Senior health officials in British Columbia have apologized after a medical health officer withdrew more than 200 COVID-19 vaccine doses that leaders in the Nuxalk Nation had been told were intended for their people.
Senior health officials in British Columbia have apologized after a medical health officer withdrew more than 200 COVID-19 vaccine doses that leaders in the Nuxalk Nation had been told were intended for their people.
LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side on a steep roadway in suburban Los Angeles known for wrecks, authorities said. The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he was undergoing leg surgery. Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median shortly before 7:15 a.m., crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, authorities said at a news conference. No other cars were involved. The 45-year-old was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out. The airbags deployed, and the inside of the car stayed basically intact and that “gave him a cushion to survive the crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Both of his legs were seriously injured, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. They said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. Authorities said they checked for any odor of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and did not find any. They did not say how fast he was driving. The crash happened on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale Los Angeles suburbs. Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to arrive at the wreck, told reporters that he sometimes catches people topping 80 mph in the 45 mph zone and has seen fatal crashes there. “I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said. Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where he presented the trophy on Sunday. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement. A tweet Monday showed Woods in a cart smiling with comedian David Spade. According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club. Woods, a 15-time major champion who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories, has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019. He has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, winning at the most prolific rate in modern PGA Tour history. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking, which has led to enormous increases in prize money during his career. Even at 45, he remains the biggest draw in the sport. The SUV he was driving Tuesday had tournament logos on the side door, indicating it was a courtesy car for players at the Genesis Invitational. Tournament director Mike Antolini did not immediately respond to a text message, though it is not unusual for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after the event. Woods feared he would never play again until the 2017 fusion surgery. He returned to win the Tour Championship to close out the 2018 season and won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time. He last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12. Woods also has a 13-year-old daughter. During the Sunday telecast on CBS from the golf tournament, Woods was asked about playing the Masters on April 8-11 and said, “God, I hope so.” He said he was feeling a little stiff and had one more test to see if he was ready for more activities. He was not sure when he would play again. Athletes from Mike Tyson to Magic Johnson and others offered hopes that Woods would make a quick recovery. “I’m sick to my stomach,” Justin Thomas, the No. 3 golf player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Bradenton, Florida. “It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right.” Crews used a crane to lift the damaged SUV out of the hillside brush. The vehicle was placed upright on the street and sheriff’s investigators inspected it and took photos. Then it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled away Tuesday afternoon. This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. The most notorious was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree. That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women. Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months. In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain. Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder. Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he has reduced his playing schedule in recent years because of injuries. The surgery Tuesday would be his 10th. He has had four previous surgeries on his left knee, including a major reconstruction after he won the 2008 U.S. Open, and five surgeries on his back. ___ Ferguson reported from Jacksonville, Florida. Stefanie Dazio And Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press
ATLANTA — Fueled by Black turnout, Democrats scored stunning wins in Georgia in the presidential and U.S. Senate races. Now, Republicans are trying to make sure it doesn't happen again. GOP lawmakers in the once reliably red state are rolling out an aggressive slate of voting legislation that critics argue is tailored to curtail the power of Black voters and undo years of work by Stacey Abrams and others to increase engagement among people of colour, including Latino and Asian American communities. The proposals are similar to those pushed by Republicans in other battleground states: adding barriers to mail-in and early voting, major factors in helping Joe Biden win Georgia's 16 Electoral College votes and Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff take the two Senate seats that gave Democrats control of the chamber. But one aspect of their plans, a proposal to eliminate early voting on Sundays, seems specifically targeted at a traditional get-out-the-vote campaign used by Black churches, referred to as “souls to the polls." It's led many to suggest Republicans are trying to stop a successful effort to boost Black voter turnout in Georgia, where they make up about a third of the population and have faced a dark history of attempts to silence their voices in elections. “It's a new form of voter suppression, the Klan in three-piece suits rather than white hoods,” said the Rev. Timothy McDonald III of the First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, which has participated in souls to the polls events. “They know the power of the Black vote, and their goal is to suppress that power.” In previous elections, souls to the polls campaigns were festive, with vehicles and people parading to election offices during early voting windows. Churches would sometimes playfully compete to see which could bring the most voters, said McDonald, who described the GOP legislation as “spiteful.” In Georgia and elsewhere, Republicans say proposals to tighten voting access are meant to bolster confidence in elections, though they have been some of the loudest proponents of meritless claims that the election was fraudulent. The Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy group, has counted 165 bills in 33 states this year meant to limit access to voting. In Georgia, Republicans control state government and have introduced dozens of legislative measures that would restrict voting access. GOP state Rep. Barry Fleming is chief sponsor of a wide-ranging proposal that would ban Sunday early voting, require a photo ID for absentee voting, limit the time when an absentee ballot could be requested, restrict where ballot drop boxes could be placed and curb the use of mobile voting units, among other changes. In committee hearings, Fleming has cast the legislation as “an attempt to restore the confidence of our public in our election system.” He didn’t respond to an email or phone message requesting comment. Nse Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project that Abrams founded in 2014, called the GOP measures a backlash “to our multiracial, multilingual progressive majority that is winning elections." Biden beat former President Donald Trump by roughly 12,000 votes, becoming the first Democrat to win a presidential contest in Georgia since 1992. Biden received nearly double the number of absentee votes as Trump in a state that became a major target of Trump’s baseless claims of fraud. Biden's win there was confirmed in three separate counts, including one by hand. "These measures, in our opinion, are not based on any objective, data-driven, evidence-based assessment of the issue but solely with the intention to undermine Black voters and other communities of concern,” said Democratic state Rep. Michael Smith, chairman of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Policy Committee. Because Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office, at least some form of their proposals are likely to become law. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, has called for a photo ID requirement for absentee voting but has yet to back a specific proposal. His office said it was still reviewing the legislation. Republicans are trying to limit ways to vote that have been wildly popular. After states expanded access to mail-in and early voting during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 70% of all ballots cast nationwide came before Election Day. An estimated 108 million people voted by mail, early in person or by dropping off absentee ballots. In Georgia, over 4 million voters cast early or absentee ballots. “They realize if they continue to allow individuals to vote by mail, it is going to be an uphill battle for Republicans to win at the polls and maintain their position,” Democratic state Rep. Debra Bazemore said. At the federal level, Democrats are pushing for a sweeping overhaul of how Americans vote. House Democrats are expected to vote next week on a measure that would establish federal election standards like early voting periods, same-day voter registration and other policies that Republicans have dismissed as federal overreach. And they are expected to introduce another bill to restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that had triggered federal scrutiny of election changes in certain states and counties with histories of discrimination. Georgia was among the states that previously had to get approval for voting changes. “If left to their own devices, Republicans will try to limit the ability of minority voters to exercise their fundamental right to vote,” said U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat co-sponsoring the bill on federal election standards. “It's open season on voting rights in Georgia,” he said. ___ Izaguirre reported from Lindenhurst, New York. ___ Associated Press coverage of voting rights receives support in part from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Anthony Izaguirre And Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is moving slowly but surely toward reengaging with the Palestinians after a near total absence of official contact during former President Donald Trump’s four years in office. As American officials plan steps to restore direct ties with the Palestinian leadership, Biden’s national security team is taking steps to restore relations that had been severed while Trump pursued a Mideast policy focused largely around Israel, America's closest partner in the region. On Tuesday, for the second time in two days, Biden's administration categorically embraced a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that Trump had been purposefully vague about while slashing aid to the Palestinians and taking steps to support Israel’s claims to land that the Palestinians want for an independent state. The State Department said Tuesday that a U.S. delegation attended a meeting of a Norwegian-run committee that serves as a clearinghouse for assistance to the Palestinians. Although little-known outside foreign policy circles, the so-called Ad Hoc Liaison Committee has been influential in the peace process since Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. “During the discussion, the United States reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians and to preserve the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the State Department said in a statement. “The United States underscored the commitment to supporting economic and humanitarian assistance and the need to see progress on outstanding projects that will improve the lives of the Palestinian people, while urging all parties to avoid unilateral steps that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve,” it said. U.S. participation in the meeting followed a Monday call between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s foreign minister in which Blinken stressed that the new U.S. administration unambiguously supports a two-state solution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is close to Trump, has eschewed the two-state solution. Biden spoke to Netanyahu last week for the first time as president after a delay that many found suspicious and suggestive of a major realignment in U.S. policy. Blinken, however, has spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi twice amid ongoing concern in Israel about Biden's intentions in the region, particularly his desire to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. In Monday's call, Blinken “emphasized the Biden administration’s belief that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. The Trump administration had presented its own version of a two-state peace plan, though it would have required significant Palestinian concessions on territory and sovereignty. The Palestinians, however, rejected it out of hand and accused the U.S. of no longer being an honest peace broker after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moved the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and rescinded a long-standing legal opinion that Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate under international law, Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Crown prosecutors are asking that a Manitoba man be sentenced to six years minus time served after he pleaded guilty to eight charges related to an incident at Rideau Hall.Corey Hurren, 46, rammed through a gate at Rideau Hall and headed on foot toward Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s home at Rideau Cottage while heavily armed on July 2.Police were able to talk Hurren, a Canadian Ranger and sausage-maker, down and arrested him peacefully after about 90 minutes.Crown prosecutor Meaghan Cunningham told an Ottawa courtroom today that Hurren's actions posed a serious threat to public safety and set up a potentially dangerous situation.Defence lawyer Michael Davies is seeking a sentence of three years, less time served, and acknowledged Hurren's bad choices before noting his client gave himself up peacefully.Davies said Hurren was a hardworking member of society before the COVID-19 pandemic caused him to face financial difficulties and depression. Justice Robert Wadden is expected to deliver his sentence on March 10.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
Going outside could be just what the doctor ordered. British Columbia has launched a new program that has doctors prescribing the great outdoors to help people with mental health issues or chronic illnesses. Robin Gill explains the science behind it.
