With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
The most grueling and intense Premier League season appears to be catching up with Manchester United's misfiring players. It may yet cost them a place in next season's Champions League. There were worrying signs in United's third straight 0-0 draw, this time in the fog at Crystal Palace on Wednesday. Bruno Fernandes was sloppy in possession, Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford exchanged angry words in the second half and — maybe most alarming of all — there was never any sign of the kind of late onslaught United teams down the years have been renowned for. Perhaps it is no surprise that United, which is now 14 points behind Manchester City in what is becoming a procession to the title, is running out of steam. Due to its involvement in the Europa League and going deep in both domestic cups, United has played games every midweek in this condensed, pandemic-affected season except for during international breaks. A last-16 double header against AC Milan in the Europa League is coming up over the following two weeks, and before that a Manchester derby on Sunday. No wonder energy levels seem to be down and there's no attacking spark in Solskjaer's side. “It’s been a long season,” Solskjaer said after United's sixth 0-0 draw in the league, the most of any team this season. There's still 2 1/2 months left of it, more than enough time for United to lose its spot in the Premier League's top four if it's not careful. The same applies to third-place Leicester, which was held 1-1 at relegation-threatened Burnley on Wednesday and might also be feeling the effects of an arduous season that has included a Europa League campaign, too. United and Leicester have won just five of their last 16 league games combined and they are giving their top-four rivals a big opportunity to reel them in. West Ham, Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton are all within eight points and have games in hand, while Tottenham and Arsenal further back should not be discounted now. Leicester recovered from conceding a goal in the fourth minute to Matej Vydra, with Kelechi Iheanacho volleying in the equalizer in the 34th. Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers considered it a decent result given the injury problems in his squad, which is currently depriving him of attacking midfielders Harvey Barnes, James Maddison, Dennis Praet and Ayoze Perez, along with Jonny Evans and James Justin. BATTLING BLADES Sheffield United's players aren't leaving the Premier League without a fight. Chris Wilder's last-place team held on after a 57th-minute red card to veteran centre back Phil Jagielka to beat Aston Villa 1-0. With 11 games left, Sheffield United is 12 points from safety so securing a third straight season in the top flight remains highly unlikely. The players aren't giving up, though. “We’re all still fighting for our future and for this club,” said striker David McGoldrick, who scored the winner from close range in the 30th minute. "The saying is, ‘It’s not over till the fat lady sings.’ We’re all fighting to the end.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80 Steve Douglas, The Associated Press
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
WHITEHORSE — Yukon's premier says COVID-19 vaccine uptake has been "fantastic" as just over half the territory's residents have received their first dose, but he's concerned about rising numbers of variants elsewhere in Canada. Sandy Silver says the territory is focusing on meeting its goal of vaccinating 75 per cent of the population to reach herd immunity before lifting current restrictions despite zero cases in Yukon. He says a clinic for everyone aged 18 and over opened in Whitehorse this week and mobile clinics are returning to smaller communities to provide second shots to people over 60. Silver says as of Monday, 11,503 Yukon residents had received their first shot while second shots were administered to about half that number. He joined chief medical health officer Dr. Brendan Hanley in saying numbers on vaccine uptake would not be provided for specific areas to prevent pitting communities against each other. Hanley is urging residents to continue taking all precautions as clinics go "full tilt" in the territory. "If cases, and particularly variants, lead to increased COVID our risk of importing variants will go up day by day," he says. Seventy-one Yukoners have recovered from the illness and one person has died since the pandemic began. Hanley says 850 people were immunized in the mass clinic on Tuesday, and he would be among those lining up for a shot in the arm on Wednesday. Yukon and other territories have received a higher allocation of vaccine doses because remote areas have limited access to specialized care. "While we recognize that immunizing the territories is the right thing to do for Canada this incredible opportunity should provide us with extra motivation to step up and get a vaccine," Hanley says. However, he says "vaccine hesitancy is a reality" and it will be important to address people's questions so they're comfortable being immunized in order to protect everyone. Hanley says despite four weeks without any active cases, the restrictions will remain because the territory is in a "nebulous" time and on guard against variants. "This is a huge consideration for us because regardless of whether we have zero or 10 cases right now we are always managing risk of importation," he says. "Vaccine uptake is so critical to getting to a place where we can be much more confident about being able to propose a solid framework for opening up." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Jim Hodder is seen in 1985, when the former longtime Liberal MHA announced he was crossing the floor to join the Tories. (CBC) Jim Hodder, whose political career in Newfoundland and Labrador spanned several decades, has died. He was 80. Hodder represented the district of Port au Port in two different stints, and carried the banner of two parties. First elected as a Liberal in 1975, he rocked that party's caucus a decade later by crossing the floor to join the Brian Peckford PCs. A former teacher in Stephenville, Hodder left politics before the 1993 election. He made a comeback, though, in 2003, when he defeated former Liberal cabinet minister Gerald Smith, and helped Danny Williams's Tories regain power. Hodder, who served in cabinet as tourism minister, retired from politics altogether in January 2007, nine months before the next general election. At the time, Hodder cited health concerns as his motivation for leaving. "I have some medical problems and I haven't really been paying attention to them, so I thought I'd better get out ahead of the Grim Reaper," he told CBC at the time. In a statement, PC Leader Ches Crosbie paid tribute to Hodder as someone who was "highly regarded by people on all sides of the House, and loved throughout his district." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
