WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration.Some Republicans are expressing doubt that Neera Tanden could be confirmed by the Senate after she spent years attacking GOP lawmakers on social media — and many panned the choice.Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Tanden’s rhetoric was “Filled with hate & guided by the woke left.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden's “combative and insulting comments" about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path." He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." Moderate Susan Collins, R-Maine, a target of Tanden's, said, “I do not know her or much about her, but I've heard she's a very prolific user of Twitter.”Such sentiment is notable considering the GOP's general reluctance to criticize President Donald Trump's broadsides on Twitter. But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate.That could be especially daunting for Tanden, the former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the centre-left Center for American Progress, given her history of political combat.Biden's transition team released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.Other Democrats also rushed to defend Tanden's nomination. Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Tanden “grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced first hand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.”“Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director,” added Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a member of the party’s progressive wing. “The American people decisively voted for change - Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”On the Senate floor, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it's impossible to take Republicans' criticism of Tanden seriously.“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.If Democrats should win runoff elections for Georgia’s two GOP-held Senate seats, Tanden’s job would become hugely important because the party would gain a slim majority in the chamber. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals. OMB would have a central role in such legislation.Top Democrats, Biden included, supported anti-deficit packages earlier in their careers, but the party has since changed. Biden was a force behind the establishment of the Obama deficit commission, which was created to win votes of Democratic moderates to pass an increase in the government’s borrowing cap and was chaired by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.Tanden shares a commonly held view among Democratic lawmakers that Republicans usually profess concerns about deficits only when Democrats are in power, pointing to tax cut packages passed in the opening year of Trump’s administration and former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut.___Taylor reported from Washington.Zeke Miller And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
HANOI, Vietnam -- Vietnamese authorities are conducting intensive contact tracing after the country’s first confirmed local transmission of the coronavirus in 89 days. State media said Tuesday that a 32-year-old man in Ho Chi Minh City tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday after visiting a flight attendant who was undergoing self-quarantine at his home following his return from Japan two weeks ago. The flight attendant tested positive on Saturday, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said. Health authorities ordered 137 people who had been in close contact with the man to stay in a central quarantine facility and shut down an English centre where the man works as a teacher, the newspaper said. The new case ended Vietnam’s streak of 89 days without any known local transmission of the virus. Earlier, it went 99 days without local transmissions until a cluster of cases broke out at a hospital in Da Nang in central Vietnam in July. Vietnam’s borders remain closed in an attempt to keep out the virus. Only limited international flights are operating to repatriate Vietnamese nationals and transport foreign diplomats and experts. The country has reported 1,347 coronavirus cases, including 35 deaths. Nearly half of the confirmed cases were imported, according to the Health Ministry. ___ THE VIRUS OUTBREAK: — Moderna asking US, European regulators to OK its virus shots — Fauci: US may see ‘surge upon surge’ of virus in coming weeks after Thanksgiving travel — U.K. stocks up on vaccines, hopes to start virus shots within days — Virus forces businesses to adapt or close down on the streets of London — New York City to reopen its schools to in-person learning, tests students more for COVID-19 ___ Follow AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak ___ HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING: MANILA, Philippines — Coronavirus quarantine restrictions will remain imposed in the Philippine capital during the Christmas season this month and officials said they will ban big Christmas parties in Asia’s largest Roman Catholic nation to prevent new infection spikes. President Rodrigo Duterte said in televised remarks late Monday that aside from Metropolitan Manila, the bustling capital region of more than 12 million, the “general community quarantine” would be imposed in seven other cities and provinces in December. The restrictions ban large public gatherings, actual school classes and entertainment businesses but allow shopping malls, restaurants and essential shops, including barber shops, to operate with required safeguards, including the wearing of face masks and shields and social distancing. Duterte lamented that many still defy quarantine restrictions like the wearing of face masks and warned of a possible resurgence of infections like in some Western countries. “In the Philippines, it’s hard-headedness," Duterte said. The Philippines has reported more than 431,600 confirmed coronavirus infections, the second-highest in Southeast Asia, with at least 8,392 deaths. ___ SANTA FE, N.M. -- New Mexico is moving to a county-by-county system for responding to COVID-19 that allows local communities to shed some restrictions on mass gatherings, restaurant dining, attendance at religious services and some nonessential businesses — if the virus retreats. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Monday that the colour-coded system aims to empower communities and incentivize behaviour and tactics that reduce virus transmission. At this point, only one of New Mexico’s 33 counties — Los Alamos County — would be eligible to ease tight restrictions on gatherings and resume indoor dining at restaurants. The new system will take effect Wednesday. Over the past week, one person in every 155 people in the state was diagnosed with COVID-19. The state Republican Party said the governor was stoking false hope that restrictions may be lifted. ___ UNITED NATIONS -- The head of the world’s largest humanitarian network is urging governments and institutions to combat “fake news” about COVID-19 vaccines which has become “a second pandemic” and start building trust in communities around the world about the critical importance of vaccinating people. Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said in a virtual briefing to the U.N. Correspondents Association on Monday that “to beat this pandemic, we also have to defeat the parallel pandemic of distrust.” He said there is “a growing hesitancy about vaccines in general, and about a COVID vaccine in particular” around the world, pointing to a recent Johns Hopkins University study in 67 countries that found vaccine acceptance declined significantly in most countries from July to October this year. In a quarter of countries, Rocca said, the study found that the acceptance rate for a vaccine against the coronavirus was near or below 50 per cent, with Japan dropping from 70 per cent to 50 per cent acceptance, and France dropping from 51 per cent to 38 per cent acceptance. He stressed that the lack of trust “is by no means a Western phenomenon,” citing the federation’s research in recent months in eight African countries -- Congo, Cameroon, Gabon, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Lesotho and Kenya -- which showed a steady decline in the perceptions of the risk of COVID-19 infection. A growing number of people indicated the virus doesn’t affect young people or Africans, that the disease doesn’t exist now but did exist and the pandemic has ended, he said. “In several African countries, we have seen a common skepticism towards vaccines in general, with a common belief being that foreigners use Africa as a medical ‘testing ground.’” ___ MIAMI — The new mayor of Florida’s most populous county tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, officials said. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced the test result on Twitter. She said her husband, Dr. Robert Cava, was exposed to COVID-19 by a patient last Wednesday. He has also tested positive. “Rob and I are quarantining at home,” Levine Cava wrote. “We both remain in good spirits and have only mild symptoms.” Spokeswoman Rachel Johnson told the Miami Herald that Levine Cava has not been in contact with county employees since Wednesday and plans to participate in Tuesday’s county commission meeting by phone. Levine Cava, 65, assumed office Nov. 17 after being elected earlier in the month. The Democrat had previously served as a county commissioner since 2014. Levine Cava’s predecessor, Congressman-elect Carlos Gimenez, tested positive for coronavirus last week. The Republican is set to assume his new office Jan. 3. —- SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California could see a tripling of hospitalizations by Christmas and is considering stay-home orders for areas with the highest case rates as it tries to head off concerns that severe coronavirus cases could overwhelm intensive care beds, officials said Monday. “The red flags are flying in terms of the trajectory in our projections of growth,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom. “If these trends continue, we’re going to have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic, action.” Hospitalizations have increased 89% over the past 14 days and nearly 7,800 coronavirus patients were hospitalized as of Monday. About 12% of Californians testing positive are likely to need hospital care within the next two to three weeks. The biggest concern is intensive care cases, which have increased 67% in the past two weeks. If that continues, it would push ICU beds to 112% of capacity by mid-December. That statistic is likely to drive state-mandated stay-at-home orders in 51 of California’s 58 counties that already are seeing the most restrictions on business activities, said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s secretary of health and human services. ___ ATLANTA — U.S. Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia has tested positive for COVID-19. That makes him the third Georgia congressman to contract the virus. Scott’s chief of staff Jason Lawrence confirmed the positive test result on Monday. Scott represents Georgia’s 8th District, which stretches through the interior of south Georgia. The chief of staff’s statement did not say if Scott was experiencing any symptoms but added he was heeding his doctor’s advice. All three Georgia congressman who’ve tested positive for the virus have been Republicans. Rep. Rick Allen announced a positive test result last week. Rep. Drew Ferguson tested positive in October. ___ MINNEAPOLIS — Gov. Tim Walz said Monday that his administration plans to release details next week on when Minnesota will start getting its first doses of coronavirus vaccines and who will be the first to get them. Walz made the comments in a briefing for reporters following a conference call with several other governors, Vice-President Mike Pence; Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious-diseases expert; and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on the status of the country’s plans for distributing the vaccines. The Democratic governor said he expects to hold “a very extensive briefing” for reporters and the public, possibly next Monday or Tuesday, on where Minnesota stands in the process. Details are still being worked out on the federal level about who gets priority — such as senior citizens and health care workers — and what the distribution plan will look like, he said. The governor has been critical of the Trump administration for its lack of co-ordinated federal plans for fighting the pandemic, which has put much of the onus on the states. But he had praise for the federal vaccine drive. “I believe the work around the vaccine and the plans around distribution have been incredibly well done,” Walz said. The discussion with the governors involved distributing the first doses coming from Pfizer and later Moderna. ___ SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — New cases of coronavirus illness in Illinois dropped Monday for the third day in a row, but officials fear the fallout from Thanksgiving travel and family gatherings will push the numbers back up. Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, said there will be no change in current restrictions on social interaction for several weeks. They ban indoor food service, limit retail-store capacity and cap gatherings at 10 or fewer. “We are still very much in a precarious place ...,” Pritzker said. “I say this as we come off of a Thanksgiving holiday when many people may have dropped their guard and gathered with people from outside of their own households. The hope now is that we can fend off the surge in the next few weeks to get to a healthier holiday time in the latter half of December.” November’s end marked a period as ghastly as April or May, when the virus first crawled through the state. Total cases rose 77% to 726,304. Deaths stood at 12,278 -- 26% higher than at the beginning of the month. ___ HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s two-month-old coronavirus exposure notification app can now be used by mobile phone users as young as 13 as health officials work to stop the virus’ spread in schools around the state, officials said Monday. The app, named COVID AlertPa, had previously been limited to people 18 and over. “By expanding the age range, middle- and high-school students will be able to add their phones to the fight and help in contact tracing that occurs in their schools if a positive case is identified,” state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said at a virtual news conference. A parent or legal guardian must approve the minor’s use of the app, she said. So far, more than 627,000 mobile phone users have downloaded it, according to the state. Some school districts continue to conduct in-person instruction, even though each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties — except for northwestern Pennsylvania’s rural Cameron County, with fewer than 5,000 residents — has passed the threshold of new cases where the state Department of Education recommended fully remote instruction. ___ TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is vowing to spend tens of billions more dollars to help the country recover from the pandemic. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the country is facing its most severe challenge since the second World War, the worst economic shock since the Great Depression and the worse health crisis since the Spanish flu over a century ago. The cost to date has the federal deficit reaching a record $381.6 billion Canadian (US$294 billion) this year, but the government says it could close in on $400 billion Canadian (US$308 billion) if widespread lockdowns return in the coming weeks. Toronto, Canada’s largest city, is on lockdown. The government’s fall economic update proposes to send extra child-benefit payments to families next year. The government is proposing $25 billion Canadian (US$19 billion) in new spending. ___ JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi is reporting a record number of coronavirus hospitalizations for a single day. The state Department of Health said Monday that 1,008 people were hospitalized with the virus Sunday, marking the first time the number of coronavirus hospitalizations in the state has topped 1,000. Numbers have risen steadily since Nov. 10, when 669 virus hospitalizations were reported. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Monday on Twitter that the record comes ahead of an “anticipated Thanksgiving acceleration” in coronavirus cases. “This is truly serious,” he wrote. “Protect yourselves and your family now. We all know how.” The state Health Department said Monday that Mississippi, with a population of about 3 million, has reported more than 153,250 confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 3,807 deaths from COVID-19 as of Sunday evening. That’s an increase of 1,485 cases and one death from the day before. The death occurred Saturday and was identified through a death certificate. ___ KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Hospital and nursing officials fear that if COVID-19 cases continue unchecked there won’t be enough nurses to staff new hospital beds in the near future in the Kansas City metro area. Kansas health officials on Monday added 4,425 cases to the state’s pandemic tally since Friday, bringing the total to 157,446. Data showed that Kansas averaged 2,198 new confirmed and probable coronavirus a day for the seven days ending Monday. That is below the record average of 2,766 cases. The number of COVID-19 related deaths also rose by 31 to 1,560. It is too soon to see how Thanksgiving gatherings have impacted coronavirus numbers, but medical providers expect to see another rise in hospitalizations in 10 to 14 days once people begin showing symptoms. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported on Monday 87 new hospitalizations, bringing the total of hospitalizations to 5,105 since the start of the pandemic. The state’s COVID-19 dashboard showed 227 coronavirus patients were in ICU units, with 39% of ICU capacity remaining in Kansas. ___ MIAMI — Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Monday that schools will be required to remain open despite the rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, arguing lockdowns and closures have not worked. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that the spread of the virus among children “is not really very big at all” and is now advising to get children back in the classrooms. The Republican governor said schools will continue to offer online classes for families who have chosen not to physically return, but school districts will require students who have fallen behind online to return to in-person instruction. Florida has seen cases rise again, now totalling more than 990,000 confirmed cases since the pandemic began earlier this year. More than 18,700 people have died with COVID-19 since March. The Associated Press
