roping and maybe the horse breaking, yeah, I think we can make it even better," he said. "I think we can definitely work together with that. But whether rodeo should be the official sport of Alberta? That's the real question." Given the economic and cultural importance of rodeo across the province, Stanier said it's too significant to dismiss. "There's all kinds of talk out there about different types of cancel culture right now, and when things are truly controversial for the right reason, I'm in for review and and regeneration and rebirth," he said. "But Stampede is just a brand that is who we have been. And it doesn't need to be about animal cruelty. I think the Stampede board and the various animal rights activist groups have a great opportunity to help rewrite some of how aspects of it are managed." Yaseen's private member's bill is now in committee, and the members will decide whether it will move forward to second reading. With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Jean Andrade, an 88-year-old who lives alone, has been waiting for her COVID-19 vaccine since she became eligible under state guidelines nearly a month ago. She assumed her caseworker would contact her about getting one, especially after she spent nearly two days stuck in an electric recliner during a recent power outage. It was only after she saw a TV news report about competition for the limited supply of shots in Portland, Oregon, that she realized no one was scheduling her dose. A grocery delivery service for homebound older people eventually provided a flyer with vaccine information, and Andrade asked a helper who comes by for four hours a week to try to snag her an appointment. “I thought it would be a priority when you’re 88 years old and that someone would inform me," said Andrade, who has lived in the same house for 40 years and has no family members able to assist her. “You ask anybody else who's 88, 89, and don’t have anybody to help them, ask them what to do. Well, I’ve still got my brain, thank God. But I am very angry.” Older adults have top priority in COVID-19 immunization drives the world over right now, and hundreds of thousands of them are spending hours online, enlisting their children’s help and travelling hours to far-flung pharmacies in a desperate bid to secure a COVID-19 vaccine. But an untold number like Andrade are getting left behind, unseen, because they are too overwhelmed, too frail or too poor to fend for themselves. The urgency of reaching this vulnerable population before the nation's focus turns elsewhere is growing as more Americans in other age and priority groups become eligible for vaccines. With the clock ticking and many states extending shots to people as young as 55, nonprofits, churches and advocacy groups are scrambling to find isolated elders and get them inoculated before they have to compete with an even bigger pool — and are potentially forgotten about as vaccination campaigns move on. An extreme imbalance between vaccine supply and demand in almost every part of the United States makes securing a shot a gamble. In Oregon, Andrade is vying with as many as 750,000 residents age 65 and older, and demand is so high that appointments for the weekly allotment of doses in Portland are snapped up in less than an hour. On Monday, the city's inundated vaccine information call line shut down by 9 a.m., and online booking sites have crashed. Amid such frenzy, the vaccine rollout here and elsewhere has strongly favoured healthier seniors with resources “who are able to jump in their car at a moment’s notice and drive two hours” while more vulnerable older adults are overlooked, said James Stowe, the director of aging and adult services for an association of city and county governments in the bistate Kansas City area. "Why weren’t they the thrust of our efforts, the very core of what we wanted to do? Why didn’t it include this group from the very outset?” he said of the most vulnerable seniors. Some of the older adults who have not received vaccines yet are so disconnected they don't even know they are eligible. Others realize they qualify, but without internet service and often email accounts, they don't know how to make an appointment and can't get to one anyway — so they haven't tried. Still others have debilitating health issues that make leaving home an insurmountable task, or they are so terrified of exposure to COVID-19 that they'd rather go unvaccinated than risk venturing out in public to get a shot. In Kansas City, Missouri, 75-year-old Pat Brown knows she needs the vaccine because her asthma and diabetes put her at higher risk of serious COVID-19 complications. But Brown hasn’t attempted to schedule an appointment and didn’t even know if they were