blowing snow against light standard, very low visibility
blowing snow against light standard, very low visibility
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
A southern Alberta man has been going through an "immigration hell," as his lawyer calls it, that has left his common-law wife and two young children stuck in Cuba for almost a year due to delays in federal officials renewing her visa. Greg Skinner, who lives in Langdon just east of Calgary, says he's frustrated with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, after 11 months of delays trying to renew a visitor visa for his common-law wife, Daylen Garcia Lopez. Garcia Lopez, a Cuban citizen, had a visitor visa that didn't expire until May 2020 when she flew from Canada to Cuba in February 2020 with their two children, who are dual citizens. But when she tried to return a few weeks later, she was told she needed to renew her visa first — and has faced a nightmare trying to do so ever since, Skinner says. "The kids are wondering what's going on — how come we can't come home?" said Skinner. "You know, it's difficult." Daylen Garcia Lopez has been in Cuba waiting for her visitor visa application to be approved for nearly a year. She's been told the delays are related to COVID-19. Skinner says he wrote the federal Immigration minister and his MP in the hopes they could intervene, but he says when that didn't resolve the issue, he decided to hire an immigration lawyer. The lawyer, Peter Wong, says he's seen a lot of delays with the processing of visa applications this past year due to COVID-19, but he says this case is extreme. "This one is particularly egregious because it separates couples,'' said Wong. "And also 11 months is outrageous, in my view." CBC News reached out to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and was told that the pandemic has had a significant impact on the federal immigration system but that the department is "providing additional resources where they are needed most, streamlining [its] processes and ramping systems back up." An IRCC spokesman also said the department is trying to prioritize certain files, including ones involving spousal sponsorships. He said the case was under review and the department was still considering Garcia Lopez's request for a waiver on her biometrics, which included fingerprints and a photograph. But both Skinner and his lawyer say her biometrics were done last November. "It's been a year and they don't even know what's going on, it's ridiculous," said Skinner. How they got here Skinner met Garcia Lopez in 2013 while he was working in Cuba as a manager at an oil and gas facility run by a Canadian company. The couple has two children together, Stephen, five, and Kristen, three. Skinner also has a 10-year-old daughter from a previous relationship. In 2019, Skinner retired and wanted to move back to Canada with his common-law and their two kids. Garcia Lopez is a Cuban national and needs a visitor visa to enter Canada. Their kids have dual citizenship and do not. Skinner says the family had been to Canada several times prior to his retirement and therefore Garcia Lopez already had a visitor visa — but it was set to expire in August 2019. In preparation for the move, Skinner says Garcia Lopez tried to renew her visa in Havana, but he says the Canadian embassy office there was closed. They moved to Canada anyway in July 2019 and he says the IRCC granted her a visa extension that expired in May 2020. Skinner says the problems began in February 2020 after Garcia Lopez flew home to Cuba with her kids for a family situation. A few weeks later, Garcia Lopez wasn't allowed to return to Canada, Skinner says, because the visa extension didn't allow it. Rather, he says, she was told she needed to get a new visitor visa while in Cuba. Skinner says it should have been a routine application, but the Canadian embassy office in Havana was still closed and not processing applications so she had to apply through the Canadian embassy office in Mexico City. But, because the Havana office was closed, Lopez wasn't able to get her biometrics done — which include fingerprints and photograph — so she asked if they could be waived. Skinner says Garcia Lopez never heard back from IRCC on her request for a waiver. In November 2020, Skinner says the Canadian embassy in Havana stated it could start doing biometrics, so she got them done and they were sent to Mexico City. Daylen Garcia Lopez is seen here at the Calgary Zoo with her two younger children, who are with her in Cuba, and her husband's daughter from a previous relationship. It's now March 2021, and Skinner says the couple still hasn't received an update on her application. Garcia Lopez and their two children have been staying with her parents at their home in Matanzas, west of Varadero. "There's no light at the end of the tunnel as far as we can see, as far as something happening," said Skinner. Pandemic no longer acceptable excuse Wong says applications such as Garcia Lopez's would normally take one to two months to process, pre-COVID. Now, he says whenever he inquires about a client's delayed visa application, he's told the same thing: embassies are understaffed and overworked due to the pandemic. "It's no longer an acceptable response — they're a year into this, and they should have figured out how to deal with visa processing," said Wong. Wong says if the federal government plans to keep taking visa applications, then it needs to properly staff its offices to process them in a timely manner. Otherwise, Wong says, the federal government should suspend visa applications until it's ready to do so. "What Greg has is a special form of immigration hell, which people have been going through all year," he said. Calgary-based immigration lawyer Peter Wong says he's seen a lot of delays with the processing of visa applications this past year due to COVID-19, but he says this case is extreme. Wong says he recommends people don't apply for a visa until wait times improve. Meanwhile, Skinner says he and Garcia Lopez will continue to press for answers, in the hopes they'll be reunited soon. "I haven't seen my kids grow for that year, I haven't been able to share any of their experiences," he said. Skinner says Garcia Lopez also applied for permanent residency in early 2020. He says that application is on hold until she is able to return to Canada to complete biometrics and a medical.
