Alphonso Davies has lit up the European stage since transferring to Bayern Munich in 2018 but the window to create a Champions League dynasty is closing on the German giants.
Alphonso Davies has lit up the European stage since transferring to Bayern Munich in 2018 but the window to create a Champions League dynasty is closing on the German giants.
(Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/The Associated Press - image credit) Health Canada's approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India's version to prevent COVID-19 in adults follows similar green lights from regulators in the United Kingdom, Europe Union, Mexico and India. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, called ChAdOx1, was approved for use in Canada on Friday following clinical trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil that showed a 62.1 per cent efficacy in reducing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 cases among those given the vaccine. Experts have said any vaccine with an efficacy rate of over 50 per cent could help stop outbreaks. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said the key number across all of the clinical trials for those who received AstraZeneca's product was zero — no deaths, no hospitalizations for serious COVID-19 and no deaths because of an adverse effect of the vaccine. "I think Canada is hungry for vaccines," Sharma said in a briefing. "We're putting more on the buffet table to be used." Specifically, 64 of 5,258 in the vaccination group got COVID-19 with symptoms compared with people in the control group given injections (154 of 5,210 got COVID-19 with symptoms). Dr. Susy Hota, medical director of infection prevention and control at Toronto's University Health Network, called it a positive move to have AstraZeneca's vaccines added to Canada's options. "Even though the final efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine appears lower than what we have with the mRNA vaccines, it's still reasonably good," Hota said. "What we need to be focusing on is trying to get as many people as possible vaccinated so we can prevent the harms from this." Canada has an agreement with AstraZeneca to buy 20 million doses as well as between 1.9 million and 3.2 million doses through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX. WATCH | AstraZeneca vaccine safety: Canada will also receive 2 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the government announced Friday. Here's a look at some common questions about the vaccine, how it works, in whom and how it could be rolled out. What's different about this shot? The Oxford-AstraZeneca is cheaper and easier to handle than the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which need to be stored at ultracold temperatures to protect the fragile genetic material. AstraZeneca says its vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2 to 8 C) for at least six months. (Moderna's product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures for 30 days after thawing.) The ease of handling could make it easier to administer AstraZeneca's vaccine in rural and remote areas of Canada and the world. "There are definitely some advantages to having multiple vaccine candidates available to get to as many Canadians as possible," Hota said. Sharma said while the product monograph notes that evidence for people over age 65 is limited, real-world data from countries already using AstraZeneca's vaccine suggest it is safe and effective among older age groups. "We have real-world evidence from Scotland and the U.K. for people that have been dosed that would have been over 80 and that has shown significant drop in hospitalizations to the tune of 84 per cent," Sharma said. Data from clinical trials is more limited compared with in real-world settings that reflect people from different age groups, medical conditions and other factors. How does it work? Vaccines work by training our immune system to recognize an invader. The first two vaccines to protect against COVID-19 that were approved for use in Canada deliver RNA that encodes the spike protein on the surface of the pandemic coronavirus. Health-care workers Diego Feitosa Ferreira, right, and Clemilton Lopes de Oliveira travel on a boat in the state of Amazonas in Brazil, on Feb. 12, to vaccinate residents with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures, which facilitates its use in remote areas. In contrast, the AstraZeneca vaccine packs the genetic information for the spike protein in the shell of a virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees. Vaccine makers altered the adenovirus so it can't grow in humans. Viral vector vaccines mimic viral infection more closely than some other kinds of vaccines. One disadvantage of viral vectors is that if a person has immunity toward a particular vector, the vaccine won't work as well. But people are unlikely to have been exposed to a chimpanzee adenovirus. How and where could it be used? Virologist Eric Arts at Western University in London, Ont., said vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, which is also under review by Health Canada, and Russian Sputnik-V vaccines all have some similarities. "I do like the fact that AstraZeneca has decided to continue trials, to work with the Russians on the Sputnik-V vaccine combination," said Arts, who holds the Canada Research Chair in HIV pathogenesis and viral control. Boxes with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at St. Mary's Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Health Canada says the vaccine is given by two separate injections of 0.5 millilitres each into the muscle of the arm. "The reason why I'm encouraged by it is I think there might be greater opportunity to administer those vaccines in low- to middle-income countries. We need that. I think our high-income countries have somewhat ignored the situation that is more significant globally." Researchers reported on Feb. 2 in the journal Lancet that in a Phase 3 clinical trial involving about 20,000 people in Russia, the two-dose Sputnik-V vaccine was about 91 per cent effective and appears to prevent inoculated individuals from becoming severely ill with COVID-19. There were 16 COVID-19 cases in the vaccine group (0.1 per cent or 16/14,964) and 62 cases (1.3 per cent or [62/4,902 ) in the control group. No serious adverse events were associated with vaccination. Most adverse events were mild, such as flu-like symptoms, pain at injection site and weakness or low energy. An analysis of results from 2,000 adults older than 60 years suggested the vaccine was similarly effective and well tolerated in this age group. Arts and other scientists acknowledged the speed and lack of transparency of the Russian vaccination program. But British scientists Ian Jones and Polly Roy wrote in an accompanying commentary that the results are clear and add another vaccine option to reduce the incidence of COVID-19.