being offered in her area yet; she says she is too overwhelmed. “I don’t have no car, and it’s hard for me to get around places. I just don’t like to go to clinics and have to wait because you have to wait so long,” Brown said, adding that she is in constant pain because of spinal arthritis. “I couldn’t do it. My back would give out...and I don’t have the money to take a cab.” The pandemic has also closed senior centres, libraries and churches — all places where older Americans might remain visible in their communities and get information about the vaccine. And some public health departments at first relied on mass emails and text messages to alert residents they were eligible, thereby missing huge chunks of the senior population. “Do you think everyone has internet access? Do you really think everyone has email?” Denise LaBuda, spokeswoman for the Council on Aging of Central Oregon, said. “We just don’t know where they all are. They have to raise their hand — and how do they raise their hand?” To counter access disparities, the Biden administration said Wednesday that it will partner with health insurance companies to help vulnerable older people get vaccinated for COVID-19. The goal is to get 2 million of the most at-risk seniors vaccinated soon, White House coronavirus special adviser Andy Slavitt said. Slavitt says insurers will use their networks to contact Medicare recipients with information about COVID-19 vaccines, answer questions, find and schedule appointments for first and second doses and co-ordinate transportation. The focus will be on reaching people in medically underserved areas. Non-profits, churches and advocates for older people have already spent weeks figuring out how to reach disadvantaged Americans over age 65 through a patchwork and grassroots effort that varies widely by location. Some are partnering with charities like Meals on Wheels to distribute vaccine information or grocery-delivery programs like the one which alerted Andrade. Others are mining library card rosters, senior centre membership lists and voter registration databases to find disconnected older people. Reaching out through organizations and faith groups that marginalized older Americans already trust is key, said Margaret Scharle, who developed a vaccine outreach toolkit for her Roman Catholic parish in Oregon. The “low-tech” approach, which other charities started using, relies on door-knocking, paper brochures and scripted phone calls to communicate with residents over 65. “Once you’ve been blocked so many times in trying to make an appointment, you might give up. So we are working as hard as we can to penetrate the most marginalized communities, to activate networks that are already existing,” said Scharle, who after the initial contact offers assistance with scheduling appointments and transportation. In Georgetown, South Carolina, a rural community where many of the 10,000 residents are the descendants of slaves, the local NAACP chapter is using its rolls from a November get-out-the-vote drive to get the oldest citizens out for the vaccine. Chapter president Marvin Neal said they are trying to reach 2,700 people to let them know they are eligible for a shot and to offer help booking appointments. Many of those individuals don’t have internet service or transportation, or suffer from medical issues like dementia, he said. “Some are not even aware that the vaccine is even in their community, that’s the challenge,” Neal said. “It’s like they’re just throwing up their hands in the air and hoping somebody steps in. Because all the ones I have talked to want the vaccine. I haven’t had one yet that didn’t say, ‘Sign me up.’” Outreach workers are also identifying holes in the system that prevent the most vulnerable seniors from accessing shots. For example, a dial-a-ride service in a rural part of Oregon doesn't take passengers beyond their town limits, meaning they can't get to their county's mass vaccination site. In the same region, only the largest city has a public bus system. Such obstacles underscore what outreach workers say is a huge demand for mobile vaccine clinics. Some local governments and non-profit organizations are partnering with paramedics and volunteer groups that specialize in disaster response to inoculate the hardest-to-reach seniors. In South Carolina, pharmacist Raymond Paschal purchased a van and a $3,000 refrigerator to start a mobile clinic for underserved areas, but his independent pharmacy in Georgetown can't get ahold of any vaccine. “There’s a lot of people falling through the cracks,” Paschal said. “These older people who have still not received their vaccine, they’re going to have all this younger generation they have to compete with. So we’ve got to get to these older people first.” ____ Hollingsworth reported from Kansas City, Missouri. Bynum reported from Savannah, Georgia. Associated Press reporter Sara Cline in Portland, Oregon contributed to this report. Gillian Flaccus, Heather Hollingsworth And Russ Bynum, The Associated Press