Prince Edward Islanders are being advised to stay off the roads if possible Tuesday, with RCMP and plow dispatchers saying surfaces are slippery and whiteout conditions are making visibility poor in some areas. There have been at least four collisions Tuesday afternoon in the East Prince area alone — in Grand River, Summerside, Bedeque and Norboro. At least three involved multiple vehicles at intersections. "Across the Island, road conditions are slippery and snow covered," said RCMP Sgt. Chris Gunn. There's no word yet on whether there were injuries. Gunn said if you have to drive, take extra time and reduce speeds according to the conditions. The snow and wind storm began Monday afternoon and was followed in many regions by hours of rain before a deep freeze set in early Tuesday. Winds are expected to stay strong well into Wednesday. Plows were bust trying to keep the roads clear Tuesday.(Danny Arsenault/CBC) Maritime Electric has restored power to almost 1,000 customers in western P.E.I., mostly in the area around Borden-Carleton. Some COVID-19 testing clinics cancelled Health PEI first delayed and then cancelled COVID-19 testing clinics planned for Slemon Park and Three Oaks high school in Summerside and for Bordon-Carleton. Closures or cancellations due to weather can be reported to CBC's Storm Centre at 1-877-236-9350. More from CBC P.E.I.
LIVERPOOL, England — Ian St. John, a Liverpool great who scored the winning goal to give the club its first FA Cup title and was a key player in the rebuild under Bill Shankly in the 1960s, has died. He was 82. St. John died Monday following a long illness, his family said in a statement released by Liverpool on Tuesday. St. John, a Scotland international who later fronted the popular British TV show “Saint and Greavsie” alongside another former player, Jimmy Greaves, played 425 games for Liverpool from 1961-71 and scored 118 goals. No goal was more important than the one he scored in extra time to clinch a 2-1 win for Liverpool over Leeds in the 1965 FA Cup final. St. John joined for a club-record fee from Scottish team Motherwell while Liverpool was in the second division and, alongside Ron Yeats, was part of the spine of a team which earned promotion under Shankly then won the English league title in 1964 and '66. Liverpool called St. John a “legend” and described his FA Cup final winner against Leeds as “one of the most iconic goals in Liverpool's history." “One of the players along with Bill Shankly who made this club what it is today,” former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher wrote on Twitter. St. John, who went on to manage Motherwell and English club Coventry, scored nine goals in 21 appearances for Scotland's national team. “A fantastic guy,” said Steven Gerrard, a former Liverpool midfielder who currently manages Scottish club Rangers. “Really insightful in terms of his career and experience at Liverpool and trying to pass on a lot of knowledge and expertise.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Google is teaming up with two global insurers to cover cyber breaches and related risks for businesses that use its cloud services, the first time a major provider has opened up such insurance to its clients, the companies said on Tuesday. Major insurers have been treading carefully on cyber risks for years, but the tie-up between Google, Allianz and Munich Re gives the insurers special access to data to see what controls are in place at client firms to help them price the risk.
BOSTON — Six Dr. Seuss books — including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo” — will stop being published because of racist and insensitive imagery, the business that preserves and protects the author's legacy said Tuesday. “These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises told The Associated Press in a statement that coincided with the late author and illustrator’s birthday. “Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalogue represents and supports all communities and families," it said. The other books affected are “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.” The decision to cease publication and sales of the books was made last year after months of discussion, the company told AP. “Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalogue of titles," it said. Books by Dr. Seuss — who was born Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 2, 1904 —- have been translated into dozens of languages as well as in braille and are sold in more than 100 countries. He died in 1991. He remains popular, earning an estimated $33 million before taxes in 2020, up from just $9.5 million five years ago, the company said. Forbes listed him No. 2 on its highest-paid dead celebrities of 2020, behind only the late pop star Michael Jackson. As adored as Dr. Seuss is by millions around the world for the positive values in many of his works, including environmentalism and tolerance, there has been increasing criticism in recent years over the way Blacks, Asians and others are drawn in some of his most beloved children’s books, as well as in his earlier advertising and propaganda illustrations. The National Education Association, which founded Read Across America Day in 1998 and deliberately aligned it with Geisel’s birthday, has for several years deemphasized Seuss and encouraged a more diverse reading list for children. School districts across the country have also moved away from Dr. Seuss, prompting Loudoun County, Virginia, schools just outside Washington, D.C., to douse rumours last month that they were banning the books entirely. “Research in recent years has revealed strong racial undertones in many books written/illustrated by Dr. Seuss,” the school district said in a statement. In 2017, a school librarian in Cambridge, Massachusetts, criticized a gift of 10 Seuss books from first lady Melania Trump, saying many of his works were “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes.” In 2018, a Dr. Seuss museum in his hometown of Springfield removed a mural that included an Asian stereotype. “The Cat in the Hat," one of Seuss' most popular books, has received criticism, too, but will continue to be published for now. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, however, said it is “committed to listening and learning and will continue to review our entire portfolio." Numerous other popular children’s series have been criticized in recent years for alleged racism. In the 2007 book, “Should We Burn Babar?,” the author and educator Herbert R. Kohl contended that the “Babar the Elephant” books were celebrations of colonialism because of how the title character leaves the jungle and later returns to “civilize” his fellow animals. One of the books, “Babar’s Travels,” was removed from the shelves of a British library in 2012 because of its alleged stereotypes of Africans. Critics also have faulted the “Curious George” books for their premise of a white man bringing home a monkey from Africa. And Laura Ingalls Wilder’s portrayals of Native Americans in her “Little House On the Prairie” novels have been faulted so often that the American Library Association removed her name in 2018 from a lifetime achievement award it gives out each year. ___ AP National Writer Hillel Italie contributed from New York. Mark Pratt, The Associated Press