WASHINGTON — The White House warned that the U.S. may consider a military response to the rocket attack that hit an air base in western Iraq where American and coalition troops are housed. A U.S. contractor died after at least 10 rockets slammed into the base early Wednesday. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, the first since the U.S. struck Iran-aligned militia targets along the Iraq-Syria border last week. “We are following that through right now," President Joe Biden told reporters. “Thank God, no one was killed by the rocket, but one individual, a contractor, died of a heart attack. But we’re identifying who’s responsible and we’ll make judgments” about a response. White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested that the “calculated” U.S. airstrikes last week could be a model for a military response. Those strikes were in response to an attack on American forces in northern Iraq earlier in February. “If we assess further response is warranted, we will take action again in a manner and time of our choosing,” Psaki said. Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the U.S. contractor “suffered a cardiac episode while sheltering” from the attack and died shortly afterward. He said there were no service members injured and all are accounted for. British and Danish troops also are among those stationed at the base. The U.S. airstrikes last week, which killed one member of the Iran-aligned militia, had stoked fears of another cycle of tit-for-tat attacks as happened more than a year ago. Those attacks included the U.S. drone strike in January 2020 that killed Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani in Baghdad and set off months of increased troops levels in the region. Wednesday's death of the contractor heightens worries that the U.S. could be drawn into another period of escalating attacks, complicating the Biden administration's desire to open talks with Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal. The latest attack also comes two days before Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Iraq despite concerns about security and the coronavirus pandemic. The much-anticipated trip will include stops in Baghdad, southern Iraq and the northern city of Irbil. The rockets struck Ain al-Asad airbase in Anbar province early in the morning, U.S.-led coalition spokesperson Col. Wayne Marotto said. Kirby said the rockets were fired from east of the base, and that counter-rocket defensive systems were used to defend forces at the base. Kirby said the U.S. can't attribute responsibility for the attack yet, and that the extent of the damage was still being assessed. It's the same base that Iran struck with a barrage of missiles in January of last year in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani. Dozens of U.S. service members suffered concussions in that strike. The Iraqi military released a statement saying that Wednesday's attack did not cause significant losses and that security forces had found the launch pad used for the rockets — a truck. Video of the site shows a burning truck in a desert area. British Ambassador to Iraq Stephen Hickey condemned the attack, saying it undermined the ongoing fight against the Islamic State group. “Coalition forces are in Iraq to fight Daesh at the invitation of the Iraqi government,” he tweeted, using the Arabic acronym for IS. “These terrorist attacks undermine the fight against Daesh and destabilize Iraq.” Denmark said coalition forces at the base were helping to bring stability and security to the country. “Despicable attacks against Ain al-Asad base in #Iraq are completely unacceptable," Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted. The Danish armed forces said two Danes who were at the base at the time of the attack are unharmed. Last week's U.S. strike along the border was in response to a spate of rocket attacks that targeted the American presence, including one that killed a coalition contractor from the Philippines outside the Irbil airport. After that attack, the Pentagon said the strike was a “proportionate military response.” Marotto, the coalition spokesperson, said the Iraqi security forces were leading an investigation into the attack. Frequent rocket attacks in Baghdad targeting the heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy, during Donald Trump’s presidency frustrated the administration, leading to threats of embassy closure and escalatory strikes. Those attacks have increased again in recent weeks, since President Joe Biden took office, following a lull during the transition period. U.S. troops in Iraq significantly decreased their presence in the country last year and withdrew from several Iraqi bases to consolidate chiefly in Ain al-Asad, Baghdad and Irbil. ___ Kullab reported from Baghdad. Associated Press writer Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report. Samya Kullab And Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press
SALEM, N.H. — Police have made an arrest following a 15-month-long investigation into vandalism at a group of rock configurations in New Hampshire called “America's Stonehenge." Mark Russo, 51, of Swedesboro, New Jersey, has been charged with one count of felony criminal mischief, accused of defacing the stone in Salem in September 2019. A lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf Tuesday. Police said the rock tablet appeared to have been damaged by a power tool. It was carved with “WWG1WGA” and “IAMMARK." Police said the first stands for “Where We Go One, We Go All," a motto affiliated with the QAnon conspiracy theory. An 18-inch (45-centimetre) tall wooden cross was found suspended between two trees, and attached to the cross were several photographs and hand-drawn images. Police arrested Russo after finding images of the stone and Russo online and linking to him an “iammark" Twitter account with a reference to “a few improvements" made to the site. Images on the cross also were linked to Russo. Bail was set at $3,000 cash for Russo, who is scheduled for a hearing on April 21. An email seeking comment from Russo's lawyer was sent Tuesday. America’s Stonehenge, which features cave-like, granite enclosures, has drawn believers who say it’s 1,000 or more years old, and skeptics who say the evidence suggests it was the work of a 19th century shoemaker. The Associated Press