A typical winter in Bala can be isolating. Far away from the hustle and bustle of tourism season, Bala doesn't see visitors often in the winter unless they're attending a sporting event at the Bala Arena, now closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Across from the arena, there was one place where locals and visitors could gather and socialize, despite the chilly weather: the Bala legion, where people could grab a hot meal and a beer, whether it was an average Friday night or they were in town to catch their child's hockey game. Today, Robert Healey, the legion's sergeant-at-arms, said he’s disappointed to see it reduced to a large building sitting idle in the middle of town. “I’m very discouraged and I think a lot of people are,” he said. For Dennis Mills, the Bala legion's president, what they did went beyond providing a place to get a drink. “We were a place where people could mentally exercise,” he said. “Social interaction is the most important ingredient for a person’s mental health.” With the Bala Arena closed, the legion has taken a hard hit, closing entirely for the winter months. They're cut off from the revenue they'd get from selling food and drinks, and its membership has nowhere to congregate. “This year is our 75th anniversary,” Healey said. “We're trying to plan a big dinner, but we don't know whether we're going to be able to do anything.” However, there's hope the legion can weather this lockdown, at least until patios can reopen in the spring. “We feel the camaraderie during COVID,” Mills said. “The spirit for the Bala legion, it’s certainly been the strongest that I’ve experienced in my 16 years.” On an average evening before the pandemic, Healey said, 20 to 50 people might attend the legion and stay for around 3-4 hours for a meal while socializing. “I enjoyed it,” he said. “It gave me something to do, it gave my wife something to do. You'd have companionship and you'd meet new people ... it was just a good community thing.” During the pandemic, they only allowed 10 people inside the building at a time, and they weren’t serving anything. “We felt that was part of our mission and part of our mandate to serve the community,” Mills said. When the province reinstated the lockdown at the onset of the second wave, the legion was closed to the public entirely. Mills said he, legion member Jack Durante and membership chair Kibby Ham have been reaching out to legion members, four or five a day, to keep in touch and chat. Other legions in Muskoka Lakes have made some adjustments. The Port Carling legion is selling its food for curbside pickup. Legion treasurer Sherri Snider said in lieu of their normal winter patronage of people at the arena and curling club, they’ve seen an influx of contractors ordering food from them. “I wouldn’t say we’re doing tons of money with our expenses and labour, but we are certainly making a profit and the town is appreciative that we are here,” she said. According to Mills, the legion incurs $3,500 of fixed costs a month for heating, electricity, cleaning and paying a bookkeeper. Right now, they’re relying on donations from the supporters they’ve accumulated over the last four years. “We’re in a very tough situation with COVID … but we have a tremendous amount of goodwill,” he said. Mayor Phil Harding said he recognizes the legion's closure leaves a hole in the community. “With a full lockdown and winter, it really compounds the problem,” he said. “It's certainly on our radar as municipal council.” STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Legions are a cornerstone of connection in many of Muskoka's communities, for veterans and other locals. Our reporter wanted to see how the Bala legion was faring in a town hit hard by the decrease in winter tourism. Zahraa Hmood is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering the municipalities of Muskoka Lakes, Lake of Bays and Georgian Bay. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Zahraa Hmood, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
WASHINGTON — Bouncing back from months of retrenchment, America's consumers stepped up their spending by a solid 2.4% in January in a sign that the economy may be making a tentative recovery from the pandemic recession. Friday’s report from the Commerce Department also showed that personal incomes, which provide the fuel for spending, jumped 10% last month, boosted by cash payments most Americans received from the government. The January spending increase followed two straight monthly spending drops that had raised concerns that consumers, who power most of the economy, were hunkered down, too anxious to travel, shop and spend. Last month's sharp gain suggests that many people are growing more confident about spending, especially after receiving $600 checks that went to most adults last month in a federal economic aid package. The government also reported Friday that inflation by a measure preferred by the Federal Reserve rose a moderate 0.3% in December. That left prices up 1.5% over the past 12 months, well below the Fed’s 2% target. Besides receiving cash payments, many Americans who have managed to keep their jobs have also been saving money for several months. That could bode well for the economy later this year, once consumers feel more willing to spend, vaccinations are more widely distributed and some version of President Joe Biden’s new economic aid proposal is enacted. Concerns that a strengthening economy will accelerate inflation have sent bond yields surging. On Thursday, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note moved above 1.5% — a level not seen in more than a year and far above the 0.92% it was trading at only two months ago. The move raised alarms on Wall Street and ignited a deep selloff in the stock market. Some investors fear that rising interest rates and the threat of inflation might lead the Fed to raise its benchmark short-term rate too quickly and potentially derail the economy. The tame inflation figure in Friday's report from the government shows that so far, price increases are mostly mild. In testimony to Congress this week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell downplayed the inflation risk and instead underscored the economy’s struggles. Layoffs are still high. And 10 million jobs remain lost to the pandemic that erupted nearly a year ago. That’s a deeper job loss than was inflicted by the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Still, despite the weakened job market, key sectors of the economy are showing signs of picking up as vaccinations increase and government rescue aid works its way through the economy. The Fed’s ultra-low-rate policy is providing important support as well. Retail sales soared last month. Factory output also rose and has nearly regained its pre-pandemic levels. And sales of newly built homes jumped in January. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