YANGON, Myanmar — Police in Myanmar repeatedly used tear gas and rubber bullets Tuesday against crowds protesting last month's coup, but the demonstrators regrouped after each volley and tried to defend themselves with barricades as standoffs between protesters and security forces intensified. Myanmar authorities have escalated their crackdown on the protests in recent days, making mass arrests and firing into the crowds. The United Nations said it believed at least 18 people were killed on Sunday by security forces. Foreign ministers from Southeast Asian countries were meeting Tuesday to discuss the increasingly volatile crisis. Despite the crackdown, demonstrators have continued to flood the streets — and are beginning to more rigorously resist attempts to disperse them. Hundreds, many wearing construction helmets and carrying makeshift shields, gathered in Myanmar's largest city of Yangon, where a day earlier police had fired repeated rounds of tear gas. They dragged bamboo poles and debris to form barricades, chanted slogans and sang songs at the police lines. They even threw banana skins onto the road in front of them in a bid to slow any police rush. The mainly young demonstrators fled in panic each time tear gas canisters were fired but soon returned to their barricades. Videos posted on social media showed similar chaotic scenes in the Insein neighbourhood of northern Yangon. Protesters also took up their flags and banners to march through the streets of Dawei, a small city in southeastern Myanmar that has seen almost daily large demonstrations against the coup. One group of demonstrators was targeted by the security forces as it entered a narrow street on its way to pay respects at the house of a man killed in Sunday’s crackdown. Another was attacked on the main street in the city’s centre. Yangon and Dawei were among the cities where security forces reportedly fired live ammunition into crowds Sunday, according to the U.N. Human Rights Office. There were reports that they also fired live rounds Tuesday, but they could not immediately be confirmed. Some fear the junta’s escalating use of force is meant to provoke a violent backlash by the demonstrators — who have largely remained nonviolent — in order to discredit them and justify an even harsher crackdown. Videos from recent days show a greater number of protesters trying to stand their ground and throw objects at the police. “I beg the people in Myanmar not to fall in this trap, so to stay peaceful,” U.N. Special Envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener said in interview with CNN, acknowledging that it was easier for her, safely away from the violence, to urge peaceful protesting. She also accused the authorities of spreading rumours about the conditions of people in detention to stir up even more anger on the streets. The Feb. 1 coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar after five decades of military rule. It came the day a newly elected Parliament was supposed to take office. Ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party would have been installed for a second five-year term, but instead she was detained along with President Win Myint and other senior officials. The military government has charged Suu Kyi, 75, with several offences that critics say are trumped up merely to keep her jailed and potentially prevent her from participating in the election promised in a year’s time by the military. Her party says it does not know where Suu Kyi — who has a long history of campaigning for democracy in Myanmar — is being held. The weekend crackdown drew international condemnation. In addition to the use of force, authorities also detained more than 1,000 people over the weekend, according to the independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Those detained included at least eight journalists, among them Thein Zaw of The Associated Press. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the use of force and arbitrary arrests “unacceptable,” according to his spokesperson. The U.S., British and other governments issued similar statements of concern. But the military has showed no sign of backing down. The protesters and their supporters have appealed for help from abroad, but there are few prospects for major intervention. The results of Tuesday's special meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, held by video conference because of the coronavirus pandemic, were expected to be announced in the evening. But the 10-nation regional group's policy of seeking a consensus among its members makes it unlikely to take strong action. The U.N.’s independent expert on human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, has proposed that countries could institute a global embargo on the sale of arms to Myanmar and “tough, targeted and co-ordinated sanctions” against those responsible for the coup, the crackdown and other rights abuses. But any kind of co-ordinated action at the United Nations would be difficult since two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, China and Russia, would almost certainly veto it. Some countries have imposed or are considering imposing their own sanctions. ___ Associated Press writers Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, contributed to this report. The Associated Press
WARSAW, Poland — A court in Poland on Tuesday acquitted three activists who had been accused of desecration and offending religious feelings for adding the LGBT rainbow to images of a revered Roman Catholic icon. The three women created posters in 2019 that used the rainbows in place of halos in an image of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. Their aim was to protest what they considered the hostility of Poland’s influential Catholic Church toward LGBT people. The court in the city of Plock did not find any signs of a crime and also found that the activists were not motivated by a desire to offend anyone’s religious feelings or to insult the image of the Virgin Mary, according to reports in the Polish media. The case of the three women was being watched in Poland as a test of freedom of speech under a deeply conservative government that has been seeking to push back against secularization and liberal views often seen as a foreign imposition. Abortion has been another flashpoint in the country after a top court ruling last year that resulted in a near total ban on abortion. One of the defendants, Elzbieta Podlesna, said when the trial opened in January that the 2019 action in Plock was spurred by an installation at the city’s St. Dominic’s Church that associated LGBT people with crime and sins. The image that they