A second impeachment trial against former U.S. president Donald Trump is set to begin in two weeks and a growing number of Republican senators now oppose convicting Trump.
A second impeachment trial against former U.S. president Donald Trump is set to begin in two weeks and a growing number of Republican senators now oppose convicting Trump.
LISBON, Portugal — Portugal’s government is reporting major progress against wildfires that traditionally scorch the country each summer, saying Thursday the average annual number of blazes and charred area has fallen by more than half over the past three years compared with the previous decade. Authorities enacted a broad range of measures after wildfires killed more than 100 people in 2017. Though officials said climate change, including higher temperatures and lower rainfall, was partly to blame for the destruction, experts also identified poor forest management and preparedness as a cause of repeated outbreaks. Authorities say they have opened more than 4,500 kilometres (2,800 miles) of firebreaks in recent years. Nobody has died in forest blazes in Portugal since 2017. The government concedes, however, that much remains to be done to address the underlying causes of wildfires. They include a migration of people from the countryside to urban areas, leaving large areas untended, and the large swathes of unbroken conifer forests and eucalyptus plantations, which are economically profitable but burn fiercely. The Associated Press
The European Commission on Thursday announced goals for the 27-nation bloc to reduce poverty, inequality and boost training and jobs by 2030 as part of a post-pandemic economic overhaul financed by jointly borrowed funds. The goals, which will have to be endorsed by EU leaders, also include an increase in the number of adults getting training every year to adapt to the EU's transition to a greener and more digitalised economy to 60% from 40% now. Finally, over the next 10 years, the EU should reduce the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion by 15 million from 91 million in 2019.
Apple supplier Foxconn said it expects first-quarter revenue to rise more than 15% from a year earlier, boosted by strong iPhone sales and robust demand for electronics during lockdowns worldwide to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. The world's largest contract electronics manufacturer has previously forecast strong demand for the new iPhone 12, saying its business will be supported by "stronger than expected" sales for smartphones and for telecommuting devices amid a coronavirus-induced work-from-home trend. Taiwan-based Foxconn, in a short statement on Thursday, said it expects consumer electronics revenue, which includes smartphones and smart watches, to rise more than 15% in the January-March quarter from a year earlier.
P.E.I. potato growers now have a new pesticide to use to help fight a costly pest called wireworm. In October 2020, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency approved the registration of broflanilide, the active ingredient in two new insecticides. One targets wireworm in cereal crops, such as wheat; the other does the same thing in potato and corn crops. "I think it will be a game changer for a lot of producers that have been without a very effective, easy-to-use insecticide for quite some time," said Ryan Barrett, research and agronomy co-ordinator with the P.E.I. Potato Board. "We have some insecticides available that do an okay job. But this new insecticide, broflanilide, appears to actually kill wireworm rather than just stunning them." Costly problem Barrett said wireworm has been a costly problem for the potato industry on Prince Edward Island over the years. "It's probably one of the largest yield-robbing diseases or pests that potato producers deal with here in P.E.I.," he said. "It's particularly bad in the fresh-market industry, as a table-stock potato that has a lot of wormholes on it just becomes unmarketable. So for a lot of those varieties and a lot of growers growing for those markets, it's a huge yield robber." Barrett says the new insecticide, broflanilide, appears to actually kill wireworms like this one rather than just stunning them. (Ryan Barrett ) Barrett said wireworm can also be an issue with a potato destined for processing as a French fry or potato chip as well. "I think we had previously estimated that wireworm damage in P.E.I. potatoes was costing over $5 million a year in damage, plus the cost of insecticides, plus the cost of growing some of these different crops. So we are talking about big-dollar figures here," Barrett said. In 2018, the total cost was estimated at $10 million, including the control measures. "So, yes, it will cost something to put the insecticide on the crop, but I think in terms of what it will do, the damage that it will prevent, hopefully, will be significant." Invasive species Until now, Barrett said P.E.I. potato growers have been using other insecticides to fight wireworm, but also changing how they do their tillage and crop rotation. They have been adding crops such as brown mustard or buckwheat, which have been shown to reduce some of the damage from wireworm in later plantings in the same field. Barrett said a table-stock potato with this kind of wormhole damage on it becomes unmarketable. (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada ) Barrett said it was important that research on the new product was done here on P.E.I. because the wireworm found on the Island is a invasive species from Europe, and not the dominant species in most of the rest of North America. "There are insecticides that work in Saskatchewan or work in Alberta on their wireworms, but don't work here," Barrett said. "So it's very important to have research done locally on our species of wireworm, and when they showed that it actually works on what we have here in Prince Edward Island, that was huge." Potato growers on P.E.I. have been planting fields of mustard and buckwheat to help fight wireworms. (Submitted by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) Christine Noronha has been testing the new pesticide since 2015. "We would plant the potatoes by hand in the furrow, and then we sprayed the insecticide in the furrow and covered it up," said Noronha, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Charlottetown. "We would look at, is it affecting the emergence of the potato plants? And then looking at yield, is it affecting the yield?" Noronha said it's important that this chemical kills the wireworms, rather than just paralyzing them, to stop the population from rebounding in subsequent years. (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada ) "Then, at the end of the year, we would actually look at the potatoes, and count the number of holes that we had on the tubers, and that would tell us if there was any damage, or any reduction in damage." Noronha said it's important that this chemical kills the wireworms, rather than just paralyzing them, to stop the population from growing. "Because wireworms don't only affect potatoes; they feed on other crops as well," Noronha said. "If you go in with your barley the following year, and you have a big population, you're going to lose some of your crop because of wireworms." During