The B.C. government has ordered a review of spending after insiders alleged that the province's health authority squandered millions on useless face masks, executive meals and unneeded renovations.
The B.C. government has ordered a review of spending after insiders alleged that the province's health authority squandered millions on useless face masks, executive meals and unneeded renovations.
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
Canadians are "Angry Birds" when it comes to climate change, shows a survey the United Nations calls the largest ever taken on the issue. The mammoth survey, which drew respondents through the use of popular online games, ranked Canada seventh out of 50 countries in its perception of how important the problem is — and tops in the gap between men and women on the issue. "Canada was at the top end of the group of countries we surveyed in terms of the recognition of the climate emergency," said Steve Fisher, an Oxford University sociologist who helped run the survey on behalf of the United Nations Development Program. The novel survey found respondents through games such as Angry Birds and Dragon City. As people played the games, a questionnaire would pop up instead of an ad. Project director Cassie Flynn, who is with the UN program, said the idea came to her while riding the subway in New York. "Every single person was on their phone," she said. "I started looking over people's shoulders and the huge majority was playing games. I thought, 'How do we tap into that?'" Two years, 1.2 million responses (in 17 languages) and a great deal of innovative statistical thinking later came the People's Climate Vote. It is an attempt, said Flynn, to gauge the public's sense of urgency on climate change and how people feel about different policies. "The decisions (on climate) are going to affect every single person on the planet. What we wanted to do is to bring public opinion into that policy-making." As the federal Liberal government advances on its ambitious climate program, it seems Canadians are more concerned about the issue than most. Three-quarters of those surveyed agreed that climate change is an emergency compared with the global average of 64 per cent. That belief topped out at 83 per cent for respondents under 18. But, at 72 per cent, it wasn't much weaker among those over 60. The survey also found that Canadians who believed climate change is an emergency believed it strongly. Three-quarters said action should be urgent and on many fronts. They really liked solutions based in conservation. Support for nature-based climate policies was higher in Canada at 79 per cent than in any other countries with high carbon emissions from land use. They also wanted polluters to pay. Some 69 per cent favoured policies that regulate company behaviour. Only the United Kingdom, at 72 per cent, registered stronger among high-income countries. And, at 81 and 80 per cent respectively, respondents in the U.K. and Canada were virtually tied at the top in support of ocean and waterway protection. Canada also had the largest gap between men and women in their assessment of the importance of climate change. Canadian women and girls surveyed were 12 per cent more likely to rate it an emergency than men and boys. Globally, there wasn't much difference. Fisher, who researches political attitudes and behaviour, said climate change is a more partisan issue in Canada, the United States and Australia than elsewhere on the globe. "It is related to partisanship in those countries," he said. "Women are much more likely to vote for the more climate-conscious left parties." Fisher said the use of cellphone games gave researchers access to groups that are hard for pollsters to reach, such as young people. "It was kind of new to do the fieldwork in this way," he said. "It reached an awful lot of people." Each respondent was asked to complete the survey only once. The team used 4,000 different games, some popular with children, some with older people. Still, the sample skewed young. The statisticians had to adjust the sample to ensure all groups were given appropriate weight. The survey is considered accurate to within two percentage points, 19 times out of 20. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. — Follow @row1960 on Twitter Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
Walmart Inc will add small robot-staffed warehouses to dozens of its stores to help fill orders for pickup and delivery, the company said on Wednesday, as Americans shift their spending online amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The robots will work behind the scenes, picking frozen and refrigerated foods as well as smaller general merchandise items from inside the warehouses, or local fulfillment centers, that will carry "thousands of frequently purchased items." The world's largest retailer, which operates nearly 5,000 stores nationwide, did not say how many stores will have the new centers but said it was "planning dozens of locations, with many more to come."
Queen Sofía has the footballer on her Christmas card list!
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga apologised on Wednesday after lawmakers from his ruling coalition visited night clubs despite his government's call for people to avoid unnecessary outings to curb the spread of COVID-19. The news is another headache for Suga whose approval rating has tumbled because of dissatisfaction with his handling of the pandemic, which critics have called too slow and inconsistent. "I'm terribly sorry that this happened when we are asking people not to eat out after 8 p.m. and to avoid non-essential, non-urgent outings," Suga told parliament.
Dozens of cars and trucks braved the icy highway between Calgary and Edmonton on Tuesday to show support with farmers protesting controversial new agriculture laws in India. The car convoy left CrossIron Mills headed for the legislature to raise awareness of the situation that's been unfolding in India since last September. Cars were flying flags and displaying stickers and homemade posters. New legislation came into effect in India last year changing the rules around the sale, pricing and storage of produce from India's agricultural regions. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the changes will allow farmers to set prices and allow them to sell crops to private businesses and corporations, giving them more freedom. Farmers are worried it will leave them open to being exploited and devastate them financially, and they say they weren't consulted. Until now, farmers had relied on selling crops direct to the government at guaranteed prices. Some families in Calgary still own land in rural India and the change in laws has direct implications for some. Half of India's vast population is employed in the agriculture sector in some form. "We want to give our memorandum in support of farmers protesting, that's the purpose," said Vik Sahiwal. "Opening up the market is the intention, but with such small land holdings, just two acres on average, those farmers are not educated and equipped to deal with the free market," said Sahiwal. "We want the government to repeal these laws," he said. Tens of thousands of farmers travelled to the Indian capital, Delhi, late last year from rural regions like Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, with many making the journey in tractors and other farm equipment. They've been there for months, In the past 24 hours, those peaceful protests turned violent, with farmers breaching police barricades and storming Delhi's historic Red Fort complex. The protesters were part of a rally being held to mark India's Republic Day and were given routes to stick to by police, but some ignored the guidance leading to chaotic scenes and clashes. "It's heartbreaking for everyone," said Sahiwal. "Last night, watching those scenes, you're worried about the safety or older people and women and children. We hope things calm down and sense prevails, peace prevails," he said. He says Calgarians have been glued to TV screens and devices following the news back home minute by minute. "We're scared for our families back home," said Paramjit Singh. "This cold, it's nothing compared to what they're facing. We have heaters in our cars, they have nothing," said Singh, who has also been following events. "We were watching and we were all scared," he said. Leaders of farmers unions issued appeals to protestors and have condemned the recent violence. The government offered to put the laws on hold last week, but farmers say they want a full repeal.