TORONTO — As some provinces push for clarity on when they will receive their share of Canada's COVID-19 vaccines, one expert said Monday the government should be more transparent about the terms of its contracts with the companies making the shots.Kerry Bowman, who teaches bioethics and global health at the University of Toronto, said it's likely Ottawa doesn't have the information the provinces are seeking regarding the timing and quantity of vaccine deliveries, particularly if its contracts with drugmakers are conditional.But if that's the case, he said, the federal government should state it clearly or risk eroding public trust in its system.While news that COVID-19 immunizations could begin in some countries in a matter of weeks is good for Canada in the long term, it will lead to widespread frustration in the near future if the country is lagging behind, he added."There's benefits to all of humankind, no matter who's getting it," he said.Still, "if two weeks from now, the news is full of us watching people all over the world being inoculated, including the United States, and we're not, there's going to be some very unhappy Canadians."As well, he said, any delay in immunization translates to more COVID-19 cases and deaths, and mounting economic strain."People will die and other people's lives will continue to be ruined until we pull out of it. And so, to me, whether it's this month or that month (that we get the vaccine) is not irrelevant — it's highly relevant," he said.Ontario Premier Doug Ford renewed his calls Monday for a clear delivery date for the province's share of vaccines, stressing that "the clock is ticking" when it comes to fighting the novel coronavirus.Ford said he was set to speak to Pfizer, one of the drugmakers that has entered into an agreement with Canada, on Monday afternoon but expected to be told the information must come from Ottawa.The premier cited reports that other countries, such as the United Kingdom, are on track to start COVID-19 immunizations soon, adding Ontarians "need answers."Meanwhile, the American biotech company Moderna said Monday the first 20 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine will be shipped to the United States next month.The chairman of the American vaccine maker told the CBC on Sunday that Canada is near the front of the line to receive the 20 million doses it pre-ordered, confirming that the country's early commitment to purchasing the shots means it will get its supply first.Moderna is one of several companies to have already submitted partial data to a "rolling review" process offered by Health Canada. Rather than presenting regulators with a complete package of trial results, the would-be vaccine makers file data and findings as they become available. Canada has been looking at Moderna's first results since mid-October.The issue of when Canada will receive its orders came to the forefront last week when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country will have to wait a bit because the first doses off the production lines will be used in the countries where they are made.Trudeau has repeatedly defended his government's vaccine procurement policy, saying Ottawa has secured multiple options for the country. The federal government was pressed on the matter further during Monday's question period, as some MPs called for greater transparency regarding vaccine rollout, noting other countries such as Australia have made their plans public.Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the government has been working with the provinces and territories to ensure the plan is robust."Canada is well-served by the diversity of vaccines we have purchased early and in fact in great quantity. Canadians can be assured they too will have access to these vaccines that will bring us to the end of COVID-19," she said.Case counts remained high in several provinces Monday.Ontario, Alberta and Quebec, reported 1,746, 1,733 and 1,333 new infections respectively. Together, the three provinces had 39 new deaths related to the virus.Toronto, one of two Ontario hot spots currently under lockdown, recorded a daily high of 643 new infections.In Manitoba, health officials stressed residents must limit their contact with others in order to bring down the numbers, as the province reported 342 new cases and 11 additional deaths.The provincial government imposed strict measures on business openings and public gatherings more than two weeks ago, but officials said the test positivity rate remains at 13 per cent.Nunavut, however, will begin to lift the lockdown measures it enacted in mid-November on Wednesday, as more people recover from the illness.Only Arviat, which has 86 active cases, will continue to be in lockdown for at least another two weeks, with travel restrictions in place, Nunavut officials said.The territory reported four new cases Monday, bringing the total to 181.In British Columbia, the province announced the highest number of deaths for a three-day period as it recorded 46 fatalities over the weekend.Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry became emotional Monday as she expressed her condolences to families and thanked caregivers for their dedication."Health-care workers have been at the front lines, or maybe the last line of defence right now," she says. "I know how challenging it is and I'm with you every single day, supporting you in admiration for the work that you're doing."Out east, six new infections have been recorded in New Brunswick today, while Newfoundland and Labrador reported one.Nova Scotia reported 16 new cases of COVID-19, bringing its total of active cases to 138.On Sunday, the federal government announced it will extend a series of travel restrictions meant to limit the spread of COVID-19 into January, in light of the steady rise in case counts across the country.Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Hajdu said in a statement the measures, which were first enacted near the start of the global health crisis, would be in effect until Jan. 21, 2021, for travellers entering Canada from a country other than the United States.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.There are 378,139 confirmed cases in Canada._ Canada: 378,139 confirmed cases (66,037 active, 299,972 resolved, 12,130 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.There were 6,103 new cases Monday from 63,070 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 9.7 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 40,584 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,798.There were 66 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 609 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 87. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.23 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.27 per 100,000 people. There have been 11,475,642 tests completed._ Newfoundland and Labrador: 338 confirmed cases (36 active, 298 resolved, four deaths).There was one new case Monday from 247 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.40 per cent. Over the past seven days, there has been 17 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 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 62,520 tests completed._ Prince Edward Island: 72 confirmed cases (four active, 68 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Monday from 846 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of three 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 59,923 tests completed._ Nova Scotia: 1,305 confirmed cases (138 active, 1,102 resolved, 65 deaths).There were 15 new cases Monday from 2,564 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.59 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 115 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 16.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 143,754 tests completed._ New Brunswick: 501 confirmed cases (120 active, 374 resolved, seven deaths).There were six new cases Monday from 1,079 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.56 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 56 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is eight.