CNN reporter Sara Sidner was overcome by emotion as she reported on the latest COVID-19-related deaths in Los Angeles.
CNN reporter Sara Sidner was overcome by emotion as she reported on the latest COVID-19-related deaths in Los Angeles.
A look at what’s happening around European soccer on Sunday: ENGLAND It's a meeting of the top two teams in the Premier League as Liverpool hosts Manchester United in what is traditionally the biggest game on the English soccer calendar. United moved into first place in midweek, and is leading this deep into the season for the first time in eight years, when Alex Ferguson was still in charge. Liverpool, the defending champion, is three points behind and will reclaim first place with a win, courtesy of its superior goal difference. Last-placed Sheffield United won for the first time in the league during the week and looks to back that up when Tottenham visits. Manchester City is unbeaten in 14 matches in all competitions and goes for an eighth straight win in a home game against Crystal Palace. SPAIN Barcelona is hoping to have Lionel Messi back fully fit and ready to play the final of the Spanish Super Cup against Athletic Bilbao. Messi missed the semifinal against Real Sociedad because of an unspecified fitness issue. Barcelona prevailed without him in a penalty shootout. Bilbao reached the final in Seville after defeating Real Madrid in the other semifinal. Barcelona won at Bilbao 3-2 in the league less than two weeks ago, with Messi scoring twice. Coach Ronald Koeman says Messi “will have the last word” on whether he plays. He trained individually on Friday and Saturday. In the Copa del Rey, Valencia, Villarreal, Real Betis, Eibar, Osasuna and Granada all play at lower-division opponents in the round of 16 hoping not to join the growing list of top-flight clubs to have been upset. GERMANY After two successive defeats, Bayern Munich aims to get back on track with a win at home to Freiburg. Another loss would lead to talk of crisis at the club given the high standards it has set itself. Hansi Flick’s team lost only once in 2020 and the German Cup defeat to second-division Holstein Kiel on Wednesday was only his fourth overall since taking over as coach in November 2019. “The form in the first half of 2020 up to our treble (Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League) was also not normal for Bayern,” Flick said. “I thought that our drop would come sooner, but the team kept it going to the end of the year with a remarkable mentality.” Flick said he felt there was less communication between his players lately compared to before. Bayern’s defensive frailty was already an issue, with 24 goals conceded in 15 Bundesliga games so far. Leon Goretzka, Kingsley Coman and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting were unavailable against Kiel, but Flick said they can return against Freiburg. Freiburg is on a five-game winning run in the Bundesliga, testament once again to cult-coach Christian Streich’s man-management. But Bayern has never lost at home to Freiburg in the league. “It will be an intensive game, Freiburg is known for that, and they’re the strongest form team in the league,” Flick said. Eintracht Frankfurt hosts Schalke in the other game. ITALY Juventus’ match at title rival Inter Milan headlines the weekend in Serie A. Inter is second in Serie A, just three points behind city rival AC Milan, and a win would send it to the top on goal difference for 24 hours at least, with the Rossoneri playing Cagliari on Monday. Juventus is four points behind Inter but has played a match less than the Milan teams. The Bianconeri are without the injured Paulo Dybala, while Matthijs de Ligt, Alex Sandro and Juan Cuadrado are out with the coronavirus. Inter coach Antonio Conte has never won against the team he played for and coached. Atalanta and Napoli could move into the top four with wins at home to Fiorentina and Genoa respectively. Bottom-placed Crotone welcomes promoted Benevento and Sassuolo hosts Parma. FRANCE Lyon needs to beat mid-table Metz at home to reclaim top spot from defending champion Paris Saint-Germain by one point. Veteran Algeria forward Islam Slimani could make his debut for Lyon after joining on loan from English Premier League side Leicester. Slimani did well last season when he was loaned out to Monaco, scoring nine goals and assisting on several more with his astute passing. Elsewhere, Lille can move six points clear in third place if it wins at home to Reims, while injured Bordeaux winger Hatem Ben Arfa will miss the trip to face his former club Nice. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
Toronto police arrested three people amid anti-lockdown protests in the city on Saturday, including two people who allegedly organized the demonstrations and a protester who allegedly assaulted a police officer. Toronto police also laid 18 charges of failure to comply with the provincial stay-at-home order that's currently in effect. A Toronto Police Service spokesperson said they were unable to say if it was 18 individuals who were charged or if some individuals are facing multiple charges. No further information has been released on the exact offences A large group flouted the province's stay-at-home order by staging an anti-mask protest in Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square before marching down Yonge Street. Toronto police later reported there were two large gatherings in the core. Video shared on social media showed a line of police officers in the square, with one warning people to disperse. There was also at least one video of an apparent arrest. Toronto police said two people, a 