created involved altering Poland’s most-revered icon, the Mother of God of Czestochowa, popularly known as the Black Madonna of Czestochowa. The original has been housed at the Jasna Gora monastery in the city of Czestochowa — Poland's holiest site — since the 14th century. Podlesna told the Onet news portal that the existence of a provision in the penal code "leaves a door open to use it against people who think a bit differently. “I still wonder how the rainbow — a symbol of diversity and tolerance — offends these feelings. I cannot understand it, especially since I am a believer,” Podlesna told Onet. If Podlesna and the other two activists — Anna Prus and Joanna Gzyra-Iskandar — had been found guilty, they could have faced up to two years of prison. An LGBT rights group, Love Does Not Exclude, welcomed the ruling as a “breakthrough." “This is a triumph for the LGBT+ resistance movement in the most homophobic country of the European Union," it said. Podlesna was arrested in an early morning police raid on her apartment in 2019, held for several hours and questioned over the posters of the icon that were placed around Plock. A court later said the detention was unnecessary and ordered damages equaling some $2,000 awarded to her. Because of all the attention the altered icon has received, it is now also a very recognized image in Poland and is sometimes seen at street protests. The Associated Press
A woman puts a red sign with words Closed Due To COVID-19 onto a glass door. It's been a difficult year for small businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the sudden move back to the lockdown provisions of Alert Level 5 hasn't made things any easier. For businesses that started during or just before the COVID-19 pandemic, rolling with the punches has been routine. However, the punches have been coming again, and some businesses say they'll need more than light at the end of the tunnel. Even businesses off the Avalon are still feeling the prolonged pinch, despite the move there back to Alert Level 4. Robyn Pearce, owner of Intervals Music Studio in St. John's, said the greatest difficulty has been reverting to an entirely online model in an industry so reliant on face-to-face instruction. "The hardest part is the fact that we really pour our heart and soul into everything that we're doing, and then just to know that purely because the vehicle doesn't work for everybody, the way that we're offering it — it's hard to see that it's just not enough for some people," she said. There have been other setbacks, too. Just before the lockdown began, her wallet was stolen from her office. Later, her studio was later broken into. Pearce said that while it's been encouraging to see some benefits to online learning, with some students opening up more in the comfort of their own homes, she said overall it's an exhausting process. "There's a completely different energy that you have to have when you're in front of a screen versus being in person with the classes," she said. As a small business owner and operator, Pearce hopes that after the election the government will try to focus on addressing businesses and their individual needs, rather than implementing broad programs. One area to address, Pearce said, is the high cost of rent. "I actually discovered a couple of years ago when I made the move to a commercial space that my rent was higher than somebody in California, which was a big shocker," she said. "The rent incentive program that [government] had was no good for someone like me," said Pearce, who noted that in order to qualify she would have had to have lost 75 per cent of her business outright. "So I'd love to have more support in that area, where someone can look at my business model and look at what I have and go from there, because a lot of the support I just didn't qualify for." Changing gears to get by Mark Murphy, co-owner of the Postmaster's House B&B in downtown St. John's, said while government programs have been designed to help businesses stay afloat, those that began during the pandemic are falling through the cracks. His business incorporated just before the first local cases began to appear in March 2020. "We bought the property in February, and coming into the pandemic there was support for mortgage deferral, but having a new mortgage, we weren't eligible for it," he said. As well, his business wasn't eligible for many of the programs rolled out to provide some pandemic relief. "All these one-size-fits-all support programs, we weren't eligible for a lot of those either," he said. "So businesses like ours, and like Intervals, are just feeling like we're falling through the cracks." With the notable downturn of the tourism industry, Murphy pivoted his business from a B&B to include baking, and while he said the community response has been great, it's only barely keeping them afloat. Murphy wants to see the government take initiative in supporting the province's newest businesses and their specific needs over the kind of support they're currently providing. "That is not working for the businesses that started right before and during the pandemic," Murphy said. "While I realize it might take more resources in the government, taking a look at each individual business model would help." Rest of the island down to level 4, bars and restaurants still closed While businesses continue to struggle across the province, the shift back into level 4 is a welcome change for those beyond the Avalon, according to Sheldon Handcock of the Gander Area Chamber of Commerce. Last week, the Gander-based organization, which represents 300 businesses in the area, posted a letter to Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, publicly asking for regions outside the Northeast Avalon to be moved into Alert Level 3. Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce Chair Sheldon Handcock, seen here during a Zoom interview with CBC, says he hopes Dr. Janice Fitzgerald takes a regional approach to reopening businesses. While the drop down to level 4 will see the continued closure of bars and restaurants, Handcock said that many seem to be acclimating to the process. "It has to be public health first, and the economy obviously is second," said Handcock. "Restaurants can still do their takeout orders, and I think that they've gotten quite a bit better from the last lockdown at being able to do curbside orders and that type of thing." While they're committed to following all directives from public health, for many local businesses, Handcock said, economic disaster is growing closer as funds begin to dwindle. "We've heard from quite a few businesses that it is pretty close," said Handcock. "We did have quite a few businesses that had said to us that if this continues on long, we can't keep our doors open." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia's film and TV industry is expecting the 2021 production season to be the busiest in years. While the pandemic has disrupted Hollywood's production pipeline, locales like Nova Scotia that have managed to control the infection rate and continue to produce film and television are appealing. Interest from American streaming companies and broadcasters increased by an estimated 100 per cent in 2020, according to Screen Nova Scotia. "I'd say probably between August and December of 2020, I was on the phone all day long with studios that were wondering what was happening in Nova Scotia," said executive director Laura Mackenzie. She wouldn't disclose which companies inquired about shooting in the province, but said she's heard from all the large U.S. streaming services. Predictable shooting schedule The Stephen King adaptation Chapelwaite, starring Adrian Brody and Emily Hampshire, shot last summer in Halifax, Dartmouth and Cole Harbour, while the new CBC series, Feudal, filmed on the South Shore. Local independent producer Marc Tetreault said it's the predictability of shooting in Nova Scotia during the pandemic that's put the province on the radar of American studios. "If you think about shooting in L.A. or Toronto or New York right now, you don't have any predictability or certainty," he said. "Film is like a really slow-moving train, and once it gets going, it's really hard to stop. And when it does stop, it costs a lot of money to get it going again." Local independent producer Marc Tetreault says quarantine costs are 'a drop in the bucket on a larger show.' He said even halting production for a day, let alone weeks, can be very costly. Tetreault said bigger shows can manage the costs associated with the pandemic, including the two-week quarantine in Nova Scotia, because those costs are quantifiable. "If you're in Nova Scotia, you should be reasonably confident that you should be able to complete your production without a major shutdown or hiccup, and I think that's really attractive to a lot of out-of-town producers," he said. The costs related to the province's quarantine rules are "a drop in the bucket on a larger show," Tetreault added. "What I think it comes down to is convincing the people who are quarantining that they're going to quarantine for two weeks — less so, you know, paying the 200 bucks a night for a hotel," he said. Is N.S. prepared to support productions? The challenge will be providing the infrastructure and support to visiting productions. In 2015, the Stephen McNeil government axed the provincial film tax credit, a 50 to 65 per cent fully refundable corporate income tax credit offered to productions hiring Nova Scotia film personnel. It was eventually replaced with the Production Incentive Fund, which offers a refund to foreign service production of 25 per cent and 26 per cent for local content. It also offers a refund of up to 32 per cent in an all-spend model on any money spent in the province for labour, accommodations and locations. Laura MacKenzie is the executive director of Screen Nova Scotia. That helped make Nova Scotia competitive with other provinces, but the film business still isn't as robust as it was in the tax credit era. "We've had amazing momentum in building our industry here over the past five years," said Mackenzie. "But we did lose quite a few crew members in 2015 when the tax credit was changed. "And so that, alongside with the loss of some production studio spaces, it's put us at a disadvantage because we can't possibly supply the demand." That's why she's putting a call out to any Nova Scotian working elsewhere. "Time to come home. We need you here," she said. Mackenzie also said finding studio space so that out-of-town productions can shoot interior scenes is as much of a challenge this year as finding skilled crew. She's looking for anyone who has comparable warehouse space. Diggstown creator struggling to cast show While it's a challenge to build up enough skilled crew for shows that may be coming to the province, it could also provide opportunity for film workers who are traditionally under-represented on film and TV sets and in front of the camera. Diggstown, a CBC legal drama shot in Dartmouth and Halifax, has also benefited from the American production slowdown — the first two seasons were recently bought by the Fox Network in the U.S. With the third season set to go to camera in April, producer and creator Floyd Kane said he's struggling to cast his show. Floyd Kane is the writer, executive producer and showrunner of Diggstown. Diggstown tells stories from Nova Scotia's Black communities, and Kane said it feels like he's seen and chosen almost every local actor of colour in the province. Now, he has to fly in racialized cast from Toronto or elsewhere, which, for a low-budget TV series, is very expensive. "I came up in the industry in Nova Scotia where I would be the only Black person or person of colour in the room," Kane told CBC Radio's Mainstreet recently. "I want to have more Black people, more people of colour working in our industry. I want to encourage that. The acting piece of this is a huge challenge. Frankly, we've done a very poor job of developing the talent pool [for people of colour] and retaining that pool by there being opportunities to work." Richard Hadley is the Maritime branch representative for ACTRA, the actor's union. He said his organization is very aware of that need. "We are looking at ways to go into those communities and let people know what the opportunities are," said Hadley. "And that is a specific area of our membership that we really want to encourage to grow, absolutely." Richard Hadley is the Maritime branch representative for ACTRA. Mackenzie from Screen Nova Scotia said it's also one of her organization's top priorities to increase diversity behind the camera. The organization has formed a diversity outreach committee to work on a strategy to come up with long-term fixes. While the industry has proven that the health and safety protocols are a draw for service production — shows that come from elsewhere to shoot here — they do still pose a challenge for lower-budgeted local shows, as Kane is finding with Diggstown. 'You will be hired on something' Tetreault said he fully supports the health protocols that are in place to keep Nova Scotians safe, "but they definitely are a hindrance to the local, usually lower budget, independent films." He said paying for supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer, and for the extra set space to allow for physical distancing, can also stretch a local production's limited budget. That said, Tetreault is still planning to make a feature film this year — and he's looking for a crew. "Now's the time," said Tetreault. "Call the unions, get the referral. Figure out what it is you're interested in and you will be hired on something." MORE TOP STORIES
British Columbia will delay giving people their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months in order to vaccinate more people sooner. While some say the decision is ‘risky,’ Dr. Bonnie Henry says data shows people have strong protection for several months after the initial dose.