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.9 per 100,000 people. There have been 100,485 tests completed._ Quebec: 142,371 confirmed cases (12,138 active, 123,177 resolved, 7,056 deaths).There were 1,333 new cases Monday from 8,655 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 15 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,165 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,309.There were 23 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 214 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 31. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.36 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 83.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,186,076 tests completed._ Ontario: 116,492 confirmed cases (14,197 active, 98,639 resolved, 3,656 deaths).There were 1,746 new cases Monday from 38,117 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.6 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,991 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,570.There were eight new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 151 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 22. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 25.1 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,069,726 tests completed._ Manitoba: 16,825 confirmed cases (9,260 active, 7,253 resolved, 312 deaths).There were 342 new cases Monday from 9,003 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 3.8 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,738 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 391.There were 11 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 76 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.79 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 22.78 per 100,000 people. There have been 347,108 tests completed._ Saskatchewan: 8,564 confirmed cases (3,879 active, 4,638 resolved, 47 deaths).There were 325 new cases Monday from 2,451 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 13 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,856 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 265.There were two new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 10 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is four per 100,000 people. There have been 260,818 tests completed._ Alberta: 58,177 confirmed cases (16,454 active, 41,182 resolved, 541 deaths).There were 1,733 new cases Monday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,756 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,394.There were eight new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 65 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.21 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 12.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,445,984 tests completed._ British Columbia: 33,238 confirmed cases (9,686 active, 23,111 resolved, 441 deaths).There were 596 new cases Monday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,831 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 833.There were 14 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 93 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 13. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.26 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 8.7 per 100,000 people. There have been 783,409 tests completed._ Yukon: 47 confirmed cases (17 active, 29 resolved, one deaths).There were two new cases Monday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of nine new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 5,166 tests completed._ Northwest Territories: 15 confirmed cases (zero active, 15 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Monday from 53 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. 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 6,355 tests completed._ Nunavut: 181 confirmed cases (108 active, 73 resolved, zero deaths).There were four new cases Monday from 55 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 7.3 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 47 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 4,242 tests completed.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.The Canadian Press
BEIJING — Asian stocks rose Tuesday after Chinese manufacturing improved, with investors looking ahead to U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s appearance before legislators.Benchmarks in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced.Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index closed down 0.5% overnight but ended November up 10.8% for its biggest monthly gain since April.Investors are increasingly optimistic about the expected development of a coronavirus vaccine despite caution about the short-term economic impact of rising virus cases in the United States and Europe.The future “seems incredibly bright and bullish,” Stephen Innes of Axi said in a report.The Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.2% to 3,433.77 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo advanced 1.5% to 28.824.46. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.8% to 26,569.69.The Kospi in Seoul advanced 1.3% to 2,625.22 and the S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney was 1.4% higher at 6,608.70. New Zealand declined while Southeast Asian markets rose.An index of Chinese manufacturing released by a business magazine, Caixin, hit a decade high in November as the country’s recovery from the pandemic gained strength. A separate survey Monday by the government statistics agency showed activity at a three-year high.Strength in the Chinese economy is helping offset unease about rising virus cases in the United States and Europe and possible renewed controls on business and travel.In Washington, Powell said in a statement Monday that economic prospects are “extraordinarily uncertain” after the pace of improvement moderated. He said a full recovery is unlikely until the public is confident the disease is under control.Powell was due to appear Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The panel oversees the $2 trillion aid package approved by Congress in March.The S&P 500 declined to 3,621.63. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.9% to 29,638.64. The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1% to 12,198.74.The slide followed reports showing the pandemic dragging down U.S. economic activity in the near future. But investors appear to be looking beyond that.Investors are encouraged by the end of uncertainty about the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. They are reassured Washington will be under divided control, reducing the chances of big changes in taxes or regulation.Markets also have been heartened by announcements from pharmaceutical companies of advances in vaccine development.One developer, Moderna, said Monday it is ready to apply for emergency approval in the United States and Britain. Pfizer and German partner BioNTech are asking to begin vaccinations in the U.S. in December. British regulators also are assessing the Pfizer shot and another from AstraZeneca.In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 36 cents to $44.98 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 19 cents to $45.34 on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, sank 32 cents to $47.56 per barrel in London. It dropped 59 cents from the previous session to $47.59.The dollar rose to 104.43 yen from Monday’s 104.34 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1960 from $1.1946.Joe McDonald, The Associated Press
Imperial Oil says it will write down between $900 million and $1.2 billion this quarter as it no longer plans to develop "a significant portion" of its unconventional assets in Alberta. The Calgary-based company said the assets are non-producing and undeveloped, so Imperial doesn't expect any future cash expenditures related to the impairment charge. The impairment doesn't include the high-value, liquids-rich portion of the company's unconventional asset portfolio which it said it still plans to develop. "This decision is consistent with Imperial's strategy of focusing its upstream resources and efforts on its key oilsands assets as well as on only the most attractive portions of its unconventional portfolio. As such, the decision will not impact previously provided production estimates," the company said in a Monday release. Global demand for oil plummeted earlier this year as the pandemic struck. Prices have yet to truly bounce back.Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has predicted that global demand will return more slowly next year than previously thought, but that access to a vaccine could bring less uncertainty and economic growth. That and other outlooks have seen some companies scale back development plans. Exxon Mobil, which has a majority stake in Imperial, also announced an impairment Monday — its biggest ever — saying it would write down the value of natural gas properties by $17 billion to $20 billion US, as well as slash project spending next year to its lowest level in 15 years.Last week, Imperial said it would lay off about 200 of its 6,000 employees as part of a cost-cutting initiative. It has also reduced the number of contractors it employs by about 450 since the start of the year.CBC News has reached out to Alberta's energy minister for comment.