Déplacement de la voie ferrée, agrandissement du parc industriel et construction d’un centre multiservice ferroviaire sont dans les cartons, à Mashteuiatsh. Pour que tous ces projets voient le jour, des investissements de plus 30 M$ seront nécessaires. Malgré les démarches initiées par Pekuakamiulnuatsh Takuhikan, Services aux Autochtones Canada n’a pas encore débloqué de financement pour l’agrandissement du parc industriel. Au cours des derniers mois, CMAX Transport, le comité de maximisation des grands projets dans la région, a analysé le réseau ferroviaire régional. Le but : proposer un plan d’optimisation du réseau ferroviaire pour le rendre plus fluide et ainsi faciliter le transport pour de futurs projets industriels. Avant de présenter le résultat de son travail, CMAX Transport rencontre les élus de la région pour présenter un tracé souhaité. Questionné à ce sujet, le responsable de CMAX transport n’a pas commenté, préférant attendre de dévoiler le projet publiquement au cours des prochaines semaines. Mais plusieurs informations ont commencé à filtrer, alors que les conseils municipaux et Katakuhimatsheta (Conseil des élus de Mashteuiatsh) votent des résolutions pour entériner le plan de CMAX Transport. Ce tracé comprend notamment des améliorations importantes de la voie ferrée entre Chibougamau et La Doré et l’ajout d’une surlargeur à l’entrée sud de Saint-Félicien, près de l’entreprise Granules LG. Les élus de Mashteuiatsh devraient confirmer, le 15 mars prochain, leur approbation pour les aménagements ferroviaires dans la communauté et le trajet proposé par CMAX Transport. Ce trajet prévoit la construction d’une nouvelle voie ferrée dans les terres, pour éviter de passer en plein cœur de la communauté ilnue, explique Stacy Bossum, conseiller responsable désigné à l’économie et aux relations grandes entreprises. De plus, deux représentants de Mashteuiatsh seront nommés pour siéger au Conseil de la régie intermunicipale ferroviaire. Si toutes les municipalités de la région entérinent le tracé, la régie intermunicipale pourrait alors déposer des demandes financières au nom de toute la région pour le réaliser. Selon les estimations, les travaux, d’une valeur de 7 à 10 M$ pour la portion de Mashteuiatsh seulement, pourraient être réalisés dans un horizon de 5 à 10 ans, selon les informations obtenues par Stacy Bossum. « En déplaçant le chemin de fer, ça améliorera beaucoup la sécurité, parce qu’on retrouve 16 passages à niveau dans la communauté, dit-il. Avec le nouveau tracé, il n’y en aurait que trois ». À l’heure actuelle, deux ou trois trains traversent Mashteuiatsh par jour, et ce nombre est voué à croître si les projets industriels se concrétisent. Sabin Côté, le maire de Roberval, se réjouit aussi à l’idée de dévier le transport ferroviaire. « C’est une bonne nouvelle pour notre plan de développement touristique sur la Pointe-Scott, parce qu’en déviant le trafic de Mashteuiatsh, les trains arriveraient directement à l’ancienne usine de Produits forestiers Résolu », dit-il. Des investissements structurants Mashteuiatsh ne souhaite pas seulement que le transport ferroviaire soit plus fluide. La communauté veut aussi tirer profit des grands projets industriels pour se développer économiquement. Lors de discussions à la Table régionale de transport ferroviaire, l’idée de construire un Centre multiservice ferroviaire a émergé. Ce centre, qui créerait une dizaine d’emplois, permettrait de faire l’entretien, le transbordement, la location et l’entreposage de wagons. Des études de faisabilité et un plan d’affaires ont été réalisés, grâce à des fonds du ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation et à des fonds autonomes de la communauté, permettant d’évaluer les coûts du projet à 30 M$, dont 17 M$ pour une desserte ferroviaire, qui relierait le parc industriel de Mashteuiatsh au réseau du CN, offrant de belles occasions de développement. Le problème : la réalisation du projet est dépendante d’un autre projet, soit l’agrandissement du parc industriel. Depuis que Mashteuiatsh a été agrandie, en achetant des terres pour que la communauté débouche sur la route 169, cette dernière souhaite agrandir son parc industriel. Ce projet, évalué à plus de 12 M$, a été soumis à Services aux Autochtones Canada (SAC) pour obtenir du financement en 2019. « Il y avait une bonne collaboration pour développer un projet pilote du genre dans une communauté autochtone, mais le projet est toujours reporté », souligne Stacy Bossum. Étant donné que SAC n’a toujours pas confirmé de financement pour l’agrandissement du parc industriel, le projet de Centre multiservice ferroviaire est bloqué. En attendant des développements, Mashteuiatsh a décidé de mettre le projet sur la glace, en décembre dernier. Si le projet de CMAX Transport va de l’avant, Mashteuiatsh n’aurait pas à trouver 17 M$ pour construire une desserte ferroviaire. Une analyse plus approfondie sera nécessaire pour déterminer les montants à investir de manière plus précise. Guillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Digital assets under management across exchange-traded products doubled this month to a record $43.9 billion, researcher CryptoCompare said on Friday, underscoring soaring interest in securities that track digital currencies. Bitcoin has leapt over 60% this year, hitting an all-time high of $58,354 this month as mainstream companies such as Tesla Inc and Mastercard Inc embraced cryptocurrencies. Still, daily trading volumes across all varieties of exchange-traded products involving cryptocurrencies slumped 38% in February from a month earlier to $936 million, CryptoCompare said in a research report.