Noronha's research, they planted the potatoes by hand in each furrow, then sprayed the insecticide into the furrow and covered it up. (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada ) Noronha said the new pesticide also may have less impact on the environment. "The newer chemicals, they're more environmentally friendly and they don't move as much in the soil — and also, they're less toxic to other organisms as well," she said. "Broflanilide is persistent in soil, but is not expected to move through the soil and reach groundwater because it binds strongly to the soil surface. In water bodies, broflanilide will move to sediments where it may remain over time," says Health Canada's documentation about the new pesticide ingredient (see link at bottom). "When used according to the label directions, broflanilide poses acceptable risk to wild mammals, birds, beneficial insects, earthworms, terrestrial and aquatic plants, fish, or amphibians." Ryan Barrett calls wireworm one of the largest yield-robbing pests for potato growers on P.E.I. (Ryan Barrett) Noronha said she will continue to look for other strategies for dealing with wireworm, but noted this is a big deal for P.E.I. potato growers. "Because at one point, the damage was really, really high and they couldn't even sell their crop. "This was a good thing that happened, and we were — all the researchers — happy to see that there is something for them to use." More P.E.I. news
THE LATEST: Health officials announced 564 new cases and four more deaths on Thursday. There are now 248 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 63 in intensive care. To date, 1,376 people in B.C. have lost their lives to COVID-19. There are currently 4,743 active cases of coronavirus in the province. 246 cases of variants of concern have been identified. So far, 298,851 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., with 86,746 of those being second doses. The seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases and the number of patients in hospital with the disease continue to climb in B.C., and officials are expressing concern about the potential for a third wave of the pandemic. In Thursday's COVID-19 briefing, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 564 new cases and four more deaths. A total of 248 people are in hospital with the disease, including 63 in intensive care, out of 4,743 active cases. The latest numbers mean active cases and the rolling average of new cases are at their highest points since Jan. 13 and the number of hospitalizations is the highest since Feb. 5. "We are in a new place right now in the COVID-19 pandemic," Henry said. "We can't let the successes of these great vaccines that we have now be diminished by a surge in cases." Since the province's vaccination program began in late 2020, 298,851 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 86,746 second doses. B.C. now expects every eligible adult who wants a vaccine will receive their first dose by July. The plan is to space out doses by four months, a much longer gap than what's recommended by the manufacturers. But as the vaccination program ramps up, there is growing concern about transmission of faster spreading variants within the community. B.C. has now confirmed a total of 246 cases of variants of concern, and public health has not been able to identify the source of transmission for about a quarter of those. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 6 p.m. PT Tuesday, Canada had reported 875,559 cases of COVID-19, with 29,930 cases considered active. A total of 22,105 people have died. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Common symptoms include: Fever. Cough. Tiredness. Shortness of breath. Loss of taste or smell. Headache. But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. What should I do if I feel sick? Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911. What can I do to protect myself? Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. Keep at least two metres away from people outside your bubble. Keep your distance from people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces. More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
SHEET HARBOUR – Since 1911, people have gathered internationally to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 marks the call to accelerate gender parity. This year, the event will be marked virtually by LEA Place Women’s Resource Centre in Sheet Harbour on March 7. The 2021 theme of the worldwide event is “Choose to Challenge.” LEA Place Executive Director Myrene Keating-Owen told The Journal via email: “A challenged world is an alert world … and from challenge comes change. So, let's all #ChooseToChallenge.” The local IWD event will be shared on Zoom on March 7, at 1 p.m. Guest speaker, Sandra (Boutilier) Fyfe, Anglican Bishop of Nova Scotia and P.E.I., will speak on the power of women. Those wishing to join the IWD Zoom event are invited to call LEA Place to register at (902) 885-2668. LEA Place will be partnering with businesses in the area to offer free coffee to women in honour of IWD. There was a lot for the centre’s staff to take into consideration when organizing this year’s event. Keating-Owen questioned whether they could even host an event with so many unknowns. “As the event is planned months ahead of time – and with the uncertainty of COVID-19 restrictions – we had to be realistic in our planning to organize an event. It had to be in-line with Public Health’s gathering limits – and could easily be changed if other restrictions came down by province,” she said. “We knew the event would not be a face-to-face event – but via Zoom – so we had to ensure we had the technology in place at the Centre to accommodate people joining in. Will people have their own technology and know how to use Zoom?” IWD is one of the most important days of the year to celebrate women's achievements and to raise awareness about women's equality. “This day is used to lobby for accelerated gender parity, influencing behavior and smashing stereotypes,” said Keating-Owen. “The day is marked by encouraging challenging bias, reinforcing commitment and launching initiatives.” Purple, green and white are the designated colours representing IWD. “Purple signifies justice and dignity and green symbolizes hope,” said Keating-Owen. “White represents purity – although a controversial concept. The colours originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the U.K. in 1908.” LEA Place Women’s Resource Centre has been celebrating IWD since its founding in 1983. Keating-Owen described the early days when the organization hosted potlucks where women would bring dishes representing many parts of the world. Women who had travelled abroad were invited to speak on their work and experiences. “A few years we had a panel of women – ages spanning from teens to women in their 80s. We would ask the same questions to each of the women and teens which created a ‘Then and Now’ on issues which continue to be a struggle for women throughout the centuries,” shared Keating-Owen. Keating-Owen reminded the community: “LEA Place Women’s Resource Centre is here and open to support women. We are pleased to continue welcoming individual women to our Centre by drop-in services within public health restrictions and by appointment.” Due to public health gathering limits LEA Place is now connecting in different and new ways – including video appointments, if requested or required – and video events. “We want women to know we are here for them and can connect with us via phone (902) 885-2668, text (902) 885-5286 or email at email@example.com,” explained Keating-Owen. “Our Centre is open regular hours Monday to Friday, from 9 to 4:30 p.m. If you require a different time to meet – please call the Centre to prearrange a time that works.” The Centre is limited to face-to-face attendance but for the IWD event they are able to accommodate up to five, in-person, who register. LEA Place does not charge for the event but for those who choose to give a free will offering – it goes towards LEA Place’s bursary and/or programming. Janice Christie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