49-year-old man and 38-year-old woman, were arrested and each face a criminal nuisance charge. Police allege they were the event organizers. Police later said they arrested a 22-year-old man who allegedly assaulted a police officer. The man is also facing criminal charges including assaulting a police officer and obstructing a police officer. "The Toronto Police Service continues to respond to calls to attend large gatherings and will take steps to disperse. Police will issue tickets and summonses to individuals when there is evidence of non-compliance of the provincial order," police said in a news release. Police said more details about tickets and fines could be released in the coming days. Another video shows Henry Hildebrandt, a pastor from Aylmer, Ont., who has been critical of the province's lockdown orders, hanging out of an SUV window to hug and high-five maskless demonstrators. This is the first weekend the order has been in place, and questions continue to swirl about how it will go — including how police will enforce the rules. Others are worried about people who aren't protesting but who could be the target of a crackdown during the stay-at-home order. Dr. Naheed Dosani, a palliative care physician, told CBC News Network he's concerned people of colour or those dealing with poverty will be the target of law enforcement. WATCH | Policing Ontario's lockdown order will hurt racialized communities, doctor says: Health Minister Christine Elliott continued to urge people to stay inside and away from others as much as possible. "Stay home, stay safe, save lives," she said on Twitter. Record-high number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs Earlier, Ontario announced 3,056 new COVID-19 cases and 51 more deaths — as well as a record-high number of coronavirus patients in intensive care. The province is also tweaking its vaccination plan to deal with a looming shortage of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. There are now a record 420 COVID-19 patients in the province's intensive care units, new data from Critical Care Services Ontario shows. Provincial data is slightly behind but shows 1,632 people are hospitalized with the novel coronavirus and at least 281 of those patients require a ventilator. The province also recorded 51 more deaths, a day after reporting a record 100 deaths on Friday. In total, 5,340 Ontarians with COVID-19 have died since the start of the pandemic early last year. At least 27 of those deaths took place in long-term care homes. Currently, 246 long-term care homes in the province are dealing with an outbreak — nearly 40 per cent of all facilities. The seven-day average of new cases declined to 3,218, and the provincewide test positivity rate was 4.9 per cent, with 73,875 tests completed. A further 3,212 cases were marked resolved. There are 903 new COVID-19 cases in Toronto, 629 in Peel Region, 283 in York Region, 162 in Durham Region and 152 in Ottawa. 2nd vaccine dose delayed Elliott said the province has now administered 189,090 vaccines in the province. However, the vaccine rollout will soon face another hurdle. The federal government announced Friday that Pfizer-BioNTech will deliver fewer vaccines to Canada in the near future as it reworks some of its production lines. In Ontario, provincial health officials say the first phase of the vaccination plan will continue, but the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine will now be pushed back from 21 to 27 days for those in long-term care or retirement homes, or for those caring for seniors. Other recipients, such as health-care workers, will see their second dose pushed back to between 21 and 42 days after the first jab. Those who received the Moderna vaccine will see no change, as the second dose of that vaccine is delivered 28 days after the first. Enforcement blitz at big box stores Shoppers stocking up at big box stores in the Greater Toronto Area could see provincial inspectors this weekend. The government said earlier this week that 50 inspectors will be out to ensure big box stores are complying with the province's new rules. Walmart and Costco, for example, have been able to stay open during Ontario's lockdown, while most small stores have been reduced to curbside pickup. The inspectors, who will be joined by local bylaw and police officers, have recently been invested with the authority to fine individuals — both employees and customers — up to $750 for failing to wear masks properly and to physically distance. Inspectors will also be checking to ensure that big box retailers are actively maintaining in-store capacity at a maximum of 25 per cent, Labour Minister Monte McNaughton said. "If these conditions are not met, I will not hesitate to shut down any big box store anywhere in this province," McNaughton said earlier this week. The enforcement is taking place primarily in Toronto, Hamilton, Peel Region, York Region and Durham Region.
Cities, towns and villages across France were practically empty on Saturday as residents stayed home and businesses shut to observe a nationwide curfew intended to help stem the spread of coronavirus, especially a more infectious variant. The virus has killed 70,000 people in France, the seventh highest toll in the world, and the government is particularly worried by the more transmissible variant first detected in Britain, which now accounts for about 1% of new cases. The curfew was brought forward two hours to 6 p.m. and will run until 6 a.m. In addition, from Monday anyone travelling to France from outside the European Union will have to show a negative test result and self-isolate for a week upon arrival.