NEW DELHI — India has vaccinated 2 million health workers in less than two weeks and recorded 12,689 new coronavirus positive cases in the past 24 hours, a sharp decline from a peak level of nearly 100,000 in mid-September. The health Ministry said the daily new cases had fallen below 10,000 on Tuesday with 9,102 cases. The daily new positive cases were 9,304 on June 4 last year. India’s fatalities dropped to 137 in the past 24 hours from a peak level of 1,089 daily deaths in September. India’s total positive cases since the start of the epidemic have reached 10.6 million, the second highest after the United States with 25.43 million cases. India started inoculating health workers on Jan. 16 in what is likely the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination campaign. India is home to the world’s largest vaccine makers. Authorities hope to give shots to 300 million people. The recipients include 30 million doctors, nurses and other front-line workers. ___ THE VIRUS OUTBREAK: — Vaccine appointments cancelled in U.S. amid confusion over supply. — U.K. is first country in Europe to pass 100K deaths. — EU demands vaccine makers honour their commitments. — Virus variant brings new dimension to Europe’s pandemic fight. — Some hospitals near capacity in hard-hit areas as Indonesia hits 1 million virus cases. — Taiwan quarantines 5,000 people while looking for source of hospital cluster. — Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak ___ HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING: SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea has reported new 559 cases of the coronavirus, its highest daily increase in 10 days, as health workers scrambled to slow transmissions at religious facilities, which have been a major source of infections throughout the pandemic. The figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Wednesday brought the national caseload to 76,429, including 1,378 deaths. The agency said 112 of the new cases came from the southwestern city of Gwangju where more than 100 infections have so far been linked to a missionary training school. An affiliated facility in the central city of Daejeon has been linked to more 170 infections. Nearly 300 of the new cases came from the Seoul metropolitan area, home to half of the country’s 51 million people, where infections have been tied to various places, including churches, restaurants, schools and offices. The country throughout the pandemic has repeatedly seen huge infection clusters emerge from religious groups, including more than 5,000 infections tied to the secretive Shincheonji Church of Jesus that drove a major outbreak in the southeastern region in spring last year. —- JUNEAU, Alaska -- Alaska has detected the state’s first known case of the coronavirus variant identified last year in the United Kingdom, officials said Tuesday. The infected person is an Anchorage resident who had travelled to a state where the variant had already been detected, the Alaska health department said. The person first experienced symptoms on Dec. 17, was tested three days later and received a positive result on Dec. 22. The resident lived with another person in Anchorage, who also became ill. Both isolated and have since recovered, officials said. It was not yet clear if the second person also was infected with the variant. Dr. Joe McLaughlin, the state epidemiologist, said in a news release that the discovery of the variant is not surprising because viruses “constantly change through mutation.” He said this is one of several “variants that has been carefully tracked because it appears to spread more easily and quickly than other strains of the virus.” Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, said it is likely the variant will be detected again soon. ___ BOSTON — In his annual State of the Commonwealth address, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker defended his vaccine distribution plan, which some have criticized for being confusing and too narrowly focused at first. Baker said the state is prepared to distribute and administer all the vaccine shots delivered by the federal government and is rapidly expanding the number of vaccination sites. “Vaccinating 4 million adults in Massachusetts as the doses are allocated by the federal government is not going to be easy. But be assured that we will make every effort to get this done as quickly and efficiently as possible,” he said. “We can only move as fast as the federal government delivers the vaccines.” ___ SEATTLE - Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday touted big improvements in distributing the COVID-19 vaccines, but he also urged residents to remain vigilant as new, more contagious variants of the disease spread in the state. Inslee said more than 36,000 doses were administered in Washington on Sunday and 39,000 on Monday — a big jump from about 16,000 a week earlier, and on the way toward the state’s goal of 45,000 per day. The number of vaccines actually administered could be even higher, given lags in reporting, but as of Monday more than 500,000 doses had been administered statewide, with four mass vaccination sites due to open this week. President Joe Biden announced Tuesday the federal government is boosting vaccine supplies to the states by 16% over the next three weeks, giving states more certainty about upcoming deliveries than the one-week notice the Trump administration had been providing. ___ ALABAMA — Alabama will receive an additional 10,000 first doses in its upcoming delivery, State Health Officer Scott Harris said, but supply remains the chief obstacle to getting more people vaccinating. The state which had been receiving about 60,000 first doses each week, but will see that jump to 70,000 in the coming week. Harris said he was happy to have the increase, although the state had been expecting 112,000 weekly doses based on initial conversations with federal officials last year. “Yes, it is less than the original 112,000 amount we had expected, but we are glad to see any increase at all,” Harris wrote in a message to The Associated Press. Harris said Friday that the state has approved nearly 900 pharmacies, doctors’ office and other locations to distribute vaccine, but 500 sites have not distributed any vaccinations because the state doesn’t have doses to give. “Every state had the idea that they were going to get much more vaccine than they ultimately got,” Harris told reporters during a Friday briefing. ___ RALEIGH, N.C. --- Health providers who have seen their coronavirus vaccine supplies substantially cut or temporarily halted because of the state’s abrupt shift favouring mass vaccination clinics will soon receive more doses, North Carolina’s top public health official said Tuesday. “This week is going to feel particularly tight, with many providers getting small or no allocations,” Mandy Cohen, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, said at a news conference. “But we know that our providers need as much stability as we can give them in what is a very unstable environment.” As part of the department’s plan, the state will guarantee 84,000 new first doses of vaccines to counties each week based on population for the next three weeks. The remaining 36,000 weekly doses will be used to balance out distributions to counties and improve access for racial and ethnic minorities. Cohen and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper have pinned the recent vaccine instability on the federal government. Local officials, in turn, have criticized the state for creating a distribution system it believes is ever-changing, poorly communicated and inequitable. President Joe Biden’s administration will raise the minimum weekly supply to states over the next three weeks from 8.6 million to 10 million, or by 16%. Cohen said on Tuesday afternoon that it’s not yet clear what North Carolina’s new supply count will be. But with nearly all supplies exhausted and more mass vaccination events forthcoming, thousands of North Carolinians with postponed appointments could see further delays. ___ TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it would be very worrying if the European Union blocked Canada from getting COVID-19 doses from Europe. The EU has threatened to impose export controls on vaccines produced within its borders, and warned pharmaceutical companies that have developed coronavirus vaccines with EU aid that it must get its shots on schedule. All of Canada’s vaccines come from Europe. Trudeau says he spoke to the chief executive of Moderna and he says it was “very clear” that the Canadian contract will be respected. Canada isn’t getting any deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine made in Europe this week, shipments are set to resume next week. Trudeau says he will work with European allies to ensure there are not any disruptions to the Canadian supply chain. ___ WASHINGTON — U.S. health regulators announced new steps Tuesday to block imports of Mexican-made hand sanitizers after repeatedly warning that many brands contain dangerous contaminants. The Food and Drug Administration said U.S. inspectors will now be able to stop any shipment of the products at ports of entry, under a nationwide import alert intended to protect U.S. consumers. Importers will be able to present documentation to show that the products meet U.S. standards The FDA said nearly 85% of alcohol-based sanitizers from Mexico sampled by agency scientists did not meet U.S. requirements for quality and safety. The FDA said Tuesday there have been reports of hospitalizations and