LONDON — Prince Philip has had a successful heart procedure at a London hospital and is expected to remain for several days of “rest and recuperation,” Buckingham Palace said Thursday. The palace said the 99-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II “underwent a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.” “His royal highness will remain in hospital for treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days,'' the palace said in a statement. Philip, 99, has been hospitalized since being admitted to King Edward VII’s Hospital in London on Feb. 16, where he was treated for an infection. On Monday he was transferred to a specialized cardiac care hospital, St. Bartholomew’s. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, said Wednesday that Philip's condition was “slightly improving.” “We’ll keep our fingers crossed," said Camilla, who is married to Prince Charles, eldest son of Philip and the queen. Philip's illness is not believed to be related to the coronavirus. Both Philip and the monarch received COVID-19 vaccinations in January and chose to publicize the matter to encourage others to also take the vaccine. Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, retired in 2017 and rarely appears in public. Before his hospitalization, Philip had been isolating at Windsor Castle, west of London, with the queen. Although he enjoyed good health well into old age, Philip has had heart issues in the past. In 2011, he was rushed to a hospital by helicopter after suffering chest pains and was treated for a blocked coronary artery. The longest-serving royal consort in British history, Philip married the then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947. He and the queen have four children, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. His illness comes as the royal family braces for the broadcast of an interview conducted by Oprah Winfrey with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Meghan and husband Prince Harry quit royal duties last year and moved to California, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. Relations between the couple and the palace appear to have become increasingly strained. On Wednesday, the palace said it was launching a human resources investigation after a newspaper reported that a former aide had accused Meghan of bullying staff in 2018. In a clip from the pre-recorded Winfrey interview, released by CBS, Winfrey asks Meghan how she feels about the palace “hearing you speak your truth today?” “I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there was an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” the duchess says. “The Firm” is a nickname for the royal family, sometimes used with affection and sometimes with a note of criticism. Jill Lawless And Danica Kirka, The Associated Press
Insurance is notoriously complicated, and few people have the time or desire to pore over their policies. But some basic knowledge can go a long way — and that’s where an insurance agent can help, by clearing up some of the most common misconceptions they encounter. Here are five things agents say are helpful for customers to know. 1. INSURANCE DOESN’T COVER EVERYTHING When it comes to insurance, “Most people don’t understand the details,” says Andrew McGill, agent at The Insurance Shoppe in Collierville and Nashville, Tennessee. For instance, they often don’t realize that most homeowners policies won’t cover flood or earthquake damage. If your home is at risk for these disasters, you need separate coverage. Auto policies generally cover only personal use of your car, so if you’ve picked up a side gig delivering groceries or meals during the pandemic, you likely need additional coverage, says Keya Pratt, agent and CEO of Pratt Insurance LLC in Richmond, Virginia. Otherwise, accidents you have on the job may not be covered. Insurance policies of all types also generally exclude wear and tear, says Katherine Navarro Wong, a State Farm agent in Santa Rosa, California. She often gets calls from policyholders asking if their insurance will pay for things like broken dishwashers or aging gutters. The answer is no. Insurance is designed to cover sudden, accidental damage, not regular maintenance. “We’re not going to replace (an) old pipe,” Wong says, “but if the pipe accidentally burst and ruined the wall and the flooring,” that would be covered. 2. A GAP IN COVERAGE CAN BE COSTLY There are various reasons you might let your car insurance policy lapse, whether you’re having trouble paying your bills or you no longer own a vehicle. But this could cost you, Pratt says. “People tend to shop insurance after they’ve already cancelled their insurance, (but) unfortunately that’s a huge negative” when calculating your price. After a gap in coverage, insurers view customers as riskier and charge higher rates. You can avoid this by shopping for quotes before your policy expires, buying nonowner car insurance if you’re between vehicles and asking your carrier for leniency if you’re struggling to make payments. 3. YOU CAN’T GET COVERAGE FOR SOMETHING THAT’S ALREADY HAPPENED If you get into an accident and your car needs repairs, you might want a rental vehicle to help you get around. But by that point it would be too late to add that coverage, Wong says. Your auto policy would pay for this only if you had rental car coverage in place when the accident happened — not if you added it the day after. The same goes for other insurance. For example, say a storm leaves an inch of water in your basement, but you haven’t purchased flood insurance. You can still buy coverage for future disasters, but it won’t pay for damage your home has already sustained. 4. YOU SHOULDN’T SKIMP ON LIABILITY INSURANCE Many people focus on buying enough coverage for their belongings, but the liability insurance on your policy may be even more important. It pays for injuries or property damage that you’re at fault for. A lawsuit “is going to be more devastating than losing your laptop (or) ring,” Wong says. Including legal fees, the cost can total hundreds of thousands of dollars, especially if someone is seriously injured. To protect yourself financially, buy enough liability insurance on your auto and home insurance policies to cover your net worth. 