Sudbury's board of public health has endorsed the idea that workers in Ontario should get permanent paid sick days. It doesn't mean it's going to happen. The motion will be forwarded to the Ontario government for consideration. The motion was included as part of the agenda for the regular monthly meeting of the board of the Public Health Sudbury and Districts, which was held as an online teleconference Thursday. The board was presented with several pages of information outlining the concern that some workers who have used up their sick days and cannot afford to take time off, would rather show up for work, even if they're sick or infectious, thus spreading their sickness around the workplace. In Ontario, most workers have the right to take up to three days of unpaid job-protected leave each calendar year due to a personal illness, injury or medical emergency. This is described as sick leave. Special rules apply to some occupations. Employees are entitled to up to three sick leave days per year once they have worked for an employer for at least two consecutive weeks. An employee who missed part of a day to take the leave would be entitled to any wages they actually earned while working, according to Ontario labour law. The concern is that a genuinely sick person might need more time off work and could lose their job if they miss too much time. PHSD Medical Officer of Health Dr. Penny Sutcliffe recommended the motion as a way to prevent Ontario workers from having to choose between unpaid time off work or continuing to go to work when they are sick. She outlined her position in a briefing note to the board. "Paid sick leave provisions are essential to protect the health of individual workers, their workplaces, and the broader community, which has become even more evident with the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has had widespread economic impacts, increasing the level and depth of poverty across the country," Sutcliffe wrote. "Inequitable access to paid sick days in Canada has significant impacts on income and health. Income alone is the single strongest predictor of health and individuals and families require a stable source of income to meet their basic needs for health and well-being. Paid sick leave provisions are essential to protect the health of individual workers, their workplaces, and the broader community, which has become even more evident with the COVID-19 pandemic," the note continued. The motion stated that staying at home is one of the most effective containment strategies for disease. It also noted that paid sick days actually create savings in the health-care system and eventual savings for the businesses by not causing more sickness in the workplace. "Despite clear evidence and public health directives to stay home when sick, workers without paid sick days are forced to choose between sacrificing their financial security to comply with public health measures or going to work while sick to support themselves and their families," Sutcliffe added, quoting a report from the Decent Work and Health Network. The motion was approved unanimously by the board of health. Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
TORONTO — Canada has named its 50-man provisional roster for CONCACAF Olympic qualifying next month, with 21 of the players coming from the three Canadian MLS clubs. The list includes from nine from Toronto FC, seven from the Vancouver Whitecaps and five from CF Montreal. Eleven come from the Canadian Premier League. Canada Soccer says 19 of the players on the provisional roster have already been called into its men’s national team camps and 16 have at least one senior cap. The provisional list includes Liam Fraser and Jacob Shaffelburg from Toronto FC, James Pantemis and Zachary Brault-Guillard from CF Montreal and Derek Cornelius and Ryan Raposo from Vancouver. Fellow MLS players Tajon Buchanan (New England) and Dayne St. Clair (Minnesota United) are also included. The eight-team Olympic qualifying tournament, originally scheduled to be played last spring, runs March 18 to 30 in Guadalajara, Mexico. It will determine two teams to represent North and Central America and the Caribbean at the Tokyo Games, whose soccer competition is slated to run July 21 through Aug. 7. FIFA has kept the same Olympic men's eligibility rules that were first established, saying players must be born after Jan. 1, 1997. The qualifying tournament comes at a difficult time with Canada opening its World Cup qualifying campaign on March 25. Stars like Bayern Munich's Alphonso Davies and Lille's Jonathan David, both born in 2000, are eligible for the Olympic team but will kept for the senior side. The first game of the Olympic qualifying tournament — and Canada's scheduled pre-tournament camp — falls outside a FIFA international window, further complicating matters. Canada's 50 man-roster will be trimmed to 20 for the tournament, including three goalkeepers, no later than 10 priors to the start of the competition. Players not in the provisional squad can be added to the final roster but subsequent changes, due to injury, have to come from the provisional list. Canada has been drawn in Group B, opening March 19 against El Salvador before facing Haiti on March 22 and Honduras on March 25. Group A features the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. The top two in each pool advance to the semifinals with the March 28 semifinal winners booking their ticket to the Olympics. Women's Olympic qualifying in the region took place in January-February 2020 before the pandemic. Canada, which won bronze at the last two Olympics, and the defending champion U.S. have both qualified. Canada's Provisional Roster for CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Goalkeepers: Sebastian Breza, Bologna (Italy); Nikola Curcija, Le Havre AC (France); Thomas Hasal, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Matthew Nogueira, CS Maritimo, Portugal; James Pantemis, CF Montreal (MLS); Dayne St. Clair, Minnesota United FC (MLS). Defenders: Diyaeddine Abzi, York United FC (CPL); Michael Baldisimo, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Zorhan Bassong, CF Montreal (MLS); Zachary Brault-Guillard, CF Montreal (MLS); Kadin Chung, Pacific FC (CPL); Derek Cornelius, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Julian Dunn, Toronto FC (MLS); Mohamed Farsi, Cavalry FC (CPL); Marcus Godinho, FSV Zwickau (Germany); Cristian Gutierrez, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Thomas Meilleur-Giguere, Pacific FC (CPL); Callum Montgomery, Minnesota United FC (MLS); Chrisnovic N’sa, York United FC (CPL); Rocco Romeo, Toronto FC (MLS); Frank Sturing, FC Den Bosch (the Netherlands); Karifa Yao, Cavalry FC (CPL). Midfielders: Clement Bayiha, CF Montreal (MLS); David Choiniere, Forge FC (CPL); Aidan Daniels, Oklahoma City Energy FC (USL Championship); Lucas Dias, Sporting Lisbon (Portugal); Liam Fraser, Toronto FC (MSL); Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Toronto FC (MLS); Patrick Metcalfe, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); David Norman, unattached; Noble Okello, Toronto FC (MLS); Ben Paton, Blackburn U-23 (England); Harry Paton, Ross County FC (Scotland); Ralph Priso, Toronto FC (MLS); Ryan Raposo, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Shamit Shome, FC Edmonton (CPL); Steven Simpson, Barnsley FC (England); Ballou Tabla, CF Montreal (MLS); Noah Verhoeven, York United FC (CPL). Forwards: Theo Bair, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Charles-Andreas Brym, Royal Excel Mouscron (Belgium); Tajon Buchanan, New England Revolution (MLS); Terran Campbell, Pacific FC (CPL); Theo Corbeanu, Wolverhampton Wanderers (England); Malik Johnson, Real Monarchs SLC (USL Championship); Jayden Nelson, Toronto FC (MLS); Easton Ongaro, FC Edmonton (CPL); Jordan Perruzza, Toronto FC (MLS); Jacob Shaffelburg, Toronto FC (MLS); Kris Twardek, Jagiellonia (Poland). Canada's Schedule at CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying (all times ET) At Guadalajara, Mexico Group Stage March 19 Canada vs El Salvador, Jalisco Stadium, 6 p.m. March 22 Haiti vs Canada, Akron Stadium, 6 p.m. March 25 Honduras vs Canada, Jalisco Stadium, 9:30 p.m. Knockout Stage Semifinals March 28 1B vs 2A, Jalisco Stadium, 6 p.m. 1A vs 2B, Jalisco Stadium, 9 p.m. Final March 30 At Akron Stadium, 9 p.m. --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