Residents may see a new roundabout in Paradise just a moment’s drive from the Topsail Road - McNamara Drive roundabout. “The provincial government is in the process of constructing a new intermediate school near the Diane Whalen Soccer Complex,” explained councillor Alan English. “Upgrades are required to the access road and the intersection at McNamara Drive. The current soccer complex access road would be upgraded with allowance for a future bypass road and the intersection at McNamara Road will be enhanced with an allowance for a two-lane roundabout in the future.” That soccer complex access road, which is marked by both a sign proudly announcing the land as the site of the new school and a sign promoting the soccer complex, is across from the Rotary Paradise Youth and Community Centre. To allow for the upgrades, the town has to purchase a portion of a piece of land referred to as ‘Lot 9.’ “Lot 9 is located at the corner of the access road and McNamara Drive and the Town required a portion of Lot 9 to facilitate area improvements,” said English. “The lot will be impacted by the construction of the roundabout and improvements to the access road. As well, the property access will be negatively impacted due to the plans to install a median on the access road when upgraded to a by-pass road.” To allow access to Lot 9 from the access road, the town also needed to deed a piece of the town-owned land to the owner of Lot 9, which can only be done with ministerial approval. “Council discussed the negotiations extensively in privileged meetings of council, and are unanimously in favour of the offer,” said English. That offer was $100,000, and the motion was passed unanimously to purchase a portion of Lot 9 near McNamara Drive for that sum. A second motion, for the Town to request ministerial approval to dispose of a portion of town-owned land located alongside the access road to the Diane Whalen Soccer Complex, also passed unanimously. All in all, English applauded the decision. “The town is making a strategic move here by acquiring this piece of property, because in the event that we don’t, we will actually block access to the land owner and be subject to legal action, possibly, for devaluing their property, and the town has taken the initiative to negotiate an agreement with the landowner, and while the amount is significant, $100,000, the end result is much, much cheaper than going the legal route,” said English. Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
There were two deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the province on Wednesday. Both deaths were in the 80 plus age group and were located in Regina and Saskatoon. The number of deaths related to COVID-19 in the province is now 389. The North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. This was among 121 new cases reported in Saskatchewan. North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 19 active cases. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 30 active cases and North Central 3 has 15 active cases. There are currently 153 people in hospital overall in the province. Of the 133 reported as receiving in patient care there are 14 in North Central. Of the 20 people reported as being in intensive care there is one in North Central. The current seven-day average 154, or 12.5 cases per 100,000 population. The high was 312 reported on Jan. 12. Of the 29,059reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 1,431 are considered active. The recovered number now sits at 27,239after 180 more recoveries were reported. The total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic is 29,059 of those 7,437 cases are from the North area (3,024 North West, 3,259 North Central and 1,154 North East). There were 1,358doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered yesterday in Saskatchewan bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 81,597. There were 232 doses administered in the North Central zone yesterday. The other zones where vaccines were administered were in the North West, Far North Central, Central East, Far North Central, Far North East, Saskatoon and Regina. According to the province as of March 2, 50 per cent of Phase 1 priority healthcare workers received a first dose. This percentage includes healthcare workers from long term care and personal care home facilities. Pfizer shipments for the week of March 1 have arrived in Regina (3,510) and Saskatoon (3,510). North Battleford (2,340) and Prince Albert (4,680) shipments are expected by end of day March 3. There were 2,588 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan on Feb. 28. As of today there have been 582,829 COVID-19 tests performed in Saskatchewan. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
LONDON — Buckingham Palace said Wednesday it was launching an investigation after a newspaper reported that a former aide had made a bullying allegation against the Duchess of Sussex. The Times of London reported allegations that the duchess drove out two personal assistants and left staff feeling “humiliated.” It said an official complaint was made by Jason Knauf, then the communications secretary to Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry. He now works for Harry’s elder brother, Prince William. The palace said it was “clearly very concerned” about the allegations. It said in a statement that the palace human resources team “will look into the circumstances outlined in the article” and would seek to speak to current and former staff. “The Royal Household has had a Dignity at Work policy in place for a number of years and does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace,” it said. American actress Meghan Markle, a former star of the TV legal drama “Suits,” married Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born the following year. In early 2020, Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California, and are expecting a second child. The bullying allegations were reported four days before the scheduled broadcast of an Oprah Winfrey interview with Meghan, which is anticipated to draw a huge audience. It also comes less than two weeks after the palace announced that the couple’s split from official duties would be final. A spokesman for the duchess said she was “saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma.” The Associated Press