An occupational therapist who transformed a bus into a mobile sensory clinic for young kids moved to the Hat late last year to help children learn important skills. Erin Grujic is the owner of Sensational Path, a unique clinic within an old school bus. Grujic moved to the Hat in September of last year with her bus and wants to help families in Medicine Hat and the surrounding area access occupational therapy services for their kids. “I got tired of having a car full of equipment and always leaving something behind,” she said. “From that, I built this clinic that would travel with me. “I got this bus and converted it into a playground.” Occupational therapists work with people to overcome health problems that may interfere with their everyday lives. For some children, playing at a standard playground may not be possible for a wide range of reasons. Grujic has designed the bus to be a safe space for kids to play, explore and learn different skills. “I primarily work with preschools and daycares,” she said. “Those kids really need the movement and the activities, and since they can’t go on field trips now, it’s even more important to keep them moving. “The great thing about the bus is that I can take it anywhere and meet people where they’re at.” The bus includes a climbing wall, trampoline, zipline, swings, crash mats and more. “To some people this may just look like a playground,” said Grujic. “This is a safe place for kids to learn and develop sensory motor skills. “With the bus I can set up play that allows kids to be comfortable and to allow them to learn to play with different things. “Those foundational skills like play lead to academic learning and behaviour skills.” Grujic came to the Hat from Pincher Creek and says she is having a fun time getting to know the city as the days pass. She says she is getting busier as she spends more time in the community. The outside of the bus was painted recently by local artist Jeff Goring, which has made it so it can’t be missed. “He did an amazing job,” said Grujic. More information on her services can be found at http://www.sensationalpath.com Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
Newfoundland and Labrador has no new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the day after Liberal Leader Andrew Furey called a general provincial election. The province continues to have five known active cases, as no new recoveries have been reported. A total of 383 people have recovered from the virus since the pandemic began in March 2020. As of Saturday's update, issued through a media release from the Department of Health, 76,130 people have been tested to date. That's an increase of 157 in the last 24 hours. One person is in hospital due to the virus. The Department of Health is also advising rotational workers about an identified COVID-19 outbreak in Alberta at the Anzac Lodge, linked to the Cheecham Corridor Relocation project. The department said it was notified of the outbreak by the Public Health Agency of Canada as people from this province work with the project. "Rotational workers with this project who have returned to Newfoundland and Labrador in the last 14 days must self-isolate and physically distance away from household members, and call 811 to arrange testing," reads the health department's media release. "These workers must now complete the full 14-day self-isolation period, regardless of test result." 'Status quo' during election With the campaign now ramping up ahead of the Feb. 13 election, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald told reporters on Friday things will remain "status quo" in terms of a public health response to the ongoing pandemic. Health Minister John Haggie added daily media releases from the Department of Health will continue as a means to provide updates on the latest COVID-19 happenings in the province. Haggie said Fitzgerald will be available on a weekly basis for live briefings. But Haggie and Furey could still make an appearance during a live COVID-19 update next week. "We will keep people informed, and we will plan to see you next week and who knows what the future holds," Haggie said during Friday's briefing. In the event of an emergency, Haggie said, he still remains health minister, and Furey the premier until at least election day. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
A worker at Agnico Eagle's Meliadine gold mine, located about 25 kilometres north of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, has tested positive for COVID-19, the company said in a news release Friday. The worker tested positive on Jan. 8, but the positive test result was confirmed on Jan. 13, the release says. Prior to arriving at the mine, the person was tested on Dec. 24 and the result came back negative. They were tested again twice — once after being on site for three days, then on Day 5 — about results were also negative, the release says. But on Jan. 8, the person "developed mild COVID-19 symptoms and was immediately placed in isolation," the release says. "The employee presumptively tested positive on the same day." Agnico Eagle says the person was isolated on site until they could be flown out on a special charter flight later that day. There have been nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the mine since the start of the pandemic, an Agnico Eagle spokesperson told CBC News Saturday via email. 11 contacts identified Contact tracing identified 11 employees who may have had contact with the positive case, says the release. The impacted workers were flown out of the mine on a special charter on Jan. 8, and were tested on Jan. 9. The results were all negative, says the release. The infected worker and the 11 close contacts are now self-isolating at home for 14 days, said the Agnico Eagle spokesperson. Contamination risk is "deemed low," the company says, but common areas at the mine, such as the gym, smoke shacks and recreational room, have been closed for cleaning and disinfection. The public health risk to Rankin Inlet is also "very low," as the mine isolated itself from the community in March, and sent all Nunavummiut employees home with 75 per cent of their base salary to reduce the risk of potential transmission to Nunavut communities. Agnico Eagle is working closely with Nunavut's office of the chief public health officer and following its recommendations, the company says.
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 11:15 a.m. Quebec is reporting 2,225 new COVID-19 cases and 67 further deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. The number of hospitalizations dropped for a second day, this time by 22 for a total of 1,474 patients, and four fewer patients in intensive care for a total of 227. The province added 2,430 more recoveries, for a total of 210,364. The province has now reported 240,970 confirmed infections and 9,005 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. --- 10:45 a.m. Ontario is reporting 3,056 new cases of COVID-19 today along with 51 new deaths related to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliot says 903 of the latest diagnoses are in Toronto, with 639 in neighbouring Peel region and 283 in York Region. The province says 1,632 COVID-19 patients are currently in hospital, with 397 in intensive care. Elliott says the province had administered 189,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine as of 8 p.m. on Friday. --- 10:30 a.m. Ontario says a shipping delay from Pfizer BioNTech means residents who receive an initial dose of the company's COVID-19 vaccine will have to wait longer than expected to receive their second one. The government says long-term care residents and staff who have been inoculated already will wait up to an extra week before a second dose is administered. Anyone else receiving the Pfizer vaccine were initially supposed to get a econd dose after 21 days, but will now see that timetable extended to a maximum of 42 days. The government says it's on track to ensure all long-term care residents, essential caregivers and staff, the first priority group for the vaccine, receive their first dose by mid-February. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. The Canadian Press
A group of fishermen found the body of missing canoeist Kenneth Surette on Saturday in coastal waters off Yarmouth County. A search for Surette, 69, began Tuesday after the body of an unnamed woman was discovered along the shoreline of Morris Island, N.S. RCMP have said the pair were paddling together. Search and rescue crews scoured the area for two days and found their canoe on the morning of Jan. 13, also near Morris Island. Surette's body was recovered from the water near where his boat was found. RCMP Sgt. Andrew Joyce said it was "very, very fortunate" to have located the body, given how much tides and currents can move things around in coastal waters. The formal search was called off mid-week and turned over to the RCMP as a missing persons case, but Joyce said some local fishermen never stopped searching. Joyce said the RCMP investigation will continue at least until the provincial medical examiner completes an autopsy. RCMP are not classifying Surette's death as suspicious. MORE TOP STORIES
Ontario Provincial Police say they've been kept busy by a steady stream of minor traffic accidents as heavy snow falls over the region. "We're just encouraging people as we always do, whenever we have a snow event, you know — see snow, go slow," said Bill Dickson, spokesperson for the OPP. "I mean our traffic is hopefully very light anyway because people are being encouraged to stay at home." Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for the Ottawa area, as well for Maniwaki, Que. According to Ian Black, climatologist for CBC News Ottawa, the city could see between 15 and 25 centimetres of snow. Eight centimetres of snow was already on the ground by 6 a.m. Saturday morning, Black said. The temperature will remain steady around 0 C for much of the day. Overnight parking ban planned for Ottawa Ottawa will also enforce an overnight parking ban between 7 p.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m. on Sunday, allowing crews to clean city streets unimpeded. Those hours could be extended if additional time is needed. Other parts of eastern Ontario, like Pembroke, Ont., can expect light precipitation with heavy snow mixed in, according to Environment Canada. Kingston, Ont., will see grey clouds overhead, with a 60 per cent chance of flurries or drizzle in the forecast. Tractor-trailer crashes Dickson said OPP officers responded to a number of tractor-trailer collisions Saturday but none that led to injuries. He said if people do need to travel, they should drive carefully and ensure their vehicle is cleared off, including the head and brake lights. "In terms of speed limits, remember, those speed limits that are posted out there are for ideal conditions," he said. "Today is by no means even close to ideal conditions."