(City of Fredericton - image credit) The City of Fredericton has established new terms for the role of its poet laureate in an effort to avoid controversy on council. The role has been in question since former poet laureate Jenna Lyn Albert read a poem about abortion rights at a council meeting in September, which some councillors said was too political. Since then, councillors have had several discussions about how often the poet should read, what the poet should read, and how much the poet should be paid. "I think from day one it was clear that everyone thought that the poet laureate was an important role for the city," said Henri Mallet, chair of the liveable communities committee, which voted unanimously to pass the new terms. Now the Poet Laureate will have to compose and present six original poems, regularly engage with the community through events, and propose and deliver a legacy project, which will be left up to the poet laureate. The pay for the position will also go $2,000 to $5,000 a year for two years, and there will be extra compensation for readings beyond the mandated number. Councillor Stephen Chase hopes the new measures will help to alleviate any contention. "Learning from the experience that we had with the last go round on a poet laureate, we don't need anything that's going to generate more controversy," he said. "I think the terms of reference will speak to that." The laureate will not have to read at every council meeting, but council may invite the poet laureate when appropriate. Jenna Lyn Albert said she welcomes the new terms for the role, but said not having the poet read at every meeting leaves a gap. "I felt like it really added something to council meetings, not everyone's voice can be heard on a city council, not everyone's represented. So having that poem, that ability to reflect on certain themes or issues was really valuable," Albert said. The terms of reference still need to be approved by council. The city estimates it will still take a few months before a new poet laureate is hired.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has announced a $7-million satellite program to locate and track people who are fishing illegally near Ecuador's Galapagos Islands. “Illegal fishing threatens the health of our fish stocks and takes resources away from hard-working, law-abiding fishers,” said Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan in a press release. “We're investing in one of the leading, most innovative systems on the planet to ensure our fish stocks are protected, our fisheries remain lucrative, and the law is upheld at sea.” The Dark Vessel Detection program uses satellite technology to detect “dark vessels,” ones that have turned off their location transmitting devices in order to avoid being caught, according to DFO. It’s estimated that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing accounts for about 30 per cent of all fishing activity worldwide, representing up to 26 million tonnes of fish caught annually at a cost to the global economy of $10 billion to $23 billion a year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. DFO awarded Ontario-based space technology company MDA — the maker of the Canadarm — with a three-year contract to supply the technology for the program. It will provide data and analysis to officials in Ecuador and the Forum Fisheries Agency, which represents 15 small island nations in the Pacific region, so they can spend their resources on enforcement to protect their fish stocks, DFO says. MDA says the program will combine data from multiple satellite missions, including the Canadian Space Agency Earth observation satellite, RADARSAT-2. The Dark Vessel Detection program is part of the $11.6 million Canada committed to ocean health at the 2018 G7 meeting. DFO kicked off a smaller-scale program in June to track vessels in the Bahamas and Costa Rica, which saw “significant” fines to five foreign vessels, according to the department. Canada has been under fire for having illegal seafood in its supply chains. Oceana Canada says the country has “inadequate traceability standards” to monitor its seafood supply chain. As a result, the Canadian economy is losing up to $93.8 million in tax revenue each year due to illegal and unreported fishing, according to an Oceana Canada report released in November. Meanwhile, Canadian fishers are missing out on up to $379 million in lost revenue, per the report. The ocean conservation organization has been calling on the feds to develop a boat-to-plate traceability system that would track information about seafood products and disseminate it throughout supply chains. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tasked Jordan and Health Minister Patty Hajdu to tackle it in their 2019 mandate letters, but no timeline for this plan has been released. This task, however, wasn’t included in Jordan’s or Hajdu’s subsequent 2021 letters. Yasmine Ghania, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
(Paul Taillon/Office of the Premier - image credit) This column is an opinion from Graham Thomson, an award-winning journalist who has covered Alberta politics for more than 30 years. Before delivering the new provincial budget Thursday, Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews bought himself new cowboy boots. A pair of ballet shoes would have been more appropriate. Toews's budget does a lot of dancing, much of it on eggshells. This is a budget that is afraid of suffering another embarrassing pratfall like the one performed last year when Toews tabled an overly optimistic budget in February that predicted solid economic growth, higher employment and a balanced budget by 2023 — and was quickly rendered obsolete with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. "When I was actually presenting the budget, it felt like Rome was burning behind me," said a slightly traumatized Toews at the time. This year's budget might be entitled, "Protecting lives and livelihoods" but, "Once burned, twice shy" would work, too. It's a conservative document, not in terms of spending and deficits, but in terms of predictions. The budget uses the word "uncertainty" so often it's like a nervous twitch, as in, "A great deal of uncertainty remains about vaccination roll-outs and the speed and breadth of global economic recovery." WATCH | Finance minister, Opposition leader discuss 2021 budget: "Uncertainty" is the word of the day. And it's going to be the word of the year as we continue to muddle through the minefield that is COVID 2021. The government learned an important lesson last year: don't raise expectations. Toews's economic outlook this year includes an $18 billion deficit, in addition to last year's $20 billion shortfall caused in part by a price of oil that went negative at one point. The accumulated debt will hit $115 billion this year and reach an astronomical $132 billion in two years. That's not including the $1.3 billion at risk in the Keystone XL pipeline gamble. The debt is climbing so high, so fast, the government is starting to couch the debt in terms of its relationship to the total provincial economy. This is called the net-debt-to-GDP ratio and it's a term beloved by pernickety economists — and by politicians trying to mask the size of their government's record debt. Right now Alberta's ratio is 24.5 per cent, which is pretty good compared to Ontario, for example, at 50 per cent. But just two years ago, our ratio was 11 per cent. Yes, there are few encouraging numbers in this budget. The government is spending four per cent more on health care and is setting up a $1.25-billion contingency fund to fight the pandemic. Premier Kenney is not slashing spending or cutting services as he seemed to suggest much of last year with his warning of a "fiscal reckoning" to come. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney promised there would be no new taxes in the budget. This is not a fiscal-reckoning budget or even an austerity budget. It is not the fiscal plan of a self-assured government. This is the keep-your-head-down-budget of a government under siege from COVID-19 and an unhappy public that seems to be increasingly dissatisfied with the UCP. The fiscal outlook is so uncertain that Toews doesn't even pretend to have a plan to balance the budget, unlike last year when he confidently predicted no more deficits starting in 2022, right before he felt the flames of COVID setting his prognostications on fire. 'Right-sizing' But if Toews is not outright slashing, he is planning to do some whittling and that has public-sector unions nervous. "One area where we can no longer delay is addressing a public -ector salary structure in Alberta that has for decades been an outlier compared to other provinces," said Toews, who has previously warned unions that if they don't accept concessions, they'll face more job cuts. Toews calls this "right-sizing" public-sector compensation, a term sure to infuriate workers and do nothing to quell labour unrest. "Perhaps if governments had shown more restraint in previous years, we would not have had to confront this issue," added Toews, who might be taking a jab at the former NDP government but really should be aiming at a succession of previous Conservative governments. True to form, Toews also pointed the finger of blame at the federal Liberal government: "The biggest obstacle to recovery may be our own national government, which has layered on regulatory requirements, created investment uncertainty, chased away the investment that maintains family-supporting jobs, and is now increasing the costs for our most vital national economic drivers." What the Kenney government tends to gloss over is that after the pandemic hit, most of the financial aid delivered to beleaguered Albertans came from Ottawa. Not only did the federal government deliver $11 billion in direct transfers to the Alberta treasury last year, it sent an additional $23 billion to individual Albertans and businesses via programs such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. Albertans are no doubt relieved that, as Kenney promised, there are no new taxes in the budget. But you have to wonder if that's just a matter of time. The pandemic might have forced the government into spending record amounts of money but our fiscal problems didn't begin and end there. COVID's rampage through our economy demonstrated once again how over-reliant we are on the capricious price of fossil fuels. There will be a "fiscal reckoning" in our future, sooner or later.