The Anishinabek Nation has launched a virtual documentary program to help reduce the stigma that surrounds the HIV/AIDS virus. “When we look at HIV as a whole it’s the stigma that is the killer. It leaves people voiceless and in gaps,” said Krista Shore, an advocate for people with HIV originally from the Peepeekeesis First Nation in Saskatchewan. Last week, the Anishinabek Nation, made up of 39 First Nations throughout Ontario, held the virtual premiere of Shore’s short film as part of the Anishinabek Nation’s HIV Anti-Stigma Campaign. “Being a youth that was diagnosed (with HIV) at the age of 24 years old, I had to face the shame of the illness right off,” Shore said in her documentary titled Love Everyone. “Why did I feel so dirty? Why did I feel so low of myself?” Shore’s video talked about how she felt about the lack of understanding and education within her community when she was first diagnosed, which led to some strained relationships, including with an Elder (though they ultimately reconciled). “Along this journey it hasn’t all been strong, and sunshine and great teachings,” she said. Shore closed out her documentary with thoughts of hope. “We need to be surrounded by love, and healing hands, and helping hands.” Tuesday, Dec. 1 marks World AIDS Day, and two more short documentaries will premiere premiere over Zoom, with the session starting at 2 p.m. eastern time. The documentaries will then be published on the Anishinabek Nation’s YouTube channel, available here. All of the films were compiled by the Anishinabek Nation’s HIV Coordinator Laura Liberty and director Ed Regan. Liberty spoke about some of the challenges facing people living with HIV. “It’s the fear and the gossip. It’s the loss of friendship, family, the lack of respect, being treated like an unwanted disease,” she said. “Feeling not wanted or loved or understood can prevent an individual from reaching out for help, getting tested and receiving medications that can manage the illness.” Regan spoke about some of the benefits of launching the campaign virtually, including less resources spent on travel and a wider reach across the Anishinabek Nation’s 65,000-person population. “I think a nice advantage of this type of media is to educate people with the click of a button,” Regan said. “This is a real efficient way of managing and teaching people.” As well, Regan touched on the traumatic nature of these stories, saying that repeated telling of personal experiences can be ‘exhausting’ people. “Hopefully, [this campaign] can create the change that’s much needed.” While Shore’s piece focused on her own journey living with HIV, other background subjects related to Indigenous history were explored by Elders as part of the campaign. Mary Elliott provided a short history of Indigenous populations within Canada in A Snapshot of our Story. Elliott described first contact with Europeans and the period of “lost spirituality, the introduction of residential schools and the impact of various pieces of legislation, such as the Indian Act. “(Indigenous populations) lost that right to understand who they are or live by their traditions and customs,” Elliot said. Canada “wanted to remove the Indian out of us.” June Commanda was featured in documentary called A Survivor’s Story. She spoke about her first day at Spanish Indian Residential School in Spanish, Ont. “I remember with such clarity right to this day,” Commanda said. Tuesday’s premiere will see the launch of: When They Know with Carol Jones and Live. Love. Laugh. with Dawn Cameron. World AIDS Day was designated in 1988 and was the first globally recognized health day. An estimated 38 million people worldwide are currently living with the HIV virus. Outside of the documentary work, the Anishinabek Nation also offers other health resources and services for HIV, Hepatitis C, and other Sexually Transmitted Blood Borne Infections (STBBI). Windspeaker.comBy Adam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Depuis le début de la crise, de nombreuses petites et moyennes entreprises albertaines peuvent compter sur l’aide du gouvernement fédéral grâce à l’octroi de subventions. Or, elles ne peuvent pas en dire autant du gouvernement albertain, alors que de grosses sommes sont injectées dans le secteur pétrolier. « Le gouvernement albertain se repose sur le gouvernement fédéral », lance, mécontent, Daniel Cournoyer, directeur de la Cité francophone à Edmonton depuis 2012. La Cité est un espace qui permet la location de bureaux et qui offre des services de traiteur dans le quartier francophone de la ville. Sa réaction rejoint la réalité entrepreneuriale de celle de bien d’autres restaurateurs. Tammy Anast, originaire d’Ontario et propriétaire du restaurant grec Yiannis depuis 1989, une enseigne bien connue sur l’avenue Whyte, en sait aussi quelque chose. « Le gouvernement provincial ? Jusqu’à présent, rien pour moi », explique-t-elle. Les aides Comme beaucoup de gérants d’entreprise, elle a fait une demande pour obtenir la Subvention salariale d’urgence, une subvention fédérale qui a aidé jusqu’à présent un grand nombre d’entrepreneurs au pays. « J’ai obtenu une compensation pour la plus grande partie de ma masse salariale. J’ai également obtenu un prêt de 40 000 $ accordé aux petites entreprises », détaille-t-elle, faisant toujours référence à l’aide fédérale. Elle n’est pas la seule à avoir pu compter sur Ottawa. Shawn Good, gérant de la pizzeria Famoso, dit aussi avoir bénéficié de cette aide, mais sans aucun apport de la province. Il affirme avoir perdu jusqu’à présent entre 20 % et 30 % de son chiffre d’affaires. La subvention fédérale est tombée à pic au début de la pandémie, permettant de couvrir, lors de la première vague, jusqu’à 80 % de la masse salariale. Cependant, depuis septembre, les critères ont changé et sont de plus en plus restreints. La subvention n’est plus qu’à 30 %, au grand dam des entrepreneurs. « On ne se qualifie plus pour le même montant d’argent. On l’apprécie toujours, mais on aurait aimé que cela reste pareil qu’au mois d’août », explique M. Cournoyer, directeur de la Cité francophone. Si les entrepreneurs ont pu aussi bénéficier de la subvention fédérale pour les loyers, la pandémie est là plus que jamais et l’aide provinciale demeure quasi absente. Que fait la province ? Pas grand-chose ou presque. Du côté provincial, si l’aide est inexistante pour les uns, elle demeure très modique pour d’autres. Mark Wilson, propriétaire depuis 2007 d’une entreprise d’impression d’affiches et de cartes, dit avoir bénéficié d’une aide de 3 000$ de la part du gouvernement provincial. Une réalité que vient corroborer le directeur de la Cité francophone. « Au niveau de la province, il y a des petits montants. Mais il n’y a presque rien », fait-il remarquer. Les aides sont donc majoritairement fédérales, voire municipales. En ces temps difficiles, les villes cherchent à prendre le relais. Certaines de ces sommes peuvent monter jusqu’à 5 000$ pour les petites entreprises. Daniel Cournoyer dénonce, lui, une certaine forme d’inertie de la part du gouvernement provincial. « Les municipalités en font autant qu’elles peuvent avec les petits moyens qu’elles ont. Mais c’est vraiment la province qui contrôle, et elle ne veut pas assumer ses responsabilités envers sa société », déplore-t-il. Une Alberta à deux vitesses En parallèle, le gouvernement de Jason Kenney a injecté 1,5 milliard de dollars dans le projet de Keystone XL. En Alberta, on assiste à un décalage inquiétant entre l’aide octroyée aux géants du secteur pétrolier et celle offerte aux acteurs d’une économie plus petite, mais indispensable au fonctionnement ainsi qu’à l’épanouissement de la société albertaine. Le cabinet de Jason Kenney n’a pas commenté sur l’aide éventuelle qu’il pourrait apporter aux entrepreneurs de la province. En attendant, les entrepreneurs en Alberta serrent les dents. « Je fais face à la situation en travaillant autant que je peux, en réduisant les heures de travail de mes employés, et en achetant des produits moins chers », explique Tammy Anast. Aujourd’hui, son chiffre d’affaires est à 50 % de son revenu normal. « Les mois d’été ont baissé d’environ 30 %. Maintenant, je pense que nous allons descendre à 70 % avec les restrictions sanitaires, et que la saison de Noël est complètement ratée », dit-elle avec angoisse. À la perte financière et au manque de soutien de la province vient s’ajouter l’inquiétude des « demi-mesures ». Comment encourager l’entrepreneuriat local quand les services de santé de la province envoient le message contradictoire de rester chez soi ? Entre malaise et confusion, l’Alberta ne sait plus où donner de la tête dans un modèle économique apparemment devenu à deux vitesses.Hélène Lequitte, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir
NEW YORK — The year's most played artist on Spotify? Globally speaking: Bad Bunny. The Puerto Rican superstar is the music platform’s most-streamed artist of the year with 8.3 billion streams globally. The Latin Grammy winner and hitmaker , who released a new album last week, leads a top five list that also includes Drake, J Balvin, Juice WRLD and The Weeknd. With more than 3.3 billion streams, Bad Bunny’s sophomore solo album “YHLQMDLG” tops Spotify’s list of most-streamed albums globally. The Weeknd’s “After Hours,” Post Malone’s “Hollywood’s Bleeding,” Harry Styles’ “Fine Line” and Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” round of the top five. The Weeknd’s album is the only one in the top five to earn no Grammy nominations. The album’s single, “Blinding Lights,” is Spotify’s most-streamed song of the year with 1.6 million streams globally. “Dance Monkey” by Australian singer Tones and I is the second most-streamed song of the year, while Roddy Ricch’s “The Box,” SAINt JHN’s “Roses – Imanbek Remix” and Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now” came in third, fourth and fifth, respectively. In the U.S., late rapper Juice WRLD was the most-streamed artist on Spotify. His album “Legends Never Die” was the platform’s most-streamed album in the U.S., while Ricch’s “The Box” was the country's most-streamed song. Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
A medical response team has been dispatched to a remote Vancouver Island First Nation community to help guide it through a serious COVID-19 outbreak. On Monday morning the team that arrived in Ehatis reserve to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak within the Ehattesaht Chinehkint First Nation community near Zeballos provided a live update from the reserve. As of Nov. 30, 17 cases had been identified through testing of which eight have recovered said Dr. Charmaine Enns, North Island’s medical health officer who addressed community members and answered their questions and concerns through Facebook live. Enns was joined by Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s (NTC) nurse navigator Lesley Cerney, and First Nation Health Authority’s (FNHA) regional mental health manager Georjeana Paterson and Ehattesaht chief Simon John. The team is expected to be in the community for the next three days. No case required hospitalization, said Enns, who added that the First Nation community did a remarkable job at containing the situation by isolating and following protocols. “We’re not at the other end as yet, but we’ll get there,” said Enns, who added that if no new cases are identified within the next two weeks, it will be safe to say that the community is out of the woods. On Nov. 20, community members of Ehattesaht and Nuchtlaht community of Oclujce were notified about a visitor who spent time at Zeballos Elementary Secondary School testing positive for the virus. Contact tracing by BC Centre for Disease Control began on Nov. 21 after members were told to self-isolate. Enns said that cases and close contacts are being monitored on a daily basis and community members are being asked to get tested if they display any symptoms. At the same time, residents are being told to avoid face-to-face interactions with other community members and “stay close to home.” Island Health and NTC nurses will be conducting testing in the Ehattesaht reserve and Zeballos Health Centre until Dec.4. NTC nurses have been going door-to-door over the weekend, testing and interacting with community residents to address health concerns. READ ALSO: Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage Binny Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Campbell River Mirror
Yukon confirmed another new COVID-19 case on Monday afternoon, bringing the territory's active case count to 17.The government has not issued any additional public exposure notifications, and did not identify the location of the latest case on its website update.The new case comes after Yukon confirmed one new case Sunday, and three new cases Friday evening.There are currently several active public exposure notifications in the territory. You can find them all here.Yukon has confirmed a total of 47 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, with 29 people considered recovered. One person has died in the territory.
VICTORIA — A former judge says she found widespread systemic racism in British Columbia's health-care system where extensive negative profiling of Indigenous patients affects treatment and care.Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond said Monday she could not confirm allegations of an organized game to guess the blood-alcohol level of Indigenous patients in B.C. emergency departments, but found extensive harmful profiling of patients based on stereotypes about addictions and parenting. The former Saskatchewan provincial court judge and one-time children's advocate in B.C. was appointed by Health Minister Adrian Dix in June to investigate the guessing-game allegations and conduct a broader examination of Indigenous racism in provincial health care."Indigenous people consistently told us, and this was confirmed by the health-care workers who responded and the cases, that they are subjected to negative assumptions, negative assumptions based on prejudice, based on racism, based on beliefs that should not exist in our health-care system," Turpel-Lafond said at a news conference.She said 84 per cent of the review's Indigenous respondents reported some form of discrimination in health care and 52 per cent of Indigenous health-care workers said they experienced racial prejudice at work, mostly in the form of comments."Among the top negative assumptions that are circulating in our health-care system today is that Indigenous patients and people are less worthy," Turpel-Lafond said. "That they are alcoholics. That they're drug seeking."These negative assumptions lead to the denial and delay of patient services, and cause some people to stay away from hospitals to avoid further incidents of discriminatory treatment, she said.Indigenous people told the review they feared hospitals and would rather face uncertain health than return to get care, said Turpel-Lafond.The review heard from nearly 9,000 Indigenous patients, family members, third-party witnesses and health-care workers. It also examined the health-care data of about 185,000 First Nations and Metis patients.Turpel-Lafond's report makes 24 recommendations. They include bringing in measures and legislation to change behaviour and the appointment of three new positions to focus on the problem, including an Indigenous health officer and an associate deputy minister of Indigenous health.The report also said the government should work with Indigenous organizations to improve the patient complaint processes to address individual and systemic racism specifically experienced by Indigenous people, as well as create a new school of Indigenous medicine at the University of British Columbia.Dix said B.C. will work to implement the recommendations and the review's findings will be felt across the country."Racism is toxic for people and it's toxic for care," he said. "I want to make an unequivocal apology as the minister of health to those who have experienced racism in accessing health-care services in B.C., now and in the past."The First Nations Leadership Council, comprising several B.C. Indigenous organizations and Metis Nation B.C., called on the government to act."These are the voices of our families and our relatives and they have to be heard," Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said in a statement. "They can no longer be silenced by a narrative of indifference and negligence and a culture of low expectations."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
Stock markets rose and safe havens such as U.S. Treasury bonds dipped Tuesday as strong factory data and signs that coronavirus vaccinations could be administered by the end of the year helped prolong a worldwide rally in risk assets even as the pandemic accelerated. Bets on more easing from the U.S. Federal Reserve to help the economy through the winter pushed the dollar index down 0.817% to 2-1/2-year lows as riskier currencies rose. Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes, meanwhile, fell 24/32 in price to yield 0.9194%, from 0.842% late on Monday, as Congress began a two-week sprint to secure funding and avoid a possible government shutdown.