A woman suffered serious injuries in a shooting Saturday morning, Regina police say. Officers were called to the 700 block of Athol Street at about 8:10 a.m. CST after being told a woman was shot, police said in a news release. The woman was taken to hospital by emergency responders. Police said officers were on scene Saturday morning to investigate and traffic is being diverted from the area. No further information was available. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Regina Police Service at 306-777-6500 or Regina Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Northwest Territories health officials are urging anyone who has been in self-isolation in Hay River or Kátł'odeeche First Nation since Jan. 1 to arrange for a COVID-19 test. On Thursday, public health officials said wastewater testing suggested there are one or more cases of COVID-19 in the area. The Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory also reports a "persistent positive COVID-19 signal in Hay River wastewater" collected on Jan. 11, said Dr. Andy Delli-Pizzi, N.W.T.'s deputy chief public health officer, in a news release issued Saturday. But so far, no one who has tested for COVID-19 since then has been a positive case, said Delli-Pizzi. "Currently, there is not enough information to confidently assess public risk," he said. "But with evidence pointing towards at least one undetected case of COVID-19 in Hay River, we are asking the public to assist in containing the situation quickly to prevent transmission." Public health officials are also asking anyone who is self-isolating because they entered N.W.T. from another jurisdiction, and has been in Hay River or Kátł'odeeche First Nation since Jan. 1, to be tested. Residents who fit that criteria should be tested, regardless of symptoms. Previously, public health officials had focused on people who were self-isolating between Jan. 1-6. Public health officials are also urging essential workers, who were not self-isolating because they had an exemption to work in Hay River or Kátł'odeeche First Nation since Jan. 1, to arrange for testing. "High-risk essential service workers" who are not symptomatic and were already tested as part of their permission to work, such as health-care workers, are exempt, said Delli-Pizzi. People who were self-isolating in Hay River or Kátł'odeeche First Nation since Jan. 1, but who have since left those communities, should contact the local health centre to arrange for a test. Hay River testing clinic open this weekend To accommodate the testing, public health officials are extending the hours of a dedicated testing clinic. The testing clinic in Hay River, located at 52 Woodland Drive, will run Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Residents looking to get tested should call public health at 867-874-8400 to book an appointment and a public health nurse will call back. The nurse can also help with arrangements for transportation to the clinic for those who need it. Public health officials are urging those arriving for drive-thru testing to follow the signs, stay in their vehicles and wait their turn. They're also reminding people to wear a mask when they go for their test. Delli-Pizzi is reminding people that if they do get a positive result, public health officials will follow up for contact tracing and to try to find where a person may have been exposed to COVID-19.