(Michel Corriveau/Radio-Canada - image credit) Wishful thinking and poor forecasting have led NB Power to consistently miss profit and debt reduction targets in recent years with major new expenditures on the horizon, according to an unflattering assessment of the utility's financial management by New Brunswick Auditor General Kim Adair-MacPherson. "It is ultimately management's decision to reduce debt," said Adair-MacPherson, in a 65-page review of the utility she presented to MLAs on Tuesday. NB Power ended the 2020 fiscal year with $4.9 billion in net debt, about $700 million higher than targets set for it by the Legislature in 2013. That's a concern, according to the auditor general, because the province guarantees what NB Power owes and significant new spending requirements are approaching. "It's the largest contingent risk to the province," she told MLAs, about NB Power's liabilities. Debt reduction, her report said, is "not a top priority" of utility management, who she said failed to meet financial targets "year after year" by engaging in "optimistic" and "inaccurate forecasting" of utility expenses. The report notes how in 2016 the utility projected $549 million in profits for itself over the following four years in its planning but managed to achieve actual profits over the period of just $54 million, less than 10 per cent of what it had suggested. Damaging storms, spotty performance by the Point Lepreau nuclear generating station, low hydro production during dry summers and other problems have all taken turns upsetting the utility's financial plans, but Adair-MacPherson said those risks need to be better accounted for in corporate planning. An ice storm that hit the Acadian Peninsula in 2017 downed dozens of power lines and cost NB Power a record-setting $30 million in cleanup expenses. She also expressed concern about whether the utility will be able to significantly improve its finances before 2027, when up to $4 billion in major expenditures will be needed for a rebuild of the Mactaquac Dam and other projects. "NB Power does not have a definitive plan to do this," she wrote about the need for significant short term debt reduction. Although NB Power charges some of the lowest rates for electricity in Atlantic Canada, Adair-MacPherson questioned whether that makes business sense given its financial position. "While maintaining a consistently low annual rate may be advantageous to NB Power consumers, it is likely contributing to its failure to meet the debt to equity target and ever-increasing debt level," she said. Adair-MacPherson's report comes as NB Power is coping with yet another major unbudgeted cost, the unexpected breakdown of the Point Lepreau nuclear generating station last month. The Point Lepreau nuclear generating station appeared to have its reliability issues resolved in the last two years, until the utility had a surprise problem with its turbines in January. Turbine problems forced a shutdown of the plant in mid January and more than a month later it remains offline at an approximate cost to the utility of $1 million per day. In its response to the report, NB Power defended its forecasting practices and expressed confidence it will get its debt level down to the required 80 per cent level by 2027. However, it also promised to do better budgeting for trouble. "NB Power agrees to evaluate additional means to quantify the impact of significant future cost uncertainties outside management's control and to include this information in its planning process," said the utility's response.
ROME — The Republic of San Marino finally can start its coronavirus vaccination drive after the first shots arrived Tuesday. But the city-state surrounded by Italy had to resort to its “Plan B” and buy Sputnik V jabs from Russia after plans to get European Union-approved doses from Italy got delayed. A pink and yellow truck escorted by police cars brought the first 7,500 Sputnik V vaccines into San Marino and delivered them at the main hospital. Officials said the Russia-made doses will eventually be enough to vaccinate some 15% of the microstate’s population of around 33,800. San Marino bought Sputnik V shots at the last minute after an agreement to have Italy send a proportion of the vaccines it received through the EU's vaccine procurement system got delayed. San Marino, located near Rimini on the Adriatic coast, isn’t an EU member, and as such was excluded from the deals the 27-nation bloc negotiated with pharmaceutical firms. The San Marino secretary of state, Luca Beccari, said during a news conference last weekend that the negotiations with Italy took a long time and that under an agreement signed Jan. 11, San Marino was to receive one dose for every 1,700 that Italy received from the EU. But the deal hit a snag as Italy and other EU countries faced delivery delays for the three EU-approved vaccines, the ones from: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. Italy has administered some 3.7 million doses. “Unfortunately, the time required to define these procedures and the fact that San Marino is a country that has not yet started its vaccination campaign has forced us to seek alternative solutions,” Beccari said in explaining the Sputnik purchase. “As for all other countries, it is necessary to start the vaccination campaign as soon as possible in order to ensure the safety of its citizens,” he said. The European Medicines Agency has said the developers of Sputnik V recently asked for advice on what data they needed to submit for the vaccine to be licensed across the European Union. Hungarian health authorities have approved both Sputnik V and the vaccine developed by state-owned Chinese company Sinopharm. San Marino has had a proportionately devastating outbreak, with 3,538 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 73 deaths. Roberto Ciavatta, San Marino’s secretary of state for health, said Sputnik V was safe and effective. “It is not that it did not pass any controls. On the contrary, as all the research and data available show, it is a vaccine that is already administered in 30 countries, About 70 million people have been vaccinated with it. It has extremely high safety standards,” he said. Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press
It's 91 per cent bigger than before.