5. YOUR AGENT IS THERE TO HELP Confused by your policy’s fine print? Don’t struggle through it on your own, says Jana Schellin Foster, agent at Nevada Insurance Agency Co. in Reno, Nevada. “We’re here to take care of you and walk you through this process.” Foster advises interviewing agents to make sure you trust them and they have the services you need. Once you’ve found an agent you’re comfortable with, Wong recommends touching base once a year or whenever there are changes in your life. This might include getting married, buying a new car or renovating your home, all of which could trigger updates to your insurance. The most important thing to have in your agent is trust, Foster says. “You get so busy with your kids and your job and whatever else you have going on; you shouldn’t have to think about what you need your insurance to do.” _______________________ This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Sarah Schlichter is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. RELATED LINKS: NerdWallet: Flood Insurance: What It Costs and What It Covers https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/insurance/flood-insurance?utm_campaign=ct_prod&utm_source=ap&utm_medium=mpsyn Sarah Schlichter Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press
The pending closure of a major grocery store in downtown Prince George, B.C., has sparked concerns that some of the city's poorest residents may not have easy access to affordable food. Save-On-Foods, owned by the Jim Pattison Group, has confirmed it is moving its downtown location to Pine Centre Mall, roughly three kilometres away. Though the distance may not make much of a difference to people who drive, it could have a major impact on those who walk or take transit to get their food, advocates say. "This is leaving a lot of people, I fear, with very little options," said Torie Beram, a nurse who works with vulnerable people in the city. "You are giving people no choice but to go hungry, utilize food banks or have to find a way to get to the grocery store." The issue of food deserts — urban areas without accessible, affordable food — is a growing concern across Canada. Research out of Winnipeg indicates areas without adequate grocery options tend to have higher rates of people with diabetes, with many surviving on convenience foods and canned goods. Beram worries Save-On's departure will create another such food desert in the heart of northern B.C.'s most populous city, particularly among residents of nearby neighbourhoods with higher concentrations of poverty. Many of her clients don't have vehicles, and even the cost of taking a taxi or having groceries delivered can be prohibitive. As a result, she said, they may be forced to take an hour round trip by foot or bus just to get supplies — a difficult task for single parents or elderly people, particularly during winter months. Seniors, students impacted The move also deals a blow to the city's downtown revitalization plans, which include the construction of student housing just a few blocks away from Save-On's current location. "Very often students come to Prince George, they may not have a vehicle, and having access to good healthy food is important to them," said Coun. Murry Krause, who chairs the city's poverty reduction committee. "It's very disappointing on so many fronts." Krause said the city's economic development wing will be reaching out to other major grocers in an attempt to entice them to take Save-On's place. City Councillor Murry Krause chairs Prince George's poverty reduction committee. He worries what the departure of Save-On will mean for the city's downtown revitalization efforts and how it will impact some of the community's most vulnerable people.(Andrew Kurjata/CBC) Some private citizens are doing the same. Kathleen Hebb said she is personally reaching out to retailers including Safeway and Sobey's in an attempt to get them to open up downtown. She said she is motivated by her own background being raised by a single parent on social assistance. "To say, 'Just get a taxi, get on a bus, go that extra distance' ... is really putting up more barriers and also taking away a bit of money every week." Darrin Rigo said he has a similar background — and similar concerns. "I had a single mom who didn't have a car ... so we walked to the grocery store as a family, 20 minutes round trip each way," he said. Rigo mapped out what Save-On's move might mean for some of the people who live nearby and was concerned by what he found. "It's a 40-minute-plus walk that requires crossing a highway and following a lot of busy arteries," he said. "I think back to my mom who was working two jobs at the time and probably just barely fitting all of this together — if that walk suddenly doubled in length ... I don't think she would have had many options." The move is also a concern to seniors and young families who live in the nearby Millar Addition and Crescents neighbourhoods. While they might be able to afford a car, many chose to live near downtown so they could access services by foot. Save-On-Foods says it is closing its location in the downtown Parkwood Place mall and moving to another location in the city. The grocery giant did not provide a reason for the move.(Andrew Kurjata/CBC) Jeremy Morris, 30, said he just bought his first house in the Crescents in part because he would be able to walk to get groceries, and is disappointed that will soon change. Barbara Robin, 78, is a retired real estate agent who moved close to downtown so she would be able to "walk everywhere" without having to cross any highways. She said the neighbourhoods close to downtown are popular among older people looking to downsize and have easier access to medical services, but the lack of a grocery store could be a barrier. "We want to encourage growth downtown ... so I think it's only right we should have a grocery store in that area." Brian Quarmby co-owns Birch and Boar, a downtown Prince George grocer specializing in locally-produced foods.(Andrew Kurjata/CBC) In the meantime, some smaller retailers are adjusting to the pending departure of Save-On. Birch and Boar, a small grocer specializing in locally-produced food, is expanding its hours to better serve people who need to pick up some items after work or on weekends. Co-owner Brian Quarmby said the shop is also talking to local farmers about expanding their produce options. But, he said, he recognizes a specialty shop can't replace the role of a large grocery store and he would welcome the arrival of another chain in the neighbourhood. "Especially with the seniors and that [vulnerable] community, they need something downtown." To hear more about the impact of Save-On leaving downtown Prince George, tap the audio below: Subscribe to Daybreak North on CBC Listen or your favourite podcast app, and connect with CBC Northern British Columbia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Jacqui Cameron was used to the toll of her son's daily care. Seizures, feeding tubes, his incontinence and no sleep were all norms in her life. Now, with the pandemic, the Regina caregiver has even more to worry about. "We live with a double layer of exhaustion and now COVID is on top of that," she said. Cameron's 18-year-old son Rylan is home from school due to worries about his health and his cognitive inability to maintain social distance. "I have lots of sad days and days where I don't even know what to do, but you're so used to doing it anyway so you just suck it up and move on." Rylan has a severe seizure disorder called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. He is non-verbal, has a feeding tube and needs complete personal hygiene care. Cameron said he has always been a happy kid, but each day is still a struggle. 