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq chiefs say Ottawa's new plan to regulate Indigenous moderate livelihood fisheries is an attempt by government to control something that isn't under its mandate. Chief Gerald B. Toney of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs said today the Mi’kmaq’s constitutionally protected right to fish shouldn't be driven by industry or the federal government. Toney was reacting to a new plan by Ottawa that would allow moderate livelihood fishing activity during the commercial season through licences issued under the Fisheries Act, though the total amount of fishing in the country’s waters wouldn’t increase. Nova Scotia Sen. Daniel Christmas also disagrees with the new plan, saying it’s untrue that moderate livelihood fisheries pose a conservation threat to lobster stock. Premier Iain Rankin says his province is ready to issue buyers licences for Mi'kmaq catch once Mi'kmaq First Nations reach a deal with Ottawa. Mi’kmaq fishers say a 1999 Supreme Court decision affirms their right to fish for a “moderate livelihood” outside the federally regulated season. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Growing up in Alberta, actor Rohan Campbell spent summers at friends' Canmore mountain cabins, where he'd crack open old "Hardy Boys" books that adorn many a cottage bookshelf. "Every time I was at a cabin with no internet or something like that, they were the books I would read before bed," he said in an interview. "So I felt really close to them, and it was just absurd to be able to make my vision of Frank come to life." Campbell was referring to his leading role as teenage amateur sleuth Frank Hardy, alongside Toronto actor Alexander Elliot as younger brother Joe Hardy, in the new Ontario-shot family series "The Hardy Boys." Premiering Friday on YTV in Canada after its U.S. debut on Hulu in December, the mystery drama is based on the time-honoured stories written under the pseudonym by Franklin W. Dixon by numerous authors, including Ontario-raised Leslie McFarlane. The Canadian cast, crew and creators filmed in and around Toronto, Hamilton and Cambridge, Ont. Filming wrapped just a couple of weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns hit. In this version of the story, 16-year-old Frank and 12-year-old Joe grapple with a family tragedy and investigate strange events in the small town of Bridgeport in the 1980s. Nova Scotia-raised James Tupper of "Big Little Lies" plays their dad. There's a bigger age gap between the two brothers in the YTV original series compared to the books, which "breeds a different sort of conflict in the sense that they do things differently," said Campbell, 23, from Vancouver. "The Hardy Boys" books debuted in 1927 and have had several incarnations, but they weren't a big part of 16-year-old Elliot's childhood and he didn't read them until he got the role. "I found this huge community that grew up with these books, and now it's an honour to be a part of it with all these people who, these books shaped their childhood," he said. Given the books' long legacy, the stars felt some pressure to live up to the source material. "Day 1, you get super excited, and then you go to shoot it and all of a sudden that air of responsibility comes to you and you really want to do justice for the people that grew up with these books," said Campbell. "These books are, like, 100 years old, right? So you have such a different demographic of audience, age-wise and maturity, whatever it is. So I think it was really important to us to give a little piece of the books to every different age group." Elliot also felt the pressure but his worries went away when he saw lovers of the books praising the show after its U.S. premiere. "We put a lot of work into this show and we're really hoping that the diehard fans enjoyed it as much as we hoped they did," he said. "We're trying to bring this to all-age groups, and this is kind of like a new generation of 'The Hardy Boys.'" The series is also set before Elliot's time and the young star said he did some research to learn how to use some of the props from that decade. "I feel like everybody was expecting like, 'Oh, he's a kid, he doesn't know how any of this tech works,' and they hand me a Walkman and I know how it works perfectly," he said with a laugh. "I love the '80s," he added. "I love the music, the movies. Everything about the '80s. Even before 'The Hardy Boys,' I loved everything from the '80s. I have a whole playlist of hundreds of songs from the '80s on my Spotify. Some of my favourite movies are from the '80s — 'Back to the Future,' 'Beetlejuice.' All these classics." The show's premise of boys solving dark mysteries in the '80s is drawing comparisons to the Netflix series "Stranger Things," which Elliot called "an absolute honour." Beyond the nostalgic appeal, having such tales set in that decade also helps the storytelling, said Campbell. "It's like, you give two kids Google — it's not very exciting to watch them solve a mystery," he said with a laugh. "Yeah, there's not going to be that many episodes," added Elliot. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