THUNDER BAY — A new website launched this week features various services and tools to support victims and survivors of local human trafficking, says the co-chair of the Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking. Thunder Bay has been identified as one of the top six hubs in Ontario for human trafficking says Kristal Carlson, human trafficking youth and transition worker at Thunder Bay Counselling and co-chair of the Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking. “This crime is rampant in Thunder Bay,” she said Monday, Feb. 22. The website was created to provide victims and survivors of human trafficking with access to free services and to also spread awareness and education in the community about the crime. “The Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking created the website to help community members, potential survivors and business people alike to be able to acknowledge, identify and potentially intervene if they should see human trafficking in young peoples’ lives,” Carlson said, adding the crime is often under-reported. For women, only one in 10 will report and for men only one in 20 will report to police, Carlson said. “It is such an under-reported crime so any sex-based crime we know that only six per cent will ever end in conviction so it is really hard to convince people to come forward when there is not the likelihood that something will happen,” she said. And while groups such as the Thunder Bay Coalition To End Human Trafficking exist to support victims of the crime, it is important to note they do not classify themselves as a “rescuing people” group, Carlson said. “We support individuals to move forward when they are ready in the way that is going to best suit them in their current situation,” she said. Last year alone, through various programs across the Coalition more than 60 people were successful in leaving their current situation, Carlson said. The creators of the new website also hope to address misconceptions around human traffickers that are often presented in media and movies. “Human trafficking, more times than not, is somebody being exploited by the person they identify as their boyfriend, their best friend or somebody that they know so that happens in more than 85 per cent of cases,” she said. The other most common form of trafficking is the exploitation of young people by family members, extended family members, caretakers or guardians. “More times than not it’s happening by the person they believe to be their boyfriend, girlfriend or best friend,” Carlson said. The website also teaches individuals how to identify signs and risk factors of human trafficking. “We also want to raise the education in the city of Thunder bay because we are identified as one of the top six hubs in the province of Ontario and Ontario makes up two-thirds of all human trafficking that takes place in our country,” Carlson said. Carlson also points out that coming forward doesn’t mean individuals have to report to the police. “The Thunder Bay Police have started to do some really amazing work in being able to meet survivors exactly where they are at and not needing to move forward with charges but to support them for when they are ready to do that if they are ever ready to do that,” she said. “We just want [survivors] to know they are not alone and that there are people to support you no matter where you are, whether you are currently at risk, entrenched, or you looking to exit, there are people here to support you.” For more information, visit Thunder Bay Coalition’s new website by clicking here. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
CALGARY — Athletes setting significant records in their sport are often too busy achieving those milestones to process their place in history at the moment. What helps Jennifer Jones wrap her head around a career 153 wins at the Canadian women's curling championship is seeing them through the eyes of people she loves. Jones became the career leader in wins at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts with a 6-5 win Tuesday over Newfoundland and Labrador's Sarah Hill. Jones arrived at the 2021 Tournament of Hearts two back of the 152 victories held by Colleen Jones. Jennifer Jones knows the record would have meant a lot to her late father Larry, who died two years ago at age 80. "My dad always loved the records," Jones aid Monday. "He always followed all the records. I know he would watching from above, (be) very, very proud. "It definitely means something to me. As you kind of approach the end of your career, just to be remembered for doing something that you love is pretty remarkable." The wins record is among many Jones holds in women's curling. If the six-time national champion prevails in Calgary, the 46-year-old from Winnipeg will be the only woman to win seven. Should daughters Isabella and Skyla take up curling, the record book provides a compelling argument that their mother is the best to ever play the game. "My kids do look at it. There's a book with my name in it with some records," Jones said. "I hope if anything it just shows them that if you work hard, that dreams are possible. I just want them to have the best possible life and if this can have any impact on that, it's absolutely incredible." Jones's first win in 2002 was an 8-4 victory over Prince Edward Island's Kathy O'Rourke, who is P.E.I's alternate in Calgary this year. Jones's 153rd wasn't a work of art as her team's shooting accuracy was 80 per cent, but it was one Jones and her Manitoba foursome needed to get to a 3-2 record. Sitting on 2-3 until their next game Wednesday wouldn't have felt uncomfortable. "We were grinding it out today," Jones said. "We really needed this win to stay kind of in there in the competition." Quebec's Laurie St-Georges topped Pool B at 4-1 ahead of Prince Edward Island's Suzanne Birt at 3-1. Manitoba was knotted at 3-2 with Chelsea Carey's Wild Card One. St-Georges downed Nunavut's Lori Eddy 7-5. Carey lost a second straight game, falling 7-5 to B.C.'s Corryn Brown. B.C., Newfoundland and Saskatchewan were even at 2-2. Saskatchewan's Sherry Anderson fell 7-6 to New Brunswick's Melissa Adams, who won her first game. Nunavut was winless in five games. Ontario's Rachel Homan and defending champion Kerri Einarson at 4-0 were the only undefeated teams in the tournament heading into Tuesday's Pool A draw. The top four teams from each pool of nine at the