'We don't have past trauma, we have ongoing trauma," said Cameron, who Rylan's primary caregiver. A respite nurse comes once a week for three hours. Cameron said she used to have more workers come in to help, but the risks from COVID are too great. Jacqui Cameron is the primary caregiver for her son Rylan, who has a severe seizure disorder called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.(Submitted by Jacqui Cameron) She said her experiences of caring for a medically complex person offered some preparation for facing a pandemic. "They've never experienced isolation. Hello. It's what we do," she said. The Regina mom practises self-care when she can. Sometimes that means hopping on a rowing machine at four in the morning or making time to read for a few minutes. She also has help from her fiancé. Ernie, the family's basset hound/black lab cross, helps too. "He will take toys to Rylan to play. If you are crying he launches himself onto you and throws his head across your chest. He is very concerned when Rylan has a seizure and will lick his hands or face," Cameron said. "He makes us all laugh everyday." Rylan Cameron and his dog Ernie.(Submitted by Jacqui Cameron) Oddly enough, some things have become easier under COVID. Many doctor's appointments happen over the phone and lab work is done in the home. Topics that used to be taboo are out in the open. 'It became more acceptable for people to have problems and talk about them." Profound isolation magnified Cameron and her family are far from alone. Heidi Prpick Schneider is a caregiver for her daughter in Davidson. Six-year-old Marlee has a genetic neurological condition called Rett syndrome. She requires a lot of help from day to day. When COVID hit, it magnified an already profound level of isolation. "You're kind of a slave to your own home," said Prpick Schneider. Prpick Schneider used to be able to take Marlee for a stroll through the mall, but COVID has taken that away. She and her husband are keeping Marlee home from school, as even a common cold creates an avalanche of problems for her. "There are so many elements that come into play when a Rett girl gets sick. Something as simple as a cold and flu is so stressful," Prpick Schneider said. She said the family hasn't had a good night's sleep in years. Marlee has seizures every night. At one point the only way to get her to sleep for two years straight was to drive for hours in the middle of the night. Prpick Schneider and her husband have never had a day off. Finding someone to trust with respite was complicated before. Now with COVID, it is nearly impossible. She said she was getting used to playing the roles of doctor, nurse, physiotherapist, speech and occupational therapist. Now that Marlee is home from school, Prpick Schneider has to somehow find time and energy for another role. The lists of daily tasks in Marlee's care is long, including everything from toileting and hygiene, to getting her in leg braces to practise walking. Plus there is her school work. She must also constantly be watched for seizures. "If you want to clean the kitchen or fold the laundry there is not a lot of time to do it. There's not even enough time to use the washroom." Schneider said her back, shoulder and arms have taken a hit providing this care. She said it's impossible to find time to practise self-care. She and her husband hunkered down for years before COVID hit to provide Marlee's care. Now, they continue under the pall of a pandemic. "We just stay a team." Caregivers have no time to seek help: CMHA Sask. The Saskatchewan division of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA Sask.) says interest in its program to help caregivers is high, but during a pandemic when caregivers need help the most, there simply isn't the time. The mental health group said it has been hearing from caregivers at home, nurses, people in Extendicare, people in rural areas, educators and — for the first time — parents at home with their children when school is cancelled. "People are tired. People are working hard. It's taken a toll,' said Kathy White, co-ordinator of the Caregiver Affected Recovery Education (C.A.R.E.) program. Getting help to those people is proving a challenge. CMHA Sask. had to rethink the C.A.R.E. program. First, it couldn't be done in person. Caregivers also had no time for a two-day course. White said the workloads in health care are particularly heavy with the COVID crisis. Many caregivers have clients who are sick themselves, so they have to be extra cautious with their contacts. C.A.R.E. organizers came up with a one-hour virtual seminar to try to fill the need. Even then, it was tough to come up with ideas to help caregivers take a break. "They used to take time for walks, go shopping or whatever to relax, but now with COVID those options are not there," she said. "They are afraid of bringing the virus back to their house." White said she makes suggestions for things caregivers can do in a crunch. They can be as simple as a few minutes of yoga, breathing exercises, crafting or doing a puzzle. According to CMHA Sask., caregivers are at risk of compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and burnout. Addictions are also a concern. White said it may be alcohol and drugs, but it could also be less obvious things like binge-shopping online or unhealthy eating. White said some also have to care for someone who is violent. PTSD is a reality for many. She said reaching out to a caregiver in your life in meaningful ways can be a help, even if you can't meet face-to-face. "If you have nobody to talk to or share that load with, you just feel pure exhaustion."
The UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore and Switzerland plan to fast-track modified COVID-19 vaccines so they can tackle new variants more swiftly. View on euronews
Yet preparations for NEOM, the $500 billion signature project in Prince Mohammed bin Salman's drive to diversify Saudi Arabia's economy, are well underway. The organisation behind the development, expected to be close to the size of Belgium when it is completed, will hire 700 people this year, according to Simon Ainslie, the venture's chief operating officer. While NEOM is being sold as a vision of a brighter future, international investors have yet to bite.
A smattering of followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory gathered near the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, the day the movement had predicted former President Donald Trump's return to office, but they were far outnumbered by security forces deployed to deter any possible attack. National Guard troops patrolled inside the fence encircling the Capitol, the scene of a deadly insurrection by Trump supporters that killed five people. John and Karyn Carson, who took time off work and came from California to see Trump be inaugurated for a second term, were undaunted.