ANKARA, Turkey — An army helicopter crashed in eastern Turkey on Thursday, killing 11 military personnel on board and injuring two others, the Defence Ministry said. News reports said a high-ranking officer was among the victims. The Cougar type helicopter crashed near the village of Cekmece, close to the town of Tatvan, in the predominantly Kurdish-populated Bitlis province. It was on its way to Tatvan from the nearby province of Bingol when authorities lost contact with it at 2:25 pm (1125 GMT), the ministry said. The victims included Lt. Gen. Osman Erbas, an army corps commander, said Devlet Bahceli, the leader of Turkey's main nationalist party, on Twitter. Pro-government Daily Sabah also reported that Erbas was killed. Nine of the victims died at the crash site, while two died of their injuries in hospital, officials said. The ministry described the crash as an accident, but it wasn't immediately known what caused it. HaberTurk television said the chopper is believed to have crashed in adverse weather conditions, including snow and fog. Cekmece resident Davut Bikec was one of the first people to reach the site. “One of (the injured personnel) was slightly beneath the helicopter but there wasn't a lot of pressure on him. I cleaned the snow from his mouth so he could breathe," Bikec told the state-run Anadolu Agency. “I asked him if he was okay and after he had recovered a little, he said: ‘I am fine.’” “I began digging into the snow; My hands got wounds and bruises. I dug, dug, dug and removed the wounded soldier,” he said. Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar departed for Tatvan together with the country's chief of military staff and the land forces' commander to inspect the area, the ministry said. The location of the crash is in an area where Turkish troops have been combating militants of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984. The PKK is considered to be a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union. In 1997, PKK militants attacked a Turkish Cougar helicopter in northern Iraq, killing 11 Turkish soldiers. More recently, 13 military personnel were killed in 2017, when a Cougar helicopter crashed into power lines shortly after take-off from a base near Turkey's border with Iraq. __ Robert Badendieck contributed from Istanbul. Suzan Fraser, The Associated Press
LAKELAND, Fla. — A lack of control from Toronto's pitchers was a factor in the Detroit Tigers' 8-2 win over the Blue Jays in spring training action Thursday. The Tigers (3-2) scored eight unanswered runs in the win, with two of them coming off wild pitches. Toronto (2-2-1) scored a run in the top of the first two innings to take an early lead. Alejandro Kirk's RBI single drove in Marcus Semien in the first, and Cavan Biggio's triple brought home Forrest Wall in the second. Detroit got one back with a Miguel Cabrera RBI double in the third, then took control with a three-run fourth. Derek Hill started the scoring in the inning win an RBI single, followed by a run-scoring sacrifice fly from Isaac Paredes. Toronto right-hander Joey Murray followed that with a wild pitch that scored Akil Baddoo. Detroit scored two more in each of the fifth and sixth innings, capped by Toronto's second wild pitch of the day when Yosver Zulueta's wayward toss allowed Daniel Pinero to score. Toronto starter T.J. Zeuch allowed two hits and a walk over two scoreless innings. Murray took the loss after giving up three runs on two hits and three walks in the fourth. The Blue Jays got to Detroit starter Spencer Turnbull with four hits and two runs over his two innings, but the Tigers' relievers combined to allow no runs and just one hit over the next five innings. Derek Holland picked up the win. Toronto next plays Friday afternoon against Baltimore in Dunedin, Fla. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has continued to send stunning images of the red planet back to Earth. In this moment, an incredible shot of the Sun from the Martian surface was captured. Credit to "NASA/JPL-Caltech".