end of the preliminary round Thursday advance to the two-day championship round and take their records with them. The championship round's top three will be Sunday's playoff teams, with the No. 1 seed rewarded with a bye to that day's final. Jones has won everything there is to win in women's curling, including two world titles a decade apart in 2008 and 2018. Jones, third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen went undefeated en route to an Olympic gold medal in 2014. "I can't believe this is my 11th year with Jennifer and the girls," Lawes said. "I still feel like I'm the 21-year-old kid when I joined the team. "I was just so eager to learn from the best. I've always looked up to Jen. She's a role model and how special is it to be able to play with people that you're inspired by?" Jones and former second Officer own the record for most Hearts final appearances (9). Dawn McEwen, who is pregnant and sitting out this year, played lead for Jones in seven of them. Jones has appeared in the most playoff games (33) and shares the playoff win record (21) with Officer. "I've been so fortunate to have the best human beings as teammates that have supported me throughout I don't know how many years," Jones said. In her 16th Hearts appearance, Jones trails only Colleen Jones (19) for the most by a skip. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press
Deux écoles primaires du Centre de services scolaire de (CSS) de Laval ont été complétement fermées en raison de la possible présence de variants de la COVID-19. En effet, la direction de santé publique de Laval a informé l'organisation scolaire de la suspicions de variants dans ces établissements. L'école primaire Eurêka, située dans Pont-Viau, sera fermée du 23 au 26 février pour l'ensemble des élèves. L'un des groupes, qui était déjà en isolement, retournera plutôt sur les bancs d'école à la suite de la relâche scolaire. De son côté, l'école Père-Vimont sera inaccessible jusqu'au 7 mars. Celle-ci est déjà fermée depuis le 18 février en raison du portrait épidémiologique. Notons que la direction de santé publique de Laval a recommandé à l'ensemble des élèves et du personnel de ces écoles de procéder à un dépistage préventif. Il est aussi demandé que les membres de la bulle familiale de ces personnes demeurent en isolement à la maison jusqu'à ce que l'élève ou l'employé obtienne un résultat négatif. Bien qu'un risque de transmission d'un variant ait été rapporté à l'école primaire de l'Équinoxe, dans Sainte-Rose, seuls les deux groupes touchés ont été mis en isolement préventif. Ils ne retourneront pas dans les installations de l'établissement avant la relâche scolaire. L'édifice principal de l'école secondaire Saint-Maxime, dans Chomedey, a aussi été fermé jusqu'au 7 mars, ce qui touche 63 groupes de l'établissement. Deux groupes avaient préalablement été placés en isolement du 16 au 18 février. 18 classes additionnelles ont aussi été fermées le 21 février en raison d'un risque de transmission d'un variant. La dernière étape, qui implique la fermeture complète de l'édifice principal, est une «mesure d'extrême prudence». L'édifice annexe, qui accueille 14 groupes de secondaires 1 et 2, demeurera quant à lui ouvert. L'édifice 2 de l'école primaire de l'Arc-en-ciel, dans Laval-des-Rapides, sera également fermé jusqu'au 28 février. Aucun risque de transmission d'un variant n'a toutefois été détecté à cette école. Par ailleurs, François Legault a annoncé que la vaccination de masse débutera la semaine prochaine à l'échelle de la province. Les personnes de 85 ans et plus, ou née en 1936, pourront prendre rendez-vous dès jeudi en ligne ou via téléphone au 1 877 644-4545. Le premier ministre a mentionné que cette opération débutera à Montréal et s'étendra aux autres régions au fil des prochaines semaines. Rappelons que trois centres de vaccination devraient être ouverts prochainement sur le territoire lavallois et qu'ils permettront de vacciner au moins 3000 personnes par jour. Avec un bilan de 24 212 personnes testées positives à la COVID-19, Laval a connu une hausse de 66 cas en 24 heures. Le total de décès augmente à 866 depuis le début de la pandémie. Le CISSS de Laval cumule également 22 607 guérisons, ce qui signifie qu’il y a désormais 739 cas actifs (-39) confirmés sur le territoire lavallois. Parmi les personnes touchées, 34 sont hospitalisées, dont 13 aux soins intensifs. 15 employés de l’organisation de santé sont toujours absents du travail en raison de la COVID-19. Trois résidence privée pour aînés (RPA) de Laval sont présentement touchées par la COVID-19. Voici la liste complète de celles-ci : Au Québec, le bilan est maintenant de 283 666 cas et 10 330 décès. Au total, 680 personnes sont toujours hospitalisées, dont 120 aux soins intensifs. Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
Le bilan lavallois pointe désormais à 739 cas actifs selon les données émises par le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de Laval. Cela représente une baisse de 39 cas actifs par rapport à la veille. On décompte toutefois 66 nouveaux cas confirmés en date du 23 février. Ils s'ajoutent au total lavallois et portent celui à 24 212 cas confirmés depuis le début de la pandémie. Le nombre de décès augmente à 866 (+2). Parmi les personnes porteuses du virus, 34 sont hospitalisées, dont 13 aux soins intensifs. Le CISSS de Laval confirme que 15 employés de son réseau sont présentement absents du travail en raison de la COVID-19. Il y a maintenant trois secteurs de l'île Jésus qui comptent moins de 100 cas actifs sur leur territoire respectif. Sainte-Dorothée/Laval-Ouest/Laval-Les Îles/Fabreville-Ouest/Laval-sur-le-Lac (-10) rejoint Duvernay/Saint-François/Saint-Vincent-de-Paul (-7) et Fabreville-Est/Sainte-Rose (-3). Les trois secteurs ont respectivement 95, 86 et 96 cas actifs. Ce dernier présente d'ailleurs le plus bas taux d'infection du territoire avec 127 cas actifs par 100 000 habitants. Ce sont toutefois les secteurs Pont-Viau/Renaud-Coursol/Laval-des-Rapides (-15) et Chomedey (-11) qui présentent les baisses les plus importantes du jour. De son côté, Vimont/Auteuil est le seul en augmentation avec sept nouvelles personnes porteuses du virus, ce qui porte son total à 120 cas actifs. *** Prendre note que tel qu’indiqué sur le site Web du CISSS de Laval, ces données par secteur incluent l’ensemble des cas des citoyens testés positifs à la COVID-19, qu’ils résident dans des milieux fermés ou ailleurs dans la communauté. Les milieux fermés incluent des milieux de vie comme les centres d’hébergement et de soins de longue durée (CHSLD), les résidences privées pour aînés (RPA), les ressources intermédiaires (RI), ainsi que les centres correctionnels. Les données présentées sont calculées en fonction du lieu de résidence. Le CISSS tarde à déterminer le foyer de 48 cas jusqu’ici, dont 5 actifs. Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