KAMLOOPS, B.C. — When Renee Latheur decided to take an old guitar into a music store in Kamloops, B.C., she didn't expect the instrument that had sat in a closet for years to be worth thousands of dollars."It's in a ratty old guitar case. But I remember my aunt saying, 'I don't know what to do with this when I pass away.' "Sherrie Favell died in March, leaving Latheur wondering about the instrument and its connection to the woman she loved as an aunt even though they were not biologically related.It wasn't until Latheur recently walked into the music store and saw the owner's eyes sparkle at the sight of the case that she began to learn more about the guitar and its value to Favell's father, who bought it nearly 65 years ago.Mike Miltimore, who owns the store, said the worn tweed and leather case was a telltale sign that it may contain a unique instrument.When he opened the case, he saw a Gretsch from the 1950s, featuring a big brass buckle on the top and a leather studded "belt" around the outside."It's a played instrument, you know. It's been loved. If it could talk, it would tell probably about hundreds of concerts played throughout its life," Miltimore said.He said his research from the serial number revealed the electric Gretsch, or Roundup 6130, was made in 1955 and similar to the instrument later played by country legend Chet Atkins."It's a hollow-bodied guitar and a lot of companies were doing solid bodies at that time," Miltimore said, adding a hollow instrument was used for the country style of picking that Atkins popularized.The guitar that Latheur thought may be worth $200 is actually valued at between $12,000 and $26,000, Miltimore said, adding about 400 of the instruments were made in the 1950s."I was blown away," Latheur said.She recently learned her aunt treasured the mahogany guitar that kept her connected to her father, Roy Favell, who played his beloved instrument in a band called McKinna Gold."He caught his hand in a planer at a mill in Salmon Arm and he actually had to retrain to play the guitar," Latheur said.Favell lost his thumb at age 21 but still managed to perform with it.However, Favell inexplicably sold his guitar at a pawnshop. It was later rescued by Sherrie Favell and her mother, Latheur said. Sherrie bought it back again when it was hocked a second time, Latheur said, and she kept it after her father died about 20 years ago.Sherrie sometimes played the Credence Clearwater tune "Bad Moon Rising" on the guitar, but her prized possession spent much of its time hidden away, Latheur said. — By Camille Bains in Vancouver.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press
Rosa Parks is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama; Former communist official Sergei Kirov is assassinated in Leningrad; Beatlemania arrives in America; Actor and director Woody Allen is born. (Dec. 1)
WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says that the pace of improvement in the economy has moderated in recent months with future prospects remaining “extraordinarily uncertain.” In remarks released by the Fed on Monday, Powell said that the increase in new COVID-19 cases both in the United States and abroad was “concerning and could prove challenging for the next few months. A full economic recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities.” Powell said while progress on developing vaccines had been “very positive,” significant challenges remained regarding the timing, production and distribution of the vaccines, and it remained difficult to assess the economic implications of this process with any degree of confidence. Powell's remarks were prepared for a joint appearance he will make on Tuesday with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin before the Senate Banking Committee. The hearing is part of the panel's oversight responsibilities required under the $2 trillion CARES Act legilsation Congress passed in March. In Mnuchin's prepared remarks, which were also released Monday, the Treasury secretary said the Trump administration was still willing to support targeted fiscal package to provide further economic relief. “I strongly encourage Congress to use the $455 billion in unused funds from the CARES Act to pass an additional bill with bipartisan support,” Mnuchin said. “The administration is standing ready to support Congress in this effort to help American workers and small businesses that continue to struggle with the impact of COVID-19.” Mnuchin announced on Nov. 19 that he would not grant extensions for five lending programs being operated jointly by the Fed and the Treasury Department that were scheduled to expire on Dec. 31. Mnuchin said that the money allocated to the Fed for those programs should be used now instead to provide support to Congress for additional assistance to individuals and businesses. The five programs that Mnuchin announced he would not extend past this year included backstops for corporate and municipal debt and the purchase of loans for small businesses and nonprofits. Earlier on Monday, the Fed and Treasury announced as expected that four other lending facilities that do not utilize CARES Act funds would be extended through next March. Those facilities helped to stabilize short-term funding markets when the coronavirus hit last spring, sending shockwaves through the financial system. The four Fed loan programs that were extended included the Commercial Paper Funding Facility, which provided critical support for the market that supplies short-term corporate IOUs. Also extended was operation of the Money Market Fund Liquidity Facility, which helped to prevent potential runs on money-market mutual funds. In his remarks, Powell said that the Fed's “broad and forceful actions” had helped unlock almost $2 trillion in funding to support “businesses large and small, nonprofits and state and local governments since April.” Following their appearance Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee, Powell and Mnuchin were scheduled to testify Wednesday at an oversight hearing being held by the House Financial Services Committee. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
TORONTO — The man who drove a van down a sidewalk and killed 10 people in Toronto struggled to understand others throughout his entire life despite his high intelligence, court heard Monday. Alek Minassian, from Richmond Hill, Ont., was terrified of girls and women, had deep esoteric obsessions and had a "striking absence" of empathy, said Dr. Alexander Westphal, a psychiatrist who specializes in autism. Minassian has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. The defence argues he is not criminally responsible for his actions on April 23, 2018, due to autism spectrum disorder. Westphal, a professor at Yale University in the U.S. who is testifying for the defence, is expected to be the only expert to say that Minassian should be found not criminally responsible because of his autism. "He's got a very substantial impairment in interpersonal skills that translates into very limited social circles and no romantic relationships in his history," Westphal said. Westphal said Minassian scored in the 92nd percentile in the verbal portion of an IQ test, but that his overall "adaptive skills," on a different test, is similar to that of a young child. "The disconnect between his intellectual ability and his ability to apply it to real life is stark," Westphal said. The psychiatrist testified based on interviews with the accused, his family and old medical records. He said Minassian has trouble interacting with the world. "If you sit down with Mr. Minassian, you get a sense of someone who has a lot of words and is highly articulate, but in a sense it is quite easy to get distracted by that veneer and lose sight how disabled he is," Westphal said. Minassian was diagnosed at five years old with pervasive developmental disorder, which is now considered part of autism spectrum disorder. His parents noticed he never made eye contact and often played alone. He'd eventually learn to make eye contact after being taught, and he also did not smile much, Westphal said. "He didn't smile socially, it was just not part of his facial repertoire." Minassian also became obsessed with Mr. Bean, a popular British sitcom, Westphal said, and imitated the character's way of speaking. He said it may have been Mr. Bean's "hyperemotivity," or exaggerated facial expressions, that attracted Minassian. Minassian never showed aggression to others, just himself, prior to perpetrating the attack, Westphal testified. He said Minassian's only known aggression in life was as a young child when he would thrash his