Ontario’s police watchdog has found that a Peel Regional police officer acted lawfully in the November 2019 shooting of a teen police say was in the process of robbing a Mississauga bank. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) ruled that there is no reasonable grounds to believe that the officer committed a criminal offence when he shot the armed 16-year-old in the lower back. According to the SIU, the teen had demanded cash from staff at an HSBC location on Dundas Street East, and the officer confronted him while he was masked, armed with a firearm and carrying a backpack full of cash. “I am unable to reasonably conclude that the (subject officer’s) resort to lethal force fell outside the limits of legal justification,” SIU director Joseph Martino wrote. The suspect suffered significant internal injuries in the incident. According to the SIU account, the officer and three other officers were in the area shortly before 4 p.m. on Nov. 26, 2016, when a motorist alerted them to the robbery nearby inside the Chinese Centre. The SIU states the teenager, donning a hooded-jacket over his head and his face covered with a black t-shirt had walked into the bank brandishing a semi-automatic pistol. A bank employee offered up some cash and coins to the teen, who took the money and demanded more, states the SIU’s report. The officers entered the bank with their firearms drawn, prompting the teen to run toward the west wall of the bank. The subject officer fired a single shot striking the teen in the lower mid-back. Still standing after being shot, the teen dropped his firearm, then was taken to the floor and handcuffed. Police later discovered that the weapon was not loaded, “which is of no consequence,” Martino wrote. “It was an actual firearm which the subject officer would have had every reason to believe was loaded and ready to be fired in the hands of the (teenager).” Martino made special note of the fact that although the gunshot wound to the teen’s back could suggest he was facing away from the officers, he had ignored police commands to remain still and posed an immediate risk to people in the bank. The subject officer declined to interview with the SIU or authorize the release of his notes, as is his legal right. Jason Miller is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering crime and justice in the Peel Region. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him on email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic Jason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
To continue the fast-paced collaborative research and innovation we have seen during the pandemic, here are five ways universities can support health research that responds to societal needs.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California lawmakers on Thursday approved a $6.6 billion plan aimed at pressuring school districts to return students to the classroom before the end of the school year. The bill does not order school districts to resume in-person instruction and it does not say parents must send their kids back to the classroom if they don’t want to. Instead, the state will dangle $2 billion before cash-strapped school boards, offering them a share of that money only if they offer in-person instruction by the end of the month. School districts have until May 15 to decide. Districts that resume in-person learning after that date won’t get any of that money. “We need to get the schools reopen. I know it’s hard, but today we are providing powerful tools for schools to move into this direction,” said state Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco who pleaded with his school district to accept the money and offer in-person instruction. Most of California's 6.1 million students in 1,037 public school districts have been learning from home since last March because of the pandemic. The bill passed both houses of the state Legislature on Thursday by overwhelming margins. But many lawmakers criticized the bill as too weak. The bill does not say how much time students should spend in the classroom, prompting fears some districts might have students return for just one day per week and still be eligible to get the money. Republicans in the state Senate tried to amend the bill to require schools to offer at least three days per week of in-person learning, but Democrats in the majority rejected it. And while the bill requires most elementary school grades to return to the classroom to get the money, it does not require all middle and high school grades to return this year. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has said he plans to sign the bill into law on Friday. The bill comes as Newsom faces a potential recall election later this year, fueled by anger over his handling of the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Newsom has trumpeted the back to school proposal as evidence of his commitment to getting students who have studied mostly online since last March into classrooms again. But Scott Wilk, the Republican leader in the state Senate, said the bill was simply an effort by Democrats to give Newsom political cover so he can “get parents to believe he’s doing everything he possibly can for them.” “The truth is this bill doesn’t do anything to reopen our schools. I believe with or without this bill, school districts that want to reopen will and school districts that don’t want to reopen won’t,” said Wilk, who voted for the bill along with most other Republicans. The bill has two sets of rules districts must follow to get the money. The first set applies to school districts in counties where the coronavirus is widespread. The second set of rules applies to districts in counties where the virus is not as widespread. To get the money, districts governed by the first set of rules must offer in-person learning through at least second grade by the end of March. Districts governed by the second set of rules must offer in-person learning to all elementary grades, plus at least one grade in middle and high school. However, the Newsom administration late Wednesday changed the standards that dictate which counties must follow which rules. The new standards mean most counties will have to follow the second set of rules requiring districts to offer in-person instruction in all elementary school grades. “It’s a little dishonest what’s happening,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a Democrat from San Diego, who voted in favour of the bill. The bill also includes $4.6 billion aimed at helping students catch up after a year of learning from home. Districts could use this money to extend the school year into the summer or they could spend it on counselling and tutoring. All districts would get this money, regardless of whether they offer in-person instruction. But the bill stated that districts must use at least 85% of that money for expenses related to in-person instruction. Adam Beam, The Associated Press