Sudbury's Community Drug Strategy group has published some fresh statistics that, as expected, reveal that the opioid addiction and overdose problems are still significant issues in the community. The stats are based on information accessed as of Feb. 3, 2021. The community drug strategy group includes membership from Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD), Greater Sudbury Police Service, Health Sciences North and the City of Greater Sudbury. Other members of the group include mental health agencies and several social wellness agencies. The updated opioid surveillance report was recently published by the drug strategy group on the PHSD website. According to the most recent statistics, the report said Greater Sudbury Paramedic Services had responded to 67 suspected "opioid-related incidents" in January of 2021. The report also compared that number to January of 2020, the same period last year, when the number was 38. The report also revealed that Greater Sudbury paramedics responded to a total of 683 suspected opioid-related incidents in 2020. This compared with the total of 468 incidents in 2019, the previous year. The numbers were different for actual emergency department visits for "suspected accidental overdoses" at Health Sciences North. Overdoses identified as intentional, or overdoses not related to opioids, have been removed, where identified. However, the numbers presented may include emergency department visits related to drugs or substances other than opioids. Statistics also showed a bit of a decrease in 2020 in year over year comparisons. The total number for 2019 was 579. The total number for 2020, during the pandemic, was lower at 562. Part of this might have been a reluctance to visit the hospital during the first wave of the pandemic. When compared to the numbers in 2019, the emergency room numbers declined in March, April, May, June, July and August of 2020. The number of suspected overdose visits at the emergency room in January 2021 was at 43, higher than January visits for both 2020 and 2019. In footnotes published with the numbers, it said the information is based on patient signs and symptoms, not on the final diagnosis. Overdoses identified as intentional, or overdoses not related to opioids, have been removed, where identified. However, the numbers presented may include emergency department visits related to drugs or substances other than opioids. Numbers were also provided in the report for confirmed opioid overdoses in the PHSD district in 2020, but the numbers were not complete for the year, nor were they specific to Sudbury. Many of the numbers were flagged as preliminary and subject to change. Additional statistics revealed that Naloxone doses were distributed in the Sudbury area in the past year by the thousands. The kits were distributed by PHSD, Réseau ACCESS Network and by local pharmacies. Altogether in 2020, nearly 23,000 Naloxone were distributed locally. A footnote in the report said the increase in the distribution is partially due to the number of agencies distributing the kits. Naloxone kits are free in Ontario and can be used in a timely manner to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
VANCOUVER — British Columbia will permanently allow restaurants, bars and tourism operators to buy liquor at wholesale prices, a move that industry hopes will help revive the struggling sector. The provincial government made temporary changes last June to allow the hospitality industry to buy alcohol at the same cost as liquor stores and it has now made that decision permanent. Previously, restaurants, pubs and tourism businesses with liquor licences paid full retail price — the wholesale price, plus a markup set by the government — on most alcohol purchases. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says in a news release that the government is making the change permanent to give businesses certainty and to help the estimated 190,000 residents who work in the sector. Trevor Kallies, beverage director for the Donnelly Group, which owns several bars in Vancouver, says in the release that wholesale liquor pricing will help alleviate some financial pressures so businesses can focus on other areas, such as the health and safety of staff and customers. Restaurants Canada says in a statement that the move fulfils a long-standing recommendation from the industry group and it thanked the B.C. government for levelling the playing field between the province's retail and hospitality sectors. "This move will go a long way to help British Columbia's hard-hit restaurant sector transition from survival to revival," said Mark von Schellwitz, vice-president for Western Canada. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
(Frank Gunn/Canadian Press - image credit) Public health officials are looking to contact six people who shared a ride in a van from Toronto to Ottawa last week, after a seventh occupant later tested positive for COVID-19. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) said the white van left Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre around 1 p.m. last Tuesday with six passengers and a driver aboard. OPH didn't name the private operator, but said the trip had been advertised on Kijiji. At the time, Toronto was still under a stay-at-home order, while Ottawa's was lifted that same day. OPH said the van arrived in Ottawa around 6 p.m., dropping off passengers at Bayshore Shopping Centre, Rideau Centre and St. Laurent Shopping Centre. The passenger who tested positive for COVID-19 would have been contagious at the time of the trip, OPH confirmed. Health officials recommend people only get into a vehicle with members of their own household. Anyone who has to share a ride with others should wear a mask, avoid sharing food and drinks, and stay home if they're sick. Anyone who thinks they may have travelled in the van last Tuesday is asked to contact OPH at 613-580-6744 to arrange a COVID-19 test.