death linked to the sanitizers reported to U.S. poison control centres and state health departments. ___ WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is announcing that the U.S. is purchasing an additional 100 million doses each of the two approved coronavirus vaccines for delivery this summer, with the government expecting to be able to deliver enough of the two-dose regimens to states this summer to vaccinate 300 million people. The additional purchases from drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna come as the Biden administration is trying to ramp up vaccine production and states’ capacities to inject them into arms. Biden is also announcing that vaccine deliveries to states and territories will be boosted to at least 10 million doses per week over the next three weeks. Seeking to address concerns from state and local leaders that supplies have been inconsistent, prompting last-minute cancellations of booked appointments, the White House is also pledging to provide states with firm vaccine allocations three weeks in advance of delivery to allow for accurate planning for injections. ___ LOS ANGELES — California is revamping its vaccine delivery system mid-stride, centralizing what has been a hodgepodge of county systems and streamlining appointment sign-up, notification and eligibility for its 40 million residents. The state’s health agency on Tuesday said third-party administrators would take over ordering and distributing vaccine doses with a new state secretary in charge of logistics. The move comes after California faced criticism for a slow rollout as coronavirus cases soared and hospital beds filled up with patients in much of the state. Residents have been baffled by the varying systems as some counties will vaccinate people 65 and older while others are limited to the more restrictive 75 and up. ___ WASHINGTON — “Several hundred” White House staffers have been vaccinated for COVID-19 as the Biden administration looks to create a safe workspace for the new president. Spokesman Kevin Munoz said the White House has provided the first of the two-shot vaccination to those who work on-site and is working toward vaccinating all staffers in the coming weeks. President Joe Biden completed the two-dose regimen a week before his swearing-in, and Vice-President Kamala Harris was given her second shot Tuesday at the National Institutes of Health. Both she and President Joe Biden got the vaccine live on television to help alleviate public resistance to the vaccine and reassure Americans of its safety. ___ RALEIGH, N.C. — An increasing number of COVID-19 vaccination sites around the U.S. are cancelling appointments because of vaccine shortages. States are expected to find out their latest weekly allocation of vaccines on Tuesday. The White House plans to hold a call with governors to discuss the vaccine supply. Governors and top health officials have been concerned about inadequate supplies and the need for more reliable estimates of how much is on the way so that they can plan accordingly. On Tuesday, the CDC reported just over half of the 41 million doses distributed to states have been put in people’s arms. Some vaccination sites have cancelled appointments for first-dose shots. Many are likely holding large quantities of vaccine in reserve to make sure people who have already gotten their first shot receive the required second shot on schedule, three to four weeks later. ___ SAN DIEGO — Several gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park appear to be recovering weeks after testing positive for the coronavirus, including a silverback who received antibody treatment. The park’s executive director Lisa Peterson says the eight western lowland gorillas are eating, drinking and active after being exposed by a zookeeper who tested positive for coronavirus in early January. Peterson says fecal samples from the gorillas are no longer testing positive for the virus. She says some of the gorillas will get the COVID-19 vaccine from a supply made specifically for animals. ___ NEW YORK — Health officials say evidence continues to mount that it’s generally safe to have in-person schooling if U.S. schools require mask-wearing and other precautions. The latest study looks at schools in rural Wisconsin and found cases linked to in-school transmission were very low even while infections were common in the same communities. The Wisconsin study was published online Tuesday by a CDC journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. It focused on 17 schools in Wood County in central Wisconsin and found cases were diagnosed at rate 37% lower than reported in the county overall. In the Journal of the American Medical Association, Margaret Honein of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other CDC scientists say it’s reassuring that the kind of spread seen in nursing homes and other places hasn’t been noted in schools with prevention measures. However, they say some extracurricular school-related activities, such as sports, have triggered coronavirus spread in some places. ___ ATLANTA — A member of the Georgia state House has been removed from the chamber for not abiding by the legislature’s coronavirus testing policy. Rep. David Clark, a Republican from Buford, was asked to leave the House floor Tuesday morning. Clark refused to leave on his own and had to be escorted out by police. Members of the legislature undergo testing twice weekly on Mondays and Thursdays. Clark told reporters he is abstaining from twice-a-week testing until it is available to everyone in Georgia, particularly teachers and first responders. A spokesman for House Speaker David Ralston issued a statement that didn’t name Clark. It said he had been “advised numerous times about the requirements and had refused to be tested at any point during this session.” ___ LONDON — More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus. The health department said 100,162 people have died after testing positive, including 1,631 new deaths reported Tuesday. Britain is the fifth country in the world to pass that mark, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, and by far the smallest. The U.S. has recorded more than 400,000 COVID-19 deaths, the world’s highest total, but its population of about 330 million is about five times Britain’s. The U.K. toll is 30,000 more than the total number of British civilians killed during the six years of World War II. The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — A former executive with British Columbia's lottery corporation became emotional Tuesday after two days of testimony at a public inquiry into money laundering.Robert Kroeker took several moments to compose himself but his voice still cracked with emotion when he was asked to describe his experience as a focal point in B.C.'s probe into money laundering.Kroeker, who was fired as vice-president of corporate compliance in 2019, spent much of his testimony explaining what the Crown corporation knew about illegal cash circulating at casinos and what was being done to prevent it."You are not a floor manager. You are not on the business side of casinos. You are not wining and dining high rollers," said Marie Henein, Kroeker's lawyer. "That's not what you do. You've spent your life in compliance and trying to deal with money laundering and making casinos secure places in B.C."Kroeker's voice cracked as he tried to describe the impact of allegations that the lottery corporation did not act on large amounts of illegal cash at casinos."It's been devastating, not being able to respond, particularly when I was at the corporation, and especially for my team," said the former RCMP officer. "They're professionals and to see them continually attacked and maligned, it's really unfair."Former gaming investigator Larry Vander Graaf, who is also a former Mountie, told the commission last November that the B.C. Lottery Corp. did not move quickly enough to protect the integrity of gaming from organized crime more than a decade ago.Vander Graaf, the former executive director of the province's gaming policy branch, testified that large amounts of suspicious cash started to appear at B.C. casinos in 2007 and by 2010, loan sharks were circulating nearby parking lots with bags of money believed to be from proceeds of crime.Kroeker testified Tuesday he received a high-level briefing about suspicious cash activities at provincial casinos with possible links to organized crime on his first day on the job at the lottery corporation in 2015.He said he reviewed a document that concluded lottery officials appeared unwilling to address police concerns about suspicious cash and its potential connections to organized crime. The document also included the lottery corporation's concerns over the potential fallout if the information became public, he added."Certainly by this point BCLC knew there was a concern around the cash being brought into casinos being proceeds of crime," B.C. government lawyer Jacqueline Hughes asked Kroeker."Yes, for sure," said Kroeker.On Monday, Kroeker testified that Attorney General David Eby appeared uninterested in the lottery corporation's anti-money laundering efforts during a meeting in 2017 shortly after the New Democrats took power.The Ministry of Attorney General said in a statement on Monday that Eby would not comment on evidence or proceedings while the commission is underway.But in a statement on Tuesday, the ministry said "this government's actions to tackle financial crime in B.C. speaks for itself."Kroeker testified Tuesday that the money laundering issue in B.C. had become "politically charged" and was used by the two main political parties to criticize each other.The province appointed B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen in 2019 to lead the public inquiry into money laundering after three reports outlined how hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal cash affected the province's real estate, luxury vehicles and gaming sectors.