BERLIN — A Bavarian radio station apologized Friday for a host's comments comparing popular South Korean K-pop band BTS to the coronavirus, saying his choice of words had gone too far but was in no way meant to be “hurtful or racist.” The statement came after legions of fans accused the station's Matthias Matuschik of racism for his comments on the band's cover of Coldplay's “Fix You,” taking to social media using the hashtags #Bayern3Racist, #Bayern3Apologize and #RassismusBeiBayern3 which translates as “racism at Bayern3.” “Racism is not an option,” wrote one user, @Vroseeeee1 in a blunt tweet in English, German, Korean and Spanish. The uproar came after a live show Wednesday, in which Matuschik derided BTS's version of “Fix You” as “blasphemy” and compared the band to COVID-19, describing them as “some crappy virus that hopefully there will be a vaccine for soon as well.” He then dug his hole deeper as he tried to roll back the comment somewhat, saying “I have nothing against South Korea, you can’t accuse me of xenophobia only because this boyband is from South Korea... I have a car from South Korea. I have the coolest car around.” Then he went on to say that in penance for the cover, BTS “will be vacationing in North Korea for the next 20 years.” BTS, which debuted in 2013, became the biggest boy band in the world, selling out stadiums worldwide and delivering a video message at the U.N. General Assembly this year. Their songs, filled with intimate, socially conscious lyrics, are credited for their success. Unlike other K-pop bands that carefully maintain the personas created by their labels, BTS is known for its active engagement with fans — known as ARMY — through social media. BTS has over 33.1 million followers on Twitter. Offence at the comments didn't only come from South Korea, with many social media users in Germany and elsewhere immediately condemning them. “I know which radio station I won't be listening to anymore, bye @Bayern3,” wrote user @fairesvmns in a German-language post that included audio of Matuschik's comments. “I really don't need racism of this shape and form in 2021.” Many South Koreans living abroad expressed concerns that the remarks could incite anti-Asian violence, already on the rise in many places. “This is not just about #BTS, it is about so many Asian people who are dealing with extreme racism especially due to pandemic,” Hansl Chang, a South Korean who lives in Germany, tweeted. In the station's apology, it said that while Matuschik was “presenting his opinion in an ironic, exaggerated way and with exaggerated excitement, his words went too far and hurt the feelings of BTS fans. “But he — and he has assured us of this — in no way intended this. He just wanted to express his displeasure over the aforementioned cover version.” It noted that Matuschik has been involved in helping raise aid for refugees and has a “constant campaign against right-wing extremism” and has shown he is against xenophobia or racism in any form. “That does not change the fact that many of you found his statements to be hurtful or racist,” Bayern3 said. “We apologize for this in every way possible. We will work on the matter with Matthias and the team in detail again in the next few days.” ___ Juwon Park in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report. David Rising, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Health Canada has approved the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca, the third to be given the green light for national use. Details of the approval and when Canadians might see doses begin arriving are due at a technical briefing later this morning in Ottawa. Canada has pre-ordered 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was co-developed by researchers at the University of Oxford. It will also receive up to 1.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX by the end of June. Vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna had already been approved by Health Canada. Approximately 1.7 million doses of those formulas have been administered in Canada. Health Canada is also reviewing two other vaccines. Approval of Johnson and Johnson's vaccine will likely not come until early March and Novavax is not expected until April. The European Union has also approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca formulas. AstraZeneca's vaccine, like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna's formulations, requires refrigeration and takes two doses for maximum efficacy. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
En l’absence d’activités organisées par les organismes et municipalités, que pourront faire les familles de la Haute-Côte-Nord pendant la semaine de relâche du 1erau 5 mars? Gino Jean, enseignant en éducation physique à l’école St-Luc ainsi qu’au Cégep de Forestville et impliqué dans le sport jeunesse, a quelques suggestions. 1. Soyez créatifs! La pandémie apporte son lot de conséquences, mais Gino Jean rappelle qu’on peut y trouver du positif. « La crise que l’on vit présentement nous permet de passer plus de temps en famille. Il faut profiter de la relâche pour créer des jeux avec nos enfants et laisser aller notre imagination. Construire un fort, aménager une glissade dans la cour ou partir à la recherche des plus belles buttes…» 2. Du plein air, 1 heure par jour, sans cellulaire. L’enseignant est un fervent du plein air hivernal. Il conseille à ses élèves et à leurs parents de prendre l’air au moins une heure par jour. « Même si tu ne fais pas d’activité précise, tu peux t’asseoir et lire un livre, si tu veux, mais au moins tu respireras l’air frais. Et surtout, laissez le cellulaire dans la maison, sinon on est tenté de le regarder », soutient-il. 3. Apprendre les rudiments de la survie en forêt. « Une belle activité à laquelle toute la famille trouvera son compte est sans aucun doute la marche en forêt pour apprendre quelques notions de survie. Faire une cabane en sapin, amasser du bois pour faire un feu, tant les adolescents que les plus jeunes seront amusés. La famille passera du bon temps à l’extérieur », suggère M. Jean qui a déjà fait cette activité avec son fil Clovis. 