MERIDEN, Conn. — Jill Biden, the teacher in the White House, along with new Education Secretary Miguel Cardona went back to school Wednesday in a public push to show districts that have yet to transition back to in-person learning that it can be done safely during the pandemic. “Teachers want to be back," the first lady said after she and Cardona spent about an hour visiting classrooms and other areas at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in Meriden, Connecticut. “We want to be back. I’m a teacher. I am teaching virtually.” Biden is a veteran community college English professor who is now teaching remotely from the White House. She said her students recently told her they can’t wait to be back in the classroom. “But we just know we have to get back safely,” she said. The trip was the first order of business for Cardona, Connecticut's former education commissioner, who was sworn into his new Cabinet job only the day before. Biden and Cardona were also visiting a Pennsylvania middle school on Wednesday. Their visits came as the clock ticks down on President Joe Biden’s promise to have most K-8 schools open for classroom instruction by the end of his first 100 days in office, or the end April. To help nudge that along, Biden said Tuesday he is pushing states to administer at least one coronavirus vaccination to every teacher, school employee and child-care worker by the end of March. The issue of vaccinating teachers became a flashpoint in school districts around the country as many teachers held the line and refused to return to their classrooms unless they were given the shots. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not include vaccinating teachers in its guidelines for schools to consider when reopening after months of teaching students remotely over computers. “We must continue to reopen America’s schools for in-person learning as quickly and as safely as possible,” Cardona said. He said the president’s directive that teachers and school staff be vaccinated quickly will be “my top priority.” At Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, Biden and Cardona saw kids seated some distance apart at individual desks, each one wearing a mask. See-through plastic partitions separated groups of four students who sat at half-moon-shaped tables. Hand sanitizer dispensers were available in the hallways. “I love that,” Biden said after a teacher pointed out the partitions. The teacher also said her youngsters had “no issues” wearing the masks. The school reopened in late August, Cardona said, and “it was done in a way that protected the students and their families.” The first lady and Cardona also visited a “sensory room” complete with colorful climbing walls, zip lines, monkey bars, stability balls and a mat, where special needs students can collect their emotions. Biden asked the teacher in the sensory room whether she had seen anxiety in children increasing because of the pandemic. The teacher said she had. Biden and Cardona later listened as another teacher described her transition back to in-person learning. The school visit also served as a homecoming for Cardona, who is from Meriden and was so warmly praised that Biden referred to the welcome as a “love fest.” His parents were among those on hand in the school lobby for the remarks. “Now our nation is going to have that love for you,” she said. “Educators’ favourite three words are not ‘I love you'," she joked. “It’s going to be Education Secretary Cardona.” Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed allegations of sexual harassment against him Wednesday, saying he feels awful and embarrassed by his actions, but intends to remain in office.
The global technology services company Infosys plans to create 500 jobs in Calgary over the next three years as it ramps up its Canadian workforce. Infosys president Ravi Kumar made the pledge at a virtual news conference on Wednesday with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. "Calgary is a natural next step as part of our Canadian expansion and represents a significant and promising market for Infosys," Kumar said. "The city is home to a thriving pool of talent that the economic downturn of COVID-19 has impacted. We will tap into this talent and offer critical skills and opportunities that will build on the city's economic strengths." The company, which started in India and now has operations in 46 countries, provides digital services and consulting for clients in many industries, such as natural resources, energy, media, retail and communications. Infosys's head of global government and public affairs, Anurag Varma, who spoke from the company's office in Silicon Valley, said because he was born in Calgary and educated in Alberta he's confident that the expansion is a smart move. "It only gives me more pride that our global company is coming to a neighbourhood that I know very well, and I believe that this is going to be a match made in heaven," he said. Officials said the Calgary office will be in the core, but a location was not specified. The Calgary office currently has fewer than 10 employees, but the company has hired about 2,000 people in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver over the past two years. Officials say the plan is to double the Canadian workforce to 4,000 employees by 2023. Mary Moran, president and CEO of Calgary Economic Development, says the Infosys expansion could be a game-changer for the city. "We are embracing digital transformation in Calgary and Infosys can support companies on their digital journey as they address global challenges like cleaner energy, safe and secure food supplies, safer and more efficient transportation and logistics and better health solutions," she said. Infosys says it will hire tech grads from 14 educational institutions in Canada, including the University of Calgary, SAIT and the University of Alberta.