— By Dirk Meissner in VictoriaThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Dr. Bonnie Henry is calling it a precipice, a plateau from which the novel coronavirus could spring upwards, or decline. New cases in B.C. have hovered around 500 per day, but on Vancouver Island, numbers have anything but plateaued. While B.C. is showing a gradual decline in new cases, Island Health is smashing through new highs weekly. The Island took 10 months to reach 1,000 cumulative cases. Three weeks later, that total has already reached 1,458. What’s behind the exponential increase? Vancouver Island’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick isn’t sure. But whatever the cause, the Island is seeing double digit case counts every day in January. The region has registered 25 or more new cases 11 times. Ten of those totals came in the past three weeks. Contact tracing teams have gone all out — as of Jan. 26, the region had 753 people isolating after being identified as close contacts, and 217 people confirmed as positive. Total cases are still manageable, hospitals are not at capacity. In fact, Vancouver Island has been able to offer support to Northern B.C., an area that is bursting at capacity for beds. Most of the current Island cases are within the Central Island region, between the Nanaimo hospital outbreak, some school exposures, and Cowichan Tribes which has had more than 150 cases. The First Nation’s membership is sheltering in place until at least Feb. 5. Indigenous people are four times more likely to experience the worst effects of COVID-19, Stanwick said. “This is open to speculation as to why, whether they are under-housed, or a is there a propensity to it? The simple fact is unfortunately they are more vulnerable to the effects,” Stanwick said. It’s one of the reasons First Nations communities are included in priority vaccinations along with long-term care and assisted living residents and workers. RELATED: Cowichan Tribes confirms first death from COVID-19 RELATED: COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital “The good news is that we have finished immunizing all long-term care clients who have wished to be immunized as of [Jan. 24], and are working hard to complete all of our assisted living by mid-week,” Stanwick said. But we’re far from out of the woods, even with positive first steps. “It’s only the first dose they’ve gotten, and this is where I cross my fingers and my toes. It takes 14 days to get a good immune response mounted by the body. So we’re still vulnerable for two more weeks. There is a possibility we could still see outbreaks in our long-term care and assisted living facilities.” The First Nations Health Authority has set a goal of delivering vaccinations to all First Nations on the Island by the end of March. That process is well underway. What really worries Stanwick is the rising number of people who have no clue where they contracted the virus. It makes contact tracing nearly impossible, and makes it a lot harder to control the spread. Take the U.K. variant for example; one Central Island resident caught it while travelling. They passed it to two others, but all three people followed quarantine rules and the strain died there. The South African variant — which has not yet been found on the Island — is of unknown origin at this time. “It’s when it surprises us that’s where we worry the most,” Stanwick said. Vancouver Island’s positivity rate is another concern. Dr. Henry regularly says the goal is to keep it at 1 per cent or below, but the Island is almost at 4 per cent right now. “We’re still looking at a few months out for wide vaccinations. We are so close, I’d hate to see us backslide into the same situation as the U.K., going into full lock down,” he said. “The orders [Dr. Henry] puts in place have worked. They’ve gotten us where we are, we’ve just got to hang in a little longer.” In the meantime, Stanwick said Vancouver Island Health Authority is assigning environmental health officers to identify places where standards are not being met. It’s not a hunt to issue fines, he said, but an effort to help people understand what Work Safe requirements are. However, they are issuing fines to people unwilling to comply. For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: email@example.com Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
First Nation leaders in Manitoba have shared that hundreds of Manitoba First Nation citizens have always been neglected in some aspect when it comes to health services. First Nation leaders are making a plea to the provincial and federal governments to take concrete action to reduce and eventually eliminate anti-Indigenous racism in Canada’s health care system. “It is hard to believe that in this day and age, we have to talk about racism,” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. in a press conference on Facebook Live on Tuesday. “I thought that we as a nation have evolved to a place that we are more tolerant and accepting of one another, but in our health care system, that is not the case. Anti-Indigenous racism is apparent, and stories from our First Nations confirm that it does exist.” Organizations such as MKO and KIM have voiced out their frustrations as their members continue to face mistreatment in hospitals and nursing stations. It has even come to a point whereby First Nations would rather suffer quietly in their own homes because they know they will not receive adequate health services as they are continually being doubted by health officials. “No one should be doubted when they are looking for medical attention. They should be treated with respect and compassion. That is all we want,” said Chief Shirley Ducharme, O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation. On Jan.11, O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation Councillor Brian Wood’s wife, Carol, had a car accident that caused tremendous pain in her right leg. That day, Wood quickly brought her to the nursing station in South Indian Lake where a nurse attended to her for less than five minutes. The nurse diagnosed her and stated that since her leg does not appear to be broken, Wood should return home with his wife and schedule a flight to Thompson so that she can be reassessed the next week. When they got home, her leg started to swell and turned blue. Not trusting the nurse, he decided to call Ducharme about his dilemma. After speaking with her, he managed to approve his wife as an outpatient. Immediately, he and his wife drove four hours to Thompson so she could receive proper care. “The health staff there noticed that she wasn’t doing very well. They took her to the emergency room right away and did some x-rays. They found that there were two fractures in her leg and that there was something wrong with her knee,” said Wood. She was later sent to Winnipeg via medevac so that she could receive surgery. As of now, she is recuperating in Thompson with a 14-inch scar on her leg. Wood noted that this is only an example of First Nations people who cannot access medical care in their home community due to negligence. First Nations who have issues accessing medical systems in a culturally safe way may contact Bernice Thorassie, MKO’s Client Navigator for advocacy assistance at Bernice.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 204-307-5066. Dr. Barry Lavallee, Chief Executive Officer at Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin (KIM) Inc. said that racism in the health care system essentially promotes torture and suffering towards First Nation citizens attempting to seek help. On Wednesday and Thursday, MKO and KIM will hold an online event aimed to unify federal, provincial, and territorial governments, First Nations, Inuit, Métis Nation and health system partners to discuss and confirm actions planned and underway to address anti-Indigenous racism in Canada’s health care systems. Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