The Hat Art Club has been a staple in the community for decades and is celebrating an important milestone this month – 75 years in existence. The club sits around 100 members on a given year and was founded in 1946 by Mrs. Helen Beny Gibson and Rev. L.T.H Pearson. The group began with a program teaching people how to draw at city council chambers. “The Hat Art Club has grown to be one of the foundational art clubs in the city,” said club president Bev Duke. “For a very long time, there were no other organizations that provided art training for adult artists in our community. “There have been programs offered through the college over the years, but they were sporadic. The art club has offered a consistent place for artists of any age or skill to come and learn.” The Hat Art Club has operated out of the Cultural Centre since it was built, and is now offering digital art programming. The club shifted to online classes last October and invested into its new website to help keep members in the loop. Duke has been a member of the club for 25 years and is in her second term as president. She says the club aims to offer something for everyone. “We have programs around all mediums,” she said. “One of our big programs is around drawing, because it is so foundational to art, a lot of people are interested. “We offer acrylic, oils, pastels and art journaling.” The art club’s shift to online has helped Hatters fill their time at home with fun, creative activities to focus on during the pandemic. “Art is a creative outlet,” said Duke. “It gives you something to work on and it lets you develop different skills.” The club has also announced a special promotion to get new members involved. For a limited time, get a membership for $75 to celebrate the anniversary. More information can be found at http://www.hatartclub.com. Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
BERLIN — Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus missed a penalty in a 1-1 draw with lowly Mainz while Leipzig again missed the chance to move to the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday. Leipzig, which was denied top spot in losing to Dortmund 3-1 last weekend, could manage only 2-2 at Wolfsburg and it remains a point behind league leader Bayern Munich. Bayern hosts Freiburg on Sunday. Dortmund was looking for its fourth win in five league games under new coach Edin Terzic but was frustrated by a committed performance from Mainz in Bo Svensson’s second game in charge. The draw was enough for Mainz to move off the bottom on goal difference from Schalke, which visits Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday. Dortmund got off to a fine start with Erling Haaland firing inside the left post in the second minute. But the goal was ruled out through VAR as Thomas Meunier was offside in the buildup. Jude Bellingham struck the post toward the end of the half and it was as close as Dortmund came to scoring before the break. Mainz defended doggedly and took its chance in the 57th when Levin Öztunali eluded Mats Hummels with a back-heel trick and let fly from 20 metres inside the top right corner. The visitors almost grabbed another shortly afterward when Alexander Hack struck the crossbar with a header. The 16-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko had just gone on for Dortmund and he played a decisive role for his side’s equalizer in the 73rd, keeping the ball in play before sending in a cross that was cleared by Mainz defender Phillipp Mwene – only as far as Meunier, who fired back in to equalize. Meunier was then fouled in the penalty area by Hack, giving Reus a chance to score from the spot. The Dortmund captain sent his kick outside of the left post. It could have been worse for Reus’ team as Mainz captain Danny Latza hit the post late on. Dortmund remained fourth, four points behind Bayern, which has a game in hand. Werder Bremen scored late to beat Augsburg 2-0 at home, Cologne drew with Hertha Berlin 0-0, and Hoffenheim vs. Arminia Bielefeld also ended scoreless. Stuttgart hosted Borussia Mönchengladbach in the late game. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — All federal prisons in the United States have been placed on lockdown, with officials aiming to quell any potential violence that could arise behind bars as law enforcement prepares for potentially violent protests across the country in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. The lockdown at more than 120 federal Bureau of Prisons facilities took effect at 12 a.m. Saturday, according to an email to employees from the president of the union representing federal correctional officers. “In light of current events occurring around the country, and out of an abundance of caution, the decision has been made to secure all institutions,” the Bureau of Prisons said in a statement. The lockdown decision is precautionary, no specific information led to it and it is not in response to any significant events occurring inside facilities, the bureau said. To avoid backlash from inmates, the lockdown was not announced until after they were locked in their cells Friday evening. Shane Fausey, the president of the Council of Prison Locals, wrote in his email to staff that inmates should still be given access in small groups to showers, phones and email and can still be involved in preparing food and performing basic maintenance. Messages seeking comment were left with Fausey on Saturday. The agency last put in place a nationwide lockdown in April to combat the spread of the coronavirus. During a lockdown, inmates are kept in their cells most of the day and visiting is cancelled. Because of coronavirus, social visits only resumed in October, but many facilities have cancelled them again as infections spiked. One reason for the new nationwide lockdown is that the bureau is moving some of its Special Operations Response Teams from prison facilities to Washington, D.C., to bolster security after President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Authorities are concerned there could be more violence, not only in the nation’s capital, but also at state capitals, before Trump leaves office Jan. 20. A Bureau of Prisons spokesman said the agency was co-ordinating with officials at the Justice Department to be ready to deploy as needed. Earlier this month, about 100 officers were sent to the Justice Department's headquarters to supplement security staff and were deputized by the U.S. Marshals Service and given special legal powers to “enforce federal criminal statutes and protect federal property and personnel,” said the spokesman, Justin Long. The specialized units typically respond to disturbances and other emergencies at prisons, such as riots, assaults, escapes and escape attempts, and hostage situations. Their absence can leave gaps in a prison’s emergency response and put remaining staff at risk. “The things that happen outside the walls could affect those working behind the walls,” Aaron McGlothin, a local union president at a federal prison in California. As the pandemic continues to menace federal inmates and staff, a federal lockup in Mendota, California, is also dealing with a possible case of tuberculosis. According to an email to staff Friday, an inmate at the medium-security facility has been placed in a negative pressure room after returning a positive skin test and an X-ray that indicated an active case of tuberculosis. The inmate was not showing symptoms of the lung disease and is undergoing further testing to confirm a diagnosis, the email said. As a precaution, all other inmates on the affected inmate’s unit were placed on quarantine status and given skin tests for tuberculosis. The bacterial disease is spread similarly to COVID-19, through droplets that an infected person expels by coughing, sneezing or through other activities such as singing and talking. Mendota also has 10 current inmate cases and six current staff cases of COVID-19. As of Wednesday, the last day for which data was available, there were 4,718 federal inmates and 2,049 Bureau of Prisons staff members with current positive tests for COVID-19. Since the first case was reported in March, 38,535 inmates and 3,553 staff have recovered from the virus. So far, 190 federal inmates and 3 staff members have died. __ Balsamo reported from Washington. __ On Twitter, follow Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak and Balsamo at twitter.com/mikebalsamo1 Michael R. Sisak And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