P.E.I.'s chief public health officer announced four new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, as her office continues efforts to control two outbreaks that started in the last week of February. Following the lead of British Columbia, P.E.I. is delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine for those who have already gotten one shot, in order to give more people their first vaccine shot earlier. Dr. Heather Morrison announced a new schedule for vaccinations on the Island. A Green MLA wants to know if government is considering legislation for guaranteed paid sick leave as part of its COVID-19 response. A hardware store in Summerside has reopened for business, after a deep cleaning over the weekend. Bus ridership on P.E.I. dropped significantly after the 72-hour circuit breaker began at midnight Sunday, but T3 Transit says passengers can be assured the buses are being thoroughly cleaned and will be safe when they decide to hop back on. Cleaning companies are booked up with businesses who want their buildings disinfected following a surge in COVID-19 cases on P.E.I. Islanders who have lost their incomes or had their hours reduced by 12 hours a week between Feb. 28 and March 14 because of new COVID-19 restrictions are eligible for $500 in help from the provincial government, a P.E.I. cabinet minister said Monday. If you are eligible for a vaccine appointment on P.E.I. you can book it online. Here is a list of sites of potential exposure to COVID-19. The Chief Public Health Office is asking people who have been in these places at these times to self-isolate and get tested as soon as possible. Some testing clinics have delayed openings due to the weather Tuesday. A 22-year-old P.E.I. woman has gone public with her COVID-19 diagnosis to warn others that even if you follow all the rules, you can still catch the virus. Officials at both the English and French school boards on P.E.I. say they are prepared to move to online learning if needed but are hopeful students can return to the classroom after the three-day shutdown. P.E.I. has 22 active cases, its most ever, out of 136 diagnosed since the pandemic began nearly a year ago. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. Also in the news Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
BIELEFELD, Germany — Relegation-threatened Arminia Bielefeld hired Frank Kramer as coach on Tuesday, a day after firing Uwe Neuhaus. Kramer has only limited experience in the Bundesliga after a two-game spell as interim coach at Hoffenheim in 2012 and relegation with Greuther Fürth a year later. In more recent years, he coached age-group German national teams up to the under-20 level and coached Austrian champion Salzburg's youth team. Bielefeld, which was promoted last year, is in third-to-last place in the 18-team league. Hertha Berlin is just ahead on goal difference, and improving Mainz is only one point behind in a direct relegation place. Bielefeld still has a game in hand, however. Its next game is against Union Berlin on Sunday. Bielefeld earned only one point from its last five games — a 3-3 draw at Bayern Munich — and the 3-0 loss at Borussia Dortmund on Saturday was the fifth in a row in which the team conceded at least three goals. The 61-year-old Neuhaus was immensely popular with Bielefeld’s fans after leading the team to a surprise promotion following 11 years out of the Bundesliga. He had been in charge of the club since December 2018. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
TOKYO — Two Americans suspected of helping former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn skip bail and escape to Lebanon in December 2019 have been extradited to Japan. Michael Taylor and his son Peter had been held in a suburban Boston jail since May. They were handed over to Japanese custody on Monday and arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday. Ghosn, who led Nissan Motor Co. for more than two decades, was arrested in 2018, and charged with under-reporting his future compensation and breach of trust in diverting Nissan money for personal gain. He says he is innocent. WHAT ARE THE FATHER AND SON ACCUSED OF DOING? Michael Taylor, with the help of another man, George-Antoine Zayek, hid Ghosn in a large black box supposedly containing audio equipment, according to the authorities. The box passed through airport security in Osaka, central Japan, and was loaded onto a private jet that flew Ghosn to Turkey. Peter Taylor is accused of meeting with Ghosn and helping his father carry out the escape. Authorities say the Taylors were paid at least $1.3 million. WHERE WILL THEY BE TAKEN AND WHAT HAPPENS THERE? The Taylors, like other suspects, can be held up to 23 days without any formal charges at the Tokyo Detention Center on the outskirts of the capital and questioned for hours almost daily by prosecutors, without a lawyer present. Their lawyer can visit and they can receive snacks and books. The detention can be extended with “rearrests,” if more charges are tagged on. Ghosn spent more than 100 days at the centre before gaining his release on bail. The solitary cells are simple, with Japanese-style futon mattresses. The centre, which is different from prisons for people who have been convicted, also has an exercise area and clinic. IS THIS THE ROUTINE TREATMENT OF SUSPECTS IN JAPAN? The Japanese treatment of suspects has been widely criticized as “hostage justice,” designed to coerce suspects to confess and often resulting in false confessions. The Taylors’ lawyers in the U.S. say they worry they may be treated unfairly in Japan and subjected to “mental and physical torture.” They also argue that jumping bail is not a crime under Japanese law. That is technically accurate, but most people who escape are easily caught in Japan. Japanese prosecutors say they have enough evidence to convict the Taylors. WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED IF THEY GO ON TRIAL? Even after formal charges are filed, closed-door pre-trial sessions by the prosecutors and defendants before a judge generally go on for months. The media have no access to such sessions. Jury trials exist in Japan, but only for murders and other heinous crimes. A panel of three judges will hear the Taylors' case in a trial that could last months or even years. English translation will be provided during the trial. Media coverage is allowed, but no filming or recording. If convicted, the Taylors face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to 300,000 yen ($2,900). They could get a suspended sentence and not serve time. In principle, just as in the U.S., people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. But 99% of criminal trials end in convictions. WHERE IS CARLOS GHOSN AND CAN HE BE TRIED? Japan has put Ghosn on Interpol's wanted list, but Lebanon has no extradition treaty with Japan. Extradition from the U.S. isn’t common, so the extradition of the Taylors for an alleged nonviolent crime reflects the determination of Japanese prosecutors to pursue the case against Ghosn. Ghosn is almost certain to be extradited if he sets foot in the U.S. Former Nissan senior executive Greg Kelly is on trial in Tokyo on charges he helped under-report Ghosn’s compensation. Kelly, an American, says he is innocent. ___ Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press