Accommodations in Cape Breton are feeling the effects of tighter pandemic restrictions in other parts of the province. Nova Scotians are being asked to avoid non-essential travel to and from the Halifax Regional Municipality and parts of Hants and Lunenburg counties after a growing number of COVID-19 cases. For some year-round accommodations along Cape Breton's Cabot Trail, the changes introduced last week have resulted in a rash of cancellations. "We were just getting really excited actually, the snow finally hit ... and then boom, these new restrictions," said Bricin Lyons, co-owner of the Highlands Hostel in Cape North. Thousands of dollars refunded Lyons said he's lost most of his bookings for this month. His partner spent two days going through reservations and refunding thousands of dollars. The hostel — a converted, 100-year-old church — has been operating at 50 per cent capacity, which means it fills up quickly. Lyons is hoping that means some would-be visitors from non-restricted areas of Nova Scotia will snap up the open spaces. "These bookings were huge for us," he said. "We're trying to get through a winter here, so it's tough." The view from Knotty Pine Cottages during fall in Ingonish Beach, N.S.(Brittany Wentzell/CBC) The owner of Knotty Pine Cottages near Ski Cape Smokey is also losing bookings. David Li and his wife have owned the brightly coloured cottages for four years. Li said he's lost about a third of his March business, starting with the cancellation of a mountain biking event at Ski Cape Smokey last weekend due to the new restrictions. Since then, he's also lost bookings for March break. Li predicted those cancellations will only rise once he takes a look at the remaining reservations. "We have to look at each individual booking, so if a customer is from Halifax, we have to call them, we have to cancel them," said Li. Unexpected silver lining Kody Fraser will also be taking a look at his bookings to see where customers are coming from. Fraser is the co-owner of Valley View Chalets in Margaree Valley. The chalets opened just a couple weeks before the first lockdown in 2020. "Most [customers] are good to message me, but I do have to touch base with some just as a reminder," he said. Kody Fraser says his business is seeing snowmobilers who normally travel to New Brunswick, but are instead choosing to come to Cape Breton because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.(Submitted by Kody Fraser) But there might not be many bookings to cancel as Fraser has been welcoming visitors he didn't expect to see when the chalets opened last year — snowmobilers from the southwestern part of the province. That's been a silver lining in an unpredictable year for tourism. "That's actually been a bit of a boom for us, which was kind of surprising," said Fraser. 'Nobody is going to be able to keep up' Fraser said most of the snowmobilers are from the Annapolis Valley and the South Shore and normally go to New Brunswick to snowmobile. Now they've flocked to Cape Breton and he said many want to come back. "It just didn't occur to them, I guess, and now they're saying, 'Well, geez, this is great.'" Lyons is also looking for the silver linings. He believes when people get vaccinated against COVID-19 and more of the province opens up, places like Cape Breton will get a banner year for tourism. "Nobody is going to be able to keep up," he said. "Everyone is going to want to get out." MORE TOP STORIES:
The probe will consider if Apple has a dominant position in the distribution of apps on its devices in the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said. Payment policies related to Apple's App Store have for long drawn complaints from app developers as it requires them to use its payment system, which charges commissions of between 15% and 30%.
Post secondary student Ivette Rincon recalls living in a rental house with 10 other people, which she describes as a "terrible condition." She is in favour of a new bylaw that would allow city inspections of residential rental housing units on a regular basis. "You constantly complain to the landlords, and there doesn't seem to be a standard or procedure. It looks like it's just a way of them getting their profit and not caring for the residents," Rincon said. City council will have four options to consider Monday: Keeping the status quo. Imposing a mandatory licensing bylaw on residential rental units city-wide. Imposing a voluntary city-wide licensing bylaw. Starting a two-year pilot project that imposes a mandatory bylaw on rental units in Wards One and Two. The last option is what Ward 2 Coun. Fabio Costante is advocating. He says those are the wards with the most student rentals, and city officials have noticed that students are hesitant to complain to the city when they are living in deplorable conditions. Ward 2 Coun. Fabio Costante wants to see a two-year pilot project for licensing rental homes.(Dale Molnar/CBC) "I think it's sensible. I think it allows us to build the infrastructure and to roll this out in a way that is doable," Costante said. In a report, city inspectors have added pictures of dangerous and sub-standard living conditions they have come across over the years including, collapsing ceilings from water damage, excessive black mould and filthy bathrooms. In one case, inspectors found a bed tucked away in an area of a basement with a flashlight as a light. City inspectors found this "bed" in a small nook in a basement in one housing rental.(City of Windsor) "This whole policy is intended for tenant safety," said Costante. Recent college graduate Sania Vega has also experienced sub-standard living conditions in rentals and agrees the city needs to crack down. She says she lived in housing with undesirable characters. "They had all the garbage in one room and if you have to go out, you'll be scared to go out and it's just a horror story," said Vega. But Borys Sozanski, who owns several rental houses near the University of Windsor, says the unscrupulous landlords will fly under the radar, not apply for a license and the cost of the program will fall to the good landlords to bear. He says the city should step up enforcement of current bylaws. He believes that demand for the housing — which is already waning due to the COVID pandemic — will further erode this fall and so students who need accommodations won't have to settle for sub-standard conditions. The decent housing units will satisfy demand. Filthy bathroom in a rental house inspected by city officials.(City of Windsor) "Forces will push out the people who have not taken care of their properties," said Sozanski. Sozanski says landlords will also just pass the cost of licensing onto the renters. But Costante says that has not been proven in other jurisdictions where licensing has been imposed. "It's just the cost of doing business," said Costante. If council chooses to go the licensing route, details around who must pay and how much will still have to be worked out. Black mould found in one rental house by city inspectors.(City of Windsor)
Spain will use European Union funds to create a public-private consortium with VW's Spanish unit SEAT and power company Iberdrola to build the country's first factory for electric-car batteries, the industry minister said. Reyes Maroto told an event organised by the UGT union on Thursday the consortium would be open to other members and will help Spain begin local production of electric cars. "The project will allow the development of ... the necessary infrastructure, installations and mechanisms to autonomously and competitively manufacture a connected electric vehicle," she said.