The provincial government has begun vaccinating British Columbia's most vulnerable against COVID-19 and an advocacy group for people with Down syndrome is hoping the group it represents will be added to this priority queue. Wayne Leslie, CEO of the Burnaby-based Down Syndrome Resource Foundation (DSRF), laid out his reasons why in a letter addressed to Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry earlier this week. Down syndrome is a genetic condition that can result in physical, mental, and developmental disabilities and, as a result, people with the condition can have complex health and mental health needs. In his letter to Henry, Leslie says people over the age of 40 with Down syndrome can develop high-risk medical conditions that are comparable to someone over the age of 70 in the general population. Leslie's complete letter to the province on behalf of the DSRF can be found here. According to the foundation, the average life span of a person with Down syndrome is approximately 60 years. The average life expectancy for British Columbians, according to 2017 Statistics Canada data, is 84 for women and 79.9 for men. The province has taken a phased-in approach to its vaccination program, with the first available doses being doled out to front-line health-care workers, and staff and residents in long-term care facilities. After that, the plan is to primarily vaccinate people by age, beginning with the most elderly. The priority vaccine groups can be found here. Recommendations to province Leslie's letter makes two recommendations — that adults with Down syndrome over the age of 40 be considered high priority for vaccination, and that individuals with Down syndrome between the ages of 16 and 39 also be given priority consideration. His letter highlights that adults with Down syndrome are four times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and 10 times more likely to die from the virus. Leslie's statistics are based on research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in October that looked at a cohort of over eight million adults, of which just over 4,000 had Down syndrome. Twenty-seven of those with Down syndrome died of COVID-19. "One of the key reasons is that someone in their forties typically has the health issues associated with aging of the typical population in its seventies," Leslie told Stephen Quinn, host of CBC's The Early Edition, on Thursday. He said people with Down syndrome in the 16 to 39 category should be considered a priority because many individuals in that age group, due to the pandemic, are without critical programs and services such as mental health supports. People with developmental disabilities, including Down syndrome, often also depend heavily on predictable routines to successfully navigate daily life — routines that have been completely upended by COVID-19. "It's very hard for me and my friends," said 27-year-old Andrew Bingham, who has Down syndrome and is an ambassador for the foundation. Bingham said while he tries to stay connected with friends by text message, COVID-19 has already cost him a job, sports, and his social life. Provincial responses Premier John Horgan, addressing reporters on a wide range of issues Thursday, said he has received "piles of mail" from individuals and groups asking to be prioritized for a vaccine. "We want to start, I think the rule of thumb, is the older you are the more at risk you are," said Horgan. In a Thursday statement to CBC, the Ministry of Health said vaccines are not available to everyone at once and because of the challenges in storing and shipping the doses, certain groups have been prioritized. "As Dr. Henry has said, everybody is important in B.C. and everyone who the vaccine is recommended for will have access to it. But we know that some people are at higher risk, and that is why they are getting immunized first," said the statement. Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix will provide an update next week about when the general population in B.C. will be able to receive the vaccine. Leslie is optimistic the province will respond to his letter and consider his request. Using general population figures, the foundation estimates the Down syndrome population in B.C. to be somewhere between 3,500 and 4,000 people and about 2,000 of that group to be over age 16. Tap here to listen to Wayne Leslie and Andrew Bingham interviewed on CBC's The Early Edition.
BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right party chose Armin Laschet, the pragmatic governor of Germany’s most populous state, as its new leader Saturday. The choice sent a signal of continuity months before an election in which voters will decide who becomes the new chancellor. Laschet will have to build unity in the Christian Democratic Union, Germany's strongest party, after beating more conservative rival Friedrich Merz. And he will need to plunge straight into an electoral marathon that culminates with the Sept. 26 national vote for the next parliament. The decision by party delegates on Saturday isn’t the final word on who will run as the centre-right candidate to succeed Merkel as chancellor, but Laschet will either run himself or have a big say in who does. He said the candidate will be chosen in April. Laschet, 59, was elected in 2017 as governor of North Rhine-Westphalia state, a traditional centre-left stronghold. He governs the region in a coalition with the pro-business Free Democrats, the CDU’s traditional ally, but he would likely be able to work smoothly with a more liberal partner, too. Current polls point to the environmentalist Greens as a likely key to power in the September election. Laschet pointed Saturday to the value of continuity and moderation, and cited the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump as an example of where polarization can lead. “Trust is what keeps us going and what has been broken in America,” he told delegates before they voted to make him him the Christian Democratic Union's leader. “By polarizing, sowing discord and distrust, and systematically lying, a president has destroyed stability and trust.” “We must speak clearly but not polarize,” Laschet said. “We must be able to integrate, hold society together.” He said that the party needs “the continuity of success” and “will only win if we remain strong in the middle of society.” Laschet said that “there are many people who, above all, find Angela Merkel good and only after that the CDU.” He added that ”we need this trust now as a party” and must work to gain it. Laschet beat Merz, a former rival of Merkel who was making his second attempt in recent years to win the CDU leadership, by 521 votes to 466. A third candidate, prominent lawmaker Norbert Roettgen, was eliminated in a first round of voting. Merz's sizeable support suggests that a strong contingent would like a sharper conservative profile after the Merkel years. Merkel has led Germany since 2005 but said over two years ago that she wouldn't seek a fifth term as chancellor. Merkel, 66, has enjoyed enduring popularity with voters as she steered Germany and Europe through a series of crises. But she repeatedly abandoned orthodox conservative policies, for example by accelerating Germany's exit from nuclear energy and ending military conscription. Her decision in 2015 to allow in large numbers of migrants caused major tensions on the centre-right and strengthened the far-right Alternative for Germany party. Saturday's vote ends a nearly year-long limbo since outgoing leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who narrowly beat Merz in 2018 to succeed Merkel as CDU leader but failed to impose her authority, announced her resignation. A vote on her successor was delayed twice because