NEW YORK — The first inaugurations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama were the only ones to exceed Joe Biden's in popularity among television viewers over the past 40 years. The Nielsen company said that 33.8 million people watched Biden's inauguration over 17 television networks between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. last Wednesday. Reagan's festivities in 1981 drew 41.8 million viewers, and Obama's 2009 inaugural reached 37.8 million, Nielsen said. Perhaps most important to a former president known to watch television ratings closely: Biden exceeded the 30.6 million who watched Donald Trump take office in 2017, Nielsen said. CNN was the most popular network for inaugural viewers, Nielsen said. Meanwhile, Fox News' audience for Biden's oath of office and inaugural address was down 77% from the network's viewership for Trump. Meanwhile, the pro football conference championship games gathered people around televisions in big numbers Sunday. Nielsen said 44.8 million people saw Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Bucs qualify for the Super Bowl, while 41.8 million watched Kansas City beat Buffalo. With the prime-time game, CBS easily won the week in the ratings, averaging 10.4 million viewers. ABC had 3.4 million, Fox had 2.7 million, NBC had 2.5 million, Univision had 1.2 million, while Ion Television and Telemundo each averaged 1.1 million viewers. CNN led the cable networks, averaging 2.76 million viewers in prime time. MSNBC had 2.67 million, Fox News Channel had 2.56 million, TNT had 1.19 million and HGTV had 1.1 million. ABC's “World News Tonight” won the evening news ratings race, hitting 10.1 million people. NBC's “Nightly News” had 8.3 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 6.2 million. For the week of Jan. 18-24, the top 20 prime-time programs, their networks and viewerships: 1. AFC Championship: Buffalo at Kansas City, CBS, 41.85 million. 2. “NFL Post-Game,” CBS, 17.88 million. 3. “NCIS” (Tuesday, 8 p.m.), CBS, 9.64 million. 4. “FBI,” CBS, 8.99 million. 5. “NCIS” (Tuesday, 9 p.m.), CBS, 8.75 million. 6. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 7.39 million. 7. “911,” Fox, 7.2 million. 8. “Presidential Inauguration" (9 p.m.), CNN, 7.08 million. 9. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 6.73 million. 10. “Celebrity Wheel of Fortune,” ABC, 6.3 million. 11. “Presidential Inauguration” (8 p.m.), CNN, 6.24 million. 12. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 6.09 million. 13. “911: Lone Star,” Fox, 6.03 million. 14. "Magnum, P.I., CBS, 5.86 million. 15. “FBI: Most Wanted,” CBS, 5.81 million. 16. “Bob Hearts Abishola,” CBS, 5.56 million. 17. “Presidential Inauguration” (10 p.m.), CNN, 5.31 million. 18. “B Positive,” CBS, 5.06 million. 19. “Mom,” CBS, 5.03 million. 20. “The Bachelor,” ABC, 5.02 million. David Bauder, The Associated Press
Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam's ruling Communist Party chief, has been nominated for a rare third term, a Party official said, according to several state media articles that were published on Wednesday then subsequently amended, removing the comments. On Monday, more than 1,600 delegates began nine days of mostly closed-doors meetings at the Party's five-yearly Congress, during which a new leadership team will be picked to bolster Vietnam's ongoing economic success - and the legitimacy of the Party's rule. Trong, 76, who is also Vietnam's president and architect of its anti-corruption campaign, had been widely tipped to continue as party chief despite health issues and old age - which should technically disqualify him for the position, although "special case" exceptions are granted.
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times eastern): 6:15 p.m. British Columbia is reporting 407 new COVID-19 cases today, bringing the total number of confirmed active infections to 4,260. Among those, health officials say in a joint statement that 313 people are hospitalized, including 71 in intensive care. An additional 14 people died in the past day and the B.C. death toll from COVID-19 now sits at 1,168. In a joint statement, Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry encourage those already doing their part to be the voice of support and encouragement for others who may be wavering in their resolve. --- 6:05 p.m. Alberta is reporting 366 new cases, for a total of 8,652 active cases. There were 14 more deaths, bringing that total to 1,588. There are 626 people in hospital, 108 of whom are in intensive care. Alberta has delivered 99,814 vaccinations so far, and 10,000 Albertans have received both doses. --- 3:10 p.m. The Saskatchewan government is extending a public health order that prohibits household guests until Feb. 19. Health officials announced 232 new cases of COVID-19 and say 14 more residents have died from the virus. There are 208 people in hospital, with 33 in intensive care. To date, the province says it has given more than 34, 000 vaccine shots. --- 2:10 p.m. Public health officials in New Brunswick are reporting 10 new cases of COVID-19 today. Five are in the Edmundston region, which is under a lockdown, while there are three cases in the Saint John region and one each in the Moncton and Campbellton regions. The Saint John and Fredericton regions move to the orange level of the province's COVID-19 response plan tonight, an easing from the red-level restrictions now in place. There are 339 active cases in the province and seven patients are in hospital, with three in intensive care. --- 2:05 p.m. Nova Scotia is reporting one new case of COVID-19 today. Health officials say the new case is in the Halifax area and is related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada. The province currently has 11 active cases, with no one in hospital. As of Monday, 11,622 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province, with 2,708 people having received their second dose. --- 1:45 p.m. A group of more than 200 doctors, researchers and advocates say Ontario must take urgent action to address the rising number of deaths due to COVID-19 in long-term care. The group says in a letter released today that the situation constitutes a humanitarian crisis. They say the province's nursing homes are still seeing staffing shortages, poor infection control and a delayed response to outbreaks. The group is recommending the province bolster staffing immediately, legislate a minimum standard of daily care for residents and provide unrestricted access to family caregivers with personal protective equipment. --- 1:45 p.m. Manitoba is reporting 92 additional COVID-19 cases and five deaths. Case counts have been dropping in all regions in recent days, although they remain highest in the north. The province eased some restrictions last weekend on store openings and social gatherings. --- 1:45 p.m. Manitoba is expanding a self-isolation requirement for people arriving in the province. Currently, only people arriving from areas east of Terrace Bay, Ont., are required to self-isolate. Starting Friday, all out-of-province arrivals will have to do so. Premier Brian Pallister says the move is needed with the spread of COVID-19 variants and the slowing of vaccine supplies. --- 1:25 p.m. Ontario Premier Doug Ford is calling on the federal government to bolster travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variant cases. Ford says those restrictions should include mandatory testing at airports for all incoming international travellers. He also wants the federal government to temporarily ban direct flights from countries where the new variants are detected, including Brazil and Portugal. A voluntary screening program at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport began Jan. 6 and has tested more than 6,800 travellers. --- 1:20 p.m. Quebec Premier Francois Legault says he’ll likely be able to ease COVID-related restrictions for some regions of the province as of Feb. 8. Legault says new COVID-19 cases in the province have been going down, which indicates that the government’s measures, including a nighttime curfew, are working. But Legault says hospitalizations are still too high, especially in the Greater Montreal region. He says he’ll make an official announcement next week. --- 11:20 a.m. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says every case of COVID-19 coming in from abroad is a case too many. He says new restrictions on travel are coming and is urging Canadians to cancel all travel plans they may have. He says that includes cancelling travel abroad and travel to other provinces. Trudeau notes that while the number of new cases linked to travel remains low, the bad choices of a few won't be allowed to put others in danger. He's also announcing new government-backed loans for businesses to help them cope with ongoing economic fallout. --- 11:15 a.m. Quebec is reporting 1,166 new cases of COVID-19 and 57 more deaths attributed to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, including four in the past 24 hours. Health officials said today hospitalizations rose by three, to 1,324, following six consecutive days of decreases in the number of COVID-related patients. The number of intensive care patients remained stable at 217. The province says it administered 5,927 doses of vaccine yesterday and says it has used 224,879 of the 238,100 doses it has received thus far. Quebec has reported a total of 256,002 infections and 9,577 deaths linked to COVID-19. --- 10:45 a.m. Another 1,740 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Ontario today, along with 63 more deaths related to the virus. More than half the new cases are in the Greater Toronto Area, with 677 in Toronto itself, 320 in Peel Region and 144 in York Region. The province says more than 30,700 tests have been completed and more than 9,700 vaccines administered since the last daily report. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.There are 757,022 confirmed cases in Canada._ Canada: 757,022 confirmed cases (59,551 active, 678,068 resolved, 19,403 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.There were 4,011 new cases Tuesday from 34,572 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 12 per cent. The rate of active cases is 158.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 37,271 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,324.There were 165 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 1,137 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 162. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.43 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 51.62 per 100,000 people. There have been 17,120,912 tests completed._ Newfoundland and Labrador: 398 confirmed cases (six active, 388 resolved, four deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday from 158 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.15 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 78,477 tests completed._ Prince Edward Island: 110 confirmed cases (six active, 104 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday from 267 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 3.82 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 88,900 tests completed._ Nova Scotia: 1,572 confirmed cases (11 active, 1,496 resolved, 65 deaths).There was one new case Tuesday from 934 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.11 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.13 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 11 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 201,358 tests completed._ New Brunswick: 1,161 confirmed cases (340 active, 807 resolved, 14 deaths).There were 10 new cases Tuesday from 1,048 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.95 per cent. The rate of active cases is 43.77 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 157 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 22.There were zero new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people. There have been 137,228 tests completed._ Quebec: 256,002 confirmed cases (15,622 active, 230,803 resolved, 9,577 deaths).There were 1,166 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 184.11 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,268 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,467.There were 56 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 435 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 62. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.73 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 112.87 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,695,925 tests completed._ Ontario: 258,700 confirmed cases (23,036 active, 229,755 resolved, 5,909 deaths).There were 1,740 new cases Tuesday from 29,712 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 158.14 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16,423 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,346.There were 63 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 430 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 61. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.42 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 40.57 per 100,000 people. There have been 9,007,713 tests completed._ Manitoba: 28,902 confirmed cases (3,492 active, 24,601 resolved, 809 deaths).There were 92 new cases Tuesday from 1,556 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 254.99 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,162 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 166.There were five new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 26 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.27 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 59.07 per 100,000 people. There have been 450,194 tests completed._ Saskatchewan: 22,646 confirmed cases (2,649 active, 19,729 resolved, 268 deaths).There were 230 new cases Tuesday from 897 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 26 per cent. The rate of active cases is 225.55 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,775 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 254.There were 14 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 43 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is six. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.52 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 22.82 per 100,000 people. There have been 331,591 tests completed._ Alberta: 121,901 confirmed cases (8,652 active, 111,662 resolved, 1,587 deaths).There were 366 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 197.93 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,134 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 591.There were 13 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 124 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 18. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.41 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 36.3 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,061,844 tests completed._ British Columbia: 65,234 confirmed cases (5,714 active, 58,352 resolved, 1,168 deaths).There were 406 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 112.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,322 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 475.There were 14 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 78 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.22 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 23.03 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,044,931 tests completed._ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (zero active, 69 resolved, one deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,229 tests completed._ Northwest Territories: 31 confirmed cases (six active, 25 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 13.39 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 9,064 tests completed._ Nunavut: 282 confirmed cases (17 active, 264 resolved, one deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 43.84 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 7,382 tests completed.This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
A former Vancouver detective openly and deliberately deceived a B.C. judge during a high-profile sex trafficking trial, the lawyer for a notorious pimp argued in court on Tuesday. Thomas Arbogast told a panel of B.C. Court of Appeal justices that James Fisher misrepresented his job as an investigator with the VPD's Counter Exploitation Unit during a hearing in the trial of violent pimp Reza Moazami. "Mr. Fisher overtly perpetrated a fraud on the court by portraying his duties as an officer with the CEU in this way," Arbogast said. During a 2013 voir dire in Moazami's trial, Fisher testified that his role with the CEU involved rescuing trafficking victims from exploitation and helping sex workers leave the industry. But, Arbogast said, "Mr Fisher did the exact opposite of that." Evidence taken from text messages and victims' statements to police suggest that Fisher was actively helping young women continue in sex work, giving them advice about pimps they might work for and even tipping off a young madam about a planned police raid on her business, the court has heard. Text messages entered into evidence also show Fisher speaking to one of the women about his idea for a phone app that would alert sex workers about bad johns, Arbogast told the court. He said while that sounds like a good idea, "having an officer from CEU initiate that type of conversation is indicative of someone who is completely unmoored from their duties." Fisher pleaded guilty in 2018 to sexual exploitation and breach of trust for kissing a 21-year-old victim in Moazami's case as well as a 17-year-old girl who'd been exploited by another pimp, Michael Bannon. But Moazami's legal team alleges that Fisher's sexual and professional misconduct was much more extensive, involving nine of 11 victims and two witnesses in the Crown's case against Moazami. Moazami is asking the appeals court to order a new trial in his case, arguing that Fisher's misconduct amounted to an abuse of process and miscarriage of justice. Arbogast said Tuesday he could only speculate about how the trial would have been affected if Fisher's misconduct was uncovered at the time but suggested a mistrial could have been declared. "We have conduct here that it is so egregious that it transgresses any concept of fair play and decency," Arbogast said. Crown counsel Matthew Scott, however, told the court it would be "indecent and unjust" to overturn Moazami's convictions. "Mr. Moazami was convicted on the basis of the complainants' evidence, not Mr. Fisher's evidence," Scott said. He argued that Moazami's legal team "has not tendered any admissible evidence at all," saying it is largely based on hearsay and most of the alleged misconduct took place after those involved had testified in Moazami's trial. Fisher's Facebook activity 'simply was not pursued' For much of Tuesday's hearing, Arbogast focused on evidence from Facebook that was not available to the defence team during Moazami's trial. He said it appears Fisher had at least two Facebook accounts — one under the name James Fisher that he described as a professional page, and another under the name Jim Fisher that he used to communicate with victims and witnesses in his cases. Text messages suggest Fisher asked at least one young woman to delete their Facebook conversations when he realized he was under investigation. And yet it appears that during that investigation, VPD officers did not look into Fisher's Facebook use. "Nothing was ever done about those accounts … It simply was not pursued by the investigators," Arbogast said. Justice John Hunter asked Arbogast if there was any evidence Fisher had used his Facebook accounts to improperly influence the testimony of victims and witnesses. Arbogast replied that his team has not been able to access records of Fisher's communications on Facebook, which has been "a source of considerable frustration" for Moazami. The Crown has said it does not have the relevant records, either. "We're saying a fair remedy is to order a new trial here so this matter can be explored appropriately," Arbogast said. "We feel like we're being put in a position with respect to Facebook of arguing with one hand behind our backs." Hearings in Moazami's appeal continue on Wednesday morning.