A pair of provincial candidates running in Labrador have taken it upon themselves to get some voting information translated into the Innu and Inuit languages. Concerns over the mail-in ballots only being available in English were brought up by candidates shortly after the announcement that there would be no in-person voting, and the concerns haven’t abated. Elections NL told SaltWire Network that “when the election moved to vote by mail only, the chief electoral officer sought translation assistance from our jurisdictional partners.” “Unfortunately, the timelines for such a translation process would not have met Elections Newfoundland and Labrador’s timelines for mailing out voting kits.” Patricia Johnson-Castle, who is running for the NDP in Torngat Mountains, has been vocal regarding her concern about the potential disenfranchisement of non-English-speaking Indigenous voters in Labrador. Last week she decided to get some of the basic election information, such as voting deadlines and how to reach Elections NL, translated into Inuktitut and Innu-aimun and to distribute it online and in print. Johnson-Castle said when it became clear that they weren’t going to be able to get the information translated from Elections NL, she looked for people to translate some of the information, which took no time at all. It has always been a concern that ballots are only in English, she said, but past elections involved in-person voting, where people could take family with them to help translate, or avail of local, bilingual election staff. “In person, people could make a plan, but by text, that’s much more difficult for people to do, especially because some of the terms are very technical,” she said. “People in Labrador always have to accommodate for services that should be provided by the provincial government and this is just another part of that.” Lake Melville Progressive Conservative candidate Shannon Tobin has also taken it upon himself to provide translation election materials, specifically about the mail-in ballot. Tobin told SaltWire he had received his on Wednesday and was going to have it translated into Innu-aimun for a video. He said it became a larger issue as the campaign went on, and began when the information at the advance polls was only available in English and people were relying on his scrutineer to provide them with instructions in Innu-aimun. When the changeover to mail-in ballots only was announced, there was an indication at first from Elections NL that it would accommodate non-English-speakers, Tobin said, but then Elections NL said it would not meet the timelines. “It’s something Election NL should have had in place from the start,” he said. “We have governments talking about reconciliation. It needs to go throughout government. It should have been done. They should have been making these accommodations for a while.” He said it is “easily foreseeable” that people would have wanted access to this information in their Indigenous language and it should have been in place before now. Elections NL said it will “commit to seeking translation services to provide materials in Innu-aimun, Inuktitut, Mi’gmaq/Mi’kmaq and French immediately following this election.” Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
The owners of a house in northeast Calgary that police were called to 115 times last year alone have been slapped with a court order mandating that it be boarded up for three months. The Alberta Sheriffs' Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit obtained a court order on Thursday giving it the authority to change the locks and put up a fence around the property at 5504 Centre Street North, the province said in a release. Police responded to many incidents at the house in Thorncliffe-Greenview last year, including reports of robbery, breaking and entering, possession of a controlled substance and theft of a motor vehicle. SCAN has fielded more than 30 complaints — the largest number it has ever received — and letters from people in the community detailing criminal activity associated with this property. "Recently at this location, a woman sustained a wound to her thigh after being attacked with a machete, and a male suffered serious injuries after taking a bullet to his face," the province said in a release. Alberta Health Services has also issued several orders declaring the property unfit for human habitation, most recently on Jan. 21. Nobody is allowed on the property without permission from the sheriffs until the closure ends on June 2. During the 90-day closure, sheriffs can give the owner and a realtor access for the purpose of showing it to potential buyers. If the owner does not sell the property, the court order gives authorities the option of applying to court for a five-year ban on renting the house and a five-year community safety order. "This is precisely the sort of situation that the SCAN unit was created to fix: a location where criminal activity and violence has become a seemingly everyday occurrence," Justice Minister Kaycee Madu said in the release. "Law-abiding Albertans should not have to tolerate such a level of chaos and danger in their communities."