of the coronavirus pandemic. Laschet called for unity after Saturday's vote and said Merz remains “an important personality for us.” “All the questions that will face us after the pandemic need a broad consensus in our party,” he said. “And we will need this consensus for all the elections that are ahead of us, too. Everyone will be against us.” Merz didn't seek another post in the party leadership but tweeted later Saturday that he had “offered” to become economy minister in the current government, a job held by Merkel ally Peter Altmaier. The government swiftly said Merkel plans no reshuffle. Laschet, a miner's son who served as a member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2005, shouldn't expect much of a honeymoon in his new job. In addition to the national election, Germany is holding six state elections this year, the first two in mid-March. The CDU and its Bavaria-only sister party, the Christian Social Union, together make up the Union bloc and will decide on the candidate. “We will find a candidate for chancellor together in April,” Laschet told ZDF television. The Union currently has a healthy poll lead, helped by support for Merkel’s handling of the pandemic. CSU leader Markus Soeder, the governor of Bavaria, is widely considered a potential candidate after gaining in political stature during the pandemic. Some also consider Health Minister Jens Spahn, who supported Laschet and was elected as one of his deputies, a possible contender. Polls have shown Soeder’s ratings outstripping those of Saturday’s CDU candidates. Laschet has garnered mixed reviews in the pandemic, particularly as a vocal advocate of loosening restrictions after last year’s first phase. “It's very good that a year-long discussion process is over,” Soeder said. “I am sure that Armin Laschet and I will find a joint, wise and united solution to all other pending questions.” Saturday’s result in an online vote will now be officially endorsed in a postal ballot. That is expected to be a formality but is required by German law. Geir Moulson, The Associated Press
A number of front-line doctors across Canada have volunteered their scarce free time over the past year to help Canadians understand COVID-19. Jeff Semple checks in with some of these doctors to answer your questions, and give us a glimpse into their lives.
TORONTO — A tentative deal that could see General Motors Canada pour a billion dollars into Ontario's beleaguered automotive sector could bring the province one step closer to modernizing its economy and keeping local production afloat, according to a prominent Canadian manufacturing association. GM and national union Unifor announced the deal on Friday night, saying the two sides had reached a preliminary agreement to transform the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ont. into a hub for commercial electric vehicle manufacturing. The deal, valued at $1 billion, is still subject to ratification by union members later this weekend. Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters hailed the announcement as a breath of fresh air for a sector that has struggled to retain jobs and fend off other North American competitors for years. "It is good news for Ontario, for those employees in the auto sector, and for the businesses and employees in the supply chain that supports auto assembly in Ontario," association President Dennis Darby said in an email to The Canadian Press. GM dealt Ontario a blow when the last pickup trucks rolled down the line at its Oshawa assembly plant just before Christmas in 2019. The shutdown led to layoffs for the roughly 2,600 people employed at the plant, which had been in operation since 1953 and had nearly ten times as many workers on its assembly lines during its 1980's hay day. Unifor, politicians and even U.K. singer Sting fought the decision to close the plant. GM eventually relented and saved 300 jobs with a $170 million investment to turn a portion of the operation into a auto parts plant. Experts have since predicted a pivot towards electric and self-driving cars and trucks would help Canada contend with competition from the southern U.S. and Mexico. While both regions' auto sectors flourished, Unifor estimated Canada dropped to the No. 10 auto manufacturing country in the world in 2017, down from No. 4 in 1999. "Over the past few years the province has lost production to other jurisdictions, and this (new GM) announcement like some previous ones in the past year by other manufacturers helps provide some much needed stability and hope for the future continued viability of this sub-sector of manufacturing," said Darby. GM said it intends to use the Ingersoll plant for the production of delivery vans dubbed BrightDrop EV 600s, a new venture the company touted at the Consumer Electronics Show this week. The GM deal, if approved, would mark the latest in a string of negotiation triumphs for Unifor as it seeks to bolster Canada's automotive industry. The union struck deals with General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler last year that included support from the federal and Ontario governments. A Ford deal reached in September included $1.95 billion to bring battery electric vehicle production to Oakville, Ont., and a new engine derivative to the southwestern Ontario city of Windsor. The Fiat Chrysler agreement included more than $1.5 billion to build plug-in hybrid vehicles and battery electric vehicles. General Motors agreed in November to a $1.3 billion dollar investment to bring 1,700 jobs to Oshawa plus more than $109 million to in-source new transmission work for the Corvette and support continued V8 engine production in St. Catharines, Ont. If the latest GM deal is ratified, Unifor said recent negotiations would have helped pump $6 billion into the provincial auto sector. Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli issued the statement celebrating the most recent announcement. "This announcement is an important signal that Ontario’s economy remains competitive even in these difficult times," they said. — `with files from Anita Balakrishnan in Toronto This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press
The world slowed down last spring when the pandemic struck and, to at least one B.C. recycling organization, it feels like many people used the time to take stock of the fast fashion purchases piling up in their closet — and then drop them off in vast quantities. Now, the Gabriola Island Recycling Organization, inundated with bags upon bags of donated clothing, is reaching out to the Regional District of Nanaimo in hopes of securing funding to turn pounds of discarded textiles into new products. Michelle MacEwen, the organization's general manager, said the group gets about 100 bags weighing about 10 kilograms every week of used clothes and fabrics. While some is able to be sold in a local island thrift store, about half of it is not. Until the pandemic, MacEwan said it would be picked up by a diabetes organization that would take about 400 bags every eight weeks from the island to be sold at thrift stores elsewhere. That is no longer the case because everyone is at capacity for clothes right now. "I think everybody was clearing out their closets while isolating at home," said MacEwan, speaking on CBC's On The Island Thursday. By securing $100,000 from the RDN, MacEwan hopes to work with other islanders, many of whom she says have some great ideas for the heaps of cloth, to turn the fabrics into new products. Doing so, she says, will stop bags of clothes from ending up in the Nanaimo landfill. Preliminary product ideas include re-designed garments and shredding the clothes into stuffing for yoga cushions, stools and punching bags. "We really want to keep our waste in our backyard," she said. MacEwan said funding would be used to help pay for equipment such as a commercial shredder or digital sewing machines. The RDN will make a funding decision by the end of January. MacEwan said if it does not pan out, the organization will look elsewhere. She said funding could also possibly come from Western Economic Diversification Canada.