JASPER, Alta. — The Jasper Park Lodge has been booked out from the end of February until the end of April, but hotel management isn't disclosing who will be staying at the well-known Rocky Mountain retreat during the nine-week block. All 446 rooms at the sprawling Alberta hotel are unavailable to book online between Feb. 23 and April 29. A hotel spokesperson says there is a private booking, but could not comment further for privacy reasons. Guests who previously made bookings for that time have had their reservations cancelled, fuelling speculation online that the hotel could be soon be a filming site. Steve Young, a spokesman for Jasper National Park, says officials have not received a request for a film permit. He says one would be required if any commercial filming was being done in the park. Asked about the possibility of a film crew coming up to Alberta, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, said her team is working on a framework to decide whether to give such crews exemptions to COVID-19 restrictions. She said the Alberta framework would consider two issues when deciding on exemptions. "Number 1 is whether or not there's any risk to the public, whether any of the activities could potentially cause (COVID-19) spread," Hinshaw said Tuesday. "Number 2: As we consider any potential request for exemptions, we also consider the broader public interest." She said if the crew comes from beyond Canada's border, it would need federal approval. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. -- With files from CTV Edmonton. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats are preparing to push ahead quickly on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package even if it means using procedural tools to pass the legislation on their own, leaving Republicans behind. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told senators to be ready to vote as soon as next week on a budget reconciliation package that would lay the groundwork for swift passage. Coming so soon in Biden's administration, the action provides a first test of Republican opposition to the White House priorities as well as to the new president's promise of a “unity” agenda. “The work must move forward, preferably with our Republican colleagues, but without them if we must," Schumer said after a private meeting of Democratic senators. "Time is of the essence to address this crisis. We're keeping all options open on the table.” Unwilling to wait for Republicans who argue Biden's price tag is too high and his priorities too wide-ranging, Democrats are flexing their newfound power as they take control of the Senate alongside the House and White House. It is the first time in a decade the party has held the full sweep of power in Washington, and Democrats say they have no time to waste trying to broker compromises with Republicans that may, or may not, happen. They have watched Republicans use similar procedural tools to advance their priorities, most recently the Trump administration’s GOP tax cuts. The fast-moving events days into the new majority on Capitol Hill come as the White House continued meeting privately with groups of Republican and Democratic lawmakers in hopes of striking a bipartisan agreement. Biden's COVID-19 aid package includes money for vaccine distribution, school reopenings and $1,400 direct payments to households and gradually boosts the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years. The next steps remain highly fluid. The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus of more than 50 House lawmakers met virtually Tuesday with top administration officials on the virus aid and economic recovery package. And the dozen senators emerging from a lengthy private meeting with the White House on Sunday evening are talking on their own to try to craft a more targeted bill. The bipartisan senators assembled privately again Monday evening. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters earlier Tuesday that Biden is still looking to negotiate on an aid package, while putting a priority on acting swiftly before aid lapses in March. “He laid out his big package, his big vision of what it should look like, and people are giving their feedback,” Psaki said. "He’s happy to have those discussions and fully expects it’s not going to look exactly the same on the other end.” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who led a bipartisan effort for the last $900 billion relief package, is working again with the senators on crafting an alternative package that she has said would be more focused on money for vaccine distribution and tailored economic assistance to the neediest Americans. Collins said Tuesday that the White House made good on its commitment to deliver a more detailed accounting of the proposed expenditure. But she said the group is still waiting for data on how much funding remains unallocated from past relief measures that, by her tally, totals a whopping $1.8 trillion still unspent. Congress has approved some $4 trillion in emergency aid since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year, a stunning outlay and the largest rescue package in the nation's history. Senators from both parties who joined the White House call over the weekend agreed the priority needs to be standing up the country's faltering vaccine distribution system. With the death toll climbing, and new strains of the virus threatening more trouble ahead, ensuring vaccinations appears to be crucial to stemming the COVID-19 crisis. Several senators from both parties also said they want the $1,400 direct checks to be more targeted to those in need. They also want an accounting of what remains from previously approved aid bills. But Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and the incoming Budget Committee chair, said he is already working on the budget package for next week and expanding it to include Biden's proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years. Raising the wage is a long-running Democratic priority that would essentially double the current $7.25 hourly wage set the last time the party was in control in the Obama administration. Advocates say the pay raise would boost millions of full-time workers from poverty. “There is a consensus,” Sanders told reporters at the Capitol. “If Republicans are not prepared to come on board, that’s fine. We’re not going to wait. We’re going forward soon and aggressively.” Lisa Mascaro And Josh Boak, The Associated Press
Stéphane Landry vit avec le diabète de type depuis 20 ans. Ce résident de Cap-de-la-Madeleine utilise maintenant un appareil de télésurveillance du glucose, qui est couvert par ses assurances. Il souhaiterait voir plus d’assureurs couvrir l’acquisition de cet appareil. Le diabète n’empêche pas Stéphane Landry d’avoir une vie active. Il travaille depuis 13 ans comme opérateur-concentrateur dans le Grand Nord québécois, à la mine Raglan de Katinniq située à 100 kilomètres au sud de la baie Déception, dans la péninsule d’Ungava. M. Landry est l’un des 880 000 Québécois à vivre avec le diabète. M. Landry se piquait depuis 20 ans plusieurs fois par jour pour surveiller sa glycémie. Jusqu’à ce qu’il entende parler d’une pastille qu’on place sur son bras et qui permet de la relever via cellulaire. Ça change complètement sa vie, dit-il. « Je n’ai plus besoin de m’éloigner et d’aller me laver les mains. Avec ma machine, je le vois tout de suite. C’est pratique, surtout pour les personnes âgées qui n’aiment pas se piquer », dit-il en pensant à son père, qui selon lui, surveille et contrôle mal sa glycémie. Stéphane utilise maintenant le FreeStyle Libre, un appareil de télésurveillance du glucose offert par Abbott. Là aussi il est chanceux, ses assurances collectives couvrent les frais mensuels de 200 $, liés à l’achat de l’appareil de surveillance et des pastilles que l’on change aux deux semaines. Toutefois, son père âgé de 84 ans, comme tant d’autres, n’a pas la chance d’être couvert pour obtenir cet appareil. La RAMQ ne couvre pas tous ceux qui en font la demande, nous dit M. Landry et ce que nous confirme une pharmacienne. M. Landry ne comprend pas pourquoi le gouvernement ne couvre pas ce type d’appareils de surveillance. Son père doit encore se piquer chaque jour depuis plus de 40 ans. « J’aimerais que tout le monde ait la chance d’avoir ce produit. Mon père aimerait avoir ce produit, mais c’est trop dispendieux. Il se prive de savoir son diabète à longueur de journée. Vous savez ce que ça fait le diabète avec le temps? Quand on ne contrôle pas son diabète, on est toujours rendus à l’hôpital. La femme d’un de mes amis a été amputée des orteils, du pied, puis des jambes jusqu’aux cuisses et elle est ensuite décédée. » M. Landry n’en démord pas: « Il faut étendre la couverture à plus de personnes diabétiques » surtout en ces temps de COVID, où personne ne veut risquer de subir complications dues à une maladie chronique. Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