head against the wall. Throughout high school and into early adulthood, Minassian, now 28, told Westphal he was scared of women and girls. One of Minassian's stated motivations for the attack is retribution against society for years of rejection by women. He has told psychiatrists as well as the police that he became entangled with the so-called "incel movement" online where men discuss their hatred of women. Incels believe they are on the lowest rung of society and large-scale attacks would destabilize society, which would then give incels the chance to come out on top. Westphal testified that when Minassian saw girls in school, he would jump back, saying, "Don't hurt me, don't hurt me." He was so uncomfortable around women that he could not give his order at a restaurant if the wait staff was female, Westphal said. Minassian has never had a relationship with a woman, Westphal testified. "The closest he got to any romantic relationship was a girl who he got her phone number from and when he texted her, she didn't text him back," Westphal said. Another psychiatrist previously testified that Minassian did not show any anger toward women and, at one point, recanted his hatred towards women as his motivation. Minassian has also said he was motivated by the notoriety an attack would bring as well as "extreme anxiety" related to starting a new job. Minassian was teased and bullied throughout school, the psychiatrist said. "Being picked on because of his disability is something that occurred throughout his childhood," Westphal said. "It’s one of the things he's identified in as much he's identified a causal reason for his actions." Last week, Westphal refused to testify if court didn't seal his videotaped interviews with Minassian and play the clips to court in secret. The judge gave in to sealing the videos after the psychiatrist warned they could incite more violence, but will allow journalists to watch them. Minassian has admitted to planning and carrying out the attacks. His state of mind at the time is the sole issue at trial. Westphal's testimony will continue tomorrow. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020. Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — Aurora Cannabis Inc. says it is indefinitely pausing operations at one of its Alberta facilities and laying off a few dozen staff.The Edmonton-based cannabis company says the pause will occur at its Aurora Sun property in Medicine Hat, where it will layoff about 30 workers.Aurora spokeswoman Michelle Lefler says that the moves are expected to be complete around Dec. 18. She says the measures are part of a review the company is conducting to ensure all of its operations are a fit for its current and future business and to help the company adjust to recent shifts in the industry.Aurora's shares gained 11 per cent to $15.25 in Monday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.In June, the company laid off 700 workers and announced plans to cease operations at five facilities in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. It also said it planned to consolidate production and manufacturing at four facilities in Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:ACB)The Canadian Press
There is a new women’s clothing store in Merrickville. Hazel’s Boutique is owned by Julia Provost, who is also the owner of Abel Mountain, next door. She took over the store at the beginning of October from Marilyn and Tim Boyce, who ran Portside Boutique for the last seven years. “I’ve been shop neighbours with Marilyn and Tim who owned Portside, and she had kind of hinted at wanting to retire,” Julia remembers. “And, one day, I jokingly said I should just take over for you, because I’ll miss your store.” Soon after, Marilyn and Tim came to her with a rough outline of some numbers. Julia talked it over with her husband, Carlos, and decided to go for it. “It just made sense.” Marilyn and Tim retired at the end of September and Julia opened up Hazel’s Boutique the second week of October. It was a seamless transition, as Marilyn was able to set her up with many of the brands she has worked with for years, and she even took over some of the stock Marilyn had already ordered. Julia says the first few weeks in business were good, especially since they didn’t have a sign in the door for most of October. Hazel’s Boutique is named after Julia’s ten-year old daughter, Hazel. “Abel is my son, and Hazel is my daughter, so it just made sense that they each have their own store,” she says. Hazel loves having a store named after her, “She’s always like: are we going to Hazel’s? With a little giggle in her voice.” Opening a new store during a pandemic has definitely been a challenge for Julia. The most difficult part has been getting enough stock, because supply is down due to COVID-19, even with local and Canadian brands. “You’ll spend hours sourcing something, and then people will get back to you and half the stuff you’ve spent time sourcing isn’t available.” Julia and her three employees also spend a lot of time cleaning the store to make sure it is safe for customers to shop. They sanitize everything every 20-30 minutes and limit the number of people in the store to four. They also steam all the clothes every time someone tries something on, to make sure the items are safe for the next shopper. Despite the challenges, Julia says the local support has been amazing. “People either liking or sharing your posts on Facebook, shopping in your store, trying to shop more local. COVID has really brought the community together,which is nice.” Portside Boutique always shut down over the winter, and Julia is planning on taking advantage of this to make the store her own. They will be closed in January, February, and the beginning of March to do renovations. “It will be a lot of work for my poor husband,” Julia laughs. “He’s a contractor, so at Abel Mountain he’s built 90% of the displays. Anything I dream up, he will build it for me.” Julia admits that running two stores, especially during a pandemic, is a lot of work. But she keeps going because she feels it is in her blood. “I always really liked Marilyn and Tim, and I’ve always sort of had a vision for how I would like this place to look. So I thought: why not try it?” Hazel’s Boutique will remain very similar to Portside, in that it will focus on women’s clothing and accessories; but it is clear that Julia is looking forward to putting her own personal touch on the shop. “I’m excited to see it come to life,” she says. Hazel’s Boutique is open at 312 St. Lawrence Street, from 10am-4pm, Sunday-Thursday, and 10am-5pm on Friday and Saturday. Hilary Thomson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times
VICTORIA — British Columbia recorded 46 more deaths over the last three days, its highest number of fatalities for that time period.Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry became emotional Monday as she expressed her condolences to families and thanked caregivers for their dedication.Henry says 80 per cent of the deaths were in long-term care homes, and 441 people have now died of COVID-19 in the province.She says 2,364 new infections were diagnosed between Friday and Monday, for a total of 33,238 cases since the pandemic began.Henry says the rise in deaths reflects the challenge of dealing with the virus in communities, and the impact on seniors when it gets into care homes.There are outbreaks in 57 long-term care and assisted living facilities as well as in five in acute-care units in British Columbia."Health-care workers have been at the front lines, or maybe the last line of defence right now," she says. "I know how challenging it is and I'm with you every single day, supporting you in admiration for the work that you're doing."Henry says most faith leaders are supporting her order banning religious services and understand that faith can be practised outside of buildings.The RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to a church in Langley after it held a service on the weekend."We are putting in the measures that we believe are the best we can do to protect communities, to protect our health and to protect us from transmission of this virus," Henry says.She says there's always an ethical dilemma when it comes to balancing the unintended consequences of her orders and how they affect people."How do you do just the right amount to try and keep this virus from spreading rapidly and causing so much suffering? There's no right answer to this, there's no perfect way of doing it and I will always be accused of doing too much or not enough."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.The Canadian Press