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — With coronavirus restrictions forcing bars and restaurants to seat customers outside in the dead of winter, many are scrambling to nab erratic supplies of propane that fuel space heaters they’re relying on more than ever to keep people comfortable in the cold. It's one of many new headaches — but a crucial one — that go with setting up tables and tents on sidewalks, streets and patios to comply with public health restrictions. “You’re in the middle of service and having staff run up and say, ‘We’re out of propane!’" said Melinda Maddox, manager of a whiskey tasting room in Colorado. Propane long has been a lifeline for people who live in places too remote to get natural gas piped to their homes for heat, hot water and cooking. This winter, 5-gallon (18-litre) propane tanks have proven a new necessity for urban businesses, too, especially in places like the Rocky Mountains, where the sun often takes the edge off the chill and people still enjoy gathering on patios when the heaters are roaring. The standard-size tanks, which contain pressurized liquid propane that turns to gas as it's released, are usually readily available from gas stations, grocery stores or home improvement stores. But that's not always the case lately as high demand leads to sometimes erratic supplies. “I spent one day driving an hour around town. Literally went north, south, east, west — just did a loop around Fort Collins because every gas station I went to was out. That was frustrating,” said Maddox, who manages the Reserve By Old Elk Distillery tasting room in downtown Fort Collins, about 65 miles (105 kilometres) north of Denver. Nearly all states allow at least some indoor dining, but the rules nationwide are a hodgepodge of local regulations. In Fort Collins, indoor seating at bars and restaurants is limited to 25% of normal capacity, so there's a strong incentive to seat customers outside despite the complication and expense. Local propane tank shortages result not just from higher demand but household hoarding similar to the pandemic run on toilet paper and other goods. One national tank supplier reported a 38% sales increase this winter, said Tom Clark, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Propane Association. But Clark says the supply is there, it just may mean searching a bit more than normal. If there are 10 suppliers in a neighbourhood, “maybe 1 out of 10 may be out of inventory. Certainly, you can find propane exchange tanks if you look around,” Clark said. Franklin, Tennessee-based tank manufacturer Manchester Tank has been paying workers overtime and boosting production in India to meet demand, company President Nancy Chamblee said by email. So far, the surge in demand for small-tank propane hasn't affected overall U.S. propane supply, demand and prices, which are running similar to recent winters, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But trying to find a steady supply of propane can cost already-stressed businesses time and money they lack in the pandemic. Gas stations are better than home improvement stores for propane tank runs because you can park closer, said Maddox, but shops that refill tanks are best because it's cheaper and not as complicated as trying to run every tank dry. “The issue there is it takes longer,” Maddox said. “You just have to build that into your day and say OK, it’s going to take 40 minutes instead of 25 minutes.” Across the street, Pour Brothers Community Tavern owners Kristy and Dave Wygmans have been refilling tanks for their 18 or so heaters and fire bowls at a supplier at the edge of town after a nearby shop stopped offering refill service. They discovered that propane tanks carry a date-of-manufacture stamp. Propane shops won't refill tanks older than 12 years unless they have been re-certified in five-year increments. “We’re learning more and more about propane," Dave Wygmans said. They also have gained insight into the market for space heaters, which more than doubled in price last fall due to surging demand, and outdoor furniture for their street-parking-turned-outdoor-patio area that can seat up to 44 people, Kristy Wygmans said. Their employees also had to quickly learn to hook up propane tanks and light heaters, needed in a place where temperatures can plunge well below zero (minus 18 Celsius) in winter. Keeping customers comfortable has taken on a new dimension outdoors, Dave Wygmans said. “Before it was just drinks and food, right? And now, we think the priority is drinks and food but maybe the customer thinks the priority is the heat. And so now we have to balance one more priority that some customers might care about," he said. "It’s almost like another service that we’re providing is outside heat,” Wygmans said. ___ Follow Mead Gruver at https://twitter.com/meadgruver. Mead Gruver, The Associated Press