(Scott Roth/Invision/The Associated Press - image credit) Bobby Shmurda, a once up-and-coming rapper thanks to a hit music video that popularized the "Shmoney dance," was paroled on Tuesday after spending more than four years behind bars for a drug gang conviction. Authorities confirmed Shmurda was released from a New York prison amid speculation about whether he would attempt a music industry comeback. Messages were left on Tuesday with Shmurda's lawyer. The 26-year-old performer out of Brooklyn had previously called the case a sham. Shmurda, whose birth name is Ackquille Pollard, was best known for Hot Boy, a gritty song with rhymes about gunplay. He gained notoriety with his performance in the "Shmoney dance" video, which had millions of YouTube views. Rapper arrested in 2014 Authorities arrested Shmurda in late 2014 after he left a recording studio near Radio City Music Hall, only days after he performed Hot Boy for a national television audience on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Investigators found two handguns and a small amount of crack cocaine in a car in which he was riding, authorities said. An indictment charged Shmurda and more than 15 defendants with a variety of crimes including murder, attempted murder, assault and drug dealing. Shootings by the gang left one rival dead, injured an innocent bystander sitting on a folding chair outside a Brooklyn home and caused pandemonium outside a nightclub in Miami Beach, Fla., authorities said. The court papers alleged that Shmurda once fired a gun toward a crowd of people outside a barbershop in Brooklyn. They also said he was present during a confrontation between rival drug gangs outside a Brooklyn courthouse where shots were fired in 2015. Shmurda was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2016, but was eligible for early release based on time he had served before pleading guilty and for good behaviour in prison. A plea deal had allowed him to avoid going to trial on multiple counts carrying penalties that could have put him behind bars for decades.
Grimsby Mayor Jeff Jordan is set to pay the town back as a result of a breach of conduct committed in July 2020. Town councillors voted to have the mayor pay the $1,302.62 assessed cost of the breach by the town's clerk, at a committee of the whole meeting Feb 16. The designated amount is representative of the cost to the town. A report by integrity commissioner Charles Harnick presented at the last committee of the whole meeting resolved that the actions of the mayor last year were “trivial and without consequence.” Grimsby council then voted to have the town clerk investigate costs associated with the matter, and per the most recent report, the total cost of the matter to the town is $9,978, including the investigation. The report states $1,302.62 of that amount was charged to the town of Grimsby by the anonymous individual associated with Jordan and the conduct breach. After some deliberation, councillors voted to have Jordan pay that money back with Dunstall, Richie, Kadwell and Vaine voting yes; Freake, Bothwell and Vardy voting no; and Jordan abstaining from a vote. Given the ambiguity of what exactly the individual was charging for beyond “correspondence” with the mayor and chief administrative officer Harry Schlange, council then voted unanimously in favour of having the chief administrative officer provide breakdown of the individual's charge. So far this term, Grimsby council has spent a total $43,980.67 on code of conduct complaints and an additional $5,547.56 on administration fees charged by the integrity commission. Moosa Imran, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News
TORONTO — An isolation centre where migrant farm workers in southwestern Ontario recover from COVID-19 may have to close next month due to a funding shortfall created by a shift in federal support. In a letter to federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu, the mayor of Windsor, Ont., says a decision by Ottawa to shift responsibility for the centre's funding from one government department to another resulted in $2 million in costs not being covered. That means the city, which already pays to staff the centre located at a local hotel would have to take on additional costs it can't afford as pandemic expenses continue to mount. "The City of Windsor has been forced to consider if we are able to continue with this temporary foreign worker isolation and recovery centre," Mayor Drew Dilkens said in his letter on Feb. 17. When the centre first opened in November, the program was funded through Public Safety Canada, and administered by the Canadian Red Cross. In December, the federal government notified the city it would shift funding to the Public Health Agency of Canada, and required the local officials to complete a new application form. During the lengthy application process, Dilkens said it became clear that a 12 per cent fee paid to the Red Cross to administer the centre would not be covered and the city would be on the hook for it. He said additional new criteria from the public health agency would require the centre to shift its mandate and make its services available to the general public. Dilkens said the city already maintains a second centre for the homeless and people in vulnerable communities and adding new "complexities" of an additional open site would require further resources. In his letter to Hajdu, he proposes a compromise - grandfathering the current agreement and conditions into the new terms with Public Health Canada. "Should (public health) reject these modest amendments, included in our application, then the City of Windsor will not be in a position to accept any grant funding and the (isolation centre) will close at the end of March 2021," he wrote. The city's chief administrative officer also wrote the federal public health agency last week to make the case for maintaining the current funding arrangement. Onorio Colucci said the city is projecting a $38-million budget shortfall this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that does not include the additional costs for the isolation centre. "The current funding for the isolation and recovery centre will end on March 31, 2021, but the need for this site remains," Colucci said. "We expect site usage to grow in the coming weeks as the region welcomes thousands of temporary foreign agri-farm workers ... this spring." He said the isolation centre has been used by 490 farm workers who have contracted COVID-19. Health Canada did not immediately provide comment. Thousands of migrant workers take up jobs at Ontario farms and greenhouses every spring. During the first wave of the pandemic, dozens of farm outbreaks were reported across the province. More than 1,780 temporary foreign workers in Ontario tested positive for COVID-19 in 2020, and three died of the virus. NDP MP Brian Masse, who represents a Windsor riding, said he can't understand why the previous arrangement needs to change. "It seems like an incredible amount of effort to sabotage something that was really working well," he said. Masse said if the federal government allows the centre to close it will likely have to set up some kind of alternative in the months ahead, and that will cost time, money and possibly lives. "We had people die by themselves in hotel rooms," he said. "So, we know we have a record of heartbreak, sorrow and regret. .... I think we're going to be liable in different ways." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press