4. Randonnée en ski de fond. Le ski de fond est très accessible en Haute-Côte-Nord. « Plus particulièrement à Forestville, il est possible d’effectuer une randonnée de 1,2 kilomètre du stationnement du club de ski de fond au relais. On peut apporter une petite collation, se faire un feu pour se réchauffer et ce sera un bel avant-midi ou après-midi en famille », affirme l’amateur de ce sport d’hiver, précisant qu’il peut prêter des paires de skis aux enfants de l’école St-Luc. 5. Essayer le fatbike. Le vélo à pneus surdimensionnés (fatbike) est de plus en plus populaire partout au Québec. Gino Jean conseille les familles de l’essayer, surtout qu’une nouvelle piste est ouverte au golf Le Méandre à Forestville. « La Municipalité de Portneuf-sur-Mer en a deux à prêter pour les intéressés », dévoile-t-il. 6. Profiter des sentiers de raquettes. « Partout en Haute-Côte-Nord la forêt est à proximité, rappelle l’enseignant. Pourquoi ne pas en profiter pour sortir nos raquettes et partir en randonnée familiale? À Forestville, un magnifique sentier se rend au lac Forest et offre une merveilleuse vue. Le club de ski de fond offre également des pistes pour faire de la raquette. » 7. Marcher dans les rues. « Une simple marche dans les rues de notre municipalité peut être une belle activité parents-enfants. Certains trottoirs sont même déblayés pour les marcheurs. En plus, la température sera de notre côté pendant cette semaine de repos, selon les prévisions météos », de mentionner le papa de trois enfants. 8. L’important, c’est de lâcher les écrans et de se relâcher. Finalement, comme l’indique M. Jean, l’important est de reposer son cerveau et de relâcher de tout. « Et surtout de lâcher les écrans, que ce soit les cellulaires, les tablettes, les jeux vidéos, la télévision. Oui, un film un soir ça peut être bien, mais ne pas passer nos journées collé là-dessus », conclut-il. Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
Two reviews on making Britain more attractive for fintechs and company flotations should provide evidence for reform of the listings rules, Britain's financial services minister said on Friday. A review published on Friday set out how to make Britain more attractive for financial technology companies after Brexit, and a second review on reforming listing rules to attract more tech company floatations is due in coming days. The two reviews "should provide an excellent evidence base for further reform", John Glen said.
(Dave Croft/CBC - image credit) Murray Lundberg spends an awful lot of time peering into the past, but this week he's pretty excited about the future — he's going to turn his passion project into a book. The Whitehorse-based amateur historian has just signed a contract with a publisher to translate his popular Yukon History & Abandoned Places Facebook group into print. "I am so pumped by this whole thing. Yeah, it's awesome," he said. Lundberg says he was called out of the blue earlier this week by small, Nova Scotia-based publisher MacIntyre Purcell. The company published 10 to 12 books per year, and many of them focus on photography and local histories — Old Winnipeg: A History in Pictures and Abandoned Alberta are among the titles in its catalogue. "They came to me. Yeah, this is — I didn't know that ever happened. I mean, like most writers, I have a substantial stack of rejection letters," Lundberg laughed. "So to have a publisher come to me was pretty amazing." Vernon Oickle, managing editor of MacIntyre Purcell, says he came across the Facebook group not long ago while surfing the internet, looking for new book ideas. He says he followed various online rabbit holes until he landed on Lundberg's group. "It's a fantastic page, lots of wonderful photos, and historic perspective of Whitehorse and the region," Oickle said. "The more I looked at the Facebook page, I thought, jeez, there's potential for a book there." Lundberg says he signed the contract on Wednesday, and the book will likely be out by the end of next year. A wealth of material Now the real hard part begins — sifting through hundreds and hundreds of photos and other posts to figure out what to include in the book, and how to organize it all. The Facebook group is a veritable trove of historic photos and stories about the Yukon of yesteryear. Some postings are things that Lundberg himself has found or had given to him, but many more have been shared by other group members. A typical post on the Yukon History & Abandoned Places Facebook group. It's become an online go-to for many people curious about something they've found or dug out of storage. Posts can generate plenty of discussion, and sometimes mysteries are solved when other group members recognize an unidentified person, place, or time. Lundberg started the page just seven years ago, "because there was really no place to talk about Yukon history in general," he said. "At that point, there was a Dawson history group and maybe that was it, actually. So I started a Yukon-wide one." He says it "staggered along" for a few years with a few hundred members. He recalls thinking how great it would be to one day reach 1,500 members. "And now we have 15,400 members. And yeah, it's just an amazing place for gathering photographs and stories. It's just a really vibrant community now." Lundberg will be sifting through hundreds and hundreds of fascinating photos and other posts to figure out what to include in the book, and how to organize it all. Lundberg says the enthusiasm of group members is part of what attracted publisher MacIntyre Purcell to the project. Many of the online group members are Yukoners, of course, but Lundberg says there are followers from all over the place. "A lot of that comes down to the fact that people say that you can leave the Yukon, but the Yukon never leaves you," he said. "And we get so many comments by people who have left the territory and are looking to grab at little memories from the Yukon. And those photographs trigger exactly that." Lundberg says many of the page's fans are Yukoners, while others have some nostalgic connection to the territory. 'You can leave the Yukon, but the Yukon never leaves you,' Lundberg says. One thing the book won't be, Lundberg says, is another celebration of the Klondike Gold Rush or the building of the Alaska Highway during the Second World War. Those events have been the twin pillars of so much Yukon popular history over the years, and Lundberg wants to shine a light on some lesser-known times, places and events in the territory's past. The Gold Rush "won't be getting a whole lot of attention," nor will the building of the highway. "I have 117 books about the Alaska Highway in my own collection. So, you know, I think that's been well-covered," he said.