The Alberta government launched Step 2 of eased restrictions Monday, allowing libraries to re-open at 15 per cent capacity and some indoor fitness activities to resume. The measures fall short of plans to ease restrictions on retail and community halls, but Grande Prairie-Wapiti MLA Travis Toews said the government is exploring further changes. “If (COVID) numbers stay manageable, I am hopeful we can continue to reduce and eventually eliminate all public health measures,” Toews said. In February the government eased restrictions on indoor dining and children’s sports when hospitalizations across the province dropped below 600. The intent was to further ease restrictions in three weeks at 450 hospitalizations, with current hospitalizations at 261. Indoor gatherings may be allowed under Step 3 in three weeks if hospitalizations remain at under 300. “COVID has been difficult to navigate, as we look to balance ensuring the health care system is fully operational with the economic effect of public health measures and the effect on individual freedom,” Toews said. “The bottom-line goal is to ensure our health care system can continue to function, so folks who need cardiovascular or other surgeries can access it. “In December we came close to overrunning our health care system.” Libraries can be open at 15 per cent of the fire code occupancy, not including staff, according to the Alberta government. Tracy Deets, Beaverlodge Public Library manager, said she is hoping to re-open the library next week. In the meantime, it remains available for curbside service. In Sexsmith, Shannon Municipal Library is open with mandatory masks and up to six people in the library at a time. Patrons are asked to cap their visits at 15 minutes. Elmworth Community Library is also open for in-person visits, with curbside service still available. “Low-intensity” indoor group fitness is allowed by appointment, with three-metre social distancing and masks. The government defines low-intensity exercises as including weightlifting, dance, yoga, barre and indoor climbing, as well as some use of treadmills and ellipticals. During Monday’s press conference health minister Tyler Shandro said eased restrictions on retail and community centres may not be delayed until Step 3, potentially three weeks from now. Based on hospitalization numbers and with the advice of chief medical officer Deena Hinshaw, the restrictions may be eased sooner, he said. Premier Jason Kenney said diminishing new cases and evidence the spread of COVID variants is controlled could result in expediting the easing of retail and community hall restrictions. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today. They involve two people in their 20s in the Fredericton region and both cases are travel-related, as well as a person in their 50s in the Miramichi region which is under investigation. Officials have identified a list of locations in Miramichi where there may have been public exposure, and a mass testing clinic will be held to determine if there has been any further spread in the area. The clinics will be held tomorrow and Friday at the gymnasium of the Dr. Losier Middle School. There are now 37 active cases in the province and three people are hospitalized, including two in intensive care. There have been 28 COVID-19-related deaths in the province since the onset of the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES — Detectives are looking at data from the so-called “black box” of Tiger Woods' SUV to get a clearer picture of what occurred during the Southern California rollover crash that seriously injured the golf star, authorities said Wednesday. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said traffic investigators executed a search warrant Monday to retrieve data from the device from the Genesis SUV that Woods was driving. There was no immediate information regarding what was found in the black box, Deputy Trina Schrader said in a statement. The 2021 GV80, made by the Hyundai luxury brand, is likely to have a newer version of event data recorders nicknamed “black boxes” after more sophisticated recorders in airplanes. The devices store a treasure trove of data for authorities to review. Woods suffered a serious leg injury when the SUV he was driving went off a Los Angeles County road and rolled over on a downhill stretch known for crashes. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Woods was not drunk and was driving alone in good weather when the SUV hit a raised median, went across oncoming lanes and rolled several times. The crash injured his right leg, requiring surgery. Deputies will review data from the black box to “see if they can find out what was the performance of the vehicle, what was happening at the time of impact,” said Villanueva, who previously faced criticism for almost immediately calling the crash “purely an accident.” During a live social media event on Wednesday. the sheriff said the new data could provide more information on the cause of the accident. “And that’s all it is, and we’ll leave it at that,” he said. California law allows law enforcement to seek search warrants for data recorders that were involved in motor vehicle crashes that result in death or serious bodily injury. Law enforcement must show that the recorders could have evidence of a felony or misdemeanour in the crash, and detectives must limit their review of the data to information directly related to the offence. USA TODAY first reported the search warrant. A black box is a computer that stores data from a vehicle’s sensors, which can be downloaded. The boxes usually are below the centre of the dashboard or beneath seats to be protected from damage. There aren’t any federal regulations requiring the boxes, but the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says nearly all vehicles have them now. The government does require the recorders to store 15 data points including speed before impact and whether brake and gas pedals were pressed. __ Associated Press Writer Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed to this report. Stefanie Dazio, The Associated Press
Lawyers for Huawei's chief financial officer said on Wednesday that Joe Biden's election as U.S. president will not undo the political interference in her case, which they say stems from former President Donald Trump's pledge to intervene if it helped the United States extract a more favorable trade deal from China. Lawyers for CFO Meng Wanzhou want her U.S. extradition case dismissed on grounds that Trump's comments soon after her 2018 arrest in Canada meant she would not get a fair trial in the United States.