As vaccine rollouts accelerate in Ontario, those in disability communities are still wondering why they have not been prioritized. Windsor disability advocate Kevin McShan says prioritizing disabled people for vaccination is important due to many having more vulnerabliities to COVID-19. "Certainly for people with disabilities they're in a higher risk group, so we would hope that it [vaccination] would be faster than it's been." Currently there is no vaccination timeline by the province for those with disabilities outside congregate settings. McShan has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy which some studies have shown put people with the disability at higher risk for respiratory complications from COVID-19. Over one in five Canadians live with a disability, yet questions remain as to why those with disabilities are still waiting to get vaccinated and waiting to learn where they fit on the priority list. Kevin McShan is a disability advocate and podcast host in Windsor. (CBC News) On Tuesday, Theresa Marentette, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit's CEO and chief nursing officer was asked about a potential vaccination timeline for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She said that the supply and delivery of vaccines is an important factor and that the unit is waiting and hoping for more direction. Across the border In Detroit, the vaccination roll-out has garnered the attention of disability groups who are lauding the city's wide eligibility for people with certain disabilities. Dessa Cosma is the executive director of Detroit Disability Power, an organization that led a letter-writing campaign pushing for the city to include people with disabilities in vaccination, which it has as of February 11th. "We started organizing almost a year ago now, to protect our community," says Cosma, describing how she and others in disability communities knew they would have to advocate early on in the pandemic to get better supports. Dessa Cosma is the Executive Director of Detroit Disability Power. (CBC News) When it was announced that Detroit would open vaccination for residents over the age of 18 with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Cosma says it was a relief. "Organizers with disabilities like myself are extremely proud to have had this major win." In some respects, Detroit is leading the U.S. with equitable vaccination which includes disabilities like cerebral palsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and types of visual and hearing impairments. Dessa Cosma is a Detroit advocate who has been fighting for wider vaccination eligibility for disabled communities. On February 17th, she got her first shot of the Moderna vaccine. (Dessa Cosma ) Phase 2 in Ontario Phase 2 of Ontario's vaccination roll-out is expected to run between April and June. But the prioritization has been received with confusion over who among disabled communities can get vaccinated. In a statement to CBC News, the Ministry of Health was not able to provide a timeline for those with disabilities. The province added it is using an approach that will ensure that the vaccine gets to the "most vulnerable first, who have higher risk outcomes from contracting the virus and are at a higher risk of spreading the virus." When further asked if the ministry would begin gathering data related to COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations and recoveries of those with disabilities, it responded that data collection has grown throughout the pandemic. But it did not specify whether this data would involve COVID-19 statistics related to the general population of people with disabilities. What is in a definition? Tova Perlmutter is a dual Canadian-U.S.citizen and currently lives in Windsor. With the border closed, she has been unable to cross into Detroit to even have the opportunity to get vaccinated. However, from Windsor, Perlmutter has been contributing heavily as a disability activist to push for Detroit to widen its vaccination roll-out. After seeing some success in the U.S. city, Perlmutter says she still is unsure why Ontario's vaccine roll-out has been sluggish in addition to being confusing. Tova Perlmutter is a Canadian-U.S. dual citizen and disability activist who currently lives in Windsor. (CBC News) "It looks like they're talking about serving a bunch of different groups but it doesn't say what those conditions are or how they would apply — a definition should include people with a wide range of disabilities, developmental, intellectual and others." The defining of disabilities matters given that Perlmutter has general anxiety disorder and ADHD. She sees them as "invisible disabilities" and does not know in what capacity they would ever be considered in vaccination priority. Had Perlmutter been in Detroit, she would have fallen under the eligibility for a vaccine, which clearly includes ADHD as a qualifier. Where is the data and why does it matter? There is little information about the number of people in the province who have disabilities and have contracted or died from COVID-19. In a statement to CBC News, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services said that since the start of the pandemic, there have been 699 cases and 23 deaths of adults with developmental disabilities diagnosed with COVID-19 at ministry-funded residential settings. The ministry said it is working with a research institute to look at infection trends among those with disabilities. But the lack of information is troubling for experts like Dr.Yona Lunsky who is a senior scientist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Dr.Yona Lunsky is a senior scientist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and she focuses on developmental disabilities. (camh.ca) Lunsky's expertise is in developmental disabilities where she directs a research partnership that aims to improve the health of people living with developmental disabilities. "If we don't have the data, because we haven't collected it, then we don't have that science right to inform our decision making," One study that has shown how stark the disparity is between disabled and non-disabled people during the pandemic, comes out of the U.K. from the Office for National Statistics. The independent institution found that from January 2020 to November 2020, six in ten COVID-19 deaths were people with disabilities. Putting that into further perspective, over 30,000 disabled people lost their lives to the virus. Yet they only made up 17 per cent of the population. This is a page from the Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities vaccine infographic. The infographic aims to help answer questions people with disabilities might have surrounding the pandemic and vaccination. (hcarddcovid.com) Dr. Zain Chagla an infectious diseases specialist at St. Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton says that disabilities are incredibly nuanced but there are some common risks to be aware of. "Often their disability does give them comorbidities, if people have neurological disabilities, they often have cardiac or respiratory complications from them." Chagla also notes the catch-22 in trying to maintain public health guidelines but still needing outside help to accomplish necessary tasks. "It makes it very difficult for people to follow a stay at home order and unfortunately have to expose themselves for the sake of their own health care maintenance." Deciding vaccination priority can be tricky when the severity and types of disabilities start becoming compared, as Chagla notes, since there will be varied levels of risk of dying from COVID-19. Looking to the future In Canada, certain provinces like B.C. and Saskatchewan have started including specific underlying health conditions or opening vaccination for "adults with very significant developmental disabilities that increase risk."