La Convention des maires pour le climat et l’énergie du Canada (CMMC) a décerné à la Ville de Laval l’insigne de réussite pour avoir fait progresser ses objectifs en matière d’environnement. Cette reconnaissance n’est certainement pas étrangère à l’ambitieux plan de réduction des gaz à effet de serre adopté au conseil municipal de novembre dernier, qui vise à diminuer du tiers ses émissions de GES d’ici 2035 par rapport au niveau de 1990. L’administration Demer partage cet honneur avec 18 autres Municipalités canadiennes dont Candiac, Beaconsfield, Prévost et la MRC de Rivière-du-Loup au Québec. Rappelons qu’en 2019, Laval avait été sélectionnée pour faire partie de la première cohorte du projet Villes-vitrines dirigé par la CMMC au pays. Ce programme de 12 mois offrait aux Villes un accompagnement intensif pour les aider à réduire leur empreinte écologique et s'adapter aux changements climatiques. «[C’] est une belle récompense pour tous nos efforts déployés jusqu'à maintenant. Elle nous encourage à poursuivre notre travail et ainsi dépasser nos objectifs en matière d’environnement», s’est réjouie Virginie Dufour, responsable des dossiers en environnement au comité exécutif, le 25 février. Depuis son adhésion à la Convention mondiale des maires pour le climat et l’énergie en 2016, la Ville produit annuellement un inventaire des émissions lavalloises de GES, ce qui lui permet notamment de mesurer l’efficacité des mesures de réduction mises en place. Parmi les actions phares de la stratégie lavalloise à la lutte aux changements climatiques, notons le programme de compensation des GES. Il s’agit d’une initiative municipale novatrice en vertu de laquelle les promoteurs et développeurs immobiliers contribuent à un fonds vert qui permet de financer des initiatives de réduction des émissions, telle la collecte à domicile des appareils réfrigérants dont se débarrassent les Lavallois. L’automne prochain, la Ville lancera une campagne sur la lutte aux changements climatiques afin de sensibiliser ses citoyens, susciter leur engagement et les inciter à changer leurs habitudes quotidiennes. Stéphane St-Amour, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
(Submitted by Bill Schurman - image credit) With six new cases in the past 48 hours, public health officials on P.E.I. are urging everyone 14-29 in the Summerside area to get tested for COVID-19, even if they don't have symptoms. Testing will take place at Three Oaks Senior High School through the weekend. Friday afternoon, Dr. Heather Morrison said a woman in her 20s had tested positive but her case appears to be unrelated to the three positive cases in Summerside and two cases in Charlottetown identified in the previous 48 hours. Morrison said the Taste of India restaurant in Charlottetown was a possible public exposure site. There were long lineups for tests at Summerside's Slemon Park facility Friday, after public health officials announced a cluster of three new cases of COVID-19, and asked all residents of Summerside to be vigilant for symptoms. If they have any, they are being asked to self-isolate and seek a test. Friday morning, Morrison held the first of two news briefings to tell Islanders about the three potential exposure sites and possible exposure times at three Summerside businesses: Iron Haven Gym, Dominos Pizza and The Breakfast Spot. Thursday, Dr. Morrison said enforcement is now involved with two new cases announced Wednesday and a link to one public exposure site, the Toys R Us in Charlottetown. Iron Haven Gym in Summerside is one of three possible exposure sites to COVID-19 listed by officials Friday. Prince Edward Island now has seven active cases of COVID-19, and has diagnosed a total of 120 cases since the pandemic hit P.E.I. almost a year ago. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. Newfoundland and Labrador's active COVID-19 caseload dropped again Friday, as the province reported 52 new recoveries — a single-day record — and four new cases. The province now has 287 active cases. Nova Scotians are facing a host of new restrictions as the province tries to stem an increase in COVID-19 cases: 10 new cases Friday, the highest number the province has seen since early January. The province now has 35 active cases. New Brunswick reported one new case Friday with 41 active cases, and is just over a week away from rolling into the less-restrictive yellow phase. Also in the news Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
Police and teachers will not jump to the head of the queue in the second phase of Britain's COVID-19 vaccination rollout, with people instead prioritised by age, officials advising the government said on Friday, describing this as the best way to keep up the pace of immunisations. Britain's vaccine programme has been among the fastest in the world, meeting a government target to offer a first dose of vaccination to 15 million high-risk people by mid-February. Some frontline workers such as police and teachers had been calling for prioritisation on the basis of their jobs, but Professor Wei Shen Lim, COVID-19 chairman for the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said such an approach could complicate the rollout.