Wednesday's return to school for thousands of students and teachers in parts of Newfoundland and Labrador prompted a swirl of emotions, from anxiety to gratitude. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little anxious. but I would also be lying if I said I didn't take a little bit comfort in knowing that we are all in this together," said Jordan Stringer, a teacher at Corner Brook Regional High. "We are all just wading through the unknowns together." Regions outside the Avalon moved to Alert Level 4 on Friday, which meant students could return to schools, after a brief stint of online-only learning. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald moved the province to Alert Level 5 on Feb.12, prompting schools to close and learning to move online. The Avalon region remains in Alert Level 5, and schools remain closed. Fitzgerald has said she will review whether the level can change, and will update the public on March 12. Kaden Gill, a Grade 11 student at Corner Brook Regional High, said while he is happy to see his friends, it's still a precarious situation. "It feels good to see them but its also pretty dangerous at the same time, because if we hit Level 5 again, it's a big ol' mess," he told CBC News on Wednesday. Jordan Stringer, a teacher at Corner Brook Regional High School, wears eye protection and a disposable three-ply mask, which are now mandatory for staff. (Submitted by Jordan Stringer) Stringer said there is a "different vibe" in the school this week, but social and emotional wellness is top of mind for all teachers and staff. He praised the students for navigating an uncharted path amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "They have been truly truly exceptional.… They have been just as kind and understanding to us as staff as, I think and I hope, we have been to them," he said. Students question mix of in-person, solo learning Some classes at 50 schools — 28 in central Newfoundland, 20 in western Newfoundland and two in Labrador — cannot adhere to the updated health and safety protocols for cohorts and physical distancing. Students in those schools will alternate between in-class instruction and assigned work done at home without direct instruction from a teacher. The situation is "not ideal," admitted Newfoundland and Labrador English School District CEO Tony Stack at a media briefing last week when the change was announced. Several students told CBC News they are unhappy with the hybrid model. Laura Adams, a Grade 12 student at Gander Collegiate, said the split scenario doesn't cover as much educational ground. "I don't feel like we're going to get the quality of the instruction," she said. Laura Adams, a Grade 12 student at Gander Collegiate, says she fears her education will suffer because of the mix of in-class learning with days where students are home and expected to do course work on their own. (Garrett Barry/CBC) Adams plans to study medical sciences at Dalhousie University next year, and so completing math, chemistry and biology courses this year is a must. She said her teachers in those subjects have been "amazing," but she feels Newfoundland and Labrador wasn't as prepared overall for online learning as other provinces, including Ontario. Landon Burry, a Grade 12 student at Gander Collegiate, is also heading to Dalhousie University next year. Burry said he wishes classes had remained fully online until all students could return to the classroom, rather than using a hybrid system. "Everyone was set up with Chromebooks. No one was at a deficit with [online learning].… Anyone who was trying was doing well," he said. He isn't convinced that all of the curriculum will get covered under the split model. "I still think we should be online so all of us can get 100 per cent of the information.… Right now we want to prioritize our education over everything else, but I just don't know how its going to work and get all the material down," Burry said. Landon Burry, a Grade 12 student at Gander Collegiate, says people had gotten into a groove of online learning. (Garrett Barry/CBC) The district insisted the full curriculum will be covered. "While students may be attending school in person approximately 50 per cent of the time, they will be provided with followup work and activities that expand on the learning covered while they were in attendance. All curriculum outcomes are still expected to be covered," reads a statement from a district spokesperson to CBC News. "An example: students might interact with new material (videos, readings) at home first, as preparation in advance of the face-to-face time where their teacher can be responsive to learning needs identified and have more active learning — like discussions or project work in presence of the teacher 'coach.'" New PPE rules Students and teachers are returning to classrooms with stricter rules in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, including the more contagious variant. All school staff have to wear a disposable, non-surgical, three-ply mask and eye protection — such as a face shield — at all times when in the classroom and when two-metre physical distancing cannot be maintained. Students in grades 4 to 6 have to wear a mask while seated in class and on the school bus. Students in kindergarten through Grade 3 are expected to wear a mask at all times on the school bus and are encouraged, but not required, to wear a mask during the school day. Students can take off the mask when they're eating or taking part in physical education classes. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Protesters attempting to protect some of the last stands of old-growth forest on southern Vancouver Island are facing arrest if a logging company gets court approval to disband their camps this week. Forestry company Teal-Jones has filed an application with the Supreme Court of British Columbia for an injunction to remove the Fairy Creek blockade at various entry points to its Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 46 near the community of Port Renfrew. The region encompasses the pristine old-growth forest at the headwaters of Fairy Creek with yellow cedars thought to be 1,000 years old, as well as other remaining groves on the Gordon River, Camper Creek and in the Upper Walbran Valley. A court decision is likely following an online hearing Thursday, said Kathleen Code, who is helping organize the defence against the injunction on behalf of the blockade residents. Activists from eight different camps have been blocking the logging company’s road building and forestry crews from accessing the area since August, Code said. “We want (the court) to disallow the injunction but that’s a very rare occurrence,” said Code. “So, our plan is to ask for an extension of three weeks, so that we can better prepare our defence.” Video courtesy of the Fairy Creek Blockade The group of forest defenders, the Rainforest Flying Squad, also hopes to file its own cross injunction against Teal-Jones, she said. “It’s a separate legal process that will have us filing an injunction against Teal-Jones themselves and bringing in the B.C. government as a third party,” Code said. “This way, we hope to make them accountable for the decades-long mismanagement of our forests.” Teal-Jones wants the court to prohibit the blockades until at least Sept. 4 and authorize the RCMP to arrest or remove protesters violating the order. The police force would determine when to enforce the potential order. Teal Cedar, a division of Teal-Jones, and its contractors have experience significant business disruption due to the blockades that threaten the company’s right to harvest timber but also the continued operation of its mills, the court application said. The company values the logs in TFL 46 to be worth $9 million, or approximately $19.4 million if turned into manufactured product. Teal Cedar also said it advised the Pacheedaht First Nation of its planned harvesting activities in its traditional territory, and after surveying the cut blocks, the nation told the company it’s permitted to harvest in those areas. However, Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones and some of his family are supporting the blockade and battle to protect the ancient temperate forest, Code said. Should the Teal-Jones application succeed, each individual forest defender will make the decision about whether they will risk arrest in the battle to protect the old-growth forest, she said. “But don't think Teal-Jones is going to waste any time,” Code said, adding the blockade isn’t about halting all forestry operations. “I want to make it really clear. We are not anti-logging,” she said. “We only obstruct areas where the old growth exist. “It's irreplaceable, and once you clear cut it, you have destroyed all of those ecosystems, destroyed the water systems, and you've destroyed the wildlife and their habitats.” Protests are being planned in various communities across the province on Thursday to protect Fairy Creek old-growth forest and in solidarity with the camp activists, Code said. Quadra Island resident Geraldine Kenny said a staggered, COVID-19-appropriate, “Last Stand” protest will be taking place in front of the office of North Island MLA Michele Babchuk in Campbell River all day. Support for the protest is coming in from communities around the North Island, said Kenny, a member of Sierra Quadra. “We want to show MLA Michelle Babchuk that her constituents … have fundamental concerns with regard to the government she represents and its protection of old-growth forests.” The Quadra senior has been trying to protect B.C. ancient temperate rainforests for three decades, and there’s precious little left, she said. Regardless of where people live on Vancouver Island, or in the province, the need to protect the last remaining stands of old growth is critical. “I started in 1987 with the Carmanah and the Walbran (forests), and here I am, a septuagenarian, and I’m still at it,” Kenny said, adding the argument of the necessity of intact forests to maintain biodiversity still holds true. “It’s old hat, and we’ve heard it so many times,” Kenny said. “However, the critical component now is climate change … maintaining old-growth forests is our best security and our best defence against global warming. “So, I want to stand as a forest defender and as a witness so that these trees, this ecosystem is preserved." Rochelle Baker / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Rochelle Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
HALIFAX — Canadian and American rescuers are describing a tightly choreographed effort in heaving Atlantic seas that saved 31 seafarers early Wednesday before an offshore scallop dragger sank off Nova Scotia. The hoisting of the crew aboard the 39-metre FV Atlantic Destiny onto helicopters began late Tuesday night and extended into the next morning after the ship caught fire at sea south of Yarmouth, N.S. Lt.-Cmdr. Edward Forys, commander of a United States Coast Guard fixed-wing aircraft that flew above the scene, outlined the close co-operation of the two countries in the frightening seas. "It (the Atlantic Destiny) was taking on water when we arrived and they didn't have any power or ability to steer," Forys said Wednesday in an interview from the coast guard base in Cape Cod, Mass. "So they were bobbing in the water and it was imperative we started to get people off that ship." He estimated that winds were gusting from the northwest at more than 90 kilometres per hour, with sea swells of between five to seven metres pitching the stricken ship up and down as the hoists were lowered. The lieutenant-commander said that at first, Canadian Forces CH-149 Cormorant helicopter lowered two of its search and rescue technicians on board the floundering vessel. He said the Cormorant carried out the first hoists, followed by lifts conducted by two American Jayhawk helicopters, with a total of 27 people brought into the rescue aircraft. The 43-year-old officer said it was the most hoists during one incident he's witnessed in his 13-year career with the coast guard. Each time the basket came down to lift up crew, the two Canadian search and rescue technicians on board would help them strap in, as the teams from the two countries communicated by radio and international hand signals, Forys said. As this was going on, the American and Canadian fixed-wing aircraft were relaying information from the helicopters back to command centres on shore to provide updates on the condition of the survivors and indicate where they needed to be taken. Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens of the search and rescue co-ordination centre in Halifax, confirmed the Atlantic Destiny sank at 10:36 a.m. Wednesday morning after succumbing to damage it sustained in the fire. Owens said 27 crew members were taken to Yarmouth by the three helicopter crews during the night, where they received medical attention, food and accommodations. The remaining crew members, as well as two search and rescue technicians who were on board, were transferred at about 8 a.m. from the fishing vessel to the Canadian Coast Guard ship Cape Roger, Owens said, adding that they were on their way to shore on Wednesday afternoon. The rescue co-ordination centre said it had received a call from the ship around 8 p.m. Tuesday night reporting there was a fire on board and that it had lost power and was taking on water as it drifted in the rough seas and powerful winds. Ocean Choice, the owner of the ship, said other offshore fishing vessels, including the Cape LaHave, Maude Adams and the Atlantic Protector, took part in the rescue effort. "They're professional seamen and we have an experienced captain and crew members that handled this incredibly well," Ocean Choice CEO Martin Sullivan said in an interview Wednesday. “The collective efforts of our crew and all those who came to assist the crew and the vessel resulted in the best possible outcome for this situation,” Blaine Sullivan, the president of Ocean Choice, said in a statement. “We are sincerely thankful to everyone that helped ensure that every single crew member is safe and accounted for.” Ocean Choice said an investigation into what caused the fire will begin in the coming days, adding that no injuries were reported as a result of the fire. The company said the Atlantic Destiny, one of six of its offshore fishing vessels, harvests and freezes sea scallops. Its home port is Riverport, N.S. The Atlantic Destiny was involved in a similar incident in 2017 when its main engine broke down, causing a blackout on the ship while it was southwest of Nova Scotia. No injuries were reported. Martin Sullivan said the trawler had a major overhaul about a year ago and the ship was signed off by a classification society, which inspects and certifies vessels on behalf of Transport Canada. Meanwhile, Forys said the teams returning from the international rescue were tired but satisfied by Wednesday's outcome. "This is a major case," the lieutenant-commander said. "This is one of the search and rescue cases you'll remember." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. — With files from Sarah Smellie in St. John's, N.L. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Michael Tutton and Danielle Edwards, The Canadian Press
MILAN — Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares on Wednesday said the new car company formed from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Peugeot would be a “disruptive” force in the industry, and that both sides would provide technologies to achieve the promised 5 billion euros ($6 billion) in cost savings each year. The Italian-American carmaker and the French mass-market automotive company completed their merger on Jan. 16, creating Stellantis, the world’s fourth-largest carmaker, despite a pandemic year that saw profits plunge. “Stellantis is not born from a crisis,’’ Tavares told a conference call after fourth-quarter earnings were released. “This is not only about implementing synergies, it will also be a disruptive plan. We do not accept to be cornered as a legacy carmaker.” Tavares cited the recent investment in the Archer aviation company to develop vertical flying devices for urban mobility as an example of how Stellantis intended to be a disruptive force. “We believe that this strategic investment is going to be highly convergent with the technology we need for the automobile world,’’ he said, citing energy management, lightweight batteries and quick-charging technologies. “We are not going to let ourselves be cornered as dinosaurs, that is clear,’’ Tavares said. Tavares also indicated that both FCA and PSA would contribute technologies that would help the company get rid of duplications and save money. He cited bigger engines from FCA, and smaller ones from Fiat, and said that PSA has been adept at achieving efficiencies through sharing components and platforms, while FCA has faster processes. “So if I combine both, I should go fast and I should be very efficient at the end of the day,” the CEO said. Offering its first financial guidance, Stellantis announced it was targeting an adjusted income margin of between 5.5% and 7% in its first year of operation as a new company. Tavares said one “strong caveat” to the guidance is that they cannot anticipate if there will be lockdowns or restrictions on business due to the pandemic. While strong North American performance is expected to help Stellantis meet the goal, Tavares said “three big gorillas’’ were providing headwinds: rising costs of raw materials, potential production losses due to a shortage of semiconductors and increased costs for electrification. Earlier Wednesday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Peugeot reported their last financial statements as independent companies, each contributing full-year profits of around 2 billion euros to the new company. Fiat Chrysler reported adjusted net profits in the pandemic year of 1.9 billion euros ($2.3 billion), down 57% from 2019. PSA reported earnings of 2.2 billion euros, a drop of 32%. Fiat Chrysler reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings before interest and taxes of 2.3 billion euros, a record 2.2 billion euros of those generated in North America, where the profit margin was 11.6%. As a result, about 43,000 employees represented by the United Auto Workers union will each get $8,010 profit-sharing checks on March 15, Stellantis said in a separate release. Last year the workers got $7,820, and the average hourly worker has received over $44,700 in profit sharing since 2009, Stellantis said. All regions and Maserati made a positive contribution to the results, for the first time since the first quarter of 2019, said Mike Manley, the former FCA CEO and current head of North American operations for Stellantis. The French mass carmaker said second-half operating margins hit 9.4% at record levels. “These figures demonstrate the financial soundness of Stellantis, bringing together two healthy companies,’’ Tavares said in a statement. ___ AP Business Writer Tom Krisher contributed from Detroit. Colleen Barry, The Associated Press