VANCOUVER — British Columbia's public safety minister says an improved online estimator tool will help drivers see how much they'll save under changes coming to the Insurance Corporation of B.C. Mike Farnworth says the tool allows drivers to estimate their savings once a new model of delivering auto insurance comes into effect at the Crown corporation on May 1. He says most customers will save an average of 20 per cent or $400 a year and will also be eligible for a one-time refund. The new insurance model will limit the ability of those hurt in a crash to sue at-fault drivers or the auto insurer, squeezing legal costs out of the system and saving ICBC an estimated $1.5 billion. Liberal Opposition critic Mike Morris says B.C. drivers are not fooled by the new online tool, which illustrates supposed rate reductions in the future, while the insurance corporation is saving millions now as a result of the pandemic. Farnworth says the public will hear about one-time rebates due to COVID-19 "very soon," but Morris says until the cheques are in the mail, it's just the NDP "kicking empty promises down the road." “This is just another example of the John Horgan NDP failing to get people the relief they need," Morris says in a statement. Farnworth told a news conference Tuesday that he's looked at different options for a COVID-19 rebate and it still needs to go through the cabinet Treasury Board process, but it is coming soon. Attorney General David Eby called ICBC's financial situation a "dumpster fire" after the NDP took power in 2017 and the government has introduced a series of measures to douse the flames. The government is calling the new insurance model "enhanced care" and the online estimator tool can be found on ICBC's website. "For some time, we've been talking about changes at ICBC and how they're going to help make people's auto insurance premiums, and in turn their lives, more affordable," Farnworth says. "Today, the rubber hits the road." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's Public Prosecutions Service announced Tuesday that no criminal charges will be filed against police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Rodney Levi last June.Levi, who was from the Metepenagiag First Nation, was shot dead by the RCMP on the evening of June 12 after police responded to a complaint about a disturbance in a home in Sunny Corner, N.B.The incident was investigated by Quebec's police watchdog, the Bureau des Enquetes independantes, which submitted a report to New Brunswick prosecutors in December.A statement from the prosecutions service said it is clear the officers on the scene believed Levi was using force against them, and he was shot to protect themselves and civilians who were present."This action followed repeated attempts to engage with Mr. Levi peacefully, and followed several applications of a Taser to disarm him from the dangerous weapons (knives) he refused to yield," the statement said.The prosecutions service concluded the police officers in question were acting lawfully to protect the residents of the home that evening."The evidence presented to Public Prosecutions Services does not establish a reasonable prospect of conviction, and therefore, we will not proceed with criminal charges," it said.Levi's killing came days after an Edmundston, N.B., police officer shot and killed Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman, during a wellness check. The two killings sparked dismay and anger in the province's Indigenous community along with demands for a full inquiry.Alisa Lombard, the lawyer for Levi's family, said Tuesday that family members are disappointed with the outcome."They were provided with a very thorough explanation and review of the evidence and the law. They are now taking the time to process this information and to grieve," she said in an interview.Lombard said she expects the family will want to take further action. "I can say with a fair amount of confidence that this is not the end," she said.A summary of evidence prepared by the prosecutions service and published Tuesday says an autopsy confirmed Levi died from gunshot wounds to the chest. Witnesses told investigators Levi had been acting erratically, and a toxicology report revealed the presence of traces of amphetamine and methamphetamine in his body, the report said.The report summarizes what investigators heard from witnesses, though it does not name them. One woman, identified as a close relative of Levi, did not witness the shooting but spoke of his state of mind and intent on June 12.She said Levi had been living in her home for a few days and was very depressed, according to the report. "He kept talking about suicide and more specifically about 'suicide by RCMP'," the report says. The witness tried to dissuade Levi, but suicide by RCMP was all he would talk about. She never saw him again after he left her home on the afternoon of June 12.The report states that four witnesses at the home in Sunny Corner believed Levi was under the influence of something when he took knives from the kitchen of the home and began waving them around. He refused to put down the knives, and two people called 911.The witnesses said the officers were calm and tried to defuse the situation but Levi refused to drop the knives. They said Levi was Tasered three times by police and at one point said something to the effect of "you'll have to put a bullet in me," the report says. The witnesses said Levi "lunged" or "charged" at one of the officers, who then opened fire.The evidence included a 37-second video filmed by a witness, which shows Levi being hit with the stun gun three times. After the third time, Levi drops one of his knives but immediately picks it back up and seconds later is moving toward one of the officers with the knives pointed toward him, according to the report. The sound of two shots follows.The officer who fired the shots told investigators Levi was about three to five feet away from him and he perceived a “threat of death or grievous bodily harm” when he fired.In its statement, the prosecutions service said the decision not to lay charges against the officers does not "diminish the tragedy of the event." It said Levi's death is "a pain shared by members of the Metepenagiag First Nation and residents of neighbouring communities that cared about him."A coroner's inquest will be held into the incident, although a date and location have not been set.At such an inquest the presiding coroner and a jury will hear evidence from witnesses to determine the facts surrounding the death. The jury can then make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances in the future.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press