Islanders eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine can now book appointments online through Skip the Waiting Room. The P.E.I.-based company said it has secured a contract with the province to help provide more efficient access during the pandemic. "We saw reports of people waiting in a car for 8 hours to get testing done," said CEO and co-founder Mark Richardson. "COVID seemed like a great fit for me, so I started rattling the chains that I could rattle and said: 'As an Islander and a business, we'd love to help out with this.'" The company was born five years ago after Richardson found himself sitting in the waiting room at a walk-in clinic — for four and a half hours. "I thought to myself: 'There's got to be a better way to do this.'" 'I had seen some of the frustration and seen some of the lineups at the testing centres,' says Mark Richardson, the CEO and co-founder of Skip the Waiting Room. From there, the online site and app were created, giving others the option of pre-booking appointments to reduce time spent lingering in clinics. So far, Richardson said around 60,000 people have used the service for walk-in care on the Island. "I think every Canadian understands the frustration and wasted time of sitting in a waiting room or trying to get through a phone line." Now, in addition to becoming available to other provinces, Richardson said the company has expanded on P.E.I. to areas like internal medicine, MRI appointments and mammography appointments. Meeting an urgent timeline For those looking to book online before heading into a walk-in clinic, there is a fee of $5. But because of the terms of his contract with the P.E.I government, Richardson says it's free to schedule provincial services such as COVID-19 vaccines. I'm sure it will get a little bit more hectic when we get to the general announcement or the general population. - Mark Richardson, Skip the Waiting Room A statement from Health P.E.I said it entered into a short-term agreement with Skip the Waiting Room after it was identified as the only option available to "meet the urgent timelines to launch an online scheduling system to support COVID vaccine delivery." According to the statement, all safeguards outlined under the P.E.I Health Information Act are being maintained. "We had to jump through a lot of privacy hoops and some threat-risk assessments and all those things," said Richardson. "It was an extensive process but I'm glad to be on the other side of it." 'Going to do our best' Richardson said he doesn't know the exact number of people who have used the company to book vaccines so far — but he said he does expect it to increase. "I'm sure it will get a little bit more hectic when we get to the general announcement or the general population," he said. "I know people will be very eager to get their vaccine, as I am." For now, Richardson said, the company is spending time making improvements so that when Islanders do reach out to book virtually, Skip the Waiting Room is ready. "We might be able to book, you know, thousands of people a day, 24/7," he said. "We're working our best to make sure that there will be no hiccups. "No promises, but we're certainly going to do our best." More from CBC P.E.I.
Critics of the gambling industry say they're concerned about a recent move toward online gambling, especially in light of the Halifax casino's uncertain future. Elizabeth Stephen, a counselling therapist who works with people with gambling addictions, said news that the Nova Scotia government has cleared the way for online casino-style gambling is "pretty significant." "What's behind that?" said Stephen. "Is it because the physical casino is in such decline and perhaps is even going to close down? Is it to replace that revenue? The Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation, the Crown corporation that oversees the gaming business, released documents to CBC News showing the Halifax casino has struggled with declining and unsustainable revenues for approximately 15 years — even before the arrival of COVID-19. The documents raise the possibility of moving the casino away from its waterfront location, but the corporation said those decisions are on hold during the pandemic. Stephen is an addictions counsellor in Halifax with a private practice. "My sense is that the government is looking for alternative revenue streams, hence the talk about the online casino," said Bruce Dienes, chair of Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia (GRINS), a non-profit that aims to reduce gambling harms. "The problem with that, of course, is if you want to go to a brick-and-mortar casino, you have to actually go to a brick-and-mortar casino. You have to really intentionally do that, you have to be there for a certain piece of time. "Online, if you've got a phone or if you've got any internet connection, 24/7 you're at risk of being impacted negatively by that casino." 'Two very different offerings' Bob MacKinnon, the gaming corporation's CEO, said there are similarities in the gambling that takes place in a physical casino and online. "I think it is possible that some of the casino business that we would have had at the Halifax casino has gone online. There's no way for us to know an exact number," he said. "But I'll also add that generally over the longer term, we would think of them as two very different offerings: that some people like to go online, and many people like to go for a broader entertainment experience where there's music, there's food, there's shows going on, in addition to the gaming offerings." Stephen said the people she treats in her practice often start gambling in a physical casino, but later move to other venues, such as bars with video lottery terminals. The majority of gambling addicts Stephen counsels became addicted to machines like VLTs. "I think [casinos] are the foundation in some places for the start of gambling, and the kind of glamour of gambling and the excitement of gambling," she said. Stephen said most people who come to her with gambling addictions have become addicted to VLTs, although a few have been addicted to table games such as poker or blackjack. "They get to the point where they're spending way too much time there and more money than they can afford to lose. And so often their first step is to exclude themselves from the casino. Often, though, they don't do that until they maybe have reached bankruptcy," she said. Falling revenues The Halifax casino hit peak revenue of about $75 million in 2006-07, which fell to about $54 million in 2014-15 — a drop of about 30 per cent that MacKinnon said was not sustainable. Visitation during the pandemic is down 90 per cent, and MacKinnon said it's believed the Halifax casino will make about $9 million this year. The Sydney casino failed to meet its revenue and visitation targets for the 2 years leading up to the pandemic, which closed its doors altogether for about eight months. The casino in Sydney, N.S., failed to meet its revenue and visitation targets for the two years leading up to the pandemic. In 2018-19, the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation hoped the Cape Breton casino would have revenue of $22.1 million from at least 410,000 visitors. Instead, it brought in $19.5 million from 372,000 visitors. In 2019-20, its targets were $19.2 million in revenue and 410,000 visitors, but it ended up with $18.8 million from 344,806 visitors. Dienes said it shows a need for the province to move on from the gambling business, which was legalized in Nova Scotia in 1995. Dienes is the chair of Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia (GRINS), a non-profit organization with the goal of reducing harms related to gambling. "Here