Court found government was entitled to use an emergency law to introduce the measures forcing residents indoors from 9 pm to 4:30 amView on euronews
The tattoo industry, like many others, have been hit hard during COVID. Obviously not being an essential service, the pandemic has shutdown thousands of tattooers’ livelihoods. Tattooing has grown to become a $3 billion industry worldwide, with 38% of Canadians having at least one tattoo. Revenue growth for the Tattoo Artists industry is expected to decline 9.5% as a result of the pandemic and overall economic downturn. All tattooers have been forced to close up shop during the lockdowns as their work requires close contact and sitting with people for prolonged periods. Sjeli Pearse, a local tattoo artist who is currently living and working in Toronto, shares her experience with SaultOnline as she is currently closing up her studio. “We recently made the hard decision to let go of our location,” Pearse shares that for more than half of her lease she has not been able to work in her rented space due to the pandemic, “it’s hit the community really hard in Toronto especially because the lockdowns have been so much longer.” “At this point we really can’t trust that we will open, or that we will be allowed to stay open, or that clients will even have money to get tattooed.” Although the tattoo industry usually weathers economic downturns well, COVID has stopped them from providing their services. They already have to maintain sterilized work spaces and be extremely aware of their shop environment. Adapting their practice to COVID safety measures will be a necessity in order for tattooers to reopen and return to business. Follow SaultOnline as we follow this industry going forward. Josie Fiegehen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, SaultOnline.com
NASHVILLE — Maren Morris and Chris Stapleton are the leading nominees for the Academy of Country Music Awards, but only Stapleton joined the all-male ballot for the top prize of entertainer of the year. The academy announced on Friday that Morris and Stapleton both had six nominations ahead of the April 18 awards show, which will air on CBS from Nashville, Tennessee. Women were left out of the top category after Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett tied for entertainer of the year last year, the first time ever for a tie and the first time a woman had won the category since Taylor Swift in 2012. Also nominated for entertainer of the year are Rhett, Luke Bryan, Eric Church and Luke Combs. This year, Morris’ crossover pop hit “The Bones,” was nominated for single of the year and earned her two nominations as songwriter and artist for song of the year. She was also nominated for female artist of the year, which she won last year, and music video of the year for “Better Than We Found It.” She had another nomination for the all-star collaboration The Highwomen in group of the year. Stapleton, who released his fourth solo studio album last year, “Starting Over,” was nominated twice as artist and producer for album of the year, as well as twice for being the songwriter/artist for the title track for song of the year. He also has a nomination for male artist of the year. Country star Morgan Wallen, who won new male artist of the year last year, was declared ineligible by the ACMs after he was caught on camera using a racial slur earlier this year. His most recent record, “Dangerous: The Double Album,” has spent six weeks at the top of the all-genre Billboard 200 chart, despite being removed from radio stations and some streaming playlists. The album was not eligible for album of the year award because it came out in 2021, but Wallen likely would have been a strong contender for male artist of the year and singles such as “7 Summers” and “More Than My Hometown” would have qualified for other awards. Miranda Lambert, who is already the most nominated artist in ACM history, stretched her streak with five nominations. Lambert's song “Bluebird” earned her four nominations total as writer and artist in song, single and video of the year. Lambert is nominated in female artist of the year, a category she has won nine times. While women are absent from entertainer of the year, all five nominees for the single of the year are performed by women, a first for the ACM Awards. In addition to Lambert’s “Bluebird” and Morris’ “The Bones,” Gabby Barrett’s “I Hope,” Carly Pearce and Lee Brice’s duet “I Hope You’re Happy Now” and Ingrid Andress’ “More Hearts Than Mine” fill out the category. Four Black artists are also nominated this year across all categories, another first for the ACM Awards. Kane Brown was nominated for album of the year for his record “Mixtape Vol. 1” while Jimmie Allen was nominated for new male artist of the year again after first being nominated in the same category in 2018. Mickey Guyton was nominated again for new female artist of the year, after first being nominated in 2015. Her 2020 song “Black Like Me,” released after the death of George Floyd, never gained traction at radio, but brought her critical acclaim and a Grammy nomination for best country solo performance. Under ACM award criteria, artists can be nominated more than once in the new artist of the year categories as long as they haven't won it previously and have not yet released a single from their third studio album. Grammy winner John Legend has his first ACM Awards nomination for video of the year for his duet with Carrie Underwood on “Hallelujah.” The album of the year category also includes Luke Bryan for “Born Here Live Here Die Here,” Ashley McBryde for “Never Will” and Brothers Osborne for “Skeletons.” Kristin M. Hall, The Associated Press
WROXETER – The Maitland Conservation (MC) annual general meeting on Feb. 17 included the election of officers for 2021. David Turton, deputy mayor of the Town of Minto, was re-elected for another term as board chair. Turton represents Minto, Wellington North and Mapleton on the board. Matt Duncan, councillor in the Municipality of North Perth, was re-elected vice-chair. Megan Gibson, councillor in the Township of Howick, was elected second vice-chair. Turton opened the meeting saying, “While we won’t be holding any type of formal celebration this year, we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Falls Reserve Conservation Area that we had originally planned to do last year.” Turton thanked the surrounding municipalities for their ongoing support. “It has taken MVCA 25 years to build our resources back to the level that we had in 1995,” he said. “However, we still have to build more resources to stabilize our budget to deal with the challenges we face. It is thanks to the support of our member municipalities that we have been able to build back. We appreciate your support.” The focus of the meeting was on how the Conservation Authority can support the Maitland Conservation Foundation (MCF) with fundraising efforts related to Conservation Areas and stewardship initiatives. The MCF works in partnership with MC to raise funds for watershed projects. The Foundation is a registered, charitable organization that a volunteer Board of Directors leads, currently chaired by Kriss Snell. The MCF has been raising funds for significant local projects since its incorporation in 1975. The fundraising campaign will focus on Middle Maitland Headwaters Restoration Project, Watershed Resiliency Project, and Conservation Area Improvements. Several guests provided remarks during the meeting, including Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson, Huron-Bruce MP Ben Lobb, County of Huron Warden Glen McNeil, Howick Reeve Doug Harding, Mapleton Mayor Gregg Davidson, and Jane McKelvie, representing Perth-Wellington MP John Nater. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times