Angela Carter, professor of political science at the University of Waterloo, says People's Recovery is an alternative to Andrew Furey's economic recovery team. (Bruce Tilley/CBC) People's Recovery, a volunteer group of 60 individuals and organizations, unveiled its own economic recovery plan for the province Wednesday, calling it an alternative to the premier's economic recovery team (PERT), and the pending Greene report. The progressive group, which is against privatization and cuts to public spending and services, is endorsed by the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, $15 and Fairness, the St. John's Status of Women Council and Memorial University's Faculty Association, among others. Federation of Labour president Mary Shortall, who quit PERT in January over concerns about its process, is also a member of People's Recovery. While Liberal Leader Andrew Furey has said there will be no mass layoffs and that the recommendations in the as-yet-unwritten Greene report will be fully debated, there is widespread concern that chair Moya Greene and her group will recommend service cuts and other tough decisions. "This, in many ways, is a counterpoint to the premier's economic recovery team," said Angela Carter, a political science professor with the University of Waterloo, and co-facilitator of People's Recovery. The group started in November, with small meetings of mostly academics and people in the non-profit sector, but has since grown. "We have environmental groups, women's groups, anti-racist groups, people who represent the small business sector, labour organizations and labour advocates. So a very wide and diverse range of people are at the table with us," Carter said via FaceTime Wednesday. Moya Greene is leading the economic recovery team that is scrutinizing government spending and services. The team is expected to deliver a final report to the provincial government in April. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador) She says they were inspired by PERT to find another path to fixing the province's financial crisis. "There's a knee-jerk reaction in the province to cut spending, and the sort of slash-and-burn mentality," Carter said. "But what that means for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians is that our services then become impoverished." "So there is another option. There's another way here." Increase taxes for the wealthy Instead of cutting, the groups wants the government to look at the other side of the ledger and capture money left on the table. According to their revenue fact sheet, they propose a two per cent tax increase for those in the top two tax brackets, a new tax bracket for people earning over $1 million, a one per cent wealth tax on net assets over $20 million, a 20 per cent luxury tax on luxury vehicles, boats and aircraft over $100,000, and taxing capital gains the same as wages. "Some of it is directed toward making sure that the very richest people in our society, that are currently still doing really well even during COVID, that they pay a fair share of taxes going forward," Carter said. "Middle income people in Newfoundland and Labrador pay about the same amount as middle income people in other Atlantic provinces. But if you are very wealthy in Newfoundland and Labrador, you actually get a sweet deal on taxes," she said. People's Recovery also believes in a $15 minimum wage, and says reducing unemployment by three per cent will create just under $50 million in revenue for the government. They're also pushing back on the idea that provincial government spending is out of control, calling it a "myth." "If you look at comparisons with other Atlantic Canadian provinces, for example, we see that Newfoundland and Labrador's program spending is actually lower per GDP than all of those provinces," she said. Liberals welcome discussion Furey, who created PERT and appointed Greene as its chair last fall, was not available for an interview Wednesday, but St. John's West candidate Siobhan Coady was. "I am very, very pleased to have more people engaged in this discussion. This is exactly what I think we need in Newfoundland and Labrador. We need all, all of us to be engaged in this discussion," Coady said. When it comes to increasing taxes on the wealthy, Coady says the province completed a review of its tax system in 2018. St. John's West candidate Siobhan Coady says she's pleased to have people enter the discussion on the province's financial crisis. (Zach Goudie/CBC) "We were middle of the road and I think that's where we want to be. But there's certainly always value in continuing to look at our taxation system to make sure that we're competitive." She said she will take People's Recovery's recommendations seriously, and there will also be public consultations on the PERT report. People's Recovery says it will release more policy in the coming weeks. Greene's interim report for PERT was due to government on Feb. 28, but she said it will be delayed for five or six weeks, blaming the COVID-19 pandemic and the current lockdown for the delay. Read More from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
A violent storm that hit the Acadian Peninsula has left two people dead this week, RCMP say. A 90-year-old woman was found dead on the deck of her home in Paquetville. The woman was found by a man plowing her driveway at around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. "The storm was pretty bad in the Acadian Peninsula, plus it was really cold," said Sgt. André Pepin of the RCMP's J-Division. Pepin said police aren't sure why the woman was outside. Just going out for fun, it could be risky during a snowstorm. - Sgt. André Pepin, RCMP J-Division Meanwhile, the body of a 53-year-old man wearing snowshoes was found in Bas-Caraquet just before 11:30 a.m. Wednesday near his home. "He was found yesterday [Wednesday] morning in the snowbank." The man left his nearby residence during the storm Monday night but never returned home. He was reported missing Tuesday night. Pepin said the two deaths are not considered suspicious, and foul play is not suspected. Stay inside The storm that swept through the Acadian Peninsula left about 40 centimetres of snow in the area. According to Environment Canada, winds with gusts of up to 90 km/h blew over the region. Pepin is reminding the public that when a major storm moves in, don't go out. "When the weather is bad, it's a lot safer to stay inside the house and not go out if you don't have to," he said. "Just going out for fun, it could be risky during a snowstorm."