is a business model that's failing, that isn't meeting the needs of the customers. And rather than acknowledging that and moving on to a different kind of business — a different way to entertain, a different way to raise funds — they're trying to increase the risk and increase the access for something that people clearly don't want," he said. Dienes said gambling is "psychologically manipulative" and he disagrees with the government's stance that online gambling can be done safely. "This is something that's been created by government policy," he said. High-stakes bets Will Shead, an associate professor of psychology who primarily researches gambling, said he's doubtful that limitations can be placed on online gambling that would keep people safe. "We don't really know what effect this is going to have on people. You can make arguments and say this is how it's going to work, but it could potentially be disastrous for people to have access to such high betting limits online," said Shead, who teaches at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. Shead is also a board member of Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia, whose members are particularly concerned about high-stakes wagers online that could lead a gambler to lose thousands of dollars per hour. Shead is an associate professor of psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. His research specialty is gambling. The Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation has said the online casino would include age and residency verification, privacy controls, self-exclusion options, deposit limits, time displays, analytics on player activity and information about responsible gambling. But Shead said he's concerned about young people finding ways to get around age checks, and about research that shows people are more likely to use drugs and alcohol while gambling online. In a physical casino, people are not supposed to be allowed to gamble while impaired, he said. According to its code of conduct, Casino Nova Scotia will refuse entry to someone who is impaired by alcohol or drugs. "I'm not sure if that happens all the time," said Shead, "but it's certainly not going to happen in the confines of your own home." MORE TOP STORIES
Britain's Prince Philip was receiving treatment and undergoing heart tests on Tuesday, two weeks after the 99-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth was admitted to hospital in London as a precaution after he felt unwell. Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was transferred on Monday from the private King Edward VII hospital to St Bartholomew's Hospital, which is a centre of excellence for cardiac care, for tests for a pre-existing heart condition and treatment for an unspecified infection which is not COVID-related. His 14-night stay in hospital is the longest he has needed treatment, although Buckingham Palace has said he is comfortable and responding to treatment.
MADRID — Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu was provisionally set free on Tuesday after appearing before a judge following a night in jail while being investigated for possible irregularities during his administration. Court officials said Bartomeu and his former adviser at the Spanish club, Jaume Masferrer, used their right not to make any comments in court. Bartomeu, Masferrer and two other club officials were arrested on Monday after Catalan police raided Barcelona’s headquarters in a search and seizure operation related to last year’s “Barçagate.” In that case, the club was accused of launching a smear campaign against current and former players who were critical of then-president Bartomeu and others. The club itself has not been charged but Bartomeu was not cleared. Court officials lifted the case's secrecy and those accused will have access to the evidence gathered by authorities before appearing in court again. The arrests came less than a week before the club holds presidential elections, and added to the turmoil surrounding the team recently. “Every club has its difficult moments,” said Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman, who took over after the club's crisis erupted following the team’s 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. “It’s true that a lot has happened, but we remain motivated and will keep fighting to win titles. “It obvious that this is not good for the image of the club,” said Koeman, who was hired by Bartomeu. “We have to wait and see what happens. All we can do is to focus on our job.” Barcelona is coming off its first season without a trophy since 2007-08. The team lost to Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League last week, and on Wednesday will try to reverse a 2-0 first-leg loss to Sevilla in the Copa del Rey semifinals. The Catalan club is five points off the lead in the Spanish league. Barcelona, which could also lose Lionel Messi after his contract ends this season, has been led by a caretaker board since the 58-year-old Bartomeu and his board of directors resigned in October while facing a no-confidence vote. He had been loudly criticized by Messi, whose request to leave the club last season was denied by the then-president. The Spanish club has a debt of more than 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), in large part because of the coronavirus pandemic. “What worries me the most is the club's institutional instability, not its financial difficulty,” Spanish league president Javier Tebas said. “When a new president is elected I'm certain that the club will overcome this situation.” Members of the police’s financial crimes department conducted the operation in five different locations on Monday, including Bartomeu’s house. Authorities said they were investigating “alleged crimes related to property and socio-economic order.” Barcelona had denied accusations that it hired — and overpaid — a company to make negative comments about its own players and opponents on social media in order to boost the image of senior club officials. The company was accused of using fake social media accounts to discredit opposition figures, a list said to include Messi, Gerard Piqué and former coach Pep Guardiola, when they expressed views that went against the club. The club released an independent audit report showing there was no wrongdoing. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni Tales Azzoni, The Associated Press
BARRIE, Ont. — Highway 400 has reopened in both directions after bring closed for hours due to whiteout conditions and a series of collisions.Ontario Provincial Police announced the lanes had reopened around 9 p.m. Monday.Police shut down the major artery Monday afternoon from Highway 88 outside of Bradford, Ont., to Mapleview Drive in Barrie, Ont.They said at the time that snow squalls caused whiteout conditions on the highway north of Toronto, leading to limited visibility and dangerous driving conditions.Police later said more than 11 vehicles were involved in a crash.They said "numerous" people were injured but did not provide details of their condition.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
India is ready to offer incentives to ensure Tesla Inc's cost of production would be less than in China if the carmaker commits to making its electric vehicles in the south Asian country, transport minister Nitin Gadkari told Reuters. Gadkari's pitch comes weeks after billionaire Elon Musk's Tesla registered a company in India in a step towards entering the country, possibly as soon as mid-2021.